Well over 130 people crowded into Susan Keith’s rambling, Spanish revival house on Tolita Avenue Friday evening. They were there to honor Bruce Linder, former executive-director of the Coronado Historical Association (CHA) and to celebrate Don and Leslie Budinger.
Linder headed the organization from 2012 to 2016. In that brief span he reinvigorated the organization by creating the Wine and Lecture series and promoting the city’s historical ties to the United States Navy.
Because of these and Linder’s many other achievements, Mayor Richard Bailey proclaimed Friday, June 9, “Bruce Linder Day” in Coronado. In his proclamation, Bailey said “Mr. Linder has had, and continues to have, a tremendous impact on Coronado … and has made a meaningful and lasting impact in the lives of residents of Coronado.”
The Budinger’s association with the CHA began when the couple bought a neglected landmark at 1100 Orange Avenue, restored it, then entrusted it to the Coronado Historical Association (CHA) as headquarters, museum and archival repository.
Soon after moving here from White Mountain, Arizona, Budinger had the idea to purchase and renovate the old Bank of Commerce building at 1100 Orange Avenue. The Budingers invested millions to “restore the building to its original luster and sparkle,” Budinger said. Around the same time the CHA was looking to move from their headquarters on Loma Avenue. “It was one of those times when the right people came together at the right time,” Keith said.
The CHA has a 30-year lease-gift agreement with Budinger. “In 2020 we have the option to buy the property or to continue to pay rent until 2030 when the property will be gifted to us,” Keith said.
The reason he offered such a generous gift to his newly adopted city was simple; “I believe that we should look at what we’ve inherited and leave it better off than we found it,” he said.