National City Boulevard, known to us as, "The Miracle Mile of Cars," (Now known simply as "The Mile of Cars,) spans the north-south length of National City on what is known as National City Boulevard. It is fitting that the whole focus of this road is the car. A stroll along this part of National City Boulevard would be especially interesting to a car buff. Almost any car, new and used will be found along this road.
Okay, I know that many of you are not a fan of the car, but it is still necessary to use a car in most parts of this country so we have to have one and there are people who absolutely love cars. This tip is for them. Keep in mind that on this Mile of Cars, you can find Electric cars for sale also. So it offers something for everyone.
The History of This Road:
The area of land that is now National City, was origianally an Indian Rancheria. The Apusquele, of the Hamacha Tribe, called it home. In 1769 the ranch was used by Mision de Alcala and named "La Purisma Conception." A dirt rut, used by Spanish explorers, Missionaries and Pioneers for a hundred years to travel the north-south route was called, "El Real para de Frontera" which is the earliest known name of National City Boulevard.
By 1796, Spanish soldiers from the Presidio took the land and called the land "El Rancho Del Rey." Later, Pio Pico, the govenor of Alta California granted land--which included the area of National City--to his brother-in-law, John Forester (known as Don Juan) who called it, "El Rancho de la Nacion." In 1866 it was registered by U.S. President Andrew Johnson as "National Ranch."
Two years later Frank Kimball and his brothers bought the land and named it, "National City" with the plan of creating a new town along the well established route that by now they were calling it, "National Street."
The first Ford dealership opened in the early 1920s and by then the street was called, "National Avenue." Also during this time Hollywood greats such as Clack Gable, Jean Harlow and Gary Cooper, graced National Avenue with their glorious cars as they motored south to gamble and drink in Mexico--prohibition, remember?
It seems this historic byway continued to be a living museum of travel as California became the center of the New Car Culture. In an advertisment of the Acme Chevrolet car dealership, the term "Miracle Mile of Cars" was coined and from then on used to denote the location of an ever growing new and used car dealership center.
It was 1987 when National Avenue became National City Boulevard and to this day the "Miracle Mile of Cars" has become an international market for automobiles from around the globe.
Recently the Miracle was dropped and now it's called the Mile of Cars. Any car lover would have a great time here. I went to Perry's Ford lot to take a few photos and a very friendly sales man, Mr. Montes de Oca didn't even yell at me for driving through the lot--which I didn't know I shouldn't have done. Instead, he literally ran to get one of his cards for me.
Okay, all the photos I took are of Mustangs. I like them.
This Santa Fe terminus was built originally in 1882 as the California Southern Railway,
before National City was an incorporated city. Later, in 1998 the Depot, designed in the Italianate style of architecture. was restored.
The Depot was the first terminus of transcontinental rail travel in the San Diego area and it is the oldest rail related structure still standing. It houses the San Diego Electric Railway Association and is a National City Historic Site.
This is kid friendly, but also of interest to rail/train buffs. I'm neither and I enjoyed it very much.
They are open limited days at the moment, Thursday to Sunday 9 am to 5 pm. Admission to the Depot Museum is free.
Donations are really appreciated.
The donations are used to continue the restoration and maintain the museum. You can see the south side of the station has been turned from a parking lot to an outdoor museum of street cars and right now they are working on a car barn at the north side.
To Be Continued....
Since the late 1880's this has been a dock for commercial ships carrying all sorts of products to National City. Pier32 is a newly developed marina that is well designed for boaters in the Sweetwater Channel. It is still in the development stages but has come along quite nicely in the past six months. They offer excellent amenities to the boaters staying here. Still, you don't have to be a boater to enjoy the marina. To Be Continued....
Though this is the boat launching facility for Pier 32 marina, there are other aspects of Pepper Park that is of interest. Their is a nice and new playground area, shady trees to have a picnic under, a large area for kids to run off steam and a fishing pier and most important, clean restroom facilities.
Pepper Park is a great place to stop while cycling along the Bay Shore Bikeway,
To Be Continued.
Kimball Park Bowl is also called Kimball Park Bowl Amphitheater. This is a relatively new addition to the Park. They sometimes show outdoor movies here, sort of the child to the now mostly defunct Drive-In Theaters. The movies are free and begin showing at dusk.
It's located not too far from the motels on Roosevelt Avenue so check-out the events calendar to see if something interesting will be playing during your visit. Normally, the films are family friendly.
They also have concerts at Kimball Park Bowl. These concerts are not usually big name acts, but fun if you like the music. Check the website below for the updated information.
This park is named after the Kimball brothers, Frank, Warren and Levi.
It was 1868, just before National City became an incorporated city, (1887) that the brothers bought the land now known as National City.
In it's day, National City was the most modern city in the South Bay area of San Diego due mainly to Frank's vision. He built the most modern house in the country with running hot water and a bathtub. The brothers, along with other visionaries built roads, and brought the railroad to National City, which attracted commerce and the region flourished.
Kimball Park has been, for many years, the best and biggest park in National City. They used to have a mini-zoo which the kids loved to visit and this was the place everyone could be found on the 4th of July for picnics and fireworks. Over the years the park has made changes which include the Recreation Center, National City Civic Center, National City Public Library, the Martin Luther King Community Center, the War Memorial, The Bowl (amphitheater), ball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, picnic areas, snack bar and children's playground.
It is located quite about five blocks from Roosevelt Avenue where the motels are located and if you don't want to walk there is a bus stop a block away. It's a great place to take the kids, have a picnic, just relax or hear a concert in the park.
Founder of National City: Frank A. Kimball (1834-1913) built this house with the most modern facilities of the times.
Open: 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Thurs., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sat., no charge
To Be Continued...
What to do in National City? While it is not quite a town tourists flock to, there are a lot of people who come here to visit and there are a few interesting things to see and do. The...