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Preserving "nature's artistry": Torrey Pines during its formative years as a city and state park.

The City of San Diego ... stands alone among the cities of a world in having within its confines a singularly outstanding example of Nature's artistry .... This is Torrey Pines Preserve.

GUY FLEMING, Superintendent, Southern Division, California Division of Parks, 1942 (1)

In the spring of 1850, while exploring the Torrey Pines and Del Mar headlands overlooking Los Penasquitos Creek marsh north of San Diego, Dr. Charles C. Parry, the official botanist of U.S.--Mexican Boundary Survey, discovered the Torrey pine. He noted its distorted, twisted branches, unusually dense cones, and sheaths of long, stout needles, and sent a specimen to his friend and former instructor, Dr. John Torrey, the distinguished botanist of Columbia University. The species proved to be an exceedingly rare Ice Age relic found in its natural state in only one other locale: Santa Rosa Island, off the coast of Santa Barbara. On the exposed coastal bluffs, the twisted, wind-stunted tree seldom grew taller than 20 or 25 feet, but in the gorges and on inland-facing slopes, it reached 50 to 60 feet, with straight or slightly crooked trunks--a seemingly different species of pine. Parry named it Pinus torreyana, after Dr. Torrey, who ironically never saw the tree that bears his name. (2)

Thirty-three years later, on a return visit to the region, Dr. Parry delivered the keynote address to the San Diego Society of Natural History at its tenth anniversary commemoration. The Torrey pine, "this straggling remnant of a past age," he told his audience on November 2, 1883, was under threat due to the extension of the California Southern Railroad and other developments. He urged the organization to lobby the city council to set aside the groves forever "to the cause of scientific instruction and recreation." (3)


Dr. Parry's warnings unleashed a series of efforts to protect the endangered trees. In 1899, the city created Torrey Pines as its third public park (4) to preserve its status as the habitat of the rare tree. Located on the coast twenty-two miles north of San Diego, the park was "a unique addition to the Park System." (5) Unlike other early city parks whose physical settings were transformed by the then-popular Romantic or Mediterranean landscape designs, Torrey Pines never became a pleasure park. Its native coastal sage scrub, salt marsh, and woodland habitats (6) were not disturbed by early-twentieth-century development because of the park's remote outlying location, the existence of the rare tree for which it is named, and the pivotal role played by three pioneering preservationists: philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, horticulturalist Guy Fleming, and landscape architect Ralph D. Cornell.

To these and other influential leaders, the future of the new park was dear. From its inception as a city park in 1899, linked with one of the first preservation campaigns in San Diego's history, to its designation as a state reserve in 1962, they developed preservationist strategies that represented a new direction in the management of natural habitats and native plants.

The story of Torrey Pines is unusual in other respects. By the mid-1920s, the park had emerged as an important ecological and scientific preserve as well as a popular recreational area. Its lodge (or refectory) and outdoor dining terrace offered visitors a place to purchase meals, refreshments, gasoline, and mementos and to attend lectures and exhibits. Its strategic location on the coast highway, then the only direct route from Los Angeles to San Diego, provided motorists with direct access not only to the park and lodge but to greater San Diego as well. As the "gateway into San Diego," (7) its very existence as a park was intricately linked to citywide organizational campaigns that arose in the face of rapid urban development. Additionally, under the leadership of Guy Fleming, named superintendent of the southern district of the California Division of Parks in 1933, Torrey Pines, then still a city park, became the command center of an expanding state park system south of Monterey. In this context, it played a significant role in state as well as local preservation and conservation interests.


At the turn of the twentieth century, San Diego stood on the brink of a major cultural crossroads. Located on the only protected body of water south of San Francisco, it had emerged as a major Pacific Coast port. Its population exceeded 17,000 and by 1910 would more than double, approaching 40,000.

The city's expansion helped to fuel the rise of a powerful municipal reform movement headed by George White Marston, a prominent downtown merchant and two-time Republican Party mayoralty candidate in 1913 and 1917. Progressive civic leaders such as Marston, attorney and cultural promoter Daniel Cleveland, banker G. Aubrey Davidson, philanthropic businessman Julius Wangenheim, and his business partner and brother-in-law Melville Klauber believed that the city's true greatness could be achieved only if growth was carefully planned and managed by trained professionals. They were aware that San Diego's location, warm, balmy weather, and scenic beauty made it a unique and inviting place, a harbinger of an urban future designed as much for pleasure and recreation as for work. (8)

A key component of their vision was promoting the region's recreational and tourist potential by preserving open spaces and developing a system of parks, playgrounds, and cultural institutions interconnected by major boulevards and parkways. In 1907, the Civic Improvement Committee hired John Nolen, the noted Boston landscape architect and city planner, to initiate a plan for the growing city. The following year Nolen published San Diego--A Comprehensive Plan for Its Improve-merit. He proposed a large downtown civic plaza ringed by public buildings and garden walkways, an esplanade and pleasure pier on the bay front, and a wide, parklike promenade, or paseo, in the Spanish tradition, connecting the bay front to City Park (renamed Balboa Park in 1910). (9)

Although many aspects of Nolen's plan, including the civic plaza and paseo, never materialized, much of it did, due to the efforts of a distinct subgroup of well-educated and influential citizens committed to orderly growth, open space, and preservation. Horticulturists, botanists, geologists, and other scientists had settled in the area in the hopes of finding unknown species of plants, birds, insects, and mammals; observing unusual weather patterns; or making new discoveries about fossils, minerals, and geology. Naturalists, health seekers, vacationers, landscape painters (in the plein air tradition), architects, and arts-and-crafts adherents drew upon the region's unspoiled beauty, varied landscapes, Mediterranean-like climate, and Hispanic rancho-mission heritage. These new residents gave the growing city new focus and direction. By 1910, San Diego boasted a regionally recognized garden society (San Diego Floral Association, 1907), the second oldest natural science organization in the state (San Diego Society of Natural History, 1874), and the most important center of marine biological research on the Pacific Coast (Scripps Memorial Marine Biological Laboratory, 1903). (10) Along with other civic institutions, the membership of these organizations was dedicated to the study and protection of the natural world, including Pinus torreyana.


Dr. Party's call to preserve the Torrey pine coincided with the region's suburban development. During the 1880s, a stage line and, more important, the California Southern Railroad connected Del Mar to greater San Diego. As a result, this once-quiet coastal community adjacent to Los Penasquitos Creek marsh became a popular tourist resort. People came to picnic on the beach, gather seashells, hunt ducks in the marsh, fish for oysters along Soledad Creek, and bet on the horse races at nearby Cordero. The more immediate danger came from the city of San Diego, which had begun as early as the 1870s to lease pueblo lands, including lots in the Torrey Pines headlands, to cattle and sheep grazers and other private parties. Wood was chopped and the pines, manzanita, and other shrubs were cut and hauled away. The outbreak of fires, some deliberately set, posed a serious threat to the pines' very existence. In addition, several coal companies petitioned the city to lease coastal lands believed to contain coal deposits. (11)

These developments spurred the first collective effort to protect the Torrey pine. In 1885, the city council, at the behest of the Society of Natural History, passed an ordinance prohibiting cutting, removing, or otherwise destroying any Torrey pine under penalty of a $100 fine. In September of that same year, a committee headed by John S. Capron of the society lobbied the board of city trustees to enact legislation protecting the tree. The society also drafted a petition to Congress, asking that the headlands be conserved under the society's management. In 1888-89, Belle Angler, a Del Mar botanist and future contributor to the Los Angeles Times, conducted the first census. She concluded that only four hundred pines remained, most of them, she claimed, twenty years of age or younger. Angier, Marston, Louis Blochman, president of the San Diego Park Commission, and Daniel Cleveland, president of the Society of Natural History, lobbied the city council to create a public park. "Fires and sheep-herding, as well as inroads of ... momento-seeking tourists, not to mention botanical collectors whose greed for specimens is insatiable, have more or less marred the beauty of many fine trees and destroyed many young ones," Angier would write in the June 1900 issue of the prestigious Overland Monthly. (12)



On August 8, 1899, the city council enacted ordinance 648, setting aside 369 acres of the headlands as a public park to preserve these "rare and valuable trees." The new park encompassed portions of pueblo lots 1332, 1333, 1336, and all of lot 1337 along the coast and the bluff, called the Point of Trees, overlooking the marsh. (13) The old dirt stagecoach road through Rose and Sorrento canyons to coastal Del Mar was the principal route to the new park. The journey was slow and tedious. The situation, though, would shortly change. By 1908, a paved road would link Del Mar to La Jolla except for the section through the park itself. From La Jolla the road extended to Miramar, where Edward Willis Scripps, the road's main investor, lived. The road brought more visitors to the park. (14)

Designation as a city park, however, did little to protect the headlands. Campers and picnickers continued to chop down trees and shrubs. Many young pines were cut down to be used as Christmas trees. Visitors drove horse-drawn carriages over the mesas, cut trails through the canyons and bluffs, stripped trees of their cones, discarded rubbish, and lit campfires. Two destructive fires ravaged the best-forested section of the young park. (15)

By 1916, the park's precarious situation had drawn two instrumental leaders into the campaign. The philanthropist and retired Scripps-Howard newspaper baroness Ellen Browning Scripps, Edward Scripps's half sister, had an abiding interest in the park. A Teddy Roosevelt Bull-Moose Republican whose favorite president was Abraham Lincoln, she supported such progressive causes as women's rights and suffrage, protection of domestic servants and farm laborers, child welfare, public schooling and libraries, conservation and parks. Largely self-made and disdainful of pretense, she never forgot her family's humble origins and struggles. Even into the 1920s, when big business and conservative politics dominated the nation's life, she remained steadfast in her commitment to progressive politics and candidates.

Miss Scripps's love of the coast made the preservation of Torrey Pines special to her. She had moved to the quiet seaside village of La Jolla in 1896 precisely for that reason. From her two-story redwood home on Prospect Street she watched the pods of gray whales migrating each winter from the Arctic Sea to the lagoons of Baja California. Herds of sea lions basked on the rocks a few hundred yards from her beachfront home. "The entire coast," she once wrote, "is beautiful, changing, [containing] majestic ... curious gigantic formations ... rocks, caves and overhanging cliffs ..." (16)

Despite her personal fortune, Miss Scripps, who never married, lived a simple, unpretentious life at her La Jolla retreat with her half sisters, Elizabeth and Julia Ann. She abhorred waste, was an early proponent of recycling, and relied on taxis and buses well into her sixties, when her brother, Edward, bought her her first car and hired a chauffeur. Like George Marston, she believed that the wealthy had a moral and religious "duty" to improve the lot of those less fortunate by creating charitable trusts and institutions that would benefit the greater society. She was, in the words of landscape architect Ralph D. Cornell, "a rare spirit and a great lady." (17)


Ellen Browning Scripps became the park's financial savior. (18) She purchased hundreds of acres of pueblo lands to protect the Torrey pine from encroaching subdivision and development. These included lot 1338 for $15,050 (1908) and lot 1339 for $4,000 (1911-12), which contained some of the best and largest stands of the tree north and west of the Point of Trees. In 1936, as requested in her will, these parcels were bequeathed to Torrey Pines Park. Miss Scripps paid for nearly all of the park's major expenditures, including $5,000 in 1915 to grade and pave the road up the Torrey Pines crest, nearly $23,000 during 1922-23 to build the lodge and its retaining walls and to grade and reseed the grounds, and approximately $10,000 between 1921 and 1924 for plantings, trail construction, fire protection, maintenance, and staffing. (19)


The other leader to emerge was a Midwesterner considerably younger than Miss Scripps. Born in Ayr, Nebraska, Guy Fleming was the son of a homesteader-turned-carpenter. In 1897, the family moved to rural Oregon, where young Guy worked in his father's lumber business. Treks into the surrounding woods nurtured a passionate interest in nature, especially the study of plants. In 1909, he moved to San Diego County, where he lived and worked for a while at Little Landers, the utopian agrarian community near the Mexican border at San Ysidro. Attracted to the region's beauty and remarkable diversity of flora and fauna, he decided to put down roots and pursue a career in horticulture. In 1911, he found work as a nursery man in Balboa Park. Promoted to landscaping foreman in 1915, he worked with Kate Sessions, the noted horticulturalist, supervising much of the planting for the upcoming Panama-California Exposition. During this time, he joined the San Diego Floral Association and the San Diego Society of Natural History, becoming a fellow in the society and an influential advocate of public parks.

In his spare time, the young naturalist wandered, sometimes for weeks at a time, in the desert backcountry, exploring such places as the Salton Sea, Anza-Borrego, Cuyamaca, Palomar, and parts of Baja California. These excursions to collect specimens honed his powers of observation, his understanding of Southwestern horticulture and ecological relationships, and his literary bent, which served him well in promoting the cause of public parks. About his 1916 trip into the canyon lands abutting Mountain Springs Grade on what is now Interstate 8, he wrote: "One can almost imagine that they are looking into a glass cauldron and that the mounds are great bubbles. One of our party said it looked, 'like Hades boiled up and frozen.' About Mountain Springs and on out onto the desert we see what appears to be clumps of dead trees, three or four slender branchless trunks in the group. But if we were to call in the spring-time the upper part of each stalk would be a flame of scarlet. By the native it is called 'ocotillo' or 'candlewood,' Fouquiera splendens. It roots readily, and is often used in making corrals and fences. And the sight of a fence topped with scarlet flowers is rather striking. The stem of this thorn contains an inflammable wax. The Mexicans cut it into splinters or torches, which they call 'ocotillas.'" (20) It is no mere coincidence that Cuyamaca, Anza-Borrego, and Palomar later became state parks under Fleming's stewardship as head of the southern district of the California Division of Parks. (21)


Through his membership in the Society of Natural History, Fleming met Marston, Cleveland, Ellen Browning Scripps, and Edward Willis Scripps. By 1916-17, he was regularly visiting Torrey Pines. He was very much aware that the park's location on the only paved road from the north into La Jolla and San Diego made it an inviting stopover or "gateway" for touring motorists, many of whom were on their way to the exposition. Fleming conceived of Torrey Pines as a "recreation park," where an urbanizing populace could rediscover "Nature's hidden places." He was also equally adamant that city park officials regulate visitation and educate the public to better protect the tree and other natural resources. (22)

In June 1916, Fleming and the botanist Ralph Sumner visited the park, camping for two days at the Point of Trees. They marveled and fretted over what they saw. Crossing the plain from Sorrento Valley, they saw wild buckwheat growing five feet high and fifteen feet across and violet snapdragons as tall as six feet. On the Torrey Pines grade, they discovered a dozen or so Mexican tree poppies, some as high as ten feet, but badly marred by the new road. More distressing was the plight of the Torrey pine, "not more than zoo in all," according to Fleming. Composed mainly of older trees, the "original forest," he predicted, would soon become extinct unless it was protected. "Of course the species will not be lost for seed collectors have sent it to all parts of the globe," Fleming acknowledged. "But away from their beloved wind swept cliffs they become pyramidal and as stately as any other well ordered pine, and have no resemblance to the grotesque old warriors flaunting their green banner on the bluffs above the sea." (23)

In the meantime, the San Diego Floral Association and San Diego Society of Natural History mounted a campaign, including a petition drive, pressuring the City Park Commission to protect and enlarge the park. Fleming helped to spearhead this effort, working closely with Miss Scripps, her attorney J. C. Harper, Marston, Angier, and Sumner. Signs were posted warning visitors not to damage the trees, gather cones, wander off designated trails, or light fires. The Society of Natural History and the Floral Association recruited members to tidy up the grounds, burn rubbish, and place labels on the trees. Trash bins were installed, an incinerator purchased, and unsightly signboards along the road removed. On September 20, 1916, the city enacted ordinance 5380, requiting visitors not to deface, mutilate, build fires, or commit such acts that will damage or harm the trees. Fleming recommended that a guard be posted during Christmastime to protect the trees from tree cutters. (24)



In 1921, Ellen Browning Scripps hired Fleming as the park's caretaker. His first order of business was to take a census of the park's plant life and to map out the first official trail system. He estimated that there were approximately sixteen hundred Torrey pines, along with "thirty kinds of shrubs and woody plants." Wild blue sage, a rare, pungently fragrant sage found only in San Diego County and Baja California, grew on the mesa north of the Torrey Pines reservoir. Clumps of tiny white-purple cliff spurge dotted the western seaward slopes. Desert deer nut grew on the steep slopes at the northern end of the Point of Trees. Fleming's initial trail system, later expanded with the completion of Torrey Pines Lodge in 1923, offered visitors commanding views of the sea. These trails, now called the Fleming, Parry Grove, and High Point nature trails, continue to serve as the park's centerpiece for most visitors, especially those from outside of San Diego. (25)

Fleming conceived of Torrey Pines not only as a recreational park, but also as a world-premiere botanical garden. With its year-round warm climate and varied topography, the park, he believed, could replicate San Diego County's incredible plant diversity. "In the course of time," he wrote in 1921, "representatives of every tree, shrub, and woody plant within a hundred miles radius of San Diego might find a refuge here, in this, the last resting place of an ancient pine forest." (26)

Along with showcasing the county's rich botanical diversity, Fleming wanted to build a nursery, reservoir, botanical museum, library, research lab, outdoor theater, and roads to some of the viewpoints. In addition, he had informed Miss Scripps as early as 1916 that the park's location on the main highway to north San Diego made it an ideal place to build a lodge with a dining terrace, restrooms, and provisions for visiting motorists. From the lodge visitors could follow an "old Indian trail" to the southwest above Flat Rock and then down an easy descent from the cliffs to the beach to popular fishing locales. Another trail could fork off to the east into the less accessible, fire-prone area of the park. Fleming also wanted to clear and widen an "old wagon road" leading out to Broken Hill at the southern end of the park, which could be used by autos. (27)

In 1922, Miss Scripps hired Ralph D. Cornell on Marston's recommendation (28) to draw up the park's first land-management plan. A graduate of Pomona College, where he had studied plant biology under Professor Charles Fuller Baker, Cornell earned a master's degree in landscape architecture from Harvard College, served in World War I, and opened the first landscape architectural firm in Los Angeles in 1919. His partner, Theodore Payne, (29) a well-known English-born horticulturist, had a passionate interest in promoting the use of native flora for ornamental gardens. The two men collaborated on a number of major landscape projects, including Occidental College, the C. C. Teague residence in Santa Paula, and later Torrey Pines Park.

Payne's earlier botanical trips into the Colorado desert and San Jacinto Mountains reinforced Cornell's curiosity about desert ecology and plants, which dated back to his college days when he had worked on several horticultural projects in the Coachella and Imperial valleys. The appeal of the Colorado Desert to the tall, spare young man was its novelty. Its scorching heat, bone-dry climate, bleak emptiness, and near virgin state were new and daunting to this Midwesterner with, as he later put it, "the redolence of corral dust still in my hair." (30) But gradually, the desert, and the ingenious ways plants and animals somehow survived there, left an everlasting impression on him. "The things that I remember with pleasure were the things of the desert ... the little animals, the bird life, the vegetation," he nostalgically recalled years later. "The deep and dimpled shadows of the mud hills that enclosed the valley were particularly vivid, mornings and evenings.... Lying under the stars, one looked beyond the present into the purple blackness of a star-studded infinity. The night sounds, the smell of rain on creosote bush, the dawn, the constant change, the sunset; yes--the dust and the heat; those are the things of which the desert is made." (31)

In his 1912 publication, "Wanted: A Genuine Southern California Park," Cornell had proposed the novel idea that some public parks should be planted only with plants indigenous to the dry, semi-arid conditions of the region: "Plant a dry ground park. Use native plants already accustomed to the semi-arid conditions of our soil and climate. Such a park would be at once unique and individual; it would be decidedly typical and distinctive of California; it would be a garden spot of nature, a mecca for birds, a plant paradise; it would be a delight alike to the student, the botanist, the sight-seer and nature lover, each in his own way." (32)

Like Fleming, Cornell was mesmerized by the brooding silence and beauty of the Torrey Pines headlands. "It is itself, alone, unimitated, with precipitous cliffs carved and sculptured by erosions of time; ... It should be kept ... true to itself," he wrote in the introduction to his 1922 Report on Visit to Torrey Pines. Unlike Fleming, though, Cornell argued against introducing exotic or foreign plants and overplanting in order to preserve the "original landscape." Restraint was his motto. He recommended planting at maximum one hundred Torrey pines each year over the next ten years. The report recommended that cacti and yuccas, flourishing in the northwest corner of the park, should be maintained. The windward slopes between the ocean and Torrey Pines Road (as the coast highway in the park was called (33)) should be gradually reforested with Torrey pines to replace dead or dying older trees. The East Canyon--a possible site for an arboretum or botanical garden--should be kept "free and open, with plant cover of low relief, such as now exists." Torrey pines should be replanted only along canyon walls. Wildflowers, covering the slopes, should be replanted with herbaceous perennials like scarlet and blue larkspur, mariposa lilies, lupines, and nemophila. The nursery should include a "small lath house, a very few cold frames, some potting soil and a water supply." Trails should follow the topography along side walls and ridges of canyons where water can be easily diverted. (34)


Cornell was not opposed to developing a lodge, parking lots, nursery, trail and road systems, or research lab. In fact, he and Payne designed the landscape plan in April 1922 for the proposed lodge, which, he wrote, should be "restricted entirely to plants indigenous to the vicinity." To create a chaparral effect, he recommended placing clusters of Torrey pines at the ends of the terraces and planting California lilacs and other shrubs that "retain the spirit of the native planting(s) and still add interest to its variety." Like Fleming, Cornell supported building a Pueblo- or Hopi-style lodge that blended in with the sculpted cliffs and ravines surrounding the plateau where the lodge would be built. He also recommended constructing walled adobe terraces around the lodge or refectory so it had "the effect of a several storied Hopi house when seen from the boulevard." He endorsed the idea of erecting an outdoor split-level dining terrace "sheltered from the sun by canopies, umbrellas, or a rustic pergola...." (35)

Although Fleming and Cornell initially espoused different agendas for the park, Torrey Pines never became an ecological showcase of different plant communities. Why this happened is open to interpretation. Neither the Scripps nor Cornell papers contain any written correspondence between the two men. What is known is that both men admired, indeed, revered Ellen Browning Scripps. Out of respect for her and possibly a change in his own vision, Fleming endorsed Cornell's master plan for the park. In addition, his efforts to promote the park and educate the public about its rare but fragile beauty were beginning to pay off with Miss Scripps's financial assistance. (36)


Completed in early 1923 at a cost of nearly $23,000, Torrey Pines Lodge symbolized the park's arrival as a popular tourist destination. Located at the crest of Torrey Pines Road, it had been designed by Richard Requa and Herbert Jackson, two noted San Diego architects. Its blend of Pueblo Revival and Hopi Indian architectural features--the pale stucco-clad adobe walls, log vigas, capped parapets, and large main hall and adjoining smaller rooms--blended beautifully with the surrounding sandstone mesas and gorges. The interior dining area and outdoor terrace served lunches, afternoon teas, and dinners. Meals cost a dollar, and diners had their choice of steak, chicken, or lobster (when in season). Visitors could warm themselves by the fireplace or buy souvenirs and curios, including brightly colored Mexican and Indian rugs, baskets, blankets, and pottery. (37)


The lodge hosted many special events, one of the most memorable being the seventy-fifth anniversary of the pines' discovery, held on Saturday, April 4, 1925. The all-day event drew hundreds of people and included several chartered buses. Sponsored by the San Diego Park Board, the Society of Natural History, the Floral Association, and the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West, it featured a table d'hote luncheon at the lodge, music by the La Jolla High School orchestra, and speeches by Daniel Cleveland, George Marston, Clinton G. Abbott of the Natural History Museum, and Louis Blochman of the Floral Association. (38)

In 1924, the City Park Commission, along with the Society of Natural History and the Floral Association, prevailed upon the city council to enact ordinance 7029, enlarging Torrey Pines with the addition of pueblo lots 1324-1326, 1330, 1331, 1334, 1340, and remaining portions of lots 1332, 1333, and 1336. These acquisitions included the coastal cliffs, canyons, and mesas south of the then-existing park, and the estuary lying west of the Santa Fe Railway. The expanded park was nearly one thousand acres in size, with a sea frontage of three miles. (39)


Increasing auto traffic along the coast road and up the winding, twisting grade through the park sparked efforts to build a faster and safer coastal highway. In 1928, the city engineer's office proposed building a route along the cliff face through the park. It received immediate support from local businessmen and citizens, who were anxious to protect their tourist-oriented economy. Opponents, including Fleming, argued that such a route would necessitate "extreme cuts through the very heart of the Torrey Pines Preserve," and thus deface this scenic wonder. They proposed building a highway past the Penasquitos Lagoon to Sorrento Valley and from there through Rose Canyon to downtown San Diego. Many parties opposed this proposal because of the cost and length of time involved to complete it. (40) As the controversy deepened, the League to Save Torrey Pines Park was formed to lobby against the Cliff Road. In January 1930, it submitted a resolution to the Park Commission Board, arguing that the Cliff Road would be enormously expensive, highly unsafe for auto traffic, and a danger to the "whole stand of Torrey Pines" in the park. (41)

Fleming and the league had the support of local leaders such as Marston, city park superintendent John Morley, and nationally recognized professionals, including Cornell, Nolen, Frederick Olmsted Jr., the nation's foremost landscape architect, and John White, director of Sequoia National Park. After reviewing a report written by engineer W. W. Crosby, the park commissioners issued a resolution denying the city a right-of-way to build the road through the park. The city council ignored the resolution, determined to push ahead with road construction. Olmsted filed suit in Superior Court, enjoining the city from constructing the road on the grounds that such construction would violate article 4 of Ellen Browning Scripps's will (April 19, 1924) to protect Torrey Pines in perpetuity as a public park. (42)


In April 1930, the court ruled in favor of Olmsted and issued a temporary restraining order preventing the city from constructing the road. The Appellate Court subsequently upheld Judge Charles Haines's ruling on appeal, stating that the road would "constitute a diversion of a portion of the park property from the uses to which it has been dedicated, and will be in violation of the trusts upon which said property is held by the city." (43)

With opposition mounting, the city manager by this time had decided on an alternative route that most parties could accept. The new proposal involved building concrete bridges over the mouth of the lagoon. From here the route would follow the old coast highway along the beach, veer southeast, bypassing the Torrey Pines grade, and then swing south through the junctions of Miramar Road and La Jolla Canyon Road into Rose Canyon to downtown San Diego. The new coast highway was completed in 1931. (44)


With the completion of the highway and San Diego's growing allure as a vacation wonderland, Torrey Pines became a motorists' haven. Hundreds of visitors, especially during the California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park (1935-36), stopped daily to picnic and camp, eat a meal at the lodge, or wander among the ancient gnarled groves. (45)

The preserve, as the park was increasingly called, not only attracted tourists, but also hosted a wide range of community programs and special events, including annual flower shows sponsored by the San Diego Floral Association and weekend field trips and outings organized by the Society of Natural History. Well promoted and well attended, the society's excursions sometimes involved multiple destinations with chartered buses, such as the Saturday outing in October 1924. Four Motor Transit buses and a score of automobiles transported 182 people to the Scripps Biological Institute in the morning and in the afternoon to Torrey Pines, where they had lunch at the lodge and hiked with Fleming. The San Diego Sun described the participants as follows: "Tourists from all parts of the United States, who are wintering here, were included in the party. Two were world-travelers, clad in English tweeds, leaning on Alpine sticks; a Frenchman and his wife chatted in their native tongue as they climbed up the trail; two school teachers, a number of children, one Boy Scout and a Girl Scout scaled one of the pines in the course of the afternoon, and a man from London and a woman from Hawaii registered as members of the group." (46)

Outings to Torrey Pines and La Jolla became more frequent and varied once the coast highway was completed. Buses chartered by the Society of Natural History on January 21, 1933, for example, stopped at Cormorant Cliff to view birdlife and sea lions; at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography to visit the museum, library, and aquarium; and at Torrey Pines for a midday picnic and afternoon hike with Fleming. The return trip along the highway included visits to the City Farm and Department of Agriculture's experimental station and botanical garden, which was near the preserve on 180 acres of mesa top. The station conducted experiments on the suitability of nonnative plants from Mexico and South America, such as rubber, cotton, and cacti, to adapt to Torrey Pines' coastal climate. (47)

Many attended the lodge's luncheons, lectures, and arts-and-crafts and painting exhibits, including several by Fleming's wife, Margaret (Peggy), an accomplished landscape painter.

The rugged beauty of this wild, craggy place regularly attracted such well-known local landscape painters as Maurice Braun, Charles Reiffel, Alfred R. Mitchell, and Alice Klauber. Braun and Reiffel, along with Fleming and Miss Scripps, were active members in the State-County Parks and Beaches Association. Mitchell, who studied under Braun from 1913 to 1916, developed a deep affection for Torrey Pines. He and his wife, Dorothea, became close friends of Ellen Browning Scripps and the Flemings and often stayed at the Flemings' home in the park to paint and teach art classes there. (48)

These painters shared a passionate commitment to preserving unspoiled landscapes, and their art helped promote a growing awareness and appreciation of nature. The creation of parklands was integral to this vision. As Hazel Boyer Braun, art critic for the San Diego Union Tribune and, like her husband, Maurice Braun, a student of ancient cultures, wrote in a 1935 column: "The most noteworthy tribute to the wonder of nature is our state parks, where we have protected the magnificent force of a land now rearing a young civilization that is so buried in material living and thinking that ... it cannot compare with older cultures." (49)

California's leading botanists, including San Diego's Kate Sessions and Dr. Emanuele Franceschi of Santa Barbara, visited the preserve to collect cuttings and seeds. Its intact original landscape drew botanists from outside the state. At an event at the lodge in January 1930, Dr. Louis H. Pammel of Iowa State College cautioned against further development, especially roads. "Let the people go on foot," he appealed to his audience. "Make this place a wildlife sanctuary. And above all things, don't let them go ahead and plant a lot of foreign stuff in here! Our parks, at least large tracts in them, should illustrate the natural conditions that were there before they were put under cultivation." (50)

In 1927, Fleming and his father, John, completed a two-story Pueblo Revival home in the park. Here, Guy and Margaret entertained visiting botanists, naturalists, and authors from around the world who were anxious to learn about the rare pine and to collect seeds to plant the tree in their own countries. The home itself signified a turning point for Fleming as his reputation grew and his conservation activities expanded to surveying potential park sites for the newly formed California State Park Commission and California Division of Parks. He was personally responsible for helping to set up at least twenty state parks south of Monterey County. In 1933, he was appointed superintendent of the division's southern district. From his upstairs office, he coordinated the creation of key parks in San Diego County, including Rancho Cuyamaca, Palomar Mountain, and Anza-Borrego Desert. (51) As Fleming spearheaded the effort to expand the state park system in the south and hosted the leading thinkers of the day, Torrey Pines took on an importance that transcended its physical boundaries. By 1934, the California Division of Parks boasted forty-nine parks and eleven historic monuments encompassing some three hundred thousand acres. (52)

Under Fleming's leadership, the preserve's outreach and growing appeal exceeded all expectations. In fact, it was too successful, and too quick. The growing stream of visitors and automobiles continued to jeopardize the park's natural and ecological resources. In 1931, J. C. Harper, Miss Scripps's attorney, hired Cornell to write a second master plan. The report focused on trail maintenance and erosion of the heavily used slopes flanking the road. Cornell recommended that Fleming hire a contractor to construct a pipeline fitted with small nipples to irrigate plants on each side of the roadway. Erosion on the fill-banks, he suggested, could be reduced by laying wicker riprap made from chaparral stems or other brush. Only indigenous plants such as the Torrey pine, lemonade berry, tree poppy, California lilac, and sugar bush should be planted. Australian salt bush, beach sand verbena, and ice plant would be permitted on fill-banks because at the time they were considered good "soil binders" to reduce erosion. (53) He also recommended that existing trails be cut on "horizontal courses or easy gradients" to control water runoff and that ramps or steps of hard-pan or field stones be built where trail pitches were abrupt. Additional parking spaces at the park's termini also would reduce auto traffic inside the park. (54)

Five years later, in 1936, the city council passed ordinance 1060, annexing pueblo lots 1338 and 1339 to the park, as requested by Ellen Browning Scripps upon her death. These lots included the cliffs northwest of the point and the lowlands at its base and groves on the east side of the Santa Fe Railway. (55)


With the outbreak of World War II, park visitation dropped sharply as a result of military service and the shortage of gasoline and tires. In 1941, the city of San Diego granted to the U.S. Army a permit to occupy the park's southern area to train nearby Camp Callan recruits in antiaircraft artillery exercises. No permanent military structures were to be built within the park, and the nontraining area was to remain open to the public. Visitors would have to comply with military regulations, including no camping and no fires. Several anti-aircraft gun emplacements were built along the bluffs, which were removed after the camp closed in November 1945. (56)

In the years following the war, the preserve faced two imminent problems. The city continued to underfund it, despite Fleming's protests. Fences were in disrepair, roadwork was neglected, and trails often were unmaintained. In 1949, the trustees of the Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation accused the city of San Diego and the suburb of La Jolla of being "shamefully unmindful of their responsibilities." (57) The concern went unheeded. Into the mid-1950S, Torrey Pines' share of the city's park and recreation maintenance budget was less than I percent. (58)

The other pressing issue was the park's vulnerability to the area's "unprecedented population increase," according to Cornell in his third and perhaps most insightful report, written in 1949. An increasing number of motorists had created a management problem that Cornell identified as "intensity of use": too many people with too few restraints. He noted, for instance, that Lookout Knoll, the highest point in the park, had been lowered by at least a foot due to heavy visitor use. The root systems of too many Torrey pines had been trampled down and exposed by picnickers and off-trail hikers. Discarded rubbish, as always, posed fire hazards.

"We face the double problem," he wrote, "of how to preserve the conditions and the trees that occasioned Torrey Pines Preserve in the beginning and, also how to make the area more accessible to, more usable and better understood by the public." According to Cornell and Fleming, these twin goals could best be met by developing picnic and other facilities south of the lodge in order to minimize human impact on the more fragile, heavily wooded areas to the north. The tidelands and bluffs along the northern boundary, Cornell recommended, should be set aside as "wilderness conservation areas." In sum, the plan recommended that the park south of the lodge be used primarily for recreation, while the area north of the lodge be set aside as a preserve with restricted access. Cornell also recommended the creation of a citizen volunteer organization empowered to institute policies, sponsor activities, raise funds, educate the public, and promote preservation. In 1950, the Torrey Pines Association was established for this purpose, with Fleming serving as its first president. (59)

In the early 1950S, the city of San Diego's plan to build a golf course on the park's southern periphery alarmed the Torrey Pines Association. The organization sought advice from its attorney William Hillyer to try to negotiate with the city. (60) To avoid public outcry and possible legal challenge, the city agreed to relocate its proposed development farther south and thereby ensure protection of most of the surrounding natural area. In the meantime, the Torrey Pines Association, the Society of Natural History, and other conservation organizations raised enough signatures to place a measure on the upcoming ballot, which called for the transfer of Torrey Pines from the city to the state. In 1956, city voters approved this transfer, with the provision that approximately 100 acres of park land would become part of the new Torrey Pines Golf Course. Three years later, Torrey Pines became a state park. The new park was 877 acres in size with approximately three thousand Torrey pines. In 1962, it was officially designated a scientific reserve. (61)



Torrey Pines State Reserve's history is unique in that much of its coastal sage scrub, woodland, and salt marsh-wetland habitats have been preserved despite the presence of heavy urban residential development. Nineteen percent of San Diego County's native flora today is found within the reserve's 2.3 square miles. Environmental factors--range of habitats, coastal location in the county's mid-range, cool temperature, and microclimate conditions--help to explain the reserve's rich diversity of native plant life. But the key reason for the park's distinction is its history. (62)

Unlike other San Diego parks, Torrey Pines never developed a plan that sought to transform or beautify its habitats. Balboa Park, for example, took a decidedly different direction when it became the site for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Its barren hillsides underlain by hardpan suddenly were transformed as thousands of mature, non-native trees and shrubs were transplanted to showcase the exposition's Spanish Colonial baroque grandeur. Balboa Park became San Diego's showplace of civic renaissance, progress, and beautification, while Torrey Pines lingered, at least initially, in its shadows. (63)

Ironically, Torrey Pines did evolve into a different type of urban park because of the 1915-16 and 1935-36 expositions and its access by automobile. By the mid-1920s, it was drawing hundreds of weekend visitors, who were enthralled with the panorama of sculpted bluffs, rare groves, salt marshes, and beaches. The park offered a refuge from the quickening pace of modernity, and its diversity of habitats and native plant life whetted scientific curiosity and institutional support. The San Diego Society of Natural History, the San Diego Floral Association, and later the Torrey Pines Association provided assistance that was critical not only to the park's survival, expansion, and protection, but also to its promotion and development as an ecological reserve.

Guy Fleming, Ellen Browning Scripps, and Ralph Cornell played pivotal roles in protecting and preserving "Nature's artistry" at the Torrey Pines headlands. The preserve was their legacy and that of like-minded individuals who found in San Diego and much of southern California a cultural vitality and natural beauty unknown or missing from their lives elsewhere. They were "migrants" in search of a new beginning, a vision of society that included and treasured nature.

Like most Americans born in the nineteenth century, Fleming, Scripps, and Cornell were reared in small towns and rural communities, intimately connected to the natural world. Ellen Browning Scripps, although born in London, grew up on the Illinois frontier in the hamlet of Rushville. Both Cornell and Fleming had been born in the cattle-belt of southeastern Nebraska and headed west while still in their teens, Cornell to the fishing port of Long Beach and Fleming to rural Oregon. Exploring nature was central to their lives, whether it be La Jolla's craggy shoreline and tide pools teeming with life, as in Miss Scripps's case, or the plant communities of the desert backcountry, as with Cornell and Fleming.

For them, the natural world was a source of inspiration, recreation, freedom, and, perhaps most important, understanding--a "living museum," as Fleming called it. (64) Each had witnessed the nation's wrenching transformation from a predominantly rural society of isolated towns and farmsteads in their early years to an unabashedly modernizing, rapidly developing, and technologically driven society in their later years. In this context, they were transitional figures, with one foot planted in a vanishing past and the other stepping into an uncertain future.

Cornell perhaps said it best in his unpublished manuscript "Gazing into the Future": "My early childhood was spent in the prairie lands of the Middle West where horizons were broad and far-away, visible without obstructions. The earth was carpeted with flat-growing, velvety buffalo grass for miles on end, interspersed with areas of taller blue stem and other grasses that could grow higher than a boy's head.... Unknowingly, society was living at the end of an era rapidly changing and headed pell-mell down the trail of human destiny. Literally and figuratively, I grew up at the tail end of a horse which, also unknowingly and unadmittedly by cow poke and farmer alike, was on its way down the path of obsolescence--already being paved by the early growing pains of technology." (65)

Guy Fleming, Ellen Browning Scripps, and Ralph Cornell saw the natural world as a living, changing, interconnected universe. They were connected to it through experience, through their institutional ties, and through the power of art and literature. It was, to borrow from the late Wallace Stegner, their "geography of hope." (66)

The author would like to thank Melvin and Ellen Sweet of La Jolla for their research and photographic assistance, and Bill Mennell, San Diego Coast District recreational specialist, Darren Smith, the district's environmental scientist, and Bob Wohl, former superintendent of Torrey Pines State Reserve, for their comments and suggestions. I also want to thank Shelly Kale, California History's managing editor, for her insightful reviews of several versions of this essay.

CAPTIONS: Clare B. Crane, "The Pueblo Lands: San Diego's Hispanic Heritage," Journal of San Diego History 37, no. 2 (Spring 1991), http://www.sandiegohistory. org/journal/91spring/pueblo.htm; US 101, Historic California U.S. Highways website,;

(1) Guy L. Fleming, "California's Birthday Tree," The Western Woman (July-September, 1942): 7.

(2) Union Title-Trust Topics 4, no. 5 (September-October 1950): 10-11; San Diego Union, November 7, 1883; "Torrey Pines City Park," George Marston Papers, MS-35, box #4, folder #59, np, San Diego Historical Society Research Archives (hereafter cited as SDHSRA); Weldon F. Heald, "Sea Breeze in the Torrey Pines," nd, Trees-Torrey Pines #99, Vertical Files, SDHSRA. Dr. C. C. Parry, "Historical Notice of Pinus Torreyana," speech before San Diego Society of Natural History, November 2, 1883, 5-6, Ellen Browning Scripps Collection, drawer #14, folder #2, Denison Library (hereafter cited as DENISON), Scripps College; "Trees," Kate Sessions Papers, box #72, folder #18, 1, San Diego Natural History Museum Archives (hereafter cited as NHMA).

(3) Dr. C. C. Parry, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #12, 7 (quote), DENISON.

(4) Plaza de Pantoja, commonly known as the F Street Park, was San Diego's first park. Located downtown near the waterfront, it was dedicated as a city park in 1850. City Park, renamed Balboa Park in 1910, was the city's second park, set aside in 1868. See George Marston, "History of San Diego City Parks," in Carl Heilbron, ed., History of San Diego County (San Diego: San Diego Press Club, 1936), 153, 158, 161.

(5) John Nolen, San Diego--A Comprehensive Plan for Its Improvement (Boston: George N. Ellis Co., 1908), 86.

(6) The vegetation at Torrey Pines has been called degraded chaparral, but most experts classify it as coastal sage scrub, even though chaparral-type plants, such as chamise, grow here. Over thousands of years, sea and inland breezes and the irregular terrain of mesas and ravines have helped to create distinct microclimate conditions affecting plant life. See Hank Nicol, Notes from the Naturalist (La Jolla, CA: The Torrey Pines Docent Society, 1992), especially 34-35.

(7) Guy Fleming, "Suggestions for Establishing a Recreation Park and Botanic Garden at Torrey Pines," June 8, 1920, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #17, 1 (quote), DENISON.

(8) Roger M. Showley, Perfecting Paradise (Carlsbad: Heritage Media Corp., 1999), 80-87; Uldis Ports, "Geraniums vs. Smokestacks, San Diego's Mayoralty Campaign of 1917," Journal of San Diego History 21, no. 3 (Summer 1975): 51-56; Mary Gilman Marston, George White Marston, A Family Chronicle, vol. 2 (Los Angeles: Ward Ritchie Press, 1956), 10-13; Clarence McGrew, City of San Diego and San Diego County, vol. 2 (Chicago/New York: American Historical Society, 1922), 7-8, 172-79, 287-88, 301-3; Gregory E. Montes, "San Diego's City Park 1902-1910, From Parsons to Balboa," Journal of San Diego History 25, no. 1 (Winter 1979): 1-25; Richard Muller, "Pioneer Spirit: The Klauber Wangenheim Company," Journal of San Diego History 29, no. 1 (Winter 1983): 1-19.

(9) Nolen, San Diego, 15-87; Montes, "San Diego's City Park," 12-17; Melanie Macchio, "John Nolen and San Diego's Early Residential Planning in the Mission Hills Area," Journal of San Diego History 52, nos. 3 & 4 (Summer/Fall 2006): 131-33.

(10) Iris Engstrand and Anne Bullard, Inspired by Nature: The San Diego Natural History Museum after 125 Years (San Diego: Conklin Lithographers, 1999), 15-16, 23, 37, 51-52; Victor A. Walsh, "Harmonies of Color in Untouched Light: Southern California's--and Torrey Pines'--Artistic Allure," TPA (Torrey Pines Association) Journal 3, no. 3 (Summer 2007): 1, 4; Carroll DeWilton Scott, The San Diego Society of Natural History, 1874-1924, A Brief History Prepared Upon the Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of Its Incorporation (San Diego: Friends of the Society, 1924), 11.

(11) Guy Fleming, "Patriarchs of Ancient Forest Are Preserved at Torrey Pines," San Diego Union, January 1, 1924; San Diego Union, June 22, 1873, July 2, 1873; UAMA (John Chauncey Hayes), "A Pleasure Resort: The Races at Cordero," San Diego Union, September 19, 1874; "The Development of the Southwest, Coal in San Diego County," Los Angeles Times, July 16, 1899; Lease Book 1 (April 22, 1870), 31-33, San Diego County Tax Assessor's Office.

(12) Fleming, "Patriarchs of Ancient Forest," 3; Letter, Belle Angier to her niece, reprinted in San Diego Union, January 19, 1930; Belle Angler, "The Torrey Pine," Overland Monthly 35, no. 210 (June 1900): 493 (quote); "Torrey Pines City Park," Marston Papers; Engstrand and Bullard, Inspired by Nature, 33, 35; "Crowd Celebrates Anniversary of Torrey Pines Discovery," San Diego Sun, September 14, 1925, in San Diego Natural History Museum Scrap Book, vol. 1 (1920-1926), NHMA.

(13) "A History of Preservation," Torrey Pines, #613, Vertical File, np, SDHSRA; City Council, Ordinances of the City of San Diego, California (San Diego: Neyenesch Printers, Inc., 1937), 8 (quote).

(14) Guy Fleming, "Chronological Outline of Events," in Torrey Pines Association (Santee, CA: Bordeaux Printers, 2001), 8; "Money Ready Now For Work," Los Angeles Times, May 17, 1907; "Torrey Pines Grade Open," Los Angeles Times, March 11, 1915; Edward Fletcher, Memoirs of Ed Fletcher (San Diego: Pioneer Printers, 1952), 130; Fleming, "Patriarchs of Ancient Forest," 3; Angier, "The Torrey Pine," 492; Alex D. Bevil, Historical Consultant, California State Parks, "Torrey Pines Park Road," National Register of Historic Places Registration Form (San Diego: California State Parks, Southern Service Center, 1998), section 8, 1-3; Photographic Collections, SDHSRA.

(15) See Fleming to Ellen Browning Scripps, 29 August 1916, 26 September 1916, 18 November 1916, and his transcript, "Suggestions for Establishing a Native Plant Garden and Recreation Park in the Torrey Pines Forest," June 14, 1921, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #17, DENISON.

(16) Quoted in Edward Dessau Clarkson, Ellen Browning Scripps: A Biography (La Jolla, CA: Edward Clarkson, 1958), 74.

(17) J. C. Harper, "Notes on Life of EBS," typescript, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #1, folder #10, DENISON; Charles Preece, Edward Willis and Ellen Browning Scripps: An Unmatched Pair (Chelsea, MI: Book-crafters, 1990), 7, 80-95; Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, "Ellen Browning Scripps: The Woman, Herself," presentation at Scripps College, October 9, 1986, typescript, 5-6, 9-12, SDHSRA; Vera B. Cornell, "Ralph Dalton Cornell," Ralph D. Cornell Collection #1411, box #29, 10 (Cornell quote), Special Collections, Charles Young Research Library (hereafter cited as YOUNG), UCLA.

(18) During the last thirty years of her life, Ellen Browning Scripps gave millions of dollars to fund a wide range of community institutions, including the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Scripps Memorial Hospital, the San Diego Zoo, the Natural History Museum, the Community House and Playgrounds, the Women's Club, the Public Library, the Children's Pool, the Zoological Garden and Research Laboratory in Balboa Park, the Bishop's School in La Jolla, and Scripps, Pomona, and Claremont colleges.

(19) Miss Scripps also funded the construction of a permanent caretaker's home for occupancy by Guy Fleming and his wife, Margaret. The projected cost to build the stabilized adobe-block residence was $5,000. See J. C. Harper to Ellen Browning Scripps, 28 June 1911, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #11, folder #20; account receipts, J. C. Harper to C. F. Mosher, 28 May 1912, and note of J. C. Harper, Pueblo Lots 1338 and 1339, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #11, folder #26; handwritten note on Torrey Pines expenses, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #12; Ellen Browning Scripps to J. C. Harper and W. C. Crandall, 1 July 1926, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #17; Torrey Pines Lodge Account, 1922-1923, 1-6, and J. H. Nicolson, contractor, to Board of Park Commissioners, San Diego, 11 August 1922, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #19, DENISON.

(20) Guy Fleming, "San Diego County Trees and Shrubs," California Garden 8 (November 1916), San Diego Floral Association Library (hereafter cited as SDFAL), Balboa Park, San Diego, reprinted in Guy Fleming Writings (San Diego: Torrey Pines Docent Society, 2004), 71.

(21) Heilbron, ed., History of San Diego County, 62-64; Alexander D. Bevil, Historical Consultant, California State Parks, "Torrey Pines Lodge Building," National Register of Historic Places Registration Form (San Diego: California State Parks, Southern Service Center, 1998), section 8, 5; Margaret Fleming, "The Bug House," Inside La Jolla, A Chronicle of La Jolla, 1887-1987 (La Jolla, CA: La Jolla Historical Society, 1997), 68-69; Fleming Obituary, High Sierrans, 12 (1960): 1, 7. See also, Guy L. Fleming, chairman, Sub-committee on State Parks, "Proposal to Create a Desert and Mountain Park," E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #17, DENISON; Diana Lindsay, "History in the California Desert, The Creation of the Anza Borrego Desert State Park--Largest in the United States," Journal of San Diego History 19, no. 4 (Fall 1973): 14-26.

(22) Los Angeles Times, March 11, 1915; Bevil, "Lodge," section 7, 1.

(23) Guy Fleming, "Re-Discovering Torrey Pines," California Garden 8, no. I (July 1916): 8-9, SDFAL; Fleming to J. C. Harper, 10 June 1920, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #17 (quote), DENISON.

(24) Fleming to J. C. Harper, 15 October 1916; Fleming to Ellen Browning Scripps, 29 August 1916, 26 September 1916, 18 November 1916, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #17, DENISON; Fleming, "Patriarchs of Ancient Forest," 3; "Report of the Curator of the San Diego Society of Natural History, 1916," San Diego Society of Natural History, box #18, folder Letters, 1915-1916, NHMA.

(25) Guy L. Fleming, "Torrey Pines Preserve, San Diego's Unique Park," in Info/Ephemera MS-130, box #1, folder #1, 6-8, SDHSRA; Fleming, "Patriarchs of Ancient Forest," 3.

(26) Guy Fleming, "Suggestions for Establishing a Native Plant Garden and Recreation Park in the Torrey Pines Forest," June 14, 1921, especially 1-2, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #17, DENISON. See also Guy Fleming, "The Torrey Pines Recreation Park and Native Plant Garden," California Garden 13, no. 2 (August 1921): 2.

(27) Fleming, "Suggestions for Establishing Native Plant Garden," 1-2; Fleming, "Torrey Pines Recreation Park," 2; Fleming to Ellen Browning Scripps, 22 September 1916, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #17; Fleming, "Program and Budget for Torrey Pines Park, March-July, 1923," E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #24, 1-3, DENISON.

(28) Marston, in fact, bankrolled Cornell's first job in 1919 as supervising landscape architect at Pomona College. With Marston's money, Dr. Blaisdell, the new president, hired Cornell to design the campus quadrangle and first gardens. The two men maintained a lasting association and friendship. "Marston," recalled Cornell, "used to send for me in later years right up to his death. I would go down to San Diego and spend two or three days and we'd go over all the things in which he was interested." See Ralph D. Cornell, Half a Century as a Southern California Landscape Architect, Oral History Interview (1970), 36, 52-53 (quote), YOUNG.

(29) On Theodore Payne, see Bevil, "Torrey Pines Lodge," section 8, 9-10; Theodore Payne Foundation, Theodore Payne in His Own Words, A Voice for California Native Plants (Pasadena, CA: Regina Books, 2004), 101-7; Ralph Cornell, "Speeches," Cornell Coll. #1411, box #36, 5, YOUNG.

(30) Ralph D. Cornell, "How One Landscape Architect Got That Way," Cornell Coll. #1411, box #36, 4 (quote), YOUNG.

(31) Ralph D. Cornell, "Life in the Desert," Cornell Coll. #1411, box #38, 5 (quote), YOUNG.

(32) Ralph D. Cornell, "Wanted: A Genuine Southern California Park," in Journal of Economic Botany 2, no. 2 (May 1912): 303 (quote). On Cornell, see "Ralph D. Cornell," National Cyclopedia of American Biography 57 (Clifton, NJ: James T. White and Co., 1977), 179-80; Marie Barnidge-McIntyre, "Ralph Dalton Cornell," in Charles A. Birnbaum, ed., Pioneers of American Landscape Design (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000), 70-72; Vera B. Cornell, "Ralph D. Cornell," presentation at South Coast Botanic Garden, Los Angeles, November 5, 1984, Cornell Coll. #1411, box #38, 1-10, YOUNG; Vera B. Cornell, "Ralph Dalton Cornell," California Horticultural Journal 33, no. 4 (October 1972): 127-29; Elisabeth and George Marshall, "His Views on Conservation, Parks and Open Space," especially 151. In 1937, Cornell was appointed the supervising landscape architect of the new UCLA campus, where he played a pivotal role in transforming the barren campus into a nationally recognized, award-winning university. He also designed the landscapes at Will Rogers State Park, Rancho Los Cerritos, Pomona College, Claremont College, University of Hawaii, Santa Monica Blvd. Parkway, Griffith Park, Elysian Park, Los Angeles Civic Center Mall, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Anaheim, Los Alamos, Jackson Hole ski resort, and the Ford Motors building in Detroit.

(33) On December 11, 1923, the San Diego City Council, on the recommendation of the Society of Natural History's Conservation Committee, passed an ordinance designating that part of the coast highway extending from La Jolla through the park be called the Torrey Pines Road. See San Diego Natural History Museum Bulletin, no. 3 (January 1923): 1, NHMA.

(34) Ralph D. Cornell, Report on Visit to Torrey Pines, April 3, 1922, 1-6, Marston Papers, box #4, folder #59, SDHSRA.

(35) Cornell to J. C. Harper, 3 May 1922, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #19, 2-4 (quotes), DENISON.

(36) Fleming to Harper, 10 June 1920, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #17, DENISON.

(37) Bevil, "Lodge," section 7, 1-2; section 8, 18-19; "Torrey Pines Park Graced by Beautiful Adobe Lodge," San Diego Union, January 1, 1923; "Gateway To City Beautified By Indian Lodge," San Diego Union, January 1, 1924; "Picnics Stressed by Lodge In Torrey Pines Park," San Diego Union, June 12, 1938.

(38) "Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the Discovery of Torrey Pines," San Diego Natural History Museum Bulletin, no 22 (April 1925): 2, NHMA; news clippings, "To Observe 75th Anniversary Of Naming Of Pines," and "Hold Ceremonies to Commemorate 1850 Discovery," George Marston Papers, MS-35, box #4, folder #59, SDHSRA; "Four Organizations to Unite in Ceremonies at Torrey Pines Reservation," San Diego Union, April 1, 1925, in San Diego Natural History Museum Scrap Book, vol. 1 (1920-1926), NHMA.

(39) Fleming, "Outline of Events," 9; J. C. Harper to San Diego Common Council, 2 May 1923, George Marston Papers, MS35, box #4, folder #59, SDHSRA; "Notes on Torrey Pines & the Cliff Road Project," Info/Ephemera MS-130, 1 box #1, folder #1, 8, SDHSRA.

(40) Bevil, "Torrey Pines Park Road," section 8, 8-10; Fleming to Ellen Scripps, 31 October 1928, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #18; Fleming, "A Brief of the Torrey Pines Grade Problem," E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #26, DENISON; "Letters Concerning the Cliff Road Project (1928-29)," Info/Ephemera MS-130, box #1, folder #2 (quote), SDHSRA; San Diego Board of Park Commissioners Correspondence, box #1, folders #16 and 17, California Room, Central Public Library (hereafter cited as CA RM).

(41) Resolution of the League to Save Torrey Pines Park to the Board of Park Commissioners, January 9, 1930, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #18, DENISON.

(42) A copy of Ellen Browning Scripps's will is in E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #13, DENISON.

(43) On the legal challenge, see Olmsted v. City of San Diego, 124 Ca.App.14 (quote); Curtis Hillyer, Scripps Family attorney, to Robert P. Scripps, 27 January 1937, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #13, DENISON; "San Diego Park Granted Restraining Order," Los Angeles Times, March 9, 1930; "City Fights Injunction on Highway," Los Angeles Times, March 12, 1930; "Road in San Diego Park Blocked by Injunction," Los Angeles Times, April 23, 1930. The city's proposal to build the Cliff Road apparently dismayed Miss Scripps. After her death, Robert Scripps, her nephew and residuary legatee, asked Hillyer about the possibility of transferring the park to the state. In his letter Hillyer told Scripps that he would have to transfer the deed to the city, something he could do as "residuary devisee under the will." The city then could legally transfer the park to the state, provided two-thirds of the city's qualified voters approved such transfer.

(44) W. C. Crandall to Sam Porter, 5 April 1929, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #13, DENISON; Resolution of League to Save Torrey Pines Park to Board of Park Commissioners, January 9, 1930, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #18, DENISON; William Crosby, Park Commission, Report, February 20, 1930, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #18, DENISON; George W. Marston, "Report on Torrey Pines Road," Board of Park Commissioners, February 24, 1930, Board of Park Commissioners Correspondence, box #1, folder #17, CA RM; Marston, George White Marston, 99-106.

(45) See Dorothy Dudley Muth, "The Torrey Pines, Survivors of the Sea's Rise and Fall Make a Stand in North County," San Diego Union, August 16, 1984.

(46) "182 Nature Hikers on All Day Trip to La Jolla and Torrey Pines," San Diego Sun, October 28, 1924, as quoted in San Diego Natural History Museum Scrap Book 1 (1920-1926), NHMA.

(47) San Diego Natural History Museum Bulletin, no. 59 (March 1, 1930): 2, no. 83 (January 1, 1933): 2, no. 93 (February 1, 1934): 2, no. 95 (April 1, 1934): 2, NHMA.

(48) Alex Bevil, Historical Consultant, California State Parks, "Guy L. and Margaret Fleming House," National Register of Historic Places Registration Form (San Diego: California State Parks, Southern Service Center, 1998), section 8, 10; Victor A. Walsh, "Landscape and Art at Torrey Pines," presentation at Torrey Pines Lodge, September 22, 2007; Iris H. W. Engstrand, "In Search of the Sun," in Patricia Trenton and William Gerdts, eds., California Light, 1900-1930 (San Francisco: Bedford Arts, 1991), 57-59; Alfred R. Mitchell and Maurice Braun Vertical Files, San Diego Museum of Art Library; State-County Parks and Beaches Association Papers, 1928-1933, MS-193, box #1, SDHSRA. The latter organization was formed in 1928 to create and protect playgrounds, beaches, and parks in San Diego County. Its members, many of them established mercantile, banking, and professional families, played key financial and organizing roles in the creation of Silver Strand, Palomar Mountain, and Anza-Borrego Desert state parks.

(49) Hazel Boyer Braun, "Artists and Their Activities," San Diego Union Tribune, January 12, 1935, (quote) in the Hazel Boyer Braun Scrap Book, CA RM.

(50) San Diego Natural History Museum Bulletin no. 41 (November, 1927): 2, NHMA; Carroll DeWilton Scott, "Mystery of Torrey Pines ... Interests Many Distinguished Scientists," San Diego Union, January 14, 1920; Alice M. Rainford, "Looking Back," California Garden (Autumn, 1953): 10; "Dr. Pammel, Prominent Botanist, Suggests Marker for Dr. Charles C. Parry," San Diego Union, January 30, 1920, as quoted in San Diego Natural History Museum Scrap Book 3 (1930-1935), NHMA.

(51) Bevil, "Fleming House," section 8, 9-10; interview with Margaret Fleming, January 25, 1972,1-2, folder #42-b, La Jolla Historical Society (hereafter cited as LJHS); Ione R. Stiegler, Guy L. and Margaret E. Fleming House Historic Structures Report (La Jolla, CA: IS Architecture, December, 2006), 12; Diana Lindsay, Anza-Borrego A to Z, People, Places, and Things (San Diego: Sunbelt Publications, 2001), 166-67.

(52) In 1928, there were twelve parks and five historic monuments totaling only 13,700 acres. The availability of state bond money in that year allowed the park system to expand at an unprecedented level. See Joseph H. Engbeck, Jr., State Parks of California from 1864 to the Present (Portland, OR: Graphic Arts Publishing Co., 1980), 6z-6y

(53) Interestingly, Australian salt bush and ice plant are not native to North America. The best species for erosion control are deep-rooted native shrubs.

(54) Ralph Cornell, Torrey Pines Preserve Report, May 5, 1931, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #13, 1-4, 10-13, DENISON.

(55) Fleming, "Patriarch of Ancient Forest," 3; Planning Dept., Historic Site Board, San Diego, Torrey Pines Area, November 21, 1969, 2-3, SDHSRA.

(56) Judy P. Schulman, "Camp Callan--From Glory to a Memory," Journal of the Council on America's Military Past 13, no. 1: 43-49. See also "Torrey Pines Mesa Land Leased" and "7500 Draftees To Train Here, Council Agrees to Lease Torrey Pines Mesa Site for Coast Artillery Camp," Torrey Pines Vertical File, SDHSRA; Camp Callan Photo Collection C025, 1940-1943, SDHSRA; Margaret Fleming interview, 8, LJHS.

(57) See typescript of Trustees of Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation, September 20, 1949, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #13, DENISON.

(58) From July 1952 through June 1953, the Park and Recreation Department's maintenance budget for Torrey Pines was a paltry $449 out of $370,594. In 1954-1955, it was $602 out of $413,272; in 1955-1956, $624 out of $473,558. The bulk of the budget was spent to maintain the newly created Mission Bay Park, Presidio Park overlooking Old Town, and Balboa Park. See O.W. Campbell, city manager, City of San Diego Annual Budget for 1953-1954, City of San Diego, October 1,1954, 887-88; Campbell, City of San Diego Annual Budget for 1955-1956, City of San Diego, October 3, 1955, 111-12.

(59) Ralph Cornell, "A Study and Report on Matters of Control and Policy," in Torrey Pines Association (Del Mar, CA: Barly Brae, Printers, 1949), 19-24, also in the E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #13, DENISON. On the Torrey Pines Association, see Guy Fleming, "Living Museums of San Diego," California Garden 43, no. 3 (Autumn 1952): 8; Dr. Thomas Whitaker, "The Torrey Pines Association: Its Purpose and Program," California Garden 55, no. 3 (June/July 1964): 15.

(60) In a letter to the Torrey Pines Association's board of directors, Hillyer explained that the city could conceivably alter the use of dedicated park land provided it could show that the new use was consistent with the "public good." Unlike a housing development, a golf course might fall under the rubric of public good. In his closing remarks, he stated: "The chance of the local Superior Court compelling the city to abandon the use of this land as a golf course are, in the judgment of the writer about 50-50. A great deal will depend upon the character and personality of the particular judge hearing the case. The precedents in this state, however, would indicate that, in general, the courts have been loath to interfere with the use made of public lands by legislative bodies." See William Hillyer to the Board of Directors, Torrey Pines Association, 4 October 1955, E. B. Scripps Coll., drawer #14, folder #17, 1-3, DENISON.

(61) "Torrey Pines Association," Torrey Pines Association, 3-4; Fleming, "Torrey Pines Park--A State Nature Reserve," California Garden 46, no. 2 (Summer 1955): 10; Fleming, "The Future of Torrey Pine Preserve," California Garden 47, no. 1 (Spring 1956): 9; Lotti Ann Wann, "Torrey Pines State Reserve: A Study in Land Use Management" (M.A. thesis, Dept. of Geography, San Diego State University, 1979), 26.

(62) Out of 1,678 native plant taxa in San Diego County (8,673 [km.sup.2]), 326 or 19 percent of them are found within Torrey Pines State Reserve (6 [km.sup.2]), according to Darren Smith, a California State Parks environmental scientist at San Diego Coast District. See Smith, "Vascular Plant Species Richness at Torrey Pines State Reserve," typescript, 2006, 1; Nellie B. Greene, "Flora and Silva of San Diego County," unpublished American Guide, San Diego Project, nd, 27-28, SDHSRA.

(63) See Richard W. Amero, "The Making of the Panama-California Exposition, 1909-1915," Journal of San Diego History 36, no. 1 (Winter 1990): 1-47; Roger M. Showley, Balboa Park: A Millennium History (Carlsbad, CA: Heritage Media Corp, 1999.

(64) See Fleming, "Living Museums," 7-8 (quote).

(65) Ralph D. Cornell, "Gazing into the Future," nd, Cornell Coll. #1411, box #38, 3 (quote), YOUNG.

(66) Wallace Stegner, "The Wilderness Letter," December 3, 1960, in Page Stegner, ed., The Selected Letters of Wallace Stegner (Berkeley, CA: Shoemaker & Hoard, 2007), 357.

DR. VICTOR A. WALSH is a historian with the San Diego Coast District of California State Parks. He won the Carlton C. Qualey Award in 1991 for his article on Irish teetotalism and drinking customs, published in the Journal of American Ethnic History, and the Institute of History Preservation Award in 2004 for his article on the Casa de Estudillo of Old Town San Diego, published in the Journal of San Diego History. He writes regularly on state and national parks for Coast to Coast, Desert Leaf, and Voice of San Diego.
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Author:Walsh, Victor A.
Publication:California History
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Date:Mar 1, 2008
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