By Katherine Hon | PastMatters
Last summer, the North Park Historical Society (NPHS) began wondering if all or part of Pauly’s Addition could qualify as a historic district. This neighborhood extends from Alabama to Arizona streets between University Avenue and Upas Street. It was the first subdivision to be formally mapped and filed in the North Park area.
Aaron Pauly — an early San Diego pioneer and merchant — filed his subdivision map on April 1, 1873. He beat the West End map filing by six weeks, Park Villas by 14 years, and University Heights by 15 years. However, little commercial or residential construction occurred in any of these subdivisions until the streetcar was extended along University Avenue east of Park Boulevard in 1907.
To examine the history and current integrity of homes in Pauly’s Addition, NPHS board members conducted an on-foot reconnaissance of the entire 20-block area and compiled information for each main structure visible from the street in a set of tables organized by address.
Data in the tables include address, architectural style, estimated year built, condition, a photo, and an initial assessment of the potential to be considered a contributing structure in a historic district. If it could be determined from city lot books, the actual year a structure was completed, as well as the first owner and builder, are also listed in the tables.
The data tables have been added to the NPHS website at northparkhistory.org/projects/paulys-addition-survey.
The tables are searchable. To find an individual address, click on the Summary Table for the block in which that particular address would occur — 3400, 3500, 3600, 3700 or 3800. When the PDF file has downloaded, input the address of interest with just the number and name of the street — for example, 3505 Alabama — as the item to search for, and your cursor will move to the place in the table with details on that address. Key words such as a builder’s last name can also be searched.
Research in the city lot books revealed that by January 1911, there were 16 homes in Pauly’s Addition, and William J. Chadwick had built six of them along the west side of Arizona Street between Dwight and Landis streets. He is listed in the 1909 and 1910 City Directory as living at “Arizona nw cor Dwight” in a house now numbered 3608 Arizona St. According to the 1910 Federal Census, this modest home also accommodated Chadwick’s sons Richard and John, daughter Agnes, a daughter-in-law and two granddaughters.
By 1915, nearly 80 homes had been built in the subdivision. Most of the homes on the west side of Arizona Street between Landis and Wightman streets were built in 1913 and 1914 by the Hillcrest Company and reflect classic Craftsman/California bungalow style.
The 1920s were a boom decade for residential construction throughout North Park, and Pauly’s Addition was no exception. Most of the lots still vacant after 1928 were in the 3400 blocks west of Louisiana Street, which encompassed an area with challenging topography.
Because lots tended to be sold and homes built on an individual basis, structures reflect a wide range of architectural styles, including California Bungalow, Craftsman, Spanish Colonial Revival, Mission Revival, Tudor Revival, French Eclectic, Minimal Traditional and Modern. Master builders who constructed homes in Pauly’s Addition include Edward F. Bryans, Alexander Schreiber, John Pearson and David Owen Dryden.
NPHS compiled information on 430 homes in the 20-block subdivision and identified 260 homes — approximately 60 percent — as potentially contributing to a historic district.
Although alterations and demolition for apartments have degraded historic integrity throughout Pauly’s Addition, many homes have retained their original historic character — particularly south of Dwight Street. Six homes are known to be historically designated, representing Craftsman, Spanish Colonial Revival, Mission Revival and Tudor Revival styles.
Staff of the city’s Historical Resources Board are currently busy processing other historic districts identified in the most recent community plan updates for North Park, South Park and other Uptown neighborhoods. However, NPHS is considering preparing a nomination report for a historic district encompassing all or a subset of Pauly’s Addition. NPHS is also planning on developing a walking tour in the future of this interesting part of North Park.
—Katherine Hon is the secretary of the North Park Historical Society. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619-294-8990.