Well, there was nothing on TV the other night, I was cruising the web and found a story about the Clairemont and Bay Park community posting Historic US 101 signs along Morena Boulevard.

Well, I know everything and know other people who know everything and nobody’d ever said that Morena Boulevard was once a US 101 alignment.

Turns out it was, and I’ve already posted an item on this but missed the connection.

For those of you who don’t know San Diego, Morena Boulevard runs north from Old Town, paralleling the railroad tracks along Mission Bay. It disappears in Rose Canyon.

Shopaholics and people with a taste for good hot dogs know this road… along Morena Boulevard was where the first Price Club was built. Although it’s now in an adjacent building, it’s still at 4605 Morena Boulevard.

So I’m old enough to remember the construction of I-5 and swear it went over most of what was US 101. And I thought that was the original route. I even bothered Clairemont newspaper columnist, official city Santa and baseball historian Bill Swank with questions about this.

Dedication drive for US 101
Dedication drive for US 101
As the map you see here shows, it was 101 when I-5 was built, but not always. The original coast highway, which preceded the 1926 designation of US 101, ran down San Diego Avenue in Old Town, then jogged around and crossed the San Diego River at the current location of Morena Boulevard, east of the train tracks.

It crossed the tracks at today’s Balboa Avenue, then ran over Garnet Avenue, turning north on Mission Boulevard to La Jolla Boulevard.

The improvements were lauded by the state Division of Highways when it opened on December 16, 1933 as the Million Dollar Highway.

The map isn’t very detailed, but it clearly shows the old highway on the east side of the railroad tracks… Morena Boulevard.

Morena, particularly south of the Clairemont Drive overpass, has signs of being an old road. Remnants of old gas stations, motels, neon signs, even the Bay Park business district.

All you road geeks out there can get out pre-1933 Flying A Gasoline or Automobile Club of Southern California triptics. Here are all the maps you’ll ever need. 

But this map, and the story with it, are enough for me. So, congrats to the Clairemont folks and longtime civic activist Dave Potter, who are marking a bit of Clairemont and San Diego’s history.


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