Month in History: Glimpses into Pacific Beach’s past

An early group shot of Troop 135 taken on the steps of St. Brigid Church by Howard Rozelle.
An early group shot of Troop 135 taken on the steps of St. Brigid Church by Howard Rozelle. Father Van Veggel, who headed the church from 1940 to 1968, is in the middle of the top row.
(Courtesy 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.”

1896 — 125 Years Ago

The lofty dreams of Pacific Beach as a thriving college town were put to rest on April 29 when the campus and buildings of the College of Letters at Pacific Beach were sold to Thomas Rhoades for $4,000. The college opened its doors on the 16-acre tract now occupied by Pacific Plaza in 1888, but was hit hard by the economic panic of 1893.

1921 — 100 Years Ago

From the San Diego Union classifieds of April 1 — “Lost — GOLD wrist watch, between Pacific Beach and St Joseph’s hospital. $10 reward. Phone Pacific Beach 344.” I’m not sure if the watch was found and returned, but it’s fun to imagine a time when you could say you lost it somewhere between Pacific Beach and Hillcrest. St. Joseph’s Hospital is better known now as Mercy Hospital.

1946 — 75 Years Ago

A new troop in Pacific Beach brought the total number of Boy Scout Troops in San Diego to 208. The Holy Name Society, of 4735 Cass Street, was named as the sponsoring agency for new Troop 135. I think that’s the address for Saint Brigid Church. Charter members of the troop were Walter Jankowski, James Monahan, David Crawford, William Howey, George Lunetta, James Manz, Ronald Eddings and Preston Mauldin. Frank Lunetta was listed as chairman, with Howard Rozelle and Frank Black as committeemen.

1971 — 50 Years Ago

A headline in the April 4 Union-Tribune blared “14 Robberies Here In 12 Hour Period.” In Pacific Beach that included Parker House Bakery, where clerk Barbara Stein received a phone call at 7:05 p.m. telling her to put money in a paper bag and bring it to the back door. She said she placed $60 in a sack and handed it to a man who was waiting at the bakery’s rear entrance.

1996 — 25 Years Ago

Everything old is new again. An article in the April 25 Union-Tribune discussed rising gasoline prices. It asked, “Is it worth a trip to Clairemont Chevron to get regular unleaded gas for $1.49 a gallon if you live in Kensington? Or should you pay $1.55 at the Thompson Chevron near home?” Other prices quoted were: Sam’s Crown Point Chevron, Pacific Beach, $1.47; Allied Gardens Chevron, $1.51; North Park Chevron, $1.51; Linda Vista Shell, $1.53; Fairmount Shell Service, $1.53; Point Loma Chevron, $1.59; McBride’s Mission Valley A.M.-P.M. Minimart, $1.53; First and Cedar Shell, $1.55.