Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Christine F. Shirley Files on Crystal Cove Historic District
MS-R113  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (121.48 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Important Information for Researchers
  • Historical Background
  • Collection Scope and Content Summary
  • Collection Arrangement
  • Related Collections
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Christine F. Shirley files on Crystal Cove Historic District
    Date: 1923-2002,
    Date (bulk): bulk 1977-2001
    Collection Number: MS-R113
    Creator: Shirley, Christine F.
    Extent: 7.3 linear feet (8 boxes and 1 oversized folder)
    Languages: The collection is in English.
    Repository: University of California, Irvine. Library. Special Collections and Archives.
    Irvine, California 92623-9557
    Abstract: This collection comprises the personal papers of Christine Shirley, a former resident of Crystal Cove, California and member of the Crystal Cove Residents' Association Executive Committee. The collection includes records from the Crystal Cove Residents' Association. Materials reflect Shirley's involvement in the association's efforts to add Crystal Cove to the National Register of Historic Places and its legal struggles with the State of California over tenancy of the Crystal Cove cottages.

    Important Information for Researchers

    Access

    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    Christine F. Shirley Files on Crystal Cove Historic District. MS-R113. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California. Date accessed.
    For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Mahlon Vail, 2004.

    Processing History

    Processed by Audrey Pearson, 2008.

    Historical Background

    Biography

    Christine F. Shirley was a resident of Crystal Cove, California from 1967 until 2001 and a long-time activist for preserving its 46 rustic cottages and the surrounding natural environment. Shirley first began to visit Crystal Cove in the 1930s with her cousin and fellow Cove resident Ruthie Van Wyck. She purchased the lease to cottage 23 in 1967 and spent most weekends thereafter at Crystal Cove with her children. At the time, she lived with her family in the Hollywood Hills and taught at Los Angeles High School. She married Jack Shirley in 1970 after they met at Crystal Cove.
    Shirley was a member of the Executive Council of the Crystal Cove Residents' Association. Worried that the Irvine Company would sell Crystal Cove to a developer who would destroy the cottages and natural ecology of the surrounding area, Shirley worked with fellow resident Martha Padve to add Crystal Cove to the National Register of Historic Places. Shirley was deeply interested in Crystal Cove's history and gathered much information about it for an unrealized book.
    Crystal Cove lies on the Pacific Coast between the Southern California cities of Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. The area was purchased by James Irvine in 1864 and retained by the Irvine Company until 1979. Early in the twentieth century, squatters began to live in the area, first erecting tents, then one-room cottages. More rooms were added to these structures as needed over time, often assembled from driftwood gathered along the beach. The cottages are one of the only remaining examples of California vernacular beach architecture, otherwise known as architecture without architects.
    Beginning in the 1920s, silent film productions used Crystal Cove as a set for movies set in the South Seas because all of the cottages had palm-thatched roofs during this era. Such movies included Treasure Island (1920), Storm Tossed (1921), Sadie Thompson (1928), Half a Bride (1928), White Shadows in the South Seas (1928), and, much later, Beaches (1988). Road traffic increased with the construction of Pacific Coast Highway in 1926, and Crystal Cove became easily accessible to the public. In the late 1930s the Irvine Company informed cottage owners that they must either move their cottages or agree to lease the property from the company. Many owners chose to remain.
    After the Irvine Company sold Crystal Cove to the State of California in 1979, Shirley remained involved in the Crystal Cove Residents' Association as it filed lawsuits against the State to allow residents to remain in the cottages. The association won several lease extensions for its residents until 2001, when all residents were evicted.
    The last of the cottages was built in the late 1940s. The exteriors of the structures have remained nearly unchanged since the 1950s, although many interiors have been remodeled. Between 2001 and 2006, the State of California restored 22 of the 46 cottages to their vintage 1935-1955 interior and exterior condition.

    Biography/Organization History

    Chronology

    1967 Christine Vail purchases the lease to cottage 23.
    1970 Christine Vail marries Jack Shirley.
    1979 June 16 Crystal Cove Historic District placed on National Register of Historic Places.
    1979 December State of California purchases 1,898 acres of Crystal Cove State Park from the Irvine Company for $32,600,000.
    1981-1983 First Development and Public Use Plan was created. Crystal Cove Residents' Association took action against the State of California to win the right to remain in their cottages.
    1982 April 14 Crystal Cove residents given notice to vacate by 1982 July 31.
    1983 Crystal Cove lease period extended by ten years.
    1991-1994 Second Development and Public Use Plan created to establish some of the cottages as a hostel. The plan was blocked by legislation that required the California Department of Parks and Recreation to prepare a legislative report on alternative uses for the Historic District.
    1993-1995 Tenant leases extended for two years.
    1994-2001 Third Development and Public Use Plan was created which planned to build a seaside resort on the Historic District. Implementation of the plan cancelled by the California Department of Parks and Recreation following public concern about the project.
    1995 December 29 Crystal Cove Residents' Association file lawsuit against the State of California, Parks and Recreation to prevent eviction.
    1996 Crystal Cove Preservation Partners selected as concessionaire of the Historic District.
    1996-2001 Tenant leases extended month-to-month.
    1999 Crystal Cove Alliance formed to resist the State of California's plans to build a luxury hotel and modify the Crystal Cove cottages.
    2001 Crystal Cove Preservation Partners' contract cancelled.
    2001 February 9 The California Department of Parks and Recreation issues 30-day eviction notice to residents. Residents file lawsuit claiming non-compliance of agreement.
    2001 July 8 Crystal Cove residents vacate their properties.
    2001-2006 State of California Department of Parks and Recreation begins to renovate cottages and implement fourth Plan for Public Use and Preservation.
    2006 June Crystal Cove cottages made available for public use.

    Collection Scope and Content Summary

    This collection comprises the personal papers of Christine Shirley, a former resident of Crystal Cove, California and member of the Crystal Cove Residents' Association Executive Committee. The collection also includes records from the Crystal Cove Residents' Association and reflects Shirley's involvement in the association's efforts to add Crystal Cove to the National Register of Historic Places and its legal struggles with the State of California over tenancy of the Crystal Cove cottages.

    Collection Arrangement

    This collection is arranged in three series.
    • Series 1. Crystal Cove Residents' Association records, 1967-2001. 2.0 linear feet
    • Series 2. Subject files, 1923-2002. 3.2 linear feet
    • Series 3. Clippings, 1959-2002. 2.0 linear feet

    Related Collections

    Related Crystal Cove materials can be found in the following collection:
    • Martha Padve papers on the Crystal Cove Historic District. MS-R091. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    Shirley, Christine F. -- Archives.
    Crystal Cove Residents' Association -- Archives.
    Historic buildings -- California -- Crystal Cove State Park.
    Cottages -- California -- Crystal Cove State Park.
    Crystal Cove Historic District (Calif.).

    Genres and Formats of Materials

    Photographic prints -- California -- Orange County -- 20th century.

    Contributors

    Crystal Cove Residents' Association.
    California. Dept. of Parks and Recreation.