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Timeline of San Diego History: 1960-1999

1960
City of San Diego population is 573,224. San Diego County population is 1,033,011.

1960
State approves proposition to deliver water from northern California as far south as San Diego.

1961
American Football League Chargers open first season at Balboa Stadium.

1961
Mission Valley Shopping Center opens.

1963
Jonas Salk establishes the Jonas Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla. The 26-acre campus, designed by architect Louis I. Kahn, overlooks the Pacific Ocean on Torrey Pines Mesa.

1964
University of California at San Diego opens 1,000-acre La Jolla campus to first class of undergraduate students. Roger Revelle is main force in founding UCSD and the first of its colleges is named in his honor.

1964
City Administration Building opens downtown at Community Concourse.

1964
Sea World opens in Mission Bay Park.

1965
Archeological digs begin at Presidio Park above Old Town, eventually revealing foundations and artifacts from the earliest Spanish inhabitation of the 1700s.

August 28, 1965
Beatles perform before 18,000 adoring fans at Balboa Stadium.

1965
Mexico authorizes maquiladora factories, Mexican assembly or manufacturing operations that can be wholly or partially owned and managed by non-Mexican companies.

1966
Bob Breitbard completes Sports Arena in Midway area.

1967
$27 million San Diego Stadium opens in Mission Valley as home to the San Diego Chargers and the San Diego State University Aztecs football team. Stadium is renamed for San Diego Union sports editor Jack Murphy in 1981; Qualcomm in 1997).

1968
The minor-league San Diego Padres become a Major League Baseball team and play their first game in the new San Diego Stadium.

1968
Committee of 100 leads successful bond drive for first historic reconstruction in Balboa Park (Casa del Prado completed 1971).

1969
San Diego–Coronado Bay Bridge opens, replacing ferry service across San Diego Bay.

1969
National League Padres begin playing at San Diego Stadium.

1969
Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) launches preservation drive for old Victorian buildings.

1969
San Diego hosts year-long festival to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of California on Presidio Hill. Old Town becomes a state park.

1970
San Diego becomes California’s second-largest city, with a population of 696,474. San Diego County population is 1,357,854.

1970
San Diego City Council dedicates 6,000 acre La Jolla Underwater Park.

1970
City of San Diego population is 696,769. San Diego County population is 1,357,854.

1970
Mayor and council members indicted in Yellow Cab scandal.

1970
Mexican-American community campaigns for creation of Chicano Park beneath San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge.

1971
Rebuilt Casa del Prado opens in Balboa Park.

1972
San Diego is chosen as the site of Republican National Convention; in a last-minute about-face, Republicans announce plans to move convention site to Miami Beach. The loss of the convention prompted Mayor Pete Wilson to declare San Diego “America’s Finest City”.

1973
Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater opens to the public in Balboa Park. Fleet dies in 1975 at the age of 88.

1973
Point Loma College is established on the Point Loma site of the former Theosophical Society. The site had been home to Balboa University from 1950-1952, became California Western University, then United States International University.

1974
The first swim, bike and run triathlon is held at Mission Bay in 1974, run by the San Diego Track Club.

1974
San Diego City Council designates “swim-suit optional” zone at Black’s Beach (rescinded in 1977).

1975
Mayor Pete Wilson launches plans for a dramatic redevelopment of downtown San Diego, creating Centre City Development Corporation.

1975
Vietnamese refugees temporarily housed at Camp Pendleton.

1976
The fully restored Star of India puts to sea for the first time in fifty years, under the command of Captain Carl Bowman.

1976
The city’s redevelopment arm, the Centre City Development Corporation, is established.

1977
University Towne Centre shopping mall opens near UCSD.

February 22, 1978
Electric Building (1915 Exposition’s Commerce and Industries Building, now Casa de Balboa) burns down, destroyed by arson fire.

September 25, 1978
One of the worst air crashes in U.S. history occurs in San Diego in 1978 when a Pacific Southwest Airlines commercial jet approaching San Diego airport is struck in mid-air by a small Cessna, killing 144 people, including seven on the ground. Twenty-two dwellings are damaged or destroyed.

March 8, 1978
World-famed Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park burns to ground in arson fire.

1978
California voters approve Proposition 13, throwing local municipal finances into chaos.

1980
City of San Diego population reaches 875,538. San Diego Region population is 1,861,846.

1980
The San Diego Trolley, first line in the city’s new light-rail transit system, is dedicated. 1981 – San Diego Trolley begins service to border; 1985, East Line; 1990 Bayside Line; 1992, North Line; 1998, Mission Valley Line.

1980
Dennis Conner brings sailing’s America’s Cup to the West Coast, winning the cup in 1980, 1987 and 1988.

1981
Mayor Pete Wilson presides over Centre City Development Corporation ground-breaking for the Horton Plaza retail redevelopment project.

1982
After a massive fund-raising drive to rebuild it, a new, three-theater Old Globe complex opens in Balboa Park. Pete Wilson elected to U.S. Senate, first U.S. senator from San Diego.

1983
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II unveils a bust of Shakespeare at the rebuilt Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park.

1983
Roger Hedgecock elected mayor (resigns in 1985 over campaign fund-raising scandal).

1983
Plaza Bonita shopping center opens in National City.

1984
Padres win National League Pennant; World Series games first played in San Diego.

1984
The Tall Ship Californian, a full-scale re-creation of the revenue brig C.W. Lawrence, is launched in May after construction at Spanish Landing. TheCalifornian is the state ship of California and serves as a sailing classroom.

1984
Gunman opens fire in a San Ysidro McDonald’s restaurant, killing 21 people.

1985
Horton Plaza shopping center opens as $140 million cornerstone of downtown redevelopment.

1985
67 homes are destroyed in Normal Heights fire.

1985
Restored U.S. Grant Hotel opens downtown; San Diego Symphony moves into Symphony Hall (former Fox Theatre).

1986
Maureen O’Connor is elected as San Diego’s first woman mayor; North County Fair shopping center opens in Escondido.

1986
The San Diego Supercomputer Center opens at the University of California, San Diego, providing the national research community with access to the highest-performance computers available.

1987
Father Joe Carroll opens St. Vincent de Paul Village downtown, with services for the homeless.

1987
Skipper Dennis Conner, at the helm of “Stars and Stripes”, wins the America’s Cup for the San Diego Yacht Club, defeating Australia’s “Kookaburra”. He wins again in 1988.

Jan 26, 1988
San Diego hosts its first Super Bowl, in San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium. Washington Redskins beat Denver Broncos 42-10.

1988
America’s Cup yacht race is held in San Diego; again in 1992 and 1995.

1989
San Diego Convention Center opens.

1989
First San Diego River Improvement Project completed on reclaimed Mission Valley river banks.

1990
City of San Diego population reaches 1,110,549. San Diego County population is 2,498,016.

1990
California State University, San Marcos, opens.

1990
Former San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson is elected Governor of California, the state’s first governor from San Diego.

1992
General Dynamics-Convair begins closing local operations.

July, 1993
U.S. Navy announces Naval Training Center to be closed under terms of the Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990.

1994
California Center for the Arts, Escondido, opens.

1995
ARCO Olympic Training Center opens in Chula Vista.

January 29, 1995
San Diego Chargers lose by a score of 49-26 to the San Francisco 49ers at Super Bowl XXIX in Miami.

1995
Reconstructed House of Charm opens in Balboa Park.

1995
Mayor Susan Golding announces plans for the expansion of San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.

1996
Fire destroys 54 homes in Carlsbad’s Harmony Grove.

May 31, 1996
San Diego Symphony officially goes bankrupt (reopens 1998).

August 12-15, 1996
San Diego hosts Republican National Convention, first national political convention in San Diego history.

March 26, 1997
In a Rancho Santa Fe home, 39 members of Heaven’s Gate cult are discovered dead and covered in purple shrouds after largest mass suicide on U.S. soil. They apparently believed they were shedding their earthly “containers” to catch a ride on a spaceship trailing the Hale-Bopp Comet.

April 30, 1997
Naval Training Center on Point Loma closes to all active military use.

1997
Reconstructed House of Hospitality opens in Balboa Park.

1998
Padres win National League Pennant; lose World Series to New York Yankees.

1998
Super Bowl held in (renamed) Qualcomm Stadium; Coors Amphitheatre opens in Chula Vista

1998
Voters approve convention center expansion, downtown Padres ballpark, $1.5 billion city school bonds.

1999
Legoland California opens in Carlsbad.

1999
San Diego Presidio ruins are covered up once again to preserve them for posterity and future archaeological digs.