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Book talk on famed Del Mar wall to be held virtually March 24

The cover of “Walking the Wall”
The cover of “Walking the Wall”
(Courtesy)

A discussion about Walking the Wall, a book covering the history of Del Mar’s iconic estate wall, will be held virtually at 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 24. The discussion is co-sponsored by Del Mar Community Connections’ Page Turners and the Del Mar branch library’s Book Talk groups. Brier Miller Minor, the book’s author, will be the featured guest and discuss “La Atalaya,” the walled estate better known today as the “Snake Wall Property.” The talk will be moderated by Larry Brooks, the president of the Del Mar Historical Society.

Registration is required. Those interested in attending will find the registration link at dmcc.cc/calendar, or they may call the DMCC office at (858) 792-7565 to receive assistance.

Miller Minor grew up in Southern California, where she got to spend memorable Augusts at her grandparents’ estate in Del Mar, enjoying the beach and the seemingly endless days of summer. She left California for Colorado College in 1968 and moved to the Midwest in 1976. After a brief career as an elementary school teacher, she found herself drawn to counseling. She earned a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy at the University of Wisconsin-Stout and has passionately practiced and taught family therapy for close to 40 years. In 2014 she received the Distinguished Service Award from the Minnesota Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Miller Minor lives in Minneapolis, where she and her partner, Bruce, are lucky enough to have all three of their kids and eight grandchildren close by.

Walking the Wall is the fascinating story of Del Mar’s iconic walled estate, La Atalaya, better known today as the “Snakewall Property.” Well researched and written in a comfortable and colorful style, Miller Minor’s book covers three generations of Burnetts, the well-to-do family that built the estate they called La Atalaya, and then migrated back and forth between the hubbub of Los Angeles and tranquility of Del Mar for nearly half a century. La Atalaya was built in the Roaring Twenties; struggled through the Great Depression, a devastating fire and World War II; and was lost to the family with the death in 1971 of the patriarch, the author’s grandfather, cement mogul Coy Burnett. Later chapters include the convoluted years of the next owner’s tenure and the restoration of this magnificent property by its present owners. And in her brief “Afterword” Miller Minor looks back on her own childhood summers in Del Mar. Recalling hours spent observing the grown-ups and walking La Atalaya’s wall with her siblings and cousins, she considers the role of walls, both physical and figurative, in all our lives.


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