Hillcrest Businesses Fifty Years Ago

Reprinted from a 1957 San Diego Union Tribune article.

Hillcrest Business Association, a guiding force in the development of a San Diego community with 15,000 residents, yesterday reported its membership has reached a new high. Don Gardner, membership chairman said more than 160 firms and individuals have joined the organization in a current drive. He said such a signup in a compact area points up a community spirit that has grown in strength despite wars and depression.

54-fifth-ave-c.-1939_smallThe HBA took shape in 1921 when a few of the district’s businessmen got together to put out a community newspaper. The association sponsored the first big community celebration in 1926 when the area’s new street lighting system was dedicated with a speech by the mayor, a street dance, a parade and demonstration of how a radio could be hooked up to a loudspeaker.

Growth of the HBA lagged for a while after the 1929 crash, but the organization was ready for the International Exposition of 1935 with a street dance on a roped off and decorated University Avenue.

During World War II, when manpower was short in 1942 and 1943, the businessmen and other residents turned out every night for a week, just as they had in the 1920s, to string lights and Christmas decorations in Hillcrest.

Among its current projects the HBA lists an off-street parking plan, continuous district modernization and improvement, intra-area traffic control and its annual Gold Rush Days, inaugurated yesterday and continuing today and tomorrow.

The current board of the Hillcrest Business Improvement Association (HBIA) convenes monthly on the second Tuesday (except August) at 5pm in the Joyce Beers Community Center. The meetings are open to the public, and business owners are encouraged to participate. Dues are included in your annual business license tax to the City.

First published in HillQuest, an Urban Guide to 92103 & beyond, volume 5

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