Family Health Centers of San Diego’s (FHCSD) history has not been completely researched and therefore gaps exist in the historical development of this organization. However, many facts are documented by those before us who were wise enough to realize that at some point, people would look back in hopes of experiencing the motivation and spirit of those individuals who created the various entities that now serve as building blocks for Family Health Centers of San Diego.
The contributors appear to be numerous and may have started with the Sisters of Mercy and their creation of the Guadalupe Clinic. The Guadalupe Clinic, according to verbal recollections, and supported by one newspaper article was a couple of doors north of what is now Mike Amador’s Market. This free clinic served the Barrio Logan neighborhood community for a short period of time. It is unclear if the “clinic” merged with the building located at 1809 National Avenue (original home of the permanent health center) during one of its early purposes or if it suffered demise through time or the changing of hands and interests.
Clearly, the building at 1809 National Avenue served at least three other purposes prior to adopting medical care delivery as its primary mission. When remodeling of the facility took place in 1986, a wall was torn down in the front reception area. A solid brass plaque was discovered mounted on the wall. This plaque read “The San Diego Industrial School” and the date of its erection or dedication was 1911.
Scant documentation exists on the daily activities of San Diego Industrial School. Was it truly a job training facility or was it an extension of Settlement House activities attempting to prepare immigrants to work in the United States business culture? Later pictures in the organization support the notion of a Settlement House for Mexican immigrants (it is important to note at one point the “East End” area which is now Barrio Logan, used to be populated by German immigrants. Otto Hirr, longtime Board member and supporter of FHCSD actually spent time in his youth living in the “East End” area). Settlement training activities, supported by pictures, included domestic skills, clerical support skills, ESL, etc.