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Vintage San Diego: A Jolly Fourth

Prospect Street in La Jolla on July 4, 1924


Photo courtesy of San Diego History Center

On Independence Day, 1924, La Jolla celebrated a prosperous year with an all-out extravaganza called Jollification Day. The event brought thousands of people to La Jolla Cove, along with local business owners and leading citizens, to celebrate La Jolla’s latest upgrades.

The Jollification Program was an effort started by James “Squire” Wilson and his family to beautify La Jolla with the addition of new hotels and services. Among them were the $3 million electric railway, the Casa de Mañana hotel, and Scripps Metabolic Clinic.

The first street lamps were installed along Prospect Street and Girard Avenue to light up the street for the Fourth of July parade heading south on Prospect. The lamps were finished off with patriotic bunting, which also decorated the event’s headquarters at Hotel Cabrillo.

The photo above was taken on Prospect Street, looking south from the roof of the Hotel Cabrillo, now the west wing of La Valencia.

In addition to the parade, guests enjoyed music, barbeque picnics, pyrotechnic displays, seaside excursions, movies, and sporting games. Sound like fun? Drive down to the cove to watch the fireworks this year.

By the Numbers:

1850 - City of La Jolla incorporated

1869 - First recorded sale of land in the La Jolla area

$1.25 - Price per acre in downtown La Jolla in 1869

87 - Age of Ellen Browning Scripps, prominent La Jolla philanthropist, when she acted as a sub-chairman of Jollification Day

July 8, 1947 - La Jolla Summer Playhouse opens

2008–09 - Years La Jolla had the highest home prices in the nation, according to a survey by Coldwell Banker

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