Mary-Allely-2014smOBHS ARCHIVES preserve local history. We need: Historical Photos, Items, Cash & Archival Supplies, Documentation & Interviews (more info. on Archive Page) Donate gifts at OBHS programs. Archive Donations Only Contact Archivist Mary Allely (858) 550-5982. OBHS is a 501 (C) 3 Non-profit, Donations May Be Tax Deductible.  All General Info. Contact PAT JAMES, Pres. or  (619) 226-8125.

“Centennial of the Devastating 1916 Flood and the Rainmaker”

Hatfield-montage-sepiaThe OBHS & Rick Crawford  will present “Centennial of the Devastating 1916 Flood and the Rainmaker”. Thursday,  February 18, 7 pm, at St. Peter’s by the Sea Lutheran Church
1371 Sunset Cliffs Blvd, Ocean Beach (Doors will close when capacity is reached).
One hundred years ago, the drought-fearing city councilmen of San Diego hired a rainmaker. For a handshake pledge of $10,000, Charles Hatfield built a wooden tower, set up equipment at Lake Morena, and began “milking the skies.” In the days that followed, San Diego was deluged with nearly 30 inches of rain. Mission Valley flooded, reservoirs filled and dams collapsed, roads and bridges washed away. Did the rainmaker produce the epic storms of January 1916?  Or was this massive deluge an act of God?
In words and pictures this presentation will re-visit the famed Rainmaker Flood and look at the strange story of an itinerant sewing machine salesman—turned rainmaker, who claimed the historic rainfall as “an act of Hatfield.”

Rick Crawford is the supervisor of Special Collections at the San Diego Public Library. He is the former archives director at the San Diego Historical Society, where he also edited the Journal of San Diego History. He has degrees in history and library science, and has written extensively on local history, including articles for the San Diego Union-Tribune, and the books “San Diego Yesterday” and “The Way We Were in San Diego”. 
Suggested OBHS Program donation $5, but any donation is appreciated.

OB’s History of Volunteerism

Claudia-lips-smJan. 21, 2016 the Ocean Beach Historical Society Presented: Guest  Claudia Jack, as she presented “OB’s History of VOLUNTEERISM”. She told of how the many organizations and volunteers helped make OB special… and many of them attended the program. We are thankful to the  multitude of caring and helpful residents that are the heart of of our beach town.  Claudia included information sheets about the many local and nation organizations and how you can get involved.. and keep OB’s  wonderful community volunteerism spirit alive!

We thank  Claudia for her enjoyable and  inspirational talk, and applaud her for her lifetime of VOLUNTEERISM!


OBHS celebrated the “Centennial of Historic SUNSET CLIFFS!”

sunset cliffs

Nov. 19, 2015, over 200 attendees were at the Ocean Beach Historical Society  “Centennial of Historic SUNSET CLIFFS!” at St. Peter’s by the Sea Lutheran Church.
Topics included: Ever wonder what was along Sunset Cliffs Blvd 100 years ago? How about 600 years? 70 million?
Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Chair, Ann Swanson, and members talked of the park’s dinosaurs, sea-going monster lizards, Kumeyaay Indians and other early visitors. Also, about the Sunset Cliffs’ connection to Balboa Park’s famous exposition, the contributions of sporting goods magnate and developer Albert Spalding as he created the cliffs’ romantic bridges, gazebos and staircases. Hear about the secret passageways, caves and myths. Then hear of the later history of neglect and rubble-dumping; and now the renewed caring led by the community.
The human history of Sunset Cliffs started with the Kumeyaay who considered Sunsets Cliffs sacred, a place to be shared with all. Around the turn of the century came the Theosophists and Albert Spalding, who developed the linear section in time for the Panama California Exposition of 1915. This  program will included coastal bluffs photos showing images from 1915, contrasting them with their present formations (photographed by Steve Rowell). An update regarding park planning efforts will be included, as well as a look toward future plans and needs.

Mar. 4 & 5, 2016 Congress of History Conference Scandals & Scoundrels


Don’t miss this fabulous 2016  Congress of History Conference “Scandals & Scoundrels”
Friday, March 4 and Saturday, March 5, 2016 at San Diego OASIS at Mission Valley Macy Store, 3rd floor—1702 Camino del Rio North, San Diego, CA 92108 For information and reservations:
The Congress of History of San Diego and Imperial Counties is a  networking organization that brings together representatives of historical  organizations, groups, museums and historical archives in California’s San Diego and Imperial Counties.

Thurs. Oct.15 — The SISTERS of O.B.

Nuns-Sunset-Title-flatThe OBHS Presented:  The SISTERS of O.B. By Sister Marie Louise Flick RSCJ, Thurs. Oct. 15,, 2015.
The nuns who live/ lived in  O.B. are an important part of the history of Ocean Beach, San Diego and California. “Church Row” on Sunset Cliffs Blvd. goes back to O.B.’s early history, as does Sacred Heart Church and Sacred Heart School (now Preschool). These nuns played vital roles at St. Charles Academy, University High School, USD, St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center and other institutions.
The O.B. nuns have helped the homeless, aided children and the disabled as well as many others in our region.
Many of these nuns have multiple degrees, music backgrounds, various talents and interesting family histories. Some have lived in O.B. for short periods, while others for many years. Many can be seen walking around the community and enjoying our local coffee houses.
Sister Marie Louise Flick RSCJ is a retired educator.  Most of her life has been in secondary education for girls. Primarily she has been the academic dean responsible for faculty evaluation, curriculum development and student academic progress. Every summer for 15 years she was an adjunct professor at Creighton University in Omaha NE in their Christian Spirituality Masters Program.  Since 1996, she has been a staff member at the Spiritual Ministry Center on Del Mar Ave. in Ocean Beach.


Sept. 17, 2015 the OB Historical Society presented: KUMEYAAY ON THE COAST- OVERLOOKED ASPECTS OF NATIVE FISHING AND MARITIME, by Professor Richard Carrico. The San Diego region has always been a mecca for those who want to fish and to enjoy the rich bounty of our bays and ocean. When guest lecturer Professor Richard Carrico says always, he means always—as in for thousands of years.
The Kumeyaay people of San Diego County are often portrayed as people who relied on acorns, deer, and rabbits as their primary food sources. While these foods were important, the Kumeyaay were also masters of the bays and oceans—they were maritime peoples thousands of years before arrival of the Spaniards.
Mr. Carrico has been researching the role of the ocean and bays in Kumeyaay culture, including the Ocean Beach area, for more than thirty years. Relying on archaeological, anthropological, and historical data, Carrico will peel back more than 3,000 years of history to provide an image of the Kumeyaay that has been largely ignored.
This discussion focused on the techniques and methods used by the Kumeyaay to procure a large variety of fish, shellfish, and other maritime food sources. Topics ranged from the types of boats and canoes used by the Kumeyaay, the importance of the oceans and bays in Kumeyaay oral tradition, the various locales exploited by the Kumeyaay including the deep ocean, the off shore islands, and San Diego and Mission Bays. Mr. Carrico also placed Kumeyaay fishing and maritime activities within the context of their overall cosmology including the many native maritime place names. His knowledge and humor were well received.

Sept. 10 – History of Balboa Park’s Botanical Building

Sept. 10 at 3:30pm at the Point Loma Assembly, 3035 Talbot St, San Diego, CA 92106 – History of Balboa Park’s Botanical Building with Vonn Marie May (former OB Resident)
Landscape historian and cultural landscape specialist Vonn Marie May will speak about the History of Balboa Park’s Botanical Building.
All land has a history. A ‘deep read’ of the cultural landscape will reveal its origins and intents. Those precedents, or findings, can inform and cue the future. A cultural landscape investigation conducted during land use planning will provide a richer understanding of the past, an account of the present, and more culturally grounded future.– Vonn Marie May
Vonn Marie is a landscape historian and cultural landscape specialist with over 20 years of project experience. Her advocacy and rigor reflects her historic preservation and legal research background. Embracing the use of historic values in planning and design she has authored several successful National Register nominations, which include historical landscapes and settings.
Vonn Marie May, Cultural Landscape Consultant


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