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Striking birdseye view of San Diego Bay, with Coronado in the foreground and the City of San Diego on the far side of the Bay.

This striking birdseye view was drawn by E.S. Moore, one of the most active Southern California view makers, and lithographed in San Francisco by Crocker & Co. The view was produced during the development period for the Hotel Del Coronado. circa 1886. The view extends from Coronado Beach to the City of San Diego and Old Town San Diego, with local mountains in the background.

The two major San Diego Piers are prominently depicted, at a time when they extended much further into the Bay then in modern times and includes large extensions, which allowed them to accommodate many more ships. The modern town plan of San Diego, as laid out by Alonzo Horton, can be seen across the bay.

While most bibliographers refer to the view as circa 1880, the view was unquestionably commissioned by for the Coronado Beach Company, the first developers of Coronado. The idea for the development of the island began in 1884, when Elisha S. Babcock conceived of the idea of the Hotel Del Coronado. Babcock and his colleague H.L. Story developed and idea to purchase the island, subdivide it, sell lots and use the profits to build the hotel. In November 1885, Babcock and Story purchased the land for $110,000. After working a year to prepare the island, the first land sale auction proceeded on November 13, 1886. The first lot sold for $1,600 to Major Levi Chase. Land sales proceeded well over the next several months, allowing the Coronado Beach Company to break ground on the hotel in March 1887. Construction was completed and the hotel opened in February 1888.

Unfortunately, by 1888 Babock had fallen on hard time. He borrowed money from sugar magnate John D. Spreckels to attempt to save the venture, but was later forced to sell out to Spreckels, who would shepherd the development and growth of the hotel and the island for the next half century.