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Guide to the Hotel del Coronado Collection MS 46
MS 46  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical / Historical Notes
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition

  • Title: Hotel del Coronado Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 46
    Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 0.25 Linear feet (1 box)
    Date (inclusive): 1888-1998
    Abstract: This collection contains items pertaining to the Hotel del Coronado and its history, as well as information on hotel expansion plans in the 1990s.
    creator: Hotel del Coronado (Coronado, Calif.).

    Biographical / Historical Notes

    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.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of items pertaining to the Hotel del Coronado. Highlights include marketing brochures, narratives on hotel history, guest and visitor information, and event information. There are also documents on the Hotel’s controversial expansion plans in the late 1990s, including plans, news articles, and correspondence.


    The collection is arranged into two series:
    Series I: Hotel Information
    Series II: Hotel Expansion Proposal
    Within each series, items are arranged by subject.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    Some booklets have loose bindings. (6/16/11)

    Preferred Citation

    Hotel del Coronado Collection, MS 46, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Jennifer Ho on June 16, 2011.
    Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Accession numbers 810721, 820701 and 771103B.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Babcock, Elisha S.
    California Preservation Foundation.
    California. Office of Historic Preservation .
    Gruendike, Jacob
    Hotel del Coronado (Coronado, Calif.).
    National Historic Landmarks Program (U.S.).
    National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States. Western Regional Office .
    Reid & Reid.
    Reid, James
    Reid, Merritt
    Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO).
    Spreckels, John Diedrich, b. 1853
    Story, Hampton L.
    Coronado (Calif.)
    Historic hotels
    Hotels -- California
    San Diego (Calif.)