Local Legends

Local Legends of La Jolla

After visiting this special place you can see why, going as far back as the Kumeyaay, legendary people have made La Jolla, California their home.

Dr. Theodore Geisel aka Dr. Seuss

Originally born in Springfield Massachusetts, Dr. Seuss became a La Jolla resident in his mid 20’s. He started his career as a political cartoonist during WWII and was not interested in children's literature until he entered a competition to write a rhyming children’s book under 150 words.

His stories are inspired about local La Jolla events. Due to the success of “Cat in the Hat”, Dr. Suess dedicated his work to highlighting environmental concerns and helping children in their thought and reasoning through these stories. As a resident of La Jolla, there was a stigma of the neighborhood of Pacific Beach as unruly college students causing mayhem. He spent time with the students in Pacific Beach, and was surprised to find that they also cared for the environment as much as he did.

Geisel Library at the University of California, San Diego was made possible by the large donation from the Geisel family. The library displays many of the rare art by Theodore Geisel and his other contributions to literature. The original Lorax Tree that inspired his writings is the lone Monterey Cypress Tree located in Scripps Park, La Jolla. You can also see the unique palms in the park that we see depicted in the artwork in his books.

L. Frank Baum

Known for writing the Wonderful Wizard of Oz and it’s sequels, L. Frank Baum moved to Hollywood in the early 1900’s and would frequent La Jolla and Coronado on day trips, even spending some of his winters in San Diego.

The La Jolla of the early 1900’s, including the seven sea caves, are described precisely in the introductory chapters of his three books The Sea Fairies, Sky Island, and The Scarecrow of Oz. It is presumed that Baum had entered Sunny Jim’s cave during one of his many stays, which became accessible by land from a tunnel built in 1902 and is described as it was at the time in his writings. Legend has it, Baum was even the person who named the cave “Sunny Jim”, who’s opening bears resemblance to the head of the real Sunny Jim; a cartoon who appeared on the British cereal “Force Wheat Flakes” in the early 1900’s.

Professor Horace Pool

Professor Horace Pool was a circus performer hired by the Mayor of San Diego in the 1920’s to attract tourism to the area with death defying performances. With his bottom two ribs removed, he was able to arch his back far enough to safely jump from a 100+ foot cliff into 10 feet of water, avoiding the rocks directly beneath the surface.

It wasn’t until the 1970’s when the mayor’s son attempted to jump off this same cliff, ultimately costing him his life, that the mayor had the diving board removed and outlawed cliff diving in the city of San Diego.

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