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History of Pacific Beach

The history of Pacific Beach, a vibrant San Diego neighborhood between La Jolla, Mission Beach, and Mission Bay. “PB” is famous for its nightlife, surfing scene, and beachside cafes. Pacific Beach is one of San Diego’s oldest areas with a rich pioneering past. Discover this neighborhood’s unique history and why it plays such an integral part of San Diego’s beach life.  

Family Enjoying Pacific Beach next to Crystal Pier
Family Enjoying Pacific Beach next to Crystal Pier

The Early Years

The history of Pacific Beach began settlement in 1886 with the completion of the cross-country railroad. Just a few years later, completion of the rail line from San Diego to Pacific Beach brought more residents to the area. During the early years of the 20th century, the town’s economy was based largely on agriculture. Lemons were the chief crop for area farmers. At one time, Pacific Beach was the Lemon Capital of the World.  

By 1910, the military established a preparatory army and naval academy in Pacific Beach. A high school and other local schools sprouted up and cemented the neighborhood’s reputation as a great place to live. It wasn’t long before agriculture became residential living. There are now a ton of beach bungalows that met growing housing demand.   

Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach, San Diego California
Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach, San Diego California

During the 1920s and into the WWII years, Pacific Beach experienced immense growth. Attractions like Crystal Pier, the Roxy Movie Theater, and a wide array of hotels added to the neighborhood’s growing prestige. At that time, of course, house hunters could purchase an ocean-front home for about $12,000. Today, houses on the bay run into the millions.   

Tourmaline Surf Park Pacific Beach
Tourmaline Surf Park Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach Present Day

As the century progressed, Pacific Beach became popular with surfers as well as a more youthful demographic. Things to do in Pacific Beach. Today, it is a popular place for college students to come to enjoy its beach life. In fact, beach life is the heart of life in this historic town. The town features a wide array of bars and eateries and although property values have fallen in recent decades, there’s a renewed interest among investors for adding more high-end venues to the neighborhood. If you’ve never visited, be sure to check out this neighborhood and don’t forget to take a walk on the town’s boardwalk. 

For our clients and residents of Pacific Beach, or for those just passing through, check our Mexican Insurance Pacific Beach post.

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