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News 8 Throwback: A look back at San Diego's growth from the 1960s to the 1990s

This week’s Throwback features some expansions across San Diego you’re sure to remember.
Credit: KFMB

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — From the 1960s to the 1990s San Diego experienced a tremendous amount of growth. In 1963 the population was 940,000. Construction was booming to accommodate the growing city. Seems TV 8 cameras were at dedications and construction sites every day. Businesses, schools, tourist attractions, and the airport were either new or expanding. A half century later, these familiar places are still here and serving a population that has grown to almost 1.5 million people. 

Watch San Diego grow in these vintage clips, narrated with original scripts by News 8 Anchor Marcella Lee. 

1960s Dedications and Construction in San Diego

Joan Crawford at Pepsi Dedication in San Diego 1963

This clip is titled “Pepsi Dedication.” It has a wonderful surprise in it -- legendary actress Joan Crawford. Her fourth husband, Alfred Steele, was the chairman and CEO of PepsiCo. until his death in 1959. She was on the board of directors and traveled extensively for the company. News 8's Harold Keen spoke with Joan and he asked all the good questions. She is friendlier than one might expect and oh so refined and elegant. A Hollywood legend of the silver screen gracing the small screen on a TV 8 newscast in 1963. What a treat that viewers can see it now, 57 years later! The Pepsi building is still there and looks the same as it did in 1963. 

West Terminal at Lindbergh Field Opening Day 1979

The clip from the 1960s has construction of the new terminal at Lindbergh Field in February 1966. It was completed in March 1967. This next story is from July 11, 1979 when the West Terminal at Lindbergh Field opened. The first day of operations went smoothly. Most of the people News 8's Judy Elfenbein talked to seemed impressed. There was also an added bonus -- 2,000 new parking spaces.

San Diego Convention Center Almost Complete 1989

When the San Diego Convention Center was still under construction, many thought it wasn't big enough to attract the largest conventions. It was a beautiful sight on Harbor Drive and quite impressive, but in this story from December 1989, Mayor Maureen O'Connor told News 8's Greg Starddard that she was fighting for more space since day one. An expansion which doubled the gross square footage of the facility was completed in September 2001.

Highway 52 Opens Tierrasanta to Santee 1993

On December 16, 1993 there was a big splashy opening to celebrate Highway 52 expansion from Tierrasanta to Santee. Problem was, it wasn’t quite ready. Rain prevented Caltrans from painting the striping. Drivers hoping to take advantage of it, had to be turned around. The new stretch of freeway was expected to handle 50,000 cars a day and 20,000 fewer cars would use Interstate 8. When it did open, commute times were greatly reduced, and it made a lot of people happy. News 8’s Hal Clement was there along with KFMB Radio’s Hudson and Bauer and Mayor Susan Golding. So much has changed in America’s Finest City and it’s fascinating to have visual evidence of it. 

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