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

A San Diego, Pacific Beach and La Jolla train circa 1895.
A San Diego, Pacific Beach and La Jolla train circa 1895.
(San Diego History Center)

This Month in History is a feature in 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.”

1895 — 125 years ago

Superintendent Boyd of the Pacific Beach and La Jolla railroad and his 2-year-old daughter Opal both celebrated their birthdays on Oct. 12. A special train was chartered to carry invited guests to the party in La Jolla at 7:15 p.m.

The Pacific Beach Notes column in the San Diego Union found it newsworthy that “Mr. Honeycutt is having a cement walk laid about his home.”

Harry B. French was brought before Judge Bryan, accused by President Nason of the Humane Society of cruelty to animals. It was alleged that French “trotted” his horse from La Jolla to Pacific Beach and back in a race and that the animal was injured. French said he had ridden the horse since the race and that it “was not injured in the least.”

1920 — 100 years ago

Several thousand visitors attended the Fall Flower Show in Balboa Park on Oct. 10. A special prize was awarded to Mrs. Fred Scripps of Pacific Beach “for the arrangement of dahlias in a jardinier.” “The large bronze bowl which contained the red, yellow, orange and bronze dahlias was placed on a table cover of a soft bronze shade. Goldenrod sprays and foliage added to this arrangement brought out a novel effect,” according to the San Diego Union.

The underdog Army and Navy Academy upset perennial County Conference football powerhouse Coronado 26-16 in a match played at the Pacific Beach school on Oct. 29. Brick Crowell, “crippled, bleeding and halted, was a demon,” the San Diego Union reported. The academy ended the season undefeated, having beaten National City High 12-7, Grossmont
42-7 and Escondido High 20-0. The academy occupied the property where Pacific Plaza Shopping Center is today.

1945 — 75 years ago

World War II was over, but apparently they were still training sailors at the anti-aircraft school near PB Point, and the neighbors were tired of the “heavy gunfire.” Commanding officer Lt. M.R. Kuppinger assured folks that the facility, which trained more than 300,000 men during the war, would cease operation by Nov. 1. In a public relations move, Kuppinger later announced that the school was sponsoring an essay and poster contest on “safety in handling firearms and ammunition.” Winning students from La Jolla schools would receive “polished and mounted shells” from which all explosives had been removed. Winners were to be announced on Navy Day, Oct. 27.

1970 — 50 years ago

Peter Millenaar, owner of Pacific Beach Gardens Nursery since 1959, was elected vice president of the California Association of Nurserymen. Pacific Beach Gardens, at 910 Turquoise St. — next to Hammer & Nails Hardware — gave way to condos a few years back.

Charles Williams of 1645 Emerald St. was uninjured when his car was destroyed by fire near the intersection of Grand Avenue and Mission Bay Drive. The blaze may have been caused by a backfire igniting gasoline fumes.

Alfred De Larosa, a worker from Tijuana, was injured a few blocks away when he was struck by a pipe during construction of a sewer line at Garnet Avenue and Mission Bay Drive. Firefighters used a snorkel rig to hoist the injured man out with a sling.

1995 — 25 years ago

Two years before, singer Jewel was living in a van and playing to small crowds at the Inner Change coffeehouse on Turquoise Street in Pacific Beach. But in an article in the Oct. 25 San Diego Union-Tribune with the headline “San Diego’s own Jewel lands a gem of a role,” George Varga shared word that the 21-year-old would play Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz in Concert” at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. Also appearing would be The Who’s Roger Daltrey, Jessye Norman, Carly Simon, David Sanborn, Jackson Browne and actresses Debra Winger and Alfre Woodard.