Main image
26th May
2016
written by Richard

Saturday morning, June 4, I’ll be at the Costco in Poway from 11:00 to 1:00 to sign copies of San Diego Yesterday. Come see the book. A great gift for Father’s Day!

  • 12155 Tech Center Dr, Poway, CA 92064
  • (858) 848-2450
  • costco.com
san-diego-yesterday-cover

Also available at Amazon.com

Awarded “Best Published Local Interest” for 2013 by the San Diego Book Awards Association.

“Crawford masterfully sheds light on San Diego’s past in concise, digestible, yet information-laden narratives.” –Matthew Schiff, Journal of San Diego History

5th March
2016
written by Richard

Please join us for a discussion with local author and historian, Rick Crawford, as he presents stories from his 2013 book, San Diego Yesterday.san-diego-yesterday-cover1-199x300

Extra copies of the book are available to borrow from the Skyline Hills library, or libraries through the area. Please join us for an inside peek into San Diego’s colorful history!

Wed, Mar 9, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Skyline Hills Library
480 S. Meadowbrook Dr.
San Diego CA 92114

(619) 527-3485

 

28th January
2016
written by Richard

Gambling ships were quite the vogue in the 1930s. Anchored three miles off the San Diego coast, ships like the Reno or Monte Carlo frustrated law enforcement but delighted the sporting crowd. Click below for a story I wrote many years ago about the ill-fated Monte Carlo, the wreck of which can usually be seen each winter at low tide in front of the Hotel del Coronado. This was originally published in Stranger Than Fiction: Vignettes of San Diego History (San Diego Historical Society, 1995).

The Gambling Ships of San Diego 

The SS Monte Carlo, beached at Coronado. From Stranger Than Fiction, p. 42.

The SS Monte Carlo, beached at Coronado. From Stranger Than Fiction, p. 42.

9th January
2016
written by Richard

Jubilation greeted the opening of the Sweetwater Dam in the spring of 1888. On the heels of the great land “boom of the eighties,” National City and the south bay reveled in the completion of an engineering marvel—the tallest masonry arch dam in the United States, which created San Diego County’s first large reservoir of water–an essential key to the region’s growth and prosperity.

The story of Building the Sweetwater Dam.SweetwaterPromo

21st December
2015
written by Richard

Kelp–best known as the flyblown brown seaweed that fouls beaches and tangles the legs of ocean swimmers—is actually one of San Diego’s great natural products. In the early 1900s, the processing of ocean kelp by the Hercules Powder Company in a huge plant in Chula Vista employed hundreds of people and helped win a war. The story of Hercules Powder.

Hercules Powder Company

Hercules Powder Company

27th July
2015
written by Richard

To look at it now, solidly in place, you would never know its disturbed history. The broken course of the Sutherland project is one of those fantastic things that could only happen here.  –Shelley Higgins, former City Attorney, in This Fantastic City.

The story of the ill-starred Sutherland Dam, known in its day as  A Dam Fiasco.

Abandoned Sutherland Dam, 1930s.

Abandoned Sutherland Dam, 1930s.

4th May
2015
written by Richard

We arrived at San Diego very tired at ½ past 7. Did not know where to go or what to do. It was dark. A serious time. At length, Walter, Keane, and self were taken in at the Dragoon Quarters and the rest got a tent. Our supper was coffee and crumbs of biscuit.  –H.M.T. Powell, December 3, 1849

The diary of a tired traveler from Illinois provides a rare, colorful account of early San Diego. Of an estimated 80,000 gold-seekers who found their way to California in 1849, relatively few stopped in San Diego. Fewer still left recorded narratives of their time here. The journal of H.M.T. Powell, published in 1931 as The Santa Fe Trail to California, 1849-1852, is considered by historians to be one of the most important accounts of the Gold Rush era.

An eyewitness view of Old Town San Diego in 1849: H.M.T. Powell and San Diego

powellsketch_1850a.pg

5th January
2015
written by Richard

San Diego is now the automobile racing capital of America. For the brief space of one week the Southern California exposition city is to revel in all the glory of the speed game. Next Saturday America’s foremost drivers are to risk their lives . . . in one of the most unique motor races ever staged on the Pacific Coast.  –Los Angeles Times, Jan. 3, 1915

The story of the 1915 Exposition Road Race.

The fastest racers in the world making a turn on the dirt track at Point Loma.

The fastest racers in the world making a turn on the dirt track at Point Loma.

 

18th December
2014
written by Richard

For the first time in the history of aviation, Glenn H. Curtiss yesterday performed the feat of launching his hydro-aeroplane from the water into the air, and after remaining in the air one minute and 21 seconds, alighted upon the water. He repeated his performance at will, skipping about Spanish Bight, off North Island, and circling around the craft in the harbor, with the ease and grace of the ordinary sea-bird.  –San Diego Union, January 27, 1911.

The early months of 1911 would be a remarkable time in the history of aviation, particularly for pioneer flyer Glenn Curtiss. The 33-year-old former motorcycle racer was America’s most accomplished aviator: winner of prestigious speed races, a successful aircraft builder, a respected consultant to the military, and the first aviator to fly and land a plane on water.  The story of The Aviator.

The Curtiss airplane on Spanish Bight at Coronado.

The Curtiss airplane on Spanish Bight at Coronado.

3rd December
2014
written by Richard

San Diego by nature offers the finest spot in the United States for tourists. And tourism is our largest non-government business. [Mission] Valley is part of the Planning Department’s future plan for the tourist, and we are considering throwing it down the drain . . . –Arthur Jessop, downtown merchant, June 26, 1958.

Controversial decisions in city planning are not new in San Diego but perhaps no action has ever been more consequential than a City Council vote in June 1958 to rezone 90 acres of farmland along Interstate 8–a decision that green-lighted construction of the Mission Valley Shopping Center.

Read May Co. Comes to Mission Valley.

Mission Valley Shopping Center opens, February 20, 1961.

Mission Valley Shopping Center opens, February 20, 1961.

 

Previous