Fun facts about Corona del Mar

Published Date: January 6, 2023

Views of Corona Del Mar
Affectionately known as “CdM” by the locals, Corona del Mar, California, is a little piece of Pacific Coast paradise in Newport Beach. In Spanish, its name means “crown of the sea,” and despite its humble beginnings, it’s now one of California’s premier destinations to visit and a great place to live. Here are a few fun facts you might not know about this West Coast gem.  

The fascinating history of Corona del Mar

The original priceAs part of a Mexican land grant in 1875, James Irvine (yes, as in Irvine, California) acquired 108,000 acres of what would later become Corona del Mar. He paid just $150,000 for the land. It used to be a ranchJames Irvine used the Corona del Mar land for sheep ranching. In 1904, his son sold 700 acres of it to George E. Hart for $150 an acre. Selling the first lots for very littleHart started selling off lots in Corona del Mar in 1904 for $100 each, with seaside lots fetching as much as $750.The first homeowners were womenBest friends Mary Everett and Alice Alden owned the first two homes built in Corona del Mar: the historic Happy House and Quarterdeck. Quarterdeck was demolished in 2017 and a new home built in its place. The new home was listed for sale at $25 million.  Sales were slowWith no rail service, a pier that kept getting destroyed by waves, and only the rough Back Bay Drive for access, Corona del Mar was hard to reach. It wasn’t until after the Pacific Coast Highway was completed in 1925 that the town started to gain traction. 

Corona del Mar’s claims to fame

John Wayne lived thereJohn Wayne moved to Corona del Mar in 1963, living in an unpretentious beachfront home facing Balboa Island. The Academy Award-winning actor is buried in nearby Pacific View Memorial Park. His yacht, The Wild Goose, is still available for tours.It was the location of the first recorded rescue by surfboardConsidered the father of modern surfing, Duke Kahanamoku was also an Olympic swimmer, and in 1928 he used his surfboard to rescue 12 fishermen after their boat capsized off the coast of Corona del Mar. It’s been the backdrop for several movies and TV showsCorona del Mar’s scenic beaches and quaint downtown are featured in the silver screen classics “All Quiet on the Western Front” (1929 Oscar winner), “Macbeth” (1916) and “Cleopatra” (1917). More recent CdM close-ups include “Love Story” (1970), Disney’s “The Thirteenth Year” (1999) and the hit series “Arrested Development.” The area’s cliffs and caves were featured on the long-running TV series “Gilligan’s Island.”

Quirky trivia about Corona del Mar

It’s one of the top 20 most expensive ZIP codes in the U.S. Corona del Mar was listed as #20 on a list of top 20 most expensive ZIP codes in the U.S. in 2020. A 2021 list puts neighboring Newport Beach at #1.  The north-south street names are blooming funF.D. Cornell took ownership of the Corona del Mar neighborhood in 1916. Historians note that in 1922, the names of all streets running north to south changed from letters to the names of flowers, in alphabetical order, starting with Acacia (actually a flowering tree) and ending with Poppy. Scout’s honor: The history of Jamboree RoadIn 1953, Corona del Mar hosted the first Boy Scout Jamboree on the West Coast near where Fashion Island mall stands today. Jamboree Road was constructed to get the 50,000 Scouts and their equipment to the site.The last snowfall was in January 1949It was shocking to Corona del Mar residents then, and it’s never happened since! 

Fun features of Corona del Mar

It has amazing beachesIt’s not called “crown of the sea” for nothing. For softer surf and tidepools, check out Little Corona; for bigger waves, hit Big Corona or The Wedge. China Cove and Cameo Shores are popular with locals. It has beautiful gardens and garden centersSherman Library & Gardens in Corona del Mar has over two acres of gorgeous gardens, complete with a koi pond. If you get inspired to do some gardening of your own, Roger’s Gardens is the plant nursery of all plant nurseries, and is a great spot to get your floral fix.  It has an old English pubIt might seem out of place on the sun-soaked California shore, but Five Crowns in Corona del Mar is the town’s oldest restaurant, and it was modeled after The Olde Bell, a pub outside  London. Matilda “Tillie” Lemon MacCulloch built it in 1936, and rumor has it that it was used as a gambling hall during the 1930s. It has a cool footbridgeBuilt in 1928, the 243-foot Goldenrod Footbridge is another historical feature of Corona del Mar. Not only does it provide handy access to the coast from neighborhoods east of Bayside Avenue, it’s also a scenic spot for selfies. It has gorgeous homesPacaso listings include stunning second homes in Corona del Mar. Thanks to our co-ownership model, you can enjoy all the benefits of this exclusive ZIP code for less money. 

kasey tross headshot

Kasey Tross

  • Share this post:

Featured articles

The tranquil harbor of Alexandria, Virginia, exhibits why this city is one of the most relaxing places to visit in the U.S.

A family on a beach enjoying one of the many spring break ideas for families.
ByTony Huynh


Don't miss out

The best properties sell fast. See the latest listings, inspiring holiday homes and buying tips.

Want to chat? Contact us.