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La Jolla residents take pride in their community and its history. With a population hovering around 40,000, the La Jolla Historical Society boasts a membership over 800 strong.
Such strong interest in La Jolla’s past is more surprising when one considers how little is known about the community's origin. It is known, for example, that Native Americans had settled the region thousands of years ago—who, why, or when is not, however, clear. The city’s name — a Native American/Spanish blend that means “The Jewel”— is also of unknown date and creation.
Westerners came to the area a couple hundred years ago and, in 1850, incorporated it into the City of San Diego. Soon, however, the city would begin selling off land and one speculator, Frank Botsford, auctioned off enough of it to fill the region with a significant population.
As the century turned, La Jolla would begin its increase in affluence that marks it to this day. Hotels were constructed and opened doors to the idea of the city as a tourist paradise along the coast. Hollywood stars of the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s began not only visiting, but staying — adding both allure and riches to the region. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography and other research institutes added sophistication and an intellectual atmosphere. These events allowed the city to blossom into the luxurious and unique beach resort town it is today.