Mount Fairview

“The road to Mount Fairview continues for miles through Don Alvarado’s ranch and through a beautiful country watered by the San Luis Rey River and heavily timbered, but it is little settled and the echoes of its solitudes are only broken by the tinkle of a cow bell or the sharp crack of a vaquero’s whip. The approach to Mount Fairview is very pretty and as a farming country will have a great future. Farm houses although few and far between are met surrounded by orchards and vineyards, all giving proof that the industry of the community is well rewarded.”

That’s an excerpt from an article in the San Diego Sun of September 19, 1883 called, “Our County: A Trip Into the Country.”

Mount Fairview continued to develop as a farming community. A visit by a San Diego Union reporter to the San Luis Rey Valley six years later had as a tease under the headline: “A Beautiful Pen Picture of Rural Richness—One Part of San Diego’s Back Country—Fruit, Vegetables and Grain in Marvelous Profusion.”

The reporter described in detail the farms of a number of people who’d homesteaded in the valley over the previous decades, like R. A. Foss, W. H. Libby and John Shoop. Those names may not be familiar to most of you readers out there. For that matter, you may not recognize the name Mount Fairview, which is understandable because the little community ceased to be called by that name quite a while back. It came to be named for another one of those 19th century settlers the Union reporter visited in 1889.  I’ll let the reporter do the introduction:

“Beginning to look for quarters for the night, I was directed to ‘Fruit Vale farm and nursery,’ at the mouth of Gopher canyon. Reaching this beautiful place at a moment of vital importance, the hospitality of the owners, Mr. and Mrs. James Bonsall, was shown in a cordial invitation to spend the night at their house, where I can at this moment be found seated in the shade of an immense pepper tree.”

Sources for this post included historic San Diego newspapers and the 1984 book, The Little Old Bonsall Schoolhouse by Virginia Funk.

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Rapid Transit, Circa 1872

“QUICK TIME—THROUGH BY STAGE FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO SAN DIEGO IN LESS THAN THREE DAYS,” was the headline on an item in the “Local Intelligence” column of the San Diego Union on September 26, 1872.

The local agent for the San Diego and Los Angeles stage line told the Union that, by authority of Mr. Seeley, who co-owned the stage line with Mr. Wright, “the time between this city and Los Angeles would be reduced to 23 hours” as of that date: “By the new arrangement the stages will leave San Diego for Los Angeles at 11 am, arriving at the latter city the following day at 10 am. Returning the stages will leave Los Angeles at 2 pm, and will arrive here at 1 pm the day after.”

I haven’t looked very deeply into how punctual the stage lines were, so I can’t say how closely they were able to keep to that 23-hour trip schedule. There’s a bit more obvious a contradiction in the paragraph that follows as far as characterizing the itinerary as being totally “by stage.”

Regarding the Los Angeles to San Fran leg of the trip, the article states that upon reaching LA, San Diego passengers would transfer to “the Telegraph stage line, which connects at Tipton–the present terminus of the S. P. R. R. [Southern Pacific Railroad]—with the cars [railroad cars, that is]. The latter line, together with the cars, carry the passenger through in 48 hours from Los Angeles to San Francisco.”

Maybe it was the paper’s reporter or editors who slipped up. But the article did accurately conclude that this route “”makes the traveling time between the cities of San Francisco and San Diego less than by steamer.” [The travel time by ship then was twelve days with stops.]

So it was faster, and with another advantage, according to the article: “Persons with a constitutional objection to seasickness will now look with more favor on the land route….”

Sources for this post included historic San Diego newspapers and the book, City of San Diego and San Diego County: The Birthplace of California, by Clarence Alan McGrew, published in 1922.

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Flash! Request for Reader Comments!

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for a request for more information from some of you readers out there, especially people from the Poway Historical and Memorial Society or anyone familiar with the history of Poway. The photo below, of the Horace Kent ranch, circa 1900, originally appeared in my blog post of January 12 of this year, “Going Over the Grade.” It’s brought a lot of interesting comments which I’m happy about. I’ve replied to all the previous ones but the latest, received this morning, asks about the possible owner of another house in the photo and just where the photo was taken from. I don’t have that info but if anyone out there might have the answers you can go to the original post and reply to the questioner. The original post was on January 12, 2015. Use the archive index on the home page, click on the month, and scroll down to the post and the “Comments” section. Thanks to all for the discussion!

#165 kent ranch,midland rd 1900

A Shelter By Any Name

Before it was the name of a hotel chain, a ramada was an open-air shelter used by Native American families during the daytime. Below is a replica of a ramada, constructed of natural materials, at the Kumeyaay Ipai Interpretive Center (KIIC) in Poway. (Photo credit V. Rossi) The center, in the heart of Poway, preserves the site of a village inhabited by the Kumeyaay, the original residents of this county going back some 2,000 years.

Ramada

 

During the heat of the day, a Kumeyaay mother might do some food preparation or basket-weaving under this shelter while watching her small children.

The name “ramada” was, of course, Spanish in origin. But the Spanish-speaking settlers often affixed their own words to denote Native American places or objects. Or they sometimes tried to express the indigenous words in Spanish, as in “Paguay,” a mispronuniciation of the Kumeyaay word “Pagui,” which meant the meeting place of two creeks, the place we today call “Poway.”

Actually, there may be more of a historical association between the word “ramada,” and the resort idea than most people realize. Here’s what I mean.

Judge Benjamin Hayes, a lawyer originally from Maryland, moved to California in 1850 and began a career that made him a district court judge and general mover and shaker in southern California politics.

In 1867, Hayes wrote a letter to his brother-in-law about a visit he paid between court circuits to the area we now call Warner Springs. This area was originally called Kupa, after the indigenous people who first settled it. That was not what they called themselves, but remember what I said a couple of paragraphs back about that language thing.

Sixteen years before, in 1851, the native people, after enduring decades of oppression and cruelty, first at the hands of the Spaniards, then from their Mexican and Anglo successors, staged an uprising. The revolt ultimately was put down, but it resulted in the recognition of some rights for the indigenous people over the springs area, at least for a time.

“As to the Indian title, some importance,” Hayes wrote in 1867. “I know of no state law or state authority that could dislodge the Indians of the village …..Their planting grounds surround the famous Hot Springs. This is of great value.”

The Indians well recognized that value, as Hayes pointed out.

“I paid them a dollar for my bath, at the rustic bathing establishment they have constructed,” wrote Hayes, “consisting of two goods boxes sunk in the ground, sheltered by a ramada, and communicating with the spring by means of a trough a quarter of a mile long.”

The people we today know as the Cupeños would lose their springs, and their home village. They would eventually regain them, but that’s too much history, sordid and triumphal, to portray in one or two blog posts. I would urge readers interested in the history of San Diego County to visit KIIC and the Cupa Cultural Center.

For more information, including hours, visit the KIIC website at http://www.friendsofthekumeyaay.org/ and the Cupa Cultural Center’s website at http://www.palatribe.com/cupa-cultural-center .

Sources for this post included historic San Diego newspapers and two pamphlets, Introduction to the Cupeño People, published by the Cupa Cultural Center, and Cupeños Trail of Tears, by Milford Wayne Donaldson on behalf of E Clampus Vitus. The latter pamphlet was published to accompany the dedication of a commemorative plaque at Warner Springs Ranch in 2003.

 

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The Season of Renewal, A Century Ago

Accounts of Easter in San Diego papers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries sound similar to our celebrations today. One can find some variations perhaps owing to the more rural nature and sensibilities of the populace then, such as this account from the April 15, 1895 San Diego Union:

“The old custom of Easter egg-rolling was observed at La Jolla yesterday, a large number of persons participating in the pastime. The search for rabbits’ nests was also a feature of the days observance of Easter, both being thoroughly enjoyed.”

An item in the April 6, 1896 Union described the streets of Coronado on Easter Sunday morning as “alive with church goers” with “exquisite flowers” decorating the churches. “Many out-of-town visitors were on the beach during the day, enjoying the sea, the hotel grounds and court and listening to the orchestra concert.”

A 1915 event for members of a children’s music class, appearing in the Union, described “Easter songs and Easter singing games. Numerous surprises greeted the little folks throughout the afternoon. Dainty marshmallow chickens and highly colored real Easter eggs delighted the children. Mesdames S. J. Wines, S. S. Hage, Ed. Gamle, C. M. Richardson, W. Clarence Randal and Ruth Brattan were among the patron guests.”

Side by side with notices about Easter worship and cultural celebrations were notices about Passover.

“Tifereth Israel will hold services in their synagogue at the corner of Eighth and I streets, H. Meyer officiating,” concluded an April 3, 1909 Union article on the significance of the feast. “The Reforned congregation will hold services at the Temple Beth Israel, corner Beach and Second streets, Rev. Ellinger officiating. An elaborate program of music has been planned.”

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