HISTORY OF MARSTON HILLS

Marston Hills is a neighborhood in San Diego named after George W. Marston, an early San Diego businessman and philanthropist. The neighborhood consists of one- and two-story homes laid out along two bluff tops jutting out over open parkland in the northern-most area of Balboa Park.  Marston Hills was developed between 1923 to 1936, and is bordered on the north, roughly, by Pennsylvania Avenue; on the east by Richmond Street; on the west by Cabrillo Canyon and the 163 freeway; and on the south by Balboa Park.  George Marston's home and grounds (the Marston House) shown in the historical photo below are just west of the 163 freeway.

Many of the homes in Marston Hills are approaching 100-years old, and were built in a time of traditional building materials and high-quality construction methods.  High-quality woods were used in suspended hardwood floors, framing, built-ins, and doors.  Lath and plaster walls with hand troweled stucco exterior surfaces were the norm, offering a variety of color and texture.  Hand-laid tile was common in bathrooms and kitchens, with beveled mirrors and glass cabinet doors.  Mission- or Spanish-style terra cotta clay roofing tiles were produced locally and used throughout the subdivision.  Other romantic details, like vaulted ceilings arched windows, hand-worked wood trim and detailing, built-in bookshelves, fireplaces and chimneys, were standard features of these custom-built homes.

FIND YOUR MARSTON HILLS HOME here.

Read the original July 1992 "Marston Hills Statement of Significance" by Alexander D. Bevil, land use historian here.

See the Marston Hills excerpt from the Historical Greater Mid-City San Diego Preservation Strategy.

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PROPOSED MARSTON HILLS HISTORIC DISTRICT

This document surveys 88 structures in Marston Hills and finds that 80 (91%) are potential historic resources.  

This July 1996 document surveys every home in Marston Hills.  Find your Marston Hills home here.

This document covers other proposed historic districts in uptown San Diego.

PROPOSED MARSTON HILLS HISTORIC DISTRICT

This document surveys 88 structures in Marston Hills and finds that 80 (91%) are potential historic resources.  

This July 1996 document surveys every home in Marston Hills.  Find your Marston Hills home here.

This document covers other proposed historic districts in uptown San Diego.

Marston Hills historic district map_lg.p
Marston Hills historic district map_lg.p

HISTORICALLY DESIGNATED HOMES

Most homes in Marston Hills date from the 1920s through 1936, and some have been historically designated.  Historically designated homes can apply for property tax relief under the Mills Act.  Look for plaques on these homes as you walk around the neighborhood.  (Not all designated homes have plaques.)  Find a brief history of your Marston Hills home here.

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ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS

Most homes in Marston Hills have architectural details from the Spanish Colonial Revival period of the 1920s and 1930s. Some homes, especially those in the Cypress area, were influenced by the California Ranch style.  Other home styles represented in the neighborhood include Monterey Revival, Georgian Colonial Revival, and Craftsman.  This gallery (in progress) contains details gathered from assorted homes in Marston Hills.

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