Monday, August 25, 2008

Coronado's Tent City

When the original developers of the Hotel del Coronado were unable to repay their loan, the resort was taken over by John D. Spreckels. Around 1900, he expanded the resort to the south, with the introduction of the beachside Tent City. Canvas tents with wooden floors, furnished with beds, dressers, chairs and washstands, were rented by the week for $4.50. A cooking tent could be added for $5.00 a month, outfitted with pots, pans, dishware and flatware. Generators from the Hotel Del supplied the electricity for the bulbs that hung inside every tent. The Tent City News kept the visitors apprised of water sports, church services, news of each other, scheduled band concerts and other activities geared to guests. By 1921, Tenty City was so popular it had its own firemen and police. By 1923, the thatched roofs were given permanent replacements and the canvas tent sides were replaced with wood three quarters of the way up, with canvas awnings that could be rolled up or down. With these improvements and Coronado's temperate weather, Tent City became a year round destination for travellers from all over the world, until it was ultimately dismantled in 1939.

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