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Guide to the Hotel del Coronado Collection MS 46
MS 46  
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Collection Overview
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This collection contains items pertaining to the Hotel del Coronado and its history, as well as information on hotel expansion plans in the 1990s.
The Hotel del Coronado was established by Elisha S. Babcock of Indiana and Hampton L. Story of Chicago who were rabbit hunting in Coronado in 1884 and saw the potential for a grand seaside resort. Babcock and Story combined forces with Jacob Gruendike, president of the First National Bank of San Diego, to purchase the Coronado peninsula in 1885 for $110,000, and formed the Coronado Beach Company to finance Babcock and Story’s seaside resort vision. In 1888 their hotel, the Hotel del Coronado, opened to great national acclaim. Designed by James and Merritt Reid of Reid & Reid in a Queen Anne Victorian style, the Hotel del Coronado contained a dining room with a seating capacity of 1,000, 750 guest rooms, and a bowling alley, theater, and ballroom. The hotel was the first large structure in the country to utilize electricity for lighting. A hotel legend states that Thomas Edison himself directed the installation of its electrical wiring, although this remains unverified. Since the hotel’s opening, its guests have included members of royalty, eleven United States presidents, and a myriad of notable personalities and celebrities. Proposed property expansions in the late 1990s caused local controversy as owners made plans to develop and modernize amidst the protests of residents and longtime fans of the hotel. Despite this, the hotel continues to be extremely popular with tourists and locals alike. The Hotel del Coronado has been honored with numerous accolades and distinctions, including designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1977 and being named one of the Top Ten Resorts in the World by USA Today in 2008.
0.25 Linear feet (1 box)
The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.
This collection is open for research.