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Who owned our house on Richmond Street?

Ancestry.com subscription gone crazy

Harry Rogers worked at the Balboa Naval Hospital as a “chief pharmacist.”
Harry Rogers worked at the Balboa Naval Hospital as a “chief pharmacist.”

After my wife Lynne and I had bought each other subscriptions to Ancestry.com, I had a ton of info about people at my fingertips. (Am I really one of the only people who actually misses the old massive phone books?) About a week into my new addiction to the seemingly infinite possibilities of biographical information, it dawned on me that I could look up the ownership timeline of our old house on Richmond Street in Hillcrest.

When we bought our house in 2012, I went to the San Diego History Center’s archives to glean what I could from city directories. Lynne and I love seeing plaques on old homes in our neighborhood that read, “THE SO-AND-SO HOUSE, 19xx”, and I’d even scouted for a perfect spot on the façade of our 1928 Spanish-style Hillcrest home to hang such a piece of bronze. We were going to be ready when we ascertained the original owner’s name.

The anticipated thrill fell flat. Our house’s first owners didn’t seem to be anyone too exciting. In fact, the directories listed many residents at our address during its early years, most of them renters. The original owners of the house were identified in the 1929 San Diego city directory as Harry L. Rogers and Keria Rogers. Ok, so much for the dream of the first owner being a locally recognizable name—I was ok with that. But just as disconcerting, this couple only resided at our house for two measly years, then rented it out for about the next eight years, at which point I became demoralized enough to abandon my archives pursuit that morning.

If the owners were fleeting and simply hung on to the place as a rental investment, we wouldn’t feel right about ordering a plaque that read, “THE HARRY AND KERIA ROGERS HOUSE, 1928”. Closing the batch of directories in front of me, I took several final notes in the History Center and walked home. The only substantial piece of news I’d learned was that Harry Rogers had been in the U.S. Navy and worked at the nearby Balboa Naval Hospital as a “chief pharmacist”. Not much intrigue there. But even as I walked home that day, questions started to reverberate in my history-buff brain: Where did Harry and Keria go during the Depression? When did they eventually sell our house and why? Where did they end up? Were they raised in San Diego? What kind of name is Keria?

Next week Part 2: Hillcrest house falls from $12,000 to $5,000 in ten years

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Harry Rogers worked at the Balboa Naval Hospital as a “chief pharmacist.”
Harry Rogers worked at the Balboa Naval Hospital as a “chief pharmacist.”

After my wife Lynne and I had bought each other subscriptions to Ancestry.com, I had a ton of info about people at my fingertips. (Am I really one of the only people who actually misses the old massive phone books?) About a week into my new addiction to the seemingly infinite possibilities of biographical information, it dawned on me that I could look up the ownership timeline of our old house on Richmond Street in Hillcrest.

When we bought our house in 2012, I went to the San Diego History Center’s archives to glean what I could from city directories. Lynne and I love seeing plaques on old homes in our neighborhood that read, “THE SO-AND-SO HOUSE, 19xx”, and I’d even scouted for a perfect spot on the façade of our 1928 Spanish-style Hillcrest home to hang such a piece of bronze. We were going to be ready when we ascertained the original owner’s name.

The anticipated thrill fell flat. Our house’s first owners didn’t seem to be anyone too exciting. In fact, the directories listed many residents at our address during its early years, most of them renters. The original owners of the house were identified in the 1929 San Diego city directory as Harry L. Rogers and Keria Rogers. Ok, so much for the dream of the first owner being a locally recognizable name—I was ok with that. But just as disconcerting, this couple only resided at our house for two measly years, then rented it out for about the next eight years, at which point I became demoralized enough to abandon my archives pursuit that morning.

If the owners were fleeting and simply hung on to the place as a rental investment, we wouldn’t feel right about ordering a plaque that read, “THE HARRY AND KERIA ROGERS HOUSE, 1928”. Closing the batch of directories in front of me, I took several final notes in the History Center and walked home. The only substantial piece of news I’d learned was that Harry Rogers had been in the U.S. Navy and worked at the nearby Balboa Naval Hospital as a “chief pharmacist”. Not much intrigue there. But even as I walked home that day, questions started to reverberate in my history-buff brain: Where did Harry and Keria go during the Depression? When did they eventually sell our house and why? Where did they end up? Were they raised in San Diego? What kind of name is Keria?

Next week Part 2: Hillcrest house falls from $12,000 to $5,000 in ten years

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