Images of the Wisteria Cottage courtesy of the La Jolla Historical Society
La Jolla is known for its beautiful natural surroundings and pristine beaches, but it’s also known for exquisite architecture. A significant part of La Jolla’s art culture is expressed through distinctive architecture and has been since its inception. In truth, La Jolla’s historic homes and landmarks showcase an architectural style that has been impressive from the very beginning.
La Jolla’s Historic Architecture
La Jolla holds a number of lovely historic homes and landmarks, including its beach cottages, the Green Dragon Art Colony and the Wisteria Cottage. Each of them possesses great character and is awash in charm.
La Jolla’s Beach Cottages
Beach cottages graced the shores of La Jolla in the late 1800’s and established a charming architectural trend marked by low roofs and quaint front porches. According to the San Diego News, La Jolla’s beach cottages were connected by winding paths studded with star pine trees, which served as landmarks in a time before OnStar and Google Maps. Over time, the cottages became vacations homes along La Jolla’s celebrated coast.
The Green Dragon Art Colony
Another noteworthy collection of cottages was built within La Jolla in the late 1800’s. A series of cottages, known as the Green Dragon Art Colony, were constructed using designs drafted by famed San Diego architect, Irving Gill.
The Green Dragon Art Colony was founded by Anna Held, and with the patronage of Ellen Browning Scripps, became a home away from home and famed retreat for artists. Over the years, countless painters, writers and musicians stayed at the colony, some while performing at the Hotel del Coronado. Today, a handful of the cottages remain, as does La Jolla’s vibrant arts culture.
Plans have been made to build new townhomes where the Green Dragon cottages rest. According to La Jolla Light, the new structures will incorporate signature elements of the Green Dragon cottages' architecture, which possessed gabled roofs, river bottom stonework and bungalow style windows.
The Wisteria Cottage
Wisteria Cottage is one of La Jolla’s most treasured historic gems. The historic landmark is known for its cobblestone masonry work. Last year, a significant rehabilitation effort returned the 111 year-old cottage to its state when renovated by Irving Gill in 1909.
According to the La Jolla Historical Society, the Wisteria Cottage was originally the home of the Seaman family. Over the years, the darling cottage has served as a church, school and a bookstore. At present, the Wisteria Cottage is a museum and home for the La Jolla Historical Society.