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San Diego in the 1930s

San Diego in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to America's Finest City

INTRODUCTION BY David Kipen
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Pages: 156
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt2855tj
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  • Book Info
    San Diego in the 1930s
    Book Description:

    San Diego in the 1930soffers a lively account of the city's culture, roadside attractions, and history-from the days of the Spanish missions to the pre-Second World War boom. The guide is revealing both in the opinions it embodies and in the juicy details it records-tidbits such as the bloodiest and most incompetently fought battle of the Mexican-American War, Emma Goldman's abruptly terminated speech to local Wobblies in 1912, and even a delightfully anachronistic way to beat a San Diego speeding ticket. Brimming with tours that can prove challenging to retrace, this book reminds us of the changes wrought by seven decades of intervening war, peace, and biotechnology. Unlatching a remarkable trapdoor into the past, this compact and charming document of the Depression era invites repeated browsing and is generously illustrated with striking black-and-white photographs that bring the period to life.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95465-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. PREFACE, 1937
    (pp. ix-x)
    HARRY L. HOPKINS
  4. FOREWORD, 1937
    (pp. xi-xi)
    LEROY A. WRIGHT

    San Diego has long been in need of a compact, comprehensive guide book which would not only be of aid to the thousands of annual tourists, but also of interest to residents desirous of knowing the full range of San Diego’s colorful history. In the past this need has been satisfied either by voluminous works, far too bulky for handy reference, or by small brochures, tantalizing in their brevity.

    It is no easy matter to select well from the thousands of relevant and irrelevant facts which have gone into the making of history here during almost four centuries. That so...

  5. INTRODUCTION TO THE 2013 EDITION
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
    David Kipen

    The WPA guide to San Diego paints a vivid picture of a charming city just before the federal patronage of the Second World War transformed it utterly. When the book was first published, in 1937, San Diego had no national profile to speak of, not even a becoming nickname. Thanks to Edmund Wilson’s 1931 travel essay, “The Jumping-Off Place,” the city had attained some notoriety as “America’s suicide capital,” but as nicknames go, that wasn’t going to be of much help. It was probably “America’s most Iowan city outside Iowa,” but San Diego’s convention and visitors’ bureau—the first in...

  6. GENERAL INFORMATION
    (pp. 1-8)

    Railroad station:Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry., Broadway and Kettner Blvd.; downtown ticket offices, Fifth Ave. and B St., four trains daily for Los Angeles and points E., connecting at Los Angeles with the Southern Pacific Lines, for points N.; San Diego and Arizona Eastern Ry. (Southern Pacific Lines), 300 Broadway; one train daily for Calexico, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz., where it connects with trains E.; Union Pacific Ry., ticket office, 345 Plaza.

    Airports:Lindbergh Field, Pacific Hwy. and Laurel St., on US 101; United Air Lines and Western Air Express, 5 scheduled flights daily for points N., S.,...

  7. THE CONTEMPORARY SCENE
    (pp. 9-10)

    San Diego (0-500 alt., 170,000 pop.) is a loosely knit community of residential districts, business centers, and suburban towns covering 96 square miles of seashore, canyons, and mesas. Climate is its main product; tourists are its principal customers. Its excellent harbor, one of the finest natural harbors on the Pacific coast, has been instrumental in attracting three important contributors to its economic welfare. The fishing industry, operated by the Portuguese and Italians, is the oldest; but in recent years the United States Navy and the aircraft industries have been increasingly active. Tourists visit San Diego the year round, but during...

  8. THE CITY BY SECTIONS
    (pp. 12-16)

    San Diego’s principal business district is concentrated in the area from Twelfth Avenue west to the bay and from A Street south to the bay, with the city spreading fan-wise from this tract. Though an attempt was made in 1850 to found a city on this site, its real development did not begin until 1867, when A. E. Horton purchased a thousand acres and laid out the present street plan. (SeeHistorical: The Americans.) At first the center was at Fifth Avenue and Market Street, but following the real estate booms of the 1870’s and 1880’s, the trend was northward...

  9. NATURAL SETTING
    (pp. 17-20)

    San Diego, the southwesternmost city of importance in the United States, and the first United States port of call north of the Panama Canal, covers an area of about one hundred square miles facing a landlocked natural harbor. The western side of the harbor is protected by Point Lorna, a high promontory about 7 miles in length which breaks the ocean. winds; and completing the enclosure of the bay, the Silver Strand, a narrow sandspit, extends southeast and south for 10 miles from North Island to its juncture with the mainland. The entrance to the harbor is a narrow channel...

  10. HISTORICAL
    (pp. 21-44)

    “They are very intelligent Indians, noisy, bold, great traders, covetous, and thievish.” With this general summary, Father Palou introduced the San Diego Indians to the Spanish world in hisHistorical Memoirs of New California,written shortly after the first expedition had established a garrison and mission at San Diego in 1769. “All the men are naked and most of them painted,” he continues, “but the women are modestly covered in front with woven fibers and behind with skins of animals. They all go armed with their bows and quivers of arrows.”

    The San Diego area was inhabited by Indians of...

  11. ECONOMIC
    (pp. 45-53)

    Agriculture during the first century of San Diego’s history was for a time the only local industry, and throughout that period was dominant in the general economy. Gradually other industrial activities developed, beginning with the hide and tallow trade and later including the short-lived whaling industry, and culminating in the fishing industry which is now of considerable importance. In the 1880’s the first steps were taken to conserve and pipe to the city the abundant back country water supply. From that time diversified industrial establishments began to appear, their number and size generally restricted by the supply of water. As...

  12. SOCIAL AND CULTURAL
    (pp. 54-63)

    Because of its varied background and constantly changing social surface, San Diego has never developed a homogeneous social and cultural pattern. In the slightly more than a century and a half of its existence, two distinct racial groups have left their impression upon the area. The first group, the Spanish, dominated until about 1850, replacing almost completely the rudimentary Indian culture of the California coastal region. So completely, in fact, were the Indians subjugated and reoriented on the cultural plane, that at the present time few traces remain of their folkways and to all intents and purposes they are a...

  13. CHRONOLOGY
    (pp. 64-70)
  14. LIST OF TOURS
    (pp. 71-71)
  15. TOURS IN THE CITY
    (pp. 72-98)
  16. TOURS IN ENVIRONS
    (pp. 99-126)
  17. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 127-130)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 131-138)