Field Guide to Coronado History: Hotel Marisol – Continuing an Exceptional History

Fascinating, intriguing, or thoughtful tales about people and places in Coronado history -- presented by your Coronado Historical Association

The Hotel Marisol Coronado formally opens this month – fully restored and glittering – extending a wonderful history that stretches all the way back to 1920.

The Marisol legacy began in 1920 when a small charming restaurant opened on Park Place in a diminutive one-story cottage that had been moved the year before from the corner of Park and Orange.  The front room held a comfortable assemblage of tables and chairs while the kitchen was largely unchanged from its domestic responsibilities. 

It was named the Blue Lantern Café and immediately became a local hit, partly for its soups, partly for its charming location between “downtown” and the attractions of Star Park and the ocean.

Over the next several years, the little café thrived -- even competing with the Hotel Del as a center of Coronado social life. In 1925 and 1926, Coronado’s Rotary Club held its formative meetings at the Blue Lantern.

“Location” drove the sale of the property for the construction of a hotel in 1926.  Mr. and Mrs. Alex Rutherford bought the little quaint cottage and moved it to 915 H Avenue to be refitted as their home.

A new three-story hotel opened on March 5, 1927 as the Blue Lantern Inn.  Designed by architect Wayne McAllister, the new hotel featured a Spanish Eclectic style, with Mediterranean, Moorish, and Byzantine influences and sixteen richly appointed guest rooms. 

At its opening, one reporter described the visage as: “the great arched dining room opening on Park Place is a dream of harmonious decoration with walls of Tiffany finish, artistic wall lights, a beautiful oak floor, fireplace, chandelier, and a sunny southern outlook toward Star Park.”  The adjoining lot was planned to hold a plush lawn behind a wall on Park Place. 

By 1931, the Blue Lantern changed ownership and became known as the Ritz, serving as a hotel for both short and long-term stays. Probably due to the Depression, the Ritz was sold to the Spreckels Company just three years later. Its name was changed once again, this time to the Biltmore. Although there were more changes in ownership, the hotel was known as the Biltmore through the 1970s. By 1982, the property was known as the Village Inn.

Today, it continues its storied history as the Hotel Marisol Coronado.  A reception and historical docent tour (celebrating Hotel Marisol’s attentive restoration) is planned for Coronado Historical Association members on Sunday, September 7th.   (BL)

Come visit the Coronado Museum and the Coronado Historical Association archives for this story and others.  The entire compendium of intriguing “Field Guide” tales is posted on © CHA



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Comment by Jon Laws on August 11, 2014 at 12:50pm
Great article. I visited the Marisol & it is a gem.
Comment by Maureen (Rutherford) Nieland on August 11, 2014 at 2:46pm

I think I may have put it in the wrong spot, but I wanted to leave a comment and thank you for posting this.

My aunt Ruby Winifred (Vingoe) Rutherford, was at the time married to Alex Rutherford. (It's funny, she is my mom's sister and married (at the time) my dad's cousin Alex). I'm not sure if they divorced or Alex passed away.

I was born and raised in Coronado, and when I came home from the hospital 915 "H" ave was my first home. 1946. Ruby Winifred (Vingoe) Rutherford, then married Alvin Hutchison. She kept the house 915 H, until she passed away, then it passed over to My uncle Hutch (Alvin Hutchison) who then married my mom's OTHER sister (Roma Violet) better known as Violet. Ruby was called Winnie for ever. My grandparents came from Cornwall, England, they bought 1022 Park Place in the early 1920's. That's a whole NOTHER story, lol. He brought my mom and all sibling's with him, that how the "Blue Lantern" story came about. The present owner of 1022 Park Place, (Don & Kay Hubbard) have been so kind in the past to rename a group of us that ALL have connections with that house. (He named us, "The 1022 Crew) He has invited us into his home so graciously to smell and feel the memory's there. The 1022 Crew consists of me (Maureen (Rutherford) Nieland, Aleene Queen, of Coronado, Helen (Nichols) Murphy Battleson, and of course present owners (Don & Kay Hubbard). I'm so happy you found this history about "The Blue Lantern. When I have told people about it, I think it was hard to believe. Thank You fro posting this story.

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