Old Images of San Diego, California

Closeup of an extract from an old photo panorama of San Diego, California, taken around 1908. Original Image credit: California Panorama Co., Library of Congress.

Glimpse history through old images of San Diego, California, in the USA.

1908: Panorama

I’ve taken a panorama of San Diego which was taken sometime aroud 1908, and made several closeups of different parts of the panorama. That way you can see more of the detail in the original image.


1928: Scrapped War Ships

In 1928, remarkable black and white footage filmed from the air recorded the huge collection of war ships waiting to be scrapped.

Scrapped (1928) – British Pathe on YouTube


1956: View of the City

This short newsreel is about an external glass elevator on the side of the high rise El Cortez hotel.

But it’s a little gem, showing several seconds of the view of the city from inside the elevator. You can see quite a long way.

Glass Elevator Gives Lift And Look (1956) – British Pathe on YouTube


1960s: San Diego Attractions

In the 1960s, American Airlines produced a series of films about the destinations they flew to. This short film was about San Diego.

It shows an astonishing array of people, businesses, hotels, streets, churches, the zoo, and the beach.

Unfortunately, it loses its soundtrack part way through the zoo section, but is still well worth watching.

San Diego (1960s) – travelfilmarchive on YouTube


1986: North Park

In 1986, San Diego’s first ever JC Penney store was closing, and North Park was no longer the heart of the city’s shopping district.

This short vintage local news item from 1986 shows an old photo of the first highway being constructed across what had been an orange grove owned by Mr Hartley.

There are also archive film clips of the famous toyland parade in the 1950s or early 60s.

People then started moving to the suburbs, and begans shopping at the new shopping malls.

By the mid 1980s, the single homes were being replaced with small apartment blocks. A group of residents fought to stop this, leading to the city council passing an emergency ordinance to preserve family homes.

Profile on San Diego neighborhood North Park 1986 – CBS 8 San Diego on YouTube


1987: Pacific Beach

Footage of Pacific Beach is interspersed with quick interviews with local people as they go about their daily lives.

“40 years ago there were still a lot of vacant lots in PB, and a nice three bedroom was going for $8,000. The same house today would go for two and a quarter”.

Profile on San Diego neighborhood Pacific Beach 1987 – CBS 8 San Diego on YouTube


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