Photo from the 1887 book, Picturesque San Diego:
Chester Gunn was apparently a man of many interests. Born on the east coast in 1843, he’d come with his family as a child to northern California. He trained as a machinist up there and then in the mid-1860s got involved in the mining industry in Nevada. Around 1869, he came to San Diego County, eventually settling in Julian, then a developing mining district.
An item in the June 6, 1871 San Diego Union reported the arrival of “Messrs. Chester Gunn and H. N. Reynolds” on the steamer Orizaba from San Francisco, delivering “the machinery for a five-stamp mill to be erected immediately at Julian City.” The machinery was for a quartz mill owned by Gunn and Reynolds, and supervised by Gunn, whom the Union referred to as “an experienced machinist and mill man.”
Gunn did well mining in Julian, but he also discovered another potential source of natural wealth there as a rancher. The book Illustrated History of Southern California, published in 1890, reported in its chapter on Julian that “the apple and pear orchard of Chester Gunn is the largest in the county.”
Gunn found time as well to serve the public as deputy county assessor and county supervisor in a long and varied life before his death in 1928.
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