Lefty Al, the tattooist, shaves the blond fuzz from the sailor’s chest with a straight razor.
  • Lefty Al, the tattooist, shaves the blond fuzz from the sailor’s chest with a straight razor.
  • Image by Jim Coit
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Opening day, San Diego Flume. Water flowed from Cuyamaca Reservoir into the wooden flume that snaked some thirty-five miles through the hills to a reservoir in El Cajon.

San Diego Historical Society

Not with a flood but with a trickle

The city’s per capita consumption of 192 gallons a day in fiscal 1981 is well above the national average of 170. Every day 17 million gallons of water are flushed down city toilets; ten million gallons more disappear down bathtub drains. Thirty-four million gallons are used just for watering lawns — fully half of all the water supplied to single family homes.

By Gordon Smith, May 27, 1982 Read full article

Angeles Leira: "Mission Valley property owners turn their backs on the river.”

All the way to the banks

Monday, February 18, nearly an inch more rain had fallen on the coast, and backcountry towns such as Palomar and Julian were reporting four and five inches a night. The Sweetwater dam became the third reservoir in the area to overflow, and in Mission Valley Avenida del Rio and Friars, Fashion Valley. and Mission roads were partly submerged beneath the rising San Diego River.

By Gordon Smith, Nov. 11, 1982 Read full article

Tom Crivello: “When you’ve done what I’ve done for as many years as I’ve done it, it’s hard to change.”

Tuna by the ton: two tales of fishing

The family lives in relative affluence on a promontory in Mission Hills, south of Old Town. Sticking up next to the chimney is a blue antenna for the short-wave radio that Rose Ann uses to speak to her husband most every day he’s out fishing. She uses it as the link in communication between the other men on the boat and their families here in San Diego.

By Margaret E. Cull and Jim Mastro, May 13, 1982 Read full article

Lot 1304. We will soon be asked to give away Pueblo Lot 1304. Judging from recent history, we will probably say yes.

How San Diego lost its pueblo land

Most of the 2000-odd acres proposed for sale in 1963 would go to Irvin Kahn’s University City Corporation. Kahn had holdings all over the city’s north, but they weren’t contiguous; what he and the city’s elected and unelected officials wanted to do was trade away the unbroken, large pueblo lots to him for the smaller slivers and scraps that Kahn had collected.

By Bob Dorn, July 22, 1982 Read full article

John Gallgher: "They wanna tear down a piece of my life and put up a high-rise motel.”

Stay away from Broadway, try National City

“Our company commander told us to stay away from Tijuana, but he said it with a smile on his face. So of course that’s exactly where we went. We stopped off at the bus station in downtown San Diego, stashed our uniforms in a locker, and caught a bus going south. I heard there were a lot of muggings in TJ, and I had $300 on me, so I put twenty dollars in my pocket, twenty dollars in my wallet, and the rest in my shoe.

By Steve Sorensen, June 21, 1984 Read full article

Original SD&IV route. The line will be open on all forty-four miles inside Mexico.

Little train on a big track

“You know, at crossings it’s always the guy with a carload of kids who tries to beat the train,” he observes. He says hitting a car feels like “hitting a tin plate” in the locomotive; you hardly notice it. He has friends who quit the business because they couldn’t stand the danger associated with the job.

By Neal Matthews, April 3, 1986 Read full article

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