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The community of North Park


began in 1893 when San Diego merchant Joseph Nash sold forty acres of land northeast of Balboa Park to James Monroe Hartley, who planted a lemon grove and called it Hartley’s North Park. The name evidently stuck, as the City of San Diego in later years began to refer to the new suburb as North Park.


After Hartley’s death in 1904, his eldest son John C. “Jack” Hartley and brother-in-law William Jay Stevens formed Stevens & Hartley Real Estate Company and began to buy and sell land north of Balboa Park. The arrival of the trolley in 1907 opened the door to urbanization, and in 1911 Hartley’s lemon grove was subdivided into commercial and residential lots. Two years later the Stevens & Hartley Building, North Park’s first high rise commercial building was completed at 30th Street and University Avenue where two major street car lines met, establishing the intersection as the heart of the new community.


The resurgence of the national economy in 1921, brought a major boom in development to North Park. The younger Hartley brother Paul was back from military service in France and joined the family business. Together the Hartley brothers organized the first North Park Business Club in 1922; founded the North Park Lions Club in 1926; and were instrumental in obtaining the first street lighting for the central core.


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