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Guide to the USD Gaslamp Research Project Records MS 225
MS 225  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Arrangement
  • Scope and Content
  • Biographical / Historical Notes
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition

  • Title: USD Gaslmap Research Project Records
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 225
    Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 2.75 Linear feet (6 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1977-1979
    Abstract: The collection contains the USD Gaslamp Research Project records of consolidated historical data for buildings in the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego.
    creator: USD Gaslamp Research Project.

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

    Preferred Citation

    USD Gaslamp Research Project Records, MS 225, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Sandra Kirkwood on January 2, 2013.
    Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.


    Collection is arranged into two series:
    Series I: USD Gaslamp Research Project
    Series II: Research Copies
    Items within each series are arranged by block number.

    Scope and Content

    The collection contains the USD Gaslamp Research Project records of consolidated historical data for buildings in the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego. There are two introductory sections entitled “Archival Research” and “Streetcar Research;” the former contains a guide to the collection as well as consolidated information on photographs, maps, newspapers, and architects, and the latter is comprisesd of the history, biographies, maps, and companies that made up the complex system of public transportation in San Diego's early history.
    Research reports are divided by individual blocks and the lots contained within each block. Each lot section report contains a historical narrative, coalescing information from deeds, newspapers, and history books. Interspersed within the narrative are Sanborn Fire maps from various years and occasionally copies of photographs and newspaper advertisements. This is followed by a tenant listing identifying the street address, year, business listing, and business type. For some tenant listings, they seem to list all the tenants on the block rather than tenants in the particular building. After the list of tenants, there is a chronology of the land title, some including leases, mortgages, or notices of completion. The last document in each section is the historic resources inventory with an architectural supplement, which summarizes the building’s common name, location, accessibility, historical connection, and structure description. Additional copies of some of the block research reports are also included, some with highlighted sections and/or missing components.

    Biographical / Historical Notes

    The University of San Diego (USD) Gaslamp Research Project was completed under several grants from Regional Employment and Training Consortium (RETC) of San Diego. The research was completed from July 1978 through September 1979. The goal of this grant was to inventory and consolidate historical information so as to assist in the planning and reconstruction of the Gaslamp Quarter by city officials and organizations.
    The vast majority of historical narratives originate with Alonzo Erastus Horton. From 1867-1869, Horton, the “Father of San Diego,” purchased nearly 1000 acres of land of New Town, which includes blocks in the Gaslamp Quarter. He immediately began selling his land and stimulating development, both retail and residential. An intense interest was generated around Horton’s land, shifting the town center and creating the dichotomy of Old Town and New Town. A parcel of land could pass through 5 or 6 owners within one week. The concentrated development of New Town went through several cycles until a collapse in the early 1900s.
    Many types of building and businesses operated in New Town - banks, hotels, physicians, pharmacies, and clothing stores. The southern part of New Town saw many warehouses, lumber yards, and various depots, (e.g. blocks 121, 122, and 139), and many produce stores gathered near block 113. Block 95 highlights a disturbing time in American history when those of Japanese descent lost their homes, business, and possessions when forced into internment camps during World War II. Few managed to regain their property and belongings after the war. Blocks 94 & 115 feature Ah Quin and his family. Other prominent businesses include the Whitney Company, which covered several blocks, and the family-owned San Diego Hardware Company.
    With business development, the corresponding shift of the town center, and technological advancements, public transportation became an attractive opportunity to investors. As a result, nearly 20 railway companies operated in a complicated maze that stretched all over San Diego County, even to Coronado and La Jolla. Transportation shifted from horse-drawn streetcars to electric railways. With so many stakeholders, the fight for dominance was fierce. Notable figures in this bout were E.S. Babcock, Milton Santee, Hampton L. Story, and the Spreckels brothers.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Accession number 2008.3.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Babcock, Elisha S.
    Capron, John G.
    Choate, Daniel
    Coast Citrus Distributers.
    F. W. Woolworth Company.
    First National Bank of San Diego.
    Foreman & Clark.
    Hamilton Brothers Grocery Store.
    Horton, Alonzo E., 1813-1909
    J.D. and A.B. Spreckels Securities Company.
    J.D. Spreckels & Bros..
    Klauber and Levi Company.
    Lion Clothing Company.
    Llewelyn, William
    Marston, George P.
    Monarch Drug Company.
    Morse, Ephraim W.
    Quin, Ah
    Reed, David C.
    San Diego Hardware Company.
    San Diego Public Library.
    Santee, Milton
    Spreckels, Adolph B.
    Spreckels, John Diedrich, b. 1853
    Story, Hampton L.
    USD Gaslamp Research Project.
    Volunteers of America.
    Western Union Telegraph Company.
    Whitney & Co..
    Whitney, W. W.
    Gaslamp Quarter (San Diego, Calif.)
    San Diego (Calif.)
    San Diego (Calif.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.