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FOCUS : Harboring Maritime Atmosphere

June 09, 1988|Clipboard researched by Susan Greene, Dallas Jamison and Henry Rivero / Los Angeles Times. Page designed by Doris Shields / Los Angeles Times

When Richard Henry Dana Jr. first set eyes on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean at San Juan Capistrano, he instantly fell in love with what he later proclaimed in "Two Years Before the Mast," his classic book about his seafaring adventures, to be "the only romantic spot on the coast." Several years later that romantic spot was christened Dana Point.

Throughout the ensuing years the community established and has managed to preserve a maritime atmosphere. A visitor wandering about town will quickly note that much of Dana Point's architecture is, in fact, based on the quaint Cape Cod style that pops into the imagination when one thinks of other classic sea stories, such as "Moby Dick."

Even the street names contribute to this feel. The streets of the Green Lantern, Golden Lantern and Amber Lantern--these are just a few of the streets named for the colors of the lights that once identified them for the local inhabitants.

It isn't only the architecture that gives the community its feel. Dana Point Harbor, which was created out of the cove that once played a major part in the area's shipping trade, now provides space for over 2,000 light vessels and is open 24 hours to a variety of pleasure craft. The Harbor is also home to the "Pilgrim," a replica of the ship that originally brought Richard Henry Dana Jr. to the spot. In addition to the boating facilities the Harbor contains an 11 acre park, swimming beach, fishing pier and bicycle trails.

Recently the area has been attracting developers seeking to take advantage of the community's resort possibilities. The Dana Point Resort, a sprawling 350-room hotel modeled on the famous Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, is the first of these developments and has been open for business since September.

With its history it isn't too difficult to conclude that the community will continue to cultivate its maritime atmosphere. And since it voted in Tuesday's elections to incorporate with Capistrano Beach as one city, Dana Point should have more clout to move in any direction its residents want to take it in.

Statistics Population (1987 est.): 15,355 Median home value: $144,331 Racial/ethnic mix: white, 94.5%; Latino, 9.2%; black, 0.6%; other, 5.0% (Total is more than 100% because racial/ethnic breakdowns overlap)

Employment status Employed persons: 6,115 Unemployed: 194 Not in labor force: 2,335 Per capita income: $12,029

Population Median Age: 34.3 years

Education Adults over 25 Years of school completed: 0-11 years: 10.1% 12 years: 26.5% 13-15 years: 30.6% 16+ years: 32.8% Median years completed: 14.3

Statistics: Donnelley Demographics

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