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A History of Barrio Logan (Part One)

What Barrio Logan lacks in shiny attractions is made up for in the history, art, food, and pride in cultural heritage that make the Chicano neighborhood of Barrio Logan a destination worth exploring. Download our free Beyond the Zoo Guide to Barrio Logan for a family friendly activity guide.

Understanding the past is essential as you explore Barrio Logan. The neighborhood dates back to the late 1800’s when it was known as Logan Heights. In 1871 Congressman John A Logan wrote legislation that he hoped would pave the way for a transcontinental railroad ending in San Diego. Plans for the railroad didn’t pan out and the area instead became residential. Between 1910 and 1920 the neighborhood became predominantly Mexican-American with refugees from the Mexican Revolution. The southern part of Logan Heights became known as Barrio Logan.

Remembering Our Past – History of Barrio Logan is a documentary video created by San Diego teenagers that does a good job of summarizing the history of Barrio Logan.

“In California during the 1920s, Chicanos constituted up to two-thirds of the work force in many industries. A small Chicano middle class developed, often oriented toward serving the Chicano population. The growth of barrios and colonias fostered expansion of small businesses such as grocery and dry-goods stores, restaurants, barber shops, and tailor shops. Small construction firms emerged. Chicanos entered the teaching profession, usually working in private Chicano schools or in segregated public schools.” (history.sandiego.edu)

By the 1930’s Barrio Logan was a thriving community extending all the way to the bay. A pier and community beach were built in 1938. Barrio Logan lost access to the waterfront when World War II began. Naval, defense, and shipbuilding industries grew and took over the waterfront. In the 1950’s Barrio Logan was re-zoned as mixed residential and industrial. Junkyards owned by non-community members moved into the neighborhood next to homes and schools. During the 1960’s the neighborhood was literally divided in half by the building of Interstate 5 in 1963 followed by the construction of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in 1969. Tensions continued to grow as residents were forced out of their homes and the quality of life for remaining residents deteriorated. (To be continued…)

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