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

The Barrett family home is pictured in 1910. The two-story structure still stands at 3778 Shasta St.
(Courtesy of John Fry)

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

At the monthly school board meeting, the superintendent submitted his monthly enrollment report. The one-room Pacific Beach School at 1637 Garnet Ave. had 22 students. An almost poetic snippet in the newspaper said “white is the popular color for house painting this season, and when the houses are set in the midst of the green lemon orchards, the effect is very pleasing.”

Extra-low tides at the end of the month caused the San Diego, Pacific Beach and La Jolla railway to offer an excursion rate of 50 cents. “Don’t miss the chance to visit the caves and gather sea mosses,” said a railway spokesman.

1920 — 100 years ago

With only half the returns in, it was clear that San Diego schoolchildren had sold twice as many Christmas seals as they did the previous year. Proceeds from the sale of the stickers went to benefit the San Diego Tuberculosis Association. Students at Pacific Beach Elementary School were credited with selling $25.84 worth of seals.

At the Dec. 21 meeting of the San Diego City Council, a petition for additional streetlights in Pacific Beach was referred to the manager of operations. City Manager Fred Rhodes ruled the next day that more streetlights in Pacific Beach should not be considered “until the allotment for street lighting is fixed in the budget.”

1945 — 75 years ago

Planning Director Glenn Rick asked that the city purchase parcels of land that would give residents access to the beach. One was west of Ocean Boulevard between Grand Avenue and Felspar Street, exclusive of Crystal Pier, and would be about 300 feet wide and 1,200 feet long. Another was about 200 by 250 feet immediately adjacent to the beach between Pacific Beach Drive and Oliver Avenue.

Tom Barrett celebrated his 95th birthday. His son Al Barrett was Pacific Beach’s first postman, delivering mail on horseback — and later in a Model T — all the way to Bay Park. Tom’s granddaughter, Lenore Barrett Carroll, lived on Shasta Street for most of her 97 years.

1970 — 50 years ago

An estimated 10,000 people took part in the Walk for Mankind, a 21-mile trek that ended at Kate Sessions Park in Pacific Beach. Walkers started either at Kate Sessions or Bonita Cove, traveling a circuitous route through Mission Bay Park, Pacific Beach and La Jolla. The walk, sponsored by Project Concern, began at 6:30 in the morning Dec. 12, with participants pledging 1 cent, 10 cents and in some cases $1 a mile. About $70,000 in proceeds went to finance Project Concern’s medical assistance for the needy in several countries.

1995 — 25 years ago

“Flip” Nicklin signed copies of the book “Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises” at the Diving Locker on Grand Avenue, the business founded by his father, Chuck, in 1964. Nicklin, who taught scuba diving here when the sport was in its infancy, got his career break in the late 1970s while assisting a National Geographic photographer in the South Pacific. He took some photos of his own, and two were published in the magazine. It wasn’t exactly Moby Dick, but Nicklin shot photos of a baby white whale while diving off the Azores.