Mitt Romney – yes the GOP candidate – is La Jolla’s newest celebrity resident. In fact, he and his wife Ann bought their beachfront home here in 2008, but no one paid much attention until he filed an application to bulldoze the $12 million house and build a much larger mansion on the site.


If you’re in town and would like to see the “before,” the house is located at 311 Dunemere Drive. The best view is from the beach, which can be accessed from the end of Sea Lane. Island Architects is working on a plan for a new two-story, 11,000-square-foot structure.

The Romney house is in an area of La Jolla known as the Barber Tract, adjacent to the home formerly owned by the late Cliff Robertson. The actor grew up in La Jolla and graduated from La Jolla High in 1941.

Another actor, Gregory Peck was born in La Jolla and his pharmacist father worked at Putnam’s Pharmacy (where Nine-Ten Restaurant is now) in The Grande Colonial Hotel on Prospect Street. In 1947, Peck co-founded La Jolla Playhouse with his friends Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer. The Playhouse has sent many shows to Broadway and won a Tony Award for Best Regional Theatre.

Raquel Welch, Robin Wright (Penn), director Gore Verbinski, and film maker Yoav Potash also went to La Jolla High. Dustin Hoffmann doesn’t live in La Jolla, but seems to enjoy the Whaling Bar at La Valencia.


It’s possible that actors, politicians, and world-renown scientists choose to live in La Jolla, not only because it’s beautiful, but because they know they won’t be pestered by local residents


I passed Jonas Salk on La Jolla Shores Beach one day and never broke my stride – in spite of the fact that I know he invented the polio vaccine that saved millions of lives.

Salk and his wife Francoise Gilot moved to La Jolla in 1960, where he established the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. If you haven’t seen this stunning complex designed by Louis Kahn on North Torrey Pines Road, add it to your sightseeing list. Completed in 1967, the original Institute buildings were declared an historic landmark in 1991. (BTW, Salk, who died in 1995, never patented the vaccine or earned any money from it.)
Speaking of La Jolla Shores Beach, Senator and Cindy McCain own a condo in the area.
The late Ted Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss, arrived in La Jolla in 1948 and built a home at the top of Mt. Soledad. It was here that he wrote the popular books that became children’s classics. He died in 1991 and the library at UCSD is named in his honor. His widow is one of several La Jollans that have been on the Forbes 400 list.
Other "richest" La Jollans include Irwin Jacobs (Qualcomm), Ted Waitt (Gateway Computers), and the Spanos Family (San Diego Chargers).
The concrete and glass UCSD library, in the shape of a lantern, is the perfect tribute to "Dr. Seuss," a man who continues to delight children with his fanciful characters.
Caption: Mitt Romney's beachfront La Jolla, California home.

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Comment by Elizabeth Hansen on September 26, 2011 at 11:14pm
La Jolla, which is actually part of the City of San Diego, is definitely is a pleasant coastal community. We also have many cultural offerings including La Jolla Playhouse (a Tony-Award-winning theatre), Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and SummerFest - a world-class concert series. I hope you'll come back and stay longer than a "brief halt."
Comment by Indra Chopra on September 26, 2011 at 10:36pm
I visited La Jolla in 2009. It was a brief halt on way to San Francisco from San Diego and it came across as a pleasant beach town.
Comment by Elizabeth Hansen on September 25, 2011 at 4:48pm

Thank you for your comment, Allie. I also remember the world before Jonas Salk. We weren't supposed to play in the lawn sprinklers even on really hot days because that "caused polio." Did you hear that one?


I agree that Jonas Salk changed the world, and I find it amazing that so many young people today don't recognize his name - and some haven't even heard of polio.

Comment by Allie McCoy on September 25, 2011 at 4:43pm
I'm old enough to remember the world before Jonas Salk. He is the greatest celebrity of them all.

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