Detailed map of the the Mission Cliff Gardens area, at the north end of Park Boulevard, in University Heights.
The map shows the results of litigation over land which included Mission Gardens and the Pavilion located at the end of the cable road on the bluffs overlooking Mission Valley, built by William Sterling Hebbard.
The map includes land originally intended for the construction of the University of Southern California in University Heights.
For an illustrated history of Mission Cliff Gardens, see here.
The history of University Heights begins in 1885 with the completion of the Santa Fe transcontinental railroad. This event led to San Diego's first period of large-scale urbanization, and in 1887, a large tract of land overlooking Mission Valley was subdivided by the College Hill Land Association.
The College Hill Land Association, a syndicate of businessmen, owned land in the proposed subdivision, and they had grand plans. Prospective buyers were promised that a branch college of what would become the University of Southern California would be located in University Heights. On August 6, 1888, Subdivision map #558 was filed, outlining the University Heights subdivision. An ambitious endowment fund of $2 million was promised for the establishment of the college. Unfortunately, the real estate boom suddenly burst in 1889, halting the college's construction. The promising plans for a new higher education institution were left unrealized.
In 1898, the site of the aborted San Diego College of the Arts was donated to the State of California to build a “Normal School,” a state-sponsored teacher-training college. The Neoclassic Revival college building, designed by renowned local architects William S. Hebbard and Irving Gill, was completed in 1899, marking a new beginning for the area. This school later evolved into San Diego State University.
In 1925, the Normal School was elevated to college status, and in 1931, it was relocated to its current site on Montezuma Mesa. The original building was transformed into Horace Mann Junior High School, but in the 1950s, it was demolished to make way for a parking lot at the Education Center.