This Month in History: Glimpses into La Jolla’s past

A San Diego Union article reported on the opening of the original Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla on Prospect Street.
A September 1924 article in the San Diego Union reported on the opening of the original Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla on Prospect Street.

This Month in History is a recurring feature in the La Jolla Light highlighting local happenings from yesteryear. If you are aware of historical events from any year in La Jolla history that deserve recognition, email

Scripps Memorial Hospital opened in September 1924 at its original location at 464 Prospect St. in The Village, funded by La Jolla philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps and designed by Louis Gill, according to Molly McClain in “Ellen Browning Scripps: New Money & American Philanthropy.”

The idea for the hospital came to Scripps “while recovering from a broken hip in a poorly equipped sanitarium in La Jolla,” according to historical information provided by Scripps Health.

Scripps Memorial opened “with 57 beds, as well as medical, obstetrical and surgical departments,” McClain wrote.

“Patients were transferred to the new quarters,” according to an article in the San Diego Union on Sept. 19. 1924, “and the routine hospital work started.”

“For the present,” the article stated, “only graduate nurses will be employed, but it is hoped the hospital management will be able later to establish a nurses’ school in connection with the hospital.”

The hospital was named for Scripps’ sister Julia Anne, or “Annie,” McClain wrote. It stood on Prospect until 1964, when it relocated to its current site at 9888 Genesee Ave.

Over the years, Scripps La Jolla was integrated with four other hospital campuses across San Diego County to become Scripps Health, a nonprofit health care delivery system, according to Scripps Health.

Scripps Health said it now treats more than 600,000 patients annually through 3,000 affiliated physicians and more than 15,000 employees among its five acute-care hospitals.

Other events

Sept. 19, 1914: Three men attempted to rob the La Jolla post office, which was then on Girard Avenue north of Silverado Street, according to “This Day in San Diego History” by Linda Pequegnat.

The attempt was discovered in the early morning by then-police Officer Nathan Rannels, who became postmaster months later. Pequegnat included Rannels’ original account of the incident, which described two men running out of the post office and shooting at him. A lookout was stationed in a tree.

“’I returned the fire, emptying my revolver,’” Rannels is quoted as saying. Police found holes drilled in the safe, but nothing was stolen. The would-be thieves were never found.

Sept. 20, 1924: Street lights were installed for the first time on Prospect Street and Girard Avenue, according to Pequegnat.

Sept. 15, 1940: The electric railway between downtown San Diego and La Jolla made its final trip, Pequegnat wrote. The trolley system, built in 1924, ran down the former Electric Avenue — now La Jolla Hermosa Avenue in Bird Rock — and stopped at the terminal building at the corner of Fay Avenue and Prospect Street.

The San Carlos trolley station is pictured in 1926. It is now the chapel for La Jolla United Methodist Church.

Another trolley station, the San Carlos Station, stood further south on La Jolla Boulevard. After the final 1940 run, the San Carlos station became the La Plaza restaurant and lounge, favored by celebrities, according to information provided by the La Jolla Historical Society. In the 1950s, La Jolla United Methodist Church acquired the property.

The San Carlos station is now the chapel for La Jolla United Methodist, Pequegnat wrote.

Sept. 13, 1953: Channel 10 began broadcasting via a transmitting tower atop Mount Soledad in La Jolla. It was the third television station in San Diego and was affiliated with NBC until 1977, according to Pequegnat. It is now an ABC affiliate. ◆