30 July, 2009

Let There Be Light - SkyWatch Friday

I liked this shot as it captured both the natural and very beautiful sky light and, the soft glow of a gaslight fixture. So wish I could have cleaned the glass on the light fixture.

In the early 20th century, most cities in the United States and Europe had gaslit streets. However, gas lighting for streets soon gave way to electric lighting. Small incandescent electric lamps began to replace gas lights in homes in the late 19th century, although the transition took decades to complete. Gas lighting has not disappeared completely from cities.

Cities that retain gas lighting now often find that it provides a pleasing nostalgic effect. Similarly, gas lighting is also seeing a resurgence in the luxury home market for those in search of historical accuracy.

The largest gas lighting network in Europe is probably that of Berlin with about 44,000 lamps. Quite a few streets in central London, the Royal Parks and the exterior of Buckingham Palace remain gaslit as well as almost the entire Covent Garden area. The Park Estate in Nottingham retains much of its original character, including the original gas lighting network.

In the United States, Cincinnati, Ohio still uses gaslight in many of its residential neighborhoods, as do parts of the famed French Quarter in New Orleans and of Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood.

South Orange, New Jersey has adopted the gaslight as the symbol of the town, and uses them on nearly all streets. Several other towns in New Jersey also retain gas lighting: Glen Ridge, Palmyra, Riverton, and some parts of Orange. The Village of Riverside, Illinois, still uses its original gas street lights that are an original feature of the Frederick Law Olmsted (a distant relative of Gaelyn at GEOGYPSY) planned community. Do click through to read more about him and Riverside, Illinois. Thanks for letting me know this Gaelyn...it should have clicked you might be related but, I did not think to ask.

The most popular gas lighting fixtures today are made from copper, a sustainable and durable metal that ages and patinas to protect itself from the elements. Gas Lights today are also used with electronic ignition systems that allow the lights to be controlled from an ordinary light switch. With energy conservation a pressing issue today, these systems can also allow gas lights to be placed on a timer or photocell so that they are not running continuously, only when needed. Today gas lights are widely used for creating ambiance and to accentuate a property's design.
(taken from Gas Lighting)

Do stop by and visit SKYWATCH FRIDAY. This meme is hosted by: Klaus Sandy Ivar Wren Fishing Guy Louise who do a fab job. We had over 300 participants last week. Come on and join in the summer fun!

27 July, 2009

Summer Memories from Laguna Beach, California-That's My World

When you talk about the history of the Laguna Beach area, the Hotel Laguna is first and foremost in any discussion. Join me on my little lunch excursion to one of my favorite beach towns in Southern California and where I spent a lot of my youth.

Hotel Laguna was the first hotel in Laguna Beach and the first substantial business building. It remains today the most known structure. It is picturesque, romantic and has quite an intriguing past. It has given over 100 years of almost continuous service.

The original structure burned to the ground 60 days after opening and was rebuilt in 1888. The hotel did well providing rooms for the many visitors who streamed into California during the travel boom. Unfortunately, a depression came about in 1896 and the hotel was sold twice before it began to make a profit again.A Mr. Yoch now owned the hotel and, after purchasing the Arch Beach Hotel which was located south of the Hotel Laguna, moved the two hotels together at the present site, Laguna Avenue and Coast Highway. He called this building the "New Hotel Laguna." It proved highly successful and was visited by many dignitaries, including Madam Modjeska (the canyon was named after her) and James Irvine, who was said to be the life of the party circa 1900.

In 1928 the hotel was demolished on speculation that its bat and hoard construction was considered a fire hazard. Work started on a more modern establishment, which was dedicated in 1930. This is the hotel we know today, painted white with side Spanish arches in relief and featuring a bell tower (it never held a bell!).At one time there was a huge neon sign on the top of the hotel proclaiming "Hotel Laguna" to all those traveling north and south on the Coast Highway. It was a beacon to all but finally gave way to a 1966 ordinance law.

In 1985, the hotel was purchased by Mr. Claes Andersen who refurbished the interior and exterior of this "Grand Old Lady" and created an award-winning establishment with a European flair.People feel emotional about Hotel Laguna, probably because years of experiences and memories pervade its walls. Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall are said to have visited and these days it is used as a hide-away by many dignitaries and movie industry people.Of the thousands of visitors that check in each year, few will know its historical significance but will simply enjoy the relaxation and escape provided by the Hotel Laguna.

What better way to cruise the coast than in a 1962 red CORVETTE! Look at those classic lines.
View from Hotel La Casa del Camino . Hotel La Casa del Camino is located a little ways down Pacific Coast Highway from the Hotel Laguna and Main Beach which are considered the main part of town. Entrance to the Hotel La Casa del Camino. A charming place with a very interesting history (do click on the link above to learn more). We ate at the Hotel's "The Rooftop" restaurant where the views of the Pacific are breathtaking.
This is Mrs. H, my deceased best friend's mother who has designated me as her adopted daughter for some 36 years now (i can't be that old). We stayed with her and Mr. H at their lovely home in Villa Park during our recent visit to Southern California. Her favorite beach is Laguna Beach, so we planned a lunch and walk about town one of the days we visited. Mr. Joe, my hubby taking in the warm California sun and gazing out at the fab ocean views from our rooftop luncheon spot.
A veggie burger...yummy food.
View looking west.

View looking south and west.
View looking up the coastline toward Corona del Mar and beyond.

The community of Laguna Beach is the second oldest city in Southern Orange County -- only San Juan Capistrano is older—and it exists for one simple reason. The area where Laguna is situated was considered to be so worthless that none of the large ranchos surrounding it cared to claim it during the land grab which ensued after California was wrested away from Mexico.
Settlers arriving after the Civil War found scarce amounts of land available for homesteading, and one such tract, known then simply as "the public lands" was the coastal strip from Laguna Canyon to Three Arch Bay. One family, the Thurstons, claimed the land in Aliso Canyon and during the 1870s built a house about a mile from the beach. Soon a small community, named Arch Beach, had been started just north of there at the mouth of Bluebird Canyon. By the early 1880s most of the land around its small Post Office and general store had been subdivided. At about the time that Orange County separated from Los Angeles County and became independent in 1889, the little community was caught in an economic downturn and failed.

When the economy renewed itself, the decision was made to relocate the town to the mouth of Laguna Canyon. This was possible because a dispute with the Irvine ranch over the public right to traverse Laguna Canyon had been resolved in the courts, allowing an additional means of access to the coast.

By 1900 Laguna Beach was occupied by five families of homesteaders struggling to farm land not well-suited to sustain them. They soon found an additional source of income by renting sections of the beaches to farmers from Tustin, Santa Ana, Fullerton, Riverside, and other inland communities who were eager to escape the summer heat. Thus began the tourist industry which is still a mainstay of the local economy.

In the early 1920s the area was discovered by a group of landscape painters who laid the foundation of the art community which is still thriving to this day. Subsequently, various groups have "discovered" Laguna Beach and added incrementally to the town's diversity. Show business people from Hollywood, retirees, gays, hippies, yuppies, and most lately the very-well-to-do have made Laguna Beach their home and added to the local culture.
The region was originally known to the Spanish as "La Cañada de Las Lagunas" which means "The Canyon of the Small Lakes", in reference to two lakes found near the head of Laguna Canyon. However, in confusion with the word "Lagoon", Laguna Beach was nearly misnamed "Lagoona" by the State of California. While it was still an unincorporated community, the Postmaster, Nicholas Isch, journeyed to Sacramento to rectify the mistake, and the original Spanish spelling was retained.

Laguna Beach was incorporated as a General Law City in 1927 and has experienced a slow but steady population growth since that time.

Be sure to stop by our wonderful That's My World meme. We had over 100 participants last week. I personally enjoy visiting other blogs from around the world. Enjoy.