San Dieguito River Park
- 5 -
Grand Avenue Bridge History
On the south side of the lagoon near the mouth of Crest Canyon, the Grand Avenue Bridge was built between 1942 and 1943 to provide access to a dirigible airport that was created in the wake of the United States entering WWII. The Navy acquired approximately 80 acres of land north of the site of the Grand Ave Bridge for their lighter dirigible aircrafts known as “blimps”. The blimps would use Del Mar as a re-fueling station and would continue their anti-submarine patrols off the coast of California. The Naval Auxiliary facility was decommissioned in September 1945 and acquired by the City of Del Mar. it is an example of structures built during the war with local materials. The bridge was 152 feet long, 100 feet shorter than the blimps.
In the year 2000, the Grand Avenue Bridge was fated for demolition as part of the San Dieguito Wetland Restoration Project. The Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley, an advocacy group founded in 1986, spoke up about its historic significance, convincing the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority to retain 2/3 of the bridge as viewing platform.