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

The “Hinkle House” in the 1950s at the northwest corner of Ingraham and Law streets in Pacific Beach.
(Photo courtesy of Jim McCleary)

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

May 1897

The Literacy Club met at the home of Mrs. Victor Hinkle at 1620 Chalcedony St. Built in May 1896, the home was moved around 1926 to the northwest corner of Ingraham and Law streets where it remains to this day.

The president of the Literacy Club was Rose Hartwick Thorpe, who gained worldwide fame as the teenage author of the poem “Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight.” She is also credited with changing the name of False Bay to Mission Bay.

100 years ago

May 1922

The Pacific Beach Chamber of Commerce announced plans to construct a 1,500-foot “pleasure pier” at the end of Garnet Avenue “which carries the pavement through the community to its turn northward to La Jolla.”

The project later became known as “Pickering’s Pleasure Pier” and, when it opened in April 1926, “Crystal Pier.”

75 years ago

May 1947

Looking for a deal on a mess hall? The 11th Naval District offered for sale “Demountable frame buildings, government-owned electrical distribution facilities, a theater-type building, a mess hall and other frame buildings at the Pacific Beach anti-aircraft training center.”

The facility, technically in La Jolla, was on the cliffs along today’s Chelsea Avenue in Bird Rock.

50 years ago

May 1972

At the grand opening weekend of Jack LaLanne’s European Spa, May 18-22, folks were offered an opportunity to have their photos taken with KOGO DJs Ernie Myers and Bill Gordon, as well as Jack LaLanne himself. The spa, at 1019 Garnet Ave., is currently the site of Bad Axe Throwing.

Prices for Mothers’ Day dining around the beach were as follows: Brunch - Vacation Village, $2.95; Catamaran, $3.50. Dinner - prime rib at Sheldon’s, $3.75; Bahia, $4.25; PSA/Islandia, $4.75.

25 years ago

May 1997

The new Earl and Birdie Taylor/Pacific Beach Library officially opened on May 3. At 13,000 square feet, the $3.6 million facility was twice as large as the old library at Felspar and Ingraham.

Be careful what you wish for. The 1997 version of the PB Block Party begun by Eve Smull in 1975 boasted a crowd of 100,000 visitors packed into an eight-block stretch of Garnet Avenue on May 10. The Pacific Beach Town Council, which sponsored the event, decided it had gotten out of hand and voted to discontinue it.