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

The San Diego College of Arts and Letters building stood at the northwest corner of Garnet Avenue and Lamont Street.
Over 125 years ago, the San Diego College of Arts and Letters building stood at the northwest corner of Garnet Avenue and Lamont Street.
(Courtesy of the Pacific Beach Historical Society)

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.” He can be reached at

125 years ago — February 1898

On Friday, Feb. 11, the Aid Society gave a social at the college building. Mr. Van Alstine and son generously furnished music, and it proved pleasant to all and profitable to the society.

William B. Davis has just picked 75 boxes of fine navel oranges from his ranch. As orange trees form but a small part of the ranch, the yield is unusually good, both in quantity and quality, and shows the effect of fertilization and intelligent care.

100 years ago – February 1923

Newly-organized Boy Scout Troop 59 announced five scouts had passed their Tenderfoot tests. They were Thomas Richert, Tudor Scripps, Bentley Birch, Donald Staite and Mendorf Rolff. Tudor Scripps was appointed patrol leader of the Coyote Patrol and Thomas Richert is assistant patrol leader.

75 years ago — February 1948

The formal dedication of Crown Point Elementary School took place on Feb. 13, with the public invited to tour the facility. Beach parents and residents were expected to turn into kids again and play at bingo, bridge, auction and other concessions scattered through the school classrooms. The kindergarten room, at the south end of the building, was rigged up as a snack bar.

50 years ago — February 1973

Pacific Beach was particularly hard hit by a storm that hit San Diego County on Feb. 12. A 60-foot pine tree toppled onto the roof of the Paul Wolf home at 1852 Reed Ave. about 6 a.m. and three other trees in the block also went down.

A home at 1843 Grand Ave. suffered major damage when a huge tree crashed through the middle of the structure occupied by Mrs. Carol Torres. The tree barely missed the crib where Mrs. Torres’ 3-year-old daughter normally sleeps. The girl was spending the night at a relative’s house.

25 years ago — February 1998

Storms pounded the beach throughout the month, with 10- to 20-foot swells reported along the coast the first week of the month. Up to 2 inches of rain fell during the second week.

“We’re selling a lot of wet and dry patch for roofs and actually a lot of caulking,” said Matthew Hegedus, a clerk at ACE Hardware.

The boardwalk along Mission Beach was closed temporarily for safety after the morning high tide sent surf over the seawall and into the front yards of beach homes. The pounding surf also caused scattered flooding and began eroding foundations of the lifeguard station south of Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach. City officials noted that 200 feet of seawall in front of Lahaina Beach Club had pulled away from the boardwalk.