Earlier this month I gave a talk at the Continuing Education Center of Rancho Bernardo on “The Nation’s Library,” the Library of Congress. One of the great features available from that library is a collection of photos from the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS). One of the New Deal programs set up to relieve unemployment during the Great Depression, HABS put unemployed architects and draftsmen to work documenting historic buildings across the country.
In my lecture I pointed out how HABS helped to win historic recognition for a privately-owned adobe house in Old Town, Casa de Machado, that eventually became part of Old Town State Historic Park.
Here, courtesy of the Library of Congress, is another historic San Diego County property from the HABS collection, photographed in 1937, the Oak Grove Butterfield Station.
The Butterfield Overland Mail Line was a stagecoach line that carried mail and passengers between Memphis, Saint Louis and San Francisco from 1858 to 1861. Stations were maintained at roughly 30-days travel time apart along the route. This building, in Oak Grove about 13 miles northwest of Warner Hot Springs, is one of only three surviving station buildings. While it has been designated a National Historic Landmark, the adobe building is under private ownership, occupied by a store open during normal business hours.
Sources for this post included the Library of Congress, the National Park Service, and the book, Historic Stage Routes of San Diego County, by Ellen L. Sweet and Lynn Newell.