The storm that swept San Diego County Tuesday – and the gusty winds that came with it – toppled a towering sign at a landmark in National City that had been on display for more than seven decades.
The large vertical sign at the former site of the Old Bay Theatre, located at 330 National City Blvd., used to read “BAY.” It collapsed during the storm, the yellow-colored letters crashing upside down, leaving debris all over the sidewalk.
The National City Police Department shut down traffic on southbound lanes of National City Boulevard to Third Avenue while city workers and the property owner secured the building. No one was hurt in the ordeal.
The Bay Theatre – and that recognizable white and yellow sign – opened in National City in July 1941. The former movie theater is now home to a church, Ministerios Cristianos lo Mejor del Trigo.
The façade of the building was destroyed but Ministerios Pastor William Galdamez said the inside of the church was not damaged. Still, repairs will take a while.
Those clean-up efforts continued Wednesday with crews tearing down the remainder of the sign and cleaning the debris off the streets.
The church usually offers services three days a week but those gatherings will have to be put on hold, for now, due to safety concerns. Galdamez said the congregation is looking for a nearby hotel that might be able to lend some space where services could be temporarily held. He said anyone interested in helping can reach out to him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (619) 336-2474.
Meanwhile, Galdamez said many residents have asked about keeping pieces of the historic sign. The pastor said he’s open to allowing neighbors a chance to own a piece of National City history.
Tuesday’s winter storm dumped a large amount of rain across San Diego County before noon, with more rain expected during the evening commute. Parts of the county experienced flooding, high wind and high surf during as the first storm of the season pummeled communities.