Articles by Richard Crawford

19th March
2014
written by Richard
Alonzo Horton, ca. 1868.

Alonzo Horton, ca. 1868.

Mr. A. E. Horton yesterday donated to the San Diego Free Reading Room Association his fine library. It will be remembered by old residents that this library was bought as the nucleus for a public institution some time ago—Mr. Horton having paid a large sum of money for it.  –San Diego Union, May 21, 1873.

San Diego’s first public library struggled to open its doors. A large book donation by city father Alonzo Horton was a start. But there were strings attached. . .

The story of San Diego’s First Library.

12th March
2014
written by Richard

With a roar that rocked the walls of the Savage Tire Company three hundred yards away, shook a trolley car on the rails five blocks off, and rattled the windows in the houses within the radius of over a mile, the Standard Oil Company’s 250,000-gallon distillate tanks blew up yesterday just before noon . . . –San Diego Union, October 6, 1913.

It was the most spectacular fire San Diego had ever seen. On Sunday morning, October 5, 1913, oil tanks at the Standard Oil Company plant at the foot of 26th Street exploded. The story of The Great Standard Oil Fire.

Union_Oct_7_1913

6th January
2014
written by Richard

The city awoke this morning in a climate apparently transplanted. Shivers ran where shivers had not run before and the weather bureau was bombarded from early morn with telephone calls to know the reason why. Lightly constructed “Southern California” houses shrank with the cold and fairly trembled with the quivering of their occupants. –San Diego Tribune, January 6, 1913.

A century ago San Diego got a cold taste of winter weather.  The story of the Big Freeze.

freeze1913

San Diego Union, January 7, 1913.

3rd December
2013
written by Richard
Children await the opening of a new toy library. National Archives.

Children await the opening of a new toy library. National Archives.

 

Christmas day every day in San Diego. Toys every day for children to whom the real Christmas has never meant a thing. That is the purpose of San Diego toy loan libraries. –San Diego Union, August 13, 1939.

A federal government success story: toy libraries for children during the Great Depression.         The Toy Loan Libraries.

13th November
2013
written by Richard
The Thanksgiving Day menu from the Horton House Hotel.

The Thanksgiving Day menu from the Horton House Hotel.

In 1872, the dour secretary of San Diego founder Alonzo Horton would complain in his diary: Thanksgiving Day has not been very well observed. Too tired to work and too forgetful of comforts enjoyed . . . May our ingratitude be forgiven.  –Jesse Aland Shepherd.

But in future years San Diegans would invest a bit more in the national holiday: Thanksgiving in Early San Diego.

5th November
2013
written by Richard

It was a crime that incensed San Diegans: the “murder” of a young sailor from a US. warship by a deputized marshal. For one summer and fall, San Diegans would eagerly follow the case of a “posse” gone wild and accused of brutalizing American sailors.

The story of a riot in the Stingaree and The People versus Breedlove.

The crew of the USS Charleston.

The crew of the USS Charleston.

9th July
2013
written by Richard

He has been called the greatest benefactor in San Ysidro history–a mining engineer turned rancher who donated land for churches and schools, and built the community’s first public library. Dimly remembered today as the namesake of streets and schools, Frank B. Beyer is less known as the “gambler from the owner’s side of the table”—a man with a colorful career below the border, who spent his last years giving back his wealth to his adopted community.

The story Frank “Booze” Beyer and Tijuana.037

5th June
2013
written by Richard

Nearly a century ago, the students at San Diego High decided to end their school year early.  Here’s the story of The Student Strike.

Nearly the entire student body skipped class to march. Courtesy Special Collections, UCSD.

Nearly the entire student body skipped class to march. Courtesy Special Collections, UCSD.

17th May
2013
written by Richard

“You can’t parade. Our orders are to prevent it.” In a moment there was a seething, screaming mass around the policemen. Staves and sticks began to fly.
–San Diego Sun, May 31, 1933

Eighty years ago this month, conservative San Diegans got a little riled by The Young Communists.

The riot in Pantoja Park.

The riot in Pantoja Park.

14th January
2013
written by Richard
San Diego Evening Tribune, June 6, 1913.

San Diego Evening Tribune, June 6, 1913.

The city awoke this morning in a climate apparently transplanted. Shivers ran where shivers had not run before and the weather bureau was bombarded from early morn with telephone calls to know the reason why. Lightly constructed “Southern California” houses shrank with the cold and fairly trembled with the quivering of their occupants.  –San Diego Evening Tribune, January 6, 1913.

The story of the 1913 Big Freeze.

 

 

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