A New Archive is Brewing

As a history seeker, I’m always looking out for archives in which San Diego County’s history is being preserved. I recently learned of a new research facility, Brewchive. Founded in 2017, this branch of the California State University at San Marcos Library is dedicated to preserving the history of craft brewing in San Diego.

San Diego County has been proclaimed the craft brewing capital of the United States, with over 125 licensed brewers to date. More than a third of the county’s breweries, among them Stone Brewing, Karl Strauss and Lost Abbey, are in North County, which made CSUSM a logical choice to document their history.

The library has been actively collecting and digitizing historical documents and special pieces. While the initial focus has been on what library officials call the “New Brew Wave circa 1987-present,” the ultimate goal will be to become “a comprehensive archive of San Diego brewing history,” according to a recent statement by Judith Downie, CSUSM Special Collections and History Librarian.

To find out more, visit https://archives.csusm.edu/brewchive/ .

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Carlsbad’s Agricultural History

There was a special section on Carlsbad in the January 1, 1916 edition of the San Diego Union. The focus of the section wasn’t about mineral springs or tourism, but about agriculture. Photos and text commented on how the community’s soil and climate were yielding abundant winter crops.

“Winter tomatoes, cucumber, chili peppers, rhubarb, pes and similar crops mature at ‘off-season’ dates in Carlsbad,” stated one article in the section. “Kitchen gardens in this vicinity have yielded fancy winter vegetables year after year. In fact Carlsbad will compare favorably with the best protected foothill sections—it is a veritable ‘winter garden.’”

The Union also noted an up-and-coming crop in the local fields, so new they had to refer to it by two names: “During the last five years the avocado (alligator pear) has held a commanding postion in the limelight with Southern California orchardists. Being of tropical origin, it is extremely sensible to extreme heat or cold. Carlbad has been pronounced the ideal spot to raise this fruit. S. Thompson, one of the first citrus men in the state to take up the avocado as a commercial proposition, is now setting out an orchard of eighteen acres. An adjoining tract, eight acres, is being used as a nursery, for avocado trees.”

In a few years Sam Thompson would help found the Carlsbad Avocado Growers Club. In October, 1923 the club sponsored the first Avocado Day, which became an annual event in the town until the eve of World War II. Avocados would be a major crop in Carlsbad until the late 1940s.

Sources for this post included historic San Diego County newspapers, the 1994 book, Carlsbad: The Village by the Sea, by Charles Wesley Orton, and the 1982 book, Seekers of the Spring: A History of Carlsbad, by Marje Howard-Jones.

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