The People, Place, and Spirit of the Wisteria Cottage of Ocean Beach

by on February 24, 2020 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach

by Kathy Blavatt

Wisteria, Wisteria

Wisteria, Wisteria, your early growth is that of a child at play.
Your entwined vines joust for position reaching for the sky.

Wisteria, Wisteria, you are a glutton for rain, with nude branches that seek winter’s shy sun.
Soon you’ll be presentable in a sheath of green leaves.

Wisteria, Wisteria, your perfume of fragment flowers seduces our senses.
Your spirited violet flowers dangle as they dance upon the breeze.

Wisteria, Wisteria, your personality grows with age like wrinkles on a face.
Spring brings revitalization of your youth in new growth.

Wisteria, Wisteria, a century has passed, and your glory still lasts.
You are loved, revered, a flower that became a star.

Wisteria, Wisteria, your canopy of vines holds our many memories of welcoming Spring.
We take heart that we have been held within your outstretched arms.

Under a canopy of flowering fragrant, Wisteria vines in Ocean Beach is an extraordinary place that carries the spirit and history that make our community so very special.

The  Wisteria Cottage at 4761 Niagara Avenue, built-in 1907, was owned by Mr. & Mrs. John Clarke. The property has the cottage, a small barn, and shack on the back of the large lot. There was also once a brackish well on the property.

Wisteria Cottage’ Wisteria vines with sign made by Kip (Kip Cool Signs) and painted flowers on sign by Kathy Blavatt.

Early photo of Clarke’s Wisteria Cottage and Wisteria Vines over the front porch.

The property had Wisteria vines planted soon after the cottage was built.

Mr. & Mrs. John Clarke Ocean Beach Couple and owner of the Wisteria Cottage celebrate their 62nd Anniversary.

Decades later, generations of Clarke family woman Crystal, Sharon, and Sheryle sat under the Wisteria vines at the Ocean Beach Historical Society Wisteria Party celebration at the Wisteria Cottage.

The Titlow family later bought the Wisteria Cottage.

Ned Titlow loved growing up in Ocean Beach and loved living in the Wisteria Cottage. He was proud of the yard with its huge Wisteria vines (now 100+year-old) that covered the yard and front porch. Ned held up the thick canopy of vines with wood framing supports over the large courtyard off the side of the cottage.

Carol Bowers, the co-founder of the Ocean Beach Historical Society, became Ned’s companion after the passing of his wife.  The two of them lived happily in the Wisteria Cottage.

Ned Titlow with Carol Bowers under the Wisteria Vines at the Wisteria Cottage.

The Ocean Beach Historical Society has had many Wisteria Garden Parties (previously Wisteria Tea Parties before the name Tea Party took on a different m). These joyful spring events that include food, music, opportunity drawings, and displays of historic photos and memorabilia and have meaning help raise memberships and funds for the Ocean Beach Historical Society organization and give visitors a chance to enjoy the historic garden.

Now Pat (former president of OBHS) & Susan James live happily in the Wisteria Cottage.

The James’ have added to the beauty of the garden with many horizontal shade plant displays under the Wisteria canopy, a vegetable, and fruit tree garden, and various landscape and potted plants.

Pat and Susan James are the current residences in front of the Wisteria cottage.

Pat also collects and displays vintage Ocean beach signs and memorabilia on the property to help preserve O.B.’s history and allows people to see the collection during events.

The Ocean Beach Historical Society sponsors the Wisteria Garden Party.

Many long-time locals and community icons enjoyed the party. The Wisteria Garden Party welcome’s in Spring with table decorations of flower arrangements with locally grown flowers from OBHS members. Many guest dress in colorful Spring or vintage outfits.

Over the years, John Noble, owner of Coastal Sage, has been a featured Wisteria party guest. He has given a brief history of Wisteria plants and donated plants to Wisteria Garden Parties opportunity drawing.

Local Noah Talfolla was the 2009 honored guest. He received an award for his Wonderland T.V. series from the Ocean Beach Historical Society. He was also honored the same by the Congress of History San Diego & Imperial County.

Historian Ron May (grew up in Point Loma) received a special award from the Ocean Beach Historical Society.

A local celebrity, and a definite clown, “Dreaming Mimi” has brought many laughs and smiles to Wisteria Garden Party.

John Tafolla was the featured local musician at several of the parties. Other musical guests included “Rose Three” and T.J. (Antonio Johnson), who sang Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful Life song”. The perfect song to be sung in this garden setting.

Joining in the music was mandolin player Kenny Davis and Gina Davis, a talented violinist and singer.

Bill Corwin and his band Juketone (Swamp Kriters) will play at the Wisteria Party this year. They have played the previous few years and inspired some guests to dance. This year they will play more pieces from the 1920s, and Bill will sing the “Wonderland” song he wrote from being inspired by the Ocean Beach Historical Program on O.B.’s falmous Wonderland 1915 amusement park.

The Ocean Beach Historical Society, Wisteria Garden Parties, are a time to celebrate both a historical garden and site while joining friends for an afternoon of fun. This year’s 2020 Wisteria Garden Party is on March 22 at 1:00 to 3:30 PM.  More info at:

The magical Wisteria garden awaits to dangle its blossoms above your head and spread its joy.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Debbie February 4, 2021 at 12:05 pm

One of my favorite places, the Wisteria Cottage!

Sorry to say due to covid, the OB Historical Society will not host an onsite event this year but I hope we can do that next year.


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