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

Food Basket, photographed shortly after its opening on Jan. 25, 1951 at Garnet and Mission.
Food Basket, photographed shortly after its opening on Jan. 25, 1951 at Garnet and Mission. (It later became Lucky Market.) A sharp eye can spot Oscar’s Drive-In in the background.
(Courtesy of Pacific Beach Historical Society/John Fry)

This Month in History is a feature in PB Monthly highlighting local happenings from yesteryear. John Fry is a writer, publisher, historian plus 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

January 1897

E.Y. Barnes of Pacific Beach picked 72 boxes of lemons during the month of December from 280 4-year-old trees. The record for the year was 1,200 boxes, netting $1 per box. “Mr. Barnes has erected a curing house and expects to secure even better results in the future,” noted the San Diego Union.

The Barnes family later moved to Julian and switched to apples. You may have shopped at their Manzanita Ranch Market in Wynola. I think they can take credit for Julian’s famed apple pie.

100 years ago

January 1922

Alleging that their flower and vegetable gardens in Pacific Beach were washed out by the December storms, and the City of San Diego is to blame for not providing an outlet for the surface waters on Balboa Avenue, Ernst and Anna Roepke filed the a claim for $1,593.15 in damages.

I mention this mostly because of the attorney they chose to represent them — H. E. Gardner.

75 years ago

January 1947

Los Angeles detectives, having arrested a suspect in the Jan. 15 murder of Elizabeth Short (known posthumously as the Black Dahlia), turned their attention to Pacific Beach, where two waitresses at a restaurant near Balboa and Pacific Highway insisted they’d served Miss Short and the man the night before her death. Miss Short had been staying with friends at 2750 Camino Pradera in the old Bayview Terrace government housing project.

The Black Dahlia murder was never solved.

50 years ago

January 1972

The City Council set Feb. 3 as the date for a public hearing on a proposal by Pacific Beach merchants to make Garnet Avenue one-way for westbound traffic between Balboa Avenue and Mission Boulevard.

Note to readers: Garnet Avenue in 1972 was a four-lane thoroughfare. Trust me, you opened your car door with great care.

25 years ago

January 1997

Vern Taylor announced he was looking for “a few good tenants” to occupy the old Lucky Market site, at the corner of Garnet and Mission, once he got it renovated. Taylor built the original Food Basket, which opened on Jan. 25, 1951. Lucky Market was shuttered on Feb. 13, 1996 fearing it would not be able to compete with the new Ralph’s.

Brandy Melville and Urban Outfitters are the main tenants on the corner today.