Hillcrest History Timeline
HillQuest has put together a timeline of events in Hillcrest, Uptown and throughout San Diego.
pre 1769 ~ Kummeyay Indians inhabit numerous villages scattered throughout the San Diego region including Mission Valley and Florida/Switzer Canyon in Balboa Park.
1769 ~ Father Junipero Serra arrives to found Mission San Diego de Alcala on westernmost edge of San Diego mesa. The San Diego mission is the first of what will become a chain of twenty-one Spanish missions extending northward along the California coast. The Spanish introduce herds of domestic cattle, sheep and horses which graze on the surrounding mesas.
1774 ~ Trading the strategic advantage of the high ground overlooking both coastal San Diego and Mission Valley for a more reliable water supply the Spanish mission relocates six miles inland (its present site) along the San Diego River near the native village of Nipaguay. The Spanish military, under the local command of the Presidio of Monterey, take possession and expand the stockade on the newly designated Presidio Hill.
1812 ~ An earthquake in the Santa Barbara Channel (Richter=7.0) shakes California Alta and destroys San Diego Mission Church.
1813 ~ Hoping to improve agriculture yields, the Franciscan missionaries organize construction of the first water engineering project on the west coast of the United States. The first dam to cross the San Diego River is sited in present day Mission Trails Regional Park.
1816 ~ After three years of construction, the first western water project is complete and water arrives Mission San Diego de Alcala via an aqueduct routed through eastern Mission Valley.
1821 ~ Mexicans gain political independence from Spain. Buildings begin to be constructed below Presidio Hill, adjacent to the San Diego River at the mouth of Mission Valley. This geographic locus for local residents and travelers eventually becomes the new center of development of San Diego.
1825 ~ Soldiers from the Presidio establish houses and sleeping quarters outside the garrison.
1826 ~ Jedediah Smith journeys across the arid southwest to lead the first American party to arrive overland in San Diego. The Governor of San Diego, Jose Maria Echeandia, is not welcoming and orders them to leave immediately.
1835 ~ The Presidio is abandoned by the Mexican military and the site begins to fall to ruin. Photo of Presidio Hill (1872) showing ruins of fortifications at upper left.
1846 ~ United States declares war on Mexico, and the Marines occupy San Diego on July 29. Fortifications on Presidio Hill are rebuilt and named Fort Stockton by Admiral Robert F. Stockton.
1850 ~ California is granted statehood. City of San Diego is incorporated and holds its first election establishing a government with a Common Council and an elected mayor. San Diego’s first mayor is Joshua Bean, brother of the famous Judge Roy Bean. The following year the San Diego Herald publishes its first edition.
1856 ~ First public school house opens in San Diego with Mary Chase Walker as its first teacher. She receives a salary of $65/month. After eleven months she quits teaching and marries Ephraim Morse, the president of the school board.
1868 ~ Ephraim Morse presents a resolution to the Board of Trustees of San Diego that land be set aside for a city park. Morse, Thomas Bush and Alonzo Horton select the land north of downtown. Two years later, San Diego becomes the first city west of the Mississippi to set aside land for an urban park. This 1,440-acre tract becomes the site for City Park, now Balboa Park.
1870 ~ Mary Kearney obtains a deed from the city for land which will become eventually become Hillcrest.
1873 ~ H.M. Covert and Jacob Gruendike initiate first major waterworks since mission days — forming the city’s first water company (San Diego Water Company) on January 20. Wells drilled in Pound Canyon near the site of present Cabrillo Bridge provide first reliable water supply for the city. Two reservoirs are constructed on mesas bordering canyon with a total capacity of 170,000 gallons.
1875 ~ Increasing demands for water lead San Diego Water Company to tap water from wells in Mission Valley and the San Diego River. A pumping station is built in Mission Valley at the mouth of Palm Canyon (just east of Presidio Hill). A tunnel running up from Mission Valley to the mesa top (near the current UCSD Medical Center) carried water to University Avenue from where it flowed downhill across the empty mesa into a new reservoir at Fifth and Hawthorn. Additional pumps supplied a reservoir in University Heights which also fed into downtown’s water supply.
1880 ~ Fifth Street is the first street to be extended uptown onto San Diego Mesa.
1884 ~ Kate Sessions arrives from the San Francisco Bay area to teach at Russ School. The next year she begins her nursery business.
1885 ~ The first electric streetlights are installed in San Diego. Fifth Street paved north to Ivy.
1886 ~ Elisha S. Babcock and Hampton L. Story launch the San Diego Streetcar Company, the city’s first public transit system. The streetcars are limited to downtown, consisting of cars pulled by horses and mules.
1887 ~ Electric Rapid Transit Company installs recently invented electric powered streetcars, connecting downtown and Old Town along Kettner Boulevard.
Thomas T. Crittenden files a deed for Crittenden’s Addition one of the first subdivisions north of City Park (bounded by Robinson, Upas, Sixth Avenue and Highway 163). A peaceful enclave ever since, the 3500 block of Seventh Avenue in Crittenden’s Addition contains well preserved historic residences from many of the region’s important architects including Irving Gill, William Hebbard, Frank Mead and Richard Requa.
University Heights is founded by the College Hill Land Association.
1888 ~ Public transportation arrives in uptown when the Park Belt Motor Road opens a ten-mile loop connecting downtown, Hillcrest (along Fifth Avenue) University Heights and Balboa Park (then City Park). Also known as the University Heights Motor Road, the cars were pulled by a small steam-powered engine.
Alonzo Erastus Horton opens Horton’s Addition (an area north of downtown, bounded by Ash Street on the south, City Park on the east, Walnut Street on the north and present-day Interstate 5 on the west) and begins a major development. More than 100 new homes are built, with many other people residing in hotels and boarding houses.
1889 ~ Brooke’s Addition is deeded (bounded by Second, Sixth, Robinson and Brookes). The city covers over the abandoned Pound Canyon well, citing “danger” as the reason.
1890 ~ San Diego Cable Railway Company opens a 4.7-mile cable car line up Fourth Avenue, along University and then north on Normal Street and Park Boulevard to Adams Avenue. The 51,000-foot cable is driven by two coal-fired steam engines located at a power plant at Fourth and Spruce.
Deed for Nutt’s Addition is recorded (bounded by Second, Sixth, Robinson and Brookes).
1891 ~ The San Diego Cable Railway Company ceases to operate and falls into bankruptcy. One owner vanishes with $200,000 while the other commits suicide in face of bank fraud charges.
Wyatt Earp invests in Hillcrest real estate, purchasing the southwest corner of Fifth and University. In addition to investing in saloons and gambling halls, Earp is rumored to have operated a brothel at this site.
1894 ~ Bad times encourage Alonzo Horton to sell his half-block Horton Plaza park to the city for $10,000, stipulating that it must remain a park forever. Under the agreement, the city agrees to pay Horton $100 a month with no interest and no down payment. In the event of Horton’s death, the city would acquire the property outright. The city fathers underestimated Horton’s endurance. In April 1903, 89-year-old Horton cashes his final check — a total of over $16,000. Housing development begins north of Walnut Street.
1895 ~ Thirty-three women form the Wednesday Club, a civic literary group, and elect Lydia Horton (Alonzo’s wife) president. Four years later when steel baron Andrew Carnegie donates money for small town libraries throughout the country, the club sponsors fundraisers and obtain the first Carnegie Library built west of the Mississippi. Later the club raised funds for the museums in Balboa Park.
1896 ~ The Citizen’s Traction company begins to serve uptown on the newly electrified route of the former cable road. The cable cars are fitted with electric motors and reach a top speed of twenty-five mph. Trolley lines through uptown saw major extensions in 1897 and 1904.
1897 ~ State Normal School, the beginning of what is now San Diego State University, is founded for the training of elementary school teachers. The seven faculty and ninety-one students of the first “Normal School” class gather a year later in temporary quarters downtown while the first unit of the main building of the campus is under construction near the corner of Park and El Cajon boulevards.
1898 ~ George Hill, one of the first stockholders in the Santa Fe railroad system, dies at the age of eighty-eight. A frequent winter resident of the Hotel Florence, his estate valued at $139,341 includes one of the last undeveloped tracts in uptown.
1902 ~ At his own expense, George Marston travels east to hire a worthy landscape architect for the commission of designing San Diego’s 1,400-acre park, known then as City Park. Two months later, at Marston’s invitation, Samuel Parsons, Jr., arrives in San Diego to study the parklands.
1903 ~ Construction begins on County Hospital (now UCSD Medical Center).
1904 ~ County Hospital opens on mesa overlooking Mission Valley. The 90 patients residing in the previous county medical institution, the County Poor Farm in Mission Valley are transferred on May 15th. A fourth floor is added in 1910 and a five-story east wind in 1926.
Construction of the Panama Canal begins.
George White Marston, a leading businessman and community booster, hires Irving Gill to build a residence in Crittenden’s Addition, just north of City Park. Gill designs an English cottage-style estate now open as a historical museum.
1905 ~ Quince Street pedestrian bridge opens providing residents west of Maple Canyon access to the streetcar lines.
1906 ~ William Wesley Whitson purchases 40-acre parcel from the George Hill estate for $115,000.
1907 ~ Whitson establishes the Hillcrest Company and opens a sales offices at the corner of University and Fifth (the present location of Union Bank). His sister-in-law, Laura Anderson, who had recommended that he buy the land, names the subdivision “Hillcrest.” Development of Presidio Park begins as Marston, Spreckels, Scripps and other investors begin buying property to preserve as the park.
The growing rabbit population in City Park is taking its toll on all the new trees and plantings. George Marston, at the city councils request, organizes a series of rabbit hunts to cull the population.
1908 ~ Florence Elementary School (at First and University avenues) opens.
1909 ~ G. Aubrey Davidson, founder of the Southern Trust and Commerce Bank and President of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, proposes that San Diego should stage an exposition in 1915 to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal.
1910 ~ The first bank in Hillcrest, University Avenue Bank, opens.
Self-taught architect Hazel Wood Waterman designs a woman’s clubhouse at Sixth and Ivy for The Wednesday Club. Detailed tiles reflect Waterman’s interest in artisan elements while the simple light-conscious lines of the structure reflect the influence of her mentor, Irving Gill.
As construction proceeds on Panama Canal, boosters in San Diego initiate the renaming of City Park to honor Vasco Nunez de Balboa, the first European to cross the Isthmus of Darien and set eyes on the Pacific Ocean.
1911 ~ The Panama-California Exposition groundbreaking ceremonies begin with a military mass on July 19. The Administration Building is the first to go up, completed in March 1912.
1912 ~ San Diego city engineer (twice), and later mayor (twice), Edwin Capp builds a suspension footbridge at Spruce Street, linking residents of the western regions of Bankers Hills with streetcar lines heading downtown.
International Workers of the World (“Wobblies”) protest downtown, drawing a crowd of nearly 5,000 people on March 10. The fight for “free speech” ends in May when Emma Goldman leaves town, and Ben Reitman is tarred and feathered.
Misses Lee and Teats hire Irving Gill to design a group of houses around a canyon bounded by Front and Albatross streets south of Walnut. Gill places the houses around a common garden with a central ‘boulevard’ leading down into the canyon below the Spruce Street suspension bridge.
William Hebbard and Carleton Winslow, Sr. design All Saints Episcopal Churchat Sixth and Pennsylvania.
1913 ~ Hillcrest Theater (later named the Guild) becomes the first movie house outside of downtown. (It goes dark in 1997, the same month that the Park Theatre closes.)
1914 ~ The Panama Canal is completed.
At the April 12 opening of the Cabrillo Bridge Franklin D. Roosevelt (Assistant Secretary of the Navy) accompanies G. Aubrey Davidson and Mayor Charles F. O’Neall in the first automobile to cross.
John D. Spreckels presents the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park to the people of San Diego. Spreckels also hires Dr. Humphrey J. Stewart, a distinguished organist and composer, to give daily concerts throughout 1915. These concerts continued, at Spreckels’ expense, until September 1, 1929.
1915 ~ The Panama-California Exposition opens on New Year’s Day. At midnight on New Year’s Eve, President Woodrow Wilson presses a Western Union telegraph key in Washington, D.C. which turns on lights and touches off a display of fireworks to open the Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park. Bertram Goodhue’s Spanish Colonial architecture forever defines Balboa Park.
Pacific Bell and Telephone opens new switching center at Seventh and University. All San Diego long distance calls are routed, by hand, through this building. The building will expand again in 1937 for the installation of mechanical switches to route calls for the increasingly popular dial phones.
1916 ~ The original Vermont Street Bridge opens. The wooden structure remains in use until November 1978 and is demolished in May 1979.
Unusually heavy rains in January cause severe flooding in San Diego, washing out all but two of the city’s 112 bridges. “Rainmaker” Charles Hatfield gets all the credit and the blame, but never gets paid the $10,000 city fathers had promised him. Photo of washed-out bridge in Old Town.
Dr. Harry Wegeforth brings the San Diego Zoo into being when animals imported for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition are quarantined and not allowed to leave. He’s reported to have exclaimed to brother Paul, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had a zoo.” He puts a notice in the newspaper, asking for support.
1919 ~ St. Joseph’s Hospital surgery annex is erected on the present site of Kinkos/Chipolte. The hospital covers several acres of Hillcrest including Sixth to Eighth avenues north of University. In the ’40s its moved across the street and the building becomes the new home for Victor and Ruth Schulman’s House of Heirlooms.
1921 ~ Business owners unite to form the Hillcrest Association.
1922 ~ Roosevelt Junior High School opens adjacent to the zoo.
1924 ~ The sisters of Mercy Hospital move to the present location of Scripps Mercy north of Washington Street and sell St. Joseph’s.
The Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company expands the Hillcrest central office to provide for an additional 1200 subscribers. Forty million conductor-feet of cable are strung throughout the neighborhood.
George Marston, having acquired most of Crittenden’s Addition, lays out a 74-lot subdivision which becomes known as Marston Hills. Many of the residences built in this new ‘suburban’ tract are patterned Medierranean Revival style of the 1915 Exposition in Balboa Park.
1925 ~ Fox Egyptian Theatre opens. (Later named Capri, then Park. It closes in 1997.)
Mission Beach Amusement Center (now Belmont Park) opens on the Fourth of July. The Giant Dipper roller coaster is a popular attraction. Photo of opening day at Belmont Park.
The Southern California Counties Building burns down in November (just prior to the holding of a Fireman’s Ball). This was one of the major 1915 Exposition buildings in Balboa Park. It is replaced by the Natural History Museum.
1926 ~ Temple Beth Israel is constructed at Third and Laurel. Persons of all denominations attend the ceremonies celebrating the setting of the cornerstone.
Grant A. Bush opens the exotic, new Bush Egyptian Movie Theater on June 30 at 3812 Park Boulevard, just south of University Avenue. The Egyptian Theater was one of San Diego’s original luxury movie houses. Patrons entered past huge columns in an open courtyard lobby. In 1954 the columns were removed, and the enclosed lobby became Mondrian-modern as the extraordinary building was remodeled in a three-month, $100,000 project and renamed the Capri Theater.
1927 ~ The Fine Arts Gallery in Balboa Park (now the San Diego Museum of Art), designed by William Templeton Johnson and funded by Appleton Bridges, is dedicated and opens to the public.
El Cortez Hotel opens as San Diego’s “finest” furnished apartment-hotel.
1928 ~ The Chicken Pie Shop opens at northeast corner of Fifth and Robinson (moving to North Park in 1990).
Hillcrest Station of the U.S. Postal Service opens.
Lindbergh Field, San Diego’s municipal airport, is dedicated. Photo of Lindbergh Field, 1935.
Reynard Hills platted.
1929 ~ George Marston hires William Templeton Johnson to design the Junipero Serra Museum at Presidio Park. The stunning white of the building on a gardened promontory is a well-known landmark, but the traditional design leads many to (wrongly) believe it is a restored historical church.
Mission Cliffs Gardens and the Ostrich Farm shut down. In 1942 the land is subdivided and developed as residences.
1931 ~ Wedding Bell Chapel (later various restaurants including riceJones and presently The Tractor Room) opens in the 3600 block of Fifth Avenue.
1936 ~ In effort to relieve congestion on Washington Avenue, the city extends University Avenue westward from Front Street. A small canyon adjacent to Florence School is filled and a one block northward jog graded. At Albatross, the new road connects into Douglas which is hence renamed.
1940 ~ The Hillcrest Women’s Association donates the landmark sign at the corner of University and Fifth avenues.
Hoping to solve “one of San Diego’s major traffic problems, the congestion at University and Sixth avenues” a 423-foot box-girder bridge is built to extend Washington Street over the Sixth Street Extension (now the 163 on/off ramps). The span allows east/west traffic to bypass the traffic jam due to north/south traffic. The project is funded from state gasoline tax allocations to the city. The following year the city approves widening Sixth Avenue north of Upas as part of overall program to relieve the “Hillcrest traffic bottleneck at University Avenue.”
1941 ~ The first parking meters are installed in San Diego.
1946 ~ Owners of Park Boulevard’s Egyptian Court Margaret and Wilson A. (Bill) Pickney open an exotic restaurant, The Garden of Allah, next door. In 1954, this unconventional supper club was modernized into “The Flame” to commemorate the fire that had gutted the couple’s previous building.
1947 ~ The Cabrillo Freeway (now Historic Highway 163) opens. Then, as now, the corridor is one of the major automobile connections between downtown San Diego and the growing housing developments to the north and east. Prior to the construction of I-8 through Mission Valley in 1958, eastbound traffic would exit at Washington Avenue and follow El Cajon Boulevard (then US-80). The Cabrillo Freeway is spanned by numerous bridges, including the Cabrillo Bridge built for the 1915 Exposition. The freeway follows an extension of Pound Canyon and cuts through several subdivisions (including Crittendens, est. 1887 and Fletchers Addition, est. 1896) and required constructing crossings for the primary east/west routes: Washington, University and Robinson.
1949 ~ Bill Kingston moves The Whistle Stop from downtown to Sixth Avenue. In 1975 it opens at 3834 Fourth Avenue (where it remains today). Chief engineer and railroad buff Scott Rhodes who no owns the store has worked here in 1979.
Trolley service in Hillcrest ends as San Diego shuts down the electric streetcars on April 23.
1951 ~ Freeway construction begins in Mission Valley. The initial section extends east from Cabrillo Freeway to the recently completed Alvarado Canyon Freeway.
1953 ~ Sears Roebuck and Company opens on the present site of the Uptown District. It was razed in 1988.
1955 ~ The Golden Dragon above Jimmy Wong’s Chinese restaurant is lit for the first time.
1956 ~ El Cortez Hotel adds the worlds first outside glass hydraulic elevator, designed by C.J. Paderewski.
1957 ~ Hillcrest celebrates the 50th anniversary of its founding with a golden remembrance of the “good old days.” Norm Robbins dresses up as Wyatt Earp for promotion of neighborhood businesses.
1958 ~ Interstate Highway 8 is built through Mission Valley, following ancient Indian trails.
1959 ~ Parking meter rates double from 5 to 10 cents an hour.
1960 ~ Sprawl of shopping centers in the newly accessible Mission Valley begins. Hillcrest merchants suffer from increased competition and shoppers preference to go to the latest American marketing invention: The Mall.
Al Davis opens the doors to his furniture store at the corner of Herbert and University. Twenty years later he adds Mattress World.
1961 ~ Bill and Mary Peccolo found the Blue Door Bookstore on Fifth Avenue. After Bill’s death in 1987, she sells the business to Tom Stoup who runs the literary sanctuary until transferring ownership to Patti DeYoung in 2000. The 39-year-old store closes the next year.
1963 ~ After three years of construction, the new $12.5 million, 11-story County Hospital opens.
1968 ~ Show Biz Supper Club opens (at the location of Seven), and Clint Johnson introduces the first female impersonation show to San Diego. Tourists from Mission Valley are bused to the club for three shows a night. The stage goes dark in 1982.
1970 ~ Members of the GLBT community begin to establish residences, businesses and organizations within Hillcrest.
1972 ~ City Council votes to raise hourly parking meter rates from 75 cents to $1.
San Diego is chosen as the site for the Republican National Convention. In a last-minute about-face, Republicans announce plans to move convention site to Miami Beach. See Dick run. The loss of the convention prompts Mayor Pete Wilson to declare San Diego “America’s Finest City.”
1973 ~ The Center for Social Services (now called the LGBT Center) opens in Golden Hill, it moves to Hillcrest in 1980.
1974 ~ Protesting lack of human rights (and the city’s refusal of a parade permit), 200 gays and lesbians march through the streets of downtown for the first time. Some cover their heads with paper bags fearing reprisal. The first city-permitted parade is held the next year.
1974 ~ City Council approves conversion of Lewis and Montecito Streets to one-way traffic.
1976 ~ Coral Tree Plaza, the first high-rise residential tower near the heart of Hillcrest, is built in block three of Crittenden’s Addition.
1978 ~ “Tower, we’re going down. This is PSA. Mom, I love you.” One of the worst air crashes in U.S. history occurs over North Park on September 25 when a Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) Boeing 737 approaching San Diego airport is struck in mid-air by a Cessna flown by a student pilot. All 135 people on the jet are killed as well as seven people on the ground and the two pilots in the Cessna. Twenty-two homes over a four-block area at Boundary and Dwight are damaged or destroyed.
The Electric Building (1915 Exposition’s Commerce and Industries Building, now Casa de Balboa) burns down on February 22, destroyed by arson fire. Two weeks later the world-famed Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park burns to the ground in another arson fire on March 8. After a massive fund-raising drive to rebuild it, a new, three-theater complex opens four years later.
1979 ~ Update launches its first issue, reporting on a recent police raid of the Fourth Avenue Club and the subsequent founding of the Gay Alliance for Equal Rights.
The Wing Cafe, a feminist restaurant-gallery-performance space on B Street in Golden Hill, opens. In 1982 Kathy Najimy and Sue Palmer take over the entertainment.
1983 ~ Joyce Beers, secretary of the Hillcrest Association, leads a petition drive urging city council to form the Hillcrest Business Improvement District (BID).
Roger Hedgecock is elected mayor. (He resigns in 1985 over a campaign fund-raising scandal.)
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II unveils a bust of Shakespeare at the rebuilt Old Globe Theatre.
1984 ~ The Flame, an old supper club on Park Blvd (named after a fire destroyed the first restaurant, The Garden of Allah), reopens as a lesbian bar. It changes ownership twenty years later, after being purchased by the owners of Numbers, a watering hole across the street. The Flame changed ownership again in 2010.
The Hillcrest sign is restored and relit. The celebration and streetfair held underneath continued the next year as CityFest (after an initial cancellation).
BID is formed in July. It now oversees a portion of funds which are collected from all licensed businesses within the area. The Hillcrest Business Association, composed of local merchants and residents, controls the use of funds which enable the promotion of community improvements within Hillcrest.
1985 ~ The HBA holds the first “CityFest” in May (a two-day event). Over-zealous painters get carried away and cover Fifth Avenue with colorful slogans and pictures costing the association $1,642 in clean-up expenses (from the city).
Mayor Roger Hedgecock appoints Susan Jester as the first openly gay member for the Advisory Board on Neighborhoods.
1986 ~ Maureen O’Connor is elected as San Diego’s first woman mayor. In June she becomes the first elected official to ride (and march) in the Lesbian & Gay Pride parade.
1987 ~ Corvette Diner opens.
Far West Savings and Loan Association restores the Security Commercial and Savings Bank at the northeast corner of Fifth and University. It has morphed from Rooster Gear to Hollywood Tans.
Hillcrest activist Albert Bell (with Jess Jessop) is among 862 arrested in the largest act of civil disobedience on record during the March on Washington.
1989 ~ After four years of fighting over custody issues, attorney fees and property, Betty Broderick shoots her former husband, Dan, and (his new wife) Linda in the bed of their Marston Hills home. The sensationalism of the crime spawns two made-for-TV-movies.
1990 ~ The Quince Street pedestrian bridge reopens after a major renovation thanks to activist (and art teacher) Elinor Meadows.
A demographic swing towards mods, punks and yuppies raises concerns that the charm of Hillcrest is being replaced by trendy corporate capitalism.
1991 ~ Village Hillcrest opens with a large underground parking lot and a mixed-use of the buildings.
1992 ~ Hillcrest Association begins Tues Nite Out promotion. The program had a near two-decade run before being cancelled by the Hillcrest Business Association.
1993 ~ The GAP moves into the building on southwest corner of Fifth and University once owned by Wyatt Earp.
Christine Kehoe is elected as our representative to the SD City Council (the first openly gay/lesbian official in San Diego).
1994 ~ A new Vermont Street pedestrian bridge is completed. This span featuring public art costs $1.2 million.
Hillcrest’s second Starbucks (and San Diego’s 14th) opens at the former site of the Chicken Pie Shop. The building is refurbished with art deco spires and neon.
Former Mayor Roger Hedgecock heads a group of protesters, “The Normal People,” wanting to march in the Pride parade. The court denies the action.
1995 ~ Olympic swimmer and gold medal winner Greg Louganis is selected Grand Marshal of the San Diego Lesbian & Gay Pride parade.
1996 ~ The City Council honors the HBA with a proclamation proclaiming October 24 as “Hillcrest Association Day” in San Diego.
Hillcrest Business Association votes to underwrite the cost of a security patrol for the neighborhood.
1997 ~ Our farmers market opens on Sunday mornings at the DMV lot (Lincoln and Normal) as a project of the HBA.
After a five-year wait, sidewalks along Fifth Avenue between Robinson and University are replaced. Main goal: save the 35-year-old ficus trees.
1998 ~ Police Chief Jerry Sanders, (next year’s chief) David Bejarano, Sheriff Bill Kolender and City Manager Mike Uberuaga join a large contingent of uniformed officers in this year’s LGBT Pride parade through Hillcrest.
Julia Kate Morgan, a transsexual woman losing hope of a successful transition, carries a gun to her appointment with Dr. Rita Powers at the Cognitive Therapy Institute. What happens next is unclear but the result is the tragic deaths of both Morgan and Powers.
The LGBT Center on Normal Street needs more space when an opportunity to buy the onl union hall at 3909 Centre Street. They make the move one block east the following July.
1999 ~ Linda Churchill paints a mural depicting a yesteryear hardware store at the corner of Tenth and University avenues.
2000 ~ Promoting “neighborhoods first” Toni Atkins is elected as our District 3 council representative to the city.
2001 ~ Mercy Gardens (formerly the Sisters of Mercy Convent which housed nuns from 1926-1990) is remodeled for use by the HIV-positive community.
Local public television station, KPBS, airs the documentary “Searching for San Diego — Hillcrest.” HBA President Hulda “Sissy” Isham is one of many featured individuals.
2002 ~ The 14th Annual Open Air Book Fair moves from Normal Heights to Hillcrest’s Fifth Avenue, drawing about 5,000 literary enthusiasts.
Hillcrest resident Judge Bonnie Dumanis is elected as San Diego District Attorney. She is the highest ranking, openly lesbian, law enforcement officer in the nation.
2003 ~The former FBI building (later the Water Authority building) at the corner of Fifth and Spruce is renovated and sold as high-end lofts.
2004 ~ A fire inside the Cabrillo Bridge columns causes concern, but the structure’s integrity remains.
The Hillcrest History Guild is formed by Ann Garwood and Nancy Moors. A virtual museum is created on the Internet.
2005 ~ First year in city history that we had four months with at least four inches of precipitation. By mid-May the rainfall at Lindbergh Field totaled 22.47″ making it the third wettest season since 1850.
On September 13 the City Council follows Toni Atkins lead and approves the 140-foot mixed use project at 301 University by 7-1. (Donna Fyre was the lone vote of dissent.)
2007 ~ Hillcrest celebrates our first 100 years as residents form the Hillcrest Town Council giving a voice to renters and homeowners. They meet the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Joyce Beers Community Center.
2008 ~ An Interim Height Ordinance is approved by the City Council on July 8th followed by a neighborhood celebration at Joyce Beers Community Center.
Todd Gloria is elected to the City Council to represent Hillcrest and all of District 3
2009 ~ Benjamin “Ben” Nicholls takes over at the helm of the Hillcrest Business Association on January 5th becoming their fourth executive director. (Beers, Kehoe & Simon were predecessors.)
2010 ~ The SD County Grand Jury report cites high expenses at the Uptown Partnership.
The Hillcrest History Guild is honored by SD LGBT Pride with their Community Service Award.
2011 ~ Noah Tafolla, producer of Wonderland, a popular KPBS series featuring San Diego neighborhoods, presents a feature on Hillcrest with interviews from Ann Garwood & Nancy Moors with HillQuest, Urban Guide and the Hillcrest History Guild, Cecelia Moreno owner of the Crest Cafe, and learns how to bake bread with Charles Kaufman at Bread & Cie.
Bankers Hill residents form a group to give the neighborhood a voice. They meet at the top of the Inn at the Park on the third Monday of each month (except August). No dues…great views.
2012 ~ Redistricting occurs. The San Diego City Charter, Article II, section 5, requires that the City be redistricted at least once every 10 years. Section 5.1 of the Charter sets forth the procedure for redistricting. A new council district is added. Council District 3 (which includes Hillcrest) is re-confirgured to include Mission Hills, Bankers Hill and downtown. Todd Gloria remains our council representative and is voted by his peers to become Council President.
San Diegans vote Congressman Bob Filner (D) as their Mayor. Filner is the first Democrat to hold the non-partisan position in decades.
2013 ~ The final printed edition of HillQuest Urban Guide is printed. The community website, HillQuest.com is re-designed and continues after a decade of providing news of the community, San Diego and the world.