EyeWitness

Commission was formed to protect horse racing

DEL MAR — In the late 1950s there was a press party held at the Del Mar Hotel to announce that John Alessio and a Harbor City group was taking over operation of Surfside summer horse racing. This created a firestorm that was heard from here to Sacramento. The takeover never happened but it later gave […]

Harness horse industry was important to village

DEL MAR — In the early 1960s, villagers held a communitywide beach party to celebrate that the race trackers and tourist had gone elsewhere and things were quiet again. On the other hand merchants counted their revenue and hoped there was enough left in the till to carry them through the lean winter months. The […]

Saturday dump runs

DEL MAR — Before incorporation there was an independent rubbish collector who was reliable and only charged a pittance for his service. Nevertheless Joe Rafferty and Ken Reiley did their own hauling Saturday afternoons. They enlisted a neighbor whose name is not important. He had a small pickup truck that was in mint condition but […]

Golden era of the PTA was observed in 1970

DEL MAR — In 1970 the active PTA observed Founder’s Day by presenting a special program in the Ruth Niemann auditorium at the former Ninth Street school campus. It highlighted the 1930s through the 1960s as the Golden Era of the school. Attendees received a seven-page mimeographed program loaded with tidbits. In 1936 it announced that […]

When the PTA ruled

DEL MAR — A long time ago when the city was a village of 350 permanent residents and scads of summer visitors, the PTA was the decision maker besides the school board of trustees. Everybody who was anybody was a PTA member and some from the ranks were school trustees. Ada York, county superintendent of […]

Freeway expansion forums creating plenty of interest

DEL MAR — If attendance at community forums is any indication, the I-5 expansion to 14 lanes through the San Dieguito area will garner its share of pros and cons. However, it won’t be as intense and heated as occurred when historic Highway 101 was projected to slice through the district from Leucadia to Del […]

The drugstore was the village’s grand central

DEL MAR — Decades ago during the racing season, the drugstore at 15th Street and Highway 101 was like Grand Central Station. There was a constant buzz from opening in the early a.m. until closing sometime around 11 p.m. Owners and trainers were in early for a supply hoof Absorbine Jr., a liniment that was […]

Soda fountain was a popular meeting place

DEL MAR — Every drug store had a soda fountain. Del Mar Drug Store was located at 15th Street and Highway 101, which is now the Americana Restaurant. Its fountain was one of two popular meeting places in the village. The other was La Tienda, where folks came from everywhere every night to savor Bea […]

Organ grinder, monkey delighted children at fair

DEL MAR — Now there’s entertainment everywhere at the fair. Not so when money to put on the event was limited and it went primarily for community exhibits, agriculture displays and commercial booths. But there was the organ grinder and his little monkey of the Capuchin species stationed near the entrance to the ground. The […]

Veteran carnival workers speak their own lingo

DEL MAR — At the fair when the carnival rides and game joints have been secured for the night and the midway lights are out, old-time workers, or carnies as they are commonly called, usually gather at the cook shack for their evening meal and to talk jackpots (stories). A glossary of carnival and circus […]

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