By Margie M. Palmer
The Linda Vista 75th Anniversary celebration will kick off on Sunday, March 20; those involved with putting on the event say they couldn’t be more excited to commemorate the community’s rich and vibrant history.
The celebration will continue with more events scheduled in the coming months.
Linda Vista was initially founded as a temporary suburb of San Diego, springing up during the World War II era when the federal government began to build housing for defense workers employed in San Diego’s aircraft plants and shipyards.
At the time it was built, Linda Vista was the largest single defense housing project in the U.S. and the world’s largest low-income housing development with a projected 13,000 residents.
This model city was made up of “cracker box” houses, with mostly 3,000 units remaining today along with the original building housing Skateworld. In 1954, the Federal Public Housing Administration sold the houses for private ownership, according to Linda Vista officials.
The government also built one of the nation’s first planned shopping centers as a means of providing retail facilities for local residents. Because it was such a big deal in its time, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt dedicated the shopping center in 1942 with lots of hoopla and fanfare.
The original shopping center was demolished in 1972 and replaced with the current Linda Vista Shopping Center.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Linda Vista became a destination community for Pan Asian immigrants fleeing the Vietnam War. Linda Vista continues to celebrate its ethnic pride each year with the Multi-Cultural Fair, which brings Linda Vista’s melting pot to life.
Carrie Bienert, the Linda Vista 75th Anniversary chairperson, said that after 75 years of the community being established, it’s wonderful to be able to recognize its history.
And while the kick-off event will include a number of family-friendly activities, what she’s most looking forward to is the community members who will be presenting oral histories.
“I think it will be full of interesting tales of what happened during that time,” Bienert said, adding that a display board with decades-old photos will also be on display. Some photos were collected from the San Diego History Museum; others were available through the San Diego Library.
“The library had a collection of big, huge, framed pictures that were initially located hung at the Linda Vista McDonalds franchise when that first opened,” Bienert said. “They were there for years and years before the library got them. When [the franchise owner] sold the business, she donated them.”
The kick-off event will take place from 2 — 4 p.m. Sunday, March 20, at the Linda Vista Shopping Center. San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts will be speaking at the event, and is among those who hold the community close to their heart.
“When I was a young boy, Linda Vista was where my family settled and where I grew up,” Roberts said. “While much has changed in the 60 years since, the community remains a wonderful neighborhood, close to everything but with a distinctive character and feel all its own. One of my brothers still lives there and Linda Vista has never stopped feeling like home.”
—Margie M. Palmer is a San Diego-based freelance writer who has been racking up bylines in a myriad of news publications for the past 10 years. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.