Imperial Beach began in the 1880’s with its first sub-divisions being promoted by the developers as a summer retreat for people from the inland California Imperial Valley located to the east. Over the century that followed, the residential community vied with the military for land with the US Calvary, Army Air Corps, and Navy all having a presence at one time or another doing everything from mounted horse and saber drills to practice aircraft carrier landings. At one time Imperial Beach (IB) was known as the “Helicopter Capitol of the World.” Today the US Government Job Corps agency operates a regional training center on the decommissioned Ream Field.
The community of over 26,000 (per year 2,000 census) has its share of beachfront condos and residential neighborhoods with more in the planning. The newer housing is expected to be of higher density and multi-storied as available land is becoming scarce. Despite the foregoing, residential properties are among the most affordable of all of California’s beach communities being preferred by working class, Latinos (40% of population) and military residents due to its proximity to San Diego’s shipyards, military facilities, and the international border. Imperial Beach (IB) is well located to all major area attractions including Coronado Island with its famous Victorian Hotel del Coronado, golf course, Downtown San Diego, the Gaslamp Quarter entertainment district, Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo, regional Shopping and discount merchandise Outlet Malls.
Nearby are the San Diego communities of Chula Vista and National City. Mexico’s northwestern most town Tijuana with a population of 1.5 million, is just minutes away across the international border. There one can enjoy a taste of Latin America with its hundreds of tourist oriented shops, nightclubs, restaurants, sports betting racetrack, Jai alai games, and bullfights. Hundreds of Maquiladoras (industrial plants) are found in Tijuana with many of the management executives commuting daily from Imperial Beach or other nearby San Diego communities on the I-5 Freeway.
By David Mandich - 11 January 2008
Visit the City of Imperial Beach Official web site for more details about Imperial Beach, California.