Memories of Breakers Drive — Residents and Architecture

The following is 3130 Breakers Drive, CdM 1950’s history by a long-term resident who remembers but also forgets. Residents and architecture.

Either early 50’s or late 40’s my uncle was approached with an offer to purchase lots on the Corona del Mar beach. He was currently working for Disney. Hugh Fraser was one of the original animators and there must have been something with the offer to artists because Jay Ward, creator of Bullwinkle, also was offered a lot. Jay bought but my aunt and uncle took a look at CdM and thought it was a bit too scruffy of a town with no sophistication, so they dismissed the thought until they mentioned it to my mom and dad. My dad said to his brother Hugh, you buy three: two for me and one for yourself. You can sell your lot later and put your boys through college with the profit, and he did.

I grew up on that street with maybe six or seven homes on the block, now there are many, many more. My dad died in ’63 and my mom built a duplex on the second lot. When my mom died in ’84 she left a home and a duplex to my sister Bonnie and me. Both Bonnie and I with our husbands recently scraped the places and built duplexes.

At the beginning of the block there were two or three spec duplexes (R-2 lots). They were built by a man named “Master”. These have been torn down and re-built. The word was that if they were “Master-built, they were on a tilt.” At the beginning of the block there lived a retired teacher, Brooks Bernard, who loved the water and kept a funny looking boat on the street for decoration. Next there were the Sylvesters’, Mr. being a chiropractor and his wife owning a toy shop on the corner of Jasmine and PCH called Waymar Toys. The name was part of their son Wayne’s and daughter Mardy’s names. The space is now part of Ace hardware’s expansion.

Next I remember the O’Keefe’s; Bill was an artist for the FBI, drawing the likenesses of witness’s observations. Mona, his wife was a flamboyant beautiful Spanish/Irish lady with flaming red hair. She was quite volatile and did not pay parking fines until she was escorted to the police station, where she waved to all of us standing in the street aghast at the police car taking her away. The Gazley’s were living next door and traveled a lot; John was a salesman for Dr. Scholl’s and Mary Ann was the cheeriest one on the block who loved to give spontaneous parties. It was a lively group when they got together and many drinks were enjoyed before dinner. The ladies would try to make sure all dishes were on the table because sometimes Mary Ann would find a couple of dishes that never made it to the buffet the next morning. Dr. Faulk owned the duplex and lived upstairs; a fine lady, Anesthesiologist, who loved to fish. After frying her catch she would bury the remains near the palm tree to fertilize the quite healthy tree.

Next door to us was a home that was originally planned for the top of the bluff. Somehow the decision to build on the level ground was made and the plans stayed the same. The front of the house is way out of code as it is really the back. It is higher than regulation but grandfathered in by the city. Next to them, there was an elderly couple (probably in their 50’s but I was 14 at the time and thought they were old) who came everyday and waved and was very friendly. Mr. Ames began to build the foundation for their home brick by brick. Eventually it was built with a few other vendors helping and it became a very nice beach home. It was a two-story that you walked up to the entrance. Mr. Ames died soon after the home was finished and later on Madeline married a Mr. McNarrer. Since the original was built the place has taken on many owners with many changes.

The palm trees lining the beach side of the road were offered to the residents for $50 by the city who had them and needed to dispose of them. Most of the owners of the lots gave the $50 and the city planted them. Not all survived and one was mistakenly cut down to make a Totem. The fellows came to cut down a failing palm, but because of many empty lots with no addresses in view they cut down a beauty instead.

As an association, meetings were held at each other’s homes. One subject that created some sparks was to have the road paved with a curb. For the complete road, concrete with a curb, price quotes were higher than expected and one member thought he could get it done for half the price. Well he took over and we got what we paid for, asphalt road with no curb. Another concern by the neighbors and the city was parking on the road. The solution was a gate at the entrance so that the road would be exclusive for the owners; and the city would have the revenue for the parking of non-residents. A gate was installed. It was a chain-linked fence with chain wrapping around with a lock. No one needed to lock the chain as the appearance did the trick… for a while. Then there was someone who told someone who told someone… and then the next thing the association tried parking passes printed with the name of the owner giving the permission. That worked for a while but it was a constant problem.

The owners of the empty lots began to build: the Larson’s, the McAllister’s, the Knutt’s, the Atkinson’s, and the other Nutts. (The Atkinsons lived between two nuts)

Next time: the Annual Lobster Bake on the beach; and the police watching the parking lot.

Missed Part I? Find it here.


 

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