Month in History: Glimpses into Pacific Beach’s past

Braemar, the Scripps family home. The dining room at left is now Rose Creek Cottage on Garnet Avenue.
Braemar, the Scripps family home. The dining room at left is now Rose Creek Cottage on Garnet Avenue.
(Courtesy )

This Month in History is a feature in 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.”

1896 — 125 years ago

At the meeting of the San Diego City Council on Jan. 6, a joint resolution was passed instructing the board of public works to place a water trough at the driving park at Pacific Beach at a cost of $25. The driving park was the race track, where Wyatt Earp may or may not have entered horses. The San Diego Union ran an ad for a monkey fur cape with a seal collar, lost somewhere between PB and the First National Bank downtown. A “suitable reward” would be paid by S.B. Stearns.

1921 — 100 years ago

Four white leghorn cockerel chickens were offered for sale by Whit Rozelle. You’d recognize her house at the northeast corner of Lamont and Beryl. Mrs. V.A. Hinkle advertised for sale her three-room house, with bath and sleeping porch, good garage, gas and electricity for $5,000. “Faces south,” she added. Mrs. Hinkle was the town librarian for many years. You’d recognize HER house at the northwest corner of Law and Ingraham, although it may have still been up the hill on Chalcedony at this time. 15-year-old Walter Fellows was captured in a pig pen in a dog kennel “on a ranch near Pacific Beach” by Deputy Sheriff Otto Langer. He and a companion, 17-year-old Clarence Rudolph, had “borrowed” a Buick 6 in Los Angeles, but managed to drive it down a 26-foot embankment, presumably near the main highway.

1946 — 75 years ago

Braemar, the Scripps family estate, where the Catamaran Hotel is today, “looked like an old English Christmas card” for the annual Scripps-Jessop family reunion on New Year’s Day. Four turkeys were carved for the 68 guests at the traditional feast. All branches of the service were represented, most notably Vice Adm. Frederick Sherman, commanding officer of the 5th Fleet. I wonder if you could keep a horse in your backyard in 1946. A “young buckskin gelding” was advertised for sale in the San Diego Union. Parties interested in the “part hot blood, spirited” steed needed to be experienced riders and should stop by 1518 Thomas Ave. after 4 p.m.

1971 — 50 years ago

Mission Bay High grad Francine LaLicata didn’t wear a bathing suit and didn’t have to display a talent. She became San Diego’s Miss Perfect Smile in a contest held in the Bay Room of the Bahia Hotel. She told the judges she’d had good teeth since she was a child, but no one had ever complimented her on her smile. She was scheduled to reign over the Children’s Dental Health Week Feb. 7 to 13th. The North Shores Umpire School for Youths was scheduled to open on Feb. 8, even though all three instructors were on the injured reserve list. Bob O’Regan was on crutches following knee surgery. Lou Sternchuss and Bob Carroll were also recovering from surgeries.

1996 — 25 years ago

Once again car thieves couldn’t keep it on the road. This time a car was stolen in Pacific Beach and crashed into a fence in National City. It all began when a Mustang was taken from the owner at gunpoint at 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 9. The carjackers headed south on 5, east on 94, and south on 805 with a police helicopter equipped with infrared sensors in pursuit. Reaching speeds of up to 100 mph, the Mustang failed to make the turn at the Palm exit. Police dogs quickly sniffed out suspects who were hiding in the bushes. As my police officer friend Dale Flamand used to say, “We don’t catch the smart ones.”