This Month in History: Glimpses into Pacific Beach’s past

Charles Wright and Faye Baird in Mission Beach
Charles Wright and Faye Baird in Mission Beach
(Courtesy John Fry )

This Month in History is a 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.”

1896 — 125 Years Ago

The San Diego, Old Town and Pacific Beach Railroad inaugurated daily excursions to La Jolla during the month of February, trains leaving the downtown depot promptly at 9:10 AM. Said a snippet in the San Diego Union, “The managers of the road have provided a competent guide, who will look after the comfort and entertainment of the excursionists, explaining and designating the points of historical interest along the route.”

1921 — 100 Years Ago

The Pacific Beach Reading Club met at Hornblend Hall on the 17th. An article in the San Diego Union noted, “Miss Kate Sessions gave a practical and instructive talk with suggestions as to how to make the most of the natural advantages of the place in order to make it even more than it is now the flower growing section of the city.” Members voted to devote a room to serve a branch of the public library.

1946 — 75 Years Ago

20,000 visitors descended on the PB Rec Center on Feb. 22 to celebrate Washington’s Birthday. Hundreds of teenagers created a din that reporters said was “the noisiest this side of Brooklyn during the baseball season.” Scheduled speakers State Sen. Ed Fletcher and Councilman Charles Dail, among others, were unable to be heard over the crowd. The event, sponsored by the Pacific Beach Chamber of Commerce, was originally planned as a field day for children. These kids today!

1971 — 50 Years Ago

An article in the Feb. 12 San Diego Union noted the planned closure of St. Brigid’s Academy, 4711 Cass St. The school, which opened in 1940, as recently as 1966 boasted an enrollment of 330 students. The assistant superintendent of the diocesan department of education noted that the closure of St. Brigid would mean that nine schools in the diocese would have closed in the last three years. The district could no longer afford to pay lay teachers who were brought in to replace the dwindling numbers of Sisters of St. Joseph instructors.

1996 — 25 Years Ago

John Gaines did a nice article about Fay Baird Fraser in the Feb. 26, 1996 Union-Tribune. She loved sports as a youth, playing girls’ basketball. She learned to fly a glider. And she loved to swim. One day, in the summer of 1925, lifeguard Charles Wright asked a 16-year-old Faye if she’d like to try to surf. Their first trip out was a tandem ride on Wright’s 13-foot board. She then tried it by herself on an 8-foot board that weighed 85 pounds. Faye was 5’ 4”. Local youths helped her with the board the first time, but after that she was on her own, lugging the board across the sand on her back.