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Normal Heights Sign Sparked Adams Avenue Street Fair

Repainting the Normal Heights sign began Monday morning, August 22. The neon sign, suspended over the intersection of Adams Avenue and Felton Street, was last repainted and the neon rehabbed in 1995 by the Adams Avenue Business Association. This year, the three-day project will cost approximately "$8000 for paint, permits, and traffic control," according to Scott Kessler, interim executive director of AABA.

The original sign (neglected for years) was first rehabbed and repainted in 1982 by Joe Jackson and his crew of Jackson Electric. Using a scissor-lift and closing one lane of Adams Avenue, they finished the job without incident. To cover the cost of repairing and repainting the sign, the Normal Heights Community Association, the Normal Heights Community Development Corporation, and AABA held a community-wide garage sale and a huge pancake breakfast to raise $700 needed for the repairs.

The refurbished sign then welcomed San Diegans to the first Normal Heights Day in 1982. Eventually, the one-day event that covered four blocks from 33rd Street to Hawley Boulevard became the Adams Avenue Street Fair and doubled in size. Stretching seven blocks from 35th Street to Bancroft, the fair is now a traditional end-of-September event; this year it will be held September 24 and 25.

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Repainting the Normal Heights sign began Monday morning, August 22. The neon sign, suspended over the intersection of Adams Avenue and Felton Street, was last repainted and the neon rehabbed in 1995 by the Adams Avenue Business Association. This year, the three-day project will cost approximately "$8000 for paint, permits, and traffic control," according to Scott Kessler, interim executive director of AABA.

The original sign (neglected for years) was first rehabbed and repainted in 1982 by Joe Jackson and his crew of Jackson Electric. Using a scissor-lift and closing one lane of Adams Avenue, they finished the job without incident. To cover the cost of repairing and repainting the sign, the Normal Heights Community Association, the Normal Heights Community Development Corporation, and AABA held a community-wide garage sale and a huge pancake breakfast to raise $700 needed for the repairs.

The refurbished sign then welcomed San Diegans to the first Normal Heights Day in 1982. Eventually, the one-day event that covered four blocks from 33rd Street to Hawley Boulevard became the Adams Avenue Street Fair and doubled in size. Stretching seven blocks from 35th Street to Bancroft, the fair is now a traditional end-of-September event; this year it will be held September 24 and 25.

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Comments
17

Did you mean "the 'fair' is now a traditional end-of-September event. This year it will be held September 24 and 25."

Indeed. Thanks, Weese. — Ed.

Aug. 24, 2011

Yes. Thank you for the correction.

Aug. 24, 2011

P.S.: It's all finished and is beautiful. Maybe traffic will slow down on Adams Avenue just to admire it.

Aug. 24, 2011

Antique Row baby-great area.

Aug. 24, 2011

Is this the same Scott Kessler running this who is suing the City of San Diego? Don Bauder writes about him, most recently about depositions from the mayor. A long way from city hall to Adams Avenue.

Aug. 26, 2011

Anybody know the origin of this community name? I mean is it "normal" there as opposed to being abnormal or something. Never understood that name. Anybody know? Just curious.

Aug. 29, 2011

Before it became SDSU, it was called a "Normal School." It used to be nearby. I presume that's the origin, but can't cite any sources.

It's far from "normal," however . . .

Aug. 29, 2011

Before it became SDSU, it was called a "Normal School." It used to be nearby.

SDSU was called the San Diego Normal School, and was a teaching school. The original buildings from the turn of the century still stand and are located where the SDUSD HQ's are, at the corner of Park Bl, Normal Street and El Cajon Bl, where they all meet. The old Normal School Buildings are on the north-east corner, west (across the grass) from the guy that has the train shop (Frank the Train Man"??) if you know what I am referring to.

It out grew the site and SDSC (San Diego State College) was built on Montezuma Mesa in 1935-37 (as I recall). Back then SDSU looked NOTHING like it does today.

This will tell you everything you need to know;

. http://www.amazon.com/San-Diego-State-University-History/dp/1879691302 .

Technically this area is known today as University Heights, not Normal Heights which is down the road a little bit, but who knows what it was 75-100 years ago.

Aug. 29, 2011

Actually, students, faculty and staff moved into the buildings in the area known as the Main Quad. in 1931. It became SDSC in 1935 when the State Legislature authorized expansion of degree programs beyond teacher education (SD Normal was originally a school for female elementary school teachers. You can get some good info right on SDSU's site, or you can ask someone who attended or taught there.

Aug. 29, 2011

I was going by memeory.......could not recall the exact dates.....but oen thing you won't find on any website os the fact that the original teachers school is in fact still there. I think it is used for storage today.

Aug. 29, 2011

Actually, if you mean the original Irving Gill designed building from the late 1890's: http://sohosandiego.org/lostsd/images/normal_school2.jpg

It's long gone. Here's what's there now: http://sohosandiego.org/lostsd/images/normal_school_now2.jpg

http://sohosandiego.org/lostsd/normal.htm

Aug. 30, 2011

No, the main school building is long gone, and that second pic is a pic of what looks like portable classrooms.

The one building that was there 100 years ago, is the one that is west of the train shop on Park Bl and El Cajon, across the grass-it was apart of the normal school but was no where enar the size of the orignal building, more like 1/10th the size.

I need a screen shot and can cirlce it if I find time....the building did not appear to be in use when I was looking at it about 10 years ago.

Aug. 31, 2011

Here it is - the one building still styanding form the Normal School days;

. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/af/Teacher's_Training_Annex,_San_Diego_State_Normal_School.jpg .

. http://www.flickr.com/photos/elipouss... .

Here it is in the old days, building "C" and it is in the exact same place today-article says it was built 11 years after the Normal School, which would be 1910-so it is 101 years old;

. http://www.hillcresthistory.org/articles/images/1955aerial.jpg .

Aug. 31, 2011

Exactly correct, Twister. Normal Heights was named after San Diego Normal School. It was srated to teach teachers. At one point it was called SD teachers School, or something like that and then was San Diego State College. My wife's sister was a student there when it was changed to SDSU in about 1970, a few yrs after it became part of the CSU system. It was originally in University Heights. According to my SIL, the SDUSD building is where the original school was.

Aug. 29, 2011

Davo, years ago we had license plate frames that said "WHY BE NORMAL" with the R reversed. They sold out in no time, as I recall.

Aug. 29, 2011

Is it normal to pay $8000 to repaint a sign?

Aug. 29, 2011

'pends on who's carrying liquid for whom.

Aug. 29, 2011

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