History

The Talmadge community was established in 1925 by real estate developers Roy and Guy Lichty. Funded with substantial capital from Joe Shenick, president of United Artists Corporation, the neighborhood was named after Shenick’s wife, Norma Talmadge, and her sisters Natalie and Constance. The three sisters were noted silent film stars, starring in such popular films as Forbidden Love and Intolerance. At the zenith of their acting careers, the sisters hosted a dedication ceremony in Talmadge on January 3, 1926. More than 10,000 San Diego residents, as well as famous actors including Natalie Talmadge’s husband Buster Keaton, and screen cowboy William S. Hunt were in attendance. The community’s entrances are set off by the historic Talmadge Gates.

The architecture of the homes in Talmadge are eclectic, with styles including Spanish Revival, California bungalows, WWII Era Cottages, Cap Cod cottages, Normandy Style homes and more.

The main business thoroughfare that lines the southern edge of the neighborhood, El Cajon Boulevard, was added as part of historic U.S. Route 80 in 1929. Most of the commercial buildings along the corridor were built between the 1930s-1940s and feature Steamline Moderne architecture, similar to that of many other business thoroughfares in San Diego.

From the 1960s through the 1980s, single family homes in some areas of Talmadge were torn down and multi-family residences were built in their place. Particularly on the southern edge of the neighborhood, streets are dotted with both single family homes and apartment buildings of various sizes. During the same time period, commercial development expanded on the Boulevard and some of the older, smaller buildings were replaced with larger, multiple story buildings.

News Articles

Buried Treasure in Talmadge
contributed by Angela Noble, Highland Avenue

I, and all who live on my street, have unique properties — so I’ve been told by those who have lived in the area much longer than I have. My backyard is extra long; the back section of it purportedly used to be a roadway where horse-drawn carriages would take citrus fruits, which were grown […]

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Talmadge Gateway Development
contributed by Studio E Architects

In the mid-1920s, a group of Hollywood luminaries arrived in San Diego to fund and promote a development of cottages and bungalows on a mesa overlooking Mission Valley. The new neighborhood was named for the three silent film star sisters who were celebrity backers of the real estate venture. Natalie, Constance and Norma cut the […]

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Talmadge’s Historic Gates
contributed by Fred Lindahl

The Talmadge gates were designed in the mid-1920′s by engineer Frank R. Carlson and cast in 1927 at Union Machine Works in San Diego, at 406 West Market Street, at a cost of $1,000 per gate.

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Panama California International Exposition, 1916
contributed by Ron Anderson, Highland Avenue

I found this Panama California International Exposition brochure with pictures in my attic when I purchased our home. The Exposition took place just 10 years before Talmadge officially became a neighborhood. Though, there were already a few homes in the area during that time. On page 7, you’ll note the photo titled “The pigeons on […]

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Long-Time Resident Margaret Busch
contributed by Terry Gardner

Margaret Busch currently lives on 44th Street. This historical photo of her was taken in 1936 when Margaret was just 10 years old. She’s pictured on Monroe Avenue just West of Max Drive. There used to be a bridge on Monroe at that location.

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Talmadge Park Unit 3, 1926
contributed by Ron Anderson, Highland Avenue

Talmadge Park Unit 3 was created as a subdivision in 1926. This document specifies the boundaries of the unit.

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