Del Mar Days: Community Life and Civic Engagement in a Small American City: Book 1
- People and Events
In some of the columns in Book 1, I drew profiles of residents, civic leaders, artists, builders, and business people who defined the city, and I celebrated their holidays— 45 of these columns are assembled in Part 1. They were written during the heyday of battles to preserve Del Mar’s residential character as laid out in its 1976 Community Plan, and the years embracing its 1985 Centennial Celebration. In this small city, I wrote about relationships between city management, local businesses, residents, and civic leaders that were often close, personal, and intertwined—sharing joys and sorrows, holidays such as Christmas, July 4th, Thanksgiving, Rosh Hashanah, and Passover, as well as natural beauty and politics.
In its 48 columns Part 2 of Book 1 focuses on the years before and after its 1985 Centennial, when Del Mar experienced the flourishing and later waning of local performance and graphic arts, street entertainments, and the publishing of books, periodicals, and training materials., At one point more than 300 people were employed by Psychology Today magazine and its book division, attracting an additional cadre of nationally recognized writers, graphic artists, editors, and other book professionals. Also, since the city hosted an Amtrak station a stone’s throw from one of the few easily accessed and pristine beaches on the west coast, and a popular state fair and racetrack, Del Mar was not wanting for diversions on which I could columnize. The columns assembled here chronicle the city’s vibrant spontaneous cultural life, moving into a comfortable menu of events, and still seeking a shared vision for the city.
In 14 pictorial spreads, the Scrapbook section, a collection of photos recalls some of the people, events, and themes that stand out in my memory and that I covered during my years as a columnist. They helped define the community: the Plaza, the Inn, the restaurateurs, the publishers and designers, local cable television, Richard Carter’s Arts Park, historian Nancy Ewing, graphic designer Don McQuiston, builder and artist Herb Turner, photographer Helen Drysdale, environmentalist and artist Alice Goodkind, the racetrack, state fair, the beach, lagoon, canyons, and bluffs. Part opener and individual pictorial pages elsewhere in the book add to the array.
Eugene G. Schwartz