A House On Bankers Hill

Mossholder Residence

Mom and Dad rented an apartment in this grand house at 5th and Grape, San Diego’s Bankers Hill, during World War II. They told about being able to nearly make eye contact from one of those windows with people in airplanes landing at Lindbergh.

1944 voter as Smart Object-1

Bill & Jeanne Soderberg

Mom and Dad in Balboa Park, a short walk from their home. The listing is from the 1944 Voter Register. Dad was a rifle instructor in the Marines. Mom worked in an aircraft factory.

Hawthorn To Grape 1906 SD 078

A map of the corner at 5th and Grape from 1906. It is the footprint of the house where Mom and Dad lived. It was the Mossholder Residence.

1909 MossHolder_ BarAssoc1

The Mossholder Bio.

Mossholder 245

What’s there today. The two grand homes on this side of the block were demolished for a parking lot. The retaining walls and stairs leading to the residences remain–the corner stairs covered in vines.


A glimpse of the original stairs and retaining wall at the corner of 5th and Grape. A sleeping bag indicates the vines provide shelter for someone still calling this corner a home.


As so often the case, great architecture was demolished to make parking lots.


The remnants of the second home on that block leveled for parking are very visible. And interesting to look at.


The medical clinic would do the neighborhood a favor by repairing and painting these doors. And help save a tiny slice of history too.


The stairs are still in use today.


Someone has taken the time to plant some flowers.

Mossholder257 as Smart Object-1

An impression at the base of the stairs. The same “stamp” is at both sides below the bottom step. Likely whomever built the stairs and retaining walls.


The 1908 City Directory shows a couple possibilities about the origin of the Jennings stamp.

Thanks to Sarai Johnson for providing some of these great visuals from her archives.

I am Dan Soderberg, award winning documentary film maker and phototgrapher specializing in architecture, historic preservation and nature.
  • Zack

    Mom & Dad jokingly referred to the cramped quarters as a “barbecue pit.” Succeeding generations will never understand the unbelievable housing shortage that developed during the war despite more than 400,000 American soldiers who didn’t return.

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