Coronado is a treasured site. It’s a haven of beauty and serenity, with its wide main street and exquisitely landscaped median. Enormous trees shade stretches of grassy green park. The architecture is respectful of Coronado’s history, yet it makes sense in its utility. Welcome ocean breezes add to the altogether satisfaction of being present in this beautiful place.
The Coronado Historical Association has a record of exhibiting fascinating shows. The current ones are no exception. The first is Wings of Gold: Coronado & Naval Aviation, which celebrates the Centennial of Naval Aviation. It all began in early 1911, when inventor Glenn Curtiss was asked by the United States Navy to train one of its officers to fly, which Curtiss did, and he did it over San Diego Bay. Thus, Coronado became the “birthplace” of Naval aviation. In this exhibit, see an original pilot’s uniform, a helmet of one of the first female naval aviators, and a model plane built by Curtiss, among other important artifacts.
Enchanted Island traces the history of Coronado through items from its extensive collections, including art and ephemera, as well as a collection of historic photographs. In tandem with Enchanted Island is The Hotel del Coronado and Tent City, which tells the story of Tent City, which existed from 1900 to 1939 and was adjacent to the Hotel Del. The improvised city, which became something of an institution over time, comes to life through an amazing array of documents, from correspondence to programs, brochures, postcards, and photographs. (619/435-7242, www.coronadohistory.org) DARLENE G. DAVIES