Children’s Pool History

  • City Appeal of Pate Decision rejected

    judge-order-287x265A 3 judge appeal panel unanimously rejected every argument the City Attorney had presented, and let stand the original decision.

  • Court Decision against the City

    Childrens_082505_Page_01Superior Court William C. Pate rules against the city in a lawsuit brought by a private citizen contending the City had abandoned its fiduciary duties regarding the trust by which it received Children’s pool and the breakwater. The city is directed to carry out the dredging of accumulated sand and restore the area to match photos of its condition in 1941, the earliest photos available.

    Decision can be seen here: Pate Decision


  • Seals take over Children's Pool

    Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute published a report of seal activity at the Reserve and Children's Pool. The report was based on photographs taken of each location every 30 minutes from November 1995 through September 1997. In most months, the peak count was significantly higher for the Children's Pool than the Reserve.

  • First Children's Pool Closure

    Natural Resources and Culture Committee (hereinafter "Natural Resources received an informational report from the City Manager about the "Closure of Children's Pool.” The report noted that the Pool had been closed to "water contact since September 4, 1997 due to continuously high fecal coliform counts." Obvious forms of contamination had been ruled out and it was believed that the source was harbor seal feces. This had not yet been confirmed, but laboratory tests were being conducted.  The City Manager then discussed the City's lack of understanding of the reasons for "this unusual contamination level." The City did know that "[h]arbor seal populations have steadily increased off the west coast over recent years. This is evidenced at Children's Pool by an increased number of seals using the area." The City noted that a potential cause of the increase in the number of harbor seals at the Children's Pool was the nearby Reserve, which was three years into its five-year trial. Another potential cause was that "for the last year and a half, [City] lifeguards have erected barriers between seals hauled-out on the sand at Children's pool and the public."

  • Fish and Game Statements

    March 30, 1994

    Fish and Game cautioned the City about interfering with "the public's right to fish in State waters."

    July 25, 1994

    City Council amended the ordinance establishing the Reserve to comply with the requirements of the Coastal Commission and to permit fishing pursuant to the request of Fish and Game.

  • Seal Rock Reserve Established

    February 1, 1993- City Attorney approved a request recommending a reserve with a fixed boundary beginning 200 feet east of the seaward entrance to the Children's Pool. It passed unanimously after an amendment that extended the boundaries "to include the compromise area that goes practically to the beach that was presented by Barbara Bamburger. This discreet area shall be in effect for five years on a trial basis and is off limits to swimmers, divers and tourists. Access to the riptide is not affected because the divers can come in and go out through the Children's Pool."

    November 18, 1993- California Coastal Commission approved the establishment of the Reserve in the vicinity of Seal Rock. The approval was conditioned on the City obtaining approval of the SLC and the boundaries of the Reserve not including any "sandy beach area."


  • Concept for Seal Reserve

    A recommendation by the City Manager to essentially adopt the Park and Recreation Board recommendations, with the exception that the Reserve be established for a five-year period. The City Manager's recommendations were adopted. The water and land within the reserve would be "off-limits to human and pet intrusion." In making these recommendations, the City recognized that marine mammal populations in the area of Seal Rock, and harbor seals in particular, had increased during the prior ten years.

  • Repairs to Seawall

    City of San Diego contracted for repairs to the Children's Pool breakwater. These repairs included replacing the handrail, improving lifeguard facilities and repairing the breakwater itself. There is no evidence of any concern about or discussion of seals in the Children's Pool area until July, 1992. A representative of Sea World, Jim Antrim, discussed with Barbara Bamburger, a representative of "Friends of the Seals," the creation of a seal reserve in the vicinity of "the rock off Shell Beach (in front of 939 Coast Blvd)" as it was the "focal point of harbor seal activity concentrated between the months of January and, May."

  • 1933

    The Legislature passed and the Governor signed Statute No. 688 of the laws of 1933, that conveyed in trust all of the tidelands of the state bordering the City of San Diego. The more general grant of land described permissiveuses of the tidelands, as contrasted with the 1931 grant, which provides for exclusive uses of the tidelands within the grant. Thereafter, for over sixty years, the Children's Pool remained open for the use and enjoyment of the people of San Diego and others.

  • November 21, 1931

    Operating Department of the City prepared a map depicting the land granted to the City by the State of California "for a swimming pool."

  • June 15, 1931

    Governor of California signed Statute No. 937 of the laws of 1931, which granted to "the city of San Diego, ... all right, title and interest of the State of California, ... in and to all that portion of the tide and submerged lands bordering upon and situated below the ordinary high water mark of the Pacific ocean ……….. to be forever held by the city of San Diego and its successors in trust for the uses and purposes and upon the express conditions following, to wit:

    (a) That said lands shall be devoted, exclusively to public park, bathing pool for children, parkway, highway, playground, and recreational purposes, and to such other uses as may be incident to, or convenient-for the full enjoyment of, such purposes;

    (b) The absolute right to fish in the waters of the Pacific ocean over said tidelands or submerged lands, with the right of convenient access to said waters over said lands for said purpose is hereby reserved to the people of the State of California."

  • June 11, 1931

    The Common Council of the City adopted Resolution 56609 whereby it ''express[ed] to this generous friend of humanity its most cordial thanks, on behalf of the children and citizens generally of the City of San Diego, for the unprecedented tidal bathing pool for the younger generation which has recently been constructed in ocean water on the shores of La Jolla, . . . ."

  • June 1, 1931

    Children's Pool large plaqueMs. Scripps gave the Children's Pool to the City of San Diego.

  • September 15, 1930

    With actual or tacit approvals in hand, Ms. Scripps awarded the construction contract to W.M. Ledbetter & Company. Two days later, equipment arrived on site and construction commenced. According to Savage, "[t]he purpose of the project was to create a safe bathing pool for children, sheltered from the ocean surf and winds." "The park area on the bluff adjoining the pool was improved by grading and the construction of parapet walls, and curbs. Shrubs have been planted and benches provided." Permission from the City was granted. The City Park Department approved the construction on July 22, 1930. The War Department issued a construction permit on September 2, 1930.

  • June 26, 1930

    Pages from v51-3_HistoricalSociety_Page_05Hydraulic engineer H. N. Savage (hereinafter. "Savage") also wrote the City of San Diego (hereinafter "the City") on behalf of Ms. Scripps requesting permission to construct the breakwater. He enclosed with his letter plan drawings of the proposed breakwater. In this letter, Savage states the purpose of the breakwater "is to create a bathing pool" and the cost would be "in the vicinity of $50,000."

  • June 21, 1930

    Ellen Browning Scripps, through her Attorney in Pact, Dr. J. C. Harper wrote the Mayor and City Council of San Diego for permission to construct a "concrete breakwater in the Pacific Ocean at La Jolla." The stated purpose for the breakwater was to "create a Bathing Zone adjacent to the City of San Diego's La Jolla Park and City Streets."

  • June 20, 1930

    historical aerialMs. Scripps authorized construction of the pool as a gift to children. Savage's services on the project were also a gratuity to children. The next day, formal application was made to the War Department requesting permission to construct the breakwater feature of the pool.

  • May 1930

    Ms. Scripps' representatives invited Mr. Savage’s “cooperation in the accomplishment of the projected splendid gratuity-bathing pool for children at La Jolla."

  • First Permanent Lifeguard Station Est. at Children's Pool


  • Savage Report

    Mr. Hiram Newton Savage submitted a report to Ms. Scripps. The report contained recommendations for constructing a bathing pool in the ocean in front of the location of the Casa de Mañana Hotel.

  • Scripps and ChildChildren's Pool Concept Developed

    Ms. Scripps and Harper invited Savage to determine the "practicality and feasibility of the accomplishment of a bathing pool for children in the Ocean at La Jolla, California".

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