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Mission Hills First Electric Trolley Car Line

by KenGina Team on January 17, 2011

The 2011 Mission Hills Historical Calendar …

Trolley 1 300x207 Mission Hills First Electric Trolley Car Line

reflects back on the first electronic trolley car line and features these historic photos dating back to 1947. The electric trolley car line played a large part in the creation of the Mission Hills neighborhood, thanks to Kate Sessions.

She was able to get property owners of Mission Hills to support extending the electric trolley car line from First Avenue and Washington to Lewis Street.

With property owners approval, the City widened the roads in 1908 and extended the trolley line. By 1909 you could travel from Market Street in Downtown, to Lewis and Stephens Streets. In 1913the track was extended further, from Lewis Street to the intersection of Fort Stockton and Trias.

Spreckels, the owner of the San Diego Electric Railway Company, believed “transportation determines the flow of population” and wherever the tracks went, development followed. He was right.

The fuse was lit in 1908 for the Mission Hills boom.  Mission Hills was officially born January 20, 1908, when the subdivision map#1115 was filed at the county recorders office. One of the investors, George Martson, named the subdivision “Mission Hills” and thearea started to grow.

In 1912, Nathan Rigdon and Morris Irving bought land along the trolley line on Lewis Street between Stephens and Palmetto.  They put up two commercial buildings, the Risdon and Montclair buildings. These buildings had (and still have) apartments upstairs and retail shops at street level.

The shops along west Lewis thrived with grocery, variety stores and delicatessens. In 1985 the San Diego City Council created the West Lewis Street Planned District. During the next 20 years housing, schools and churches were built for the people who had followed the trolley. Francis Parker school opened in 1911.

The first house was built on Sunset (1812) in 1912.  By 1922 there were 10 homes, and by 1927 there were 39 homes built on Sunset.

Mssion Hills had boomed!

What is your oldest memory of Mission Hills?

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