La Jolla was incorporated into the City of San Diego in 1850, but its international reputation makes it seem like a city to itself. The name is usually translated as "the jewel" and tourists often make their status known when they mispronounce the name using a hard "j." There is also a school of thought that the name derives from an Indian word meaning "the hole" referring to the caves that dot the cliffs. Whatever its origins, La Jolla has become synonymous with cosmopolitan living in San Diego.
The area was vacant land when it was incorporated into the City of San Diego. Settlers didn't really come until the 1880s when Frank Terrill Botsford arrived and began subdividing the land. The original lots sold for about $1.25 an acre--a true bargain compared with the million dollar an acre prices the land commands now.