Skip to content

Central School, 309 North Rios Avenue

Originally the only elementary school was a one-room building built in 1872 on the corner of El Camino Real and San Dieguito Drive. Garfield Ramsey would drive around town with a Model T school bus with no windows but canvas drop cloths and wooden park benches to pick up kids and take them out to this little school. That served until January 1925 when they opened this Central School on Rios near Cliff.

The Central School campus was two adjoining buildings, one for grades 1 to 4, and the other for grades 5 to 8. Sometimes there were only 3 or 4 children in a class and other times up to 12. Later on a second grammar school was built on Genevieve in Eden Gardens.

After graduation from the 8th grade at Central School, the children went to Oceanside for High School, joining kids from Del Mar, Cardiff, Leucadia and Encinitas. The Solana Beach kids met every morning at 7:00-7:15 at the corner of Lomas Santa Fe and Hwy 101 to board an old four-cylinder Mack bus that would lumber up the two-lane 101. The journey took almost an hour and classes started at 8:15. Teachers volunteered to drive the buses to earn an extra buck or two. Many took their bus home with them overnight, then began the journey again the next day – starting out near Morgan Run, heading through Del Mar, and picking up the Solana Beach kids as they worked their way up the coast.

[source:  Early Solana Beach, Recollections by George C. Wilkens & Robert “Chuckles” Hernandez as told to Jim Nelson, 2002.]