Kat Carlin – Island Icon

Written by the Coronado Historical Association

Katherine Carlin, Coronado’s unofficial historian, is remembered fondly for co-authoring the book Coronado: The Enchanted Island, which she envisioned as “the telling of the story of our people, their names, accomplishments, and contributions.”

Born ‘Katherine Eitzen’ in 1903 in Pensacola, Florida, she attended school locally before enrolling at Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Shortly after, Katherine met her husband, Thomas F. Carlin, at a Pensacola Hospital where he was recovering from an auto accident. Katherine and Thomas married in September 1926 and moved West, arriving in Coronado in 1928 to make it their life-long home.

Their first residence was at 826 Tolita Avenue. In the mid- 1930s, the Carlins had two children, Mary and Thomas F. Jr. Both parents went into real estate, and in 1938 they built their first home at 1030 Glorietta Blvd. It was around this time that Katherine first became intrigued by Coronado’s unique history.

Thomas died suddenly in 1967. Following the death of her husband, Katherine found herself with more time on her hands and devoted herself to documenting history.

In 1969, Katherine co- founded the Coronado Historical Association. She also took on the self-imposed project of writing a book about Coronado history, filling 20 looseleaf notebooks of information. She was a diligent researcher, documenting her talks with elderly Coronadans and combing through newspapers dating back to 1887.

Katherine would sit at a card table in a room overlooking her garden as she pecked away at an old typewriter, assembling the story of Coronado’s emergence from a sleepy hamlet in 1886 into the bustling town that it is today.

Katherine embraced this project for nearly 20 years until her death on March 24, 1986. Following her untimely passing, Coronado: The Enchanted Island was finished by historian Dr. Ray Brandes and published in 1987. Since then, Four Editions have been published.

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