October 2014 home page

support us

Double Centennial
Jeff Barnouw | Amphitheatre Drive


The library today.  Photo Larry Brooks. 
Click on image to enlarge.
St. James Church circa 1950.
Courtesy Del Mar Historical Society
Click on photo to enlarge.


By happy coincidence Del Mar acquired a branch of the San Diego County Library and a new building for its Church, St James Catholic, in the same year 100 years ago. As the library has occupied that building since 1996, the two trajectories have merged. A double Centennial.

A Bit of History
In 1914 the Diocese of San Diego commissioned a church building from John Austin, also the architect of the old Del Mar Hotel, for a parish founded in 1911. The new Church was built on the corner of Camino Del Mar and 13th Street.

St. James Padres circa 1929.
Courtesy Del Mar Historical Society.
Click on photo to enlarge.

In the same year, 1914, Haidee L. Howard, Clerk of the Del Mar School District, successfully petitioned San Diego County to establish a library in Del Mar. For its early years the library was located in the home of its first librarian, Mrs. E. J. Hindle. In 1924 it moved to the home of well-known writer Lee Shippey on the bluff north of 8th Street. Later locations were in various stores on 15th Street, including a small room in the Jefferson Arcade. In 1957 it was at 1214 Camino Del Mar (a roomier 273 sq.ft. which allowed a doubling of circulation), and in 1961 it moved to 317 14th Street (1400 sq.ft.). It spent some time in the old Del Mar Plaza near Zel’s Liquor Store, and in 1977 found its penultimate resting place (for almost 20 years) in the 2400 sq. ft. modular trailer, which is now the City Hall Annex.

To focus again on the building itself, in 1966 St. James Catholic relocated to Solana Beach, and the building became the Albatross restaurant, then Pancho’s, and finally headquarters of the Omni company. In 1993 was acquired by the City, expressly to serve as the home of the library.

In the fiscal year 2013-14 the local branch had the second highest per capita circulation among the 33 branches of the County library system. Let us hope that our Library will be happy in its current recently renovated home for another 100 years.

Centennial Celebration
There will be a 100th anniversary party on Saturday, November 1, from 10 am at the Library. Among those scheduled to attend are County Supervisor Dave Roberts, Del Mar Mayor Lee Haydu, Councilmembers Don Mosier and Sheryl Parks, the Deputy Director of the County Library Donna Ohr, and the Reverend John H. Howard of Saint James – Saint Leo Catholic Church of Solana Beach. Chuckles the Clown will also be there, with a concert at noon featuring guitarist Lisa Sanders. The party (with refreshments) is organized by our new librarian, Polly Cipparrone, joined by staff members Pat Selkowitz, Jennifer Runge, Thomas Pierce and Linda Farmer, as well as former head librarian Gretchen Schmidt, who retired at the beginning of 2014.



© 2007-2015 Del Mar Community Alliance, Inc.  All rights reserved.