On this day in 1965, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for a multi-purpose stadium for San Diego in Objective Valley. The stadium opened in August 1967 and run under a variety of names– San Diego Stadium, Jack Murphy Stadium, Qualcomm and SDCCU Stadium– for half a century. It closed in March 2020. Demolition now begun and a new San Diego State football stadium is increasing at the website.

From The San Diego Union, Sunday, Dec. 19, 1965:

Building Of Stadium Starts With A Real BangBy Homer Clance

” In my entire life-time, I do not feel that I will take part in a more crucial groundbreaking ceremony than this.”

So stated Barron Hilton, president of the San Diego chargers, as construction of San Diego’s $27 million multi-purpose stadium was introduced with a bang the other day.

Hilton and Al Harutunian Jr., chairman of the Stadium Advisory Committee, pressed a plunger which set off a series of multi-colored explosions where the football field will stand in the 50,000 seat stadium.

Then Jim Mulvaney, president of the San Diego Padres baseball team, Eddie Leishman, general manager of the team, and Little League Billy Bright pushed a second plunger.


This triggered a series of explosions detailing where the ball park will be in the substantial stadium in Objective Valley at the junction of Murphy Canyon Roadway and Friars Roadway, north of U.S. 80.

Hundreds of spectators, spread over hillsides overlooking the stadium site, viewed as bright green, blue, red, orange and yellow smoke drifted into the air from the explosions.

Hilton told the crowd from a speaker’s platform at Friars Roadway and Mission Town Drive that “when Al Harutunian broached moving mountains, it was no surprise to me.”

The young hotel owner explained that Sonny Werblin, owner of the New York Jets, has spoken disparagingly of San Diego’s presence at Charger video games.

” 2 years from now, absolutely nothing on the planet would please me more than to have the New York Jets meet the Chargers in San Diego,” he stated.

” I’ve bet him that we will balance between 40,000 and 50,000 at each video game. We will prove we have the finest football city in the U.S.”

Hilton likewise commemorated Jack Murphy, sports editor of The San Diego Union, and Gene Gregston, managing editor and previous sports editor of the Night Tribune.

” There would not be this celebration today if these gentlemen had actually not encouraged me to bring the Chargers to San Diego 5 years ago,” he stated.

Mayor Frank Curran, master of events for the event likewise paid tribute to the newsmedia. He also had high appreciation for City Mgr. Tom Fletcher and city teams who have kept the task on schedule.

Fletcher informed the crowd that 70 city employes have been working practically full-time to have the stadium open on Aug. 15, 1967.

Harutunian, who headed a residents committee which defended extremely successful citizen approval of the stadium concern, drew praise from several speakers.

This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune.

Go To The San Diego Union-Tribune at www.sandiegouniontribune.com