This Month in History: Glimpses of the past in Pacific Beach

This photo of the Pacific Beach Schoolhouse was taken in 1904.
This photo of the Pacific Beach Schoolhouse was taken in 1904.

This Month in History is a new feature in the PB Monthly highlighting local happenings from yesteryear. John Fry is a writer, publisher and historian and co-founder and president of the Pacific Beach Historical Society. He also is the author of “Images of America: Pacific Beach” and “Pacific Beach Through Time.”

125 years ago — 1895

At the board of delegates meeting on July 22, 1895, a “resolution ordering the sprinkling of Old Town and Rose Canyon roads was rescinded and recommendation of the board of public works was adopted, ordering straw manure placed on the most dusty parts of the roads.”

An article in the San Diego Union stated: “Herbert Dabney, general manager of the San Diego, Pacific Beach and La Jolla railroad, has tendered a special train to the resident voters living at La Jolla to enable them to vote for the school election at their precinct in Pacific Beach. The train will furnish free transportation to all voters and will leave La Jolla at 11:45 a.m.”

The city of San Diego had placed on the ballot a proposal to raise a tax of $38,634.75 to build and maintain schools. The election was scheduled for Monday, July 29, 1895, and the Pacific Beach Schoolhouse was designated as the polling place for voters in the First Ward. The schoolhouse was about where Costa Brava is, on the south side of the 1600 block of Garnet Avenue. The voting inspector was F. W. Barnes and the judges were G.M.D. Bowers and Anson Mills.

Franklin W. Barnes and family in 1902 decided that Pacific Beach had gotten too crowded and moved to Julian. You might have visited their Manzanita Ranch store.

100 years ago — 1920

The final meeting of the season for the Pacific Beach Women’s Club was held July 4, 1920, at the clubhouse on Hornblend Street. Among the musical numbers offered were duets by Mildred Hinkle and Dorothy Hatch. Mildred was our first librarian, and the library was conveniently located in the clubhouse. Mildred and her husband, Victor, listed in the city directory as a fruit grower, lived in the lovely Victorian house you can see today at the northwest corner of Law and Ingraham streets.

Barnson Realty Co. announced that “during grand opening week commencing Monday, July 19, we will offer only 150 lots at $100 to $150 each.” It gets better. The ad noted that the properties were “within sight and sound” of “three oil drills at work.” “If oil is struck, your fortune is made!! — if you are fortunate to own property there.” I’m not sure where the lots were, but they would be worth much more than the oil wells, which never produced.

A classified ad stated that “$50 buys exceptionally well-bred Guernsey-Jersey heifer, 5 months.” PB must still have been a small town in 1920, because the address was simply “A Kiser, highway. Pacific Beach.” I assume that was Pacific Highway, still known in 1920 as Rose Canyon Road.

The next ad also caught my eye, though it had nothing to do with Pacific Beach. “Wanted — old and crippled horses or mules at Balboa Park zoo. Tel Joe Mutters. Hillcrest 423.”

75 years ago — 1945

“Lessee asserts no profits at Mission Beach,” read a headline in the San Diego Union on July 11, 1945. “The lessee of Mission Beach Amusement Park told the city council that he is not making money but expects things to improve. The lease made $11,000 for the city in 1944. He projects revenues of $100,000 in 1945. It was also recommended to raise the price of rides 1 cent, from 9 cents and 19 cents.”

50 years ago — 1970

The North Shores Sentinel issue of July 16, 1970, reported that June Sandford replaced Garry Seymour as Town Council president in a ceremony at the Mission Bay Hilton on Saturday, July 11. Bruno Giuffrida was announced as the honorary mayor. PB native Maj. Thomas Swalm, a 1949 graduate of La Jolla High School, was named leader of the Air Force demonstration team, the Thunderbirds. Tom retired as a major general and passed away in 2015.

On July 30, 1970, the Sentinel noted the demolition of the old radio repair shop on Cass Street in which the first meeting of Christ Evangelical Church was held on Dec. 1, 1946. “It was razed to make way for the church’s fellowship hall on Cass Street,” the article said.