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flag  History of San Diego, California, USA

Journey back in time to San Diego, California, USA

Visit San Diego, California, USA. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and ancestry.

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San Diego, California, USA - Fifth Street, San Diego, California

San Diego, San Diego, CA

In San Diego, it’s illegal to shoot jackrabbits from the back of a streetcar.

There are fines issued for leaving your Christmas lights up past February 2nd.

The Hotel Del Coronado is not only the oldest wooden structure in the USA, it was the first to feature an electric lit outdoor Christmas Tree in 1904.

There is MUCH more to discover about San Diego, California, USA. Read on!

San Diego Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards

San Diego, California, USA

Fifth Street, San Diego, California

San Diego, California, USA

Inner Court, Ramona's Marriage Place, San Diego, Cal.

"In 1906, businessman and sugar magnate John D. Spreckels acquired the c. 1825 hacienda of Spanish aristocrat and important early San Diego citizen Don José Antonio de Estudillo and funded a restoration of the building that was supervised by architect Hazel W. Waterman. Operating under the name "Ramona's Marriage Place," it opened as a tourist attraction along Spreckel's streetcar line in 1910, and was influential in increasing the popularity of both Mission Revival architecture and the legend of "Ramona," a character from Helen Hunt Jackson's 1884 novel of the same name. The only problem with that scenario is that in Jackson's novel, Ramona was married not in the Estudillo House, but at another building in Old Town, the Adobe Chapel.

Now a museum, the Adobe Chapel, located at 3950 Conde Street, is still the perfect setting to make any wedding a historic occasion..."

San Diego, California, USA

Bennington Monument, San Diego, Cal.

San Diego, California, USA

Boggs Bros

"The 'Diner' is part of an actual train that operated between San Diego and Old Mexico years ago," and that it is "Famous for Steaks - Chicken - Seafoods." Located at the "Corner" of "Pacific Highway and Laurel Street, San Diego," the diner was across from Lindbergh Field (the San Diego Airport), and was also known as the Boggs Brothers Airway Diner, that was said to be "two railroad cars end-to-end with a streamlined locomotive nose," with one of the cars "set up as a 'coffee shop,' with a counter and stools," and the other with "table and booth service." After 1942 the drive-in restaurant portion were added. The Boggs Brothers (Herb and Ray) owned several restaurants in San Diego."

Discover San Diego: History, News, Travel, and Stories

Add informationAdd History/News/Story
  • 1542 - September 28 - Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovers California, at San Diego Bay
  • 1769 - July 16 - Father Junipero Serra founds Mission San Diego, 1st mission in Calif
  • 1854 - San Diego
    San Diego, a post-town, port of entry, and capital of San Diego county, California, on a buy, and on the main road from Sacramento City, about 470 miles in a straight line nearly S. E. from San Francisco. Lat. 32° 44* 41" N. Lon. 117° 8' W. The harbor afforded by San Diego bay is said to be the best on the coast after Acapulco. The bay is about 6 miles long and from 1 to 2 wide. The foreign arrivals at San Diego for tho year ending June 30th, 1852, were 29, (tons, 19,010,) 28 of which were by American vessels. The clearances for foreign ports for the same period were 13, (tons, 5169,) 12 of which were American vessels.
    A New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States: Giving a Full and Comprehensive Review of the Present Condition, Industry, and Resources of the American Confederacy ... Thomas Baldwin (of Philadelphia.) Joseph Thomas January 1, 1854 Philadelphia : Lippincott, Grambo & Company 1854.
  • 1895 - San Diego
    San Diego, a city and port of entry, the capital of San Diego co, Cal, and the second city in population and wealth in southern California, is situated on a beautiful bay of the Pacific Ocean, 450 miles S.S.E. of San Francisco, 127 miles S.S.E. of Los Angeles, and 15 miles from the Mexican frontier. Lat, 32° 41' N. The harbor of San Diego, one of the best in the world, formed by an inlet of the Pacific Ocean nearly 13 miles long, has a depth on the bar of 22 feet of water at low tide. Within its enri (unable to read) have been established a military post, quarantine station, 2 light-houses, a harbor jetty, and other government works and a system of fortifications for the locality has been approved by the war department.

    San Diego contains a court-house, 6 banks, numerous hotels, 22 churches, an academy, 2 female seminaries." and electric street-railways, electric lights, &c. It is on the Southern California Railroad (Atchison system), besides which 5 other railways connect it with... Read MORE...

  • 1897 - March 13 - San Diego State University is founded.
  • 1906
    San Diego, a city, health-resort, and port of entry, the capital of San Diego co., Cal., is situated on a beautiful bay of the Pacific Ocean, 127 miles SSE. of Los Angeles and 15 miles from the Mexican frontier, on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, the San Diego, Pacific Beach and La Jolla and other railroads... The harbor of San Diego covers upward of 20 sq. m. and within its environs have been established a military post (Fort Rosecrans), quarantine station, government works, and a system of fortifications for the locality. San Diego has a mild and genial climate, in which the orange, the fig, and the olive flourish. The equable temperature and balmy atmosphere render this city an excellent place for a sanitarium. The mean January temperature is 54 degrees and August 69 degrees. The city has an important foreign commerce, with several ocean-steamship lines, and various manufacturing industries. Fruits, olive, orange and lemon oils, citric acid, fertilizers, etc., are among the... Read MORE...

  • News  1911 - January 10 - 1st photo in US taken from an airplane, San Diego
    January 10, 1911
    San Diego, Cal., Oct. 11. - Lieutenant WALTER R. TALIAFERRO, stationed at the United States army aviation corps school at North Island, fell 1,800 feet into San Diego Bay today and was killed.

    TALIAFERRO ascended from the army hangars on North Island early today and had been almost continuously in the air, when about 11:30
    o'clock his machine suddenly became unmanageable. The machine came down swiftly and fell into the bay about a quarter of a mile from shore. The water at this point is about fifty feet deep.

    At nightfall divers from the U.S.S. San Diego had failed to bring to the surface the body of the Lieutenant. The aeroplane is fast in the mud 50 feet below the surface and a quarter of a mile from shore. The body is entangled in the machine.

    Witnesses say TALIAFERRO was attempting to loop-the-loop when he lost control of the machine. Strapped fast to his seat, he had no chance to free himself.
    The New York Times
    New York, New York
    October 12, 1915
  • 1916 - October 2 - San Diego Zoo founded
    San Diego, Aug. 8. - (AP) - Five persons are in hospitals as the result of an explosion of acetylene gas that wrecked the plant of the Pacific Acetylene company at Thirtieth and Main Streets and a collision between a fire engine and an automobile as the firemen were answering the alarm.

    The explosion, resulting from unknown causes, demolished the gas plant, doing damage estimated at $36,000. So great was the force of the blast that a nine inch brick wall was thrown out, pieces of the roof were hurled 100 feet into the air, and windows in nearby houses were shattered. RAYMOND HOLST, an employee of the plant and his 10-year-old son, HALTON, were standing in the rear of the building when the explosion came, the former sustaining severe lacerations and burns about the body and the latter having his arm torn off.

    Responding to the alarm of fire that followed the blast, squad company No. 1 collided with a roadster at Twelfth and Market Streets. H. B. HALEY, fire engineer, received... Read MORE...

  • 1928 - March 27 - KGB-AM in San Diego CA begins radio transmissions
    San Diego, Cal., March 5 - Five men were killed Sunday afternoon when the home made experimental monoplane in which they were traveling nose dived 300 feet to the earth at Bernett flying field to avoid a midair smash with a big passenger plane landing at the same time.
    The dead are W. W. BIRD, pilot and builder of the plane, Point Loma.
    RALPH CRAIG, Coronado.
    CHESTER H. KIDWELL, Ocean Beach.
    CLIFFORD DILL, Coronado.
    IRVING THOMAS, address unknown.

    The pilot and his four passengers were thrown against the engine which telescoped through the framework as the plane crashed. All but one of the men were dead when taken from the wreckage.

    Witnesses said BIRD apparently swung away from the field to give room to the passenger plane which had the right of way in landing. As the BIRD plane swung, its nose suddenly tipped forward and the plane half turned as it shot earthward.

    BIRD'S passengers were recruited from among the men around the field.
    The passengers were warned by...

  • News  1937 - March 21 - The first successful flying car, Waldo Waterman's Aerobile, makes its initial flight.
    March 21, 1937
  • January 10, 1949 - Snow was reported at San Diego, CA, for the first and only time since 1882.
    Snow was noted even on some of the beaches in parts of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Burbank reported 4.7 inches, and Long Beach and Laguna Beach received one inch of snow.
  • 1949 - March 16 - KFMB TV channel 8 in San Diego, CA (CBS) begins broadcasting

Discover Your Roots: San Diego Ancestry

Ancestors Who Were Born or Died in San Diego, California, USA

We currently have information about ancestors who were born or died in San Diego.

View Them Now (sorted by year of birth)

male ancestorCoomer SMITH (1800, Scituate, Rhode Island, USA (North Scituate) - 30 January 1852, San Diego, California, USA)
photo of Alphonso TAFTAlphonso TAFT (5 November 1810, Townshend, Vermont, USA - 21 May 1891, San Diego, California, USA)
photo of Llewellyn TRUMANLlewellyn TRUMAN (16 September 1839, Bromham, Wiltshire, England - 8 March 1927, San Diego, California, USA)
photo of Charles Edward VAUGHNCharles Edward VAUGHN (16 May 1843, Shullsburg, Lafayette, Wisconsin, USA - 1 September 1922, San Diego, California, USA)
male ancestorAntoine MASSE (March 1846, Pain Court, Ontario, Canada (Dover South) - 13 July 1925, San Diego, California, USA)
photo of Peter T COFFIELDPeter T COFFIELD (1849, Clark County, Ohio, USA - 13 October 1930, San Diego, California, USA)
photo of Arvilla Mary MITCHELLArvilla Mary MITCHELL (3 January 1852, Xenia, Ohio, USA - 1 February 1932, San Diego, California, USA)
male ancestorUlysses Simpson GRANT (22 July 1852, Bethel, Miami, Ohio, USA - 25 September 1929, San Diego, California, USA)
male ancestorDean Van Rensselaer MANLEY (16 August 1852, Buffalo, New York, USA - 26 May 1937, San Diego, California, USA)

Ancestors Who Were Married in San Diego, California, USA

We currently have information about ancestors who were married in San Diego.

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male ancestorFrederick Ellsworth DAVIS (11 March 1892 - 18 January 1946) and female ancestorMildred Florence Cecilia ENNEKING (16 July 1896 - 3 March 1982) married 4 April 1921
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Updated: 3/6/2023 11:23:28 PM

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