Kensington was founded in 1910 when a map was filed on April 9, 1910. The map contains the name of two sisters who owned the land which became the Kensington Park subdivision. Abby (Hall) Hitchcock and Mary (Hall) Gleason inherited the ex-Rancho Mission land from the estate of their deceased brother and mother. Abby’s husband was a realtor, and her brother-in-law was a land use attorney and early mover-and-shaker in San Diego. Through the Hitchcock brothers, a connection was made to William Douglas, a real estate promoter from Los Angeles. Douglas’ name also appears on the original Kensington Park map.
William Douglas promoted the subdivision and handled the early sales of lots. A newspaper announcement heralded the opening of the Kensington Park subdivision for lot sales on November 25, 1910. The owners had managed to convince the officials of the San Diego Electric Railway company to extend the Adams Avenue trolley line into Kensington Park in time for the opening. The first houses began to be built in 1910 and were all of the Craftsman style. The original Kensington Park subdivision stretched from Ward Canyon on the west (now the 15), to County Line Road (now 42nd Street) on the east, and from Monroe Avenue on the south to Jefferson Avenue on the north (now Alder Drive). Kensington Park was annexed to the City of San Diego in 1952.
Sometime in 1913, the two sisters sold their interest in the Kensington Park land to a consortium of former executives from the Santa Fe Railway Company, headed by G. Aubrey Davidson. Davidson redrew the map of Kensington Park and acquired more land to the north to develop Kensington Manor. Later subdivisions followed, including Kensington Heights, Kensington Park Annex, and Talmadge Park. These areas today are known collectively as “Kensington.”
Later in the 1910s, Kensington became one of the many San Diego neighborhoods connected by San Diego’s streetcars and an extensive San Diego public transit system that was spurred by the Panama-California Exposition of 1915 and built by John D. Spreckels. These streetcars became a fixture of this neighborhood until their retirement in 1939.
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