History Blog

Hinder Holiday Humbug!  Helpful Hints From The History Ambassador’s Survival Guide to the Holidays

Hinder Holiday Humbug! Helpful Hints From The History Ambassador’s Survival Guide to the Holidays

Playing host to the family this holiday? Likely for some of you, it will be your first time, with anxious relatives flying in over the next couple of days in anticipation of the holiday magic that will unfold to make their San Diego experience truly memorable. But let’s face it, once the luggage is unpacked, they’ve slept off a little jet lag and have gobbled up, in one sitting, all the food you thought would take at least a couple of days to ingest, what’s left to keep your company entertained until Santa arrives?

Well, all of us at the History Center have gone through what you are fearing most, and have come to the rescue with some “Trips & Trivia” that should keep you from dunking your head in the bowl of spiced eggnog.

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From Patties To Patronage

From Patties To Patronage

On December 16, a new docudrama, The Founder, hits theaters in limited markets. The film, written by Robert Seigel and directed by John Lee Hancock, showcases the life story of Ray Kroc, the man who made McDonald’s an American institution.

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Toyland Tinman

Toyland Tinman

The Sabol Service Tin Man was built in 1941, inspired by the 1939 film classic The Wizard of Oz. Originally, it was to be used in a local parade which was cancelled due to the attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago today on December 7.

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Six Degrees of Kevin “Turkey” Bacon

Six Degrees of Kevin “Turkey” Bacon

You’ve likely heard of the popular game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon based on a real social theory suggesting that any two people in the world are linked by six or fewer acquaintances. The theory was first proposed in 1929 by Frigyes Karinthy, a Hungarian researcher, studying the urbanization of Europe after World War I, and was immortalized by John Guare in the title of his 1990 play, Six Degrees of Separation. Perhaps more immortalizing was when students at Albright College, while apparently watching Footloose, experimented with the game and the actor, Kevin Bacon. The actor also runs the charitable website, sixdegrees.org, as a “social network for social good.”

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Grave Matters: From Graveyards to Memorial Parks

Grave Matters: From Graveyards to Memorial Parks

What is the difference between a graveyard, cemetery, memorial park, and mausoleum?

For the San Diego History Center’s third and last installment of “Grave Matters: San Diego’s Relationship with Death,” we explore these differences and the history behind Mount Hope Cemetery, Greenwood Memorial Park, and the first mausoleum built by the Benbough family.

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Grave Matters: Items of Remembrance

Grave Matters: Items of Remembrance

Physical items from the dead have, since time immemorial, been a way for the living to stay connected to those they have lost. Collecting physical mementos of the dead, such as locks of hair, prayer cards, funeral notices, and photographs, all suggest a strong desire to retain the memory of those departed. Regardless of a society’s customs, remembering the dead has been with us since the beginning.

San Diegans collect physical mementos to remember dearly-departed-friends and family members just as people have done for previous generations and the History Center’s Research Library and Archives contain representative funeral mementos and we will look at these items among others that have been commonly kept over the last two centuries.

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Grave Matters: History Lies Beneath Our Feet!

Grave Matters: History Lies Beneath Our Feet!

Did you know that a convicted boat thief, an American fur trader, and a former religious leader of the Mission San Diego de Alcalá, are just a few of the thousands of people interred in San Diego’s earliest graveyards and cemeteries. To most travelers, and residents alike, little is known of these individual’s lives or of their final resting place. El Jardín de Reyes (King’s Garden), Calvary Cemetery, and El Campo Santo Cemetery are names of the three final resting places that these three individuals are interred. You would never know to look at them today because they are well manicured locations on public grounds. Go visit one of them and you will be surprised that there is nothing to indicate that beneath your feet are the interred remains of thousands of past residents of San Diego, whose grave markings have simply melted into the surrounding environment, obscured by the passage of time and the elements, or have been covered over to allow for the expansion of the city. Some locations have bronze plaques dedicating the location to those who are interred, but nothing describing how at one point, that was hallowed ground. This can be a bit arresting for some who have picnicked or laid upon the grass on Presidio Hill in Presidio Park to learn of the human remains that could be found beneath them.

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Welcome to the San Diego History Center Blog

Welcome to the San Diego History Center Blog

Welcome to the History Center’s new blog! Posts will explore topics relevant to San Diego’s past, present, and future. Each week, discover new stories about our community mined from our vast object, document, and photo collections.

This October, join us as we explore San Diego’s evolving attitude towards death in our series, “Grave Matters: San Diego’s Relationship with Death.”

While death itself has remained a constant in life, attitudes surrounding death and ways of interring the deceased have changed over the course of time. Views and traditions of death may have shifted, however, like all cultures of the past, San Diegans must still confront our physical contact with the dead, funeral rites, and interment practices, and how we grieve and memorialize those gone before us.

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