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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.

San Diegans raced to scene of the city's spectacular oil fire.

San Diegans raced to scene of the city’s spectacular oil fire.

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.

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San Diego Union, January 7, 1913.

3rd January
2014
written by Richard

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.

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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.

29th November
2013
written by Richard

For all you fans of America’s sometimes finest city here’s a couple good reads on our fascinating history. The books are available at Amazon and in bookstores (Costco, Barnes and Noble. . .)

441.4 San Diego AC

Now available in bookstores and Amazon.com.

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. Here’s a look at how we celebrated in the 1870s: 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.

15th October
2013
written by Richard

san-diego-yesterday-cover1The Ocean Beach Historical Society Presents: San Diego Yesterday Featuring Richard Crawford, Thurs., Oct. 17th at 7PM at P.L. United Methodist Church, 1984 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., Ocean Beach.

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.

8th October
2013
written by Richard

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.

CL_2013October_RickCrawford_portrait (1)

4th September
2013
written by Richard

Mark you calendars for Wednesday night, Oct. 9, at 6:30 p.m.  I’ll be at the Clairemont Library for a talk and discussion about San Diego Yesterday. Lots of great stories and historical photographs to share. The library is at 2920 Burgener Blvd., San Diego.

Now available in bookstores and Amazon.com.

Now available in bookstores and Amazon.com.

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