La Jolla’s Historic Barber Tract Homes District

barber tract 2  barber tract map

by Robert M Mackey/ La Jolla Social Staff Writer

Nestled nicely between a breathtaking beach and La Jolla Boulevard you’ll find an idyllic community of habitations and homes, apartments and abodes. If you asked some of the boarders and tenants in the area they’d be quick to tell you they live ‘uh, right by WindanSea, bro.’, but they’d make the mistake of forgetting the rich and storied culture of the area. Then again, surfer dudes don’t really tend to be history buffs.

The Barber Tract in La Jolla is one of the coziest and most convenient neighborhoods in the city. Perfectly positioned to be close to the action while keeping a respectable distance from the crush of tourists you’ll find in some parts of the jewel, (I’m thinking of a certain place that rhymes with ‘the grove’) the Tract is suited to those looking to settle down somewhere relaxed but fun. It’s central location is a major seller too; from the Barber District you are within comfortable walking distance of the entirety of downtown LJ (including most of the beaches) as well as some restaurants and businesses just to the south along La Jolla Boulevard for those unwilling to venture too far from WindanSea.  I like the Promiscuous Fork for the 6 PM family dinner, Rigobertos, aka Rigo’s – make sure to get the right one! for those 2 AM Californias, and Busy Bee’s for an 8 AM pick-me-up.

Not much farther than the drive to the children’s pool will get you deep into Bird Rock, where you can frequent any of their fine restaurants or pretentious coffee-shops. If the location doesn’t grab you, (and it sure as hell should) maybe you’ll be lulled into admiration by the mosaic of architecture to be found there, from the deep rooted Spanish Colonial style to newer imports, like a slew of European styled houses built in the early to mid 1900’s that largely still stand today.

The exact details on the boundaries of the barber district are a bit foggy, with perhaps the best guesstimate coming from the Barber Tract Neighborhood Association (which also puts out a cute newsletter!). They claim that that the Tract extends from Olivetas west to Windansea, and Marine Street south to Fern Glen, although even they aren’t set on the borders, claiming that Westbourne and Belvedere form a sort of ‘Baja Barber’ and that there are a few exception houses near Marine that made it into the club.

Perhaps the best way to grasp the Barber border is to understand the man responsible for everything: Phillip Barber himself. A thrifty heir to a prestigious and wealthy New York company, he thrived in La Jolla, picking up a large swath of oceanfront property on the cheap, before distributing his land in parcels, complete with designer houses, to wealthy hopefuls in need of a seaside residence. These French Normandy and English Tudor style homes are inhabited today by some of the luckiest people in La Jolla, and possibly on the whole West Coast.

Drive by and enjoy.  You’ll notice the to scale two thirds size homes as you pass through the area.  Our guess is that was to maximize the valuable land in the area.  What’s yours?