MLK in San Diego-1964

“You can’t legislate integration, but you can legislate de-segregation. Morality can’t be legislated, but laws can regulate behavior. Laws can’t make you love me, but they can keep you from lynching me. The law can change our habits, and then our hearts will change.”

Excerpt from a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to over 4,000 people at San Diego State College (now San Diego State University) on May 26, 1964.

Source: Article by Seth Mallios and Breana Campbell in the Spring 2015 issue of  Journal of San Diego History, “On the Cusp of An American Civil Rights Revolution: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s Final Visit and Address to San Diego in 1964.”

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“…virtually the home of alfalfa ..”

Escondido’s first commercial creamery went into operation around 1900.  Alan McGrew’s 1988 book, “Hidden Valley Heritage,” states that the creamery was located in a red wooden building “on Nutmeg Street [now Escondido Boulevard], about a block and a half north of Grand Avenue.”

Farmers would bring their fresh milk to the creamery, where cream would be separated and some of it churned into butter.

Here’s a photo of the creamery, taken around 1905, courtesy of the archive of the Escondido Public Library’s Pioneer Room:

The man standing by the doorway is creamery manager Arthur E. Watrous. Watrous took over as manager in 1905, and was actively soliciting more customers. Apparently the dairy business was a good one back then.

“More butter wanted,” was the title of an article in the Escondido Times of August 25, 1905. “The advertisement of A. E. Watrous of the Escondido Creamery should furnish food for reflection to the ranchers not only of the Escondido valley, but of this whole region of country.”

The article quoted Watrous that “twelve carloads of butter were shipped into Los Angeles since June 1.” Calling that “a very striking statement,” the Times said “It does not require any figuring to see that there is an opportunity to sell Los Angeles alone as much butter as can possibly be produced in this whole region of country.”

“It is now well known,” continued the Times article,” that this section of country is virtually the home of alfalfa, and it is equally well known that there is nothing better for cows, so the only question is, will the ranchers in Escondido, San Pasqual and other localities where the necessary water for irrigation is at hand put out a few more acres of alfalfa and keep a few more cows for milking purposes?”

If you’re interested in finding out more about the creamery, there’s a chapter on it in my book Valleys of Dreams, which can be ordered through the book tab on this website.

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A Little Perspective on Travel Times

Those readers who may be facing some holiday driving time over the next week can take some comfort in an item from the San Diego Union back in June of 1880. It announced that “Two new stations have been created on the route of the Coast Line Stage Company” which provided service from San Diego to Anaheim.

One of the new stations was at Forster, the other near San Juan Capistrano. The article stated that this would increase the number of stations on the line from three to five.

Forster was a town on the northwest edge of Rancho Santa Margarita, along the San Onofre River. We know Rancho Margarita today as the site of Camp Pendleton.

The Union article said the addition of these two stations would actually serve to reduce the travel time from San Diego to Anaheim “a half hour or more” and that further arrangements were soon to be made “whereby the time will be reduced still further by four hours,” which would get it down to “a schedule of eighteen hours.”

Distance from San Diego to Anaheim: 96.6 miles.

Happy Travels and Happy Holidays, everyone!

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The Ingenious Mr. Bowron

Samuel Bowron and his wife Martha moved to San Diego County from Kansas in 1886, settling in the Poway Valley. He started out planting orchards and vineyards for others, soon acquiring some land of his own. He did all right, as an item from the San Diego Union of November 6, 1893 indicated.

“Mr. Bowron, a thriving rancher of Poway, has constructed for use on his ranch a raisin stemmer and grader, both of which work admirably and show considerable ingenuity on the part of their inventor,” stated the article, quoting from another local paper of the day, the Nuevo Sentinel, the paper of the community which would eventually become Ramona.

Samuel obviously needed mechanical help on his ranch, as well as farmhands. The article concluded that “Mr. Bowron has about four tons of raisins in hand, as well as a large quantity of other fruits.”

Bowron Road in Poway is named for this pioneering family.

Sources for this post included historic San Diego County newspapers, the 1899 San Diego City and County Directory, the 1993 book Paguay by Louhelen Elizabeth Hassan and the research of Mary Shepardson, journalist and vice-president of the Poway Historical and Memorial Society.

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Happy Thanksgiving to All!

“Thanksgiving night the A. O. U. W. will give a ball. Persons masked admitted free; unmasked, 10 cents. Five dollars will be given the lady having the most original and best sustained costume; also, $5 to the gentleman likewise excelling. Good music. Supper 25 cents.”

From the “Cajon Clusters” column of the Poway Progress newspaper, October 29, 1896, p. 2. A. O. U. W. stands for Ancient Order of United Workmen, a mutual aid organization established by railroad workers after the Civil War. It existed into the late 1920s.

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The Road to Boulevard

On the way back from a vacation driving trip to Arizona, as we took a little detour onto what’s now called Old Highway 80, we passed through Boulevard. And we wondered, how did this still very-rural looking place, which even today is referred to as a village, with a current population of roughly 315 residents, get to be named “Boulevard?”

Two definitive books on the origins of California place names attribute the name to the role played in the community’s development by the “boulevard” of Highway 80, linking the area with the Imperial Valley.

A check of the U. S. National Archives register of post offices shows the first Boulevard post office being designated in November 1909. The first postmaster was William H. Ruby. The Rubys were a ranching family in the area tracing back to the late 1880s. In 1913 William Ruby’s brother Don took over as postmaster, a position he would hold for almost 30 years.

You can find references to the Ruby family in newspaper accounts over the decades serving their community not just as postmasters but also election poll officials and volunteer firefighthers. Which lends credibility to the most direct story on Boulevard’s name.

In 1964, a reporter for the San Diego Union interviewed some longtime county residents about the origins of several place names. One of the places the reporter looked into was Boulevard. The person he spoke to was Vi Ruby, the widow of Don Ruby, who told him that when the U.S. Postal Department decided to create a post office in their village, they asked the Rubys if they had any suggestions.

Vi Ruby said that during that period race driver Barney Oldfield frequently came through the area on his way to racing events in San Diego and other southern California towns. Other race drivers would have been following that route as well. Which may explain why Vi’s sister-in-law, William Ruby’s wife Pearl, said, “People are making a boulevard out of it, so why don’t they call it Boulevard?”

“She entered the suggestion as a joke,” Vi Ruby told the Union, “but it was selected.”

In addition to the aforementioned U. S. National Archives register of post offices, sources for this post also included historic San Diego County newspapers and the books California Place Names: The Origin and Etymology of Current Geographical Names by Erwin G. Gudde, and San Diego County Place Names A To Z by Leland Fetzer.

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“…a pretty watering place…”

City and county directories were predecessors of telephone directories. Financed by ad sales, these privately published volumes profiled individual communities and listed the names of prominent residents and businesses. Those directories that have survived are important tools for researchers. They also provide a sort of real-time narrative peek at everyday life in a place at a given time.  Here’s a verbal snapshot of Carlsbad from an 1893 San Diego County directory:

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