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

Professor Edward Snyder and his wife, Mary, lived at 1976 Hornblend St. in Pacific Beach, pictured in 1979 by Howard Rozelle.
(Courtesy of John Fry)

This Month in History is a feature in the PB Monthly highlighting local happenings from yesteryear. John Fry is a writer, publisher and historian and 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.”

September 1895 — 125 years ago

Professor Edward Snyder purchased 12 25-foot lots at the east end of the block surrounded by Lamont Street, Garnet Avenue, Morrell Street and Hornblend Street for $500. The following year he retired as dean of the College of Literature at the University of Illinois and, with his wife, Mary, moved onto the property. Professor Snyder died in 1903 and Mary moved to La Jolla, where she continued to pursue a lifelong interest in seaweed. The Snyder home in Pacific Beach still stands at 1976 Hornblend.

September 1920 — 100 years ago

San Diego city schools reported record enrollment of 12,101 students.

Eighty-four children reported to the three-room schoolhouse on Garnet in Pacific Beach, while La Jolla counted a total of 194. The “Japanese kindergarten” enrolled 25 students. I wonder what or where that school was.

Good news for water users in Pacific Beach and La Jolla came with word that a shipment of seven railway cars of cast-iron water pipe had been put aboard the ship Cape Romaine in Mobile, Ala., and was expected in San Diego within two weeks. A newspaper article noted that rapid growth in La Jolla had reduced water pressure in both communities to the extent that water was limited during certain parts of the day. I expect these are the same pipes that have crumbled in recent years.

September 1945 — 75 years ago

For the first time since the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7, 1941, pleasure craft were allowed to sail out into the ocean, but only for Labor Day weekend, Sept. 1-3, and not near the Pacific Beach Anti-Aircraft Training Center at PB Point.

At the Sept. 18 meeting of the school board, regarding protests against the hiring of African-American teacher William
Payne at Pacific Beach Junior High, 58 out of 59 letters received by Superintendent Will Crawford commended the appointment.

Residents in 1945 pushed back against William Payne’s hiring at Pacific Beach Junior High in 1945 because they argued there were few Black students at the school.

The Service Edition of the Sept. 30 San Diego Union proudly reported that Army Pvt. Adare McAllister arrived in Tokyo the day Gen. Douglas MacArthur hoisted Old Glory over the Japanese capital at the official end of World War II. McAllister grew up in Pacific Beach and went on to teach at Mission Bay High School.

September 1970 — 50 years ago

The Board of Education established an optional attendance zone for Mission Beach Elementary School at its meeting Sept. 9. Residents in the area between Santa Clara Place and Santa Rita Place would be able to send their children to Mission Beach or Martha Farnum Elementary. Before the meeting they were forced to attend Farnum.

A six-month moratorium on high-rise building in Mission Beach and Pacific Beach was approved by the city Planning Commission on Sept. 23. An exception was made on a sliver of land near the freeway for a proposed $4.5 million hospital. Pastor Quentin Garman said the ban would halt his plans for a 12-story complex at Cass and Law streets for low-income senior citizens.

The owner, manager and one dancer at The Jail at 2710 Garnet Ave. sued Police Chief O. J. Roed, among others, on allegations of violating the dancers’ freedom of speech (and apparently freedom to dance in the nude).

September 1995 — 25 years ago

Ralphs supermarket was the first tenant to open in the PB Marketplace, a $15 million project at the southeast corner of Grand Avenue and Mission Boulevard, formerly occupied by a Shell station and the Spice Rack restaurant. Designed by SGPA Architecture and Planning and built by Roel Construction, the 56,214-square-foot, split-level building featured semi-subterranean parking and a “people mover” ramp to access the Ralphs store and Starbucks.

Angry residents from La Jolla to Point Loma were blaming the Navy for the fact that their garage door remote controls were on the fritz. “There are people looking into it,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Bob Herskovitz, a Navy spokesman. “We will find out if it was us, and what it was.” The problem went away, apparently, at the conclusion of two-week Navy exercises off the coast.


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