Edit ModuleShow Tags

Vintage San Diego: Mobile Homes

The corner of India and Laurel streets in 1942-1945


Published:

Photo courtesy of San Diego History Center

By the Numbers

1930 - From O.B. to La Jolla, buses begin phasing out streetcars

1942 - In just one year, San Diego’s population rises 50 percent, to 300,000, a number that hadn’t been expected until 1960

600% - Increase in public transit ridership during World War II

1940 - Women are hired to drive transit vehicles, but only until the war ends

1949 - San Diego’s last railway car retires into the Adams Avenue car barn (now Trolley Barn Park)

1981 - Rail transit starts again in San Diego with the MTS trolley

Originally created in 1910 for the Panama–California Exposition, these historic Class 1 streetcars were retired in 1939. Twenty-four were sold that year, at $50 each. Those that weren’t sold and converted to homes were hauled out to Mission Beach and burned.

Located on the corner of India and Laurel streets, the cars shown above provided quick, if unconventional, housing for San Diego’s rapidly growing population during the defense industry boom of World War II. Monthly rent for a streetcar in the mid-1940s was $30.

The Class 1 design was an improvement upon San Diego’s original streetcars, which were open-air and caused passengers to lose their hats and breathe in exhaust. The new streetcar stretched 43 feet 7 inches long and consisted of a completely wooden body with arched “turtle-back” roof for ample passenger headroom.

Three of these Class 1s survive today. All three were purchased in 1939 by a couple who went on to inhabit them for 50 years. In 1997, the cars were officially designated as a San Diego Historic Landmark.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

From the Archives: A Working Woman in 1950

More than 50 years ago, being a "career woman" meant jobs in art and modeling and an income for clothes and dinner parties

From the Archives: Vanna White Was on Our Cover

In June 2003, the Wheel of Fortune star graced our cover—and that wasn't the only shocker

From the Archives: We Were Not Dog's Best Friend

Plenty has changed in pet ownership since 1976
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Best of San Diego Party 2018
  2. The Best of San Diego 2018
    We crown 103 winners in food, shopping, fitness, kids’ activities, and more
  3. Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants
    Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants
  4. Javier Plascencia Eyes Barrio Logan
    The award-winning chef is all over Mexico, but looks to make a San Diego comeback
  5. A Sneak Peek at ‘The Heart of Rock & Roll’
    The Old Globe’s newest world-premiere musical promises a familiar soundtrack and all the good feels of an ’80s rom-com
  6. What San Diego Women Want
    53 working women share their compelling stories on navigating pay equity, the baby penalty, #MeToo, and more
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Vote Now for Your Orangetheory Winner!

Winners will be announced at our Sweat event on May 12

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants

Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants

AquaVie: 10 Reasons It’s Downtown’s Best Kept Secret

The best workout and spa getaway around? It’s actually right underneath your nose.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags