Dear Members, Donors and Friends,

It was great to see many of you at our Centennial Celebration on April 8. It was a truly unique event with commemorative features including Docents dressed as Ellen Browning Scripps, Guy Fleming and Ms Burkholder. Kids and teens enjoyed sketching the historic lodge in a special art workshop. We thank the Lodge at Torrey Pines for their generous support of this event.

In celebration of the anniversary, we invite you to consider our 100th Anniversary membership. Every cent will go to the preservation and conservation of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.


-Your Torrey Pines Conservancy


Photo: Terrance Rodgers

Join Now! Centennial Membership

A very special centennial celebration

By Roger Showley

It was a beautiful, sunny San Diego day on April 8 when residents and visitors hiked through the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and marked the 100th anniversary of the Torrey Pines Lodge that was dedicated April 7, 1923.
Activities included docent-led hikes, tales from rangers and lifeguards, a sketching session for kids and adults, tours of the lodge and pictorial reminders of its origins and history.
The formal centennial celebration, led by Matt Xavier, president of the Torrey Pines Docents Society, included speeches, proclamations and appearances by actors playing Ellen Browning Scripps, the lodge and preserve’s benefactor, and Guy Fleming, its first caretaker.
“It is a day of reflection, appreciation and gratitude for this beautiful place that holds such a significance in the hearts of so many people,” said Alexis Pettigrew, state parks’ superintendent for the north San Diego County sector. “We all share a responsibility to preserve and protect the natural beauty of our planet and this lodge is a symbol of that responsibility.”
Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner-Horvath, whose district includes the reserve, said her grandfather, William McChesney (1912-1988), was the Johnny Appleseed of his time for nurturing Torrey pine cones into saplings that he handed out to tree lovers.
“He was a plumber and he loved the Torrey pine,” she said.
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria thanked those who founded and have worked to preserve the Torrey Pines Lodge and the 1,500 acres in the reserve.
“My question simply is what are we going to do now, today, that a hundred years from now, people will say to us, ‘Gosh, I’m so grateful those San Diegans did that,'” Gloria said. “We should be bold, we should think big, we should implement major ideas, because I know when San Diego leads, we all benefit.”
San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose district includes the reserve and is a civil engineer, said he noticed the holes in the lodge’s walls and other evidence of structural issues, and welcomed efforts to preserve it.
Rick Gulley, president of the Torrey Pines Conservancy, said the latest estimate for restoration is $5 million.
“I think if we all get together, we can restore this lodge and keep it for another 100 years,” Gulley said.
Doug Dawson, executive director of the Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation, recounted the years-long efforts to save the trees and build the lodge.
“Miss Scripps saw herself not as a donor, underwrite or a sponsor — she didn’t like the word ‘philanthropist’ – but as an investor in humankind.”
Other tributes came from Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Scott Peters and Supervisor Remer Terra Lawson-Remer.

Cementing Relationships

by Judy Schulman, TPDS Historian

This is the fourth in a series of articles by Judy Schulman about Torrey Pines Lodge. We will be celebrating its 100th anniversary on April 8, 2023 (see pg 1). Exactly how many adobe bricks are there in the Lodge: 10,000 or 12,000 or over 20,000? It depends on what source you read. Although the exact number of bricks isn’t known (wouldn’t this make a great project for extra credit during [TPDS Docent] training?), this is what know. The building plans from Requa and Jackson specified the following: All exterior and partition walls of the building and all terraces and retaining walls, above the concrete, are to be built of adobe brick, made from soil excavated near the building site. These adobes must be made and laid by Mexicans who are thoroughly experienced in the work. All exterior walls of building and all terrace walls to be made of adobe 14 inches wide, 20 inches long and 4 inches thick. All partitions to be of 4”x10”x20” adobes. The John Byers Mexican Handmade Tile Company of Santa Monica was in charge of making and laying the bricks. Byers was known for employing native Mexican artisans (not Hopi Indians, as some newspapers articles said). References differ as to how many workers there were. But I did discover the last names of some of the workers. Their names appeared in payment receipts to John Byers. A belated note of appreciation to Señores Acosta, Duran, Flores, P. Gonzales, N. Gonzales, R. Gonzales, Rosales, Soto, Munoz, and Vuelvas. During construction they lived in tents in the area of what is now the Fleming residence. Typically, adobe bricks are put together with wet adobe mortar, but Requa and Jackson requested that the mortar be made of a mixture that included Portland cement. I haven’t been able to find out why cement was used. I do remember reading somewhere that Requa and Jackson were experimenting with using modern techniques to prevent earthquake damage and interior moisture damage.  I read a number of articles on building with adobe. Most say that using cement is bad. Cement dries at a different rate than the adobe surrounding it and would eventually cause deterioration. Moreover, some of the articles said that the chemical composition of cement can cause adobe to decay. After the bricks were made, they were laid out in the sun to dry for a few days. These bricks could weigh up to 50 pounds. They were brought over from the drying site to the building site by the men standing in a line and passing the bricks over one by one. The cement was obtained from the Los Angeles-based Monolith Portland Cement Company. There is definitely a post-Lodge connection between Monolith Portland Cement Company and Requa. The president of the company, Coy Burnett, moved to Del Mar in 1924. Requa was the architect of the property Burnett bought from the former owner (Marston Harding). Several years after the Lodge was built, the company paid for two trips that Requa took to Spain and the Mediterranean to study and photograph architecture there. They later published two books of photographs from his trips, Architectural Details: Spain and the Mediterranean (1926) and Old World Inspiration of American Architecture (1929). I cannot find any references to the two men together prior to the building of our Lodge. Perhaps they knew each other socially or professionally before the Lodge was built.

Torrey Pines &  The Birth of San Diego's Environmental Movement

Hosted in partnership with the La Jolla Historical Society, professional nature photographer Bill Evarts takes us on a photographic journey of the history and preservation of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

Bill is author of Torrey Pines: Landscape & Legacy, featuring photographic images of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, often taken from locations never accessible to the public. A native San Diegan who grew up in La Jolla, Bill has personal connections to both Torrey Pines and The Nat—he is the grandson of Clinton Abbott, who served as director of the San Diego Society of Natural History from 1922 to 1946. Bill will provide a personal perspective on the role the Society and his grandfather played in saving Torrey Pines and other public lands in San Diego. The Nat’s interest in the pines dates back to 1883 when Charles Parry, the first European to recognize the trees as unique, recounted his discovery of Pinus torreyana to members of the San Diego Society of Natural History, and they immediately launched plans to protect the groves.

Stop by the Museum store after the talk for a book sale and signing of “Torrey Pines: Landscape and Legacy” by Bill Evarts.

Tickets are $9 for members of The Nat and La Jolla Historical Society, and $12 for non-members.

RSVP for Nat Talk

Until May 28: Rare Trees and Sacred Canyons

If you haven’t had a chance to go see the current exhibition at the La Jolla Historical Society, head on over. The exhibit runs until May 28. Rare Trees & Sacred Canyons: Torrey Pines – San Diego’s Symbol of Preservation chronicles important events in the history of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and brings to light lesser-known efforts to save North America’s rarest tree from extinction on the San Diego coast.

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