The Journal of San Diego History
Spring 1979, Volume 25, Number 2
Thomas L. Scharf, Managing Editor

Images part I | Images part II

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Fifth Avenue

Photographer Herbert Fitch aimed his camera south on Fifth Avenue, across the C Street intersection, to record the sedate bustle of San Diego’s downtown in 1905.

portrait of a woman

Page 82. A portrait of a woman by J.A. Sherriff in his studio sometime between 1876 and 1881.

Herbert Fitch

Page 83. Herbert Fitch

demolition of the old  Santa Fe Railroad Station

Page 84. A San Diego Union-Tribune negative captures the 1915 demolition of the old Santa Fe Railroad Station (built in 1887). The new Santa Fe Depot is in the background.

Page 85. A group portrait of unidentified subjects photographed by J.A. Sherriff about 1880. Visible in the room are adjustable panels of a skylight to provide natural daylight, posing chairs and a head stand to hold the subject still during long ten to twenty second exposures. This full print of the original wet collodion glass plate  negative shows an uneven flow pattern made when the photographer poured emulsion over the surface to sensitize it.

Page 86. A picnic in Lakeside about 1887. The posing seems casual, but this masterful composition reveals many people to advantage and tells much about the occasion. Photographer, J.A. Sherriff.

electric automobile

Page 88. A dignified lady steps into her electric automobile in the early 1920s in a photograph by Guy Sensor, a professional commercial photographer in San Diego from about 1920 to 1956.

Wheeler family

Page 89. Photographer F. Elliott Patterson posed the Wheeler family before their home in Spring Valley about 1892. Patterson came to San Diego from Pennsylvania during the great boom of the 1880s. In his beautiful glass plate negatives he pictured many of his fellow Spring Valley pioneer ranchers as well as houses, buildings and street scenes in San Diego.

Mission Beach in 1928

Page 89. Mission Beach in this 1928 photograph by Lee Passmore was much like it is today except that people were more reserved and wore more clothing. Passmore was a talented photographer who later became well known as a naturalist.

Fifth between G and F

Page 90. J.A. Sherriff’s photograph of Fifth between G and F is typically rich in information. There is an outdoor grocery display with fresh apples, bananas, pears, onions, potatoes, coconuts and peanuts. Visible are Marcus Cohen’s Tailor Shop, the Hole in the Wall Saloon, a board sidewalk, gas lantern and two posters about coming theatrical attractions.

Pierce Morse Building

Page 91. In the handsome Pierce Morse Building was the Majestic Hotel on the northwest corner of Sixth and F. Today only the lower floor of the building survives with a remodeled facade. Herbert fitch photographed this and other major buildings in San Diego.


Page 92. This view of Broadway looks west from Seventh Street. Photographer W.E. Averett’s image of San Diego’s downtown was made from about the third floor level of a building now gone. Great skill was required to adjust a view camera to show angles of the street and buildings correctly.

Mounted Bicycle Patrolmen

Page 93. Mounted Bicycle Patrolmen of the San Diego Police Department are seen below about 1925 in a view by an unknown photographer.

San Diego Rowing Club

Page 94. San Diego Rowing Club members in 1903 took their annual New Year’s Day plunge into the Bay. Herbert Fitch recorded these historic events for several years.

Coronado Tent City

Page 95. In 1905 Fitch photographed Coronado Tent City south of the Hotel del Coronado. This one exposure shows much: the Bay, Beach, Hotel with flags flying, tents, thatched roofs, people strolling, children, street lighting and street car and signs, one of which offers Tally Ho’s to All Points of Interest.

birthday party in the Sensor home

Page 96. An interior view of a birthday party in the Sensor home. The man standing is believed to be photographer Guy Sensor.

Old Town Plaza

Page 96. Old Town Plaza and the cannon El Niño in an 1874 photograph by Parker and Parker.

Mission San Diego

Page 97. Lee Passmore’s photograph of Mission San Diego de Alcalá in 1905 reveals the great extent of its deterioration. Passmore’s wife often accompanied him on photographing trips and served as a model.

Fifth Avenue

Page 98. Fifth Avenue looking north across the intersection at E Street about 1922. Photographer, W.E. Averett.

1887 view of Broadway

Page 99. An 1887 view of Broadway looking west toward the Bay from Sixth by J.A. Sherriff.

two trains of the San Diego and Arizona Railroad

Page 100. Overleaf is a formal portrait of two trains of the San Diego and Arizona Railroad with locomotives puffing and engineers posed. Examination of this negative reveals that Lee Passmore’s name and number have been obliterated and those of W.E. Averett substituted. This was common practice when one photographer bought the negatives of another. Passmore had worked with Averett for a time and sold him his negatives.

Logan Heights School

Page 102. A 1905 view across Logan Avenue toward Logan Heights School at Twenty-Seventh and Marcy. Photographer, Herbert Fitch.

Cuyamaca Motor Car

Page 102. An 1908 interior of the power compartment of a Cuyamaca Motor Car (manufactured by the McKeen Company) that ran between La Mesa and San Diego. Photographer, Herbert Fitch.

Great White Fleet

Page 103. In 1908 Fitch also photographed the Illinois of the Great White Fleet anchored off Coronado Roads. The Fleet’s round-the-world cruise displayed America’s naval strength to other nations.

Fisher Ranch about 1888

Page 104. A Spring Valley hay baling on the Fisher Ranch about 1888. Mounted 5″ by 8″ photographs such as this one served as a kind of post card to tell people far away what life was like in Califonria. Photographer, unknown.

San Diego Pharmacy

Page 106. San Diego Pharmacy on the northeast corner of Fifth and Broadway in 1887. Photographer, J.A. Sherriff.

Union Title Insurance Company

Page 106. The northeast corner of the office of Union Title Insurance Company, Fourth and E, in 1910. James D. Forward, Sr. is seated at the desk with Frank G. Forward standing behind him. Photographer, unknown.

Alpine General Store

Page 107. An interior of the Alpine General Store in 1895. Photographer, F. Elliott Patterson.

El Paso Saloon

Page 107. Fredericksburg Lager was sold at the El Paso Saloon. This J.A. Sherriff photograph is a good study of what to do with one’s hands when having one’s picture taken.

El Cajon in 1898

Page 108. Looking west on Main Street from Prescott in El Cajon in 1898. Photographer, Herbert Fitch.

ferry Morena

Page 110. A 1929 Lee Passmore photograph of the ferry Morena that crossed the Bay between San Diego and Coronado.