Coronado, California

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Coronado, California
City of Coronado
The Hotel del Coronado in December 2008
The Hotel del Coronado in December 2008
Flag of Coronado, California
Nickname(s): "The Crown City"
Location in San Diego County and the U.S. state of California
Location in San Diego County and the U.S. state of California
Coronado, California is located in USA
Coronado, California
Coronado, California
Location in the United States
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Country  United States of America
State  California
County San Diego
Incorporated December 11, 1890[1]
 • Type Mayor-council
 • Mayor Casey Tanaka (D)[2]
 • Total 32.666 sq mi (84.603 km2)
 • Land 7.931 sq mi (20.541 km2)
 • Water 24.735 sq mi (64.062 km2)  75.72%
Elevation[4] 16 ft (5 m)
Population (April 1, 2010)[5][6]
 • Total 24,697
 • Estimate (2013)[7] 23,511
 • Density 760/sq mi (290/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 92118, 92178
Area code 619
FIPS code 06-16378
GNIS feature IDs 1660513, 2410233

Coronado, also known as Coronado Island (Spanish for "crowned one"), is an affluent resort city located in San Diego County, California, across and around San Diego Bay from downtown San Diego.[8] Its population was 24,697 at the 2010 census,[5][6] up from 24,100 at the 2000 census. It is part of the San Diego-Carlsbad, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. Coronado lies on the geographic combination of an island and a tombolo connected to the mainland called the Silver Strand. Coronado is a tied island, connected by a tombolo. In 2012, Dr. Stephen Leatherman, Director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research, ranked Coronado Beach as the best beach in the United States.[9]

Coronado is Spanish for "the crowned one", and thus it is nicknamed The Crown City. There have been three ships of the United States Navy named after the city, including the USS Coronado (LCS-4).


The town of Coronado was incorporated on December 11, 1890. The land was purchased by Elisha Spurr Babcock, along with Hampton L. Story and Jacob Gruendike. Their intention was to create a resort community, and in 1886 the Coronado Beach Company was organized. By 1888 they had built the Hotel del Coronado and the city became a major resort destination. They also built a schoolhouse, and formed athletic, boating, and baseball clubs.

In 1900 a tourist/vacation area just south of the Hotel del Coronado was established by John D. Spreckels and named Tent City.[10] Over the years the tents gave way to cottages, the last of which was torn down in late 1940 or early 1941.

In the 1910s, Coronado was connected to San Diego by the Class 1 streetcars and an extensive, accompanying San Diego public transit system that was spurred by the Panama-California Exposition of 1915 and built by John D. Spreckels. These streetcars became a fixture of the city until their retirement in 1939.[11]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 32.7 square miles (85 km2); 20.5 km² (7.9 mi²) of the city is land and 24.7 square miles (64 km2) of it (75.72%) is water.

Originally Coronado was separated from North Island by a shallow channel called the Spanish Bight. The development of North Island by the United States Navy prior to and during World War II led to the filling of the bight by July 1944, combining the land areas into a single body.[12] The Navy still operates Naval Air Station North Island (NASNI or "North Island") on Coronado. On the southern side of the town is Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, a training center for Navy SEALs and SWCC. Both facilities are part of the larger Naval Base Coronado complex.

On New Year's Day 1937, during the Great Depression, the gambling ship SS Monte Carlo, known for "drinks, dice, and dolls," was shipwrecked on the beach about a quarter mile south of the Hotel del Coronado.[13]

In 1969, the San Diego-Coronado Bridge was opened, allowing much faster transit between the cities than bay ferries or driving via State Route 75 along the Silver Strand. The city is currently weighing the options of additional construction on Highway 75 to alleviate congestion as traffic flows to and from San Diego and North Island.


According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Coronado has a semi-arid climate, abbreviated "BSk" on climate maps.[14]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 276
1870 229 −17.0%
1900 935
1910 1,477 58.0%
1920 3,289 122.7%
1930 5,425 64.9%
1940 6,932 27.8%
1950 12,700 83.2%
1960 18,039 42.0%
1970 20,020 11.0%
1980 18,790 −6.1%
1990 26,540 41.2%
2000 24,100 −9.2%
2010 24,697 2.5%
Est. 2014 24,910 [15] 0.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[16]
Coronado bridge
Coronado beach 2009


The 2010 United States Census reported that Coronado city had a population of 24,697. The racial makeup of Coronado city was 20,074 (81.2%) White, 1,678 (6.8%) African American, 201 (0.8%) Native American, 925 (3.7%) Asian, 101 (0.4%) Pacific Islander, 762 (3.1%) from other races, and 956 (3.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3,354 persons (13.6%).[5][6]


As of the 2000 census,[17] there were 24,100 people, 7,734 households, and 4,934 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,121.9 inhabitants per square mile (1,205.3/km²). There were 9,494 housing units at an average density of 1,229.8 per square mile (474.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 84.40% White, 5.15% African American, 0.66% Native American, 3.72% Asian, 0.30% Pacific Islander, 3.14% from other races, and 2.63% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.83% of the population.

There were 7,734 households out of which 27.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.0% were married couples living together, 7.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.2% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the city the population was spread out with 16.0% under the age of 18, 20.2% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 18.7% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 139.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 149.1 males.

48.2% of those age 25 and over have a bachelor's degree or higher. According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city is $91,748,[18] and the median income for a family is $119,205.[19]

Real estate in the city of Coronado is very expensive. According to a recent County-Wide Zip Code chart published in the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper in August 2006, the median cost of a single-family home within the city's zip code of 92118 was $1,605,000. In 2010, found that the median home price in Coronado had risen to $1,840,665.[20]

Government and politics

Coronado is governed by a city council which is presided over by a directly-elected mayor. The mayor and councilmembers serve 4-year terms. Council designates one of its members as Mayor Pro Tempore.[21]

Coronado has long been a Republican stronghold; in 2013, about 47% of voters were registered Republican, 25% Democrat and 24% nonpartisan.[22]

In the California State Legislature, Coronado is in the 39th Senate District, represented by Democrat Marty Block, and in the 78th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Toni Atkins.[23] In the United States House of Representatives, Coronado is located in California's 52nd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D+2[24] and is represented by Democrat Scott Peters.[25]


The Coronado Ferry Landing

Tourism is an essential component of Coronado's economy.[26] This city is home to three major resorts (Hotel Del Coronado, Coronado Island Marriott and Loews Coronado Bay Resort) as well as several other hotels and inns.[27] The downtown district along Orange Avenue with its many shops, restaurants and theaters is also a key part of the local economy. Many of the restaurants are highly rated and provide a wide variety of cuisine choices.[27]

In 2008, The Travel Channel rated Coronado Beach as the fifth best beach in America.

Coronado is home to two live theatre companies. The first, Lamb's Players Theatre, is San Diego's 3rd largest theatre company. The second, the Coronado Playhouse, is the oldest community theatre in San Diego County and was first organized as the Coronado Players in February 1946. Both theatres present a variety of performances throughout the year.[26]

Businesses based in Coronado include Benetrends and Cybernetics Leadership Center.[26]

Coronado was featured in the 1960–1961 syndicated television series COronado 9, starring Rod Cameron as a private detective, Dan Adams, who operated from the San Diego area. COronado 9 refers to Adams' telephone exchange.

Local festivals

The most popular annual event is the July 4 parade. Coronado Independence Day activities kick off with a 15k Run/Walk at dawn. The day includes a rough-water swim at North Beach, the famous two-hour parade along Orange Avenue, Art-in-the-Park, a concert in Spreckels Park, and culminates with spectacular fireworks over Glorietta Bay.

One of the most popular annual events in this city is the Coronado Flower Show, held usually on the third weekend in April. Since 1925 thousands of visitors have flocked here to see the largest flower show held under tents in the West. Exhibits are placed inside tents surrounding a central gazebo, which becomes the stage for continuous entertainment, announcements and trophy presentations.[28]

Coronado Island Sports Fiesta is sponsored by the local Optimist Club every year. Held in July this sports festival features a combination of competitive races, dives, rough-water swim and other events.[26] Also, the Superfrog Triathlon event is held each year in September.

Another festival that was started in 1970 by Coronado High choir teacher Gene Cech is the Summer Concert Series that takes place in Spreckels Park gazebo.[29] This usually starts the last week of May and ends the first week of September. Many sponsors pay many local musical talent to play including the Coronado Concert Band and the Marine Band San Diego.[30] Attendance to the summer concert ranges in the hundreds and spikes on the opening and closing shows

Hotel del Coronado

Hotel del Coronado from the beach.

Coronado is home to the famous Hotel del Coronado, built in 1888 and long considered one of the world's top resorts[citation needed]. It is listed as a National Historic Landmark and appeared in films such as Some Like It Hot and The Stunt Man. It was the setting of the Dashboard Confessional song Stolen. The historic hotel has had many notable American guests, including Charles Lindbergh, Thomas Edison, Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey, Willie Mays, Magic Johnson, and Muhammad Ali.[citation needed] Many presidents have also visited, including William Howard Taft, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush.

Hotel del Coronado, 1885.

"The Del" was supposedly also the inspiration for the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz. (However, other sources say Oz was inspired by the "White City" of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893.[31][32]) Author L. Frank Baum would have been able to see the hotel from his front porch overlooking Star Park. Baum designed the crown chandeliers in the hotel's dining room.[33] Because of the reported association with Oz, Coronado is often associated with the color green and is sometimes referred to as "The Emerald City". The colors of Coronado High are green and white; the Coronado city flag is a tricolor of green-white-green with a crown in the middle; and a local surf/skate shop is named Emerald City. The hotel is said to be haunted, with room 3372 being visited by the ghost of Kate Morgan.

Once owned locally,[34] the Hotel Del is now owned by Blackstone Group LP (60%), Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc. (34.5%), and KSL Resorts (5.5%). When Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc. bought its stake in 2006, the hotel was valued at $745 million; currently, the hotel is valued at roughly $590 million.[35]


Coronado Unified School District includes Coronado Middle School (CMS), Coronado High School, Silver Strand Elementary, and Village Elementary. Coronado School of the Arts, a public school-within-a-school on the campus of Coronado High School, is also present on the island. Among the private schools are Sacred Heart Parish School and Christ Church Day School.


Top employers

Vice President Joe Biden speaks to Navy SEAL trainees, NAB Coronado, 2009

According to the City's 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[36] the top 10 employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 United States Navy (Naval Air Station North Island, et al.) 11,000-14,999
2 Hotel del Coronado 1,000-4,999
3 Loews Coronado Bay Resort 500-999
4 Sharp Coronado Hospital 500–999
5 City of Coronado 250–499
6 Coronado Unified School District 250–600
7 Coronado Island Marriott Resort 250–499
8 BAE Systems 100–249
9 Peohe's 100–249
10 Realty Executives Dillon 50-99

Notable people

Arts and literature

Film and television






Marine Corps


Politics and government

L. Frank Baum, circa 1901



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External links