The Ocean Beach Historical Green Zone

by on November 5, 2013 · 6 comments

in Culture, Economy, Environment, History, Media, Ocean Beach

Editor: In a comment to an earlier post about the OB Rag’s crossroads, Kathleen Blavatt – a longtime OB and Point Loma activist – submitted the following plea for the establishment of an OB historical green zone.  Kathleen is a stalwart with the OB Historical Society.

By Kathleen Blavatt

For about a year I have been throwing out the idea of an Ocean Beach Historical Green Zone (District) going in OB.
It could help Ocean Beach and its institutions financially, promote the good green things happening, show the green history of the area (over 100 years). The resources are already in place. It should be the people that have grown this part of OB into this special place getting together and doing this.

This could help the OB Rag, the Green Store and businesses on the north end of town. The OB RAG is the natural for choice for promoting this idea. The Woman’s Club with there stage and space would be a great starting place for walking and biking tours  with green restaurant sampling, events with music/art along the way at the Green Store, Peoples, Jim Bells’, etc. Also include natural and historical sites: Native Park, Tern Nesting, Community Garden, etc.

North Ocean Beach, including the Voltaire Street corridor, is historically the oldest ongoing section of San Diego “Green” businesses, organizations and community spaces. It began in the early 1900’s in Ocean to today where it includes many green establishments, parks and nature preserves.

Collier Park Land Donation

First dedicated to the “children of Ocean Beach” by the turn-of-the-century developer, D.C. Collier Park Land. The land, a large rectangle spanning over the current Nimitz Blvd. was donated in 1909 to San Diego. The entire parcel was divided up in later years. Some parts remains park, a community garden, natural park, open space and ball fields.

Ocean Beach Women’s Club established in 1925

The club planted many of the early trees and shrubs along Ocean Beach streets and currently has a Community Garden outside the clubhouse.

Ocean Beach Peoples Food Co-op

Ocean Beach Peoples Food Co-op, a large eco store, was established in 1971 and is the longest existing food co-op in San Diego. Beginning as an old small wood cottage, they now occupy their third building on Voltaire Street.
The Co-op and its members are nationally recognized advocates in the natural food industry and environmentalism.

Green Store / Center

The Green Store, started by Colleen Dietzel in 1989, quickly developed into much more than a store. It became an environmental, peace, and social justice information resource center to the community. In the early days they battled what are now the norm as far as environmental issues, health food, people and animal rights and the peace movement. Rain Thanks & Greywater and the OB Rag are housed at the Green Store.

Jim Bell

Jim Bell is an environmentalist and author. He has been involved in many issues and events on sustainability and the environment. His Business/Home is located on Voltaire Street.

John Noble & Coastal Sage

Coastal Sage is located across from the Point Loma Library on Voltaire Street. John Noble, is the owner of this business which specializes in herbs, native plants and xeriscape. He has also owned a long time environmental landscaping business in Ocean Beach and helped establish the Ocean Beach Native Garden.

The Torrey Pines in Ocean Beach – Some of the worlds largest

In 1930, Ocean Beach, on the 4600 block of Saratoga Avenue (upward from Sunset Cliffs Blvd.) had no landscaping. Extra Torrey Pine trees from a Great Depression, WPA (Works Progress Administration) project in Point Loma, were planted on both sides of the 4600 block of Saratoga Avenue in O.B..

Adequate watering basins and periodically watering from City Trucks was provide. Now, the pines are fed water from every yard uphill with the street retaining the moisture below ground.

Unfortunately, injury and carelessness, eliminated over half the trees. Now, Torrey Pines are protected by the Municipal Code Section 63.07: Destruction, Injury of Torrey Pines Trees, Prohibited. The few surviving trees raise havoc with sidewalks and streets, but O.B. residents have worked with the city on new safer sidewalk replacement designs that don’t hurt the trees.

Ocean Beach Community Garden (Part of D.C. Collier Park Land originally)

Ocean Beach California Community Garden is where members can enjoy the pleasures of planting, nurturing and harvesting from their own garden plot.

Point Loma Native Garden (Part of D.C. Collier Park Land originally)

Hidden away in a corner of Ocean Beach is the Point Loma Native Plant Garden dedicated to San Diego’s native ecology. It is part of the City of San Diego’s Collier Park West however is is under the umbrella of the San Diego River Park Foundation. ??In the 1980?s, the California Native Plant Society, Point Loma Garden Club and many community members got together and set aside a portion of Collier Park to grow specifically native plants and trees and eventually became known as the Point Loma Native Plant Garden.

Famosa Slough

The Famosa Slough, a 37-acre wetland, historically was part of False Bay and was later called the Mission Bay wetland complex.  The channel portion of the slough extends from West Point Loma Boulevard, northward, to the San Diego River Channel and is the Ocean Beach’s community border. The 25-acre southern portion of the Famosa Slough is in the Point Loma community.

Peace Pies

Peace Pies is a raw vegan restaurant on Voltaire Street.

The O.B. Water Store

This store, which provides fresh clean drinking water, is located at the entrance to Robb Field on West Point Loma Boulevard.

Ocean Beach Historic Cottage Program

The Ocean Beach Historic Cottage Program was started in 2000. It was put in place to help preserve the distinctive style of the Ocean Beach Bungalows by giving them the Mills Act Historical designation. It is available to pre-1925 homes in Ocean Beach.

Robb Field

Public Athletic Fields, sit along the edge of the San Diego River (a bird wetlands preserve) and the nesting home to generations of Ospreys.

Dog Beach and the San Diego River mouth (Flood Control Channel)

The shallows of the San Diego River along Ocean Beach are a home to many seabirds and a stop-over for migrating birds (noted as one of the best birdwatch spots in San One section of Dog Beach has become a nesting area for the lease terns.

Formerly in the Ocean Beach “Green Zone”

Rebel Bakery
The Rebel Bakery, on Voltaire Street was all volunteer bakers, making healthy bread with the proceeds going to rebel causes.

Zen Bakery

The Zen Bakery, on Voltaire Street, made healthy baked goods, one account include Trader Joe’s.

Mika’s Park

In park dedicated in memory of Mika. An Ocean Beach woman that died in her twenties, who had owned the Strudel Factory. A lot that sat empty on for years, on Sunset Cliffs Blvd. and Voltaire Street, was transformed by the OB Grassroots Organization and residents bringing and planting their plants into a garden. The park was bull-dozed and fenced off by World Oil who had bought the property.

Now is the time to do this!

Editor: We would also add the efforts to Save Collier Park, the battle to prevent the jetty going in, the Save the Tree campaign, and ongoing efforts by Kathleen, Richard Agee and others – including the OB Rag – in saving Torrey Pines and other trees of the community.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Dredd November 5, 2013 at 11:43 am

How is The Million Mask March going there?


richard November 5, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Thanks for this Kathy. I think it’s great. Aside from the Native Garden, the River Park Foundation also organizes tours and volunteer efforts at the River Mouth at Dog Beach including the wetlands. We would definitely love to be a part of this idea. Let me know of any upcoming meetings or how we can help.


Jon November 5, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Thanks for bringing all of these local treasures to light Kathy. These are wonderful examples of what really make a community special. Unfortunately, this is also a list of organizations begging for resources to keep afloat while big box corporations come waiving $50,000 per month lease payments at non-local developers. Not a good sign for the preservation of a way of life. I hope we can all work together now more than ever to educate the next generation of locals about the rich history of our beloved village. Thanks for all the work you guys are already doing!


bodysurferbob November 7, 2013 at 11:41 am

sweet kathleen


Molly November 7, 2013 at 11:43 am

Kathleen – this is all very awesome. It really needs to be fleshed out more (weird word – or is it ‘flushed out’?) with more detail of course. Need to add some others as well. Did you know the OB Waterhouse is closed?


Christo Kuzmich November 9, 2013 at 6:37 am

OB Waterhouse is now over by Soup Plantation and the CVS on West Point Loma and Sports Arena/Midway.


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