This walk begins at Albatross Street and Maple Avenue, the site of the Waldo Waterman monument. We will wend our way through Bankers Hill and into Balboa. Sites along the way include historic buildings, bridges and landmarks. Follow along the green line with yellow identifying numbers on HillQuest’s foldout map from edition #7. Take water and a snack on your adventure to enjoy in the park or at one of the walking bridges.
1. Waldo Waterman Landmark. Waterman was an early aviator. This site marks the place where Waldo, as a youth, glided across Maple Canyon. He went on to become a well-known aviator and aviation pioneer. Read more about his adventures in the Pioneers chapter of HQ5. His mother, Hazel Waterman was the daughter-in-law of a California governor and one of San Diego’s first female architects.
2. First Avenue Bridge. This great span was erected in 1931 at the instigation of property owners under the Improvement Act of 1911. “Peoples bridge” offers a great viewing platform for San Diego Harbor and Maple Canyon. Retrofitting has been planed for a number of years.
3. Ward House. Located on Quince near Second, this historic was built in 1894.
4. Quince Street Walking Bridge. Stop mid-span and enjoy the red-tail hawks soar through the eucalyptus trees. The 1921 big brown apartment house to the north of the bridge was the home of Elinor Meadows, savior of the bridge that you are standing on.
On the way to #5…you’ll pass the location (SW corner of Fourth and Spruce) where in 1890 the steam engines were housed for the cable cars. One block more and you’re at Jimmy Carter’s, the café changed to a Mexican menu in 2008. Try anything with the Tlaquepaque sauce. Yummy!
5. Moore House. Located on the NW corner of Second and Spruce, this historically designated home was built in 1892.
6. Hunt/Otis House. Located on the SE corner of Front and Spruce, it was built in 1910.
7. Spruce Street Bridge. The best known “secret” in 92103 is this 1912 suspension bridge, the only one in the county. The footpath floats among treetops, gracefully suspended from two steel cables anchored to concrete piers at either end. The lightness of the bridge allows it to sway and dance in response to wind and walkers. Enjoy!
8. Historic Architecture. An example of some the oldest are located at 435 W Spruce (1913, Mead & Requa), 3170 Curlew (1912, Hazel Waterman), 3226 Curlew (1912, William Hebbard).
9. Letitia Lovett House. Turn the corner at Walnut and Albatross to view this grand Victorian built circa 1980 on the Fourth Street cable car line. Letitia saved her home from the wrecking ball by rolling it downhill to the current location.
10. More Historic Archtiecture. Four homes located between 3353-3367 Albatross (1912 & 1913, Irving Gill).
11. Kate Sessions Tree. Rumored to be one of her favorites, the sidewalk now gives way to this grand camphor tree. The city moved the sidewalk to create a petite park on this busy thoroughfare.
12. Second & Thorn. Locate the spelling error in the concrete.
13. Jimmy Carter’s Mexican. This recently remodeled café is the literally the brightest restaurant on the avenue. Try Dulce’s fresh agua fresca and great soups.
14. Park Manor Suites. Built in 1926 the history of this hotel includes child actor Jackie Coogan’s family, who used some of his earnings to invest in this seven-story Italian Renaissance style structure. Frank Allen who supervised buildings for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition designed the hotel. The top floor offers a wonderful panorama of the park, harbor and Hillcrest!
15. Mi Arbolito. The development broke ground in 2004. The footprint was designed for 14 stories with one residence per floor. The neighbors at 666 Upas sued the developer halting the project for many months. The unfortunate result was an ugly scar at the entrance to San Diego’s most precious jewel until the building was completed in 2009. In 2012 it remains unlived in.
16. Marston House. This Hebbard-Gill design was the home of civic leader and department store owner, George Martson and his family. It is now a city run museum.
17. Roque Courts. These long-abandoned courts need use. Continue meandering through the Healing Garden, “Balboa Beach” and Redwood Circle (a great place for a picnic).
18. Lawn Bowling Courts. If you’re lucky enough to catch a game in progress, sit and watch this interesting sport. What they’re rolling is called a “bowl” that is heavier on one side, so it naturally curves to the weighted side as it slows. The goal is be the closest to the small white “jack.” Contact club members at (619) 238-5457 for free lessons.
19. San Diego Pioneers. Kate Sessions (on the south) and the trio of Alonzo Horton, Ephraim Morse and George Marston were sculpted and cast in bronze by San Diegan Ruth Hayward. The boys have benches perfect to rest and read HillQuest in the company of historic leaders before continuing your journey.
20. Palomar Apartments. Designed by architects Frank Mead and Richard Requa, this 1904 two-tone pink apartment house can boast, “Charles Lindbergh slept here” prior to his historic flight to Paris.
21. Britt Scripps Inn. This beautiful three-story inn has been completely restored to authentically reflect the craftsmanship and rich heritage of the late 1800s. The Queen Anne-style Victorian Inn, with its nine private rooms and bathrooms, combines turn-of-the century style and grandeur with contemporary luxury and personalized service.
We hope that you have enjoyed this walk through Hillcrest. Visit The Blue Line Walk for a delightful stroll through Hillcrest and neighboring urban canyons.