In the early 1970s, a group of businessmen and property owners formed the Gaslamp Quarter Association with the intent to create an historic district centered along Fifth Avenue, south of Broadway. Many of the buildings dated from the 1880s through the 1920s and characterized the variety of architectural styles used during San Diego’s formative years. Some of these structures had once housed prominent businesses and, as such, reflected the city’s early commercial development.
The Association’s vision or the Gaslamp Quarter included renovation and/or restoration of original buildings that would hopefully house upscale retail stores and restaurants and replace the conglomeration of adult theaters and X-rated bookstores that made the area undesirable for the general public. Like most of the city’s redevelopment projects, the Gaslamp Quarter relied upon the participation of local business. The renovation occurred gradually over a number of years, but the project eventually proved to be successful and achieved a National Historic District designation for the area bounded by Broadway and L Street, and Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Today the Gaslamp Quarter is one of the liveliest and most popular areas in the city, attracting residents and tourists to its many trendy restaurants, theaters, and night spots.