Here’s some brief stories about notable figures who helped shape Pacific Beach.

Earl & Birdie and Vern & Mary Taylor

Rose Creek Cottage

Kate Sessions

Brown Military Academy – Alumni Association


The Formation of Pacific Beach – PB’s 125 years old in 2011!

Pacific Beach was developed during the boom years of 1886-1888 by D. C. Reed, A. G. Gassen, Charles W. Pauley, R. A. Thomas, and O. S. Hubbell. It was Hubbell who “cleared away the grainfields, pitched a tent, mapped out the lots, hired an auctioneer and started to work”.[3] To attract people, they built a Race Track and a San Diego College of Letters, neither of which survive today. A railway also connected Pacific Beach with downtown San Diego, and was later extended to La Jolla. Visit Wikipedia for much more information about Pacific Beach.

For a more complete history of Pacific Beach visit the pb historical society page.


Take a look at the history of Pacific Beach California starting from the very beginning and going up to present day information.

Pacific Beach – Looking Back

By Eve Smull (Anderson), Beach and Bay Press


1887 – Golden Era magazine touted the glories of our all-but-vacant land just north of False Bay, extolling PB’s “magnificent beach, unsurpassed in California and the bay for yachting, fishing and duck-shooting.” The Pacific Beach Company offered its first 25′ x 125′ lots on December 12, 1887. The land boom extended to neighborhoods throughout the San Diego area. Others who celebrate 1887 as their founding year include Ocean Beach, La Jolla and Coronado.

* January – 1888 – The San Diego College of Letters laid its cornerstone in formal ceremonies. (The site of Pacific Plaza II today.)

* March -1888 – The Pacific Beach Weekly Newspaper was first published. It survived one year. The PB Community Church (now PB Presbyterian Church) rose on the corner of Garnet and Jewell.

* April – 1888 – The San Diego and Old Town Railway was extended to PB. Round trip fare from downtown to the beach was 25 cents and took just 30 minutes.

* May, 1888 – The American Driving Park (racetrack) opened, complete with a grandstand, stables and clubhouse. Wyatt Earp raced his horses there.

In the summer of ’88, world-famous poet Rose Hartwick Thorpe arrived to lend prestige to the “college town.” She wrote a poem about our bay-then know as “False Bay,” renaming it forever “Mission Bay.” Meanwhile, buyers continued to invest in vacant lots.

PB’s boom was short-lived, however. The Depression of the 1890’s saw the collapse of The San Diego College of Letters. Land sales quickly halted as people lost their properties and moved away.

Instead, a “sea of lemon trees” sprouted, as the remaining families turned to farming. Alas, at the turn of the century, lemons from Sicily began to arrive on the East Coast, ending our brief fame as “the Lemon Capitol of the World.”

Meanwhile, O.W. Cotton of the Folsom brothers Realty was still hawking land. In 1904, the realtors turned the former college into the Hotel Balboa, using it to woo prospective clients.

And instead of lemon trees, gingerbread houses began to sprout here and there across two square miles. PB would continue to retain it’s semi-rural, seaside flavor until the beginning of World War II.

JUST $25 A LOT! During PB’s Centennial Celebration in 1987 interviews with older residents included Lenore Carroll. Recalled Lenore, who came to PB in 1904, “Grandma wanted a home, so for $25 a lot, she bought two lots on Shasta Street from Folsom Brothers Real Estate firm.” “We lived in a tent then, no water, no electricity’no nothing!”

“BRAEMAR,” THE F.T. SCRIPPS’ ESTATE The large estate on Sail Bay’s northwest corner often hosted local meetings. Its dining room welcomed the PB Women’s Club before its clubhouse, Hornblend Hall, was built in 1912. That dining room later became the Catamaran Hotel’s Wedding Chapel when Braemar was torn down to make way for the hotel in 1959. In October 1987, the chapel was moved to Garnet Avenue at the foot of Soledad Mountain Road. Renamed “Rose Creek Cottage” it was preserved and restored by PB Town Council members and volunteers.

CRYSTAL PIER”A LANDMARK SINCE 1927 Earl Taylor, a Kansas native, arrived in PB in 1923. He purchased and developed many parcels of land in the business district. Dunaway’s Drugstore was one of the first.

Unfortunately for local dancers, uncreosoted pilings allowed marine borers to nibble the pilings from below, closing Crystal Pier for repairs.

After 10 years of financial hardship that paralleled the Great Depression, the Pier reopened. This time, the midway was gone and 10 motel cottages had been added.

March, 1948: Crown Point Junior Music Academy opens

June, 1953: Martha Farnum Elementary opens. (closes in 1983)

September, 1953: Mission Bay High School opens door to first students!


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