University Heights, one of the oldest districts in San Diego, has been a part of the city's history for over a century. The name “University” (both for the neighborhood and nearby University Avenue) comes from a plan in the 1880s to build a university in the area. Instead, the State Normal School was built; ultimately, the university was built further east and is now called San Diego State University.

Close by was Mission Cliff Gardens, San Diego’s premiere park during the early part of this century, which was situated at the intersection of Park Boulevard and Adams Avenue in University Heights. Its Trolley Barn was the destination of San Diego’s first trolley line.


Adjacent to Mission Cliff Gardens was the Harvey Bentley Ostrich Farm. In the early 1900s, the ostrich farm became prominent due to the immense demand for ladies' ostrich-feather hats and garments. The farm was a popular attraction for park visitors who were allowed to ride on the backs of the great birds. The ostrich is brought back, on these pages, as a reminder of the color and character of our community’s proud heritage.


Trolley Barn Park was the community association’s rebuttal to a developer’s proposal to build a 325-unit housing project.  The park was the first achievement of the University Heights Community Association. Capturing the style of the original Mission Cliff Gardens, the park was awarded San Diego’s prestigious AIA Orchid award in 1992. In addition to the many birthday parties and barbecues taking place in the park each day, Trolley Barn Park also hosts a free, live outdoor concert series each summer.


Though neighborhood boundaries change and are sometimes in dispute, the boundary of University Heights is generally considered to be Highway 163 to the west, Mission Valley to the north, Texas Street to the east, and Lincoln Street to the south.

History of UHCA

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February 5, 2019

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