San Diego Historic Landmark #339
- Project Address: 4676 Florida Street, San Diego, CA 92116
- Project Owner/ Developer: Christian Chaffee
- Owner Contact Name/ Email: Christian Chaffee, email@example.com
- Project Architect/ Designer: Abel Butterworth, Homer MacNutt
On a walk through his neighborhood in 1996, Christian Chaffee happened to learn of three old streetcars that were about to be demolished. Intrigued, Christian headed to El Cajon to meet with the elderly woman who had been living in the streetcars since 1939. She explained that she needed to have the streetcars removed before she could sell the land and since no one was interested in purchasing them, they would have to be demolished and taken off the lot. She went on to say that demolition and removal was going to cost her $30,000. Christian, having a background in art and antiques, knew the streetcars-turned-home deserved to be saved, so he purchased them and took removal upon himself.
After a summer of work, he had revealed the streetcar frames, and prepared them to be moved from the property. At first Christian thought these were simply charming, old streetcar bodies, but he would soon find out their historic significance. Rail enthusiast and historian Allen Copeland saw the streetcars on Christian’s property and stopped by to give some background. From his knowledge of rail and history, he knew these streetcar bodies were Class 1s and that they were built for the Panama-California Exposition in 1915. Mr. Copeland put Christian in touch with historian Alexander Bevil. With the help and expertise of Mr. Bevil, the rich and significant history of the Class 1 streetcars was unearthed. In 1997, the three remaining Class 1 streetcars (#126, 128, 138) were designated San Diego Historic Landmark #339.