Does historical preservation matter? Ask a fifth-grader

Posted: May 6th, 2016 | Columns, Featured, PastMatters | No Comments

By Katherine Hon | Past Matters Does preserving our community’s historical landmarks and buildings matter? Or are those old, rusty, outdated structures just in the way? North Park Historical Society (NPHS) member Pat Taylor thought some good answers could come from the fifth-graders at McKinley Elementary School, a place where she has spent countless volunteer hours since 2001 as tutor, mentor and friend. And she was right. The essays written in April 2016 by the students […]

Read More

Expendable gems?

University Heights residences could be at risk in North Park Community Plan update

by Katherine Hon | Past Matters

The community plans for many areas of San Diego, including Greater North Park, are being updated. At a recent meeting, the city project manager for the North Park Community Plan update cheerfully assured North Park Historical Society representatives that in 20 years, we won’t recognize North Park.

Read More

Remembering the 1985 Normal Heights fire

Posted: March 25th, 2016 | Columns, Normal Heights, PastMatters, Top Story | 2 Comments

By Katherine Hon | PastMatters

Many residents who lived through the 1985 Normal Heights firestorm are amazed that 30 years have passed. Time enough for children to grow up and have children of their own, time enough to complete a career and enter retirement. The blaze was seared into everyone’s memories, and it changed the community forever.

The firestorm started just before noon on June 30, 1985. It was a very hot day with temperatures in the high 90s. The flames started in the canyon south of Interstate 8, below the neighborhood perched along Mountain View Drive and side streets between I-805 and I-15. The fire’s cause was never determined, according to KPBS interviews commemorating the 30th anniversary of the disaster on June 30, 2015.

Read More

Saving the Golden Hill Fountain Grotto

Posted: January 15th, 2016 | Columns, Communities, Golden Hill, PastMatters, Top Story | 4 Comments

By Katherine Hon | Past Matters

There’s an old riddle: When is a door not a door? The answer — when it’s ajar. Here is a local variation: When is a fire pit not a fire pit? The answer — when it’s a fountain. If you are thinking that’s not funny, many Golden Hill residents and members of the historic preservation community would agree with you.

Read More

Building castles in the heights

Posted: December 18th, 2015 | Columns, PastMatters, Top Story | No Comments

By Katherine Hon | Past Matters

From grand mansions to humble bungalows, each home in San Diego’s early streetcar suburbs tells a story. The ending may be sad, with the original structure’s charming architecture remodeled beyond recognition or with the home demolished. But the ending may be happy, with the house preserved and treasured by owners who appreciate its irreplaceable materials and unique style.

Read More

So long, Joe, it’s been good knowing you

Posted: December 4th, 2015 | Columns, Featured, North Park, PastMatters | No Comments

North Park loses an icon, Joe Schloss By Katherine Hon | Past Matters The day before Thanksgiving, North Park Little League posted online the sad news that Joe Schloss, a Little League coach for 60 years, had died following a brief illness. He was 88. The announcement described him as a “World War II veteran, the longtime owner of A-B Sporting Goods in North Park … a loving husband and proud father. He touched the lives of […]

Read More

Landmark of steel gets its plaque of bronze

By Katherine Hon | Past Matters

The words are now cast in bronze. In 1924, a riveted steel tank raised on 12 steel girders high above San Diego’s early streetcar suburbs held more than one million gallons of water for a growing city. Long recognized as a neighborhood icon, the University Heights Elevated Tank — commonly called the North Park Water Tower — was proclaimed a Local Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in a ceremony on Nov. 5, 2015.

Read More