Del Mar: Artsy Village, Beach Town, host of Racetrack and County Fair
History: Jacob Taylor is considered to be Del Mar’s founding father. He purchased 338 acres in 1885 with a dream of turning the land into a resort for the rich and famous. He called it “the most attractive place on the entire coast.” The Stratford Inn, which opened in 1910, became a magnet for the Hollywood set, and by 1937 crooner Bing Crosby and his partners established the racetrack, a year after the first county fair opened in the San Dieguito Valley. The city incorporated in 1959.
How it got its name: Railroad engineer Theodore Loop established a tent city by the beach in the early 1880s. His wife, Ella, named it after the Bayard Taylor poem “The Fight of Paso Del Mar.” (“No sound was heard but the dashing / Of waves on the sandy bar, / When Pablo of San Diego / Rode down to the Paso del Mar.”)
Landmarks: The San Diego County Fair is by far the most popular event at the Del Mar Fairgrounds with more than a million attending last year. The fairgrounds are also the home for horse racing and new events such as the KAABOO music festival. Closer to the beach, Powerhouse Park incorporates a 1928 powerhouse, now a community center.
Things to do: While the horse races at the track and deep-fried foods at the fair attract throngs, Del Mar’s coast offers spots to sit or play at Powerhouse and Seagrove parks or to let Fido run free much nine months out of the year at North Beach.
Notable locals: Comedy couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz had a beach house here, as did Jimmy Durante, Burt Bacharach and his wife, Angie Dickinson.
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Updated Aug 20, 2018 10:57:pm.
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