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

A self-propelled McKeen car stops at the Lamont Street train station in PB around 1915. The photo looks east on Grand Avenue.
A self-propelled McKeen car stops at the Lamont Street train station in Pacific Beach around 1915. The photo looks east on Grand Avenue.
(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 — July 1898

What might have been a serious accident happened on one of the early trains from this city, when a small boy standing on the platform of a coach of the train extended his foot as the train was leaving Pacific Beach and got it caught under the edge of the station platform. He was dragged from the car and was about to fall under the wheels when a man caught him and placed him back on the platform of the coach greatly frightened, but uninjured. (From the San Diego Union - July 5)

100 years ago — July 1923

Miss Mary Scripps and William Gardner Corey were joined in matrimony on July 28 at St. James-by-the-Sea church in La Jolla. Mary Scripps was the daughter of Frederick Tudor and Emma Jessop Scripps and grew up at Braemar, the family mansion where the Catamaran Hotel is today.

William Corey was the son of George and Martha Dunn Corey. Martha Corey was the first woman doctor at the beach and lived for awhile in a home that is today’s Needlecraft Cottage on Grand Avenue.

75 years ago — July 1948

A contract for $159,175 was awarded by the Board of Education to Anderson & Johnson for construction of an assembly-cafeteria, five classrooms, a kindergarten and lavatories at the Crown Point Elementary School. San Diego’s first post-WWII elementary school, Crown Point had only been open for a few months.

A site at the corner of Thomas and Ingraham was dedicated as the new location for the First Methodist Church. The church’s current location, at Emerald and Haines, was purchased by the San Diego Board of Education.

The Mission Bay Motel, at 4221 Mission Boulevard, opened for business as did the Sand and Sea Motel, at 5138 Cass Street.

50 years ago — July 1973

A “midway melee” at Belmont Park on the first day of the month required the assistance of 83 police officers and seven supervisors. The trouble began in the picnic area south of the park, where a seven-band rock concert being held to benefit the Children’s Breakfast Fund of the Chicano Federation drew a crowd estimated at 7,000.

The midway disturbance began in the archery booth. A concession worker said the crowd then moved into other booths, taking prizes such as giant stuffed animals and the cash boxes. Police said seven persons, including four juveniles, were taken into custody in connection with the disturbance. The park, which normally closes at 11 p.m., was shut down at 6 p.m.

25 years ago — July 1998

A 36-year-old woman called police to report that people had been trying to break into her apartment on Jewell Street near Garnet Avenue. Two officers arrived but reported they did not see any suspicious people.

The officers then knocked on the front door and identified themselves as police officers. The resident then reportedly fired a shot through the wooden door. One officer fired back while the other sought cover. The SWAT team went to the residence as a dispatcher called the woman. The dispatcher persuaded the woman to come out. She was taken to a hospital and treated for a gunshot to her arm, police said. One of the officers was injured on the hand by wood splinters.