San Diego was in a strategic location and sought to become "the Gibraltar of the Pacific. Collier and other leaders of the Chamber of Commerce, assisted by Congressman William Kettner actively lobbied the Navy and the federal government to make San Diego a major location for naval, marine, and air bases.
With the reduction in naval spending after , the Chamber turned its focus to tourism and conventions. But it was overshadowed by both San Francisco and Los Angeles. Spreckels expressed the enthusiasm of San Diego's boosters in , as well as the disappointment that it had not fully developed.: Why did any of you come? We came because we thought we saw an unusual opportunity here.
We believed that everything pointed to this as the logical site for a great city and seaport. In short, we had faith in San Diego's future. We gave of our time and our strength and our means What is the matter with San Diego? Why is it not the metropolis and seaport that its geographical and other unique advantages entitle it to be? Why does San Diego always just miss the train, somehow? Over the next several decades the Army set up a series of coastal artillery batteries and named the area Fort Rosecrans.
Navy presence began in , with the establishment of the Navy Coaling Station in Point Loma, and expanded greatly during the s. The Marine base Camp Matthews , which was joined by Camp Callan from to , occupied a mesa near La Jolla from until ; the site is now the campus of University of California, San Diego. It remains one of the main Marine Corps training facilities. Reformers organized and fought back beginning with the municipal election.
In , they formed the Roosevelt Republican Club, and in reformers backed a Nonpartisan League. The mayoralty election of marked a sweeping victory for the League, as did the election of Hiram Johnson as governor.
O'Neall and again in against Louis J. The race in particular was a classic growth-vs. Marston argued for better city planning with more open space and grand boulevards; Wilde argued for more business development.
Wilde called his opponent "Geranium George", painting Marston as unfriendly to business. The phrase "smokestacks vs. The expositions left a lasting legacy in the form of Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo , and by popularizing Mission Revival Style and Spanish Colonial Revival Style architecture locally and in Southern California as a regional aesthetic and nationwide design influence. He was inspired by his studies of the architecture of Mexico.
Portuguese began arriving to San Diego in the s, and began immigrating in large numbers in the early 20th century, becoming the largest population of foreign-born fishermen in San Diego. By the fleet's tuna catch exceeded million pounds. Navy as the " yippie fleet " so called because of service numbers beginning with YP, for Yard Patrol , also called the "pork chop express", delivering food, fuel and supplies to military installations all over the Pacific.
Arnholt Smith , a top civic leader, was a major investor. With Japan offering cheaper tuna after , Smith worked to break the union using new technology and Peruvian canneries. There is a sculpture dedicated to the cannery workers in Barrio Logan  and a "Tunaman's Memorial" statue representing the fishermen on Shelter Island.
For example, wealthy heiress Ellen Browning Scripps underwrote many public facilities in La Jolla , was a key supporter of the fledgling San Diego Zoo , and together with her brother E. Scripps established the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Wanting to see Balboa Park become a grand city park like those in other cities, he hired architect John Nolen on two occasions, and , to develop a master plan for the park.
In he bought Presidio Hill, site of the original Presidio of San Diego , which had fallen into ruins. Recognizing its importance as the site of the first European settlement in California, he developed it into a park planned by Nolen with his own funds, and built the Serra Museum designed by architect William Templeton Johnson.
In he donated the park to the city, which still owns and operates it; it is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There was money enough to build a new municipal golf course and tennis courts, to improve the water system, and open a new Spanish-style campus for San Diego State College now San Diego State University. In the entire Pacific Fleet assembled with 48 warships, naval aircraft, 55, sailors and officers to demonstrate the importance of sea power to the city, and to exhibit to Japan and the rest of the world America's interest in the Pacific.
The expansion of naval and army aviation led Consolidated Aircraft Corporation of Buffalo New York to bring all its employees to San Diego, opening a major assembly plant, Convair , which built Navy flying boats.
Ryan Aeronautical Company , which built the Spirit of St. Louis for the famous flight of Charles Lindbergh , also flourished. World War II brought prosperity and gave millions of soldiers, sailors and airmen en route to the Pacific a view of the opportunities in California.
The aircraft factories grew from small handcraft shops to gigantic factories. With 40, to 50, sailors off duty every weekend, the downtown entertainment districts soon became saturated. The red-light district was officially shut down, but opportunities were easily available a few miles south in Tijuana, Mexico. Workers poured in from the towns and from across the country, creating a severe housing shortage. Public transportation trolleys and buses could barely keep up with the demand, and automobiles were rationed to only 3 gallons a week.
Many wives who relocated while their husbands were training stayed in the city when their men shipped out and took high-paying jobs in the defense industries. In it was bought out and became the Convair Division of General Dynamics , a large aerospace conglomerate based in Texas.
Convair had been highly successful in the s with the B , a very long-range bomber that became the workhorse of the Strategic Air Command. General Dynamics refocused Convair on commercial aviation as the Convair , a two- engine passenger plane, proved highly successful in the world market. Convair decided to move up to the very rapidly growing world market for medium-range jet passenger planes with the Convair It was designed to rival Boeing's proposed , and Douglas's proposed DC Financial and technical delays left Convair lagging far behind.
After heavy losses, General Dynamics moved all the airplane elements to Texas, and left the San Diego factory with small-scale space and missile projects. San Diego has since become a center of the emerging biotech industry and is home to telecommunications giant Qualcomm.
Starting in the s the city and county developed a nationally known craft beer industry; the area is sometimes referred to as "America's Craft Beer capital". For years UC operated an extension program in San Diego. In , following wartime and postwar increases in population and economic growth in San Diego, UC broke ground for a new campus there, and classes at UCSD began in Atkinson , chancellor from to , UCSD strengthened its ties with the city of San Diego by encouraging technology transfer with developing companies, transforming San Diego into a world leader in technology-based industries.
Students and staff can be seen in the windows here in In it moved to a larger location on Aztec Mesa, overlooking Mission Valley, at what was then the eastern edge of San Diego. In it expanded its offerings beyond teacher education and became San Diego State College. SDSU has grown to a student body of more than 30, and an alumni base of more than , The landmark Immaculata Chapel also opened that year.
Downtown[ edit ] The transformation of the downtown areas from a zone of poverty and poor housing to a major tourist attraction with large numbers of jobs began in with the creation of the Centre City Development Corporation. Its urban renewal project focused on the Gaslamp Quarter beginning in , with the goal of making the area a national historic district and bringing upper- and middle-class tourists and suburban residents to downtown San Diego. Since the s the city has seen the opening of the Horton Plaza shopping center, the revival of the Gaslamp Quarter, and the construction of the San Diego Convention Center.
Center city population is expected to rise to 77, residents by ; 30, people currently reside in downtown San Diego. This renewal extended to the surrounding neighborhoods in the s, especially in older urban neighborhoods immediately north of Balboa Park such as North Park and City Heights.
Conventions[ edit ] In July the Republican National Committee chose San Diego to be the site of the Republican National Convention , despite initial opposition from the city's mayor, Frank Curran , and despite the fact that the city did not initially bid for the opportunity.
It was widely believed that San Diego was selected because it was the preferred choice of President Richard Nixon. In addition, there were ongoing problems with the proposed venue the San Diego Sports Arena and concerns about adequate hotel space. According to Forbes, it is the "largest convention of its kind in the world".
It failed in in the largest bank failure to date. The cause was bad loans to Smith-controlled companies, which exceeded the bank's legal lending limit. Smith had used the bank's money for his private business and bribed bank inspectors to cover it up.
He was convicted of embezzlement and tax fraud and served seven months in federal prison in Dominelli was convicted in and served 10 years in prison. Hedgecock was forced to resign from office; his convictions were eventually overturned, except for one which was reduced to a misdemeanor. One result was replacing the council-manager form of government with a mayor-council system in Deputy Mayor Michael Zucchet took over as acting mayor but had to resign three days later, when he and fellow city councilmember Ralph Inzunza were convicted in federal court for taking bribes in a scheme to overturn the city's "no touch" law at strip clubs.
A third accused councilmember had died before trial. Zucchet's conviction was later overturned. On August 19 Filner and city representatives entered a mediation process, as a result of which Filner agreed to resign, effective August 30, , while the city agreed to limit his legal and financial exposure.
On November 28, , Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham resigned after pleading guilty to bribery charges; he was sentenced to 8 years in prison. By , most had left the area and the remainder were on the decline economically. They profited from the new skills, contacts, and experiences provided by the military, filled many newly opened unskilled labor jobs, gained some high-paying jobs in the military installations and aircraft factories, and were welcomed by the labor unions, especially the Cannery Workers Union.
The younger generations of Hispanics in San Diego and other ethnic groups as well seldom can read Spanish and rapidly abandon the spoken form except in dealing with their elders.
Chinese were harshly discriminated against in California and forced into Chinatowns. In San Diego there was much more freedom; there were no attacks on the 50 or so Chinese fishermen based there. Indeed, they were pioneers in the industry in the s; their peak came in the s. They specialized in abalone for export to Chinese communities up and down the Pacific coast.
One journalist reported, "Even the fins of the shark are eaten by Chinamen, and are by them esteemed to be a great delicacy—as much of a delicacy as a Chinaman would be to a shark. They were forced into a closed Chinatown but otherwise received less violent attention than suffered by Chinese elsewhere in the West. In the s and s, two Chinese Christian missions were organized to help the Chinese with housing, employment, recreational activities, and English language instruction.