Del Mar Library

Also known as St. James Catholic Church, built circa 1914

DelMarLibrary2The Del Mar Library on the corner of 13th Street and Camino Del Mar was originally the first Catholic Church in Del Mar. The first mass at St. James was held in 1914, without pews, lights or an altar. As time went on, St. James Parish continued to grow. By 1966, it had outgrown it’s building and moved to its current location in Solana Beach. The building could have joined a list of demolition casualties, but instead, was converted into the Albatross, a fish restaurant owned by Gordon Denyes. The interior of the building was redesigned in 1971 to accommodate and enhance its use as a restaurant. The Albatross became Pancho’s, another restaurant, but not soon after the space transformed yet again into commercial office space, being used for computer business. A local Del Mar realtor, Chiquita Abbott, knew the Del Mar Library was looking for a new home and believed she had found the perfect location for it. The old Del Mar library was located in a temporary trailer next to the city administration offices in 1975, but luckily, Pat Freeman, President of the Friends of Del Mar Library, and Jacqueline Winterer started lobbying heavily for a new library. In 1990 the new library was part of a grand plan to build a 29,000 square foot complex to a new city hall, town meeting space, and underground garage, in which the library portion of the project itself cost $2.4 million. Voters of Del Mar rejected the proposal; however, Freeman and Winterer were persistent and created a new 9,000-square-foot stand-alone library with the price tag of $3.1 million. In an auspicious event, Winterer and Freeman met Del Mar native Joe Sullivan on a plane from Sacramento and shared a drive back home, explaining Del Mar’s need for funding the new library. Sullivan suggested they could raise funds from within the community and, sure enough, with help from Del Mar residents Elliot Parks and Lou Terrell, the city purchased the building in 1994 for $1.2 million. After much fundraising, the Del Mar Library was opened to the public in early 1997. The Del Mar Library is a cornerstone of Del Mar Village still today.

DelMarLibrary1DelMarLibrary3Sources: Del Mar Looking Back by Nancy Ewing, The Del Mar Picture Book by Dr. Lisa Pluth, Discovering Del Mar’s Past by the Del Mar Historical Society, Del Mar Reflections by Bill Arballo, Del Mar Life & Good Times by William Murray.

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