The Forgotten History of ‘Duckville’ of Old Mission Bay

by on February 18, 2022 · 4 comments

in History, Ocean Beach

Editordude: OB is lucky. Not only does the community have an historical society, but the president of that society is a good writer and a good writer of local history. The following by Eric Duvall, head of the OB Historical Society, is the most comprehensive historical account of “Duckville” written in modern times. What’s Duckville? Read on …

By Eric DuVall / Point Loma – OB Monthly / Feb. 16, 2022

We’d like to take you all out to Duckville this weekend. Be a hoot, wouldn’t it? Nice and quiet, catch some halibut maybe, tell some tall tales around the wood stove.

We’d like to, but no can do. Duckville isn’t there anymore. Where was Duckville? That will be a tricky one to pin down, as it was a destination with no borders and no boundaries. Duckville was a place in time, a state of mind, a fishing line … and, OK fine, a cluster of eclectic shacks and shanties perched precariously on the salt marsh of False Bay way back when.

If you’ve never heard the tales of Duckville, it is small wonder. The little community had dwindled significantly by the early 1920s, and after it literally washed away for the second time … but, hang on, let’s paddle back a ways.

We are going to refer here to False Bay — or Puerto Falso — and Mission Bay interchangeably because that’s how they did it for 40 years between the time the name was changed via a contest in the 1880s until Mission Bay finally came into common parlance.

To fully wrap your head around this Puerto Falso/Duckville thing, you will have to try to imagine a time before the existence of the picturesque waterway we know today as the flood control channel. Right, the western terminus of the San Diego River. The channel makes it seem like Sea World Drive, and Mission Bay beyond that, are another part of town entirely.

For the balance of this wonderful article, please go here.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie February 18, 2022 at 9:33 am

I’d always heard it was “Bahia Falsa” – False Bay, the name the Spanish gave the lagoon just north of the river when they arrived. It was supposedly a wet year at the time, and what was later named Point Loma looked like an island to them. Think on that, ye ol future developers of the Midway.

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Jake Ryan Raigoza February 18, 2022 at 6:01 pm

the ob rag is about brionging us togwether yalllz and i think it did that when it wrote us rthis heady storry about that old guy… hahahha real imm touiched buythe inserpeATION(PERSONLY AND I WISH I COULD SAY MORE YO… *HITS BONG*

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Eric L DuVall February 19, 2022 at 5:02 pm

Many thanks for the kind words Frank!

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Geoff Page February 21, 2022 at 10:29 am

I really enjoyed the history. I wish I could go back and see it in those days. I first read about this in Ruth Varney’s book and it sounded wonderful. I’d take that any day over the Disneyland they turned the bay into.

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