Day 14 of 14 – Key West to San Diego Trip

Yesterday one of our group noticed an orange peel size chunk of tire missing from the rear tire of the BMW1200 affectionately called Warthog. Had he not spun that tire earlier it may have gone unnoticed.

And so with the final 300 miles to go to our finish at Imperial Beach, California. The hare in our group was so worried about that tire and the fact that he might be overtaken in the final end by the two slowest of riders that he departed at 0’dark thirty. No one saw or heard him leave. It was a sort of tortoise and the hare type finale where the hare (Terry) is very confident of winning and to be done in by a blow out at the very end; as Scott and Tom come rolling across the Imperial Beach line.

When I ask the other riders if they saw this? The non locals say no.

When I ask everyone in the group at dinner if they saw this?

Or this?

They say no. So, you stop for a moment and wonder who stipped to smell the roses along the way!

And did not miss out on his pie along the way.


A little history of the area by

Patrick Daugherty

Imperial Beach was originally part of an 1846 land grant from the Spanish Crown to the benefit of one Pedro Cabrillo. Queen Victoria was on the throne and Grover Cleveland was president when the first American settlers arrived in what is now known as Imperial Beach, then called South San Diego.

And since those settlers were American, and this was California, what instantly happened was commerce, particularly real estate, most specifically, subdivisions.

R.P. Morrison filed a South San Diego subdivision plot with the San Diego County clerk in June of 1867. His plan ran north of Palm Avenue between 13th Street and Fifth Street and west between Palm Avenue and Imperial Beach Boulevard from 17th Street to Ninth Street.

Maps of Imperial Beach made in 1910 show subdivision plots running all the way down Imperial Beach to the mouth of the Tia Juana River. George Chaffey purchased many of these plots, hoping to sell them, at a modest profit, to the good citizens and farmers of Imperial Valley. Another subdivider, Frank Cullen, erected several buildings on the 900 block of First Street, which remained until a municipal fishing pier was built in the 1960s.

Early subdividers established a drill. First, file for a subdivision; then, build a hotel so people would have a place to stay when they came to look at the land; then, the key part of the process, hold a land auction, and then build a community.

There were no guarantees in any of this, particularly the building of the community part, and most of the early subdivisions were written off within 15 years.

Monument City was built on the U.S./Mexican border where the international boundary is today.

The San Diego Weekly Bulletinreported that “the town has been laid out, buildings erected, a school started, and a post office applied for.” The United States Census of 1880 disclosed that Monumentville, San Diego County, California, had residents born in 15 American states, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Hamburg, Hanover, Mexico and Norway.

By 1888 most of the South Bay had been claimed. The editor of the San Diego Record wrote, “At the present date, there are nine cities laid out about the south end of the bay. They are as follows in order: Otay, Tia Juana, South San Diego, South Coronado, Coronado Heights, Pacific Park, International City, and Head of the Bay. Add to these Monument City, Imperial Beach, Nestor, Palm City, and the “Little Landers” section and you will see that promoters planned to cover the area with towns.

By 1900, Imperial Beach got its first sidewalks. Dennis Orlanger was there on the 900 block of First Street, along with the Orlanger family, who owned a general store. Down the street from the post-office and soon, a branch of the San Diego County Library. Lots were going for $25 down and $25 a month.

In 1910 the South San Diego Investment Company put up the first fishing pier in Imperial Beach. This purpose was to lure investors. There was also a two-block long boardwalk and a bathhouse. Both washed away during winter storms, the bathhouse in 1949, the boardwalk in 1953.

E.S. Babcock, the man who built the Hotel del Coronado, had a channel dredged through the mudflats in South San Diego Bay in 1910. The channel was 8 feet deep at low tide and 75 feet across. The boats servicing South San Diego Landing were up to 45 feet long and could hold 50 passengers.

Ralph Chandler bought the Grantfrom the U.S. Grant Hotel. The boat was piloted by Captain A.J. Larseen. The excursion route went between H Street in downtown San Diego to the South Bay Landing. The Grant made two trips a day and occasionally a night foray. The following is a snappy advertisement encouraging the public to climb aboard.

And that as they say folks, is the rest of the story.

Now all i gotta do is make it home in one piece.