Historical Balboa Stadium

John Balchak and John Balchak

A part of the original City College and San Diego High School campuses was Balboa Stadium. Built in 1914 in preparation for the Pan-California Exposition, this massive, concrete bowl hosted presidents, adventurers, pro football championships and epic music events.

After the expo, President Woodrow Wilson gave a speech at Balboa Stadium supporting the creation of the League of Nations in 1919. It was the first time an American President had used an electric voice amplifier to be heard by a large crowd.

Another time Charles Lindbergh flew 100 feet over the stadium and circled it eight times before landing and being paraded through the streets of San Diego. The Rev. Billy Graham also conducted crusades there.

Owned by the city of San Diego, the stadium was the site of auto racing on its quarter-mile track for many years. The City College football and track teams also competed there. Its glory days came with the arrival of the Chargers, formerly of Los Angeles, who played there from 1961 through 1966. During this time the Chargers dominated opponents under coach Sid Gillman, winning the Western Division four times and once becoming American Football League champions.

Later, Balboa Stadium became the home for local rock music shows and is legendary for one rare event. On August 28, 1965, The Beatles appeared there for their only San Diego show. They played for approximately 30 minutes and tickets ranged from $3.50 to $5.50.

Reviews said the music could hardly be heard above the screaming of female fans. Their last public performance came almost exactly one year later in San Francisco.

Other concerts held at Balboa Stadium included Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Crosby Stills, Nash and Young, and Sly and the Family Stone. Oh, if only we had a time machine.