New scenes from OB’s past

by on June 9, 2009 · 7 comments

in Civil Disobedience, OB Time Machine, Ocean Beach, San Diego, War and Peace

Here are some real treasures from OB’s past – these are from the original pages of the OB Peoples Rag – most from 1972.  These images reflect a time when a vibrant youth culture had taken root in Ocean Beach, that it had a politicized edge, very much against the Vietnam War, against unbridled urban development in OB, and for more of a loose, de-stressed lifestyle that emphasized music, peace, harmony, brotherly and sisterly love ….

Ocean Beach, by 1968, had become the beach version of Haight-Ashbury for San Diego, where for the first time in modern American cultural history, surfers and hippies merged together. No where else in Southern California did the surfing sub-culture mesh with the budding hippie counter-culture, as it did in Ocean Beach from 1968 to 1972.

And it was the emerging mesh of a surfer-hippie-ecopolitico subculture – so unique to Ocean Beach – that it literally was able to become a strong force within the community, spawning residents who created groups and organizations that eventually saved the community from over development.  Some of these groups were the OB Rag, People’s Food Co-op, the Child Care Development Center, and what became the OB Planning Board.

This is a scene of the OB Festival - a live, free concert held at the foot of ____?___ Street - can you guess? during May 1972. While local bands played, the event had a visible anti-war current.

A pro-marijuana demonstration - see caption.

An anti-development rally and march sponsored by the OB Ecology Action - some of whose leaders were teachers at the OB Free School. Here the demo is primairlly made up of Free School kids and teachers.

This 1972-73 image was featured on the cover of the OB Rag. We've always thought that it was of a local OB church and stop sign. But can't figure out where. Can you? Winner gets coffee and pastry.

Opposition to the OB Town Council's then controversial chair flared up even at the annual Kite Parade - March 1972.

What the original Ocean Beach Precise Plan, circa 1971, envisioned for OB's waterfront. Due to organizations like the OB Ecology Action, the OB Planning Organization, the Community Planning Group (CGP), the OB Rag, the Town Council, and eventually the Merchants Association, this image of future OB was torn up and burnt. A new Precise Plan was written once the election of the first OB Planning Board was held. Democratic California urban planning was first established here in Ocean Beach.

The construction of the jetty, spearheaded by the Army Corps of Engineers and the City of San Diego, eventually stopped by the community through direct action, civil disobedience and law suits. Summer 1970

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Gary Gilmore June 10, 2009 at 7:57 am

Whoa! What a great bunch of photo’s! I’m pretty sure the church and stop sign photo is of the red brick church near Voltaire and Chatsworth. I loved the line in the drawing of a proposed high-rise/resort complex where it says “makes this an ideal location for high-rise hotel and apartment development”. That just cracks me up. It’s good to see that the evolution of this town has been positive.


mr fresh June 10, 2009 at 8:43 am

that drawing from the ob precise plan should be enlarged and posted along newport ave to remind people of what caring about your community can accomplish. can you imagine what things would be like if we hadn’t stopped the developers? apathy sucks!


Frank Gormlie June 10, 2009 at 9:14 am

Hey mr fresh – welcome back! we missed ya! and right arm!


lane tobias June 10, 2009 at 2:35 pm

agree with fresh…how can we show apathetic people in the community how lucky they are the Precise Plan didn’t go as planned? Also how easily it could happen if everyone forgets?


bodysurferbob June 10, 2009 at 2:54 pm

mr fresh, frank, lane – before we start to over-glorify the past, let’s make sure we understand how strong the remnants of that past are today.

this blog itself has had critical articles about the Planning committee, for example.


Abby June 11, 2009 at 6:27 am

I think a detailed article just about Precise Plan and how it was stopped would make great reading.


Frank Gormlie June 11, 2009 at 7:03 am

Abby – thanks for the idea.


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