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

The Nite Owl and the Mobil Station in 1979. Enterprise Car Rental now occupies the corner where the Mobil Station stood.
(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.” He can be reached at

125 years ago — March 1898

For three days the people of Pacific Beach were deprived of their water supply. The water company, when complaint was made, said it was caused by a broken pipe.

The case of Mabel Rowe v. the San Diego, Old Town and Pacific Beach Railway Company was dismissed in the Superior Court. Miss Rowe had sued the railway for injuries suffered when her horse fell into a ditch near the railroad tracks.

100 years ago — March 1923

Noah Lentz, of 2004 Hornblend Street, reported the theft of 40 Rhode Island Red chickens valued at $100 in the middle of the night. How the hens could be removed without making enough noise to awaken the neighbors is a question which the police had not decided.

Bids were opened at the March 5 school board meeting for the “construction of a grammar school at Pacific Beach.” Five firms submitted bids for the facility that is now Pacific Beach Middle School on Ingraham Street. The low bid was $50,364 and the high bid was $54,451.

75 years ago — March 1948

Through the arrest of four boys in a stolen car, police rounded up 22 Pacific Beach teenage youths who admitted many raids on beach community homes and business establishments in recent months.

Their ringleader boasted of repeatedly stealing from a change box at the Crown Point Grocery, 3503 Ingraham Street. He said they went to the rear of the store on the pretense of using the phone and took money from a nearby coin container.

50 years ago — March 1973

Karen Chorak, 20, was chosen Miss Pacific Beach at the Catamaran Hotel on March 17. KFMB’s “Happy Hare” Martin served as master of ceremonies.

Runners up were Julie Ann Jones and Gail Lund. Chorak, using the stage name Toni Naples, went on to a minor career in Hollywood.

25 years ago — March 1998

Patrons scattered when the Vice Squad entered the Nite Owl lounge, 2772 Garnet Ave., but officers still nabbed nine of them for violating the new “no smoking in bars” law. Capt. Hank Olais said it was the first time San Diego Police enforced the law, the fine for which was $100.

Nite Owl owner Helen Evans said patrons would be forced to smoke outside, next to the gas pumps at the Mobil Station.