Robert Arends

Follow the Yellow Brick Road…The Wizard of Oz and Coronado!

Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz

On the heels of today’s premiere of the new Disney movie “Oz The Great & Powerful,” I thought it might be fun to spotlight Coronado’s remarkable link to author L. Frank Baum and his famous Wizard of Oz book series.

Between 1904 and 1910 Baum and his family frequently vacationed in Coronado, located a bridge away from downtown San Diego. He was so fond of the island’s magical setting, that he wrote several of his Oz books here.

Following are six fun and surprising sights in Coronado that either inspired Baum’s whimsical literary works directly or were inspired by the author’s visits to the enchanted island:

1. Hotel Del Coronado

Coronado Beach and Hotel del Coronado - photo credit Brett Shoaf

Coronado, the “Emerald City”

They say the Hotel del Coronado with its iconic red castle-like turrets and enchanting fairy tale setting, was Baum’s inspiration for the Emerald City. He and his family often stayed at The Del on their Coronado vacations. Did you know: Coronado is nicknamed the “Emerald City.”

2. The Crown Room

Crown Room chandeliers by Baum at The Del.

Crown Room chandeliers by Baum at The Del.

The Del’s grand Crown Room is home to four spectacular crown-shaped chandeliers designed by Baum; his lasting legacy to the hotel he loved so much.

3. Baum’s humble Coronado home

L Frank Baum house on Star Park Circle - Photo credit Coronado Historical Association

L. Frank Baum’s home on Star Park Circle.

The charming yellow house he rented on Star Park Circle is where he wrote several Oz books: Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, The Emerald City of Oz , The Road to Oz  and parts of The Marvelous Land of Oz. From the sidewalk, you can spot the face of the Wicked Witch peering out from the side of the house.

Please Note: This is a private residence, so please be respectful to its occupants and view the house from the sidewalk.

4. Wizard of Oz Glass Art Exhibit

Wizard of Oz Glass Panels - Coronado Public Library

Wizard of Oz glass panels at Coronado Public Library.

The Wizard of Oz Glass Art Exhibit at the Coronado Public Library is where  Baum’s storybook jumps off the pages onto nine huge glass panels depicting Dorothy, the cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Glenda the Good Witch, Munchkins and more.

5. Three Rare First Edition Oz books

Check out three rare first edition Oz books by Baum on the “Celebrities” wall at the Coronado Museum of History and Art on Orange Avenue; admission is free.

6. Author’s Study

Author's Study at 1906 Lodge

“There’s no place like home…” in the Author’s Study at 1906 Lodge.

In addition to spending the night at The Del, celebrating its 125th anniversary, guests can rest their heads in the Baum-inspired “Author’s Study” at 1906 Lodge at Coronado Beach, featuring framed art prints of the glittery Ruby Slippers, Dorothy and the cowardly Lion and the classic front cover of The Wizard of Oz book, plus an autobiography on Baum and a writing desk with antique-looking typewriter bookends.

This spring, ease on down the road to Coronado to discover our merry little land of Oz! While you’re there, why not catch a screening of Oz The Great & Powerful at the beautifully restored Coronado Village Theatre.

Wizard of Oz Weekend (WOW!)

Oh, and next fall the city is planning its premier Wizard of Oz Weekend (WOW!), celebrating Coronado’s love of all things Oz and the 75th anniversary of the original Wizard of Oz movie!  I’ll have all the exciting details later this summer! 🙂

Robert Arends

Museum Month: Enchantment Awaits on Coronado Island

Coronado Museum of History and Art
Coronado Museum of History and Art

Coronado Museum of History and Art

As the days count down for San Diego Museum Month (1/2 price admission to 40 participating museums), across the bridge on Coronado Island, the charming Coronado Museum of History and Art, chock full of history and visionary tales told with a plethora of enchanting educational activities and exhibits, awaits visitors.

The following are 5 of my must-see/must-try picks at the Coronado Museum:

  1. Learn about Coronado’s role in World War II at the museum’s newest exhibit Coronado on the Frontline:  1942-1945.
  2. On a related note, don’t miss the popular Coronado Historic Homes Tour on May 13th where you can tour the island’s most beautiful homes and learn about World War II’s impact on the community.

    Coronado is considered the birthplace of U.S. Naval Aviation!

  3. The museum also houses a number of artifacts, uniforms and photographs documenting the U.S. Navy’s prominent presence on the island with permanent exhibits in the first and third gallery.

    Coronado historic walking tour.

  4. Take a walk back in time with the Museum’s docents, as well as discover the beautiful architecture and gardens around the island, on one of two private Walking Toursof the landmark Hotel del Coronado or of Historic Coronado.

    "Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz" was written in Coronado!

  5. L. Frank Baum, author of the beloved Wizard of Oz series, vacationed in Coronado where he wrote at least three of his famous books. In the museum’s first gallery, at the “Celebrities” wall,  visitors can view three rare first edition books by Baum: Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, The Emerald City of Oz and The Road to Oz!

Follow the yellow brick road (or the San Diego-Coronado Bridge 😉 ) to Coronado and discover another fascinating side of the “Crown City” at the Coronado Museum of History and Art!