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Dana Point Harbor celebrates 50th anniversary

Published Aug. 30, 2016
This stone used in the initial construction of the Dana Point Harbor in 1966 held the time capsule which was opened at the harbor's 50th anniversary celebration held August 29. The large recreational harbor provides berths for about 2,500 small craft.

This stone used in the initial construction of the Dana Point Harbor in 1966 held the time capsule which was opened at the harbor's 50th anniversary celebration held August 29. The large recreational harbor provides berths for about 2,500 small craft.

The 50-year old time capsule removed from the original Dana Point Harbor rock placement sits in a display case following an anniversary celebration held at the harbor. The time capsule included newspaper articles, original plans for the harbor and questions asked to be answered 50 years in the future.

The 50-year old time capsule removed from the original Dana Point Harbor rock placement sits in a display case following an anniversary celebration held at the harbor. The time capsule included newspaper articles, original plans for the harbor and questions asked to be answered 50 years in the future.

DANA POINT, Calif. – The opening of a time capsule placed in a stone at the beginning of construction of the Dana Point Harbor highlighted the August 29 ceremony here celebrating the harbor’s 50th anniversary.

“There was a quite a turnout, and it was impressive to visit with people from the original rock laying who were able to attend the ceremony,” said Scott John, a navigation project manager who represented the Corps at the ceremony. “The city spoke of the importance of the harbor, not only for Dana Point, but for all of Orange County and for the recreation and the sailing destination it provides. People come from all over to use the harbor.”

The time capsule’s contents included the original plans for a proposed harbor at Dana Point-San Clemente written by R.L. Patterson in 1949, and a June 28, 1966 San Clemente Sun Post News article about awarding a contract for breakwaters, according to an OC Register article.

The capsule also included an American Legion Post No. 222 (Laguna Beach) letter to the future that asked questions like, “Will TV continue its irritating commercials on the quality of soaps, deodorant, toothpaste, cigarettes, etc.?” and “We see near-nudity on the beaches and our streets. What will we see in the year 2016?”

Dana Point Harbor is a large recreational harbor, providing berths for about 2,500 small boats. It exists today because there were no ports of refuge, a necessity for the many small craft that operate off the Southern California coast, between Newport and Oceanside.

Dana Point, completed in 1970, lies about 26 miles southeast of Newport Harbor, and its construction closed that gap.

At the harbor’s dedication in July 1971, Brig. Gen. Frank A. Camm, the South Pacific Division commander, recalled some unique characteristics about Dana Point Harbor. It was the first harbor completely designed and tested in scale model form before construction, and it was the first breakwater where the contractor used laser beams as a guide for the placement of rocks. 

Coastal engineer William Herron, noted 12 years after the harbor opened, that it acted almost exactly as the hydraulic model study indicated it would.

Another innovative and much-appreciated aspect of the planning for the harbor was the environmental awareness that included placement of the dredged material to construct a man-made reef 3,000 feet offshore at Doheny State Beach to provide for good surfing.