"the heart of a nurse, the courage of an astronaut and a capacity to give both generously and wisely" - Thomas O. Scripps
The philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps (1836—1932) holds a special and endearing place in the annals of Torrey Pines. Without Miss Scripps, this mesa might resemble what you see to the east: a tangle of roads, houses and businesses.
Although the City of San Diego had set aside some land to preserve the Torrey pines, the best and densest groves remained in the hands of developers who planned to subdivide and commercialize the area. Miss Scripps bought these lots in 1908, 1911, and 1912. She hired naturalist Guy Fleming to care for and protect this wonderful place in 1921 and funded the construction of his house on the property.
The Torrey Pines Lodge, now used as a visitor center and ranger station, was built with her funds and donated to the people of San Diego. It opened as a restaurant in 1923. Finally, she bequeathed the City of San Diego the groves of Torrey pines, asking that they "be held in perpetuity as a public park," and requesting, "that care be taken to preserve the natural beauty of the area" in 1932.
Today's visitors may thank Ellen Browning Scripps for having the foresight to protect this unique place
in the California landscape.