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Location: On Ocean View Boulevard in Pacific Grove, near 17th Street.

It's hard to dispute the beauty of Lovers Point. But the origin of its name is another matter.

It's a shortened version of "Lovers of Jesus Point," goes one argument, a reflection of church services held there in the community's early days as a religious retreat.

Not so, says the counter-argument. The name refers to its reputation as a good trysting spot.

The keeper of the city's history, the Heritage Society of Pacific Grove, directs questioners to research by Jeanne McCombs, published in a 1986 society newsletter. Her take: While the "Lovers of Jesus" version "holds great charm, it is probably not true."

Seaside services were occasionally held at the point, McCombs said, but the official worship site was near what's now Jewell Park. She also cites early written records that refer to the spot as simply "Lover's Point," including an 1890 newspaper report that says, "If that rocky headland known as Lover's Point . . . had only kept a day book of notes, or rather a night book of observations, how sensational would be its chronicles." She could find no references to "Lovers of Jesus" until the 1950s, well after the church services were held.

McCombs said after her piece was published she heard from angry supporters of the "Lovers of Jesus" version. She remains unconvinced but said "if someone comes up with something that proves otherwise, that's great."


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Maybe the best way to settle it would be to call it by its official name: Point Aulon, Spanish for abalone. Or better yet, forget about the name and just enjoy the place, which has evolved from a barren outcropping to a lively place with bathhouses and a Coney Island-atmosphere, to its current peaceful space.