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Local History

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Discover National City History In The Kile Morgan Local History Room.

 The Kile Morgan Local History Room houses the Library’s collection of National City history materials.  This unique collection, rich in primary sources, supports the room’s mission to preserve the heritage of past and present accomplishments in National City for both residents and researchers.  Many items are gifts to the Library and citizens are invited to donate National City papers, photographs or other items for preservation in the Library at 1401 National City Boulevard.
The room is on the second floor.  Service is available by appointment only.  For research requests, please contact the Reference Desk at telephone number (619) 470-5830. 

Hours of Operation

Monday - Thursday
1: 00 pm - 5:00 pm

Check out the locally published book on National City history: Early National City, by Matthew Nye and
Marilyn Carnes!

Early National City "Below the surface of bustling National City lies the story of olive and citrus orchards, grand Victorian homes, great wealth, and the coming of the first railroad. Founded in 1868 by Frank Kimball, National City is credited with multiple distinguished firsts. On the county level, the San Diego County Fair originated here, the first novel published was by a National City pioneer, the first free kindergarten opened here, the first automobile was built here, and the first railroad terminus was located here. On the state level, the first woman to serve as an elected member of a school board lived in National City. Today the city is home to 61,000 residents; and as an accessible and diverse community, all eyes now look upon National City as it begins to experience a renaissance of growth and commerce."            
About the Authors
Matthew Nye and Marilyn Carnes have both kindled their love of National City history while working in the Morgan Local History Room here at the National City Public Library.  Mrs. Carnes has lived in National City for over 30 years while restoring her Victorian home. The vintage photographs they have gathered are largely from our collection here at the National City Public Library.

Collection Includes:

Archives and Manuscripts

  • Frank A. Kimball's Diaries
  • Kimball Family Papers 1854-1934 - Diaries and letter books chronicle lives, events and contributions in National City, in California and in New England. 
  • Kile Morgan Papers
  • Reopelle Music Collection
  • Clayton Bullen Papers
  • James Catanzarite History of the Fire Department 1887-1972
  • Coons Collection
  • Deeds, Mortgages 1871-1940
  • Mary Maddox Grandell Papers (William G. Dickinson Family)
  • Harbison/Floyd Family Collection
  • Shirley Lindemann Collection
  • Maytime Band Review
  • Old Town National City Reunion
  • Irene Phillips Collection
  • Donald Evans Smith Collection


  • Digital Photo Collection ( 
  • Approximately 4500 items
  • Kimball Family
  • Grandell/Dickinson Family
  • Lafoon Collection
  • Wyckoff Collection (including glass plate negatives)
  • Approximately 4500 items
 Maps and Blueprints  
  • National City maps 1868-2000
  • San Diego maps 1853-2004
  • U.S.G.S. National City and southern California
  • Sweetwater Authority (water) blueprints
  • National City government buildings blueprints
  • Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps/National City 1887-1927 (microfilm)


  • San Diego County and City Directories 1889-1984
  • National City Chamber of Commerce Directories
  • Organizations Member Directories


 Subject and Biographical Files
  • Newspaper Clippings, Brochures etc.
 Oral Histories 
  • Tapes mostly recorded during the National City Centennial 1968, some transcribed.
 Books and Journals
  • Focus is National City and California, mostly southern California
  • California Digital Newspaper Collection
  • National City Record/News/Star News 1882-1987
  • California Patron 1876-1882, 1885.
  • Otay Press 1888-1890 (not complete years)
  • Butterfield Express 1962-1965
  • Neighbors (National City, Chula Vista, Paradise Hills) 1991-1994
  • Miscellaneous newspapers issues


  • City of National City 1950-1975
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Clubs and Organizations
  • Boys and Girls Clubs
 Microfilm Collection
  • National City Record  1882-1902
  • National City News 1903-1955
  • National City Star-News 1956-1995
  • Star News 1996-present
  • Kimball Papers 1854-1934 – link
  • Stars & Stripes Feb 8, 1918-June 13, 1919
  • City of National City Ordinances 1887-1953+
  • City of National City Minutes of the Board of Trustees 1887-1906+
  • Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps National City 1887-1927
  • California State Library.  Sutro Branch.  Local history and genealogy
  • shelf list.  1973.
 Artifacts & Art
  • A number of paintings, furnishings and miscellaneous items connected with National City history complement this rich collection.

Early National City

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