Photograph of a two story tan house with gardens and a palm tree.


The La Jolla Landmark Group: Honoring La Jolla’s Architectural Legacy

The Landmark Group consists of owners of historically designated properties who support the La Jolla Historical Society’s efforts to preserve our architectural heritage.  The Landmark Steering Committee maintains a network of these homeowners, assists prospective members in securing historical designation, plans events for La Jolla Landmark Week, and sponsors the annual Jewel Award to recognize La Jollans for excellence in restoring and preserving their homes.

As of 2020, the City of San Diego Historic Resource Board has designated over 150 La Jolla Landmarks.  An overview with photographs of the landmarks is provided here.

The Steps to Historic Designation

The Landmark Steering Committee developed a Resource to Assist La Jolla Homeowners with Historic Designation. You can download a copy of this resource here.

The Benefits to Historic Designation

PROPERTY VALUE. Property values can increase substantially in neighborhoods where historical homes are purchased, restored and maintained. Research has generally shown that resale values are increased, particularly in La Jolla, where the sale price becomes the tax basis if the home is not historically designated. Not only does your home gain additional value, so do those within 300 feet of your property. This is because designation stabilizes neighborhoods and provides certainty about future development.

HISTORICAL RECORD. The benefits to the community are great. You are preserving a unique, one of a kind property which is important to the history of your community. The completed Application for Historic Designation provides a detailed historic record of your property, an invaluable resource for posterity.

FINANCIAL BENEFIT. If your home qualifies for the Mills Act you will benefit with a property tax reduction with savings that can vary from 20% to 70% based on the County Tax Assessor's property valuations in accordance with the to state law formula. The amount depends on your property’s location size and comparable rents in the area. The value continues to be assessed by the County Tax Assessor's Office using a formula and procedures contained in state law.

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFIT. It takes energy to construct a new building—it saves energy to preserve an old one.  When an old building is demolished, all the energy that went into constructing that building is wasted, and more energy is expended transporting the tons of rubble to the landfill.  Then energy is expended to extract and transport materials to construct a new building.  It takes decades for new buildings to recover the carbon that was expended in their construction.  Reuse is almost always better for the environment than building new.

Logo for the La Jolla Historical Society's Jewel Award. Design has circle of green leaves and purple wisteria blossoms. Title is in the center in purple.

The Jewel Award

The Annual Jewel Awards recognize outstanding efforts of those who preserve and restore, rather than replace a historic structure, contributing to La Jolla’s rich architectural environment. The Landmark Steering Committee brings forward nominations for the awards which are voted upon by the Historical Society Board of Directors.

Nominations are accepted for residential, commercial and other landmark structures. Criteria for selecting award winners are roughly based upon the National Park Service, Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

The Restoration Award recognizes the efforts of owners to accurately depict the form, features, and character of a property as it appeared at a particular period of time by removing features from other periods in its history and reconstructing missing features from the restoration period. Ongoing work focuses on the maintenance and repair of historic materials and features. Minor new exterior additions which do not change the visual character of the historic structure as viewed from the street are permitted. 

The Rehabilitation Award recognizes a process of making possible a compatible use for a property through repair, alterations, and additions while preserving those portions or features which convey its basic historical, cultural, or architectural character. The Rehabilitation Award acknowledges the need to alter or add to a historic building, or modernize, to meet continuing or new uses, while retaining the building’s basic historic character.

The Preservation Award recognizes efforts of community members/groups to protect the ongoing integrity of local landmarks and structures through thoughtful care and maintenance.

Examples of prior award winners are found below.

Nomination Deadline: July 19, 2024

Jewel Award Winners 2023

Award for Restoration Residential, Pre WWII

347 Dunemere Drive, Minimal Traditional w/Colonial Revival Influence, 1931

Charles D. and Laura K. Larkin House

Award for Restoration Residential, Post WWII

800 Prospect Street, International Modernist, 1963

Park Prospect Condominiums/Russell Forester Building

Award for Restoration - Non-Residential

5680 La Jolla Boulevard, Iconic Bird Rock Presence, 1949

Buchman's Ice Cream/William Kesling, original owner/architect

Award for Rehabilitation - Non-Residential

700 Prospect Street, Ellen Browning Scripps home by Irving Gill, 1915-2022

Ellen Browning Scripps/Irving Gill, 1915

Mosher & Drew renovations, 1950 1980

Venturi Scott Brown, 1996

Museum of Contemporary Art (Project dates: 2017-2022)

Award for Preservation

Coast Walk Trail and Devil's Slide Footbridge, dates from Kumeyaay use, designated historic landscape in 1990, project dates: 2011 - present

Key Partners: Cave Store, City/City Council of San Diego, La Jolla Planning Groups, La Jolla Light, Rotary, San Diego Foundation, local schools, Boy Scouts.

Honorable Mention

7390 Via Capri, Mid-Century Modern, 1961 - 62

Lloyd Swortwood/Roger Mathews, owner/architect

Honorable Mention

7777 Lookout, early home/adobe, 1926

Vanessa Whitely, nominee

Jewel Award Winners 2022

Award for Restoration Residential, Pre WWII

1237 Torrey Pines Road, Tudor Revival, 1927

Scott and Stephanie Zingheim, owners

Award for Preservation

Surf Shack at Windansea, c. 1946

Windansea Surf Club and Friends of Windansea

Award for Rehabilitation

6631 Neptune Place, Spanish Eclectic, c. 1928

Linda Wilson and Brad Owners, owners

Award for Restoration Commercial

1241 Cave Street, Modernist, 1973, Russel Forester, architect

Cornerstone Communities, The Cove Equity Group LLC, owner

Award for Restoration Residential, Post WWII

807 La Jolla Rancho Road, Post & Beam Modernism, 1961

Robert and Rebecca Liebner/William Ivans House

Joan and Gary Gand, owners

Jewel Award Winners 2021

Award for Restoration, 7154 Olivetas, "Florence Palmer Spec House #2," Ben Reineman and Amy Waterhouse.

Photograph of white house with brown trim surrounded by a fence with hedge and two large trees.

Award for Rehabilitation, 7766 Hillside Drive, Linda Sherman and Jim Lantry.

Photograph of a cream colored two story house with red tile roof. Windows have multiple window panes. Some light shrubbery and trees in front.

Jewel Award Winners 2020

Award for Historic Preservation: Adriana Diakiw and Hal Meltzer, for their 2018-2019 restoration of 360 Fern Glen.

Photograph of tan house and garage with brown trim, surrounded with brick wall and landscaping. Roof line is high pitched.

Award for Historic Rehabilitation: Michelle and Brett Lanuti for their 2017 rehabilitation of 1419 Virginia Way.

Photograph of a two story tan house with gardens and a palm tree.