The Lodge

Torrey Pines Lodge - Visitor Center

Torrey Pines Lodge Built

In 1922, Ellen Browning Scripps financed the construction of the Torrey Pines Lodge. The architects were Richard Requa and Herbert Lewis Jackson. They applied modern methods to the use of adobe bricks. Requa and Jackson did the original work for the Santa Fe Land Company, a subsidiary of a well-known railroad. They designed the Rancho Santa Fe Inn, the first school, and the original post office in Rancho Santa Fe.

Requa was one of the leading exponents of the Mission Revival style which was popular before World War II. Later he became the Director of Architecture for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition at Balboa Park.

Requa and Jackson worked out methods to protect the earth walls from rain, capillary moisture, and (for what technology allowed for back then) earthquakes. The Lodge was styled after the Hopi Indian houses of the Arizona desert. According to one newspaper article, Indian crews were brought over from Arizona to insure exactness of the construction.

The Lodge was completed in February, 1923, and was called Torrey Pines Lodge. It was a restaurant with stumpy tables, chintz curtains, lampshades made of Torrey pine needles, and a jukebox. The Lodge was in a handy spot. Both tour buses and locals out for a Sunday drive made it a regular stop.

The building is now the Ranger Station and Visitor Center. The current display area was the main dining room. People also ate out on the front terrace. The ranger office was the kitchen and food storage area. The video room and the docent library were the living room and bedroom of the Burkholders, the first restaurant proprietors. The Resource Ecologist’s office was the waitresses’ bunkroom.

The road up the hill was pretty rough going for a Model-T back in those days. Guy Fleming’s daughter, Mrs. Margaret Allen, liked to tell how she and her brothers would play near the road. A Model-T would snuff out on the steepest part of the hill. They would yell at the driver to turn around and back up the hill. Southern California drivers were not used to such steep hills. The Model-T didn’t have a fuel pump. The tank was placed so that if it was half empty, the gravity system didn’t get the gas to the carburetor. – Judy Schulman, with additional excerpt from “Notes From The Naturalist” by Hank Nicol

Next topic: Park expansion