History of San Diego
Part of a series on the
|History of California|
The recorded history of the San Diego, California, region begins with the first landing by a European in the present state of California and the first European settlement in California, so that San Diego has been described as "the birthplace of California."
Native Americans such as the Kumeyaay people had been living in the area for as long as 12,000 years. Explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovered San Diego Bay in 1542, but it was 200 years before Europeans settled the area. A fort and mission were established in 1769, which gradually expanded into a settlement under first Spanish and then Mexican rule.
San Diego became part of the U.S. in 1848, and the town was named the county seat of San Diego County when California was granted statehood in 1850. It remained a very small town for several decades, but grew rapidly after 1880 due to development and the establishment of multiple military facilities. Growth was especially rapid during and immediately after World War II. Entrepreneurs and boosters laid the basis for an economy based today on the military, defense industries, tourism, international trade, and manufacturing. San Diego is now the eighth largest city in the country and forms the heart of the larger San Diego metropolitan area.
- 1 Pre-colonial and colonial period (Prehistory–1821)
- 2 Mexican period (1821–1848)
- 3 An American town (1848–1900)
- 4 Emergence of a regional city (1900–1941)
- 5 War and postwar period (1941–present)
- 6 Ethnic and cultural groups history
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
Pre-colonial and colonial period (Prehistory–1821)
The area has long been inhabited by the Kumeyaay Native American people. The first European to visit the region was Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo in 1542. His landing is re-enacted every year at the Cabrillo Festival sponsored by Cabrillo National Monument, but it did not lead to settlement.
The bay and the area of present-day San Diego were given their current name sixty years later by Sebastián Vizcaíno when he was mapping the coastline of Alta California for Spain in 1602. Vizcaino was a merchant who hoped to establish prosperous colonies. After holding the first Catholic service conducted on California soil on the feast day of San Diego de Alcala, (also the patron saint of his flagship), he renamed the bay. He left after 10 days and was enthusiastic about its safe harbor, friendly natives, and promising potential as a successful colony. Despite his enthusiasm, the Spanish were unconvinced; it would be another 167 years before colonization began.
In 1769, Gaspar de Portolà and his expedition founded the Presidio of San Diego (military post), and on July 16, Franciscan friars Junípero Serra, Juan Viscaino and Fernando Parron raised and 'blessed a cross', establishing the first mission in upper Las Californias, Mission San Diego de Alcala. Colonists began arriving in 1774. In the following year the Kumeyaay indigenous people rebelled against the Spanish. They killed the priest and two others, and burned the mission. Father Serra organized the rebuilding, and a fire-proof adobe and tile-roofed structure was completed in 1780. By 1797 the mission had become the largest in California, with a population of more than 1,400 presumably converted Native American "Mission Indians" relocated to and associated with it. The tile-roofed adobe structure was destroyed by an 1803 earthquake but replaced by a third church in 1813.
Mexican period (1821–1848)
In 1821 Mexico ousted the Spanish in the Mexican War of Independence and created the Province of Alta California. The San Diego Mission was secularized and shut down in 1834 and the land was sold off. 432 residents petitioned the governor to form a pueblo, and Juan María Osuna was elected the first alcalde ("municipal magistrate"), defeating Pío Pico in the vote. Beyond town Mexican land grants expanded the number of California ranchos that modestly added to the local economy.
The original town of San Diego was located at the foot of Presidio Hill, in the area which is now Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. The location was not ideal, being several miles away from navigable water. Imported goods and exports (primarily tallow and hides) had to be carried over the La Playa Trail to the anchorages in Point Loma. This arrangement was suitable only for a very small town. In 1830 the population was about 600. In 1834 the presidio was described as "in a most ruinous state, apart from one side, in which the commandant lived, with his family. There were only two guns, one of which was spiked, and the other had no carriage. Twelve half-clothed and half-starved-looking fellows composed the garrison, and they, it was said, had not a musket apiece." The settlement composed about forty brown huts and three or four larger, whitewashed ones belonging to the gentry. In 1838 the town lost its pueblo status because of its dwindling population, estimated as 100 to 150 residents.
An American town (1848–1900)
Alta California became part of the United States in 1848 following the U.S. victory in the Mexican-American War and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The resident "Californios" became American citizens with full voting rights. California was admitted to the Union as a state in 1850. San Diego, still little more than a village, was incorporated on March 27 as a city and was named the county seat of the newly established San Diego County. The United States Census reported the population of the town as 650 in 1850 and 731 in 1860.
San Diego promptly got into financial trouble due to overspending on a poorly designed jail. In 1852 the state repealed the city charter, in effect declaring the city bankrupt, and installed a state-controlled three-member board of trustees to manage San Diego. The trustees stayed in control until 1887, when a mayor-council form of government was installed under a new city charter.
Although some 10,000 men stopped briefly in San Diego on their way to the San Francisco gold fields, few stayed, and San Diego remained sparsely settled during much of the 1850s. Despite its small population, this decade brought investors who saw the potential of San Diego. They bought lots, and built rough houses and shops. One, William Heath Davis, spent $60,000 constructing a wharf near the property he had purchased near the foot of today's Market Street. Remembered as "Davis' Folly", it was completed by August 1851, but was seldom used. In 1853, the steamer Los Angeles collided with the wharf. The damage was never repaired. Unused and poorly built, the damage was not worth fixing. Davis tried unsuccessfully to sell it. Finally, in 1862, the Army destroyed it, using timbers for firewood.
The failure of the wharf was only one indication of depressed times. Houses were dismantled and shipped to more promising settlements. By 1860, many of the enterprises that had been established during the early 1850s had closed. The few businesses that survived suffered from water shortages, high costs of shipping, and a declining population.
On April 15, 1867, 53-year-old Alonzo Horton disembarked from the Orizaba. Although his first view was of barren, mesquite-covered land with a few decaying structures, he was awed, saying, "I have been nearly all over the world and it seemed to me to be the best spot for building a city I ever saw." He was convinced that the town needed a location nearer the water to improve trade. Within a month of his arrival, he had purchased more than 900 acres of today's downtown for a total of $265, an average of 27.5 cents an acre. He began promoting San Diego by enticing entrepreneurs and residents. He built a wharf and began to promote development there. The area was referred to as New Town or the Horton Addition. Despite opposition from the residents of the original settlement, which became known as “Old Town”, businesses and residents flocked to New Town, and San Diego experienced the first of its many real estate booms. In 1871, government records were moved to a new county courthouse in New Town, and by the 1880s New Town (or downtown) had totally eclipsed Old Town as the heart of the growing city.
In 1878, San Diego was predicted to become a rival of San Francisco’s trading ports. As a result, the manager of Central Pacific Railroad at the time, Charles Crocker, decided not to build a station from Northern California to San Diego, fearing that San Diego would take all the trade from San Francisco. Since he wanted to build a railway to Southern California to engage in trade, Crocker decided on the then small town Los Angeles, which did not have any sort of trading port at the time.
In 1885, a transcontinental railroad transfer route came to San Diego, and the population boomed, reaching 16,159 by 1890. In 1906 the San Diego and Arizona Railway of John D. Spreckels was built to provide San Diego with a direct transcontinental rail link to the east by connecting with the Southern Pacific Railroad lines in El Centro, California. It became the San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway. In 1933 the Spreckels heirs sold it to the Southern Pacific Railroad.
In 1912 Council restrictions on soapbox oratories led to The San Diego Free Speech Fight, a confrontation between the Industrial Workers of the World on the one side and law enforcement and vigilantes on the other.
Emergence of a regional city (1900–1941)
The city grew in bursts, especially in the 1880s and again from 1900 to 1930, when it reached 148,000.
The Gibraltar of the Pacific
In the 1890-1914 period the nation became greatly interested in Pacific naval affairs, as seen in the Spanish-American War of 1898; the U.S. acquisition of Guam, the Philippines, and Hawai'i; and the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. San Diego was in a strategic location and sought to become "the "Gibraltar of the Pacific." Civic leaders such as real-estate developer D. C. Collier and other leaders of the Chamber of Commerce, assisted by Congressman William Kettner actively lobbied the Navy and the federal government to make San Diego a major location for naval, marine, and air bases. During World War I the U.S. greatly expanded the Navy, and the city was eager to help. By the time the Marine Base and Naval Training Center opened in the early 1920s, the Navy had built seven bases in San Diego at a cost of $20 million, with another $17 million in the pipeline. The city's 'culture of accommodation' determined the way the city would grow for the next several decades, and created a military-urban complex rather than a tourist and health resort. With the reduction in naval spending after 1990, the Chamber turned its focus to tourism and conventions.
San Diego had the great harbor and the weather; it seemed poised to become a world-class metropolis. But it was overshadowed by both San Francisco and Los Angeles. Businessman John D. Spreckels expressed the enthusiasm of San Diego's boosters in 1923, as well as the disappointment that it had not fully developed.:
- ”Why did I come to San Diego? Why did any of you come? We came because we thought we saw an unusual opportunity here. We believed that everything pointed to this as the logical site for a great city and seaport. In short, we had faith in San Diego's future. We gave of our time and our strength and our means...to help develop our city, and naturally, our own fortunes.... What is the matter with San Diego? Why is it not the metropolis and seaport that its geographical and other unique advantages entitle it to be? Why does San Diego always just miss the train, somehow?”
The southern portion of the Point Loma peninsula was set aside for military purposes as early as 1852. Over the next several decades the Army set up a series of coastal artillery batteries and named the area Fort Rosecrans. After World War II the former site of Fort Rosecrans in Point Loma was used for multiple Navy commands, including a submarine base and a Naval Electronics Laboratory; they were eventually consolidated into Naval Base Point Loma. Other portions of Fort Rosecrans became Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery and Cabrillo National Monument.
Significant U.S. Navy presence began in 1901, with the establishment of the Navy Coaling Station in Point Loma, and expanded greatly during the 1920s. Camp Kearny was established in 1917, closed in 1920, and later reopened; since 1996 it has been the site of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. In the interim it was in whole or part Camp Elliot (during World War II), the Sycamore Canyon Test Facility, and Naval Air Station Miramar (with its "Top Gun" fighter school). The Marine base Camp Matthews, which was joined by Camp Callan from 1941 to 1945, occupied a mesa near La Jolla from 1917 until 1964; the site is now the campus of University of California, San Diego. Naval Base San Diego was established in 1922, as was the San Diego Naval Hospital. The Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego was commissioned in 1921 and the San Diego Naval Training Center in 1923; the Naval Training Center was closed in 1997.
In 1942 the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton was set up 45 miles north of the city on 250,000 acres. It remains one of the main Marine Corps training facilities. It became the home of the 1st Marine Division in 1946 and later the I Marine Expeditionary Force as well as several training commands. In 1975 the Marine Corps opened the Camp Pendleton Refugee Camp to care for some of the hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese and Cambodians refugees who fled after the Vietnam War was lost.
In the early 1990s, twenty percent of the San Diego region's economy was dependent on defense spending.
San Diego gave strong support to the Progressive Movement that swept California in the early 20th century in order to purify the state from oppressive bossism and corporate rule. Progressive Republicans resented the political power of the Southern Pacific Railroad and the role of "Boss" Charles Hardy. Reformers organized and fought back beginning with the 1905 municipal election. In 1906, they formed the Roosevelt Republican Club, and in 1907 reformers backed a Nonpartisan League. Led by Edgar Luce, George Marston and Ed Fletcher, the Roosevelt Republican Club became the Lincoln-Roosevelt Republican League. The mayoralty election of 1909 marked a sweeping victory for the League, as did the 1910 election of Hiram Johnson as governor.
Marston was defeated for mayor in 1913 (against Charles F. O'Neall) and again in 1917 (against Louis J. Wilde). The 1917 race in particular was a classic growth-vs.-beautification debate. Marston argued for better city planning with more open space and grand boulevards; Wilde argued for more business development. Wilde called his opponent "Geranium George", painting Marston as unfriendly to business. Wilde's campaign slogan was "More Smokestacks", and during the campaign he drew a great smokestack belching smoke on a truck through the city streets. The phrase "smokestacks vs. geraniums" is still used in San Diego to characterize this type of debate between environmentalists and growth advocates.
San Diego hosted two World's Fairs, the Panama-California Exposition in 1915-1916, and the California Pacific International Exposition in 1935-1936. The expositions left a lasting legacy in the form of Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo, and by popularizing Mission Revival Style and Spanish Colonial Revival Style architecture locally and in Southern California as a regional aesthetic and nationwide design influence. The Spanish Colonial Revival architecture used in the design of the 1915 Fair was designed by architect Bertram Goodhue of the firm Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson in Boston, Massachusetts. He was inspired by his studies of the architecture of Mexico. The Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) helped fund the 1935 fair, which was designed by architect Richard S. Requa.
From the 1910s through the 1970s, the American tuna fishing fleet and tuna canning industry were based in San Diego, acclaimed by boosters the "tuna capital of the world." San Diego's first large tuna cannery, the Pacific Tuna Canning Company, was founded in 1911. Others such as Van Camp Seafood, Bumble Bee and StarKist followed. By the mid-1930s housewives in the Great Depression appreciated the cheap, easy-to-serve food. By 1939 the fleet's tuna catch exceeded 100 million pounds. In 1951 the tuna fleet had 700 boats and 2,700 unionized fishermen, while the five local canneries employed more than 3,000 workers. It was the third largest industry after the Navy and aviation. Banker C. Arnholt Smith, a top civic leader, was a major investor. With Japan offering cheaper tuna after 1950, Smith worked to break the union using new technology and Peruvian canneries. Due to rising costs and foreign competition the last of the canneries closed in the early 1980s. A large fishing fleet supported the canneries, mostly staffed by immigrant fishermen from the Portuguese Azores and Italy, whose influence is still felt in neighborhoods like Little Italy and Point Loma. Many Portuguese fishermen and boat owners settled in the Roseville neighborhood of Point Loma, which is still sometimes referred to as "Tunaville." There is a sculpture dedicated to the cannery workers in Barrio Logan and a "Tunaman's Memorial" statue on Shelter Island.
During World War II when fishing was not possible, 53 tuna boats and about 600 crew members served the U.S. Navy as the "yippie fleet" (so called because of service numbers beginning with YP, for Yard Patrol), also called the "pork chop express", delivering food, fuel and supplies to military installations all over the Pacific. Twenty-one of the vessels were lost and dozens of crew members were killed on these hazardous missions. Yippie ships won more than a dozen battle stars and several Presidential Unit Citations.
Philanthropy was an important part of San Diego's expansion. For example, wealthy heiress Ellen Browning Scripps underwrote many public facilities in La Jolla, was a key supporter of the fledgling San Diego Zoo, and together with her brother E. W. Scripps established the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Another notable philanthropist of this era was George Marston, businessman and owner of Marston's Department Store. Wanting to see Balboa Park become a grand city park like those in other cities, he hired architect John Nolen on two occasions, 1908 and 1926, to develop a master plan for the park. In 1907 he bought Presidio Hill, site of the original Presidio of San Diego, which had fallen into ruins. Recognizing its importance as the site of the first European settlement in California, he developed it into a park (planned by Nolen) with his own funds, and built the Serra Museum (designed by architect William Templeton Johnson). In 1929 he donated the park to the city, which still owns and operates it; it is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
San Diego met the challenge of the Great Depression better than most parts of the country. The population of San Diego County grew 38%, from 210,000 to 290,000, from 1930 to 1940, while the city itself went from148,000 to 203,000 – a much better rate than the state as a whole. There was money enough to build a new municipal golf course and tennis courts, to improve the water system, and open a new Spanish-style campus for San Diego State College (now San Diego State University). The New Deal used PWA relief money to expand the fleet, bringing more money into the city. In 1935 the entire Pacific Fleet assembled with 48 warships, 400 naval aircraft, 55,000 sailors and 3000 officers to demonstrate the importance of sea power to the city, and to exhibit to Japan and the rest of the world America's interest in the Pacific. The expansion of naval and army aviation led Consolidated Aircraft Corporation of Buffalo New York to bring all its 800 employees to San Diego, opening a major assembly plant, Convair, which built Navy flying boats. Ryan Aeronautical Company, which built the Spirit of St. Louis for the famous 1927 flight of Charles Lindbergh, also flourished. The 7.2 million visitors to the California-Pacific International Exposition in 1935-36 were impressed with the city's prosperity, as well as the 400 exhibits from 23 nations.
War and postwar period (1941–present)
Since World War I, the military has played a leading role in the local economy. World War II brought prosperity and gave millions of soldiers, sailors and airmen en route to the Pacific a view of the opportunities in California. The aircraft factories grew from small handcraft shops to gigantic factories. The city’s population soared from 200,000 to 340,000, as the Navy and Marines opened training facilities and the aircraft factories doubled their employment rosters every few months. With 40,000 to 50,000 sailors off duty every weekend, the downtown entertainment districts soon became saturated. The red-light district was officially shut down, but opportunities were easily available a few miles south in Tijuana, Mexico. Workers poured in from the towns and from across the country, creating a severe housing shortage. Public transportation (trolleys and buses) could barely keep up with the demand, and automobiles were rationed to only 3 gallons a week. Many wives who relocated while their husbands were training stayed in the city when their men shipped out and took high-paying jobs in the defense industries. The dramatic increase in the need for fresh water led the Navy in 1944 to build the San Diego Aqueduct to import water from the Colorado River; the city financed the second pipeline in 1952 
Convair was the largest employer in San Diego, with 32,000 well-paid workers in the mid-1950s. In 1954 it was bought out and became the Convair Division of General Dynamics, a large aerospace conglomerate based in Texas. Convair had been highly successful in the 1950s with the B-36, a very long-range bomber that became the workhorse of the Strategic Air Command. General Dynamics refocused Convair on commercial aviation as the Convair 240, a two- engine passenger plane, proved highly successful in the world market. Convair decided to move up to the very rapidly growing world market for medium-range jet passenger planes with the Convair 880. It was designed to rival Boeing's proposed 707, and Douglas's proposed DC-8. Financial and technical delays left Convair lagging far behind. After heavy losses, General Dynamics moved all the airplane elements to Texas, and left the San Diego factory with small-scale space and missile projects. Convair’s employment fell to 3300 in San Diego.
As the Cold War ended, the military shrunk and so did defense spending. San Diego has since become a center of the emerging biotech industry and is home to telecommunications giant Qualcomm. Starting in the 1990s the city and county developed a nationally known craft beer industry; the area is sometimes referred to as "America's Craft Beer capital". As of the end of 2012 there were 60 microbreweries and brewpubs in the county.
After acquiring the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1912, the University of California (UC) built up a presence, with an emphasis on scientific research and cultural opportunities. For years UC operated an extension program in San Diego. In 1960, following wartime and postwar increases in population and economic growth in San Diego, UC broke ground for a new campus there, and classes at UCSD began in 1964. Under Richard C. Atkinson, chancellor from 1980 to 1995, UCSD strengthened its ties with the city of San Diego by encouraging technology transfer with developing companies, transforming San Diego into a world leader in technology-based industries. Private giving rose from $15 million to nearly $50 million annually, faculty expanded by nearly 50%, and enrollment doubled to about 18,000 students during his chancellorship.
San Diego State University (SDSU) is the largest and oldest higher education facility in San Diego County. It was founded in 1897 as San Diego Normal School, a state school for the preparation of teachers, located on Park Avenue in University Heights. In 1931 it moved to a larger location on Aztec Mesa, overlooking Mission Valley, at what was then the eastern edge of San Diego. In 1935 it expanded its offerings beyond teacher education and became San Diego State College. In 1970 it became San Diego State University, part of the California State University system. SDSU has grown to a student body of more than 30,000 and an alumni base of more than 260,000.
The University of San Diego, a private Catholic school, began as the San Diego College for Women in 1952, sponsored by the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In 1957 the campus on a hilltop site called Alcala Park also became home to the Immaculate Heart Major Seminary and St. Francis Minor Seminary. The landmark Immaculata Chapel also opened that year. In 1972 the San Diego College for Women merged with the nearby San Diego College for Men and the School of Law to become the University of San Diego.
The transformation of the downtown areas from a zone of poverty and poor housing to a major tourist attraction with large numbers of jobs began in 1968 with the creation of the Centre City Development Corporation. Its urban renewal project focused on the Gaslamp Quarter beginning in 1968, with the goal of making the area a national historic district and bringing upper- and middle-class tourists and suburban residents to downtown San Diego. Since the 1980s the city has seen the opening of the Horton Plaza shopping center, the revival of the Gaslamp Quarter, and the construction of the San Diego Convention Center.
A recent boom on the construction of condos and skyscrapers (especially focusing on mixed-use facilities), a gentrification trend especially in Little Italy, and the inauguration of Petco Park in the once blighted East Village highlight the continuing development of downtown. Center city population is expected to rise to 77,000 residents by 2030; 30,000 people currently reside in downtown San Diego.
A successful renewal by 'gentrification' is the Hillcrest neighborhood, known for its historic architecture, tolerance, diversity, and locally-owned businesses, including restaurants, cafés, bars, clubs, trendy thrift-stores, and other independent specialty stores. Hillcrest has a high population density, compared to many other neighborhoods in San Diego, and it has a large and active lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
In July 1971 the Republican National Committee chose San Diego to be the site of the 1972 Republican National Convention, despite initial opposition from the city's mayor, Frank Curran, and despite the fact that the city did not initially bid for the opportunity. It was widely believed that San Diego was selected because it was the preferred choice of President Richard Nixon. The city and the party were making preparations for the convention when in March 1972 a $400,000 donation to the event by ITT Corporation was publicized and became a national scandal. In addition, there were ongoing problems with the proposed venue (the San Diego Sports Arena) and concerns about adequate hotel space. In May 1972 the Republican National Committee voted to move the convention to Miami, Florida. In response, Mayor Pete Wilson proclaimed the week of the convention as "America's Finest City Week", giving rise to the city's current unofficial slogan "America's Finest City".
The largest annual convention held in San Diego is San Diego Comic-Con International, founded as the Golden State Comic Book Convention in 1970. According to Forbes, it is the "largest convention of its kind in the world".
The United States National Bank, headquartered in San Diego and owned by C. Arnholt Smith, grew during the 1960s to become the 86th largest bank in the country with $1.2 billion in total assets. It failed in 1973 in the largest bank failure to date. The cause was bad loans to Smith-controlled companies, which exceeded the bank's legal lending limit. Smith had used the bank's money for his private business and bribed bank inspectors to cover it up. He was convicted of embezzlement and tax fraud and served seven months in federal prison in 1984.
During the 1980s the city was rocked by the disclosure that J. David & Co., an investment company run by the well-connected J. David "Jerry" Dominelli, was in reality a Ponzi scheme which had bilked hundreds of investors for an estimated $80 million. Dominelli was convicted in 1984 and served 10 years in prison. His affiliation with then-mayor Roger Hedgecock led to a pair of sensational trials in which Hedgecock was convicted of conspiracy and perjury in connection with contributions he received from Dominelli. Hedgecock was forced to resign from office; his convictions were eventually overturned, except for one which was reduced to a misdemeanor.
A civic scandal exploded in 2003 with the discovery that city finances had been manipulated with massive losses in the pension fund scandal. It left the city with an estimated $1.4 billion pension fund gap. One result was replacing the council-manager form of government with a mayor-council system in 2004. Although not charged with any wrongdoing, Mayor Dick Murphy resigned effective July 2005. Deputy Mayor Michael Zucchet took over as acting mayor but had to resign three days later, when he and fellow city councilmember Ralph Inzunza were convicted in federal court for taking bribes in a scheme to overturn the city's "no touch" law at strip clubs. Their felony conviction required them to resign from the city council. A third accused councilmember had died before trial. Zucchet's conviction was later overturned. Inzunza was sentenced to 21 months in prison.
In July 2013, Mayor Bob Filner was accused by multiple women of repeated sexual harassment, and many individuals and groups, including former supporters, called for him to resign. On August 19 Filner and city representatives entered a mediation process, as a result of which Filner agreed to resign, effective August 30, 2013, while the city agreed to limit his legal and financial exposure. Filner subsequently pleaded guilty to one felony count of false imprisonment and two misdemeanor battery charges, and was sentenced to house arrest and probation.
Beyond the issues regarding the city government, San Diego has experienced scandal on the Federal level as well. On November 28, 2005, Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham resigned after pleading guilty to bribery charges; he was sentenced to 8 years in prison.
Ethnic and cultural groups history
Californios and Hispanics
After 1848 the Californios comprised a numerical majority and owned most of the property; they secured cultural and social recognition, but they failed to control the political system. By 1860, most had left the area and the remainder were on the decline economically.
In World War II Hispanics made major breakthroughs in employment San Diego and in nearby farm districts. They profited from the new skills, contacts, and experiences provided by the military, filled many newly opened unskilled labor jobs, gained some high-paying jobs in the military installations and aircraft factories, and were welcomed by the labor unions, especially the Cannery Workers Union.
In recent decades advertisers have recognized the purchasing power of the local Hispanic community. They have invested in Spanish language television, especially Univisión and Telemundo. The older generations watch Spanish broadcasts. The younger generations of Hispanics in San Diego (and other ethnic groups as well) seldom can read Spanish and rapidly abandon the spoken form except in dealing with their elders. Rumbaut et al. conclude, "Mexican immigrants arriving today can expect only 5 of every 100 of their great grandchildren to speak fluent Spanish."
Immigrants from China began arriving in the 1860s and settled in two waterfront fishing villages, one in Point Loma, the other in the New Town area where the San Diego Convention Center now stands. Chinese was harshly discriminated against in California and forced into Chinatowns. In San Diego there was much more freedom; there were no attacks on the 50 or so Chinese fishermen based there. Indeed they were pioneers in the industry in the 1860s; their peak came in the 1880s. They specialized in abalone for export to Chinese communities up and down the Pacific coast. One journalist reported, "Even the fins of the shark are eaten by Chinamen, and are by them esteemed to be a great delicacy—as much of a delicacy as a Chinaman would be to a shark." By the 1890s the fishermen had gone; some returned to China, others took jobs on land.
The Chinese continued to settle in San Diego and found work in the fishing industry, railroad construction, service industry, general construction work, food industry, and merchandising. They were forced into a closed Chinatown but otherwise received less violent attention than suffered by Chinese elsewhere in the West.
They soon formed district associations, family and clan associations, secret societies, and business guilds, including the Chee Kung Tong (est. 1885), the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (est. 1907), the Bing Kung Tong (est. 1922), and the Ying On Tong (est. 1945). In the 1870s and 1880s, two Chinese Christian missions were organized to help the Chinese with housing, employment, recreational activities, and English language instruction. The Chinese population increased dramatically, especially after the 1965 Immigration Act allowed large numbers of businessmen and professionals to migrate from Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. Many Chinese Americans achieved prominent community status, including Tom Hom, a city councilman and state assemblyman.
The late-20th-century San Diego Chinese community is made up of a heterogeneous population that includes Cantonese-speaking, Mandarin-speaking, and Hokkien-speaking members, as well as those from a variety of places of origin, including Southeast Asia. Many in the San Diego community have joined together to determine and further their Chinese-American identity.
The African American population was small before the great naval expansion of World War II. The local NAACP chapter was inactive. Starting in 1953, the Urban League brought together black and white professionals and businessmen and encouraged white business owners to hire blacks. Unlike other Urban League chapters, it built coalitions with San Diego's Mexican American community. Even as recently as 2008, African Americans made up only 7.8% of the population of the city of San Diego, and 5.1% of San Diego County.
For over 100 years San Diego's second oldest neighborhood, Logan Heights, was home to African Americans. This neighborhood, together with Downtown and Sherman Heights, was one of only a few areas where blacks were allowed to buy and live in homes. After the 1960s and the Civil Rights Act, blacks started to move out of Logan Heights into area like Emeral Hills, Encanto and Oak Park. Logan Heights is still home to a great many black churches, some as old as 100 years old. On any given Sunday, hundreds of blacks return to Logan Heights to attend the churches they grew up in. Old Victorian homes still dot the Logan Heights area.
The founding fathers of the black community are all buried in the Logan Heights/Mountain View area in the Mount Hope Cemetery and Greenwood Cemetery. There are streets named after some of the founding fathers in Logan Heights including Julian, Irving, and Logan. For more than 70 years the population of Logan Heights was 90% black, but starting in the 1980s its demographic shifted to predominantly Hispanic. The neighborhood has complained that it does not get suitable respect or attention from city leaders because of its minority status.
The history of the African American community in San Diego from the 1940s to the 1980s is documented in the Baynard Collection, an exhibit of 120 selected photographs by Norman Baynard, who ran a photography studio in Logan Heights for 46 years. The collection is on display at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation.
Between the late 1900s and 1946, various groups of Filipino immigrants came to San Diego. Young Filipino men who enlisted in the United States Navy at Navy Recruiting offices in the Islands have comprised a large bulk of the migrants ever since the 1900s. One example of a pioneer Filipino navy veteran was Felix Budhi, who came to San Diego in 1908 when he was only sixteen years old. His purpose in joining the United States Navy was to earn as much money as possible and help his family in the Philippines. Others joined the navy for the same purpose, and some enlisted not only to make a living but to enjoy adventurous and exciting travel experiences.
There were also Filipinos whose migration to the United States was precipitated by American entrepreneurs recruiting for cheap labor: The influx of cheap Filipino labor to the United States, particularly to the Pacific Coast, increased considerably in the 1920s. The Filipino laborers comprised two general groups: farm workers and non-farm workers. The non-farm workers found employment in hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, and apartment buildings as busboys, elevator boys, cooks, janitors, gardeners, and messengers. The farm workers suffered the most trying conditions of all the Filipino migrants. At some farms they earned only 10 cents an hour, and their employability was largely dependent on the employer's attitudes toward the various ethnic groups available for farm labor.
As a port city San Diego always had a gay and lesbian community, but it was largely closeted. Beginning in the 1960s the neighborhood of Hillcrest began to attract large numbers of gay and lesbian residents, drawn by low rents, high density, and the possibility of an urban dynamic. In the 1970s gay men founded a Center for Social Services in Hillcrest which became a social and political focus for the gay community. In June 1974 they launched the first Gay Pride Parade, which has been held every year since, and Hillcrest is well recognized as the focal point of the LGBT community. Also in the 1970s several churches, especially the independent Metropolitan Community Church, as well as movements within established denominations like Dignity (Roman Catholic), Integrity (Episcopalian), and Lutherans Concerned, formed a coalition that helped gays reinterpret biblical passages condemning homosexuality, and reconcile their sexual orientation with their religious faith. All of this helped to promote public understanding.
Many LGBT politicians have successfully run for office in San Diego city and county, including Christine Kehoe, former state senator, state assemblymember, and city councilmember; Bonnie Dumanis, county district attorney; Toni Atkins, state assemblymember, former city councilmember; Karl DeMaio, candidate for congress, former city councilmember; Todd Gloria, city council president, former interim mayor; and Dave Roberts, county supervisor.
In 2011 San Diego was the first city in the country in which active and retired military service members marched openly in a gay pride parade, in anticipation of the imminent removal of the "Don't ask, don't tell" rule for U.S. military personnel. They did not wear military uniforms, but rather T-shirts with the name of their branch of service. The following year, 2012, San Diego again made history when the U.S. Department of Defense granted permission for military personnel to wear their uniforms while participating the San Diego Pride Parade. This was the first time that United States military personnel were permitted to wear their service uniforms in such a parade. Also in 2012, the parade started from Harvey Milk Street, the first street in the nation to be named after gay civil rights icon Harvey Milk, and proceeded past a huge new rainbow flag, which was raised for the first time on July 20, 2012 to kick off the Pride festival.
- McGrew, Clarence Alan (1922). City of San Diego and San Diego County: the birthplace of California. American Historical Society. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
- Journal of San Diego History, October 1967
- Baker, Gayle San Diego, Another HarborTown History ISBN (print) 0-978-0-9710984-6-6 (e-book) 978-0-9879038-5-3
- Leffingwell, Randy (2005), California Missions and Presidios: The History & Beauty of the Spanish Missions. Voyageur Press, Inc., Stillwater, MN. ISBN 0-89658-492-5, p. 17
- Ruscin, Terry (1999), Mission Memoirs, Sunbelt Publications, San Diego, CA. ISBN 0-932653-30-8, p. 11
- Hogle, Gene NAC Green Book of Pacific Coast Touring (1931) National Automobile Club p.39
- Historic La Playa Trail Association website
- San Diego Historical Society timeline
- Richard Henry Dana. Two years before the mast. First published 1840. Page 115 of the first Penguin edition, first published in Penguin 1948.
- Engstrand, Iris (2005). San Diego: California's Cornerstone. Sunbelt Publications. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-932653-72-7.
- San Diego Historical Society population table
- Bauder, Don (December 1, 2010). "Bankruptcy — Good for San Diego". San Diego Reader. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
- Baker, Gayle San Diego, Another HarborTown History
- Baker, Gayle, San Diego, Another HarborTown History
- Engstrand, Iris Wilson, California’s Cornerstone, Sunbelt Publications, Inc., 2005, p. 80
- Riley Moffatt, Population History of Western U.S. Cities & Towns, 1850–1990 (1996) p. 54
- John S. Harrel, "San Diego, Guardian of the American Pacific," Southern California Quarterly (2013) 95#1 pp 47-82.
- John Martin, "The San Diego Chamber of Commerce Establishes the U.S. Naval Coal Station, 1900-1912: San Diego's First Permanent Naval Facility," Journal of San Diego History (2010) 56#4 pp 217-232
- Richard Amero, "Colonel D.C. Collier: 'An Inspiration to the Citizens of Today,'" Journal of San Diego History (2010) 56#4 pp 203-216
- Shragge, "'A new federal city': San Diego during World War II," p 339
- Abraham J. Shragge, "'I like the Cut of Your Jib': Cultures of Accommodation Between the U.S. Navy and Citizens of San Diego, California, 1900-1951," Journal of San Diego History 2002 48(3): 230-255
- quoted in Shragge, "'A new federal city': San Diego during World War II," p 336
- "Historic California Posts: Fort Rosecrans". California State Military Museum. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
- University of San Diego: Military Bases in San Diego
- Raymond G. Starr, "The History of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego," Journal of San Diego History (2000) 46#4 online
- "Naval Training Center, San Diego". California State Military Department. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
- Thomas O'Hara, Camp Pendleton (2005) excerpt and text search
- Patrick L. Townsend, "The Hand of Hope," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings (1976) 102#9 pp 38-45.
- Kevin Starr (2011). Coast of Dreams. p. 374.
- Grace L. Miller, "The Origins of the San Diego Lincoln-Roosevelt League, 1905-1909," Southern California Quarterly (1978) 60#4 pp 421-443.
- Ports, Uldis (Summer 1975). "Geraniums vs. Smokestacks: San Diego's mayoralty campaign of 1917". The Journal of San Diego History 21 (3).
- "Mission Valley: Smokestacks vs. Geraniums". The Journal of San Diego History 41 (3). Summer 1995.
- Iris H. W. Engstrand, "Inspired by Mexico: Architect Bertram Goodhue Introduces Spanish Colonial Revival into Balboa Park," Journal of San Diego History (2012) 28#1 pp 57-70 online
- Richard W. Amero, "San Diego Invites the World to Balboa Park a Second Time," Journal of San Diego History (1985) 31#4 pp 261-280
- David Marshall and Iris Engstrand, "San Diego's 1935-1936 Exposition: A Pictorial Essay," Journal of San Diego History (2009) 55#4 pp 177-190
- Richard Ellis (2008). Tuna: A Love Story. Knopf Doubleday. p. 217.
- Engstrand, Iris (2005). San Diego: California's Cornerstone. Sunbelt Publications. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-932653-72-7.
- Starr, Golden Dreams, p 65-66
- Crawford, Richard (June 20, 2009). "San Diego once was 'Tuna Capital of World'". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- Lechowitzky, Irene (November 19, 2006). "It's the old country, with new condos". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- Sanchez, Leonel (September 26, 2009). "Tuna canneries' lasting legacy; Sculptures being unveiled today honor workers who shaped S.D". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- "Tunaman's Memorial by Franco Vianello". Port of San Diego. June 18, 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- Crawford, Richard (May 27, 2010). "Fishermen became WWII’s ‘pork chop express’". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- Rowe, Peter (November 25, 2012). "Tuna boats became valuable recruits". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- Molly McClain, "The Scripps Family's San Diego Experiment," Journal of San Diego History (2010) 56#1 pp 1-30
- "George White Marston (1850-1946)". San Diego History Center. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- Kevin Starr, "Gibraltar of the Pacific: San Diego Joins the Navy," in Starr, The Dream Endures: California Enters the 1940s (1997) pp 90-92, 114-5
- Shragge, "'A new federal city': San Diego during World War II"
- Lotchin, The Bad City in the Good War p194-96, 207
- Starr, Golden Dreams p 61
- Starr, Golden Dreams p 82
- Rowe, Peter (May 18, 2010). "American Craft Beer Week, May 17-23". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- Rowe, Peter. "State of craft beer". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- Abraham J. Shragge, "Growing Up Together: The University of California's One Hundred-Year Partnership with the San Diego Region," Journal of San Diego History (2001) 47#4 pp 241-276
- Jordan Ervin, "Reinventing Downtown San Diego: A Spatial and Cultural Analysis of the Gaslamp Quarter," Journal of San Diego History (2007) 53#4 pp 188-217.
- See also CIVIC San Diego
- Economics Research Associates, an AECOM Company (ERA) (December 4, 2009). "Barrio Logan Community Plan Economics: Market Support - Jobs Impacts - Development Feasibility".
- Croshaw, Jennifer (August 21, 2006). "A day in Hillcrest...". San Diego Union Tribune. Archived from the original on 2006-08-21. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
- Ancona, Vincnent S. (Fall 1992). "When the elephants marched out of San Diego". Journal of San Diego History (San Diego Historical Society) 38 (4).
- Ewalt, David M. (July 25, 2011). "The Coolest Costumes of Comic-Con". Forbes. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- Starr, Golden Dreams, p 87
- "J. David Dominelli, Notorious Local Scamster, Dead at 68". Voice of San Diego. October 13, 2009. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
- Rawlings, Nate (March 7, 2012). "Top 10 swindlers: David Dominelli". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
- Glen W. Sparrow, "San Diego" in James H. Savara and Douglas J. Watson, eds., More Than Mayor Or Manager: Campaigns to Change Form of Government In America's Large Cities (2010) pp 103-20
- "Convicted San Diego councilman resigns". USA Today. July 19, 2005. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
- Coffey, Daniel (October 14, 2010). "Justice undone: Michael Zucchet and Ralph Inzunza". San Diego Daily Transcript. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
- "Ralph Inzunza Goes to Prison (Soon)". NBC San Diego. January 20, 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
- Filner apologizes, gets professional help, San Diego Union Tribune, July 11, 2013
- Lah, Kyung (August 21, 2013). "Another sex harassment accusation for San Diego Mayor Bob Filner". CNN. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
- "San Diego Mayor Resigns in Sexual Harassment Scandal". NY Times. August 23, 2013. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
- "Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner pleads guilty to felony false imprisonment, battery". ABC 10 News. October 15, 2013. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
- "Ex-San Diego mayor Bob Filner pleads guilty to 3 charges". USA Today. October 15, 2013. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
- Archibold, Randal C. (March 3, 2006). "Former Congressman Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison". New York Times. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
- Mario T. García, "The Californios of San Diego and the Politics of Accommodation 1846-1860," Aztlan (1975) 6#1 pp 69-85
- Lotchin, The Bad City in the Good War p 120
- Kristin C. Moran, "The Development of Spanish-Language Television in San Diego: A Contemporary History," Journal of San Diego History (2004) 50#1 pp 42-54 online
- Rubén G. Rumbaut, Douglas S. Massey, and Frank D. Bean, "Linguistic Life Expectancies: Immigrant Language Retention in Southern California," Population & Development Review (2006) 32#3 pp 447-460; see chart and quote p 455 in JSTOR
- Kristin C. Moran, Listening to Latina/o Youth (2011), focuses on San Diego youth; see pp 69, 87 excerpt and text search
- Arthur F. McEvoy, "In Places Men Reject: Chinese Fishermen at San Diego, 1870-1893," Journal of San Diego History (1977) 23#4 pp 12-24; quote at fn 9. online
- Lee, Murray. "The San Diego Chinese fishing Industry". Blip. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
- Zeng Ying, "Development of the San Diego Chinese American Community" Chinese America: History And Perspectives 1998: 67-73. 1051-7642
- Robert Fikes, Jr., et al. "Black Pioneers in San Diego: 1880-1920," Journal of San Diego History (1981) 27#2 pp 91-109
- Albert S. Broussard, "Percy H. Steele, Jr., and the Urban League: Race Relations and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Post-World War Ii San Diego," California History (2006) 83#4 pp 7-25
- Max, Nathan (June 2, 2011). "Photo exhibit depicts history of Logan Heights". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- Dillinger, Michael K. (Fall 2000). "Hillcrest: From Haven to Home". Journal of San Diego History 46 (4).
- Joshua Grace et al. "Coming Out Gay, Coming Out Christian: The Beginnings of GLBT Christianity in San Diego, 1970-1979," Journal of San Diego History (2007) 53#3 pp 117-125.
- Watson, Julie (July 19, 2012). "Gay troops OK’d to march at parade in uniform". Associated Press, cited by Military Times. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- "U.S. military can wear uniform in San Diego gay pride parade: Defense Department". CNN. July 20, 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- "Street In Hillcrest Renamed 'Harvey Milk Street'". San Diego 10 News. May 22, 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "Rainbow flag raising kicks off Pride weekend". San Diego Union Tribune. July 20, 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- Colvin, Richard Lee. Tilting at Windmills: School Reform, San Diego, and America's Race to Renew Public Education (Harvard Education Press; 2013) 248 pages; Examines the reforms of former prosecutor Alan Bersin as superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District between 1998 and 2005.
- Engstrand, Iris H. W. San Diego: California's Cornerstone (1980), excerpt and text search, history by a leading scholar
- Garcia, Mario T. "A Chicano Perspective on San Diego History," Journal of San Diego History (1972) 18#4 pp 14–21 online
- Linder, Bruce. San Diego's Navy: An Illustrated History (2001)
- Lotchin, Roger. The Bad City in the Good War: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Diego (2003) excerpt and text search
- Lotchin, Roger. Fortress California, 1910-1961 (2002) excerpt and text search, covers military and industrial roles
- Mills, James R. San Diego: Where California Began (San Diego: San Diego Historical Society, 1960), revised edition online
- Pourade, Richard. The Explorers (1960); Time of the Bells (1961); The Silver Dons (1963); The Glory Years (1964); Gold in the Sun (1965); The Rising Tide (1967); and City of the Dream (1977), a lavishly illustrated seven volume history by the editor of the San Diego Union newspaper
- Pryde, Philip R. San Diego: An Introduction to the Region (4th ed. 2004), a historical geography
- Shragge, Abraham. "'A new federal city': San Diego during World War II," Pacific Historical Review (1994) 63#3 pp 333–61 in JSTOR
- Starr, Kevin. "Gibraltar of the Pacific: San Diego Joins the Navy," in Starr, The Dream Endures: California Enters the 1940s (1997) pp 90–114, covers 1880s-1940
- Starr, Kevin. "Urban Expectations: San Diego Leverages Itself into Big-City Status," in Starr, Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance, 1950-1963 (2011) pp 57–87
- Starr, Kevin. "Play Ball: San Diego in the Major Leagues," in Starr, Coast of Dreams: California on the Edge, 1990-2003 (2004) 372-81