Friday, December 26, 2008

Cobble Funkiness

Cobbles are part of our beach landscape and cultural history.

My wife's mom grew up next to Stone Steps. She recently told me a story about one of her childhood neighbors. This neighbor took daily walks on the beach and would return with a handful of cobbles each time. She could not recall if the neighbor ever made something with the cobbles, but others in the neighborhood did.
On Andrew Avenue there is an old wall embedded with beach cobble. It is quintessential Leucadia. It is definitely funky. The wall doesn't have a shallow mainstream appeal, but it has a lot of Leucadian character. It reflects the creative side of Leucadia, an indifference toward conformity, and a use of native materials. You won't find this sort of thing in Irvine.

How about including beach cobble into some of the streetscape detail work? It would be a nice tie to our history and environment.

Here is a staircase built out of cobbles. The wall appears to be based on river cobbles and the stairs might be from a beach source. What is really interesting and likely to bring back memories for the old timers are the abalone shells in the wall. Abalone/cobble walls are classic California beach style.

Abalone was once common on our local reefs. Overfishing and disease have made them an unusual find.

See also:
Cobbled History
Romancing the Cobble
We're Back to Sand
Old School Cobbles


  1. I hope I'm wrong, but I thought taking lots of rocks from the beach was not legal... Is it okay to take buckets full?

  2. Its illegal, but so is speeding. Big Deal.

  3. I think dumping dirt on the beach, such as the dirt from excavating for parking garages at Pacific Station, should be illegal. Covering every last cobble with dark dirt is not in character with our community and is filling in the finger reefs, killing the kelp, and would eventually further degrade surfing conditions.

  4. The continuing saga of old Mick Patterson who is shown to be not that financially smart. He killed some Leucadia’s equity with the foreclosures in Nantucket.

    I think the City of Encinitas better watch their financial house. Council giving 15% raises and huge pension increases is really going to cost our City in the long run. Say goodbye to all money for and beach or park projects and hello to paying taxes for more city employee pensions.

    Bad call in my opinion.

  5. Cobbles
    The neighbor in the post was picking up cobbles back in the 50’s. I don’t know if it was illegal then. I’ll bet there weren’t clear prohibitions, as there were a lot of people who made stuff with the rocks and displayed the rocks in their front yards. Go back and read my blog post “cobbled history,” to see that it was a local industry to mine and ship out cobbles.

    I was told by a State Park lifeguard that you could remove small amounts of cobbles these days. I can’t recall if the limit was by volume or weight. My memory is that it is approximately a bucketful. I’ll check tomorrow. I’m am pretty sure you can’t back your truck up and load up cobbles, and this is where Steve Aceti’s war on cobbles gets interesting to me.

    I suggested considering using cobbles from the beach in the streetscape, fully aware that we would have to change some beach resource regulations to do it. I figured that one of Aceti’s masters (cities, SRF, or Neptune homeowners) would fund him to help us out because it would help their war efforts. He could draft up the legislation and do the lobbying. Steve sure seems like he wants to erase cobble from our coast, perhaps because cobbles chew away at seabluffs when powered by wave action. His approach is to cover the cobble up with a sheet of sand. With this approach we just need to wait for a big storm and the cobbles will be exposed again. If cobbles are evil I can’t see any objection to removing a portion of them and putting them to good use. With Aceti on our team it will get done.

  6. Just because a decision has a bad result doesn’t mean the decision was bad. You have to go back to the decision making process and look for due diligence and informed wisdom.

    It was not hard to see that the economy was postured to sour. There was lot of reasons to project a lot of slack in the labor market with wage stagnation and benefit reductions. Turns out that it is becoming very common for companies to stop funding 401ks.

    Much of the council does not adequately review the issues in front of them and doesn’t always act in the best interest of the citizens on every vote. Some don’t do their homework. Some are not wise. Some put their political careers above common sense. Some like to “choose their battles.” No one on the council wanted to say we should take this a little slowly. Staff deserves to be compensated fairly, but when staff gets a raise that elicits a cheer from staff, that is a good indication that council didn’t make a good decision.

  7. Kevin-

    I don't understand your first paragraph.

    If council is making decisions that result in bad conditions for our city than they are faulty for whatever reason. Especially if they are uninformed or unwise.

    Approving a 14% pay raise and huge pension increases when the economy was beginning to tank was a huge mistake. It was a mistake in any economy.

    Politicians are responsible for their actions and the bad ones need to be voted out. the incumbants only saving grace is the public is so dam complacent and stupid.

    This one bad action will cost our City dearly for years to come.

  8. Cobblestones are in large supply locally (not to mention indigenous) and I think it's a terrific idea to incorporate them into our streetscape. But they'd really slow cars, trucks and bikes down if they were used instead of asphalt.

  9. Great idea Meathead. Just keep the bikelane asphalt.

  10. "bikelane"?? I never see bikers using it- - they prefer to test their lives on 101 or Vulcan roads...

  11. Bikes are well know traffic calmers. We would actually do better to drop the northbound trail. Plant trees instead. Anyone who knows anything about traffic calming knows that narrowing the lanes, getting rid of curbs, and forcing bikes and autos to share the same real estate slows down traffic. Don't be afraid of change.

  12. Yep, just the other day I not only slowed down, I had to friggin stop for a bike in the slow lane.

  13. Anon 12:13,

    I'll clarify. A good decision is one that is well thought out. You can evaluate a decision even before a result is evident. Good decisions are more LIKELY to end in a good result.

    I don't think the council was wise, informed, or willing to stand up for the residents of Encinitas on that vote. It wasn't a good decision. Click on my name and it will take you to a post that I wrote right after the raises were given.

  14. The neighbor you're referring to is probably Hazel Bilty, who lived just south of Steps for years. She incorporated cobbles into her flower beds, around the succulents she planted. She walked every day, rain or shine, on the beach with her faithful blonde cocker spaniel, Pancho, and a pocket full of treats for any other dogs she'd meet. Your mother-in-law had an equally beautiful black cocker spaniel back then, named Charkie.

  15. The times on the no parking signs correspond to when kids get dropped off and picked up from school, which is down the street.

  16. sooooo...putting bikes in with traffic is a viable traffic calming measure? Is this for real?

  17. I was able to check yesterday with the State Parks. You can take fifteen pounds of cobbles from their beaches.

  18. anon 956,

    It is for real. Follow the walkability literature and you will see they also want curbs removed and cafe dinning right up to the edge of driving lanes. It all makes sense if the objective is make roads less useful for long distance travel and turned into a community square.


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