Historic Treasures

This animated neon sign was originally designed in 1949 for Wink’s Shoe Repair Shop on Broadway in Downtown San Diego. The sign was moved to this North Park store in 1960 and has since been designated as San Diego Historic Resource.

Chito’s Shoe Repair Sign, 1949, 2911 University Avenue

The annex was built in a Mediterranean style, but covered with a slipcover to modernize the building following World War II. The original towers remain and can be seen from the roof of the Parking Garage on North Park Way. This building was constructed as an early shopping center to accommodate several tenants including the Steven’s Real Estate firm

Stevens – Hartley Building Annex, 1927, 2926-2936 University Avenue

This two-story brick masonry structure was built with steel frame for the North Park Furniture Company. Founded in 1961, the New Life Chinese Laundry is believed to be the oldest Chinese laundry still operating in San Diego. Leo Stern opened his second floor gym in 1948; Steve Reeves) star of the movie “Hercules”), Lou Ferrigno) TV’s “Incredible Hulk”) and Arnold Schwarzenegger are said to have worked out in the gym.

Stern’s Gym, 1926, 3831 Granada St

This one story building was designed in the art Deco style, featuring a flat roof surrounded by rippled deco-style roofline parapet on the main façade. Pilasters with arrow-shaped ends at the roofline divide the façade into two bays facing 30th St.

A&P Grocery Store, 1930, 3795 #0th St

This two-story building was designed in the mission Revival style; it features a flat roof with stepped parapet and stucco walls. The original storefronts, with wood and glass entries and plate glass windows are intact. Multi-pane transoms with central awning windows remain above the store front

G.W Hopkins Store, 1926, 3801 30th St


This was North Park’s first streamline style market; Dudley D. Williams, an early executive of the Piggly Wiggly food market chain, opened it. Beginning in 1916, he specialized in opening this new type of grocery nationwide. Williams became a permanent North Park resident, owning and operating Piggly Wiggly Stores in San Diego. The parking lot on the east was a novel feature of the neighborhood stores that began appearing more frequently in the late 1930s.

Piggly Wiggly, 1939, 3015 North Park Way

This three-story rectangular temple is Art Deco style with flat roof and multi layered corbelled parapet located on the west section of the building.  The cast concrete siding of the building is heavily decorated and the building, designed by Charles and Edward Quayle. Is considered to be an individually significant structure. Organizational buildings such as this one often exposed new architectural styles to public.

Masonic Temple, 1931, 3795 Utah Street

This two-story commercial building of steel and concrete tile is surfaced in a white glazed brick veneer. Original owner William P.McCloskey used the lower floor for his plumbing shop while renting offices above to doctors and dentists. The building has exposed steel structure as ornamentation, as inset corner entry and Art Deco mosaic tile at the base of its display windows.

Granada Building, 1921,
2867 University Ave

Build in a modified streamline architectural style. The building was constructed for Edward W.Gaul, who operated Gaul&Rick Grocers on this site since 1921 with his partner Franck Rick, and later with partner James Cathart.  Located above the store the Reba Apartments were named for Gaul’s wife. This building has been known as Glenn’s Market since 1960’s.

Glenn’s Market, 1937,
2835 University Avenue

Originally built for Frank Crover’s North Park Furniture Company, the Cho Book You Restaurant began operating in this building in 1931. To reflect Asian theme, the façade was modified in 1935 with early example of neon signage. At the same time the restaurant’s name was changed to Peking Cafe

Pekin Café, 1921 (major remodel. 1935), 2877 University Ave

Ramona Theater, 1921, 3020 University Avenue

Ramona Theater, 1921, 3020 University Avenue

Registered Historic Landmark. The tank is more than 50 feet high and had a capacity for 1.2 million gallons of water. Sitting on 12 piers, the entire structure is more than 125 feet tall. Now empty, the water tower was one of the essential building blocks of infrastructure that allowed the Greater North Park area, including University Heights and the development tracts south of University Avenue, to grow after World War I.

Water Tower, 1924, Howard St and Idaho St

Designed as a four-story steel and concrete department store, North Park developer Edward W. Newman reduced it to a two –floor structure during the construction. Store was located here briefly in 1930-1931 before closing as the economic depression worsened. The building was then modified for use as an Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) lodge. The building’s initial Mission Revival architectural style was restored in the 1990s.

Odd Fellowship Building, 1929, 2906 University Ave

This was the first theater outside of downtown San Diego that offered modern sound equipment for ‘talkies’ as well as a legitimate stage for vaudeville performers. The Spanish Renaissance façade with prominent arabesque frieze is a registered historic landmark. Funded by Emil Klicka, the building was the location of one of the first San Diego branches of the Bank of America. It was designed by Charles and Edward Quyale

North Park Theater, 1928, 2893 University Ave

O.E. MaThis two-story building was designed in the Art Deco style, with stucco exterior that is divided into two bays by stepped pilasters located in the center and at both corners of the façade. The lower floor of this building was constructed in 1937 for the owner Ovid. E. Mark. The second-floor apartments were added two years later. Mr. Mark’s office was located in this building.rk Commercial Building, 1937, 3809-3815 Ray Street

O.E. Mark Commercial Building, 1937, 3809-3815 Ray Street

The annex was built in a Mediterranean style, but covered with a slipcover to modernize the building following World War II. The original towers remain and can be seen from the roof of the Parking Garage on North Park Way. This building was constructed as an early shopping center to accommodate several tenants including the Steven’s Real Estate firm

Stevens – Hartley Building Annex, 1927, 2926-2936 University Avenue

The Klicka Lumber Company built many residential projects in North Park and surrounding communities, many using “kit” houses that were delivered ready for assembly on the building site. This court probably predates the it house product, but represents the type of residential units built adjacent to the commercial district and near the streetcar lines in the 1920s and 1930s.

Klicka Bungalow Court, 1936, 3988 Kansas Street

This two-story commercial building was built in the Streamline Moderne architectural style, with metal canopy over full height display windows. Both the canopy and windows round the corner to Ohio Street. Note the relief between the display windows and the tile beneath them

National Dollar Store, 1946, 3038 University Avenue

One of the only two new J.C. Penny’s stores opened during the World War II. This multi-level department store anchored the growing regional shopping district in North Park from the mid-1940s. Heavy rains during the excavation of the store basement caused the tower on the adjacent fire station to collapse. J.C. Penny’s has large display windows, central entrance and simple details.

J.C. Penny’s Department Store, 1942, 3029 University Avenue

Office for nearly 25years. It then served as the location of several restaurants; including Paesano’s Restaurant, which remains in the neighborhood. The Martha Baker Chocolate Shop was located here in the mid-1970s. George B. Wittman/E.S. Lewis, Contractor built this commercial building.

First North Park Post Office, 1928, 3830 Ray Street


This two-story stucco building was designed in the Moderne style, featuring a flat roof with rectangular vents above the second-story windows. The first –floor storefronts are topped with a shallow overhang below a wide horizontal band. The building originally housed Howell’s Plumbing; then it became the third home of the North Park Branch Library

Howell’s Plumbing/3rd Branch Library, 1937, 3825-3837 Ray Street

George B.Wittman had this building constructed in a Moderne Commercial style. It has three storefronts on the first floor, with recessed entries flanked by display windows. Residential units are located on the second floor. Wittman’s own residence flanked this building on the south; he also owned the Ideal Grocery Store at 3804 Ray Street.

George Wittman Commercial Building, 1938, 3820-3824 Ray street

This store was build as North Park emerged as a major regional shopping area following the World War II. It has an international architectural style, with Streamline Modern accents. It features a flat roof, large storefront windows, and stucco exterior and recessed entry doors with original terrazzo flooring.

Woolworth Building, 1946, 3067 University Avenue

This one-story, commercial style building has large floor to ceiling windows facing both University Avenue and Illinois Street, with canopy over the recessed corner entryway. A1-1/2 story brick wing wall is adjacent to the main entry to the east. This “fin” detail is characteristic of many commercial buildings constructed or remodeled in 1950s.

Whitney’s Appliance Center, 1956, 3102 University Ave

From 1913 to 1957 a lumberyard was located on Ohio Street, it was known as the Dixie Lumber and Supply Company (the precursor of the Dixie chain). In 1927, a two-story office building was built on the corner of Ohio Street and University Avenue and was called the Dixie Building. In 1931, the Dixie Lumber and Supply Company built the two-story building at 3925 Ohio Street shown in the picture. The buildings farther north on Ohio Street is located where the lumber and milling were located.

Dixie Lumber Company, 1926, 3925 Ohio St


This one-story building was designed in the Spanish Revival style, featuring stucco and wood pilings with plate glass show windows on the street facades. Until recently, smaller windows covered by awnings were located above the show windows. A ceramic tile mansard surrounds the building’s flat roof. The three historic buildings at the corner of 30th St and North Park Way reflect the larger stores that were being built in the commercial district in the 9late 1920s.

Home Supply, 1929, 3794 30th St

Charles Williams built this grocery store for George B. Wittman, president of the Ideal Grocers Association. The single floor Mission Revival Style building features a flat roof, surrounded by a detailed parapet.  The flat canopy awning that wraps around the southeast corner, the dagger corner sign and the stone veneer around the storefront windows modify the original building.

Ideal Grocery, 1927, 3800-3804 Ray St

The North Park community Post Office moved from Ray Street to its current location on 1951. The single-floor facility is in the beaux-arts style with American Colonial details popular nationwide following World War II, including brick siding below the large nine paned windows that are flanked by square pilasters and separated by extremely thin, paired columns. The building most outstanding feature is the diagonal front door facing the intersection and topped with an elaborate pediment.

North Park Post Office, 1951, 3791 Grim Avenue

The major remodeling and expansion in the 1980s modified both building street facades, but the original 1950s modern windows and structure are still visible from the University Avenue side. The remodel is sensitive to the character of the community and provides interest to the streetscape, while linking the commercial core to the adjacent residential areas.

North Park Library, 1959 – major remodel 1988, 3795 31st Street