By Kelly Crothers
Jeff Plumer, a long-time Del Mar resident, recently donated a vast amount of historical artifacts to the Del Mar Historical Society. Plumer is the great grandson of Bill Burris, owner of the Del Mar Hotel during the 1950s through the late 1960s.
Bill Burris purchased the Del Mar Pier and later the Del Mar Hotel as investment properties in the 1950s. Burris’ vision was to turn the property from a state of disrepair to a year- round multi-use property.
The Del Mar Hotel was located on a 13-acre site in the northwest corner of 15th Street and Camino Del Mar. That location today is home to the L’Auberge Hotel, U.S. Post Office and condominiums overlooking Del Mar Beach.
During the 1930s and 1940s, the Del Mar Hotel was a well-frequented establishment by Bing Crosby and the Hollywood elite during their visits to the Del Mar Race Track. The hotel was foreclosed on in the 1950s due to the recession. Bill Burris bought the hotel and transformed it into a property that could be used by many year round. The 13-acre site became home to a retirement home and a Polynesian-themed hotel that later re-opened to the public. Other proposed uses for the site included condominiums and a sports pier.
The collection donated to the Del Mar Historical Society includes personal photos of the Del Mar Hotel, architectural renderings of alternative uses of the Del Mar Hotel (i.e. condominiums, sports pier and retirement home); the marketing brochure of the Del Mar Hotel’s Pago-Pago Bar; an agreement to sell the property for $1 million in 1958; and the marketing brochure of “The Del Mar” retirement estates.
Plumer donated these documents to the Del Mar Historical Society to ensure the preservation of these documents for current and future use by DMHS. The artifacts, photos and documents will be available to anyone who wants to learn more about Del Mar’s history.
When asked about the donation, Plumer said, “These documents tell a great story of Del Mar’s development and growth. I wanted others to have access to them to learn about Del Mar’s history, as it is a town that is loved by many.”
Larry Brooks, president of the Del Mar Historical Society, thanks Plumer very much for having the foresight to preserve these items. Brooks also hopes that others in the community with things of historical interest will contact the Society at firstname.lastname@example.org.