History

Items that are historically significant in some way. They may be recent history or ancient history, pertinent to local history or something on a grander scale…

In a Black History State of Mind in the Time of Virus

March 16, 2020 by Ernie McCray

(With a Little Help from Coretta Scott King)

by Ernie McCray

I had a very nice time, a little while ago, on an exceptionally lovely Saturday afternoon at “A Gospel Brunch” at the Educational Cultural Complex, “ECC” – a place that means a lot to me, personally.

We were there to celebrate Coretta Scott King and her contributions to keeping Martin’s dream, for social justice and inclusion for all, alive.

I arrived in a Black History state of mind, playing in my mind, some of the wonderful experiences I’ve had at ECC, acting on the stage, a wonderful space that will be renovated from part of the proceeds from the day, or addressing a class or reading my poetry and attending special occasions like on this day.

I kind of felt that I was in a fantasy world, in a way, sitting among so many friendly smiling faces, enjoying a mimosa and some down home southern cooking – just appreciating, for one thing, that for three days in a row, I had been to ceremonies where San Diego Black History was being kept very much alive – beyond February.

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OB Historical Society: Dible Family Silent Movie – Thurs. Feb.20

February 17, 2020 by Source

Come join the Ocean Beach Historical Society and see this fun and captivating step back into OB’s and San Diego’s rich history.

OBHS Presents: the “Dible Family 1928 – 1938 Silent Movie”, which features clips of Sunset Cliffs, La Jolla, Ocean Beach, Point Loma, Mission Beach, San Diego Bay, Coronado, Balboa Park, Julian, Downtown San Diego, Catalina, Tijuana, and other locales.

COME INSIDE FOR MORE DETAILS

This Program is Free!

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Peninsula Planning Board Calls Proposed Changes to North Chapel ‘Fundamentally Inconsistent’ With Its Historical Use

January 23, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

The Chairperson of the Peninsula Community Planning Board, Robert Goldyn, has written a letter on behalf of the Board to Mayor Faulconer and other city officials calling the proposed “modifications” to the North Chapel at Liberty Station “fundamentally inconsistent with the historical use of the property.”

Goldyn was responding to a presentation by the property managers of North Chapel at the most recent meeting of the Board on January 16. (See OB Rag reporter Geoff Page’s report here.)

828 Venues representatives – the current sublessee – had described the proposed changes – as Goldyn noted – “that include, in particular, the removal of substantially all of the pews that are currently installed in the building and the removal of several stained glass windows, each of which have been specifically identified as historic resources in the Guidelines for Historic Properties at NTC.”

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Talking Love in Tucson at a Breakfast for Martin Luther King

January 23, 2020 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I’ve been asked,

as we honor

Martin Luther King,

to speak of what I

have overcome in life.

In ten minutes.

And I’m thinking “Wow, really?”

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More on San Diego’s Great Flood of 1916 and Charles Hatfield – ‘the Rainmaker’

January 23, 2020 by Source

Sweetwater Dam and Reservoir (Photo by Barbara Zaragoza)Editordude: The following is a reposting of a two-part series we published in 2016 by Patricia Maxwell on San Diego’s Great Flood of 1916 and on Charles Hatfield, the “Rainmaker.”

Part 1

Originally posted Jan. 21, 2016

By Patricia Maxwell

Today’s residents of Chula Vista have much in common with citizens of a hundred years ago. Make that a thousand years or more. Southern California has always been an arid land, with cycles of drought, interspersed with wet years every now and again.

In December of 1915, San Diego’s city fathers tackled the issue from a completely different angle. They hired a rainmaker!

The impetus for their decision was the unfilled Morena Reservoir in the mountains sixty miles east of San Diego. A rock-filled dam had been completed in 1912, but the reservoir had yet to be filled beyond a third of its capacity. Other reservoirs in the area shared the same problem. None were filled and the city was growing. The rainmaker, Mr. Charles Hatfield, said “I will fill the Morena Reservoir …”

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Reader Rant: The ‘100-Year Flood’ Will Come to San Diego Some Day

January 20, 2020 by Source

By Stan Levin

Through the 1960’s and 70’s I taught in the city’s public elementary schools. Each year I told my students about the history of a severe drought that San Diego had been experiencing up until late January, 1916.

A brilliant scoundrel, one Charles Hatfield, arrived on the scene, and convinced the public he could make it rain, but the distraught citizens would need to fork over $10,000 for it.

Be reminded that most of the county was watershed at the time, and the end of the line watershed was low lying Mission Valley, where rainwater from all directions ultimately found its way, and emptied into the sea downstream.

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‘Once Upon A Time’ in San Diego

January 20, 2020 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

Trying to recover from the flu? Or avoid the wall-to-wall Impeachment imbroglio?

This is a pleasant, fun, and perfect distraction for anyone older than thirty.

Remember all those amazing San Diego gifts once readily available — and mostly free — but, now long gone. Try.

For example, once upon a time, kids could go the publicly-owned pitch and put golf course and learn to swing a club for free. Tap, ballet, and swim classes were also available — for free — from the City’s Park and Recreation Department.

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This Martin Luther King Jr. Day Is Not a Day to Celebrate.

January 20, 2020 by Jim Miller

The United States at Present is an Affront to the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

By Jim Miller

With the election of Barack Obama, many hoped that the United States had finally taken a decisive step away from its racist past and was perhaps on the road to more fully embodying Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a truly democratic and racially and economically just America.

Sadly, only a few years after the end of Obama’s tenure, it’s clear that nothing could be further from the truth. Rather than bending the arc of history toward justice, it seems that the first black president’s two terms, politically moderate as they turned out to be, ironically did much to fuel the fire of white backlash and emboldened reactionary plutocrats to roll back the clock in a myriad of other ways as well.

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When Tiki Invaded San Diego – by OB Historical Society, Thurs., Jan.16

January 16, 2020 by Source

The Ocean Beach Historical Society Presents: When Tiki Invaded San Diego by Diane Kane, PhD, at Water’s Edge Faith Community, 1984 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., O.B., onThursday, Jan. 16, at 7 pm.

Join the OBHS for a lighthearted romp through the immediate post-war period to explore how the allure of the South Seas became synonymous with San Diego.

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‘Kochland’ – the Secret History of the Koch Family – Is Timely Look into Corporate Capitalism

January 7, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

This may be the finest book thus far in the twenty-first century. Kochland; The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America is the second book by former agribusiness reporter for the Associated Press, Christopher Leonard.
Kochland is uniquely special. It is an economic history of America since 1967 that shows the deep changes in our economy that have given rise to a new kind of capitalism. Kochland is told through the lens of Koch Industries whose “annual revenue is larger than that of Facebook, Goldman Sachs, and US Steel combined.”

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The People’s House Impeaches the 45th President

December 19, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

In only the third time in US history, the House of Representatives – the People’s House – impeached a president, this time the 45th president, Mr. Donald Trump. In a historic vote, the House impeached Trump on two counts, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Articles now go to the Senate for a trial.

Article one, abuse of power, was passed by 230 to 197

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Starting the Holidays with a Bit of History and Food from the Garden

December 5, 2019 by Staff

by Kathy Blavatt

The season changed as cold weather has arrived.

In November, my husband and I attended a Congress of History San Diego and Imperial County board meeting at Barona Indian Reservation. After the meeting was adjourned, we toured the school and the children’s native garden, which included a lovely mural.

After our visit to the native garden, we headed over to the Barona Museum.

The museum showcases Indian utilitarian and fine artwork displays, maps, and historical displays.

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Thanksgiving and American Mythology

November 25, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

As we head into the holiday season in the midst of one of the most divisive cultural and political moments in U.S. history, many people might be looking to the long American tradition of Thanksgiving as a moment of solace that evokes national unity.

Unfortunately, just like the wholesome fantasies of the Golden Era of bipartisanship that never existed being sold in some political quarters, the story of the first Thanksgiving is equally mythological. It’s not just that tales of the first Thanksgiving that many of us learned in school or around our family dinner tables are largely inaccurate,

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The Legend and Lore of the O.B. James Gang – Thursday, November 21, 2019

November 19, 2019 by Source

As Ocean Beach celebrates the 40th Annual Ocean Beach Christmas Tree and Holiday Parade, here is your opportunity to meet the family that not only started this holiday event but were instrumental in other cherished O.B. traditions as well – the OB James Brothers & Family, referred lovingly as “the OB James Gang”.

Join brothers Ron, Greg, Mike, Pat, and sister-in-law Susan as they reminisce about the trials and tribulations of working together in a family business while also trying to make a positive impact on the community.

For over four decades, the James family has been an integral part of the Ocean Beach community. They were instrumental in the founding of the Ocean Beach Merchants Association (now the O.B. Mainstreet Association) and the Ocean Beach Historical Society.

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November 5th: Guy Fawkes Day

November 5, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Guy Fawkes maskNovember 5th is Guy Fawkes Day.

Many Americans know Guy Fawkes through the movie “V for Vendetta“, or at least recognize the mask, popularized by the film, and which then used by activists in the Occupy Wallstreet movement back in 2011, which was modeled after his face.

We have a basically positive view of Fawkes.

But in England, it’s the other way around. Fawkes is seen by many as a traitor and they celebrate his death.

You’re familiar with the John Lennon song, “Remember” where he sings “remember, remember, the 5th of November….”? Listen to the rest of the words.

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House of Representatives Votes for Rules for the Impeachment Inquiry Into Trump

October 31, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

The US House of Representatives – in an historic move – just voted to approve the rules to be used for the impeachment inquiry into president Trump. By a vote of 232 to 196, the House passed rule that will:

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Sustained Outrage…With a Smile: ‘Life and Times of Molly Ivins’ Playing in Hillcrest

October 14, 2019 by Staff

By Brett Warnke

“Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins,” is playing up in Hillcrest. If you’ve got 93 minutes to spare this week, I’d spend every one of them at this fine movie. It’s a funny biopic about a writer who walked with Civil Rights marchers, warned us about both George Bushes, and could drink the notoriously pickled Texas legislature right out of the bar.

You’ve probably heard of Molly Ivins (1944-2007). Occasionally, you’ll find her books Who Let The Dogs In or Bushwhacked or Shrub flung out on the Bargain Bin shelves. Grab them. Buy them all. Open them when the empty suits on the left say “we can’t because it’s costly” or when the idiots on the right say “we won’t because they’re brown.”

Molly was raised in a Texas house with a pool, born to a right-wing oil man who was shocked she allowed black friends to the house (and the pool). Her mother was wonderfully lazy and would watch TV, talk on the phone, and personified the suburban wife Molly never wanted to be.

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Luisa Moreno: A Proud San Diego Troublemaker

October 4, 2019 by Staff

By Brett Warnke

In a 1991 article John Celardo writes, “Luisa Moreno sensed the local uneasiness created by [World War II], particularly in San Diego. Housing was in short supply, rations became a nuisance, transportation became a problem, and racial conflicts in the Navy and around San Diego became more intense.”

Luisa Moreno was born and died in Guatemala but spent the 1940s and 1950s as one of San Diego’s tireless and brave local labor organizers. She challenged the bogus tranquility of our quiet little paradise in the sun. She understood the divisions and attempted to forge friendships across the city but, like most greats, she had all the right enemies.

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Why Should the Woman Always Have to Pay: Unsolved Murders in San Diego – OB Historical Society Presents – Thurs., Sept.19

September 17, 2019 by Source

Author Richard Carrico Returns to Ocean Beach for 1923 Unsolved Murder of Local Dancer and Actress

Richard L. Carrico will take the Ocean Beach Historical Society and guests back to 1923 to delve into the mysterious unsolved murder of Fritzi Mann, local dancer and actress. “Found dead on the beach at Torrey Pines, Fritzi showed evidence of blunt force trauma but died from drowning. In addition the autopsy report noted that she was in a “delicate condition.”

The police hauled in several suspects including a Hollywood producer, wealthy businessmen, and Louis Jacobs, a medical doctor from the Army base at Camp Kearny. Jacobs stood trial twice for the murder but ultimately got a verdict of not guilty.

To this day the case remains unsolved, but Carrico has a theory about who the murderer was.

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Dr. Seuss Knew a Thing or Two About Lindbergh

September 13, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Dr. Seuss was of course Theodor Seuss Geisel. Before he became famous drawing Dr. Seuss books, he drew political cartoons.

Dr. Seuss Knew Who Lindbergh Was

Here’s a few of his cartoons:

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Albert Spalding, Madame Tingley and the Great Myth of Baseball

September 10, 2019 by Source

By Randy Dotinga / Voice of San Diego / September 2, 2019

If you head out to a Padres game this month, you might assume you’re enjoying the national pastime invented by a man called Doubleday in a bucolic place called Cooperstown. But this origin story is a hoax, perhaps the greatest in all of sports, and it has its roots right here in Point Loma, where wealth, the occult and shameless myth-making collided early in the 20th century.

At the center of it all was a man named Albert Goodwill Spalding,

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OB Historical Society Presents: The City Guard Band at the Greek Theatre August 17

August 13, 2019 by Source

From OB Historical Society

Did you ever dream of traveling back in time, to an era when life seemed simpler, less pretentious and . . . more fun? An opportunity to do just that presents itself this Saturday, August 17 when the Ocean Beach Historical Society presents the San Diego City Guard Band in a Free Concert at the famous Greek Theater on the campus of Point Loma Nazarene University.

When Carlson and Higgins first subdivided the sand dunes that they had chosen to name Ocean Beach, they decided that they would need something more than the salt air to draw potential buyers out to the remote coastal hillside.

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Winners and Losers – the San Diego Edition Story #1: the 35th Anniversary of the McDonald’s Massacre

July 30, 2019 by Source

By Norma Damashek / NumbersRunner / July 29, 2019

We know how it’s played at the Del Mar racetrack. There are winners. There are losers. It’s a brutal ordeal for the horses but there’s a hefty payoff in the offing for a certain percentage of track regulars.

City politics has a lot in common with horse racing. But while it takes years of selective breeding and training to produce a winning horse, a winning candidate can be created through selective inbreeding, deft maneuvering, and discrete fingers on the scale.

To illustrate what this means in real time, consider the jarring juxtaposition of two seemingly unrelated stories that appeared this month in the news–practically on the same day. Read them separately and you get a hint of the embedded gentleman’s agreement that controls San Diego civic life.

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‘Help!’ Lifeguard Presentation at OB Historical Society

July 19, 2019 by Staff

by Bob Edwards

On Thursday, July 18, Michael Martino, former Chief Lifeguard for the California State Parks System, gave a presentation on his new book, “Help! San Diego Lifeguards To The Rescue” at Water’s Edge Church on Sunset Cliffs Blvd. The recently published book is the first volume of Mr. Martino’s proposed complete history and covers the period of 1868 to 1941. In the audience of 60 to 70 people were about 10 former lifeguards and retired officers from the lifeguard service.

Mr. Martino showed slides of pictures, charts, and news clippings taken from his book and recounted stories about lifeguards in San Diego with a particular emphasis on Ocean Beach’s role in that history.

In the early days before professional lifeguards appeared, ordinary citizens were the only people available to rescue swimmers

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OB Historical Society: Lifeguards of San Diego County – Thurs., July 18

July 15, 2019 by Source

The Ocean Beach Historical Society this Thursday is presenting: HELP! Lifeguards of San Diego County by Michael Martino at Water’s Edge Faith Community, 1984 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., O.B. This is on Thursday, July 18, at 7 PM – a free event.

Join Michael Martino, former chief lifeguard with the California State Parks, as he discusses the life and death stories behind the formation of San Diego’s lifeguard service.

This lecture, based on Martino’s book HELP! San Diego Lifeguards to the Rescue, begins with the early pre-lifeguard years when citizens helped with rescues and bathhouses along the coast hired their own private lifeguards.

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Here’s Robert Mueller’s First Public Statement Since the Release of His Report

May 29, 2019 by Source

On Wednesday, May 29, Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered a statement about the Russia investigation. The statement, as prepared for delivery, is available below.

By Robert Mueller / May 29, 2019

Two years ago, the Acting Attorney General asked me to serve as Special Counsel, and he created the Special Counsel’s Office.

The appointment order directed the office to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. This included investigating any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign.

I have not spoken publicly during our investigation. I am speaking today because our investigation is complete. … beyond these few remarks, it is important that the office’s written work speak for itself.

n.

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May 5, 1970 Was One of the Most Explosive Days in American History

May 5, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Those of us long in tooth and gray in hair remember the tumultuous days of the May 1970 national student strike and the murder of four students at Kent State by National Guardsmen on May 4; those younger know the song “Four Dead in Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young about the Kent State shootings.

The deadly clash was part of the student response to President Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia, which he announced on April 30.

But what most of us don’t realize is that the day following the Kent State killings, May 5th – was indeed one of the most explosive days in American history as literally hundreds of university, college and high school campuses blew up in response – and for that day at least, the American educational system broke down.

Angry, tearful young people across the nation reacted with an intensity and in numbers not witnessed before or since.

Emergency meetings, rallies, protests, mid-night marches, letter-writing, impeach Nixon petitions, sit-ins, flag-lowerings, leafleting downtowns, confrontations with local police and guardsmen, teargas, rocks, road blockades, memorials for the dead, fires in ROTC buildings – all of these were part of the response of thousands upon thousands of American students across the land.

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May Day in San Diego: Remember the Folks Who Brought You the 8-Hour Day

April 29, 2019 by Jim Miller

May Day March Kickoff:
Wednesday, May 1st at 3:30pm
at Thomas Jefferson School of Law
701 B St. San Diego, CA. 92101
Rally: 5:00pm at Sempra Energy
488 Eighth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
After Rally, March Continues to Barrio Logan

By Jim Miller

The majority of Americans don’t know much about May Day or they simply associate it with the state sponsored holiday in the former Soviet Union. For the most part, it’s lost down the memory hole. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll discover a whole forgotten history of American workers and their struggle for basic dignity and rights in the workplace and in society.

The truth of the matter is that May Day has deep American roots. It started in 1866 as part of the movement pushing for the 8-hour day. As historian Jacob Remes reminds us:

The demand for an eight-hour day was about leisure, self-improvement and freedom, but it was also about power. When Eight Hour Leagues agitated for legislation requiring short hours, they were demanding what had never before happened: that the government regulate industry for the advantage of workers.

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Black Panthers in San Diego

April 15, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Interview with Henry Wallace – San Diego Black Panther

There are Black Panthers here in San Diego today. Henry Wallace – for one – is a member of the San Diego Black Panther Party. Henry Wallace was also a Black Panther here in San Diego back in the late Sixties, fifty-some years ago.

Today a Black Panther Party chapter exists in San Diego. And Henry Wallace is responsible for breathing new life into the militant political party that calls our town home.

This is all part of the history Henry shares with us here in an interview with the OB Rag.

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48 Years Ago OB’s Most Violent Day Became a Watershed Event for its Future

March 28, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Introduction

March 28 is the anniversary of a wild and crazy day in the history of Ocean Beach. It was the day in 1971 when a peaceful gathering in what’s now Collier Park of hundreds of Ocean Beach anti-Vietnam war activists, environmentalists and college students were charged by a platoon of baton-wielding San Diego police officers – resulting in what became known as the Collier Park Riot.

This most violent day in OB history came to become a significant watershed event in that same history and pushed Ocean Beach to become the community it is today.

Wait – you might say. What is the Collier Park? And who is Collier? Keep reading.

Late March in Ocean Beach nearly 5 decades ago had a different feel that it does today. It was definitely a different time.

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