Mount Soledad cross undergoing ‘immaculate’ restoration

The 29-foot-tall cross at the Mount Soledad National Veterans Memorial is under wraps – for now.

The giant La Jolla landmark is currently undergoing a once-a-decade restoration, receiving cleaning, scaffolding, painting and sealing.

The brick work at the base of the cross will also receive some attention.

The restoration began April 22, with the cross being surrounded by scaffolding and shade material and the brick base roped off.

The work is expected to be completed by Thursday, May 16.

The project is being managed by construction company Bernards, with contributions from American Scaffold, OHE Painting and Wallcovering, Stonhard and FS Masonry. 

All the work and materials are being donated by the companies, according to Neil O’Connell, executive director of the Mount Soledad Memorial Association, which oversees the Veterans Memorial.

“We couldn’t be more grateful,” O’Connell said at a May 1 reception to honor those who contributed.

Participating in the restoration project has been “a humbling experience,” said John Atherton of Bernards.

“It’s an example of goodwill, gratitude and American spirit,” O’Connell added. 

When the work is unveiled, “it’s going to be the sharpest looking that the cross has been in 70 years,” said Memorial Association President and Chief Executive Phil Kendro.

Mount Soledad Memorial Cross c 1962. Photo via San Diego History Center.

The cross was erected in 1954; the memorial currently displays more than 6,000 plaques commemorating veteran’s service.

On April 18, San Diego City Council President Pro Tem Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, issued the Memorial Association a proclamation in honor of the memorial’s 70th anniversary.

The proclamation recognizes the significance of the memorial for the San Diego veterans community, LaCava representative Karla Tirado said.

About 1,000 people per day visit the memorial in busy months, O’Connell said, adding that in a weekend, about 3,000 people peruse the plaques and views. 

This summer, “they will see this immaculate cross; they will see this beautiful memorial and what we’ve preserved,” he said.

The Mount Soledad Memorial Association will host its annual free Memorial Day ceremony at 2 p.m. Monday, May 27, at the memorial.

Picture of Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.
Picture of Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.

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