Don Bauder 5:30 p.m., Nov. 20
Another Jewel of the Copley Press is on the Block; Price: $10 million
From the 1950s until his death in 1973, San Diego's Jim Copley was a legendary Republican kingmaker.
Having wrested his late father Ira's Copley Press away from brother Bill (both had been adopted by Ira), Jim befriended Richard Nixon and helped carry the young congressman from the dusty citrus town of Yorba Linda to the presidency.
Copley bragged he had swung his home city of San Diego so solidly behind Nixon that the publisher was responsible for Nixon's carrying California - though just barely - in his 1960 national defeat at the hands of John F. Kennedy.
“In 1960, California went for Nixon by 23,000 votes and an interesting comment on that is that San Diego gave him a margin of 53,000," Copley told a biographer.
Copley would later help revive the future president's career, so much so that Nixon frequently referred to San Diego as his "lucky city."
The war room for Jim Copley's political forays was housed inside Copley Press headquarters, a mid-century modern classic designed in 1957 by La Jolla architect Roy Drew.
From the tidy, corner building at Ivanhoe and Silverado in La Jolla, political orders would be barked out across the chain of Copley Newspapers, including the San Diego Union and Tribune, the Sacramento Union, and those in the Midwest.
In the 1960s, Jim shed his first wife, married his secretary Helen, and adopted her son David as his own. She inherited the chain on his death from cancer in 1973.
By the time David ultimately obtained control of the operation upon his mother's death in 2004, newspapers were in a downward spiral, and the Copley heir, confronted with a large tax burden, apparently had no interest in trying to revive the flagging media empire.
Most of the company's holdings, including the newspapers and various pieces of real estate, have been unloaded, leaving the headquarters building a final ghostly remnant, now bearing a large "For Sale" sign.
A brochure from real estate broker Cassidy Turley San Diego touts the property as a "mixed use redevelopment opportunity" and a "'possible multi-tenant repositioning opportunity," with "newly replaced dual-pane working windows."
More like this:
- The Rise and Fall of the Copley Press — Feb. 28, 2008
- The Mr. San Diego Follies — Sept. 30, 1999
- Union-Tribune's Self-ish History — April 25, 1996
- Dear Dick: The San Diego Union, Evening Tribune, and Nixon: A Romance in Letters — July 28, 1994
- A Son by Any Other Name — June 20, 1991