Thursday, May 8, 2014

Sunken City at Torrey Pines Beach

The "Sunken City" of Torrey Pines got it's start in 1932 during the construction of two new bridges being built across the mouth of the Los Peñasquitos lagoon.  Prior to that, there had been a number of tourist cabins along the open beach, and in order to build the giant causeway for North Torrey Pines Bridge, they were moved to an area east of the coast highway they called Sunken City.

1932 Construction of North Torrey Pines Bridge at Los Peñasquitos lagoon in Del Mar, California
By 1943 there were all of 15 houses in Sunken City. The "city" had a few trees, on the other side of the tracks, and was the proud home to a small brine shrimp pond that turned bright red.

Circa 1940 photo of Sunken City at the base of North Torrey Pines Bridge, Del Mar, California
Aerial photograph taken in 1949 of Torrey Pines State Beach
1952 the City of San Diego turned over Torrey Pines Beach to the California State Park system, and the houses were moved away to make room for a parking lot.  Some of the houses were moved across the railroad tracks to the Del Mar Terraces area.

The fully paved North Beach Parking Lot was built in 1968.  This aerial photograph, taken in 1966, shows the entire area has already been graded and sanded over.
1966 aerial of what will become the North Torrey Pines State Beach parking lot
The area where Sunken City used to be is now the North Beach parking lot for Torrey Pines State Beach.
Sunken City area as it looks today (circa 2013) as one very large beach parking lot.

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