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

This 1951 Howard Rozelle aerial looks north to the intersection of Diamond and Ingraham streets.
This 1951 Howard Rozelle aerial looks north to the intersection of Diamond and Ingraham streets. Pacific Beach Elementary, which a year earlier became Pacific Beach Junior High, still got mail at 1580 Emerald Street. Across the street, and a little bit west, was the Methodist Church at 1505 Emerald.
(Courtesy of 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 — May 1898

The city schools reported 3,619 pupils between the ages of 5 and 17, with 436 of them in the First Ward — Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach and La Jolla.

The interior of the community’s church has been tastefully painted and papered and is now very attractive. Many thanks are due the Ladies Aid Society for this, as well as for other improvements.

Mr. Manning has purchased the 2 1/2 acres set to deciduous trees lying just west of the church. He expects to build at once and move upon the place.

100 years ago — May 1923

The city is to take over the old right-of-way of the Los Angeles & San Diego Railway through Pacific Beach, according to an ordinance sent to the common council by City Manager Rhodes asking for an appropriation of $1,500 to pay for the same. The right-of-way is to be used for street purposes, it was stated.

The proposed road to La Jolla and Los Angeles through Pacific Beach was never built. (Actually, it was built to La Jolla, later became the right-of-way for the streetcar, and some of it today is the bike path north of Bird Rock.)

75 years ago — May 1948

The board of education offered the Pacific Beach Methodist Church $36,000 for its property and six months occupancy, effective July 1. Now acquiring Pacific Beach property for school expansion, the board named the figure as a compromise offer. Church directors originally asked $45,000 for the property, then came down to $38,000.

The church moved to its present site at Thomas Avenue and Ingraham Street. The old location is now the very attractive athletic field on Felspar Street, south of Pacific Beach Middle School.

50 years ago — May 1973

Meeting in Santa Barbara, the California Coastal Zone Conservation Commission upheld the granting of development permits for the construction of three condominiums in Pacific Beach. The condominiums are to be built at 3747 Yosemite Street, 1225 Pacific Beach Drive and 1130 Pacific Beach Drive.

Pacific Beach Planners opposed the projects because they said the three would aggravate what the group believes to be Pacific Beach’s overpopulation problem.

25 years ago — May 1998

There were no near-riots, no out-of-control rock concerts, no police officers trying to gain the upper hand. And there were few arrests compared to the previous year at the 23rd annual Pacific Beach Block Party held May 9, reported the San Diego Union.

From a crowd estimated at 60,000, 18 people were arrested for alcohol-related offenses, including 13 who were cited and released and four who were sent to detox. It could have been the cloudy skies and brief showers that tamed the masses, but more than likely it was a new strategy that paid off — increased security, no more beer gardens and added family-oriented activities.