Welcome to the IAM Grand Lodge Convention, Welcome to San Diego

San Diego is waiting to welcome the Machinists Union for the 40th Grand Lodge Convention in September of 2020. The Convention will take place at the San Diego Convention Center in the Marina district of downtown San Diego near the historic Gaslamp Quarter.

The city of San Diego is rich in history. In 1542 the bay was claimed for the Spanish Empire and named, “San Miguel.” However, in 1602, while mapping the California coast named the area for the Catholic Saint, Didacus (a Spaniard known as San Diego de Alcalá). When Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, San Diego was in the Mexican territory of Alta California.

As a major port with a deep harbor, San Diego was economically significant for trade. When the United States went to war against Mexico in 1846 there was a naval and land expedition to conquer Alta California. Over time, and through the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Alta California (including San Diego) was ceded to the United States. The Mexican-American border was established as one league south of the southernmost point of San Diego Bay, the entire bay is within the United States.

After California became a state in 1850, San Diego continued to grow, incorporate, and reinvent itself. As the city built up the area around the bay for the convenience of shipping, it wasn’t until the railroad came to town in 1878 that San Diego finally grew up.

One of the largest sections of San Diego’s economy is through defense/military. The deep water port is home to the only major submarine and shipbuilding yards on the West Coast. Built by District 947/Local Lodge 389 IAM members at NASSCO.

San Diego plays host to the largest naval fleet in the world. The military bases in San Diego includes US Navy facilities, Marine Corps bases, and Coast Guard stations. The city is home to the majority of the US Pacific Fleet’s surface combatants, the Navy’s West Coast amphibious ships, and a variety of Coast Guard and Military Sealift Command vessels. Supported by District 725/Local Lodges 726 and 1125 IAM members at Naval Base San Diego, NAS North Island, Naval Base Point Loma, Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, NOLF Imperial Beach, NAF San Clemente Island, MCAS Miramar, MCAS/MCB Camp Pendleton and NAF El Centro.

With the beautiful climate it is no surprise that tourism is another strong part of the San Diego economy. In the early part of the 20th century San Diego hosted two World Fairs. In 1915 it was the Panama-California Exposition and in 1935 it was the California Pacific International Exposition. Both expositions were held in Balboa Park. Many of the items in Balboa Park started as exhibits for those early expositions. Some of the buildings were intended to be temporary, but as an integral part of the history of the city, they were rebuilt using original plans and castings. The exotic animals at the 1915 Panama-California Expositions provided the basis for the San Diego Zoo.

The city’s beaches, Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo, Safari park, Sea World, and nearby Legoland have drawn in visitors throughout the world. Many of the visitors come through San Diego International Airport, the nation’s busiest single runway commercial airport.

With the military stronghold in San Diego, the airport built an 8,750-foot runway to accommodate the World War II-era long-range bombers long before the first commercial jet in 1960. For 75 years the airport was known as San Diego Municipal Airport – Lindbergh Field. But in 2003 the Airport Authority was formed and renamed it San Diego International Airport. Served by District 141 and 142/Local Lodge 2765 IAM Members from Transportation.

While we are in San Diego for the Convention, California will celebrate its 170th birthday as the 31st state admitted into the United States of America. Of the fourteen states in the Western Territory, California is the oldest. We certainly hope you enjoy the climate, the history, and all that San Diego has to offer while you are here.