Come summer in the
late 1800s and Tustin residents began making
plans to spend July and August at the "Summer
Resort," better known today as Laguna Beach.
favored setting up camp on the mesa above
Fisherman's Cove and Boat Canyon. This was not a
In the early
years there were no accommodations and drinking
water had to be hauled from a spring in Laguna
Canyon. But the lack of conveniences didn't
deter families from trekking through Laguna
Canyon in wagons loaded with the camping gear.
Bartlett, wife of a prominent Tustin businessman
W. S. Bartlett, and daughter of Mrs. David Hewes,
described the scene this way, "Across the plain
lies the road which leads to the summer resort,
where the people of Santa Ana, Orange and Tustin
go for rest and change.
"Laguna is a
beautiful bit of coast of vast, but undeveloped
possibilities. A boarding house and some private
cottages have been built upon the cliffs south
of the canyon and during the months of July and
August a village of several hundred tents rises
upon the sand. A butcher, baker and milkman
derive a thriving trade.
"The beach is
alive with bathers; the evenings are vocal with
open air concerts. But with the first fog of
autumn the tents are folded and the village
disappears, leaving an accumulation of tin cans
and half-charred wood as the only proof that it
summer cottages were built to replace the tents.
Another boarding house and a hotel were added as
well as a store and post office. Drinking water
was delivered to the cottages for 50 cents a
The hotel, owned
by Joseph Yoch, was very popular and he soon
enlarged it. The summer crowd enjoyed the
glassed- in dining room on the ocean front for
its beautiful view as well as excellent food and
service. Mr. Yoch and his daughters provided
entertainment each evening.
and Mrs. James Rice Sr., the "sweet song bird"
from Tustin, often led musical evenings. The
dancing pavilion was favored by the younger
Although not as
popular as Laguna Beach, Newport was another
summer vacation spot. The McFadden Brothers
owned the wharf on the ocean front as well as
acreage around it. They divided the land into
lots and rented them for the building of summer
cottages, but the system did not encourage the
town to grow.
Newport had one
hotel owned by James McFadden. The building was
leased to different proprietors and opened each
summer for a number of years. The coming of the
Pacific Electric train to Newport and Balboa in
1905 increased the popularity of bathing and
boating on the bay.
The Tournament of
Lights, an illuminated water parade which began
in 1908 on Newport Bay, attracted large crowds
for many years.