By Keith Johannes

The Dana Point Historical Society receives many questions about historic buildings and their preservation. Many comments express concern about the building at the up-coast entrance to the Dana Point Commercial District, now called the Lantern District. The first use of the building at the split of Pacific Coast Highway and Del Prado was as the Sidney H. Woodruff Real Estate Tract Office (shown c. 1930.)   An article in our March 2011 News Drogher shared a similar concern for this building’s preservation describing it as “an anchor and key focal point in the visual character of early Dana Point.”  

   There have been many uses for the structure, and we are still researching its history following the dissolution of Woodruff’s Dana Point Syndicate in 1939.  We know the building was used as a gift store called Coral Island (pictured), operated by Gretchen Cooper in the 1950s.  Cooper’s granddaughter, Jane Edelman, and Dana Point businesswoman Tracie Sullivan contacted the Society, who met with them and city officials in 2013 regarding their concerns about the building’s condition.

The next use of the building was again for real estate sales — first Lingo Reality and then Grubb-Ellis by which time the French doors on the west side had been removed.  In the 1960s, Paul Hofer bought the structure and opened Brookside Winery. In 1965, an addition was added designed by local architect Lynn Muir. Brookside Winery built a larger building nearby, across Del Prado, which was later leased, most recently as a Montessori School.  Brookside Winery eventually closed but Hofer retains ownership of both buildings.

In the middle 1990s for about 15 years, it was what many most recently remember as UP Sports, a sporting-goods store.  The last use we have on record is as a motor bike store.

The once-prominent Woodruff Tract Office now sits vacant and in need of repair.
The vandalized fountain with original 1930s tile work.

This landmark building at the entrance to our city has languished, empty, for nearly a decade, much of its decorative exterior work damaged by years of exposure to the elements and vandalism, with little maintenance.   If you have photos, facts or memories related to this building, please connect with us at <museum@danapointhistorical.org> or leave a message at 949-248-8121.