Cottage #00: The Office
Cottage #00: The OfficeTO THIS DAY, COTTAGE #00 IS STILL USED AS OFFICE SPACE OF SORTS, BUT OVER THE YEARS HAS HELD SOME OF CRYSTAL COVE’S MOST TREASURED HISTORY WITHIN ITS FOUR SIMPLE WALLS.
As Crystal Cove emerged as a star on the silver screen, the need arose for a building where Hollywood executives could oversee production on the beach. The office was built in 1925 as the park’s first permanent structure when James Irvine Jr. hired Hollywood technical director E. Roy Davidson as Crystal Cove’s first manager to oversee campsite rentals and movie shoots. The palm trees in front were brought in from Warner Brothers. Davidson built the space as a one-room office, but subsequent managers transformed the space into living quarters and moved business operations to a new glassed-in front porch.
The cottage, full of charm, was not without its quirks: Famously, the 1950s manager Laura McMenomy rigged a makeshift security system consisting of an airport landing light and loudspeaker attached to the roof. Laura would flood the area with light and broadcast her scoldings over the loudspeaker if she caught intruders trespassing in the parking lot after dark.
Today, the cottage serves as the Crystal Cove Historic District visitors’ center, packed full of brochures, pamphlets and historical tidbits of interest. Laura’s original 1894 Maple Steinway piano was donated back to CCA in 2010 and is used for accompaniment during senior sing-along days. Additionally, a replica of the single most important document in Crystal Cove’s history is also on display here—a letter from the Irvine Co. in 1939 that essentially “froze” the park in time, restricting all new additions or changes.
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