Frontier Housing 1948

Photo by Howard Rozelle

Bob Richardson '61 was telling me that, before there was a Campus Lab School, a lot of San Diego State College faculty members and their families lived in government housing and the kiddies attended Midway Elementary School. I checked my 1956 City Directory and found no mention of a Midway Elementary School, although Midway Adult School was listed at 3249 Fordham St. I started digging through my files and, under "SD Photos", found some more Rozelles -- including the one I was hoping for. Howard shot this in 1946. Bob says the home his family lived in in 1948 isn't in the photo, but he can see Midway Elementary. He's placed red circles in the photo below showing the school and the vacant lot where his home eventually appeared. Says Bob, "The housing we lived in was called Aztec Villa. Fritz Ziegenfuss lived right across the street and was my best friend from when we were five years old. Polly Schunert and my sister similarly met there and were best friends. By 1951 the housing shortage was eased and most of the faculty had moved into their own new homes. Actually, when we first moved there we lived in one of the units backing up to Midway Drive, but soon moved into a three-bedroom unit. the bedrooms were probably about 8x10, but to me they seemed plenty big. I had a radio on the nightstand by my bed (an orange crate turned on end) and sometimes listened to Padres games until I fell asleep."

My family moved into that government housing in 1950. I started kindergarten at Midway Elementary. My dad had gotten out of the service and was attending San Diego State. I remember our housing was across from the playground. Sally and Jane Schunert lived a short distance from me and we rode our bikes all aver the place. I later saw Sally at Crawford. She was a year or two ahead of me -- Vernice Page Miller ‘63

I too lived in Frontier Housing and attended Midway Elementary School for two years. Frontier Housing was old military housing that was rented as apartments after WWII. We were one of the last families to move, since the house my parents bought was still not finished. I lived at 3655 Kenyon Street, which was right across the street from Midway Elementary. After the housing was torn down they turned Midway Elementary into Midway Adult School. I had to attend driving school there after getting a couple of tickets during my youth. It was a great place for kids to grow up. There were so many families with children we always found things to do or get into -- Donna Davenport Deslatte ’64

When I was at SDSC, 1960-1965, there were newspaper articles about students living in Aztec Villa. They were refusing to leave, even as the surrounding buildings were being torn down. My connection came in 1968 when I started working for Instruments, Inc. on Midway Dr. The building is in Howard's photo, next door to the post office. The post office is in the lower middle of the photo, right where Midway Dr. curves. It is the larger building with the bright colored rounded roof. The post office moved down to Barnett Dr a few years later, and we took over that building and the two little apartments in back. There were only foundations and a large cottonwood tree left from the government housing. The first commercial building was the large Fedmart store (now Target), and I could walk over and shop on my breaks. Those were good times. Several of us used to race our bicycles to the lighthouse and back on our lunch hour. Once we entered the bathtub race on Mission Bay. Instruments, Inc. was started by David Kalbfell, who was a Physics professor at SDSC. I met him in an electronics class he was teaching, and soon started working for him. I got promoted to Chief Engineer in a year or so. The company moved to Kearny Mesa in 1978, and I now work for his son, Ken. All those old buildings on Midway Dr. are gone now -- Mike Fry, '60

I lived at 2804 Buell Street, from 1948-1954, while my father served with the USMC during the Korean Conflict. Our first residence was on Voltaire Street from 1944-1946 during WWII. The family moved to Park Boulevard in San Diego where I attended Alice Birney for kindergarten. I went to George Dewey from 1st Grade through part of 6th, then moved to Ocean Beach. Went to Ocean Beach Elementary and Dana Junior High for half of the school year. We moved to Chula Vista for junior and senior high school years. . I have fond memories of growing up in Government Housing. I remember all the movie stars that came to the Loma Theatre and all our Western cowboy heros who rode in the local parades. I worked at MCRD as a paper boy at the age of eight years old and also while living in OB.  I rode my bike from Muir Street to the Marine Base every Sunday morning at 4 AM and then rode home. I still have my last MCRD Base Pass.Also worked at the B & B Circus when it came to Midway Dr. in the big empty lot that was down from the Cotton Patch. Also I helped with our milkman during the summers. He would pick me up between 4 and 4:30 AM. I would get all his orders ready before his next stop. At the end of the route he'd bring me back home and I was given a dairy product for my help -- Gary Hazlett, Hilltop High School '60


Margaret and Bob Richardson pose with their new J. C. Higgins bicycles, probably around 1949, at the family home in Aztec Villa.

I was pleased to see some others had commented on the Aztec Villa theme, and am inspired to dig out another old photo from 1949. My sister, who would have been nearing 8, must have taken it and wrote on the back in a neat cursive, "My friends, Left two Richt fritz z, Bobby, fred, Bobby R., Bill, christine, Polly, kenny." I was still completely illiterate when I was 8. Fritz, with a bandage on his knee, is Fritz Ziegenfuss '61. I am Bobby R. I have no idea who the other Bobby was. Polly is Polly Schunert '59. Kenny is Kenny Ziegenfuss '62. I can't recall who Bill and Christine were, which means I didn't know them after moving from the Villa. Fred was Fred Kasch, whose dad (also Fred) taught gymnastics and exercise physiology at State. Fred was a Navy fighter pilot, killed in North Vietnam in 1967. His remains were returned in 1988 and he is buried at Fort Rosecrans

Here's a LINK I found concerning Fred Kasch that you might like to see:

Back to the photo. We were doing something Very Important -- fixing potholes in the street by filling them with mud. Fred, being the oldest, probably came up with the idea, but I think it's my Radio Flyer wagon being used. My funky bike had fan belt drive, but soon I got a proper little J C Higgins coaster brake bike. The street we were fixing was Gonzaga. The view is to the south. The houses in the background weren't part of Aztec Villa, but were south of Fordham. They do show up in Howard’s aerial. Thanks for indulging my trips to the past! -- Bob Richardson '61

Frontier Housing 1950

Return to Howard Rozelle Page

Return to Historic Photos Page