An Interview with Dennis Wills of D.G. Wills Books

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A veritable one-of-a-kind, it’s easy to see why D.G. Wills Books is a true charm in La Jolla. What is more, in our contemporary, progressively and increasingly impersonal, digital society, the attention paid to personalization and the sheer aesthetics of text is simply inspirational and stimulating.

Dennis began advertising with the La Jolla Blue Book back in 1979 when La Jolla was yet the budding seaside beauty of a community it has grown into. Wills has a complete understanding of what it means to construct a business from the ground up, which is precisely what he set out to do and achieve on La Jolla Boulevard the same year he began advertising. Moreover, his community roots in La Jolla complement the little store’s enduring allure and charisma

The diminutive edifice began on a shoestring budget and with an idea born of love. With a couple of borrowed hammers, a rusty old saw, a few friends that believed in his vision, and a smattering of lumber, work began in 1979. Wills began to craft bookshelves from scratch with painstaking dedication and attention to detail. And with his visualization entrenched in his mind for the La Jolla community, he began to stock the store with various books he located and or stumbled upon at area garage, yard and estate sales.

The dream grew quickly and the bookstore came to be a serene haven for lovers of books, intelligentsias and academics, and rankly, right down to the local who was merely seeking an unobtrusive place to sit and peruse a tome or novel away from the noise pollution life often brings.

Dennis’ undying devotion and commitment to knowledge has drawn various scholars, literary critics, myriad students, and professors from universities from around the contiguous United States. With authors such as Plato, Shakespeare, Darwin, and the Bronte sisters, Wills’ rests assured that he stocks a most inimitable selection of books in the literary world. Indeed, the old, antique and difficult to locate books one may find in his store are certainly not carried by the impersonal chain and corporate stores that pander to frivolity. Perhaps best of all is the place he maintains in the hearts of his clientele, those thousands upon thousands who have found this La Jolla niche and veritable treasure trove, and who have had occasion to interact with him on a personal and intellectual level.

We had the pleasure of speaking to Mr. Wills about his remarkable bookshop.

The genesis of D.G. Wills Books is really interesting. Did you ever imagine it would become what it is today?

Well, one is never sure when opening a business how long or to what extent it might last; but that said, I chose La Jolla specifically to be near UCSD and the Salk Institute on the premise that the educated community’s interest in scholarly books would make it more likely that we would survive for thirty-six years now;  and that good libraries from retired professors would emerge. We were lucky and honored, for example, to have acquired Nobel Laureate Francis Crick’s library.

Out of all of the literary celebrities who have spoken at D.G. Wills Books, do you have any personal favorites?

Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer and Christopher Hitchens were clearly the most entertaining and witty. Francis Crick and Freeman Dyson were the most brilliant scientists here. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins was the most entertaining poet, although Allen Ginsberg drew the largest and most chaotic crowd, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti was the funniest. Playwright Edward Albee’s appearance was like attending a graduate seminar on theater. Pulitzer Prize journalist Maureen Dowd and Jill Abramson, then Managing Editor of the “New York Times,” were a brilliant team when they appeared here together.

Some may argue that the printed word is dying due to all of these technology advancements. What keeps your passion alive for what you do?

While Kindle and other e-book options have their use, many also continue to prefer to handle the printed page. The passion ever remains as we continue to discover the wonders of knowledge and mystery contained within books.

For people who have never been to your store, what should people know before going to D.G. Wills Books?

We carry new, used and antiquarian books, mainly within academic categories, and “backlist titles” that have passed the test of time, like Shakespeare, Darwin or Isaac Newton.

Is there anything special coming up at D.G. Wills Books that you’d like to mention?

Our Thirty-Eighth Annual St. Patrick’s Day Open Reading of Irish Poetry and Prose is coming up, on 17 March 2017, from 7 P.M. until it ends.

What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring writers today?

My advice to aspiring writers is to read, read, and read; then practice, practice and practice with your revisions, constantly fine tuning.

D.G. Wills is open from Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Be sure to drop in at D.G. Wills, give Dennis a whispered holler, and see for yourself why indeed you’ll want to come back time and again seeking those hard to find gems, as well as enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.

For more information on D.G. Wills Books, Click HERE

GDC Construction: A Long La Jolla History

The Dewhurst family and GDC Construction have been utilizing their collective know-how and exceptional skills to turn ideas and concepts into reality for nearly a hundred years.

It all began when Ernie W. Dewhurst founded a construction company in Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex, England. Subsequently, he immigrated to the United States through historical Ellis Island. Ernie soon settled in Hollywood in the early 1900s, where he utilized his extraordinary skills to construct movie sets. He was asked to build a home in La Jolla and instantly developed an affinity for the then-relatively uninhabited, quaint seaside town.

Ernie relocated his family to the village in 1920 and started work as one of the only builders in town. Due to hard work and commitment, by 1929 the Dewhurst passion for constructing elegant homes flourished and became a full-fledged, successful construction business.

Ernie’s son Walter Dewhurst teamed up with the business in 1948 with a thirst to sustain the family tradition throughout the 20th century. Much like his father, Walter was an innovator, mover and shaker in the construction industry in La Jolla, constructing several of the community’s finest residences.

Some of the community’s enduring hallmarks were built by Walter. The Athenaeum, a veritable La Jolla landmark, was remodeled by Walter in 1956. Today it houses an art and music library. Moreover, Walter built the Mount Soledad Cross in 1954. Adding to the cross, in 2001 the war memorial surrounding it was inspired and developed by Walter’s son, George, and built by GDC Construction. An annual Memorial Day celebration is held in the shadow of the cross every May.

In 1976, Walter’s son George joined the business, carrying it into the 21st century. Previous to the union with GDC, George heeded President Kennedy’s call and joined the Peace Corps in 1962. Subsequently, George completed his MBA at renowned Thunderbird University before returning to La Jolla where he assumed the reins of the family business.

George’s continuous dedication to remain true to the Dewhurst reputation for quality and craftsmanship is observed with the many homes he and his group have constructed. Additionally, he continued the family tradition in business, sport and civic commitment. Stirred by his visit to the National War Memorial in Washington, D.C., George conceived and then built the Mount Soledad War Memorial. This is a local testament to the brave men and women who have served the nation with honor.

George led an effort to modernize the YMCA La Jolla Firehouse in the historic district as a center for youths in 1984. Furthermore, as the La Jolla Sunrise Rotary Club president, George planted the seed for many of La Jolla traditions that continue to this day.

In 2001, Pancho Dewhurst joined GDC construction to carry on the institution of constructing quality custom homes in La Jolla and throughout greater San Diego County. Influenced by the modernists and his studies in Italy, Pancho made his mark in the family business. In 2008, he assumed the leadership at GDC Construction. Pancho and his father are the 3rd and 4th generation of Dewhurst builders in La Jolla.

“Being in the construction business for four generations, we have developed a considerably strong group of sub-contractors and associates that we work with on a daily basis” said Pancho. “I am very privileged to have such a vigorous and robust group of individuals. Some of these people have worked alongside with my grandfather and father. It’s been a significantly huge boost to GDC Construction.”

The renovation of the Community Center epitomizes Pancho’s contribution to the La Jolla community as well as the unrelenting commitment to dedication by the Dewhurst family to the local community.

“In addition to building beautiful homes in the San Diego area, what I’m really truly most proud of is all of the effort that my family has extended to give back to the La Jolla community.”

From building Fire Station 13 to the La Jolla Community Center, the Dewhurst family has been an essential part to what the community of La Jolla is today.

The Dewhurst family and GDC Construction also go out of their way to bring Christmas blessings and cheer every year to San Diego residents. Additionally, they have sustained one of the oldest and most esteemed traditions in La Jolla, that is, decorating and lighting the tree at the La Jolla Recreation Center each and every holiday season. The custom was initiated in 1984 while George Dewhurst was serving as Chairman of the Christmas Parade, as well as President of the Rotary Club.

The Dewhurst collaboration with the La Jolla community continues with GDC’s contribution to the La Jolla Christmas Parade each and every year. Walter Dewhurst, who was named President of the La Jolla Town Council in 1965, initiated the very first La Jolla Christmas Parade in the 1950s together with the Council. Thereafter, he was present at every parade and became known as the “Mayor of La Jolla” because of his all-encompassing patronage and support for the La Jolla community.

When Walter initiated the parade in 1960, it served to bring the village together in a new way during the Christmas and holiday season, and today it remains one of La Jolla’s most beloved customs. The annual parade attracts participants and visitors from all over San Diego as well as outside the county.

GDC Construction participates in the parade every year. One of the trucks is actually converted into a festive float to the delight of onlookers. Pancho Dewhurst and his family ride alongside much like his grandfather did well over a half-century previous.

“My philosophy is not about just building custom homes; it concerns building long-term relationships within the La Jolla community. This concept was taught to me early on by my family. As a four generation builder, I have a great commitment and great pride in being afforded the opportunity to give back to the La Jolla community.”

Pancho has two Children, Ava and Austin, who are the fifth generation of Dewhurst’s in La Jolla. I believe we can speak on behalf of everyone in La Jolla in saying that we hope the family tradition continues for many more years to innovate and shape La Jolla.

For more information on GDC Construction, CLICK HERE.

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Community Spotlight: Alta Vista Properties Inc.

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Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy the Show in Luxury at THE LOT

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THE LOT, San Diego’s newest luxury movie theater, is quickly becoming known amongst locals for fantastic food, comfy armchairs, and weekly specials. THE LOT La Jolla opened September 2015 and a new location, THE LOT Liberty Station opened May 5, 2016 (pictured at top).

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La Jolla Dentists D’Angelo & Olson Celebrate 25 Years Serving the Village

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Chedi Thai Bistro : Flavorful Thai Tastes that Welcome any Budget

Chedi Thai Bistro La Jolla Restaurant Chedi Thai Bistro‘s lunch deals and Happy Hours are becoming famous throughout La Jolla for both their fantastic quality and economic prices. We visited this family-owned La Jolla Thai restaurant to see what the hype was about and were not disappointed.

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