Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Crystal Cove

An anonymous commenter submits a question if anyone remembers the group of beach homes at Crystal Cove, right by the Shake Shack, though he/she doesn't actually remember the name of the community...

Does anyone remember a very small community that consisted of maybe 20 or so mobile homes that were located right on the beach,not more than 100 feet from the water, off Pacific Coast Hwy just south of Corona Del Mar? At the time there was nothing else around there and as I remember the story they were on a month to month lease and there was a waiting list 10 miles long to move there. I dont know if this place still exists as I moved to another state 20 years ago, but I sure thought it would have been cool to have lived there. I'm sure the place had a name maybe someone out there knows more about it.
And to bring you up to date, the community you remember is gone. The area is a state park, and the state evicted them in 2001, and razed the old bungaloes. I heard they were going to build a hotel, but they ended up building a new set of beach homes.

El Morro Trailer Park
Perhaps someone else can share more accurate details here.

24 comments:

  1. My best friend had a trailer at El Moro Trailer Park, there were mobile homes on both sides of the freeway connected by an underground tunnel. I remember spending as much time as possible down there because we
    could get away from home. We spent the days on the beach and at night either on the beach with a bombfire or walking down towards Scotchmans Cove. During the summer we went to Laguna to the Sawdust Festival. In the 60's it was free and all the hippies were artistic. Naked kids, dogs, art; it was a great place to hang out for the day.
    Anyway my point was that El Moro residents were evicted, some had lived there for over 40 years. The state took it over and from what I understand have had it fenced and nothing more. What a waste..up until it became fenced, the residents used to have an annual reunion of ElMoroians (I don't think thats a word). Anyway its a wonderful memory for me, what a way to grow up.
    I also remember the drive-in when you turned on Pacific Coast highway The Zoo. They always had the animals out there waiving to people driving by.

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  2. Hi
    Is this picture by scotchmans cove? Were there trails down the side of the cliffs to get to some of the beaches here? I was living in Irvine 28 years ago and used to go to that place to have beach parties. I understand now they have steps down the cliffs and it is next to the state park area. Is this the same place?
    Kelly

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  3. I remember going to Laguna Beach with my folks in the 60's and then stopping at a date stand so Mom could get her dates. The little community located down at Scotsmans Cove was very pretty and I remember wishing that I could go down there. My brother used to surf up and down the coast and did go to Scotsmans Cove sometimes. The little seaside homes were torn down and I have not been down Coast Highway is quite sometime as the 405 is much quicker. I remember going to the Sawdust Festival and feeling that I was much older seeing all the hippie stuff and smelling all the insence. I sure miss all of these early sights in OC. As for the Zoo resturant on PCH, I used to go there with my boy friend whle in high school! What a fun place and it was a drive in! So many memories!

    Sylvia Moody, lifetime OC resident

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  4. The community of trailers on the sand was named "El Morro Village" My family had one from the late 50s/early 1960s up until Feb 2006.

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  5. My father grew up there and so did I until they kicked us out in 2006. I was in Basic during that time. That is the only time I ever cried during basic, when I found out about that. It's been 3 years now and the state has been trying to make it into a campground but keeps stopping because the state doesn't have enough funding. They were making just as much when we were still living there so I don't get why they kicked us out. In it's time it was a beautiful place though. Peaceful, quiet little community. Miss it terrible bad.

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  6. I lived in Laguna Beach in the 1960's. What's with the "El Moro" spelling that the state seems to have adopted? I went to "El Morro" Elementary School with 2 r's in the spelling. What's up?

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  7. Scotsman's Cove is 1 mile north of El Morro Beach or 1-2 miles south of Crystal Cove. Easy to find, since it is a state park. It comprises of a zigzag of wooden retaining steps to a hidden beach, grouping of reefs, tide pools and a extremely fickled surf spot (which is often overlooked by surfers...which makes it that much better).

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  8. Stationed at MCAS El Torro in the early to mid 60's and on weekends we would drive over to Laguna Beach and climb down the cliffs to get to Scotsman's Cove. There used to be an old lady who stayed in the cave there. She must have lived nearby, but we always saw her in or around the cave. I remember a large rock formation off shore with Seals on it. Saw the biggest shark of my life once while sitting on my old single scag 11'4'' surf board. Loved the place.

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  9. Learned to surf here and lived here for years, I still have the 1962 Jeffrey Dale surfboard we found under the place my parents got. To the state: You are a bunch on stupid stupid people, how much did you make when we all lived there and how much are you making now? This was the last place on the California coast that a "NORMAL" family could afford to live and as usual greedy and stupid screws it up. RIP El Morro. We loved our community and the people.

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  10. I was lucky enough to call this place home for several years in the eighties and I learned to surf at the point. I still have the 1962 Jeffrey Dale that dug out from under the place when we first moved in. To the state: You are stupid, stupid people. How much money did you make every month on space rent from us and now it sits not being used and making you no money.....stupid! This was the last place on the California coast that a normal working family could afford to live this close to the beach. As usual greed and stupidity took over. You could not even sell out the lot to the north on a good weekend why did you need more.....stupid! RIP El Morro, you will not be forgotten by those of us that loved you. We loved our community and the people. Space #57

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  11. My 90 year old mother & I took a trip down memory lane last summer. As we drove down PCH from Newport to Laguna, I noticed the the trailers were gone from El Morro - Made me sad - you can take away our beaches but you can't take the beach out of us. My friend, David, his parents owned one of those trailers. While in high school we would sneak down there, and do what teen-agers do... I remember being caught one time. The girls had to go home & his Dad gave the boys hell.

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    1. I think I was one of the girls that time. Grew up there, I remember the horse stables on the cliff and riding along the beach. I still live in Laguna and cried when they tore that and treasure island down.

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  12. To those who remember.June 07, 2010 6:50 PM

    During the 60s & 70s, my girlfriend[s] and I use to spend a lot of time at Scotsmans' Cove. Especially, around a little area that you had to climb over rocks to get to. Those who were there know what I mean. The small area had a horseshoe shape with a small cave like cliff over hanging a modest and intimate beach for two: at least...that was how I saw it. Sometimes, you could see the fluorescence of the fish as the moon hung over the horizon. The stars were numerous and bright. The smell of the ocean breeze was clean and refreshing. Prior to that, did I forget to mention the sunsets: which were the best I have ever seen or had a privilege to share. Spectacular were they and so humble and grateful we were to have witnessed them. Secluded, as we were most of the time, we did a lot of skinny dipping, sharing, and—on occasion—love making. Then, somebody decided to close it up. That was when I moved and never returned. God, …I sure miss what was once….

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  13. I remember going to Scotsman's cove one night about 1972ish or so. It was supposed to be a big party, and it was, til the cops showed up with busses and took everyoneone away. They let us three SF valley boys go, though for some reason. Love those memories, the days of the "pink Lady" over the Malibu tunnel!

    Rogdives from Burbank--

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  14. In the mid/late sixties we teenagers of Long Beach Jordan High School drove from North Long Beach to beach parties at Scotsman's Cove, listening to the long version of "Light My Fire" by the Doors. Where are you Kenny Morgan? An enchanted spot brings enchanted memories.

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  15. Scotchmans Cove is where I learned to dive in the 50's, I was 10 years old and the Cove was wonderful then. Had to hike down the cliff to get to it, and it was worth it. All through the 60's my husband and I would go there just to watch the sunset. We got married young and loved the cove. So much of the old OC is gone like the Japanese Deer park, Golden Bear in HB, The cliffs in HB that we would get up at 5:00a.m. and go surfing, Lion Country Saf. The prison of Sacrotese, Pandora's Box, The Mecca, Retail Clerks, Drag strips in the orange groves, Knott's Berry Farm was free, P.O.P., The surf dances on the beach in H.B., Harmony Park dances with Dick Dale. Geeze, those were the days!!

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  16. I moved to Newport Beach in 1968 and have so many memories of Crystal Cove. Many of which are mentioned by others here. It has undergone major major changes and is in the midst of further 'upgrading' as is the case with all of the NPB area..You can find info on this link. www.crystalcovebeachcottages.com/htm

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  17. my folks had a place there from the late 50's until the mid 80's. To say it was a paradise would be a massive understatement. To be a kid who loved to surf, fish, climb cliffs and pillage abalone from secret crevasses, get up early and walk the beach to find what the Gods had deposited on the beach with the tides- brings a tear to my eyes to reflect on the years spent there. Frying like eggs on a red tide night, running down the beach leaving sparkling footprints never can be duplicated. just as days with the santa ana winds holding the waves up just a second longer. Who but those who were so blessed as to have been a part could ever imagine the magic of such a place? We spread part of my somewhat bohemian spirited mothers ashes there in tribute and hope I am dusted as well. Dan G, David G, Dale N. Ray A. you are in my heart as brothers. #83

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    1. Ray A......Puhleeze. Just Jokeing. Love ya Ray. Seriousely.....I loved the place in the '60's. Now? A complete ZOO with all the rich little soon to be yuppy kooks. Can never go back and besmirtch all the pure memories. Went back once in the ninetees and there were 35 guys out. That about ended it right there. The State Parks Dept. unbridled greed also sucks. Memories last forever. Scotchmans....I loved you.

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  18. .Wow...thanks for the memories...I moved away almost 30 years ago...but Scotchmans Cove will always remain in my heart...treasure times that this California Girl will always remember.

    Walking down the winding trail...with coolers filled with ice cold brew, shovels, a boombox, boards (of course) and plenty of pre mixed baby oil & iodine or a tube of ban de soliel...plus a hibachi grill and marshmellows for after dark and flashlights to find our way back up the cliffs.

    We lived the California Dream as kids growin up in the 70-80s...

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  19. I grew up in el toro mcas in the 60's and am looking for a riding instructor that was a pro=cowboy dressage person, burt phillips. He would be around 89 years old now.

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  20. We used to park across PCH at elementary school on weekends and down the path to Scotsman's Cove (not scoTHmans) with regularity in the late 70's many times after busting under the fence for early skin-dive in private Cameo Shores beach.

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  21. I had a very rare opportunity in the early '80s to become intimately associated with the Crystal Cove area mentioned in previous posts, including the El Morro Village and Trailer Park community outside of Laguna Beach.

    In the early '80s, the State negotiated a purchase of land from the Irvine Company for a new park - Crystal Cove State Park. At the time, the Irvine Company owned all of the property on both sides of PCH, between Newport and the start of Laguna - approximately 4 miles. It was one of the last stretches of unspoiled and relatively isolated beach in Southern California.

    At the time, I worked for the OC Sheriff's Department, and since the area was unincorporated, the Sheriff provided law enforcement. State Parks had not yet taken possession of the new park property (it was still managed by General Services), so the Sheriff was contracted to perform law enforcement on state property until rangers could be assigned.

    Initially, I worked with several other deputies during the first summer, and then by myself for the following winter. The summer was busy, but the winter was quiet enough that I was able to explore the entire area, including some places that most folks never knew existed. I was able to write up a guide to the area, including maps, landmarks, access points, people, and other need-to-know stuff. BTW, the sunsets the bluffs were spectacular, as were the storms that came in from the Pacific.

    Along with the coastal beach areas and rolling hills, the State inherited the Crystal Cove and El Morro communities. There were also an assortment of small businesses (Date Shack, Orange Shack, Riding Stables, etc.) along PCH at the time, as well as the Captain Cook Elementary School.

    My assignment at Crystal Cove was the best duty I ever had in my law enforcement career. I spent my days patrolling the entire area in a 4x4, handling calls for service in the small communities, and ensuring that the "back country" was not despoiled. I was based out of the Harbor Patrol office, in Newport Beach, and generally provided land-based law enforcement for the entire area, including the small, private community of Emerald Bay.

    In the summer, the area was booming with families, surfers, and beach goers. PCH looked like a parking lot as the park had not developed the visitor facilities there today. The State contracted with Laguna Beach to provide lifeguards at Crystal Cove, with State lifeguards available from mobile units.

    Sorry, I have no recollections of breaking up wild beach parties during my tour, but I'm sure some of my colleagues do. We did chase some after hours lifeguards off the beach one night...

    Believe it or not, at low tide you could drive the entire length of the beach, from Cameo Shores to El Morro. There were several access points along the bluff areas (Treasure Cove, Irvine Coast Stables, Crystal Cove, Scotsman's (we called it Scotchman's), and El Morro. We generally entered the back country area (San Joaquin Hills) through a locked gate at the rear of the El Morro trailer park, which led into some gorgeous wilderness territory.

    The back country area of what is now Crystal Cove State Park was very quiet and isolated back then. It had been prime land for cattle grazing, and was rich in wildlife and diverse ecology. In addition to the chaparral covered hills, the dusty ranch roads led to Oak laden valleys, cactus fields, and Native American sites. I spent more time opening and closing ranch gates than anything else!

    I met some wonderful people at both Crystal Cove and El Morro during my time there. I haven't been back to the area in many years, and understand that with the development of the Irvine Coast and the San Joaquin Transportation Corridor, much of the charm that was the Irvine Coast has disappeared.

    There is so much more that I could write about El Morro, Crystal Cove, and the old Irvine Coast. It was a very special place that holds wonderful memories. It was the epitome of the Old OC.

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  22. I used to visit the beach back in the 70's and 80's when it was called Scotchman's Cove. The whole of the beach from Laguna Beach to Corna del Mar was typically void of people. We would spend the entire day there - swimming, sunning, partying, and the occasional skinny dip. It was a tear in the fabric of Orange county; In contrast to the heavily policed Newport beaches, the crowded Huntington beaches, Scotchman's cove was a wonderful. I would never return to Orange county - the contrast would be too disappointing.

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