Tidbits about Breakers Drive in the 50’s
During the fifties there weren’t many homes in Corona del Mar. The homes, apartments and cottages were mainly on either side of Coast Hwy.
As I understand the history of it, Irvine was given a land grant by Mexico which was a lot of Corona del Mar. I am sure that is correct but the rest of the story may have many versions as the tale has been passed through the ages by word of mouth.
The story goes that Irvine was told he could define the boundaries of his land grant by riding his horse in a 24 hour day surrounding his chosen property. He was racing the horse along what is now called Ocean Blvd. in CdM when he looked down the cliff and saw the beach front property which is now called Breakers Drive. Not wanting to waist time with his horse to maneuver getting down the cliff and back up again he continued on the road and went through what is Irvine Terrace to inland which is now Irvine. The vast property that Irvine acquired became lease-hold for tax reasons. Because Irvine didn’t go down the cliff, Breakers Drive remained fee-land and was bought by the owners free and clear with no leases. The land that Irvine acquired was divided into parcels and leased with 50-year agreements. The Irvine Co. eventually sold all the property and the lease holders then purchased their land.
At that time the mail in CdM was delivered by walking mailmen. It was a struggle for whomever got the Breakers Dr. route because he would be walking down the hill with his mailbag and then back up the hill after the deliveries. The CdM Post Office decided that the residents would have to obtain PO boxes to get their mail. The residents were happy as the mail was put in the boxes at all hours when received.
As the village got larger and the Post Offices got mail trucks there was no longer the need for Breakers Dr. residents to have the boxes. In fact today it is difficult to have the mail re-routed to the CdM post office because everything goes to the main Newport Beach Post Office. Also CdM is loosing it’s status as even the property tax bills now say Newport Beach. We have always been CdM, a village in Newport Beach, but hopefully we will keep our Corona del Mar address.
New to these stories? Catch up with Breakers Drive Memories: Part I, Part II and Part III, The Lobster Bake. Peggie Parrott grew up on Breakers Drive. Today she and her sister live next door to each other, but since Peggie’s home is for sale, these memories of Big Corona beach are preserved here. — Ed