Del Prado & Lantern District History

This historic postcard image shows a hotel where visitors and residents are today greeted and served by Jack’s Restaurant.

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Historic photos courtesy of the Dana Point Historical Society.

In 1923, 900 acres was purchased near and around Del Prado Avenue for a planned town, with a scenic overlook constructed at the end of what is now Blue Lantern to showcase ocean views and beach access. Later in the 1920s, “Hollywoodland” developer Sydney Woodruff acquired the 900 acres, as well as 500 additional acres to the south and the Roosevelt Coast Highway was completed. Woodruff promoted the new town evoking the romance of the past combined with modern amenities, such as underground utilities and colored street lanterns with matching street names. “Lantern” streets crossing the downtown recalled coastal lore about lanterns illuminating the coastline for ships traveling offshore at night. The Del Prado and Pacific Coast Highway couplet was the heart of the original Dana Point business district. Today, this area is commonly referred to as the Lantern District. The authentic charm of the historic buildings continue to be an important part of the Lantern District, as old and new buildings and streetscape improvements form the backdrop of the City’s gathering place. Photo Captions In the 1920s, the Blue Lantern Fountain Lunch was the first business in Dana Point, providing services for travelers on the long drive from Los Angeles to view the land available for sale in Dana Point. 
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The Woodruff Auditorium was one of the earliest buildings from the 1920s development. It was used for gatherings of prospective lot and house buyers. This building is still used as a popular gathering place for food and entertainment at Stillwater Restaurant.