Monday, June 9, 2008
About 35 years ago, my in-laws bought a house in San Clemente, one of my favorite California beach towns. They've both passed on, but the house is still in the family and I love spending time there. Ever since I was little, growing up in Pittsburgh, PA., I wanted to live by the ocean, and now I get to, at least some of the time. The first photo shows the view from out street.
San Clemente is pretty new, even for California. It was founded in the late 1920's by a man named Ole Hanson. According to the city's website, it was "among the first master planned communities built from totally open land in the United States". Hanson's dream was to create a "Spanish Village By The Sea" and some of the Spanish-style architecture has survived, particularly in the downtown area around Del Mar, the main commercial street that winds down to the pier. He picked a lovely spot for his town. The beach is ringed by cliffs where houses perch overlooking the blue Pacific. The weather is temperate: cool but not cold in the winter and pleasantly warm in the summer, though there is the occasional heat wave. Most houses in the older part of town don't have air conditioning, because it's rarely needed. The ocean breeze acts as a natural cooling factor. Heat waves usually occur because of a Santa Ana condition where the prevailing winds shift from off the ocean to hot, dry winds out of the canyons to the north and east.
I'm not sure what Ole Hanson would think of the town he founded now. In the last thirty years, San Clemente has grown dramatically, both in size and population, now app. 68,000. The city has expanded inland, with new housing developments scattered over the hills. I'm pretty sure those houses have A/C because you don't have to go very far inland for the temperature to increase. Nor would the founders recognize the older neighborhoods. Mansionization has come to San Clemente with a vengeance. Many homeowners, and some speculators, have town down the typical California two-bedroom bungalows and replaced them with two-story mini mansions. It makes for an interesting neighborhood as no two homes look are the same, unlike the more homogeneous developments you find inland.
My Town Monday comes to us via Travis Erwin. Thanks, Travis! Click out his site to read his latest post and find links to the other participants.