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

Pacific Beach Service Station, where Chase Bank is today, on Garnet Avenue and Cass Street.
Pacific Beach Service Station, where Chase Bank is today, on Garnet Avenue and Cass Street.
(Courtesy John Fry )

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.”

125 Years Ago — 1896

Snippets from the Pacific Beach Notes column in the San Diego Union paint a bucolic picture of the town: “Mr. Rutherford shipped a carload of baled hay to San Diego . . . W. B. Davis shipped forty boxes of choice lemons for which he received a high price . . . The lemon festival held last week was a decided success . . . A few of our local fishermen are meeting with fair success in False bay and along the coast . . . Mr. Hinkle is erecting a handsome two-story residence on a site which commands a grand view of the Pacific Beach, Point Loma, San Diego bay and Coronado Islands (He later moved the home to the corner of Law and Ingraham, where it remains today) . . . Almost every day small picnic parties come out on the morning train to spend the day on the sand dunes and along the beach, returning to San Diego on the 4 p. m. train . . . The young people are enjoying bicycle rides these beautiful moonlit nights, on Grand Avenue and the beach.”

100 Years Ago — 1921

An advertisement for B. W. Sinclair Company caught my eye. They were the San Diego distributors for Dural Tubes, “Guaranteed Never To Leak.” The auto tires were available locally at “Mitchell’s Oil Station, Pacific Beach, L. A. Blvd.” That would be Seth Mitchell’s gas station at Cass and Garnet. In 1921 San Diegans had to drive west on Garnet and north on Cass if they were heading to Los Angeles. I had never heard of it being called “L. A. Blvd.” Another ad offered for sale a “VERY fine Jersey cow, 3 years old, second calf: cheap for quick sale: inquire at gasoline station on Rose Canyon road.” Rose Canyon Road became Pacific Highway, then East Mission Bay Drive and now maybe just Mission Bay Drive.

75 Years Ago — 1946

The speed limit on Garnet Avenue near Bayview Terrace was reduced from 55 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour thanks to a provision passed by the state providing for the limit in federal housing projects. Planning Director Glen Rick said palm trees would be planted at Bonita Basin within a few days. This is today’s Mariner’s Point. 340 Kiwanians and their wives showed up at Brown Military Academy for a dinner at which the Pacific Beach club received its charter.

50 Years Ago — 1971

The first issue of the North Shores Sentinel printed by Publisher’s Offset in Kearny Mesa came out, the firm having abandoned its old linotype printers at the office on Garnet Avenue. The Pacific Beach Town Council seated 11 directors, including a young John Fry. Mel Gorham announced that Gorham Court Apartments, a four-story 106-unit project was under construction in the 800-block of Turquoise. Completion was scheduled for November 1971. Further east, Pacific Beach Medical Associates, a limited partnership, announced plans for the construction of a convalescent hospital with 245 beds at 3060 Bunker Hill St.

25 Years Ago — 1996

In the 19th public hearing on the possible widening of the Mission Beach boardwalk, the City Council on May 28 voted 5-3 in favor of Councilman Byron Wear’s proposal to widen the portion of the boardwalk north of San Fernando Court, while exploring other options, including a ban on bicycles, in-line skates and skateboards.