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Vintage: Highway 101

Between Del Mar and Torrey Pines State Reserve July 2, 1961

By Erin Meanley | Photo courtesy of San Diego Historical Society

Vintage: Highway 101

Vintage shot of Highway 101

On a Sunday in 1961, cars travel along Highway 101, which was the main route to Los Angeles for most of the 20th century. The little stretch pictured above was originally constructed in 1906 when Ed Fletcher (Fletcher Cove!) of the South Coast Land Company was developing real estate in Del Mar. He asked newspaper magnate E. W. Scripps to help his company with a road and bridge from San Diego to Del Mar. When completed, it phased out the old stagecoach route that wandered through Sorrento Valley east of Del Mar. Today the old 101, known as North Torrey Pines Road, is just two lanes wide with an island in the middle. As the city continues its seismic upgrade on the North Torrey Pines Road Bridge, this strip still sees thousands of commuters, tourists, and weekend cyclists. It also provides a vantage point for one of our favorite views in the county.

All Roads Lead to Home…

May 4, 1906: Badge No. 1, SD’s first “chauffeur’s license,” issued to John D. Spreckels.

3: Heavy-hitters on SD’s first roads and boulevards committee (George W. Marston, E. W. Scripps, A. G. Spalding)

1914: First California license plate issued; DMV established the following year

1947: Vehicle registration fee doubles from $3 to $6

1958: California driver’s licenses include photos (in color, 1972)

1971: Entire Interstate 5 completed

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