An atomic bomb blast in San Diego Bay? No. More like a mushroom of smoke, mud, and water propelled by 2,040 pounds of TNT in seven feet of water. This bomb was detonated by the Naval Electronics Laboratory just a few miles from the Hotel del Coronado in June 1946. The scale model experiment recorded wave intensity from underwater explosions. The San Diego blast was a warm-up exercise for the world’s first underwater nuclear bomb explosion at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands on July 24, 1946.
Last summer the collections of the San Diego Central Library moved to a new building at 330 Park Blvd. For the past several months the staff of Special Collections has been busily unpacking and arranging boxes of materials once relegated to the basement of our old building. Among reams of material we make discoveries. Below is a forgotten architectural rendering of the proposed Carnegie Library. The completed structure, designed by the New York firm of Ackerman and Ross, was dedicated in April 1902.
In honor of National Library Week (April 13-19) here’s a little San Diego library trivia:
One of the smaller branches of the San Diego Public Library was the Marston Store branch. As “a convenience to tourists and shoppers,” the room opened in 1917 on the 5th floor of the famed department store at 5th and C Streets. The branch closed in 1921 and its collection was moved to the new Mission Hills branch.
Next Friday I’ll be at the Coronado Historical Society for an illustrated talk on San Diego history. That’s Friday, Jan. 10, 5:30 pm in the Lecture Hall of CHS, 1100 Orange Ave., Coronado, CA 92118. Here’s some more details from the CHA website.
San Diego today is a vibrant and bustling coastal city, but it wasn’t always so. The city’s transformation from a rough-hewn border town and frontier port to a vital military center was marked by growing pains and political clashes. Civic highs and criminal lows have defined San Diego’s rise through the 19th and 20th centuries into a preeminent Sun Belt city. Historian Crawford recalls significant events and one-of-a-kind characters that laid the foundation for the San Diego that we know today. Richard Crawford is the Supervisor of Special Collections at the San Diego Public Library. He is the former archives director at the San Diego Historical Society, where he also edited the Journal of San Diego History.
Please join us Oct. 17th, this event is FREE.
On Wednesday evening at 6:30, I’ll be at the Clairemont Library for pictures and discussion about San Diego Yesterday. The library is at 2920 Burgener Blvd.
In Special Collections at the Public Library we come across lots of excellent photographs of early San Diego. Many of unfamiliar. How about the “Pipe Hospital” at 306 C Street in 1915? Or the Grossmont Center Shopping Center when it was just a large excavation? And here’s a nice shot of the submarine S-33 in San Diego harbor.
The big move to the new Central Library is underway. Here’s some footage of the action and a some brief interviews.
Back in May 1991, San Diego Union reporter Roger Showley wrote a nice piece on local history books, which included a valuable list of favorite titles nominated by local historians (list attached here: Favorite Books).
That was 22 years ago. How about we update that list? This doesn’t have to be limited to professional historians. Let’s hear from students and history buffs, too.
What I’d like to know is simply:
a. What are your favorite San Diego history books (perhaps your top five?)
b. Why do you like these books?
You can leave a comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll give you all a couple of weeks then I’ll post the results on this site.