San Diego in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to America's Finest City

San Diego in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to America's Finest City

by Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration, David Kipen (Introduction)


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520275386
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 04/16/2013
Pages: 156
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

The Federal Writers Project (FWP) of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) not only provided jobs and income to writers during the Depression, it created for America an astounding series of detailed and richly evocative guides, recounting the stories and histories of the 48 states (plus THE Alaska Territory and Puerto Rico) and many of the country’s major cities.

David Kipen has written the introductions to reissues of the WPA guides to Los Angeles, San Francisco California. He is Southern California Public Radio's book correspondent, and the founder of a lending library/used book store east of Downtown Los Angeles called Libros Schmibros. Past book editor/critic of the San Francisco Chronicle and director of literature at the National Endowment for the Arts—where he led the Big Read initiative—Kipen is the author of The Schreiber Theory: A Radical Rewrite of American Film History, and the translator of Cervantes’ The Dialogue of the Dogs.

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San Diego in the 1930s

The WPA Guide to America's Finest City

By David Kipen


Copyright © 2013 The Regents of the University of California
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-520-95465-6



Railroad station: Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry., Broadway and Kettner Blvd.; downtown ticket offices, Fifth Ave. and B St., four trains daily for Los Angeles and points E., connecting at Los Angeles with the Southern Pacific Lines, for points N.; San Diego and Arizona Eastern Ry. (Southern Pacific Lines), 300 Broadway; one train daily for Calexico, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz., where it connects with trains E.; Union Pacific Ry., ticket office, 345 Plaza.

Airports: Lindbergh Field, Pacific Hwy. and Laurel St., on US 101; United Air Lines and Western Air Express, 5 scheduled flights daily for points N., S., and E.; Airtech Flying Service and Ryan School of Aeronautics, charter and passenger aircraft flights, 2.7 m. from the business district, Third Ave. and Broadway. Streetcar fare, 5c; taxi fare, 1 to 5 passengers, approximately 55c.

Bus lines and stations: Greyhound Lines, 120 W. Broadway, Pacific Greyhound Lines, 28 busses daily, transcontinental service to points N., S., and E.; San Diego Electric Ry., interurban bus service to National City, Chula Vista, Pacific Beach, La Jolla, La Mesa, El Cajon, Spring Valley, and Lemon Grove; National Trailways station, 137 E. Broadway, Santa Fe Trailways and Burlington Trailways, 6 busses daily, through service to out-of-state points N., S., and E.; All American Bus Lines station, 120 W. Broadway, one bus daily to out-of-state points N., S., and E.

Bus terminal for sightseeing trips: U. S. Grant Hotel, between Third and Fourth Aves. on Broadway. Tanner Motor Tours, daily busses to points of interest in city and environs. (See The City by Sections and Tours.)

Taxis: Several transportation companies provide taxi services. General rates are 20c for the first two-thirds of a mile, 10c for each additional two-thirds of a mile. No additional charge for extra passengers or baggage. Waiting time, $2.50 per hour. Flat rates for rides to suburban towns or places of interest.

Piers: Broadway Pier, foot of Broadway, dock for crafts of U. S. Navy, foreign merchant marine and navies. Pier # 1, foot of CSt., dock for crafts of U. S. Navy, foreign merchant marine and navies, Hamburg-American (foreign), Johnson Line (intercoastal), Isthmian Line (intercoastal), Luckenbach Line (intercoastal), McCormick Steamship Co. (intercoastal), Nelson Steamship Co. (intercoastal), Quaker Lines (intercoastal), Vancouver & San Diego Navigation Co. (foreign), Williams Steamship Corp. (intercoastal), and Olsen Steamship ,Co. (coastwise). Ferry slip, foot of Market St., San Diego-Coronado Ferry Co., passenger and automobile transportation to Coronado. (See Coronado.)

Star & Crescent Pier, foot of Broadway, tugboat and excursion service.

Sport Fishing Pier, foot of F St., boats for rent.

United Water Taxi pier, 1050 Harbor St., shore boat launch service.

Public buildings: Federal Building, 325 W. F St.; main post office and Federal offices, (new post office, E St., bet. Eighth and Ninth Aves. open about March 1938) ; public library, 830 E St.; city hall, Fifth Ave. and G St.; county courthouse, 240 W. Broadway; police station, 728 Second Ave.; Motor Vehicle Department, Elks Bldg., Third Ave. and Date St.

Local streetcar and bus service: Urban and interurban streetcar service is provided by the San Diego Electric Ry. Co. The urban area is divided into two zones. The inner zone, S. of Laurel St., and W. of Twenty-fifth Ave., has a 5c fare. A ride through the two zones is 10c. Car tokens are sold on the streetcars, 4 for 30c, each equivalent to a 10c ride. Interurban service and fares are: From Fourth Ave. and Broadway, route L bus, Point Lorna, La Playa, three times per hr., 20c one way, 25c round trip; car No. 14-16, twice per hr., Ocean Beach, 20c one way, 25c round trip; Mission Beach, 20c one way, 25c round trip; Pacific Beach, 25c one way, 35c round trip; Bird Rock, 30c one way, 40c round trip; La Jolla, 35c one way, 50c round trip. From Fifth and Broadway, car No. 9, Coronado, 15c one way, 20c round trip, including ferry fare. Weekly passes for streetcar, bus, and ferry use are sold on the streetcars and at the Plaza information booth and the streetcar ticket office, both at Third Ave. and Broadway. Rates for the passes are: San Diego, inner and outer zone, $1.00; first four zones, including Coronado, La Playa, Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, Rose Canyon Road, State College, Seminole and El Cajon Aves., Encanto, and National City, $1.25; first six zones, including Pacific Beach, Bird Rock, La Mesa Heights, and Chula Vista, $1.50; first seven zones, including La Jolla, La Mesa, and the entire system with the exception of El Cajon bus line E. of La Mesa, $1.75.

Law digest: Fish and game laws: Fishing, inland, bay, or ocean, requires a state license; in city reservoirs, an additional daily fee. It is unlawful to fish inland between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise. Hunting requires a state license. Information concerning seasons for particular game, fees, and conditions governing hunting is available at the State Fish and Game Commission, R. 201, Broadway Pier.

National Forest Regulations: Maps and special information at U. S. Forest Service, Federal Bldg., F St., bet. Union and State Sts.

1. A campfire permit must be procured before building any fire, including fire in stoves burning wood, kerosene, or gasoline, on national forest land. The nearest forest officer will issue a permit to you without charge.

2. Every camping party in the national forests ,must be equipped with a shovel and an ax per vehicle or pack train. Shovel, with blade at least 8 in. wide, and an over-all length of 36 in.; ax, not less than 26 in. long over-all, with head weighing 2 pounds or more. Both of these tools to be in serviceable condition. All camping parties will be expected to obtain these tools before entering the national forests.

3. During the fire season smoking is prohibited in the national forests, except in camps, at places of habitation, in special posted areas, and above 7,000-ft. elevation, where smoking is allowed. Smokers must be careful to extinguish their lighted matches, cigars, cigarettes, and pipe heels. Watch for "No Smoking" and "Smoke Here" signs.

4. In periods of high fire hazard, camping and camp or picnic fires may be restricted to posted campgrounds, and part or all of the national forests may be closed to public use and travel. Watch for "Closed Area" signs.

5. Build small fires. Clear an area down to mineral soil not less than 10 ft. in diameter before starting a fire.

6. Never leave a fire without totally extinguishing it with a plentiful supply of water.

7. Keep your camp clean. Where garbage pits and incinerators are not provided, burn or bury all garbage and refuse.

8. Do not pollute the springs, streams, or lakes by unsanitary acts.

9. Observe the state fish and game laws.

10. Do not mutilate the trees or signs and improvements around camps.

11. Drive carefully on mountain roads.

Wild flower protection: Destructive picking of wild flowers and wild plants within the county is prohibited by a state law and a county ordinance. Scientific bodies gathering for educational purposes may get permits from the County Horticultural Commissioner, County Court House, 240 W. Broadway.

Liquor regulations: No alcoholic beverages are sold between 2 a. m. and 6 a. m. It 'is unlawful to drive while under the influence of alcohol.

Traffic regulations: The State Vehicle Code is available to the public at the Motor Vehicle Department, 310 Cedar St. Briefly, the speed limits are: 15 m. per hr. when passing school buildings, when the view is obstructed, when traversing intersections or railroad crossings, except upon a through highway or at a traffic controlled intersection; 20 m. per hr. in any business district unless otherwise restricted; 45 m. per hr. under all other conditions. Vehicles must come to a full stop when approaching wholly or partially blind persons carrying a white, or white tipped with red, cane or walking stick, such canes being reserved by law for the blind or partially blind. When driving on roadways which are marked with traffic .lanes, a driver should drive as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane; use the center lane only when preparing to make a left turn or when overtaking and passing another vehicle.

For out-of-state visitors a special traffic slip is used which lists the traffic violations and prescribes as a penalty a visit to three local points of interest, to be selected from the group printed on the slip. When the three have been visited the slip is turned in to the Chamber of Commerce; this constitutes a release.

Parking is permitted on the streets, but restricted in the congested area. There are parking lots throughout the business district that charge by the hour or day.

Accommodations: There are 148 hotels, with 8,740 rooms, chiefly in the downtown area and in Coronado and La Jolla (see Tours 5 and 6). Both European and American plan. Minimum rates for one person range from 50c to $10 per day. There are 350 apartment houses, first class, not confined to any particular section of the city. Minimum rents range from $30.00 to $40.00 per month. Forty automobile tourist camps, 10 with trailer facilities, are along the highways at the outer edges of the city. Minimum rates range from $1.00 to $2.50 a day. Restaurants, cafes, and dining. rooms offer complete daily menus, with specialties of sea food, Mexican, European, and Chinese dishes. Within a radius of 20 to 70 miles in the San Diego back country are numerous mountain resort areas where tavern and cabin accommodations are available, with rates ranging from reasonable to expensive. The beach resorts are noticeably more expensive during the summer months.

Climate: Rainy season, December-March; dry season, June-September. Average seasonal rainfall for 84 years, 9.74 in.; snow, none; average wind velocity for 63 years, 6.7 m.p.h.; average daily temperature for 61 years, 61.2°; temperature rarely above 90°, rarely below 30°. Usual summer wear clothing is suitable most of the year, though light topcoat should be used in the rainy season and on spring and fall evenings.

Recreation: The following alphabetical list gives the outstanding recreational facilities of the San Diego area.

Aquaplaning: Boards with boats are rented at the boat house, Hotel del Coronado. (See Tour 5.)

Archery: An archery club meets every Sunday in Balboa Park, Sixth Ave. and Kalmia St.

Badminton: San Diego Club, 1050 Sixth Ave.; Y. W. C. A., 1012 C st.; Hotel del Coronado, Coronado; State College, 5402 College Ave.; St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Third Ave. and Beech St.

Basketball: Played in season at the Y. M. C. A., Y. W. C. A., Army 1& Navy Y. M. C. A., San Diego High School, and State College. A municipal league is sponsored by the playground department.

Baseball: Pacific Coast League teams play during season at Lane Field, Broadway and Pacific Hwy. School and amateur semiprofessional teams play at the city playground diamonds. Navy and Service teams play at Navy Field, foot of Fifth Ave.

Boating: Sailboats are for rent at the boathouse, I{otel del Coronado, and at the foot of Santa Clara Court on Mission Bay. Power fishing boats are for rent by the hour, day, or week, with skipper, at the Star & Crescent Pier; at the Municipal Float, foot of Broadway; and at the Sport Fishing Pier, foot of F St.

Boxing: Professional matches each Friday night at the Coliseum Athletic Club, Fifteenth and E Sts. Amateur matches at the San Diego Athletic Club, 1050 Sixth Ave. Service matches at the Naval Training Station and Naval Air Station.

Cricket: Three or four regular games are played annually at Lane Field, Broadway and Pacific Hwy.

Concert halls: Halls available for concerts are Russ Auditorium San Diego High School; Savoy Theater, 236 C St.; and the Chamber of Commerce Auditorium, 499 W. Broadway.

Croquet: At the Roque Club, Balboa Park, where equipment is furnished.

Discs: A locally developed game closely resembling shuffleboard, played at Shuffleboard Club, Sixth Ave. and Redwood St., Balboa Park.

Excursions on the Bay: Trips daily around San Diego Bay, including visit to North Island. Leave from boat landing, foot of Broadway, and Star & Crescent Pier.

Fishing, deep-sea: (Up-to-date information available at larger sporting goods stores.) Boats leave from foot of Broadway and foot of F St. for barges and boats anchored off the kelp beds near Point Lorna and in the vicinity of Coronado Islands, 18 m. out at sea. Private fishing boats may be rented. (Season, May to October.)

Fishing, Mexican waters: (Information as to charter, equipment, license, and conditions is available at Chamber of Commerce, Columbia St. and Broadway.)

Fishing, fresh-water: (Information available at leading sporting goods stores.) Within San Diego County are 10 lakes in which bass, crappie, and occasional trout may be caught during open season, May 1 to October 31. Camping and boating facilities are available at the lakes.

Fishing, surf, bay, and pier: Surf, bay, and pier fishing may be engaged in along the beaches of San Diego County when a state license is obtained.

Football: Southern California Conference games played during the fall at Aztec Bowl, State College; high school games at the City Stadium, Fifteenth St. and Russ Blvd.; and at Hoover High School field, Highland and El Cajon Aves. Service games are played at Lane Field, Broadway and Pacific Hwy., and at Navy Field, foot of Fifth Ave.

Golf: Public or municipal courses are in Balboa Park, 18 holes, near Twenty-seventh and Ash Sts., and Emerald Hills, 18 holes, Broadway Extension. Introduction cards to private golf courses may be obtained at the Chamber of Commerce, Columbia and Broadway. A public pitch and putt course is at Presidio Hills, Old Town. Driving courses are located at Old Town, cor. of Barnett Ave. and Lytton St., and on El Cajon Ave.

Handball: Courts at the San Diego Club, 1050 Sixth Ave.; Y. W. C. A., 1012 C St.; Y. M. C. A., 800 C St.; Army & Navy Y. M. C. A., 500 W. Broadway; and the San Diego Rowing Club, foot of Fifth Ave.

Hiking: At all mountain resorts. Nature walks conducted by the Natural History Museum, Balboa Park, under the guidance of instructors.

Horseback riding: Balboa Park Riding Academy, off Park Blvd.,. in Balboa Park, level bridle paths along residential district; Mrs. Maupin's Riding Academy, 3800 Twiggs St., Old Town, trails for 50 m. in and about Mission Valley; the Dixie Riding Academy, Sixth Ave. extension, north side of Mission Valley, scenic trails; Cabrillo Riding Academy, Mission Valley at Sixth Ave. extension, trails in Mission Valley and over rolling semiwooded hills; Bar T Ranch, 6104 El Cajon Ave., trails for 50 m. along rolling and flat countryside on outskirts of the city; Joe's Riding Stables, 6202 El Cajon Ave., trails; College Riding Academy, 6244 El Cajon Ave.; Mackey's Riding Club, 2800 Fifty-fourth St., trails through the orange groves; the Coronado Riding Stables, Fifth Ave. and Alameda, Coronado, bridle paths, beach shore riding; Kentucky Riding Academy, Polo Grounds, Coronado, level trails and beach paths; Point Loma Riding Academy, 2074 Catalina Blvd., precipitous bridle paths along Point Lorna; La Jolla Riding Academy, La Jolla Shores, constructed bridle paths.

Horse racing: Running events are held at the San Diego County Fair, at Del Mar, in the summer. Racing is available at Agua Caliente, Mexico, 2 m. beyond Tijuana. (See Tour 6.) Saddle horse races are run at the Lakeside Rodeo on Labor Day. (Notable Annual Events, below.)

Horseshoe pitching: Courts in Balboa Park, SE. cor. near Sixth Ave. and Elm St., operated by the Balboa Horseshoe, Chess, and Checker Club. Visitors welcome.

Hunting: Deer, quail, doves, ducks, rabbits, and other small game may be bagged in the San Diego back country. A state license is required. Information is available at leading sporting goods stores.

Lawn bowling: Two lawn bowling greens are located in Balboa Park, Seventh Ave. and Laurel St.

Motoring: Paved and oiled state, national, and county roads lead to points along the seashore and in the mountains and deserts of San Diego and Imperial counties. (See Tours.)

Parks: San Diego's system of 24 public parks embraces an area of more than 2,000 acres. (See The City by Sections: Balboa Park.)

Roque: Balboa Park, Sixth Ave. and Redwood St.

Rowing: San Diego Rowing Club, foot of Fifth Ave., equipped with all classes of hulls and facilities for mooring of sail and motor boats; Zlac Rowing Club, Ltd. (women), 1111 Pacific Ave., Pacific Beach.


Excerpted from San Diego in the 1930s by David Kipen. Copyright © 2013 The Regents of the University of California. Excerpted by permission of UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Preface, 1937
Foreword, 1937

Introduction to the 2013 Edition

The Contemporary Scene
The City by Sections
Natural Setting
1. The Indians
2. The Spanish
3. The Mexicans
4. The Americans
Social And Cultural
List Of Tours
In The City
In Environs



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