Attending the April California Preservation Foundation Conference on the Asilomar State Beach conference grounds was a living lesson in preservation and natural-resource management. Originally built by the YWCA with the help of Phoebe Apperson Hearst, in 1956 the YWCA agreed to sell Asilomar, at half the appraised value, to the California State Parks with the understanding it would continue to operate as a conference grounds “providing an inspirational setting for all.” John Carl Warnecke directed an architectural “master plan” for the newly acquired State Park that complemented architect Julia Morgan’s vision of preserving open space and vistas of the sea. It’s beauty and setting make it a heritage tourism destination that completely pays for park expenses through visitor revenue. Asilomar is just one of the 280 California State Parks units, the largest state park system in the United States, now celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.
Dana Point is fortunate to have Doheny State Beach with its own legacy and seascape and we are also blessed with Dana Point Harbor’s Orange County Park which leads to the Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center and the Dana Point Preserve at the Headlands, managed by the nonprofit Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM). The featured speakers at our April meeting presented a fascinating history of the headlands and all it offers today. Thanks to the generous $15 million grant by the Harry and Grace Steele Foundation, the CNLM purchased the Dana Point Headlands Preserve and manages the natural resources in perpetuity for present and future generations.
May is Preservation Month in California and across the nation. The California State Office of Historical Preservation has challenged us to identify our local historic resources and to attend our local historical events such as the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Vietnam War featuring the Vienam Memorial Wall May 14-18, in Sea Terrace Park. Dana Point’s history as a planned community dates to 1924 with Spanish Colonial Revival buildings erected within a few years. Three of these early buildings are located on Del Prado, part of the Town Center Construction Project, representing the cultural legacy of 1920s Dana Point, one the home of StillWater Spirits & Sounds, which recently received a preservation award (see below).
Our May Founders Meeting will honor former mayor Harold Kaufman for his involvement as one of the founders of the city’s incorporation and we will celebrate the city’s 25th Anniversary. Bring your checkbook and reserve your spot for the Scholarship Fundraiser Dinner at Doheny State Beach on June 24th—a Fiesta remembering Lucy Chavarrias Saunderson and Doris I. Walker. Please join us.
Barbara Force Johannes