Another Side of History What used to be Brown Military Academy, Pacific Beach, 1965 Looking back at what used to be . . . mostly in San Diego and especially Pacific Beach.
66 thoughts on “Another Side of History”
I just discovered your blog and would LOVE to use some of the pieces in the PB Historical Society newsletter.
Not sure my comments on the Lemon groves was saved. In one of your earlier blog posts, you mention the Barnes’ family’s arrival and departure from the beach. When I purchased my house in 1992, there were two of the Barnes descendents who still lived in the 1700 block of Reed, Ed and Willard.
I’m not sure these Barnes are descended from the same family. As far as I know all the descendents of the Barnes (and Thorpes) who were among the original PB pioneers, involved with the College of Letters in the 1880s and lemons ranchers in the 1890s, moved to Fourth and Upas in the 1900s. One branch later went to Pine Hills near Julian.
J.W.Collins was my great grandfathers brother ! I have researched this story for many years, and have family photos and artifacts that would be of interest. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
I actually attended Brown’s Military Academy in the very early to mid 1950s – lol
Hi John, Please let me know where the old Kendall house was down on the bay. Was it right on the corner of Lamont and Crown Point Dr. where the 4 story The Shores at Crown Point is now? Or was it a bit further around the bend toward Campland? Thanks and thanks for your research! Christie Wilding
Hi Christie, The address of the Kendall house was 3995 Crown Point Drive, which would be on the bay side of Crown Point Dr. at about the end of Fortuna Avenue and now in the middle of the Crown Point Villa condo complex. So it was further toward Campland than The Shores and on the other side of Crown Point Dr. There was a small point extending into the marsh there and the house was built on that.
Great blog! Would like to know where to find Charles Collins’ biography–is it accessible online? Thanks!
Thanks. I found his story in Charles Collins: The Sioux City Promotion of the Black Hills. It’s a PDF file you can download and save.
My grandfather lived at 4811 Pendleton St from 1939 to 1959. I have pictures I can share if you are interested. Do you have any info about that time period? Thanks.
During most of that time period, from 1941 to 1959, that address was surrounded, south of Chalcedony and west of Pendleton, by the Bayview Terrace public housing project. This was a community of over 1000 ‘demountable’ homes, basically plywood bungalows meant for workers in the aircraft factories downtown and their families, complete with an elementary school and community center. After 1959 the public housing project was upgraded and is now the Admiral Hartman Community for military families. 4811 Pendleton was in the partial block north of Chalcedony and east of Pendleton which is cut off by the canyon that Soledad Mountain Road runs through now and was left out of the project. In those days there was no development northeast of that block. Thousands of people passed through the Bayview Terrace project and many ended up settling in PB, so there is a good bit of information about that area in that time period. Was your grandfather William J. Brennan? Did he have anything to say about those days? I would definitely be interested in any pictures you could share.
I am looking for a map to locate Lots 26 and 27> Block 2>Second Fortuna Park Addition. They were once owned by a great Uncle who died and passed them on to his brother, my great grandfather. 1907ish.
I emailed a copy of the subdivision map for Second Fortuna Park showing Block 2, Lots 26 and 27 and modern street names. It looks like that property would be about 4024 Promontory today. I see from city lot books that Herbert B. Scott owned it until about 1908 then it passed to C. M. Scott.
Great articles John. I remember the house at 4811 Pendleton. They had about a half dozen goats penned up along the canyon rim on the north side of the house and just to the east he kept a large monkey or chimp in a cage ! The Jackson house at the north end of Noyes, 4990 I believe, had unusual animals also. We lived in a Bayview Heights house on the corner of Olney and Chalcedony from about 1945-6 up until the houses started being dismantled. Found your blog while looking for information on the big fig tree that dominated that neighborhood. At that time the kids could climb and play in that tree. It was a great place to be a kid.
Thanks, Bill. I hadn’t heard about animals. Did you find out anything else about the big tree?
Are you the Bill Crowley from St Brigid, class of 1960. I knew the Bill Crowley who lived in the house on the SE corner of PB Drive and Gresham.
Wow! I love your extensive research of PB. I have a few questions for you…well, actually about 100 questions! I grew up on Foothill Blvd in the 50s,60s, and 70s, and now I am back there caring for my mom. I am passionate about the history of my hometown, and would love to chat with you.
I MISTAKENLY left my comments in the WRONG section-under bookshelf; please change to ‘another side of history’ section IF POSSIBLE -sorry!~ first time here and loving it !
I tried but couldn’t find a way to change the subject of your previous comment to what you intended. Your own clarification here should point a reader to the section, Bookshelf, where your comment is posted. And thanks for the comment.
I drove by the nothwest corner of Hornblend and Morrell Street. It looks like most of the lot has been recently cleared, leaving only a boarded-up very old structure.
Is this the location of the Passion Fruit Ranch, instead of the NE corner, which has no old structure.
Anyone know anything about this location, if it wasn’t the Kumm house?
I went by there today. The cleared lots and boarded-up house are not on the corner but about 1/3 of the way down the 1900 block of Hornblend, on the north side; I think the address would be 1956. This house was built in 1929 or 1930 for Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Davies, who founded a linen supply company in San Diego in 1911 and bought the SE quarter of this block (lots 21-29) in 1917. This is not the location of the passion fruit ranch, which was the NE corner of the intersection. I believe that the house there now, 2004 Hornblend, is where the Kumms lived. It may not look old, but I think that is because of the mansard facade which hides the old-fashioned hip and valley roof (you can see the roof with the satellite view on Google maps). Other features of this house, like the brick chimney, also look old to me. It has obviously been remodeled, but I think it is basically the house built there in 1904 for H. J. Breese. By the way, the two-story house on the west side of Morrell is definitely old; it was built in 1896 for the Snyders.
My name is Dave Sandler. I’ve been a 5th grade teacher at Pacific Beach Elementary for 23 years now and want to pass on the history of Pacific Beach to my students. Was hoping you could contact me when it’s convenient for you.
Appreciate your time!
ANYBODY REMEMBER THE TENDER TRAP BAR
IN P.B. NEED PICS BACK IN 1967
ANYBODY REMEMBER THE TENDER TRAP BAR
IN PB 1967
Don’t actually remember it but it was where Cass St. Bar and Grill is now in the 1970s.
anybody remember the villa restaurant on mission blvd in the mid sixties between gordon and smith surfboards and the quiet village tavern any pics of that block would be fantastic my parents owned it!
have any information when Torrey Pines Road between La Jolla and UCSD was paved, also information on all bridges that existed on Garnet Ave over Rose Creek before 1939.
Can’t say I remember it but I find it in the city directory, at 4654 Mission, from 1959 to 1964. In 1962 the directory even called it Villa d’Petrucelli, then it was the International Villa. It looks like it would be the south half of Dirty Birds now. I don’t have any pics but I’ll keep looking.
A rough road up Hog Canyon to the Pueblo Farm (where the city raised hogs on garbage collected from homes and businesses) had been improved in 1917 as a detour while the Biological grade on the coast highway between La Jolla and Torrey Pines was being paved. Even after the Biological grade was paved many motorists preferred the Hog Canyon alternative route, and it was also widened and paved in 1928. To spare the sensibilities of La Jollans Hog Canyon was renamed La Jolla Canyon and the La Jolla Canyon Road was renamed Torrey Pines Road in 1930.
The Pacific Beach railway crossed over Rose Creek on a bridge along what is now the route of Garnet Avenue from 1887 to 1907. That bridge was washed out at least twice by floods and rebuilt, in 1889 and 1895. In 1906 the city council adopted an ordinance directing the board of works to build a bridge over Rose Canyon Creek, near the race track, on the road to La Jolla. In 1915 an emergency ordinance appropriated $4000 for construction of a concrete bridge across Rose Creek near Pacific Beach; a storm had made the old wooden bridge unsafe. This may refer to the bridge on Garnet Avenue, but if so the concrete bridge was apparently never built. In 1916 the city voted on a bond issue of $50,000 for the acquisition, construction and completion of two steel bridges, one across the San Diego River at Old Town and the other across Rose Creek on Grand Avenue Pacific Beach (as this section of Garnet was known then). The bridge bonds were defeated by a decisive majority. In 1929 repairs were completed on the Balboa Avenue bridge on the coast highway between Old Town and Pacific Beach (after being Grand, it was Balboa Avenue before it became Garnet). After these repairs there would be a 10 MPH speed limit over the bridge; reconstruction of the bridge to make it safe for faster traffic would be deferred until the causeway over Mission Bay was complete, since closing it would be a hardship for PB residents (the causeway was completed in January 1931). In 1939 preliminary plans for a new Balboa Avenue bridge over Rose Canyon Creek were completed. It would replace an 18-foot-wide wooden structure that had been washed out several times. The new bridge would be 40 feet wide and the plan was to keep traffic moving by building the north half before tearing down the old structure and building the south half in its place. Apparently this plan was started but then not finished, at least not right away. In 1943 the city council requested estimates for completion of the Garnet St. bridge over Rose Creek from the city engineer. According to the San Diego Union, an old wooden bridge, wrecked by storm waters several years ago, was replaced by a new concrete bridge half as wide as the street and the PB chamber of commerce had requested the other half be built.
I lived in PB in the 80’s and loved it, though no longer there I still consider it home and visit at least once a year. I have so many memories of PB, in fact, I wrote my name on new pavement along Mission Blvd in 1986 and it’s still there today! Rents are not what they used to be, in 86 I rented a huge fully furnished studio near Felspar and Cass for $300. I worked in a few places on Grand, Garnet and Mission. What an amazing time of life
Could you please provide the references that were used for the write-up on the Encinitas copper mines? I’m working on a study of the copper deposits and would like to know where to find more information on the mine workings in the mid-1800s. Thank you!
Wow! Stumbled on your blog and LOVE IT!
SO much history about the town I grew up in!
My dad bought a brand new house on Loring Street in 1942 for his parents when he was 19 (he was helping support his family.) It’s still in our family, my brother lives there now.
We grew up in a house my dad built in 1954 at the corner of Soledad Way and Soledad Road.
(Moved back home a couple years ago after my parents’ passing.) There were only a few houses on the street in 1954, and the vacant lots at the time were owned by a family that still resides on the street.
I remember when Soledad Road was paved…my dad got a few large boulders from that project during construction (still sitting on the corner of our property!)
So I’m reading that Frank Sessions (Kate’s brother) owned the land we are on and had a reservoir near our home, filled by a pump at the PB Reservoir, which he used to grow poinsettias in the area. I would be interested in any additional info you may have regarding this.
I remember as little kids looking over our fence on (unpaved) Soledad Road, watching soldiers march up the hill (from Brown Military Academy?)
Good times back then!
Thank you for this wonderful blog!
The information came from news stories in the archives of the San Diego Union and Evening Tribune, and from claim filings recorded in the Miscellaneous Records books at the San Diego County Assessor Office. The news archives are available online, and are word searchable; go to the San Diego Union-Tribune web site, News, Archives and select 1871-1983. There is a monthly subscription fee, about $20, to actually view pages it finds. You can view the Miscellaneous Records at monitors in the Assessor’s office, downtown or other locations around the county. That’s free. I can give you the book and page numbers if you’re interested.
Thanks for the comment. Yes, Frank Sessions owned that land, the north 37 acres of the west 74 acres of Pueblo Lot 1785 (Kate Sessions Park is the east 86 acres) and he built a reservoir there. He got permission from the city to install a pump at the PB reservoir and pump water uphill to his reservoir and used it to irrigate his poinsettia fields, which apparently also included some of what is now the park, which he leased from the city. When he left the area and Kate Sessions acquired his property she turned the reservoir site (and an easement for Soledad Road and for the pipeline) over to the city. The deed describes the property as a 342 by 70 foot rectangle at the NE corner of his land, which corresponds closely to the lot at 5402 Soledad Road; your neighbor, I suppose. I’ll email you a photo of the reservoir; it was a pretty big hole in the ground. Do you remember any sign of it? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was where that tennis court is now.
I remember the soldiers marching on the road too, but I remember that they were marines and they were marching down the hill, from Camp Matthews to MCRD. Do you remember a ‘frog pond’ halfway up to the cross?
Wow, great info…thanks!
I’m gonna inform my “tennis court” neighbor about the the old reservoir on his property. I think you’re right…prob built the tennis court on top. I also want to investigate the area for any other signs of the reservoir.
Oh you’re right about the marines marching down the hill…I just remember all their gear and us kids pretending to be marines with our gear.
I don’t remember a frog pond…just the remains of a “haunted” chicken ranch in the canyon west of us.
In your article on sidewalks you didn’t mention the fact of the names of the P.B. streets being imprinted on the curbing. Back in the day when I did a lot of running I’ve seen most of them including Allison(Mission Blvd.) and Pacific Drive (Pacific Beach Drive). Unfortunately when the street corners were remodeled many of those imprinted sections of curbing were removed in the demolition process.
I don’t think they did imprint the street names on the very first curbs. That came later, in the 1920s. I particularly like the ones where the street names have changed since the curbs were imprinted, like Allison and Pacific, but also Hyacinth (Opal) and Frontera (Riviera). A lot of the imprinted curbs are also illegible now because they have been coated in red paint so many times.
Came to your site accidentally. Our family lived on Chalcedony in 1940, then Agate in 1946 and Beryl in 1953. Yes I remember the Morton Bay Fig and the farmhouse behind on Lamont and the lima bean fields (and frog pond).
How about the Devoid Dairy up the canyon which is now Vickie Drive? They farmed and raised chickens and milk cows. That was a fun hangout.
Remember PB, BEFORE the beach-surfing-real estate mode invaded all of SoCal beach/coastline started to whip up, circa late 1950’s?! Trailer courts, Neighborhood BARS and gas stations on every block, it seemed! FOOD BASKET SUPER MARKET, Oscar’s drive-in restaurant & the CAR HOPS! Nobody back then, wanted to live near the ocean ’cause it was cold, foggy and damp. Bikini bathing and the ‘surfing scene’ would not really take grip until the late 1960’s! As little boys , some of us played pirates in Tourmaline Canyon when it was natural and practically untouched– before the surf park was carved out of it.. the soda fountain at DUNNEWAY DRUGS STORE in the classic Historical Brick Building, here still standing (2019) on the PB LANDMARK CORNER OF CASS & GARNET.2 blocks up , the post office now stands where the most loved ROXY THEATER; its’ ghostly marquee flashes out it’s colored lights to us, STILL!.. on some dark nights, you can STILL see it? ! Showing double-features, continuous from noon, and also a special Saturday KID s matinee !! Yes, remembering the then- peaceful , uncrowded past of PB and San Diego., like it seems every generation will spend memory time there , recalling youth. I am so gratefully happy for life spent here in paradise. More memories to share later, just wondered what some of you HERE might recall also, any memories of the above mentioned, OR-!? Thanks!
I do remember that.
Thank you SO much for the info on the DeVoid Dairy in Bone Canyon. Reading through it absolutely made my day! Your research is very impressive. As a kid, Gary DeVoid was one of my “buddies” and we spent lots of time roaming the sagebrush hills.
Here’s a rumor for you: Sports Arena Blvd is as wide as it is because it was laid out as an alternate airfield to Lindbergh Field during WW-II. Note it is aligned to prevailing winds and was surrounded by plywood government housing projects at the time… no other need to be so wide. Worth looking in to?
I didn’t know about that dairy until your comment and a discussion on John Fry’s facebook page, but it turned out to be an interesting story. Before Bone Canyon the DeVoids had been in Cardiff and I think they went on to Santee or Lakeside, somewhere out there. Sports Arena Blvd was the right-of-way of the electric railway line to La Jolla between 1923 and 1940 but after that it may have had another role, I’ll have to check out that rumor. The whole area there was another one of those federal housing projects, Frontier, like the Bay View Terrace and Linda Vista projects. Let me know if you have any other rumors; I’m always looking for ideas.
hello! we are the new owners of 3500 jewell. I would love to talk with you about how we sought and hoped for historic designation for more than a year and were denied, mostly based on the home’s extensive 1970’s remodel (a sizable chunk of that remodel is shown in the street view picture you have posted). based on the lack of historic relevance, we added a basement (which you cannot see from the east facade, only a southern-facing light well) and second story which we set back from the original home to intentionally show the original home’s roofline and chimney. the living room still has the original beams. we’re happy to share the history of the home with you, including the correct architect name. I think you will be interested in this other side of history. 🙂 love the blog! thanks for all your work!
Thanks for the comment. Sorry to hear that you were denied historic designation. Was the original home just the relatively small house facing Jewell and did the 1970s remodel change its character, or was it just an addition? I did notice your remodel recently and was happy to see that the part on Jewell, which I assumed was the original home, looked like what I remembered and what I assumed it had always looked like, especially the signature chimney. I would definitely be interested in learning more about the history, especially details like the architect.
Hello! I read your excellent history on the “People’s Ordinance” and with everyone looking into the history of the Spanish Flu these days, I wondered if you came across any sources that linked the push for free garbage collection to the pandemic. I see from your history that it had much more to do with the money that was being made by selling waste to hog farmers but I wondered if maybe the connection was made during the campaign leading up to the April 1919 referendum.
I did not run across anything which tied the ‘people’s ordinance’ to the flu, which had run its course in San Diego by April 1919. Mostly, residents were unhappy about paying a fee for garbage collection when the garbage company profited again by feeding the garbage to their hogs, so they voted to make it a free municipal service. I am preparing another piece about the Spanish flu in San Diego and I’ll take another look at a possible link.
I would like to take this publishing to video.
i also wish you had a contact page.
I love the history you have to share and think it would be great for video.
Thanks for sharing so much history!
Do you have any more info on the Ocean Front subdivision?
I do, at least for the early days. I am working on a story about PB’s first black residents, a family who originally worked for F. T. Scripps at his Braemar Manor estate in the first decade of the 20th century. Scripps subdivided Ocean Front in 1903 and in 1906 he built a house there, presumably a rental, still standing at 867 Missouri. In 1908 he sold the house to one of these family members and another bought the only other house in the subdivision in 1920, at 936 Diamond. Between 1924 and 1930 another black family owned property at 812 Diamond, which was operated as a dance hall for ‘colored people’ only. Up until 1930 these were the only improvements in Ocean Front. I would be interested in any information you might have.
I have really enjoyed reading this blog and learning more about the history of PB! I have been in contact with the PB Library and John Fry looking for information about notable residents of color, in particular black folks. I see that you are working on a story about PB’s first black residents and I would love to learn more!
Whoops – forgot to link the Black Brown PB Instagram account I run! I am hoping to launch a historical series with posts each Friday.
I should have my story out in a couple of weeks. I’m only writing about the early black residents, before about 1940, and there were only a few. First a couple of families from Southern states bought lemon ranches in the eastern part of PB about 1900 and brought their ‘colored’ servants with them. Then F. T. Scripps staffed his Braemar Manor estate, where Catamaran is now, with a black family, who later bought homes in his Ocean Front subdivision. Another black family moved to Ocean Front in the 1920s and ran a dance hall there,’for colored people only’. A black couple lived in a remote corner of northeast PB, Pendleton St., in the 20s and 30s, where they raised rabbits. That’s the quick summary. Do you have any other information? I’ll check Instagram for your posts.
Reading the article about P.B.’s first Black residents brought a question to mind.
In the 70s, at Christ Lutheran Church there was a Frank Tate, I’d guess at that time he was in his 60s, who was employed as the church sexton (caretaker). He lived in an apartment above the church hall that was constructed in the early 70s. He had very poor eyesight, he was a very outgoing guy who seemed to know everyone in Pacific Beach.
Would you know if he was related to the Tates in the article?
Elliott Tate had a son named Frank S. Tate who born about 1923 and grew up in the house at 936 Diamond. The 1958 city directory lists a Frank S. Tate residing at 936 Diamond as custodian at Christ Lutheran Church. I think the Frank Tate you knew as sexton at the church in the 1970s must have been Elliot’s son.
Wow! So much info here. My little house on Thomas was built in the 30s, and it’s fascinating to see what it was like back then and the decades before. Thanks for all the hard work.
I remember Frank Tate, the sexton at Christ Lutheran. I went to that church from 1960 to about 1980. After I graduated college I got jobs as a choir director at Miramar and so no longer attended and when I moved to a different neighborhood by SDSU changed churches. Frank was a favorite among all of the children. He loved them and you can’t fool children. He was quite animated and told great stories and never condescending. He seemed ageless. While the gray gradually creeped in he still seemed as young as he ever was.
I’m wondering when hotels and motels started popping up and it became a seaside destination to visit? Specifically the pink beach motel that was situated at the end of Reed Avenue pretty much on the beach…
I came across this site searching history of PB. I see a photo of your house on Diamond across from Brown’s Military Academy. My Dad grew up on Diamond, Bob Rule. My grandmother was the nurse at Brown’s, June Rule. Did you know of them?
I can’t say that I did. I see that June and Bob lived at 1560 Diamond, which is a couple of blocks from where I lived across from Brown’s but only a couple of doors down from the Haskins house at the corner of Diamond and Ingraham. Your grandmother must have had some stories to tell about Brown’s.
PB native here… . I’ve learned so much about this place reading your website.
Hey, how about some research/writing/photos regarding the landfill in Mission Bay South Shores that operated in the early 1950s? Still can’t believe the people of that day thought it was totally cool to bury horrible chemicals so close to homes and the water. What were they thinking?
While you’re at it, some of your fine research/writing on Pike’s Airport would be welcome too.
I’ll see what I can find out.
Hi John: I’m still trying to find any pictures/info of the trailer park at the foot of Garnet Avenue, on old Ocean Blvd @ the pier. One photo, the only one shown @ SD HISTORY , is taken of the South side and shows nothing but the edge and a sign that says ”Trail’s End”! I remember in the 50’s there were a few bars across the street, and of course the FOOD BASKET building…still there on the corner! Sorry to see DENNY’s restaurant close down–what a local landmark it has been since then! Any other photos (someone out there just might recall!) from the that era, so long ago, and getting SO farther away from us, for sure! Also, any photos/ memories of our infamous theater the ROXY. Thanks!
According to San Diego city directories the address of the Trail’s End trailer camp was 721 Grand Avenue (on the south side of Grand) from 1938 to 1940 and it was owned by C. H. Treffenger. The directories also show that Chas. H. Treffenger had a gas station at 801 Garnet Avenue (SE corner of Garnet and Mission Blvd), so possibly Mr. Treffenger operated the trailer camp on much of the property west of Mission between Grand to Garnet (although there were homes on Hornblend St. there and a restaurant at the SE corner of Garnet and Ocean Blvd since 1926, the building that later became Maynards). From 1941 to 1957 there was a tourist camp, auto court, trailer camp or trailer court listed at 711 Garnet, probably taking the place of the former Trail’s End. The Food Basket was opened in January 1951 and the bars on the north side of Garnet opened in the next few years. I’ve seen the photos of Trail’s End at the history center but couldn’t find them now with their new system and don’t know of any others. I actually lived in a trailer park in PB from 1948 to 1950, but a few blocks further east, at Cass and Reed – the De Luxe Trailer Park. I have photos of that, and memories of the Roxy.
From: Peter B.
Info on PB’s Martha Farnum Elementary School:
Adding to the response “Steve” on May 11, 2022
I grew up in my parents’ home at 1060 Oliver Ave, from my birth (1937) through graduation from La Jolla HIgh School in 1955. In my early days to 1957 the full block now occupied by Martha Farnum Elementary was a high density, residence trailer park with many tall eucalyptus trees. During WW-2 my mother would send me to buy milk at the small store near the center of the trailer park. I also recall a small grocery store outside the trailer part at the SW corner of Thomas Ave. and Cass St. that survived for several more years after the closure of the trailer part.
I also recall that the home lots on south side of the 1000 block of Reed Ave, i.e., just to the south of the trailer park, were sold as a bloc by the Scripps family to a home developer some time soon after the start of WW-2. These new homes along that part of Reed Ave. were rapidly occupied.
Finally, at the east and west sides of Cass Street at Reed Street, there were attractive rock standards facing north and south along Cass Street identifying entry to the Braemar subdivision. It took me several years at that time to gain enough courage to climb to the tops of these structures!
Thanks for the info Peter. That trailer park with the eucalyptus trees was my first home, from 1948 to about 1950. My wife was in the first kindergarten class at Martha Farnum; she grew up on the south side of the 1200 block of Reed. I remember the rock gateposts for Braemar too. The shorter sections inside of the sidewalks are still there. I believe the house you grew up in is historic too, one of the Tudor-style Braemar originals built by Scripps and/or his agents Barney & Rife in 1926 or 1927.