Downtown and Lindbergh Field

Downtown San Diego has grown dramatically over the past century.  Not only has the skyline grown, but the city has spread into the bay due to a concerted dredging effort, to an extent that those familiar with the city might not be aware of.  These images will show the growth on Downtown San Diego and the area around Lindbergh Field. 

This view of downtown from the early 1920s, shows Broadway street leading from the pier, past the Santa Fe depot into downtown. 

Lindbergh Field

During the 1920s, city leaders has started planning a municipal airport, and when aviation fever hit San Diego in 1927 after Lindbergh's historic flight, the call for an airport increased.  The location chosen was the North end of San Diego Bay, in the city owned tidelands, which would be filled in with soil via dredging.

This c. 1925 view of downtown shows the future site of Lindbergh Field, on the right side of the image.  Most of that area would eventually be filled in to make room for the airport.

Dredging continues for Lindbergh Field in this image from 1929.

By the time the first terminal bulding was built in 1932, the filled in area comprising of the airport had grown dramatically....

....and when Cosolidated Aircraft opened in 1935, the modern footprint of the area was almost complete.

Aerial film of San Diego shot from an airplane taking off from Lindbergh Field in the 1930s.

In the 1960s the current layout of the airport was complete, with the move of the terminal to the south side of the runway and the creation of Harbor Island.


Although it may not seem like it, many of the buildings you will find in downtown San Diego are very old, as a look back of the city from the air will show.

In these photos taken of Broadway street c. 1920, the Spreckels building and the US Grant Hotel are prominent.  Both buildings are still standing.

This image of downtown was taken sometime before 1935 as the Ford Building is not yet constructed in Balboa Park.  Many of the buildings in this image of downtown San Diego are still with us today.

This photo from 1966 shows the upward growth of downtown.

San Diego filmed from the sky c. 1955, starting in Balboa Park.

This image c. 1968 shows downtown and the Coronado bridge under construction in the background.

This photo of Downtown San Diego was taken in 2013.  Many of the buildings shown in the early photos are still there...although hidden by new construction.

Next page in this exhibit.

San Diego Air & Space Museum

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