Oceanside Harbor
Review and History

Oceanside Harbor is located in San Diego County in southern California in the United States. Oceanside Harbor lies on the Pacific Coast at the mouth of the San Luis Rey River about 57 kilometers north-northwest of the Port of San Diego and some 106 kilometers southeast of the Port of Los Angeles. In the 1990s, Oceanside Harbor became a bedroom suburb of the San Diego metropolitan area. The city offers many natural adventures for visitors including its wonderful beaches and the surf, fishing, and whale watching. In 2000, over 161 thousand people lived in Oceanside Harbor.

Oceanside Harbor is the headquarters for the Genica Corporation, owner of Geeks.com. Several other major companies include Bergensons Property Services, International Stem Cell Corporation, and Learning Forum International. Agriculture is important to the local economy, with farms producing avocados, citrus fruit, and tomatoes. Camp Pendleton, a US Marine Corps base, is located north of Oceanside Harbor and was an important impetus to the town's growth in the mid-20th Century.

Port History

Father Juan Crespi came to the San Luis Rey Valley in 1769, finding a population of the Luiseno people thriving in the area. Due to his positive report about the area, the Mission San Luis Rey de Francia was established almost five kilometers from today's Oceanside Harbor in 1798. The mission prospered until the 1840s, but the many advantages of the area were well known by that time.

In 1841, Pio and Andreas Pico received a land grant of more than 133 acres from the Mexican Governor Alvarado. Called Rancho Margarita and Las Flores, the property changed owners many times over the years. In 1942, the United States Navy purchased the rancho, making it the home for Camp Pendleton.

In 1883, the Santa Fe's California Southern Railway linked San Diego and San Bernardino, opening the Oceanside Harbor area for development. Though a small town had emerged around the mission, the railroad made it possible for many more people to come to Oceanside Harbor. Storekeeper Andrew Jackson Myers received a homestead grant of 160 acres that later became the heart of Oceanside. Once the property was established, the Oceanside Harbor boom began.

Oceanside Harbor became a favorite weekend refuge for rancheros in the inland areas. The early city grew rapidly. When it was incorporated in 1888, about one thousand people lived in Oceanside Harbor. By 1889, the town had a Bank, a luxury hotel, a railroad, a busy pier, and a growing population.

In 1888, a wharf company was established; however the wharf was destroyed by a winter storm in the winter of 1890. The city provided funds for a new pier in 1893, and a new pier was built at Pier View Way. Four more piers were eventually built there as well, including one in 1987.

By the 1890s, there were three hotels in Oceanside Harbor, two drug stores, two livery stables and blacksmiths, a harness shop, a newspaper, a school, a bakery, a hardware store, a lumber yard, and six churches. Railroads continued to bring new residents to Oceanside Harbor until 1920 when a highway was paved that linked San Diego and Los Angeles through Oceanside Harbor.

In the 1920s, the city gained streetlights, a golf course, and a grand theater. It was a popular haunt for Hollywood nobility of the time, and several movies were filmed in Oceanside Harbor.

The Great Depression of 1929 hit Oceanside Harbor hard, as the city was based on speculation rather than solid investments. Despite the economic hardship, the 1930s brought a new city hall and a two-year college to Oceanside Harbor. Further, the population continued to grow rapidly in the 1930s. By 1940, over 4600 people lived in Oceanside Harbor.

In 1943, a storm damaged the popular pier that was so important to Oceanside Harbor as a tourist attraction. By 1946, the people had passed a bond issue to build the West Coast's longest (518 meters) pier.

During World War II, Oceanside Harbor transformed into a modern city. With the building of Camp Pendleton, demands for housing and city services prompted significant investments in infrastructure. By 1950, almost 13 thousand people lived in Oceanside Harbor. By 1952, the city's population topped 18 thousand as the Marine base grew to support the United States' efforts in the Korean War.

During the 1960s, the Oceanside Small Craft Harbor and the Tri-City Hospital were constructed. Oceanside Harbor had more than 800 boat slips spanning 30 acres of land and 70 acres of water. The slips were used by both pleasure boats and sports fishing vessels.

In the 1980s, a new downtown transit center was completed, the city opened its sixth pier, and a new Civic Center was built as a cornerstone for redevelopment of Oceanside Harbor's downtown.

Much of today's Oceanside Harbor economy is based on tourism and Camp Pendleton; however, the city has a diverse economic base. The property tax is one of the United States' lowest, attracting many businesses. Oceanside Harbor supports a large recreational and sporting goods manufacturing industry. It is also home to several biotechnology and medical technology companies. Agriculture continues to be an important economic sector.

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