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THROWBACK: Hillcrest's history as told in 1994

THROWBACK: Hillcrest's history as told in 1994

San Diego's Hillcrest neighborhood, known today as the region's LGBTQ community hub, has a rich history. That history includes the neighborhood's birth over a century ago, being one of the City's first "suburban" neighborhoods outside of Downtown, a downfall, and a revitalization by the LGBTQ community, artists, and other creative types.

The history has been told many times by many people, but we recently stumbled across a News 8 Throwback video from 1994 which told the history of the neighborhood from that time. Hillcrest had not yet celebrated its centennial yet (that didn't happen until 2007) but it still had a rich history to document.

In the video, News 8's late Larry Himmel spoke to both Warren Simon, the longtime former leader of the Hillcrest Business Association, and the late Eleanor Meadows, a longtime Hillcrest resident who grew up in the neighborhood in the 1920s.

Himmel said that "Hillcrest is generally recognized as one of the city’s more avant garde and trendy neighborhoods - and it’s been that way for almost 90 years." While some may argue that Hillcrest has had its share of ups and downs in more than 25 years since this clip was produced, most would agree that Hillcrest still is home to some of San Diego's most unique nightlife venues, shops, community events, and people.

Simon noted that the birth of Hillcrest is typically said to be in 1907 when the first lots were sold for as much as $10,000 (a pricetag that wouldn't even get one a new car today). These lots were sold following Mr. Henry Woodson's purchase of the Hillcrest tract a year earlier.

"It’s been a desirable place to be since 1907," said Simon in the video.

Those who look at the video carefully will notice some Hillcrest hot spots of the 1990s that are no longer there today, including the former International Male store, and the Guild Theater.
Meadows spoke lovingly about growing up in the neighborhood. She said that she had walked the canyons surrounding the neighborhood since the 1920s and felt honored to get to attend Florence Elementary - a school that still exists in the neighborhood today but had a much more regal look before it was rebuilt in the 1950s.
Hillcrest remains a place that is loved by many, whether they live in the neighborhood or just visit. Check out the video to see this gem of a clip documenting Hillcrest's history from the 1994 perspective.