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

Belmont Park in the 1970s.
(Robert Belanzon photo 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 — June 1898

Lu B. Jennings was told by the school board that she would return to teach at Pacific Beach School, 1655 Garnet Ave., for the 1898-1899 school year. Miss Jennings would teach kindergarten through eighth grade for an annual salary of $630.

100 years ago — June 1923

Two different service stations were robbed during the first weekend of the month. At the facility run by R. B. Legg, at 1000 Garnet Ave., thieves made away with several tires and tubes, a number of boxes of cigars, chewing gum and a felt hat.

At 2802 Balboa St. they stocked up with tire patches, spark plugs and cigarettes, according to proprietor J. S. Harris. It is 2802 Garnet Ave. today, and a 76 station has sold gas on that corner for many years. I wonder if there’s been a gas station there for 100 years?

75 years ago — June 1948

Sale of the De Luxe Trailer Park at 4275 Cass St., Pacific Beach, for a price in excess of $100,000 was announced by Harold J. Mann of the Garnet Realty Co. Kenny Ellis, who operated the park for 11 years, sold the park to R. J. Bragg.

The park embraced an entire city block. Some folks went to school there when it became Martha Farnum Elementary. A whole lot of folks have enjoyed it since it became the Earl & Birdie Taylor/Pacific Beach Library.

50 years ago — June 1973

The San Diego City Council directed the city manager to seek proposals on a 20-year lease for operating Belmont Park as an amusement park. The Park and Recreation Board had voted to recommend the lease not be returned, to tear down the wooden roller coaster — one of only two left on the West Coast — and put in a more normal park.

The council could decide to tear it down and put in a grass-type park if it didn’t like the proposals received. Bill Evans, present operator of the park, whose lease would run out the following year, said he will submit a proposal.

25 years ago — June 1998

A Pacific Beach man found out why he couldn’t pump more than seven or eight gallons of gas into his Dodge Ram pickup. The gas tank was crammed with bricks of methamphetamine. A service technician found a plastic-wrapped package in the tank and showed it to a friend, a former El Cajon police officer.

The ex-cop called the drug team, which directed the removal of the truck’s fuel tank. Police obtained a search warrant for the man’s apartment on Olney Street, then jailed him on suspicion of drug sales, transportation and possession.