American Auto Trails > El Camino Real in California

ECR — La Jolla to Del Mar

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The next four maps are all interesting maps fro.m 1914.

The first map is a clip from page 126 of the Fireman's Fund Insurance Company Automobile Tour Book of California. It is dated 1914, but this is actually on a small strip covering a 1913 date. The map in the 1918 edition of the Tour Book is identical to this one. Click for larger image.

NOTES: The route via Rose Canyon is merely indicated at both ends, not shown in detail. The La Jolla and Torrey Pines grades are shown. The route discussed above to the village of Miramar is indicated with a note. This is the first map to clearly indicate that the road passed under the rail line south of Del Mar. The railroad was on a very large berm at this point. An undercrossing still exists at this location, and is referred to as the McGonigle Road bridge: 32.935402, -117.258386.

The next map is a clip of page 36 from Hamilton's Illustrated Auto Road Map California Tour Book (Fifth edition, 1914). The scale is off on these maps, but they make up for in a lot of added detail. Click for larger image.

An "M" is shown at one mile intervals. Complex curves exist just east of downtown La Jolla. This can be seen in some other maps. The complexity of the La Jolla and Torrey Pines grades are indicated along with percent gradients. La Jolla Junction is shown as a multi-point intersection, which is also shown on topographic maps. A picture of diamond shaped ACSC signs is shown for the junction. The bridge over Los Peñasquitos Creek and the undercrossing at the rail line are shown. Oddly, a second crossing of the rail line is shown before reaching Del Mar. This should be the same rail line, so I couldn't see a a reason why it would cross twice to the east side of the line. I thought it was an error, one left over from the older rail alignment shown on the 1903 topographic map. However, the following maps show two rail lines!

The last two maps are from a very interesting book called 1914–1915 Panoramic Automobile Road Map and Tourist Guide Book of Southern California. The book features an El Camino Real guide post bell on the cover, and there is a hole where a glass marble once existed. The actual book date is 1914, but it's for the 1914–1915 season. The maps are drawings, but are like angled aerial photos. Airplanes are shown flying over many of the maps.

The first map shows the Coast Route from La Jolla to Del Mar. The La Jolla sea caves are featured. The La Jolla and Torrey Pines grades are shown with their topography. The creek bridge and rail undercrossing are shown. After a winding ascent of the Del Mar terrace, a second rail crossing to the east of a second set of tracks occurs before reaching Del Mar. La Jolla Junction is not shown on this map, but is on the next one. Click for larger image.

The second map shows the Rose Canyon ECR route. The ascent to, and descent from, La Jolla Junction is not really shown. Instead, the road seems to continue through a valley. Topographically this is impossible. There is a path that avoids the main La Jolla junction, but by not more than about 0.25 miles to the east. This can be seen in the 1940s topo. The road to Miramar is shown heading east from La Jolla Junction. This route is not even shown on the previous map! Click for larger image.

The next four maps are from 1915–1917. One source I've read said that Torrey Pines Road was paved in 1915. How far north that paving went is unknown. If it went all the way to La Jolla Junction, then it's possible that Torrey Pines Road became favored over La Jolla Shores Drive and the Biological Grade (aka La Jolla Grade). Some of the maps below, especially the Goodrich map, seem to imply that the grade had been bypassed.

The first map below is the second map I consider as a standard for what the ACSC considered El Camino Real. It is ACSC strip map No. 212, and is part of a second series of three maps entitled "Automobile Tour of the Famous Missions in California on El Camino Real." At this time (before about 1919), the strip maps were still dated. This map has a 1915 copyright date. These maps are also featured in an early ACSC highway guide called California Mission's Tour, dated April 10, 1915. Click for a larger image.

NOTES: Since this is a large scale map showing the route from San Diego all the way to L.A., there isn't a lot of detail. However, the road north from La Jolla seems to go a bit farther east, and there is no indication of the La Jolla Grade as their is for the Torrey Pines Grade. It may just be a lack of detail, but the route bears a resemblance to the next Goodrich map below. No Rose Canyon route is shown.

The map below is from the 1916 Southern California Goodrich Route Book. Click for larger image.

NOTES: Goodrich road signs existed everywhere a "G" is shown on the map.... As mentioned above, the main thing to note here is that the road north from La Jolla seems to be on Torrey Pines Road rather than on La Jolla Shores Drive. The shape of the road, and its position, is nearly identical to the road shown on the topographic maps, as well as most of the road as it exists today. There is definitely no indication of the La Jolla Grade, which exists much closer to the coast. The Rose Canyon road is shown with a medium bold line, indicating a secondary route. It is shown climbing Gilman Drive to La Jolla Junction. The road northeast to Sorrento, and the rest of Sorrento Valley Road is shown, but as a thin line. This map is so close to the road patterns in the topographic maps, that I believe the cartographer used topo maps as a primary resource. One oddity here is the Torrey Pines grade, which still seems to show the old eastward path at the north end of the grade, and the early meeting with Sorrento Valley/Carmel Valley Road.

The third map is a small clip from the 1917 ACSC State of California map.

NOTES: This map also seems to show the same road out of La Jolla as the previous two maps. The Torrey Pines Grade is shown, but the La Jolla Grade is not. The Rose Canyon road is shown, and it seems to head straight north all the way to Sorrento. However, in reality, as stated above, it would have to climb a grade (probably Gilman Drive), and come to at least a quarter mile east of La Jolla Junction. There is no canyon straight north to Sorrento.

The last map is the odd man out. This is from Locke's Good Road Maps of Local and Transcontinental Automobile Routes. This map has a 1917 date, and was first published in the 1917 edition, but my copy is the 1919 edition. Locke's maps have notoriously variable scales, even on the same map. Compass orientations also vary on the same map. However, curves, railroad crossings, stream crossings, etc. are generally indicated where they are often not on other maps.

NOTES: Unlike the other three maps, this map shows the La Jolla grade. The bottom of the Torrey Pine Grade seems to head west to the coast here, and the railroad undercrossing south of Del Mar is clearly labeled. This book recommends a path from San Diego that passes through Point Loma, Ocean Beach, and Mission Beach, rather than the usual path through Old Town, Morena, and Pacific Beach.


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