Casa de Mañana celebrates its centenary in style

Casa de Mañana is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2024. Originally opened as a resort hotel and listed by San Diego as a historic landmark in 1987, Casa de Mañana continues its legacy of hospitality by being named among the top five senior communities nationwide and top three in the west by Seniorly earlier this year.   

Located in the La Jolla Park Coastal Historic District directly across the street from La Jolla Harbor, Seal Rock Reserve and the Children’s Pool on the Pacific Ocean, Casa de Mañana was the brainchild of Isabel Morrison Hopkins, a socialite who came to southern California from Colorado and invited architect Edgar V. Ullrich to join her in developing the project.

Portrait of Isabel Hopkins, a woman wearing a hat.

Hopkins, along with her pet macaw, lived at Casa de Mañana which became a social center through the 1920’s and 1930’s, hosting dances with live orchestras and sponsoring the La Jolla Rough Water Swim. After the end of Prohibition, Hopkins swiftly opened two bars in the hotel, but the Depression caused financial difficulties for Hopkins and her pet project.

During World War II, the resort operated to provide R&R for returning military personnel. However, continuing financial difficulties forced Hopkins finally to sell the property to a prominent hotel owner in 1944. Less than a decade later, the hotel was sold to Pacific Homes Foundation and became a retirement community, a service it still provides to this day.

Now owned and operated by Front Porch Communities and Services, Casa de Mañana offers independent and assisted living options and an array of services and programs, from fine dining to guided meditation to trips to San Diego Padres games. Life Enrichment Director Christy Rose says, “I focus on creating programming that give residents opportunities to create connections, have something to look forward to and find a sense of purpose so that they can thrive every day!”

More than 150 rose bushes also thrive in the community, with individual rose bushes assigned to particular residents. “This special gift to residents began around 2005 when green thumb Dr. Kate Morton, affectionately known by fellow residents and staff as the ‘Rose Lady,’ found her passion keeping the roses ‘neat and tidy’ in between visits from the professional gardeners who maintain the community’s landscape. She soon began assigning a rose bush to residents. ‘Residents love having a rose bush they can call their own,’ she said. ‘It’s just a way to make someone feel welcome and special at Casa de Mañana.’”

The community will celebrate its centenary with special events on July 1 and 2, 2024, including 1920’s themed activities, a history presentation, and special guests and speakers from La Jolla and Front Porch Communities and Services.

Front Porch CEO Sean Kelly said, “Casa de Mañana is a beautiful community, not only because of its building or location or history, but because of the wonderful people who live and work there and who give their best every day – to Casa de Mañana, and to the greater community around it. I’m proud to join Casa de Mañana in celebrating 100 years of making an impact on La Jolla and making this beautiful place an even better place to live.”