In the 1950s, P.B. was cool. Clairemont was searching for an identity.
Shopping centers in residential communities were cutting-edge in the Fabulous Fifties. South Clairemont had the Quad at Burgener and Clairemont Drive. North Clairemont had the Square on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard between Clairemont Drive and Clairemont Drive.
If you were a Clairemont teenager attending Mission Bay (before Clairemont High School was built), “Square” was not a cool name for a shopping center (or anything else for that matter). Many kids wouldn’t admit they lived in Squaremont.
Today, early Clairemont homes, churches, commercial and public buildings are recognized as examples of San Diego Modernism design. Squaremont has become a comfortable place to live, but the community still searches for identity. Even Clairemont’s eastern and southern borders remain ill-defined. This column begins a search for the heart and soul of Clairemont.
As we approach the holiday season, the first question: How does Clairemont celebrate Christmas?
For over 60 years, our churches have faithfully observed the birth of Jesus, but other communities have signature Christmas traditions.
Clairemont (actually Bay Park) is the home of City Lights, San Diego’s finest year-around Christmas store located off Morena Boulevard. If you want to decorate your home, this is a good place to start. But, how do you decorate a community?
Regularly included on lists of top ten residential Christmas Lights Displays in San Diego County are over 40 homes on Lana Drive and Jamar Drive in North Clairemont. Other displays are known as Christmas Card Lane, Jingle Bell Hill, Christmas Wonderland, Candy Cane Lane, Starlight Circle, Holiday Hill and Christmas Circle.
Item #1: Clairemont should have an equally bodacious name for its fine Christmas lights display.
For the past four years, Clairemont High School’s drama department, under the direction Stacey Allen, has presented a Christmas theme play. “They bring the families out to share a celebration of the holidays,” said Allen. This year’s production is “Madame Scrooge.” We hope this community tradition will continue to grow.
Where can you find Santa Claus in Clairemont? In the late 1960s, old-timers remember a Santa Claus at the Walker Scott department store in the Square. In the 1970s, Santas rang Salvation Army bells outside FedMart on Balboa.
Today, Santa Claus visits the Clairemont Town Square the day after Thanksgiving. Over the decades, Santa has appeared frequently at the Square, but nobody remembers or recorded details or dates.
Readers are invited to contact the Clairemnt Times with their memories of Christmas in Clairemont.