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

Victory Lanes at 1165 Garnet Ave. in Pacific Beach, circa 1952.
(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 — August 1898

The school district announced that Miss Lu B. Jennings would return as the teacher at Pacific Beach’s one-room school house on Garnet Avenue for a salary of $100 a month. In her charge would be 22 students: three in first grade, four in second grade, six in third grade, four in fourth grade, one in fifth grade and one in eighth grade. No students were enrolled in sixth or seventh grade.

“Bedecked with flags and bunting and eloquent banners,” a railroad car of lemons left the beach, headed for sick soldiers in Santiago, Cuba fighting in the Spanish-American War.

100 years ago — August 1923

Willard Hurbert was named principal and teacher of seventh and eighth grades at the new, multi-roomed Pacific Beach School at 1580 Emerald Street. Emerald was a through street in 1923. Ruth Cooper was assigned to teach fifth and sixth grades, Marion Towley third and fourth, Alma Michenfelder second and Lucy McGirr first.

Samuel Coolidge Yamaguchi was born in Pacific Beach on Aug. 11. Named after Uncle Sam as well as President Coolidge, Sam lived all of his life at the beach until his passing on March 8, 2009.

75 years ago — August 1948

Victory Lanes, the air-conditioned bowling alley at 1165 Garnet Ave., opened on Friday, Aug. 23, 1948. The structure cost $250,000 and also featured a billiard room, lunch counter, soda fountain and cocktail lounge.

The Pacific Beach Library, 4516 Ingraham Street, announced that it would be open an additional afternoon beginning Aug. 16. Librarian Margaret Evans said the site would now be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

50 years ago — August 1973

The Hungry Traveler made Neil Morgan’s “Carousel” column in the Evening Tribune with an item on its breakfast menu called “Eggs Benedict Arnold.” Opened two years earlier as Ivy Farms, the restaurant became the Spice Rack in 1974. It remained a popular breakfast spot for the next 21 years, eventually giving way to Ralph’s Supermarket.

25 years ago — August 1998

San Diego Police Officer Dan Toneck, 29, stopped his police cruiser near Grand Avenue and Ingraham Street at 1:24 a.m. on Aug. 13 to investigate an earlier accident involving a pedestrian. He was getting a camera out of the trunk of his car to take pictures of the accident scene when a drunk driver rammed the rear of his car.

Two hours later doctors at Scripps La Jolla were forced to amputate Toneck’s leg at the knee. He left the hospital two weeks later in a patrol car. With the emergency lights flashing Toneck got on the radio and said he was 10-19 — “returning to the station.”