Sunday, June 20, 2021

Local Artist Unveils Spreckels Portrait at 100 Year Celebration

The Lamb’s Players Theatre hosted a celebration honoring 100 years of Coronado’s iconic Spreckels Building on Jan. 26. During the celebration, guest speakers paid tribute to the classic building, the store owners and important people involved with the building, and unveiled a portrait of John D. Spreckels painted by local artist Phil Martin.

Phil Martin's portrait of John D. Spreckels
A close up of Phil Martin’s portrait of John D. Spreckels.

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Robert Smyth of Lamb’s Player Theatre, joined by City of Coronado Council Member Mr. Bill Sandke, gave a colorful history of both Coronado visionary, John D. Spreckels, and the building he donated to the city. Stories were shared about how Spreckels stood on a table in 1917 at the Hotel del Coronado and said, “I love Coronado but there are two things missing from this community, a bank and a theater;” and he then donated the building to house them both. The crowd attending the celebration included local business owners who currently own businesses in the building, city officials, and community members.

The Coronado Historical Association is opening their exhibit, John D. Spreckels: The Man|The Legacy, that will include the portrait Phil Martin painted. Christine Stokes, Museum Director for the Coronado Historical Association, said, “Everyone here at the Coronado Historical Association is very excited to celebrate John D. Spreckels this year with our exhibit, John D. Spreckels: The Man|The Legacy. Phil Martin’s portrait captures Mr. Spreckel’s spirit and tenacity. Mr. Martin’s work is a community treasure, just like Mr. Spreckels himself.”

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Phil Martin's portrait of John D. Spreckels

To close the event, Phil Martin spoke briefly, saying, “An artist’s job is just to capture a likeness and put it on canvas, what happens with the painting after it’s painted is when the magic starts… if you see it, you like it and you feel something emotional, then the painting is a success. I hope this painting is a success.” He then removed the tapestry covering the painting so everyone could see his work. Following the unveiling, the crowd gave a standing ovation and cheers of support as they appreciated the wonderful painting from Mr. Martin. Martin is a local portrait painter and shared with me, “What made this project so much more fun is Spreckels’ great history, he was such a part of Coronado, my hometown.”


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Jeannie Groeneveld
Jeannie is a recently retired Naval Officer whose first duty station brought her to Coronado in 1998.  A Navy Helicopter Pilot for 10 years and a Public Affairs Officer for 11 years, the Navy afforded her many incredible opportunities to serve her country in unique ways while seeing the world.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to:
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