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Preservation Action Alert

Save the Coronado Railroad

By Bruce Coons, Executive Director

I am asking you all once again to be activists and help us save the Coronado Railroad. The designation of the line comes up before the City of San Diego's Historic Resources Board (HRB) December 19th at 1:00pm on the 12th Floor at City Hall, 202 "C" Street downtown. It is important that as many of you as possible be there even if you don't want to talk, just for a show of hands. It is the first item on the agenda. Emails, letters and phone calls are important as well, but we really would like to see as many of us as possible there in chambers.

This is one of our most important historic resources as almost every historian and museum in San Diego has stated. It is practically impossible to overstate the significance of this resource. It is the last best example of a boom period railroad in San Diego County. The railroads built this city. It served the Hotel Del Coronado, City of Coronado Naval Air Station, Rockwell Field, Rohr Aircraft, Hercules Gunpowder plant, Tent City, the fruit packing houses, the salt works, commuters to downtown San Diego like John D. Spreckles, ferried dignitaries in private cars to the Del. There were theater trains, picnic trains to the beaches and fight trains to Tijuana. It also served the cities of San Diego, National City, Chula Vista, Palm City, South San Diego, Oneonta, Coronado Heights and allowed them to be developed at a time when having a rail connection was life or death to a town's future.

The railroad was active from its construction in 1888. It played a very important role in transporting planes and munitions during both World Wars, Korean War Vietnam and presently it is reprising its original role as a tourist railroad under the San Diego Railroad Museum. This railroad outlasted all the other local 19th Century rail lines because it continued to be important. To ride this line today is truly a step into the past, much of the areas it goes through are unchanged since construction and the sense of history is powerful and unmistakable. No other region in California has a bay front resource of this caliber. The oohs and ahs that come from the passengers as it goes through two wildlife refuges are what preservation is all about.

Outside consultants have turned in a report to the city of San Diego's HRB advising against designation, the very same consultant previously worked for the city of Chula Vista in their reversal of the States designation for this site. That decision was inappropriately, politically motivated and not based on the facts.

We cannot allow that to happen here at the city level, as there is a project to remove the railroad. This designation of the Railroad is essential for the impacts from new development to be properly addressed during the EIR process under CQUA. Therefore I ask all of you as strongly as I can, please mark your calendars now, alter your lunch hour for the day, switch workdays with a co worker, whatever it takes, if you don't have transportation let us know.

SOHO has been a very successful advocate, and because of that success it seems our supporters expect us to win. It's true we have had some of the biggest historic preservation successes in the county, let alone the country, but without good turnout at city, neighborhood, Port, County, or State meetings we cannot always expect to prevail.

This is one of the times when we need you in person as well as your membership and financial support, unlike many organizations in San Diego who care about our history; we are advocates and advocates sometimes need to be seen so the decision maker can gauge the interest. I don't like to have to ask you to come out, I endeavor to represent you on most issues, but once in a while we need your help.

I wish you the happiest of holidays and I hope to see many of you at this year's traditional potluck holiday party.

Write and ask that your correspondence be cc'd to the HRB:

Teri Delcamp
Senior Planner/Historian
Historical Resources Board
Planning Department
City of San Diego
202 "C" Street MS 4A
San Diego, CA 92101-3865
Ph: (619) 235-5217
Fax: (619) 533-5951
Email: TDelcamp@sandiego.gov

2003 - Volume 34, Issue 4

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Blowing Smoke


Fire & Rain Again


Save the Coronado Railroad


Red Rest and Red Roost Update


Authenticity in Cultural Heritage Tourism


Why Should We Save the SS Catalina?


Restoration in Progress at the Whaley House


SOHO's 1st Modernism Weekend


Dual Cocktail Party Celebrates San Diego Architectural Gems

It's Year-End Tax Planning Time


New SOHO Historic District Link


A Walking Tour of the Proposed Mission Hills Historic Districts

Wish List


The Place for Holiday Shopping


SOHO Holiday Potluck Party


Volunteer Appreciation & Annual Elections


Halloween raises over $13,000 for the Whaley House
SOHO Needs You for the Craftsman-Spanish Revival Weekend

Strength in Numbers


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