Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Pacifica's 60th Anniversary (or is it Birthday?)

In the aftermath of November 7th, we are almost missing out the important milestone that Pacifica is celebrating this year, that of the 60th Anniversary of Incorporation, coming this weekend.  Pacifica was incorporated as a city on November 22, 1957.

Pacifica's Parks, Beaches and Recreation Department, Historical Society and Chamber of Commerce are sponsoring a number of interesting events for those who currently, or formerly live or lived in Pacifica, to celebrate and educate about Pacifica's history.

Notably, an "Open House" family-style event will be held at the Community Center during
the day on Saturday, the 18th.  There will be a number of community organizations, city agencies, activities, for those of all ages, many presenting historic exhibits.  Mazzetti's will produce a great cake for those attending, on a first come, first serve basis.

During the evening, at Nick's, and the following day, the Historical Society and Chamber of Commerce will be having a festive 60th Anniversary Dinner and then a Luncheon on the 19th.  All Council members will be on hand, as well as other local luminaries and a number of proclamations will be presented.   There will be dramatic presentations and costumed characters from the epochs of Pacifica history, from the discovery of the Bay by Portola, through the 1960s.  

The City has created a website about the 60th anniversary celebrations, and links to tickets for the Dinner and Luncheon:

I attended a very nice event on November 12, at the Little Brown Church, Pacifica Historical
Society, which was a seminar on the 60th Anniversary.   There were a number of great speakers, such as Fred the Barber who cut hair in Manor for 50 years, and others who were around when the city was founded.  About 30-40 attended.  

During the 1940s and 1950s, the Coast Guard had the barracks in Sharp Park.  One of our residents recalled that the local PTA invited the soldiers to their homes for Thanksgiving.  Pre-Pacifica: It was that kind of place.   

An episode of the cable show, "Footprints of Pacifica", made long ago was shown.  During the 1950s, TV was just in it's infancy, and many people got their news at the movie theaters and Fox Movietone news.  Pacifica's incorporation was featured in one of these newsreels, shown either locally or nationally.  The first line was something like, "through unity, there is strength....the several coastal villages south of San Francisco banded together to form California's newest City".  The footage included San Francisco Mayor George Christopher, who came down to swear in the City's first council.  

The speakers recalled that the area was divided over the 1957 incorporation. There had been an attempt or two that had failed, and a council was selected on one of these failed attempts, so during the interim, there was a council, but no city.  The small business community of the time spearheaded the effort (in fact the Pacifica Chamber formed before the City incorporated).  Pedro Point did not want to be a part, they were happy with their fire department, but somehow got included in the vote.  The argument against incorporation centered around the lack of industry and necessity for taxes to support the City.  Arguments for incorporation included preventing the reach of San Bruno, which wanted to annex the area and operate a landfill in town, as well as the remoteness of Redwood City County Government.  Nonetheless, the inhabitants of the area voted and the City of Pacifica was formed.  Karl Baldwin was the first City Manager.  He was excited about the prospect of a clean slate for his career, forming the new city operations and departments.  He oversaw new retail establishments and new development from Fairmont to Linda Mar coming to town.  The most charming stories of the afternoon to me where about Oddstad, the developer of much of Linda Mar.  The peninsula was building more housing than Pacific Telephone could keep up with.  There was a point that the entire area around Rosita Road had it's move in day or days but had no telephone service installed.  Oddstad somehow got a pay phone put at Rosita and Rio Vista.  The freindly neighbor of the pay phone would take messages when ever incoming calls came.  Oddstad also lent 8 new homes for schoolrooms while the school was being built.  The temporary schools were featured in some magazines of the time.  Speaking of schools, Pacifica once had 15, for over 10,000 kids.  Now we are down to 5 schools for 3,000 kids.  Several of the old timers said they bought their homes for $9,000 or so.

I'm only old enough to remember the Pacifica of the late 1970s, when I lived in Westborough to the east, and could see the lighted installation on Sweeney Ridge from my window at night.  Riding bikes with my elementary school classmates down Hickey to the beach....I remember bringing my first car to Ed Cordero,  I bought my Rolling Stones tickets off a Chronicle classified from a scalper who I met at the Red Room.  Saw Jason and the Argonaut's at the Seavue....I remember passing the crazy motel where the police station is now, the old signal at Reina Del Mar.....the great canopy of trees that once covered Reina Del Mar when I lived there in the 80s.....Fairmont Shopping Center as an enclosed mall, with  boss German deli guy in the middle of that mall, and the Golden Coach Restaurant ......but most of all Pacifica was most often a very foggy place!  What are your favorite memories or episodes of Pacifica's past Fix Pacifica readers?   

Let's wish Pacifica a Happy 60th Anniversary!  

Submitted by Victor Spano


Rockaway Sue said...

Rockaway Sue is a memory of Pacifica

Anonymous said...

Please explain.