An American Tradition... - Posted by JPiper

Posted by JPiper on April 30, 1999 at 23:42:43:

Recently I was reading the history of the Hotel del Coronado while surfing on the web. For those of you who might like to read this history it’s located at While reading this I encountered some interesting information.

But first things first. The Hotel del Coronado is a 692 room luxury hotel located in Coronado, California, on what is sometimes called the “Enchanted Island”, across the bay from San Diego. It sits on the beach. The hotel was opened in 1888, one of it’s original claims to fame being that it was lighted by the light bulb, a recent invention at the time! In 1977 the hotel became a national historic landmark. Thirteen presidents have stayed at the hotel, beginning with Benjamin Harrison in 1891, and including Roosevelt, Nixon, Regan. Various movies have been filmed their, to include “Some Like It Hot”. This is a 4-Star hotel. I mention all this to communicate the sense of uniqueness about the hotel?.many regard it as a special place. And if you don’t believe it, check their room prices out!

In any case, in 1939 the hotel was closed briefly. This history doesn’t really say why this was, but perhaps it was related to World War II. Now picture this?..a famous hotel closed, perhaps decaying from non-use?.especially due to it’s proximity to the Pacific ocean. Suddenly, in 1948, the hotel is sold to an individual named Robert Norblom. Forty-eight hours later Norblom resells the hotel to Barney Goodman, a Kansas City hotelier, who undertakes a restoration.

Wild huh? One of the more famous hotels in the US was flipped! 48 hours no less! The history does not of course give the prices. But to give a sense of what we’re talking about, in 1963 M. Larry Lawrence, a Chicago real estate developer, purchases the hotel?..and begins an $80 million restoration and expansion.

This story struck me, because it reminded me of that fine OLD tradition of American capitalism?..the art of flipping.