A Pictorial History of the Hidden Valley
A publication of the Escondido History Center
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A Pictorial History of the Hidden Valley
By Robin Fox & Carol Rea
Sponsored by the Escondido History Center
Published by HPNbooks, a Division of Ledge Media, Jackson, Wyoming
Through their generous support, the following companies helped make this project possible.
225 South Broadway
Escondido, California 92025
KEN BLANCHARD COMPANIES
125 State Place
Escondido, California 92029
TOYOTA OF ESCONDIDO
231 East Lincoln Parkway
Escondido, California 92026
THE HILLEBRECHT/EMERSON/ADAMS FAMILIES
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the publisher. All inquiries should be addressed to Ledge Media, 690 S Highway 89, Suite 201 Box 12679 Jackson, WY 83002. Phone (800) 939-5311, www.hpnbooks.com.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2019954562
Escondido: A Pictorial History of the Hidden Valley
authors: Robin Fox, Carol Rea
cover artist: Gloria Warren
project manager and managing editor: Daphne Fletcher
contributing writers for “Sharing the Heritage”: Kevin Kern, Marcus Matthew, Sid Shapira
publisher & CEO: Daphne Fletcher
VP & Director of IT: Rafael Ramirez
administration: Donna Mata, Kristin T. Williamson
production: Colin Hart, Christopher D. Sturdevant
2 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
A view of Escondido from the veranda of the Escondido Hotel, looking west, in 1910.
This book is dedicated to past, present and future pioneers of Escondido.
D e d i c a t i o n F 3
Jeffrey R. Epp
CHAPTER 1 — EARLIEST ESCONDIDO.....................................................................................8
The Beginning of the Story, Changing Landscapes
CHAPTER 2 — COMMUNITY ...............................................................................................28
Housing, Faith, Education, Historic Preservation,
Clubs & Organizations, Sports, Events, People
CHAPTER 3 — COMMERCE ................................................................................................60
Transportation Industry, Agriculture, Communications, Banks, Retail & Services
CHAPTER 4 — CULTURE ...................................................................................................86
Music, Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Literature, Museums
CHAPTER 5 — GOVERNMENT SITES & SERVICES ...................................................................99
Buildings, Parks, Law Enforcement, Fire Protection
ESCONDIDO TIMELINE ...................................................................................................118
SHARING THE HERITAGE INTRODUCTION ...............................................................124
SHARING THE HERITAGE .....................................................................................125
Quality of Life, The Marketplace, Building a Greater Escondido, Family Heritage
ABOUT THE AUTHORS .........................................................................................244
ABOUT THE COVER.............................................................................................245
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS .........................................................246
ESCONDIDO AND THE CORONAVIRUS .....................................................................247
4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
As the pages of this book suggest, Escondido has proven itself to always have been a community that comes together for positive
efforts and to help when needed. Many persons assisted in putting this book together and we appreciate them all, starting with the
community members who have graciously donated their family photographs to the Escondido History Center over the years. We
thank the City of Escondido for supporting this project, including City Manager Jeff Epp, Joanna Axelrod, Vince McCaw, Raymond
Seraile, Michelle Geller, Teresa Collins, Rick Vogt, Craig Carter, Ed Varso, Joyce Masterson and Linda Loughnane. Additionally, we are
grateful for the time, effort and support provided by Edith Hillebrecht and her late husband, Ben Hillebrecht, and to our many
sponsors who made this important historical book possible.
2020 Escondido History Center Board of Directors
June Rady, President
Carol Rea, Vice President
Rod McLeod, Secretary
Bob Johnson, Treasurer
A c k n o w l e d g e m e n t s F 5
In 1988, in celebration of the City of Escondido’s Centennial, a book, The Hidden Valley Heritage, Escondido’s First 100 Years, was
put together by a dedicated group of local history enthusiasts, led by Alan McGrew. Since that time, a few other books have focused
on specific areas of Escondido’s history, but, in 2018, the Escondido History Center happened onto an opportunity to put together
another book about the history of the “Hidden Valley,” in order to share more of its vast collection of photographs and other resources.
The result is the book you now hold in your hands, a review of our city’s early history that includes rarely seen photographs from
long ago, as well as a range of newer photographs with information about our more recent history. The Escondido History Center
is pleased to be able to share these photographs and a glimpse into how quickly today becomes the history to be reflected
Toward the back of the book, numerous Escondido families, businesses, and organizations have financially supported the printing
of this book by purchasing pages to share their own stories and supplement the historical content developed for the front. We thank
them for making the publishing of this entire book possible.
What was most striking, as we put this book together, was that our city has grown and changed dramatically since its early
beginnings, but it still remains a community of active and caring people who feel blessed to live, work, and play here. We hope you
will also feel that sense of community and you will enjoy seeing Escondido’s past, some of the present, and look forward to a
continued sense of community into the future as we do.
The most challenging part of putting this book together was deciding what information and history, out of thousands of
photographs and events, to include within the set number of pages. We did our very best to represent key points in Escondido’s
fascinating history, the story of a small town, developed by a savvy group of businessmen, as it grew to become the diverse and
successful city it is today. We hope that you enjoy your step back into time.
6 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Little did I realize what was ahead when I rolled into town some thirty-three
years ago. The occasion was a job interview for a deputy city attorney position.
Interstate 15 was still very new. A huge subdivision was contemplated for Daley
Ranch. East Valley was quiet and empty after the stores had moved to the new
shopping center south of town.
My office would be in the old City Hall, which used to sit on the knoll at Grand
& Valley Blvd. It’s the same knoll in front of the old hospital which will soon be
demolished and replaced, probably with residential buildings. Two careers later,
I’m in the new City Hall, which itself is now twenty years old. Our new hospital
is already six years old.
Time marches on and nearly everything changes. Yet, as I looked at an old black
and white photograph of Escondido’s first City Hall, I realized that the design
concepts on that building had carried over to our current building. Grand Avenue
and Grape Day Park have changed, but they still retain the rich, original character
that make them special places in Escondido. Lake Wohlford is still a great place
for fishing. The view from Bottle Peak remains awesome.
Sometimes the best way forward is pausing for a look back, and this book provides
that opportunity—especially for those who have a connection with this wonderful city. As you leaf through its pages, you realize how many
came before us, and they weren’t all that different. You will turn the final page knowing that others will come after. And in between, you
will find that Escondido history adds that sense of community, of shared friends, families, and places that make up Escondido.
I am so pleased that the City of Escondido chose to participate in the development of this book with the Escondido History Center. A
city government, its citizens, and its history should be tightly interwoven. I will never forget that April evening in 1988 when hundreds of
Escondido’s residents filled both levels of our newly constructed City Hall to celebrate. We have always had the warmth of a small town
and the benefits of a thriving city. Through the creation of this book, the Escondido History Center helps us understand that while working
together creates the future, we must also acknowledge the contributions of the past. It has been a pleasure to assist them in this endeavor.
Jeffrey R. Epp
Manager, City of Escondido
E S C O N D I D O
2 0 1 9 C I T Y C O U N C I L
From left to right: Council Member John Masson,
Deputy Mayor Consuelo Martinez, Mayor Paul
McNamara, Council Member Olga Diaz, Council
Member Michael Morasco.
I n t r o d u c t i o n F 7
“Escondido is the
most stirring new City in
streets are daily thronged
with new arrivals, who,
one and all, proclaim it
the Garden Spot of the
world,” (November 4,
1886, The Times). This
photograph, looking west
down Grand Avenue, was
taken that same fall.
The name, “Escondido” is roughly translated to “hidden place” and the city ‘s fascinating history
began on land that formerly comprised the Rancho Rincon del Diablo, an old rancho predating
California’s entrance into the United States. In 1886, the ranch was purchased by the Escondido Land
& Town Company (EL&T Co.), headed by the Thomas Brothers; Richard, Charles, John and William,
as well as Jacob Gruendike, Daniel Hale, Thomas Metcalf and several others. Numerous attempts had
been made to utilize the land before, but the actions taken by the Escondido Land & Town Co. were
the first to attempt to turn the area into a full-fledged city.
Escondido was just one of many Southern California towns that was established during the 1880s
land boom. The EL&T Co. immediately opened a San Diego office and began building a 100-room
hotel in Escondido. Proceeds from their first land sales were used to bring the railroad to Escondido,
thus ensuring their community would grow and prosper.
Offering free land to anyone who would build a church or school, the young community soon had
an elementary school (the Lime Street School), a large seminary built by the University of Southern
California (USC) for $75,000, and several churches. The EL&T Co. also sponsored the creation of a
local newspaper, The Escondido Times. The newspaper was used initially as an advertising tool targeting
mid-western farmers, luring them to Escondido’s perfect year-round growing season.
Escondido was described as one of the most prosperous and rapidly growing colonies in southern
California. Two years after the EL&T Co. was formed, the city of Escondido was incorporated on
October 8, 1888. Local voters approved incorporation 64-19. The population was approximately 500.
The city grew slowly but steadily, as an agricultural center ideal for grapes, citrus and later for avocados.
Eventually, Escondido became the commercial center serving North San Diego County and encouraged
banks and financial institutions to locate here. Both World Wars contributed to an influx of people
and a labor force, light industries began moving in, and the groves and vineyards gave way to housing.
8 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
In 1886, the townspeople stood in the middle of the weeds of Grand Avenue as the cornerstone was laid for the Bank of Escondido
(still standing) on the northwest corner of Grand Avenue and Broadway. The Escondido Hotel is under construction on the hill in
C h a p t e r 1 F 9
The Escondido Land
and Town Company set
up business first in San
Diego. They then opened
this office in the Bank of
Escondido building in
1887. Next door was the
office of the San Marcos
Land Company; Jacob
Gruendike was the
principle stockholder in
1 0 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
A view of the Escondido Hotel under construction in 1886. When completed, the hotel had one hundred rooms and was the location
of many community celebrations.
Construction of the railroad between Oceanside and Escondido began in early 1887 and was completed by the end of December
that same year. This photograph was taken in the spring of 1888 before the construction of the Santa Fe Depot. A boxcar sits on a
siding north of Grand Avenue.
C h a p t e r 1 F 1 1
On February 7, 1888, a sixteen-car excursion train pulled into town to celebrate the coming of the railroad. According to the
Escondido Times, at least three housand people attended the event, which included dinner, bands from Escondido and San Diego, and
a “monster” tent featuring displays of fruit
The construction of the Escondido depot was completed in July 1888. It was located at the very west end of Grand Avenue. In
1984, the Depot was moved to Grape Day Park and is now one of the buildings in the museum complex of the Escondido History
Center. This view of the Depot was taken c. 1890.
1 2 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Two little girls stand in an open field with downtown Escondido behind them. The photograph was taken c. 1894 from the
northeast corner of 7th Avenue and Quince Street.
A view of Grand Avenue looking west from the Escondido Hotel (the former Palomar Hospital site) in 1895. The first building on
the left is the Rainey building. The spire from the First Methodist Church can been seen just beyond. The first building on the right
is the Escondido Cannery.
C h a p t e r 1 F 1 3
Construction began on a
dam in Bear Valley in
September of 1894. The
Escondido Irrigation District
sold water bonds to pay for
the construction. The water
bond debt was finally paid
off on October 31, 1904. A
celebration was in order and
on September 9, 1905 Bond
Burning Day was inaugurated.
Everyone gathered in
front of the Lime Street
School to watch the water
bonds go up in smoke.
In 1905 people came from far and near to help Escondido celebrate their “Freedom” from the water bond debt. A procession started
at the train depot and went east on Grand Avenue. Every visitor went home with a basket of free grapes. This celebration was
commemorated each year until 1908 when the Grape Day festival began to be held annually.
1 4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
The construction of the
water canal more than a
century ago was the first
reliable means of supplying
local water to early
Escondido, but led to a
bitter dispute over area
water rights promised by
the federal government to
the local Indian tribes. More
than fifty years of legal
battles finally gave way to
an impressive example of
camaraderie and teamwork
between the local Indian
bands and the City of
Escondido that led to a
agreeable to all parties and
finalized by an act of the
United States Congress in
This c.1908 photograph was taken just west of Juniper Street, between 10th Avenue and Chestnut Street, looking toward Park Hill.
The Hooper House to the left still stands today at 1006 South Juniper Street.
C h a p t e r 1 F 1 5
The Beach House, built by Albert Beach in 1886 and still standing today, can be seen in this photograph taken from 8th Avenue,
looking north on Juniper Street toward Grand Avenue in the early 1890s.
Fumigating citrus trees with cyanide was an early form of pest control. This c.1890 photograph shows workers fumigating the trees
at the Escondido Hotel.
1 6 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
During the rainy season, fording the Escondido Creek was hazardous. A group of Escondido citizens banded together and decided
to build a wooden bridge in 1889. This is a photograph of the Lime Street Bridge, at what is now Broadway near Grape Day Park,
looking southeast in 1895.
The Stevenson Brothers General Merchants are making a delivery by horse-drawn wagon to this unidentified home, circa 1895.
Note the dormer windows protruding from the roof of the home and the differing colors of shingles in the roof, as well as the clothing
of the period worn by the family
C h a p t e r 1 F 1 7
Then and Now
Looking east down Grand Avenue from Tulip Street in 1903, the Escondido Hotel can be seen in the distance. The Hotel and the
Train Depot were separated by a distance of one mile.
Looking east down Grand Avenue from Tulip Street in 2018, the now vacant Palomar Hospital can be seen in the distance, built
on the site of the Escondido Hotel. Raymond Seraile photo.
1 8 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Looking east along Grand Avenue from Maple Street in 1911, horses and motorized vehicles can be seen sharing the wide dirt road.
Looking east along Grand Avenue from Maple Street today reveals that the former Bank of Escondido building lost its ornate
architecture over the years, but the structure, itself, remains.
C h a p t e r 1 F 1 9
Left: Escondido postcard c. 1950s.
On the opposite page: Harry A. Erickson took
the 1936 photograph of the city and submitted
hundreds of other aerial photographs to the
Smithsonian Museum. Before drones with
cameras became available and affordable,
photographs were taken from the air through the
use of balloons, kites, blimps, airplanes,
helicopters, and even pigeons. The first aerial
photograph was taken in 1858.
Below: Using his drone, city employee Ray
Seraile took the current aerial photographs. The
greatest challenges were finding the right spot to
launch and photograph from and coping with
trees that have grown over the years.
This aerial photograph of Escondido is also looking east, but it was taken in 2018. At the left edge of the photo-graph, the Transit Center
covers the north side of the block along West Valley Parkway, with many of the old eucalyptus trees still in place. Construction equipment
can be seen on the site of the former Police Headquarters near the center of the page and freight cars stand on the railroad tracks, carrying
freight as they have for more than 130 years. Their destination is the silos belonging to Vitagold Brands, the only surviving poultry feed
mill in the county. Raymond Seraile photograph.
2 0 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
An aerial photograph of
Escondido looking east in
1936. Tree-lined Grand
Avenue can be seen in the
center of the bottom half of
the photograph. The train
depot is barely visible on the
east side of the track, south
of Grand. The next building
to the east along Grand is a
poultry and feed store,
Hawthorne’s Country Store
today. The hill at the far end
of Grand Avenue is empty
after the Escondido Hotel
was demolished in 1925.
An aerial photograph of
Escondido looking east in
1987. The two-story Police
Head-quarters can be seen
slightly to the left of center
and, across Valley Parkway
on the left side of the
photograph stands the farm
workers’ camp. On the right
side of the photograph, the
former site of the train depot
can be seen as an empty lot
between the grain silos and
the train cars.
C h a p t e r 1 F 2 1
Looking northwest from the grounds of the first Escondido High School at 3rd Avenue and Hickory Street in 1915, the Schnack
Apartments (later Trenton Apartments), built in 1912 at the corner of 2nd Avenue and Kalmia, can be seen in the center of the photograph.
The same view, looking
northwest from the former
grounds of the High School
at 3rd and Hickory, incudes
the Trenton Apartments, still
standing on the corner of
2nd Avenue and Kalmia
Street, but now obscured
2 2 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Looking west on Grand Avenue from Ivy Street c. 1969, lots of signage, streetlights, parking meters, and traffic made the downtown a
vibrant place to spend time.
Looking west on Grand Avenue from Ivy Street today reveals more trees, fewer signs, and no parking meters to give the downtown a
more sedate look.
C h a p t e r 1 F 2 3
Looking south from a hillside just north of Mary Lane in 1972. San Pasqual High School can be seen under construction. The bridge
over Lake Hodges can be found toward the top of the photograph.
Looking south from a hillside just north of Mary Lane in 2018. San Pasqual High School construction has long since been completed
and the campus includes additional buildings. The shopping mall and Kit Carson Park can be seen to the right and residential areas can
be seen covering the hillsides, surrounded by trees. Raymond Seraile photograph.
2 4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
This plat map from 1886 shows Escondido as it was originally laid out. The Escondido Land & Town Company looked toward a future
of homes, schools, churches, and ranches and created the impetus to quickly make the "Hidden Valley" a thriving town. They hired
surveyor O. N. Sanford to plot Escondido townsite lots and five- and ten-acre valley ranches.
C h a p t e r 1 F 2 5
The map above shows the City of Escondido as it was in 1955. The boundaries had changed little sixty-seven years after incorporation
2 6 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
This 2018 map shows the lot lines within the city’s current boundaries with the 1955 boundaries overlaid in yellow at the center. It’s
obvious that the City of Escondido has grown exponentially over the last sixty-four years! Provided by the City of Escondido, Geographic
Information Systems Division.
C h a p t e r 1 F 2 7
The Escondido Duck
Derby of 1942, was sponsored
by the Escondido
Woman’s Ambulance &
Transportation Corps, and
was meant to raise the
spirits of the community
during World War II.
Andy Andreasen, the City
Police Judge, officiated at
the event. The girls with
the ducks are (from left
to right): Pamela Baudy,
Natalie Wilder, Leona
Marin, and Eileen Beckley.
Escondido has a rich history of people of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, coming
together as a community and that diversity continues to be one of its strongest features today. From
the beginning, when pioneering families settled in this hidden valley, it grew steadily with a boom in
the 1950s and it continued growing with a population that exceeds 145,000 today. Housing for the
expanding population has brought a variety of building methods and styles that has created a great
diversity of neighborhoods and often among individual homes within those neighborhoods.
We are also a community of faith. The Escondido Land & Town Company donated land to
churches in Escondido’s early days and, since then, churches of many denominations have continued
to multiply and expand here. Several significant faith-based events have occurred over the years,
including the observance of the National Day of Prayer.
Schools and the way education is delivered have transitioned over the years. From the first elementary
school and then the USC seminary, a strong school system has grown. Public schools
and, more recently, charter schools and options for home schooling give families a wider variety of choices.
We care about our past, as well. A strong historic preservation program, instituted in 1992,
created the Old Escondido Neighborhood Historic District and is protecting and preserving our built
history throughout the city, while the Escondido History Center and the Library’s Pioneer Room
maintain vast collections of photographs, documents, and artifacts.
2 8 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
From the earliest times, community members came together to form clubs and organizations, offering social, networking, and
community support opportunities. Community volunteers organized a variety of events over the years and sporting events, most often
featuring school teams, have long been popular in Escondido.
In 1843, the Mexican government granted 12,653 acres of land—the “Rancho Rincon del Diablo”—to Juan Bautista Alvarado; the
area that was to become the City of Escondido. This photograph is of the ruins of the adobe-brick built Alvarado home near presentday
San Pasqual Valley Road and Bear Valley Parkway.
C h a p t e r 2 F 2 9
The Stewart House is the
oldest house standing in
Escondido. Alexander Stewart
disassembled his two-story
Eastlake-style family home,
built in Nova Scotia in 1865,
and shipped it around Cape
Horn to Escondido. He then
reassembled it in 1894 where
it still stands today on 5th
Avenue, near Hickory Street.
Prior to the City’s
incorporation, a brickyard
was established along the
Escondido Creek and
Chinese laborers were hired
to prepare the bricks for
firing in the kiln. Many
early structures were made
out of this material because
it was readily available and
less expensive than lumber
that had to be shipped from
the northwest. This home
is an example of an early
structure made from
Escondido brick. Built in
1885 for Charles E. Thomas
and his wife, Imogene, the
house still stands at 969
West 3rd Avenue.
3 0 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
The Thomas-Turrentine house was built circa 1885 by George V. Thomas, one of the five Thomas Brothers who founded the City
of Escondido. George was the manager of the Escondido Lumber Company and Brickyard. Possibly the oldest home originally built
and still standing in Escondido, it was the oldest home continuously owned by a single family in the County of San Diego, not
changing hands until it was sold in 2018.
House stands in this 2019
photograph with new paint
colors at its original
location, the northeast
corner of 5th Avenue and
Kalmia Street. The house
was added to the National
Register of Historic places
in 1992 and remains on
Escondido’s Local Register.
The original two-story
Victorian period, Queen
Anne-style home was
altered between 1896 and
1907 with the addition of a
bay window on the south
side. In 1908, a Classical
Revival addition was built
on the east side and the
second floor was expanded
over the porch.
C h a p t e r 2 F 3 1
“Palma Vista” was built by L. V. Boyle on what is today Boyle Avenue and Oak Hill Drive. It later became the home of the John
Whetstone family. Elsie, Roy and Clyde Whetstone are shown in the front of the house in this photograph, taken c. 1910.
In 1911, Fred and Helen
Hall built a 2-½ story,
Craftsman-style home with
Tudor elements on 10th
Avenue near Maple Street.
Here, the spacious living
room can be seen, decorated
for a card party in 1914.
3 2 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Many houses were built along Grand Avenue
and on other streets in the downtown area in
early Escondido. In 1912, local photographer
Peter Schnack built Escondido’s first apartment
building on what is now 2nd Avenue. Built of
redwood, only the city’s citrus houses boasted
more square footage. It featured 22 three- and
four-room suites, as well as 10 single rooms, surrounding
a central atrium. Renamed the Trenton
Apartments after World War I, when all things
German were frowned upon, the unique building
still stands today.
The idea of living downtown has become popular once again, and a relatively recent plan by city leaders to create more density in
the downtown area has resulted in apartments under construction and planned for the downtown area, built to house thousands of
new residents. The Latitude 33 Apartment Community, at the corner of Washington and Centre City Parkway is an example of the
current trend in downtown living.
C h a p t e r 2 F 3 3
The dramatic increase in population after World War II brought a housing boom to Escondido and the “mid-century” styles
brought a new look to town. Mid-century modern homes with clean, simple styles, and ranch-style homes became popular. This
ranch-style house was built in 1950 by B.A. Sweet, a partner in the Pine Tree Lumber Company. Photograph by Katalin Cowan.
Having rented a small bungalow across East 7th Avenue for nearly seven years, Bud and Cordia Sayre bought the empty lot across
the street in 1946, ready to build their own home. Bud, shown in the photograph on the left, utilized Escondido granite rocks left
on the lot and found elsewhere for free and learned how to split them with a weed-burning torch in order build a lovely Colonial
Revival bungalow with 14-inch thick walls. The photograph on the right shows the house as it appeared in 2007.
3 4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Thanks to L.R. Green and his Adobe Block Company, the Weir Brothers and other builders were able to utilize this ancient building
material, making it popular again in the mid-twentieth century. Green Ranch and Longview Acres in south Escondido were adjacent
subdivisions made up entirely of adobe homes. Many others were built around the city and, as a result, Escondido has more adobe homes
than any other city in California. This photograph shows adobe blocks drying at L. R. Green’s adobe brickyard along Highway 395
(I-15) in 1949.
The “Castle House,” built for James and
Gretchen Jackson in 1964 on Palmas Avenue, is a
Weir Brothers adobe home, uniquely dominated
by an exterior welcoming turret. In this case, the
bricks were made on site.
C h a p t e r 2 F 3 5
The Escondido Land & Town Company gave
free land to any congregation that wanted to
build a church here. Seven faiths accepted the
offer and, in 1886, the Methodist Episcopal
Church was the first to build, choosing the
corner of Grand Avenue and Ivy Street. The
church was sold in the 1920s to the first Grace
Lutheran Church. Prior to being torn down in
the late 1960s, the building was the home of
Georgia Copeland’s School of Dance.
More than three hundred San Diego County Adventists attending a conference posed for this photograph in 1914. The church, built in
1887 for a Southern Methodist congregation, was sold to the Seventh Day Adventists in 1900. In 2005, the Iglesia Monte de los Olivos, a
non-denominational Latino congregation, purchased the building that still stands today on the corner of 4th Avenue and Orange Street.
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The Escondido Mennonite Brethren Church,
known also as Bethania Mennonite Brethren
Church, was founded in Escondido in 1908 by
Elder Abraham Schellenberg. The small Germanspeaking
Mennonite colony remained in
Escondido for 10 years and had a congregation of
approximately 70 people. Mennonite churches
are identifiable by the two entry doors; one for
men and the other for women. The building was
sold in 1921 and its exact location is unknown.
In 1931, a large group of Filipino workers began meeting in homes and rented halls to study the scriptures and share their newfound
faith in God. By 1936 they bought and renovated a small saw-sharpening shop located at the corner of 401 West Grand Avenue
and South Orange Street. The congregation named their church “Calvary Lighthouse Mission.” In 1946, the congregation sold the
property and constructed a new church at 950 E. Ohio Street and the church was renamed “Calvary Assembly.” Unfortunately, the
church was destroyed by a suspicious fire in 2014, but eventually rebuilt and reopened for services by 2018. In this 1941 photograph,
the members of the Calvary Mission congregation bid farewell to their pastor.
C h a p t e r 2 F 3 7
Franklin Graham, son of well-known minister Billy Graham, launched his “Decision America.” California Tour in Escondido In May
2017. Standing on a stage in Grape Day Park in front of approximately ten thousand people, Graham mentioned his early days,
accompanying his famous father to Escondido when they visited friends in the area. Photo courtesy of Billy Graham Evangelistic
Association. Used with permission.
A 4-½-ton statue of
Buddha, made of rare dark
jade, and valued at $5
million was displayed in
Escondido in 2010 on its
first stop in a U.S. tour,
intended to spread peace and
happiness. The 8-foot, 10-
inch statue was displayed at
both Grape Day Park and the
Phap Vuong Monastery.
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In 2010, the Escondido City Council gave a Proclamation for October 27, 2010 to be named "Day of Peace” and placed a Peace Pole
in Grape Day Park. More Peace Poles followed and, as of 2018, there are 11 Peace Poles located in the City, this one located at the First
United Methodist Church. The purpose of the pole is to be a symbol of the dream for Peace in our hearts, lives, homes, schools and city.
The community organization, “DOVE,” (Dreaming of a Violence Free Escondido) has challenged each business, organization, place of
worship and school to erect a peace pole in solidarity with this message.
C h a p t e r 2 F 3 9
Among the first buildings constructed in the new town of Escondido was an elementary school named the Lime Street School. Situated
in what is now Grape Day Park, the Escondido Creek ran behind the school but the sandy shores of the creek did not provide an adequate
foundation; the building was deemed unsafe in 1909 and torn down. A new school was built on 5th Avenue at Broadway in 1910.
Central School was built in 1938 at the site of the previously demolished Fifth Avenue School. In November 2014, Escondido voters
passed Proposition E, a $181.2 million bond measure that meant new buildings and modernization for Central School, but many historical
features were left intact, including murals in the multipurpose room, “cloak closets” inside the older classrooms, and the classic original
look of the older buildings that allow access to individual classrooms via indoor corridors.
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Built by the University of Southern California
(USC) as a college in 1888, the large gothic brick
building became the first Escondido High School
in 1894. Because the Escondido Creek was the
only place to swim at that time and it would dry
up at the peak of every summer, the high school
boys took it upon themselves to dig a hole, by
hand, for a swimming pool that was sorely
needed in this hot inland valley. It took two years
for the boys to dig the hole large enough and the
school board had the big basin coated with
concrete in 1909. At the time, the boys and the
girls of Escondido used the pool separately and
this photograph of the boys cooling off in the pool
was taken circa 1912.
By 1927, the first Escondido High School was no longer big enough to accommodate the growing number of students. A new high
school was built that same year just down the block at 4th Avenue and Hickory Street. On the first day of class, the students walked with
their chairs from the old school to the new school. This photograph shows the “new school” in 1938. This school was condemned in 1955
and a newer school, which is the current Escondido High School, was built on North Broadway.
C h a p t e r 2 F 4 1
John Paul the Great Catholic University opened in 2006 and moved to Escondido in 2013, first occupying the former J.C. Penney’s store
on Grand Avenue. The University has grown steadily and has purchased multiple properties along Grand and in the Downtown area, to allow
more classroom space as well as housing for students seeking degree programs in communications media, business, and the humanities.
There was no Reformed seminary in the
western part of the United States until Westminster
Seminary California (WSC) welcomed its first
students in the fall of 1980, committing itself to
providing the finest in theological education. With
an established a campus featuring an extensive
library, a comprehensive curriculum, and a full
faculty of teachers who were both experienced
pastors and experts in their academic disciplines,
WSC has attracted students from all over the
United States and many foreign countries.
Westminster Seminary California Photograph
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By the 1980s, a heavy concentration of
Escondido’s earliest homes could still be found
standing in the neighborhood south of
Escondido’s historic Downtown, but the area had
fallen into serious decay and the potential for
demolition posed a significant threat. With the
help of Councilmember and then Mayor Doris
Thurston, it was designated the city’s first
Neighborhood Group in 1988. The founders of
the Old Escondido Neighborhood Group can be
seen in the 1992 photograph on the left. Shown
are (from left to right): Margaret Moir, Sharon
Kramer, Doris Thurston, and Ginny Leighton. Old
Escondido Historic District Photograph.
The City of Escondido was designated a
Certified Local Government (CLG), by the
California Office of Historic Preservation in
1989, after six women, all dedicated and
persistent historic preservationists, spent more
than eight years convincing the city to apply for
the distinctive Federal preservation program. As
a CLG, Escondido is responsible for designating,
saving, and protecting historic structures
throughout the city. In the photograph are three
women who were instrumental in establishing
the program (from left to right): Mable
Dalrymple, Harriett Church, and Margaret Eller.
Others who were vital in creating the program
included Dorothy Mortensen, Meg Mount,
Janean Young, and Lucy Berk.
Dedicated historic preservationist and local historian Lucy Berk served on the Historic
Preservation Commission from its inception until she stepped down in 2012. Her contributions in
terms of preserving Escondido’s history, both in tangible structures that were saved and protected, as
well as by documentation, are immeasurable.
C h a p t e r 2 F 4 3
The Old Escondido Historic District was established by the City Council in 1992 and is comprised of Escondido’s oldest neighborhood,
with homes in a variety of styles dating back to 1886. The neighborhood has held home tours to raise funds and awareness for more than
thirty years. The photograph on the left is from June 1990. The annual Mothers Day Home Tour, as shown in the 2018 photograph on the
right, has become a tradition for many families. Photographs courtesy of Old Escondido Historic District
Inarguably the most notable house in the Old Escondido Historic District is the Beach House, located at 7th Avenue and Juniper Street.
Lovingly restored, beginning in 1998, by art dealer Harry Parashis and his wife Letitia with guidance from San Diego’s Save Our Heritage
Organization, the Queen Anne Victorian, built in 1896, stands out today as the Crown Jewel of Old Escondido. The Beach House is on
both the National Register of Historic Places, as well as on the Local Register, here in Escondido.
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Clubs & Organizations
Escondido has been the home of fraternal and
service clubs over the years. In Escondido, the
Kiwanis Club was the first service organization
formed, just a few weeks before the Escondido
Rotary Club, both having been established in
1924. This photograph shows the men of the
Kiwanis Club at one of their lunch meetings at
the Charlotta Hotel in 1935.
The unique East End Club was organized in 1907 by women who lived on isolated ranches at the east end of the Escondido valley
and its sole purpose was to create opportunities to strengthen friendships. Remarkably, the East End Club still exists today, making it the
oldest social organization in Escondido. In celebration of the club’s 100th anniversary, members posed for this photograph at the
Escondido History Center on May 11, 2007.
C h a p t e r 2 F 4 5
Founded in 1924, the Escondido Country Club started with a stone clubhouse and course built by the members’ own hands, but
the property was sold during the depression. Re-established in 1965, the manicured grass, majestic trees, and welcoming facilities of
the new Escondido Country Club property provided beauty and value to create one of the most treasured neighborhoods in Escondido.
The clubhouse and golf course closed in 2013 and the property was sold to a Los Angeles developer with plans to build homes. While
the owners of surrounding homes and the developers continued to disagree over plans for the property, a fire destroyed the clubhouse
in 2017 and the controversy continues.
Started in 2006, the Escondido Charitable
Foundation’s mission is to increase responsible
and effective philanthropy through annual
grants to charitable nonprofits serving the
residents of Escondido. Through the generosity
of one of its members, The Escondido Charitable
Foundation is donating a community gateway
arch to the City of Escondido in 2019. Artist’s
conception of the Arch provided by the Escondido
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The Escondido Creek Conservancy was incorporated in 1991 with a mission to preserve and
restore the Escondido Creek watershed. Since that time, the Conservancy has helped preserve
more than four thousand acres of land. The Conservancy also provides outdoor education
programs for 3,500 youth and adults every year as in this photograph showing students releasing
trout as part of the Conservancy’s 2018 Trout in the Classroom program. Escondido Creek
Interfaith Community Services was founded in 1979 by a handful of diverse faith communities to address the needs of low-income,
homeless, and under-served people in North San Diego County. Over the years, Interfaith has evolved into a broad variety of programs
and services that assist people in crisis to stabilize and rebuild their lives.
In 1989, leaders from the Escondido Union
and Escondido Union High School Districts,
Escondido Chamber of Commerce, and the City of
Escondido formed an organization committed to
developing and implementing community-wide
programs to support youth, calling it Education
COMPACT, for “Creating Opportunities, Making
Partnerships and Connecting Teens. In the
photograph from 2015, COMPACT staff and
youth pose with Escondido Police Chief, Craig
Carter, at the ribbon cutting of the new high
visibility crosswalk at the corner of Ash Street and
Mission Avenue. This crosswalk was the numberone
priority identified by Mission Park residents to
improve their kids’ Safe Route to School. Escondido
C h a p t e r 2 F 4 7
In 1908, the Escondido High School (EHS)
football team played remarkably well,
considering none of the young men had played
football before. EHS played San Diego’s Russ
High School twice and won both times. The
other county team was comprised of men from
the San Diego Y.M.C.A., whose members’
individual average weight was greater than that
of the high schoolers, but EHS held their own
and lost by only four points.
This giant bonfire in 1949 was representative of school and
community spirit before the annual Escondido High School football
game with their rival, Oceanside High School. The week before the
big game, boys from EHS would leave school early to gather wood of
any kind, from trees to outhouses, and it was piled in the baseball
field just west of Grape Day Park. The pep rally began at the high
school campus on 4th Avenue and Hickory Street when the students
held hands, formed a serpentine chain, and ran from the school
down Grand Avenue to the park, where they met up with the pep
band, cheerleaders, football players, and others to cheer and chant
before the big bonfire was ignited.
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Baseball games were played on a field at the
corner of 4th Avenue and Spruce Street.
Escondido’s town team aided greatly in the
development of several players who went on to
play professionally. Outstanding among the
local players were the Coscarart brothers. The
oldest, Joe, eventually played for the Boston
Braves, Steve played minor league baseball at
Kansas City, and Pete, the youngest, played for
the Brooklyn Dodgers. In this 1925 photograph
are, top row (from left to right): Ted Wright, Hal
Finney, Joe Coscarart, Lefty Hunt, Richard
Spaulding, Sam Kolb, Dan McGrew. Bottom row
(from left to right): Rupert Baldridge, Felix
Quisquis, Steve Coscarart, Lloyd Babley, Dean
Oliver, Marcus Alto, Pete Coscarart.
This 1941 photograph shows the “Fordettes,” a local girl’s baseball team that was formed to keep the baseball tradition alive in the
absence of many men during World War II. The Fordettes, sponsored by Homer Heller Ford, played in an all-female league with other
teams from around Southern California.
C h a p t e r 2 F 4 9
Escondido was a softball town in the 1950s
and ’60s. They called it Night Ball and each
summer, life revolved around Finney Field,
adjacent to Grape Day Park. This was the first
softball field built with lights in Escondido.
Watching from the stands or from an
automobile was a favorite summer time activity
for all ages. Finney field was named after Harold
Finney, the man who helped form the
Escondido Night Ball Association in 1927 and
served as its president for 27 years.
The 1981 Escondido
National Little League All-
Stars, standing on the steps
of the Escondido History
Center office, were the only
undefeated team that went to
the Little League World
Series that year in South
They were the Western Little
League Champions and it
was the first team from San
Diego County to reach the
Series since La Mesa won it
in 1961. Even though the
team lost, when they
returned home there was
plenty of Little League spirit
and town pride. The players
were: Alex Borboa, Brett
Salisbury, Russell Brooke,
Frank Escalante, Nick Scales,
Gary Larrabee, Bobby
Esposito, Kelly Simpson,
Jason Hobbs, Mike Hopkins,
Peter Villalobos, Gary Kinch,
and John Moran. The coach
was Mike Pumar.
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In 1917, two circuses paraded their animals,
bands and performers down Grand Avenue, two
days in a row. Al G. Barnes Wild Animal Circus
performed on March 9, 1917, and Cole Brothers’
Big Three-Ring Trained Wild Animal Show
appeared the following day. Each gave an
afternoon and evening tent show, following their
parade. Pictured is the Cole Brothers’ troop of
animals and performers. The Cole Bros. Circus
was founded in 1884 and, in 1939, was the last
circus to feature a horse-drawn parade. As of
2014, Cole Bros. Circus was one of the few
traditional circuses in the U.S. to perform under
the “Big Top” tent, but just two years later was
seriously struggling, apparently in response to
animal rights activists protesting the use of
animals in live performances.
At each Grape Day Parade, vehicles were backed into position against the curbs along the Grand Avenue parade route so that their
occupants could comfortably watch the procession pass by. The parade was a highlight of the Grape Day Festival, which began in 1908
and was in its heyday in the 1920s and ’30s, when it drew up to 30,000 spectators annually. This photograph, taken from a rooftop
perch, shows the parade in 1926.
C h a p t e r 2 F 5 1
Celebrating their first-place prize at the county fair, the Pio Mighetto Winery entered this float in the 1939 Grape Day Parade. The
float included a cask of wine, supported by a giant mound of grapes, in addition to four beautiful young women who posed gracefully
while holding the fair’s first-place silver trophy above their heads.
When the Grape Day Festival was revived in 1996,
Grape Day Royalty was selected using different criteria
than in its early days and choices were based on
service to the community. In 2003, two queens were
selected, Ruth Thomas and Helen Heller, in honor of
their many years of service in the Palomar Hospital
Auxiliary and running the hospital gift shop.
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This 2018 photograph shows the start of the 8th annual Grape Day 5K in 2018 at Grand Avenue near Orange Street; from here the
participants followed the established course along Grand and south into the Old Escondido Historic District. The Escondido Sunrise
Rotary Club initiated the annual 5K event, which was initially scheduled in conjunction with the Grape Day Festival, and benefits the
National Multiple Sclerosis Society. More than 600 people participated in 2018, as did many spectators and local high school
cheerleading squads, while the Escondido Police Department re-routed traffic.
Kit Carson Days, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, celebrated the opening of Kit Carson Park, in 1969. Colorado resident,
Kit Carson III, 86-year-old grandson of the famed frontiersman, was invited to the festivities. This photograph shows him speaking
to the crowd. The three-day festival included Square and Western dancing, a horse show, talent contest, and barbecue. The event was
celebrated for the last time the following year.
C h a p t e r 2 F 5 3
In December of 2000, the Jaycees Christmas Parade
celebrated its 50th anniversary with giant balloons. Rarely seen
in this part of the country, the giant balloons made this
landmark parade year very special. Members of local
organizations were the balloon handlers with a quick hands-on
training the morning of the parade. Each balloon was sponsored
by a local business. “The Snowman” was sponsored by the Law
Offices of Paleck & Skaja and the Escondido Rotary.
It started in 1966 with 325 lights on a young deodar cedar.
Eventually, this annual Christmas display blossomed into an
awesome tree with 1,800 lights and Santa’s village in the front
yard. John and Velma Myers decorated their front yard at 920
East 5th Avenue for more than twenty-five years and attracted
multiple generations of Escondidans, as well as holiday visitors
from around the world. This holiday ritual came to an end in the
1990s after John Myers passed away, ironically the same year he
was slated to be the grand marshal of the Jaycees Annual
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In 1988, at the invitation of Congressman
Ron Packard, George H.W. Bush visited
Escondido while campaigning for president. His
campaign stop happened to fall in the midst of
Escondido’s centennial celebration and he spoke
from the newly restored Santa Fe Depot in Grape
Day Park. It’s interesting to note that his son,
George W. Bush, would also visit Escondido, 19
years later, to tour the 2007 Witch Fire disaster
areas and thank the firefighters who had staged
at Kit Carson Park.
On February 22, 2009, Escondido hosted the finishing leg of the Amgen Tour of California, an annual, professional cycling event on
par with the Tour de France. More than 100,000 spectators gathered along the race route that day, including tens of thousands of people
along Grand Avenue. The Amgen Race would return in May of 2013, when Escondido hosted the starting leg of the tour, the first time
the famous race ever started in Southern California, and headed north. Again, more than 100,000 spectators lined the route to watch
the cyclists and it was broadcast around the world. This 2013 photograph provided courtesy of Amgen Tour of California.
C h a p t e r 2 F 5 5
On Friday nights from April through September, Downtown sidewalks fill with more than 5,000 people of all ages, looking at the
pre-1970s cars displayed along both sides of the streets and listening to live bands while old and new cars cruise up and down Grand
Avenue. “Cruisin’ Grand” was initiated by car enthusiast and local merchant Steve Waldron; the well-loved tradition started on April
7, 2000 and has brought more attention to Escondido than any other event in decades. In commemoration of 9/11, each September,
Fire Truck Night brings dozens of old and new fire trucks out in full force and, high overhead, a very large American flag hangs from
a fire truck’s extended ladder. This enhanced photograph of one of those occasions was taken by Heidi Hart in 2013 and entered into
the City’s “Happy Birthday, Escondido” contest.
Also satisfying the area’s hunger for vintage
vehicle events, is the annual American Heritage
Car Show, sponsored by the Escondido History
Center. The Car Show has been bringing
together enthusiasts to “park on the green” of
Grape Day Park since 1997. Photograph from
the 2009 event.
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A familiar Escondido sight at the turn of the
twentieth century was San Pasqual Indian
princess Felicita with her husband, Boley
Morales, on their donkey. In 1906, they were
found destitute in an old hut in one of the
canyons leading into San Pasqual Valley.
Elizabeth Judsen Roberts befriended the couple,
and cared for them. She eventually wrote a
book, Indian Stories of the Southwest, based on
Felicita’s local accounts. Felicita died in 1916
and, in 1920, a pageant was written in her
honor. A county park now bears her name as
does a street and several shopping centers.
Scrap drives were a regular occurrence throughout World War II. As this delightful photograph from our archive illustrates, these
youngsters managed to make it fun. Loading up scrap metal for the war effort in their wagon, made from a citrus box and bike wheels
and pulled by a goat, are Tom Hinrichs, George Payne, and Jerry Smith.
C h a p t e r 2 F 5 7
Escondido’s first barber, Leo Escher stands
behind a wire fence with his pet goat in this c.
1910 photograph. A native of Germany, he
named the goat ”Glocke Baah” because of the
bell that hung around its neck. “Glocke” is
German for “bell.” “Baah” represented the
sound the goat made. Whenever Escher would
sit down, this particular goat would climb up
on his shoulders and Leo would walk around
the property at ease, just as you see him in
the photograph. With limited space on his
property at 109 West 7th Avenue, Escher raised
goats instead of cows for their milk and to
Known as the “Golden Greek,” Jim
Londos was a professional wrestler in the
1920s, ’30s, and ’40s. During his career,
professional wrestling was a big sport in
this country, a genuine athletic event, not
mere theater. A resident of Escondido for
almost forty years, Londos retired from the
sport as world champion in 1946
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Amateur astronomer Clarence Friend looks through the lens of the 16-inch
telescope that he built in his backyard orange grove. From his backyard
observatory, Friend became world-renowned as the discoverer of three comets
that bear his name. He was also co-discoverer of another comet and of a nova
(new star) in the constellation of Puppis. His discoveries won him many
accolades, including a membership in the Royal Astronomic Society of London,
England; the most famous of all astronomers’ groups. Upon his death in 1965,
his widow donated his telescope to Palomar College.
Silent movie actor Billy Beven and his dog, Spot, pose in this 1927 photograph at his ranch in southwest Escondido. Well known
as one of the early movies’ comical Keystone Cops, Beven purchased his 31-acre ranch in 1924 and planted 15 acres in citrus and
then more in avocados. Eventually he built a home and dubbed it “Rancho La Lomita.” He is credited with introducing the use of
wind machines to combat frost in cold pockets of avocado and orange groves. The idea caught on and the use of wind machines was
generally adopted by growers throughout the area.
C h a p t e r 2 F 5 9
Grand Avenue was a
bustling, vibrant place in
Escondido’s early days.
Businesses of all types
lined the wide dirt road.
This postcard, mailed in
December 1911, shows
the view from the 100
west block toward the
east. Horse-drawn wagons
share the road with
automobiles and the
ornate Bank of Escondido
building can be seen on
the corner at the left.
While the area had been farmed for many years, the Escondido Land & Town Company was
Escondido’s earliest commercial enterprise, a group of developers looking toward a future of other
businesses, homes, schools, churches, and ranches in this Hidden Valley. They developed a clever
marketing plan and it worked; a lumber company and brickyard were soon started to handle the
building surge. Blacksmiths and wheelwrights like Thomas Bandy and Alexander Stewart set up
businesses to repair wagons and forge hardware and tools. The hospitality industry began with the 100-
room Escondido Hotel, built to accommodate the many early visitors. Later, as horse drawn wagons
were replaced by automobiles, surfaced streets began to crisscross the County and by the 1940s, motor
courts and motels became economical “homes away from home” for families seeing the country.
Agriculture, started on early ranchos, continued to grow along with the city. Census reports from
the early 20th century reflect an influx of farmers, especially from the East, Midwest, and Europe.
Families like the Hillebrechts and the Henrys ran large farms on the outskirts of town, still operating
today. Grapes were Escondido’s largest crop in the early days, later to be replaced by citrus fruit and
avocados, but the fertile soil and mild weather meant that nearly everything could grow here. Edward
Paul Grangetto, Sr., first arrived in Escondido in 1913 and, in 1952, he started Grangetto’s Farm and
Garden Supply, still run by the Grangetto family today.
Before the prohibition era, there were at least a dozen wineries in Escondido, but only the Ferrara
Winery survived beyond that time and it continued to operate until 2011. The historic site was taken
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over about six years later by new owners joining multiple new wineries in and around Escondido. Also becoming popular more
recently are local craft breweries, the most successful and now thriving internationally, Stone Brewing Company.
In time, other businesses needed by the growing township lined Grand Avenue in the Downtown. Pharmacies, general stores,
restaurants, and markets featuring locally grown produce, brought commerce to Escondido. Services, like those provided by barbers
and photographers, came along, as well.
In later years, as the town continued to grow, malls became popular. The Escondido Village Mall, the Auto Park, and North County
Fair brought numerous businesses into single shopping sites to make it easier for shoppers to spend their money.
Truly diverse companies have made Escondido their home over the years. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps was founded in 1948 by Emanuel Bronner,
a third-generation master German soapmaker, and it became a company respected world-wide; the headquarters and manufacturing plant operated
here on West Mission from the 1960s until 2014 when it moved to Vista California. The Ken Blanchard Company, Escondido Disposal, and Alhiser-
Comer Mortuary have all served the community for many years while relatively newer ventures like Trapeze High, a unique school for teaching the
art, have also become established.
The Escondido Land & Town Company initiated the construction of a rail line from Oceanside to Escondido in 1887 for hauling
freight and to bring prospective settlers to the town. The Santa Fe Depot was built near the corner of Grand and Spruce Street, where
this photograph was taken around 1890. Passenger service ended in 1945 and the depot was moved to its current site in Grape Day
Park in 1984 when it was no longer needed for freight storage. A freight train continues to run through the area at night. The Sprinter,
a 22-mile light rail system run by the North County Transit District, re-established passenger service with 15 stops along the way to
Oceanside in 2008.
C h a p t e r 3 F 6 1
The Escondido Hotel, on the knoll of East Grand Avenue was
built by the Escondido Land & Town Company in 1886 and
purposely located at the east end of Grand Avenue, across town
from the railroad depot, to provide visitors with an opportunity
to see more of the lovely Hidden Valley before reaching their
accommodations. The three-story building included 100 rooms.
In this photograph from 1890, the stagecoach is carrying passengers and freight along the narrow dirt road that was the only link
between San Diego and Escondido. The eight-hour trip would include a break for lunch in what is now Poway. Still unpaved by the
turn of the twentieth century, motor vehicles found it a challenge, but by 1910, they would outnumber the horse-drawn wagons and
the road was paved in 1920. The grade would eventually become part of Route 395, the only direct route from San Diego to the
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The Lake Hodges Dam was completed in 1918, flooding the area, and the Lake Hodges Bridge was added in 1919. In the late
1960s, needed improvements and realignment of the road meant that the bridge was demolished and a new one built in 1969. That
bridge, too, would be demolished and replaced again in 1981 when the route became I-15, and it was widened in 2006-2009. In
2009, a second bridge across Lake Hodges, built for pedestrians and cyclists, was opened slightly to the west. When built, it was the
longest of its type in the world, designed for the least amount of impact on the sensitive habitats located there.
The newly built Highway 395 “freeway,” as shown in this 1959 photograph, is now Centre City Parkway. The palm trees had been
planted along Grand Avenue in 1914. Route 395 was designated historic by the State of California in 2008.
C h a p t e r 3 F 6 3
In 1945, railroad passenger service ended
between Escondido and Oceanside. Homer
Heller Company provided a station wagon to
transport passengers between Escondido and
Oceanside, beginning in September with four
daily runs. As ridership increased, a pre-war
school bus that Homer Heller whimsically
labelled a “stage” came into use, later replaced
by a regular transit bus.
Escondido has had three
very small airports. The most
significant was Engel Field,
developed in 1942 by Anna
von Seggern. Featuring two
runways it was located on 60
acres north of what was the
Talone Meat Packing plant, in
the northwest part of town.
Other sites for a larger airport
were considered in the
1960s, but interest waned
and Palomar Airport at
Carlsbad was deemed close
enough. Anna von Seggern,
is shown in the photograph
with her husband, John
Engel, at the airport that bore
6 4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Families enjoyed trips in the family car and
multiple motor courts, less expensive than
hotels and featuring convenient parking stalls
near each unit, sprang up along the way. Several
motor courts can still be found here, like this
one on Escondido Boulevard.
Pine Tree Lumber Company owner B. A. Sweet used massive redwood timbers to build the Pine Tree Motor Lodge in a western
ranch style in phases, between 1953 and 1958. Located at what is now Mission and Centre City Parkway, it was the first place to settle
in as travelers came into town from the north. Sweet served on the City Council and also on the County Board of Supervisors when
he wasn’t managing the lodge and running Pine Tree Lumber. His grandson, former state senator Mark Wyland, learned to swim in
the Pine Tree Lodge swimming pool.
C h a p t e r 3 F 6 5
Located adjacent to the Pine Tree Motor Lodge, the Wagon Wheel Restaurant was a popular place to eat for locals and travelers
alike from 1953 until 2014. When the Charger football team’s practice field was located in Escondido during the 1960s, the team
members often ate breakfast here. Numerous celebrities dined here, as well, including Robert Young, Jim Kennedy, and Dale
Robertson. The “sputnik” was added to a cupola, and later plywood horses added to the roof, making the restaurant truly unique.
The horses blew over in a windstorm and the sputnik mysteriously disappeared after the restaurant closed. The Wagon Wheel
Restaurant and the Pine Tree Lodge were both demolished in 2017 to make room for a shopping center and carwash.
The Car Hop Drive-In Café was built in
the early ’40s at 314 East Grand Avenue. The
place to hang out after school, games, and
dances, it was so popular that cars usually
parked three deep. When the first car in line
was ready to leave, the two cars behind
would have to pull out and then drive back
in. This photograph was taken c. 1945; the
business closed by 1964.
6 6 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Agriculture was Escondido’s most significant
money maker in the early years. Its growth
depended on the construction of the Bear
Valley Dam, and the expansion of a water
system was completed in 1895. In time, the
formation of the Escondido Mutual Water
Company stabilized the availability of water to
most ranches, farms, and homes that
functioned without wells. With water, the
grape industry expanded.
The construction of the Escondido reservoir
and canal more than a century ago was the first
reliable means of supplying local water to early
Escondido, but led to a bitter dispute over area
water rights promised by the federal
government to the local Indian tribes. More
than 50 years of legal battles finally gave way to
an impressive example of camaraderie and
teamwork between the local Indian bands and
the City of Escondido that led to a historical
settlement, agreeable to all parties and finalized
by an act of Congress in 2016.
C h a p t e r 3 F 6 7
Lewis B. Boyle irrigated his orange trees using a wooden water flume. His property and house were on Boyle Avenue near Midway
Street and Oakhill Drive.
Grapes thrived in the Escondido soil and climate and the Muscats grown here were considered the sweetest tasting anywhere. Here, a
group pauses for a photograph while picking grapes in 1910.
6 8 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
The Escondido Lemon Association was the
largest citrus grower in the state and their
packing plant, seen here in 1928, was located at
Tulip and Del Dios Road. Designed in the
Mission Revival style by architect J. Rex Murray,
it was the largest packing house under one roof
in the citrus belt. More than 800,000 field boxes
of lemons were processed here annually.
Inside the Escondido Lemon Association packing house, lemons were washed and graded. Many women were employed in the
plant, which was the largest employer in the city at the time. In the photo, you can see recently picked lemons packed into boxes in
the fields and stacked prior to processing.
C h a p t e r 3 F 6 9
In addition to their packing house, the Escondido Orange Association operated this plant where ice was manufactured and stored
to pack into produce transporting railroad cars before refrigeration was available. During World War II, high school students helped
load ice when the regular workers were called away to war. Much of the ice plant, located on what is now Metcalf, remains there today
and a later “ghost sign” is still visible.
This picking crew, made up mostly of Filipinos,
worked in the groves for the Escondido Lemon
Association. In addition to picking the fruit, they
were responsible for planting new trees, cultivating
the soil, fertilizing, pruning, and protecting the trees
7 0 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
When the Filipinos were drafted during WWII,
Mexican Nationals were hired and a camp with kitchen
and dining hall was provided at Quince and Valley
Parkway, where the Transit Station is now located. Many
Latino families remember the camp as the place of origin
of their Escondido past. Max Atilano, foreman for the
fruit picking crew, and best remembered as an
entertainer, penned music for a corrido about life at the
camp. This photo, most likely from the 1960s, shows the
vacant buildings of the camp among the eucalyptus trees.
In the 1920s, most homes in Escondido had a flock of chickens to feed the family, but raising poultry turned into a profitable industry.
Hatcheries were lucrative businesses well into the 1930s, as Escondido’s population grew. Here, Ralph Squier stands with his daughter,
Geraldine Squier (Beckman), in front of their chicken coop at his truck farm.
C h a p t e r 3 F 7 1
Pigs and cattle were also raised here and a slaughter house near the railroad tracks was established in the 1930s when Henry and Mario
Talone opened a packing house and market on Hale Avenue, shown in this photograph from 1959. It would change hands and variety of
services over the years until it was finally closed and left vacant for several years; it was destroyed by fire in 2016. Multiple dairies and
creameries were located in the Escondido area over the years, as well.
The San Diego County Farm
Bureau was one of the earliest
farm bureaus organized in the
state. The first formal meeting
was held on Feb 20, 1914 at the
Spreckels Theater in San Diego.
Today, the San Diego County
Farm Bureau is a non-profit
organization supporting the
more than 5,700 farms within
the county. The San Diego Farm
Bureau “AgHub” moved to 420
South Broadway in 2018. The
Hub serves as local agriculture’s
key site for sharing knowledge
and a place for agricultural
groups to hold meetings and
7 2 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
The Escondido Times was the town’s
first newspaper, founded in 1886 and
published by Amasa Sibrent Lindsay, a
Civil War veteran and experienced
newspaperman and his partner, Richard
Beavers. The first office for the Times
was located on Grand Avenue, on a lot
donated by Thomas Metcalf. Still
standing today at 114 West Grand
Avenue, it can be seen in this 1889
photograph, taken during the
Decoration Day parade. The Advocate
was founded in 1891 and it would
merge with the Times in 1909. Through
name changes and mergers, it became
one of the longest-standing institutions
in Escondido. In 2012, it was purchased
by the San Diego Union Tribune and
publication ended in 2013. A few free
and online papers have provided news
since, including The Paper, The
Grapevine, and eventually, the new
In 1952, Kay Owens started
Escondido’s only radio station and
the call letters, KOWN, came from
her name. It was first located on
Hale Avenue between the Patio
Playhouse’s first site, and Verne
Williamson’s septic tank business.
Alan Skuba, who would become
mayor, bought KOWN in 1964 and
moved it to the Escondido Village
Mall on West Valley Parkway. In
this photograph from 1965, on the
right, Skuba is seen interviewing US
Senator and former actor George
Murphy in the Village Mall studio.
C h a p t e r 3 F 7 3
This photograph, from July 4,
1905, shows the entire staff of the
Escondido Telephone company,
which served Escondido, San
Pasqual, and San Marcos. Left to
right: Ed. J. Hatch, Manager;
Harry Smith, “trouble shooter;”
Olga McCorkle and Pearl
Trumbley, operators; and “Daddy”
Black, another trouble shooter. In
1919, the telephone business
office moved to the corner of 2nd
Avenue and Broadway and, while
the names have changed, a
telephone company has remained
there ever since.
In 1899, the first Escondido
telephone directory was published
and listed 18 phone numbers. By
1955, when this photograph was
taken, the number of homes with
phones had increased dramatically
and the phone company had many
employees handling calls, before
the advent of self-dialed phones.
Women were considered to have
more soothing voices and from
early on, telephone operators were
women. Westminster Seminary
7 4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
The first bank was the Bank of
Escondido, established in 1887.
During a financial downturn in
1890s, it was the only local bank to
survive. Shown here in the 1890s at
the Northwest corner of Grand
Avenue and Lime Street (now
Broadway), the building features an
addition and is surrounded by the
wooden boardwalk. The structure
has experienced multiple changes
with many details lost and covered
over, but returned to a more classic
look by realtor and property
developer, James Crone.
Built in 1975 for the
headquarters of North County
Bank, this unique structure was
located at the corner of 5th
Avenue and Escondido
Boulevard. Architect Chris Abel
from Laguna Beach was
responsible for the unusual
design. Other tenants who did
business in the building
included Ken Hugins, former
city treasurer for more than
thirty years, and George
Chamberlain, local financial
expert and broadcast
personality. The building also
housed the headquarters of
Robert Klark Graham’s Nobel
prize winner sperm bank. In 2000, when North County Bank merged with Wells Fargo Bank, it became a Wells Fargo branch. After
Wells Fargo closed the office, the building sat empty and was allowed to deteriorate for nearly a decade except for a brief period when
a church leased it, but with no plans to replace it, the building was demolished in early 2017.
C h a p t e r 3 F 7 5
Retail & Services
The Board of Trade was founded in
1886 but it was renamed the Chamber
of Commerce in 1895. In 1919, ground
was broken for a California mission-style
building located at Grand Avenue and
Maple Street. After moving to Escondido
Boulevard and 5th Avenue in 1960, the
Chamber would again move to the
corner of Park Avenue and Broadway in
1982. They remain at that location today
although the building was replaced; the
new one dedicated April 19, 2005. The
Chamber of Commerce has been
instrumental in bringing businesses to
Escondido and helping businesses
succeed for 130 years.
The Avenue Livery Stable was located next door to McDonald & Rechnitzer House and Carriage Painting in the 300 block of East Grand,
shown here in 1910. Horses and mules were the primary means of local transportation and Speer’s Truck & Transport carried commercial
items as well as household items, like the trunks loaded in the back of the wagon in the photograph.
7 6 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
A surprising number of women owned and
operated businesses in Escondido’s early days.
This photograph of Mrs. Pendergast and her son,
standing on the steps in front of her Chicago
Millinery Store with Mrs. Stiles standing next to
them, was taken around 1895.
Loomis & O’Dell sold second hand goods in a store at 237 West Grand Avenue, a building that still stands today. Their slogan, “Will
trade you what you want for what you don’t want—we buy everything,” appeared on their Grape Day float in 1919, along with their
phone number; 167-J.
C h a p t e r 3 F 7 7
From 1886 to 1896, there was
only one phone in the area,
located at Graham & Steiner’s
General Store on the southwest
corner of Grand and Broadway.
Graham & Steiner’s was the first
grocery store in Escondido and,
shortly after Escondido became
incorporated in 1888, they added
a wider variety of stock,
converting it into an early
department store. The upstairs
space was a community space,
“Eagle Hall,” but in 1960, it, like
most other second floors in the
downtown area, was removed out
of concern for earthquake risks.
Horace Lyon was 73 years old when he built the Escondido Mercantile Company on the southwest corner of Grand Avenue and
Kalmia in 1905. The 50- x 70-foot store stood on two lots and boasted a wide variety of mens and womens wear, shoes for adults and
children, and sewing notions and materials. Who the legs belong to in the lower left corner of the 1905 photograph and why the person
is lying in the street remains a mystery.
7 8 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Ting’s Pharmacy, located on the northeast
corner of Broadway and Grand, was owned and
operated by Darwin M. “Pete” Ting, who owned
and operated the store from 1920 to 1960. The
fountain inside was a popular gathering place
for enjoying coffee, milk shakes, or lunch.
By 1927, when this photograph was taken, the
streets downtown had been paved and striped for
diagonal parking. The flag pole was installed at the
intersection of Grand and Broadway on June 12 of
that year, in honor of Flag Day, but it was removed in
1944 because rust had damaged its structural
integrity. The pole was cut into pieces and the longest
piece now stands in front of City Hall, still flying the
American flag and, now, the City flag, as well.
The Downtown continued to draw
considerable activity in the 1960s and the look
of many of the buildings was changed to reflect
the times. The building that once housed the
Graham and Steiner store was “modernized” and
a band of tiny mosaic tiles edged the overhang.
The remarkable vertical sign at the corner makes
it very clear that this was now a drugstore.
C h a p t e r 3 F 7 9
Probably the most interesting grocer in
Escondido history was Rube Nelson. After
buying a smaller store on Broadway with his
brother in 1937, they expanded their stock
until they needed a larger new store a block
north at Washington. Rube became the sole
owner of the “Country Corner,” which sported
an array of over-sized animals on the roof and
grounds. Rube sold the business and property
to the Albertson’s chain and retired a millionaire
in 1983, but, quite a character, Rube is still
fondly remembered by many in the community.
Edward Woolley was a professional golfer from Scotland who began making golf clubs at the age of 12. He emigrated to the US in
1922 and, after World War II, bought Chicago-based Golfcraft. In 1952, he moved the company to Escondido where this plant was
built at 1021 West Mission, bringing 22 workers and their families from Chicago to work there. Golfcraft would eventually employ a
total of 167 workers and produce 600,000 golf clubs, the third largest producer of golf clubs in the United States. The company’s Vice
President, Edward Redmond, served on the City Council from 1955 to 1962. Golfcraft also developed and was the first company to
manufacture fiberglass golf club shafts. The property was sold to the manufacturer of Titleist golf equipment in 1969 and more
recently purchased by Escondido Disposal Incorporated, who adapted it as part of their state-of-the-art recycling center.
8 0 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
As the city grew, businesses could be found in other areas,
often grouped together. These fashion show models from the
Walker Scott Department Store are standing in front of the
Escondido Village mall. Built in 1964, it was the first enclosed
mall west of the Mississippi River, but only two decades later, it
wound up in bankruptcy. A Los Angeles-based company
purchased the property in 1984 and, later, when it faced stiff
competition from the new North County Fair Mall, Escondido
Village underwent a major renovation and turned into a strip
mall, offering easier access to individual shops by their
customers that has proven successful.
An aerial view looking west, with Valley Parkway running along the far-right side from the lower righthand corner, shows the old
Vineyard mall, built in 1974, with its wood-clad angular buildings that housed a two-screen movie theater, a radio station and several
quality restaurants. To the west of the Vineyard is the Village Mall, closer to the top of the photograph, and another strip mall can be
seen to the east, toward the bottom of the photograph.
C h a p t e r 3 F 8 1
North County Fair, the largest mall in the
county, boasted six anchor stores when it was
opened on February 20, 1986, with confetti
shot from rooftop cannons, 5,000 helium-filled
balloons and seven huge hot-air balloons,
cheerleaders, magicians, music makers and
speeches. The mall was purchased by Australian
firm, Westfield, who renamed it Westfield
North County in 1998 and completely
renovated the shopping mall in 2012. In 2017,
Westfield Corp., including their 16 malls in
California, was sold to French commercial real
estate giant Unibail-Rodamco.
In 1970, five auto dealers came
together as the Escondido Auto
Dealers Association and they
decided that Escondido should
have an auto park. In 1977, two
realtors were able to convince 29
separate property owners to sell
their 78 acres north of Valley
Parkway, east of the I-15 freeway.
Today, the five posts bearing flags
at the entrance to the Escondido
Auto Park still represent those
initial five auto dealers, and 14
automobile dealerships line the
loop at “the Home of the Full
Circle Test Drive.”
8 2 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
George Weir started out by driving a pickup
truck around town, filling potholes; the
photograph of George is from the late 1970s or
early 80s. His work ethic would lead to the
development of several businesses and Weir
became well known for his philanthropy. From
filling pot holes for the city at no charge, to
helping create the Heritage Garden at Juniper
and Grand and enhancing outdoor areas at the
Center for the Arts, George and his wife, Cynthia
have quietly made a difference in Escondido.
The Treasure House, shown in this 1947 photograph, was located at the corner of Grand and Quince. Customers could store their
frozen food here when space at home was absent or lacking in size. The building stands today and can be recognized by the curved
window of glass blocks at the corner. Next to it was an earlier site for Pyramid Granite, a granite cutting factory.
C h a p t e r 3 F 8 3
The Offshore Model Basin, formerly on Enterprise Street, contained a 300-by-50-by-15-foot-deep indoor pool capable of creating
significant waves. It was often used to test boats and underwater equipment by companies and organizations from around the country.
It also hosted an annual submarine race for college students, as shown in the photograph, and used for making movies, including
scenes from the movies Titanic, True Lies, and Free Willy. Photograph courtesy of Jill Campbell.
Stone & Glass is an art glass and mixed
media studio and gallery that began in a tiny
500-square-foot studio in 2001, the
culmination of James Stone’s lifelong dream to
be a full-time working artist. In 2015, the
owners were drawn to Escondido for its history
of glass arts and art culture and moved into the
industrial area. Following a fire that started in
a neighboring business, Stone & Glass moved
into their current location on Grand where
emerging artists continue to be mentored and
students are taught the art. Photograph courtesy
of Stone & Glass
8 4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Giants of Business
The Joor Muffler Man has stood steadfast on the corner of Juniper
Street and Valley Parkway in the Downtown since he was placed in
front of the muffler shop in the 1960s. Made of fiberglass, he stands 22
feet tall on top of a concrete base and has had quite a wardrobe through
the years. Below, the Joor Muffler Man can be seen in his Santa suit,
enjoying the holidays.
In addition to its unique sign in the front parking
lot, the Ups ‘N’ Downs Roller Rink on North
Broadway featured a giant roller skate on the roof.
The roller skating rink was built in 1959.
The Muffler Man was wearing his Amgen vest and
cap to honor the Amgen Tour of California bicycle race
that started in the Downtown in 2013.
C h a p t e r 3 F 8 5
The Escondido Band
lined up for the
Decoration Day parade on
May 30, 1889 in front of
the Methodist Episcopal
Church, the first church
constructed in Escondido.
Barber Leo Escher can be
seen on the very left,
wielding a baton as the
Escondido’s relationship to the arts and its endeavor for cultural development began almost at the
city’s incorporation in 1888. The first city band was formed by twelve local musicians. In 1889, a band
stand was built on the southeast corner of Grand Avenue and Maple Street. Band concerts often made
Sundays and holidays merry occasions. These early days also boasted local celebrations, eventually
including the Grape Day Festival, which always had a musical component. Early theatrical productions
were also quite common in the schools, churches and clubs.
In the 1920s and 30s, the Community Arts Association was organized to give attention to arts and
drama. About the same time, local optometrist, Benjamin Sherman, who had studied drama at leading
Southern schools, gathered local young people together and presented several plays at the Kinema
Theatre. Audiences of 500 to 700 attended. Later, he wrote the outdoor play “Felicita.” In more recent
history, the Patio Playhouse Community Theatre has been providing local, live theatre since 1967.
In 1946, the Philharmonic Arts Association was formed and launched its first concert series,
held in the Escondido High School auditorium. Through the Association’s efforts, Escondido was
host to world-renowned artists such as Risë Stevens, Jose Greco, Artur Rubenstein and the Los
In the 1970s, the Escondido Regional Arts Council was created to bring visual arts to North County.
The first gallery was in the Vineyard Shopping Center on East Valley Parkway. Today, the Municipal
Gallery and the Escondido Arts Partnership both provide venues for local artists to exhibit their work.
8 6 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
The City established a Public Art Program in 1988 and more than 22 public art projects have been installed by the City of Escondido
and private developers under the guidance of the Public Art Commission.
Also in the 1970s, the cultural history of the community came into focus with the establishment of Heritage Walk in Grape Day Park.
The City’s first library was identified and moved to the Walk, opening in 1976 as the first local history museum. Since that time, other
historic buildings have been added to Heritage Walk to help keep the history of Escondido alive. Additional museums and galleries have
been established in the City, over time, to provide the people of Escondido with well-rounded cultural opportunities.
With the success of the Regional Arts Council, a stronger, more comprehensive Felicita Foundation was formed, which successfully
lobbied to use the city’s old library space upon completion of the new library in the early 80s. With the support of the National Endowment
for the Arts, the Felicita Foundation was able to use the newly acquired space to present both visual and performing arts in a limited scope.
Sparked by this civic vision that recognized how vital the arts are to a community, Escondido voters, in 1985, approved the building
of a $73 million arts center that would bring music, dance, theater, education and the visual arts together on one dynamic campus as
part of an overall redevelopment project. Since its opening in 1994, the California Center for the Arts, Escondido has been dedicated to
promoting the arts along with their power for community building and enhancement, and to enrich the lives of Escondido citizens.
Literature has always played a key role for Escondido residents, as well. First librarian Mina Ward authored a book that included
her own stories as well as articles from technical magazines to assist in gauging shorthand speed. Several other notable authors have
made Escondido their home, including, more recently, Martha C. Lawrence and former Escondido Police Officer Neal Griffin; as well
as childrens book illustrator Debbie Tilley.
The Escondido Band added “Cornet” to its name and and later donned uniforms to pose for this professional photograph, c. 1890.
C h a p t e r 4 F 8 7
Max Atilano and his Mexican Troubadours
were a constant at the Grape Day Festivals from
1920-1940. They also provided music for the
outdoor play, Felicita. Shown in this c. 1925
photograph are (from left to right): Pete Ruiz,
Frank Salcido, John Cosio, Ted Borja, Senorita
Paquita Cantu, and Max Atilano.
“Sound Town” was one of the original stores in the Escondido Village Mall and one
of the favorite hangouts for those who enjoyed music. This 1965 photograph shows
Lawrence Welk promoting one of his albums at the popular store as the featured star
of the day. Welk had a special connection to the area and visited often because of his
Lawrence Welk Resort just north of Escondido. He sometimes produced his popular
TV show in Escondido, which brought national exposure to the city. Photograph by
John Marikle built his art and music store on
South Kalmia in collaboration with photographer
Louis Havens, who built his photograph studio
next door and took many of the early photos
found in this book. Both businesses opened in
1911. Each family lived in an apartment above
their respective store.
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In 1970, artist Frank Matranga, was commissioned to create four murals portraying scenes from San Diego’s history to be installed
over the entry doors of a new Sears building on East Valley Parkway in the mid-1970s. When the building, which had also been
occupied by the Fedco membership store from 1986 to 1989, was demolished in the early 1990s, the murals were saved. One,
depicting a scene from the 1846 Battle of San Pasqual, can be seen today on the front of the Children’s Discovery Museum at 320
North Broadway while another can be found on a median wall along South Date Street.
Queen Califia's Magical Circle is the only
American sculpture garden and the last major
international project created by French artist
Niki de Saint Phalle, one of the most significant
female and feminist artists of the twentieth
century. Inspired by California's mythic,
historic and cultural roots, the garden is located
at Kit Carson Park. In the photograph, taken at
her home where the maquette was displayed,
stands Niki de Saint Phalle with her arm raised
and to her immediate right, Mayor Lori
Holt Pfeiler. Don E. Anderson photograph.
C h a p t e r 4 F 8 9
Since the Public Art Program began in 1988, more than 22 public art projects
have been initiated by the City of Escondido and private developers. The Public
Art Program has received a number of local and national awards for its projects.
This bronze fountain at the right, designed by James Hubble in 1989, is a
memorial to Joyce and Irvin Malcolm, prominent supporters of the arts and the
preservation of Escondido. It can be found at Trinity Episcopal Church, 9th
Avenue and Chestnut Street.
In 2000, Wick Alexander created Pillars of the
Community in multiple locations along South
Escondido Boulevard. The entire Public Arts
project included nine obelisks, three murals,
and sundials and historic street names incised
into the surface of the sidewalks. The obelisks,
like the one at the left, start at the southeast
corner of 6th Avenue and end at the southeast
corner of 15th Avenue.
The mural at right with a self-guided walking
tour of historic homes that had been located at the
corner of Escondido Boulevard and 8th Avenue
fell into disrepair and was removed in 2017.
Located in the Maple Street Plaza, between
Grand Avenue and West Valley Parkway, artist
Paul Hobson created a fountain and curved seat
wall to celebrate the importance of Escondido
Creek. The risers in the water feature were
inspired by historic agricultural flood irrigation.
Brad Ansley photograph.
9 0 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Military Tribute, created by Gale Pruitt in 2007, is one of
several veterans memorials in Grape Day Park. Bronze statues
depict a female fighter pilot representing Women Air Force
Service Pilots of World War II; a tall male soldier symbolizing
those currently in combat; and a youthful ROTC student
representing the future. The statues are flanked by the Walls of
Courage, inscribed with names of local veterans.
Community was created by Jeff Lindeneau in 1990 as
one of the early public art pieces.. Two cast bronze
triangles featuring silhouettes of human figures stand
atop two copper clad and granite slabs, facing each
other, connoting a passage way.
Also created as a Public Art project, the 2011 New Leaf by artist Dan Dykes is
located on South Centre City Parkway near Felicita Avenue. According to the
artist, the green patina represents Escondido’s agricultural past, the stainless steel
represents modern manufacturing, and the stainless-steel mesh at the top
symbolizes the history of Escondido, coming together to form a new leaf.
C h a p t e r 4 F 9 1
The annual Felicita
Pageant featured 200 local
thespians and was held from
1927-1932 in the Quiet
Hills area near Felicita Park
in south Escondido. The
play was written by
Benjamin Sherman, a local
optometrist, and based on
Elizabeth Judson Robert’s
book, Indian Stories of the
Southwest. The pageant
attracted hundreds of guests
every year to sit under a
canopy of oak trees while
viewing the play. This
photograph was taken
during the 1930 production.
In 1923, The Tom Thumb Wedding was performed by a group of children at the Kinema Theater on Grand Avenue. In 1935, the
children of the Methodist Church performed in a similar production, taking the roles normally played by adults.
9 2 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
This photograph was taken on April 14, 1916
and shows the cast of the Escondido High School
production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s, H.M.S.
Pinafore. The operetta took place at the school in
the Robert’s Auditorium and the special scenery
was produced by the Art Department. Although
the operetta story-line centers around the British
Navy, it’s interesting to note that American flags
were used in the production.
The first Patio Playhouse opened with its first
play in 1971 in this remodeled machine shop on
Hale Avenue. The founders sought to provide a
creative outlet for talent, young and old, and to
bring live theater to the community. The
founders were Curtis Babcock; Dale Baldridge,
and Greg and Don Krueger. Today, it is the oldest
continuously-operating community theater in
San Diego County.
Georgia Copeland, a former MGM starlet who danced in
numerous musical movies, opened her dance studio in
Escondido in 1953, making it the oldest dance studio still
operating in North San Diego County today. Georgia personally
produced more than 40 professional dancers in the course of her
teaching career. When Georgia died in 1998, Sue Gibson
assumed the operation of the studio. The snapshot shows
Georgia on the left and Sue Gibson on the right. Photograph
courtesy of Georgia’s Dance Studio
C h a p t e r 4 F 9 3
This aerial photograph shows the California
Center for the Arts under construction in April
1992, located just west of Grape Day Park, along
Escondido Boulevard. Escondido voters
approved spending $73 million to build the
Center that would bring music, dance, theater,
education and the visual arts together on one
dynamic campus as part of an overall
The completed Center for the Arts, Escondido, is shown in this September 1994 photograph.
9 4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
The Kinema Theatre opened at the 200 block
of east Grand Avenue in December 1920 and is
featured in this photograph from 1929. The
Kinema hosted Escondido’s first motion pictures
with sound and was the place of many
community gatherings. In 1931 it became
known as the Pala Theater.
The Ritz Theater, near the southeast corner of Grand Avenue and Juniper Street opened during the Grape Day Festival in 1937. In
1950, a fire damaged much of the interior and this photograph from 1952 shows the wood barricades in the doorways prior to its reopening
in 1953. The theater managed to stay open for a time, then closing and re-opening multiple times under a succession of
owners until it closed for the final time in 2003. The Grand Market, in the companion building next door on the corner with similar
art deco features, was the first grocery store in the city to have wheeled shopping carts. In 2015, it would become an Arthur Murray
C h a p t e r 4 F 9 5
On June 19, 1950, a 2,080-pound replica of
the Liberty Bell visited Escondido. The bell was
one of 52 replicas donated to the U.S. Treasury by
America’s copper industry. The visit was part of a
state-wide tour being made in connection with
“Independence Drive,” a program to increase the
sales of U.S. Saving Bonds. The photograph
shows the procession in front of the Pala Theater,
which was located near the corner of Grand
Avenue and Kalmia Street. Shortly after this
photograph was taken, the theatre was converted
into an eight-lane bowling alley, Pala Bowl.
The Escondido Drive-In opened on July 6, 1950, at 755 West
Mission Avenue and the price of admission for that night’s
feature, The Boy from Indiana, was 50 cents. California political
hopeful and future President, Richard Nixon, made a campaign
stop at the drive-in that same year, and in 1962, a local pastor
began holding Sunday worship services in the lot. The drive-in
could accommodate about 320 cars and films such as 1959’s Ben
Hur sold out several times each night. The owner, Dan Johnston,
moved the drive-in to West Mission Avenue in 1967 to
accommodate the thriving business. This drive-in closed
September 8, 1985.
In 2000 and 2001, Escondido’s last two movie theaters
closed, forcing residents to drive to theaters in San Marcos or
Oceanside to see new movies on the “big screen.” The
community was pleased to have a local theater again, when a
new 16-screen multiplex with stadium seating, shown in the
2018 photo, opened on January 30, 2004, at the site of the old
Montgomery Ward store on the corner of Valley Parkway and
9 6 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Harold Bell Wright was a best-selling American writer of
fiction, essays, and nonfiction. Although mostly forgotten or
ignored after the middle of the twentieth century, he is said to
have been the first American writer to sell a million copies of a
novel and the first to make $1 million from writing fiction.
From 1935 until his death in 1944, Wright lived on his “Quiet
Hills” farm in south Escondido. Two of his most popular novels
are: Shepard of the Hills and The Winning of Barbara Worth.
Frances Beven Ryan taught home economics
in Escondido schools for thirty years and then
wrote several books about Escondido history,
based on stories told to her by her relatives,
who were among Escondido’s founders and first
settlers; Early Days in Escondido (1970),
Yesterdays in Escondido (1973), and Escondido As
It Was (1980). She also wrote a weekly history
column for the Times-Advocate. The Escondido
Library Pioneer Room was established as a
bequest by Ryan in 1992. In the photograph
from 1971, she is seen handing one of her
books to then Mayor Allen Skuba while William
Fark sits to the right and her husband, Lewis,
stands by her side at the dedication of the
recently relocated original library.
Another Escondido native, William Maurice Culp, whose uncle was the town marshal for a
time, wrote several childrens books, including Tumba of Torrey Pines in 1931, Jeremiah in 1932,
as well as And a Duck Waddles Too in 1939.
C h a p t e r 4 F 9 7
The San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum provides hands-on educational exhibits and programs focusing on science, art, and world
cultures for children. In 1999, it was founded by local resident Katie Ragazzi as a traveling education program in science and art. The
following year, it incorporated as the Escondido Children’s Museum. In 2001, the doors to the first museum facility opened in a small
storefront on Grand Avenue. Three years later, it moved to a larger venue on the campus of the California Center for the Arts Escondido.
With the opening of its third and current location on North Broadway, the Escondido Children’s Museum changed its name to San Diego
Children’s Discovery Museum.
Keith Roynon began collecting his first fossils
as a young child and, in 2000, began inviting
school children to his home where his large
collection was displayed. After a complaint was
filed in March 2015, the City notified Roynon
that the residence could no longer open its
doors for the thousands of students who came
every year. Community volunteers quickly
intervened, finding and renovating acceptable
quarters in a storefront on Grand Avenue to
house Roynon’s entire collection of more than
4,000 artifacts. The Roynon Museum of
Paleontology was voted “Best Museum in the
San Diego area” for 2016, according to the San
Diego A-List website but would close in 2019
due to operational challenges.
9 8 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Government Sites and Services
Escondido was incorporated in 1888 as a result of a 64-19 vote by city residents, who also elected
the first members of the Board of Trustees. The Board met monthly, upstairs at 110 West Grand. In
1930, the Board of Trustees became the City Council and the chairman became the mayor. In 1955,
an ordinance was adopted, setting up the current Council-Manager form of government.
A Public Library was Escondido’s first city service. In the early 1900s, the city also began paving
roads. The Parks and Recreation Dept. was formed in 1956, later to become part of the Community
Services Department. Escondido has always offered a wide variety of outdoor recreational
opportunities, including camping, fishing, picnicking, hiking, and boating. Currently, the City
maintains Dixon Lake, Lake Wohlford, Daley Ranch, and nine urban parks.
The scope of city services has steadily increased over the years, particularly as the city limits
extended outward and the population grew. Eleven different departments, in addition to the City
Manager’s, City Attorney’s, City Treasurer’s, and City Clerk’s offices, now provide residents with a
wide range of services.
Escondido has experienced very few major crimes that have attracted national attention. Sadly, a
post office shooting in 1989 became the second postal shooting in the country, followed by others in
different cities that led to the term “going postal.” Also receiving national attention was the murder
in 1998 of Stephanie Crowe, who was stabbed multiple times in her bedroom. Another tragic murder
In celebration of the
City’s Centennial, a time
capsule was buried under
the center of the dome of
the new City Hall and covered
by a bronze marker.
City employees Jerry
Chappel (left) and Dave
Cramer (right), are shown
installing the time capsule
in this 1988 photograph.
C h a p t e r 5 F 9 9
occurred in 2009, when Amber DuBois was
abducted on her way to school. Her murder,
and Chelsea King’s of Rancho Bernardo,
by the same man, led to the passing of
Chelsea’s Law, which, among other provisions,
increased penalties, parole provisions, and
oversight for violent sexual predators who
Fires have taken lives as well as damagied
and destroyed property throughout Escondido’s
history. Thankfully, however; the number of
fires has steadily decreased, thanks to stricter
fire codes, including mandated fire sprinklers
in new construction, as well as more advanced
firefighting equipment and strategies. The Fire
Department also began offering medical aid and
transport in 1977 with those calls now making
up 80 percent of fire department calls while
fire-related calls constitute only 1.7 percent of
their nearly 16,000 annual calls.
Ol' Betsy housed at Station 1.
By 1890, the first dedicated City Hall was located on Grand Avenue and a small building to the rear served as the City jail. Note
the sunrise decoration above the windows and doors; similar detail adorns the front of the current City Hall.
1 0 0 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
A City Hall built of adobe block and made possible by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), was finished in 1938, in time to
celebrate the city’s fiftieth anniversary. It housed city offices, including the Police Department, and the Fire Station, which was added
onto the north side a year later. The building was located on what is now the front lawn of the vacated Palomar Hospital, downtown,
where Valley Parkway and Grand split.
In 1988, a new 108,000-
square-foot City Hall was
built at the corner of Valley
Parkway and Broadway.
The design was chosen by a
public process, and a
was held. The 108 entries
were reviewed by 1500
citizens and, using their
comments, a jury chose the
design submitted by Pacific
Associates Planners and
Architects, a San Diego
firm. The building won
several prestigious awards,
including the Urban Land
Institute Award for
Excellence in 1989. This
photograph shows the
ceremony with Mayor Doris
Thurston at the podium.
C h a p t e r 5 F 1 0 1
Escondido’s first Public Library was built in
1894 and the City assumed responsibility for its
operation in 1898. The first librarian was Mina
Ward and she was initially responsible for more
than 300 books, all donated by the community.
The building was moved to Grape Day Park in
1971 and now houses the Escondido History
Center offices and research center.
On March 25, 1910, the cornerstone was laid for the Carnegie Library, which opened in October of that year. Books could be checked
out every day except Sunday, when the library was open for quiet reading only, to honor the Sabbath. Businessman and philanthropist,
Andrew Carnegie, donated money for building libraries around the world; 2,509 libraries were built between 1883 and 1929. This
photograph is from a 1938 time capsule located at the adobe city hall and opened in 1988.
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Also outgrown, the Carnegie Library was
replaced in 1956 by this building on the left,
designed by popular architect George Lykos. The
strong example of Mid-century Style, named for
art and culture advocates, Bob and Ruth Mathes,
still stands at the northwest corner of Kalmia
Street and 3rd Avenue.
Its distinctive light-controlling louvers recently removed, the Mathes Center
continues to house meeting rooms and the Pioneer Room, which was established
in 1992 with local historian Frances Beven Ryan’s collection and other historical
and genealogical research material.
In 1981, the 40,000-square-foot library was
built next door and is still in use with more than
1,000 visitors daily. A major renovation was
performed in 2009 to better accommodate
today’s technological needs and make it more
attractive to visitors. In a controversial move,
the City Council voted 4-1 to privatize the
library services in 2017.
C h a p t e r 5 F 1 0 3
Grape Day Park was the
city’s first park, donated to
the city to celebrate Grape
Day, beginning in 1908.
This photograph from 1976
shows the welcome sign
and fountain, which still
stand today. At one time,
the park featured a bandshell
and baseball fields as
well as “the plunge,” the
first community pool.
The second oldest and largest in the county, this grand, multitrunked
eucalyptus tree sheltered Grape Day Park visitors for
decades. Out of safety concerns, it was cut back significantly in
2013 with the tall stump remaining as a reminder of its earlier
glory, while a design for its future use is being considered.
Nearby, when a restroom was needed for the Heritage Walk
location, the last bid opened offered to do the job for only $1.
Immediately accepted, the gazebo-shaped facility was completed
by the community minded K. L. Wessel Construction Company.
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“The Plunge” swimming pool in Grape Day Park was a popular place to cool off in the 1950s. A replacement municipal pool, built
closer to Woodward Avenue, was named after Jim Stone, an Escondido High School teacher who worked as aquatics manager for the city
during the summer. Stone was in charge of pool programs for more than twenty years.
James B. Dixon, superintendent of the Mutual Water Company, urged the City to build a dam, northeast of the city at this location,
and the Dixon Lake Recreation Area was dedicated on May 12, 1977. The lake area continues to provide opportunities for fishing,
camping, and picnicking. Eric Johnson photograph.
C h a p t e r 5 F 1 0 5
Robert Daley built a small cabin and settled in the valley around 1869. In 1925, he built a ranch house of single board, heart
redwood that still stands today. In 1996, developer plans for the land surrounding it were halted when the Escondido City Council
voted to purchase and forever protect the 3,058-acre ranch as a habitat preserve. Today, Daley Ranch offers more than 20 miles of
trails for hiking, mountain bikes, and equestrian use and the ranch house is available for public use.
Named after the famous scout who also
fought in the Battle of San Pasqual, the 285
acres where Kit Carson Park sits was purchased
from the City of San Diego in 1967. One
hundred acres have been developed into ball
fields, tennis courts, and the Sports Center
Complex. It’s also the home of an amphitheater,
Queen Califia’s Magical Circle and the Iris Sanke
Arboretum. The popular Escondido Rotary
Club Disc Golf Course, depicted in this 2013
photograph, was established in 2010. The
course meanders through a creek, oaks, alders,
and manicured grass. 185 acres of Kit Carson
Park have been preserved as natural habitat.
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The photograph on the left, from January,
1952, shows Escondido Creek at a higher than
average level, flowing through Grape Day Park.
The City “Plunge” swimming pool can be seen
toward the center back of the photograph.
Flooding along Escondido Creek could be even
In the 1960s, a flood control channel, shown
in an early photograph on the right, was
constructed to prevent flooding that occurred all
too often throughout the community. The
channel has been effective but not attractive,
especially as it has collected trash, and the
original wildlife habitat was greatly compromised.
In 2010, Landscape Architecture students at
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
developed the “Revealing Escondido Creek Vision
Plan.” In it, all portions of the concrete drainage
canal running through Escondido would be
redesigned to return Escondido Creek to its more
natural state while still retaining the ability to
control flood waters as needed. As a result of that
study, the City of Escondido began implementing
the 100-acre linear park in phases.
In 2011, a portion of the Creek Trail was
staged in conjunction with the grand opening of
the adjacent Juniper Senior Village as shown in
Deemed successful, the improvements were
C h a p t e r 5 F 1 0 7
When Escondido was first incorporated, the town’s law enforcement consisted of one man, who held the title of city marshal. In the
photo, Marshal Luther Culp, who served from 1910 to 1916, is directing traffic on Grand Avenue. By 1956, the number of all law
enforcement personnel stood at 15 but by 1986, the number had climbed to 125. Today there are 170 sworn police personnel, 93 nonsworn
support personnel, and 73 volunteers.
After the new adobe City
Hall at 100 Valley Boulevard
was built in 1938, a small
police headquarters and jail
were constructed, also of
adobe, north of and
immediately adjacent to the
City Hall. In this photograph
from 1955, motorcycle
officers are seen lined up for
inspection by the police
chief and the mayor behind
1 0 8 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
In 1976, a new one-story Police Department
headquarters, was built at 700 West Grand
Avenue, while Lester R. Lund was Chief of Police.
Plans had included a second floor but it was
eliminated when city officials realized it would be
too expensive, leaving two odd vertical features
rising from the roof. When Lund became chief in
1956, the total department personnel numbered
15 in all ranks, but the population skyrocketed
from 6,544 in 1950 to 64,355 in 1980 and the
need for more police officers to provide service
became obvious. By the time Lund retired in
1986, there were 125 employees. Escondido
Police Department Photograph.
In 1982, to accommodate increasing staff numbers, a second floor was finally added to Police Headquarters at 700 West Grand
Avenue and the look of the building was drastically different. It served for another 27 years until it was replaced in 2009 by a new
facility shared with the Fire Department Administration on Centre City Parkway. Escondido Police Department Photograph.
C h a p t e r 5 F 1 0 9
In 2004, Proposition P was passed by the
voters, providing $84.3 million to fund the
construction of several fire stations and the
construction of a $61 million combined state-ofthe-art
Police and Fire Headquarters building on
Centre City Parkway. Shown in this photograph,
groundbreaking for the 115,000-square-foot,
three-story headquarters on Centre City Parkway
at Decatur Way took place in September, 2006.
The building was fully operational by May 2010.
Escondido is the only city in the county that has its own
dispatch center for handling both police and fire emergency calls.
This photograph, probably taken in the 1980s, shows Zelda White
and Deanna Concannon at the far side of the room, handling
emergency calls when it was located at the 700 West Grand Police
Headquarters. Escondido Police Department Photograph.
Today’s communications center, located in the more spacious
Police and Fire Headquarters building, is staffed by 25
employees, working shifts to ensure that phones are answered
24/7 and 365 days per year. In the photo, Dispatcher Kim
Rodriguez is viewing one of the five computer monitors at her
station, typical for each of the dispatch stations in the center. In
2017, Dispatch answered more than 200,000 calls for service.
Escondido Police Department Photograph.
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A mounted police posse was formed by Police Chief Lloyd “Lefty” Mitchell in 1948, the first chartered mounted posse in the State of
California. The Posse continues a fine tradition today, a popular riding group in local parades, including the Pasadena Rose Parade in 2012.
At one time, Escondido’s small police force was bolstered by county deputy
sheriffs stationed here, primarily to serve at the County Courthouse, located on East
Valley Parkway. In October, 1958, Sheriff Deputy Neil Poole, who is pictured here,
was involved in locating two bodies left by Harvey Glatman, the notorious “Glamour
Girl Slayer,” in the desert east of Escondido.
C h a p t e r 5 F 1 1 1
In Escondido’s earliest days, the town marshal
would ring a hand bell along Grand Avenue when
smoke was detected, replaced by a large bell at
City Hall in 1892. Firefighting equipment
consisted of a two-wheeled cart with a garden
hose wrapped around a central cylinder, pulled
by anyone who could respond; the original cart is
shown in this photograph.
This 1914 Federal fire truck, with a maximum speed of twenty miles per hour, was the volunteer fire department’s first motorized piece
of equipment. When it was overwhelmed during a major fire that destroyed the Escondido Vineyard and Winery Company on the west
side of town in 1926, funds were allocated for a 1926 La France fire truck with a 500-gallon water tank. Leather helmets and canvas turnout
coats were purchased at the same time. In 1922, a 20-man volunteer fire department was established.
1 1 2 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
In 1939, the first fire station was constructed
on the north side of the year-old city hall. The
two-story structure included a brass pole to speed
the firefighters’ descent to the first floor. By 1953,
the former all-volunteer Fire Department had two
paid firefighters who alternated 24-hour shifts.
The position of fire chief wasn’t full time until
1958 when 18 full-time firefighters were hired
and a Fire Prevention Bureau was established.
This photograph was taken in 1987, the year
before the fire station was demolished along with
the old City Hall.
Brand new Cadillac ambulance, c. 1916, driven by Escondido resident, Charles B. Weseloh for the San Diego Health Department. Photo
provided by his grand-daughter, Jean Wold, who is currently serving along with her husband in the Escondido Fire Department.
C h a p t e r 5 F 1 1 3
In 1961, a new main fire station with administrative offices was built on Quince north of Valley Parkway. It was heavily
remodeled twice in its lifetime and demolished and replaced in 2008. By 1984, there were five fire stations in Escondido and two
more by 2009.
In addition to the new Police/Fire Headquarters, Proposition P funding also provided for the construction of three fire stations and for
the rebuilding of Fire Station 1 on Quince Avenue, which opened in September 2009. The 28,340-square-foot facility includes a state-ofthe-art
six-story training ground with tower.
The city’s first major fire occurred in 1929 when the first high school, then located at 3rd Avenue and Hickory Street, burned to the
ground. Flames could be seen from at least as far as Poway. Unfortunately, the new 1926 La France fire engine, now on display at Fire
Station 1, broke down and was unable to be used to fight the fire.
1 1 4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Working in an area completely surrounded
by wildland areas, Escondido fire crews have
fought numerous fires in rough terrain and with
development pushing outward from the city,
wildland/urban interface fires have meant
defending increasing numbers of homes located
there. The fire in this photograph, looking west,
shows a brush fire near Lake Hodges Dam in
Flame (below) was a tiny puppy who became
the last animal to be rescued from the tragic
Humane Society fire (right) in January 2001.
Approximately 85 animals were rescued
overnight, but Flame had been overlooked in
the darkness and wasn’t brought out from the
rubble until the following morning, 11 hours
after the fire had started. The tragic fire, which
killed at least 100 animals, garnered
international attention and Flame was featured
in an interview on the Today Show.
Adopted by the department’s Public Education Specialist, Flame made several
public appearances to teach fire safety behaviors before taking an early retirement.
The two-alarm fire was determined to have been the result of arson, although
an intensive investigation never uncovered the identity of the perpetrator. Flame’s
photo by Julia Escamilla.
C h a p t e r 5 F 1 1 5
The events of 9/11 deeply affected our nation, and Escondido mourned the loss of our own Juan Pablo Cisneros, a beloved 24-yearold
graduate of Orange Glen High School, who perished in the North Tower of the World Trade Center as a result of the terrorist attack.
In response to the unprecedented loss of emergency responders, a small group of Escondido firefighters climbed into a borrowed
motorhome with a supply of custom-printed T-shirts to sell and drove across country, collecting more than $250,000 from communities
along the way. When they reached New York City, the firefighters presented a check and connected personally with families and friends
of the firefighters who had perished. Shown in this photograph of the firefighters being blessed by the Police Department Chaplain are,
(from left to right) Chris Sovay, Chaplain Pat Kenney, Mike O’Connor, Eric Souza, Mike Bertrand, and Mike Diaz.
Escondido firefighter Pete Ordille, standing
upright in the center of the photograph, was
part of the Federal Emergency Management
Agency Urban Search and Rescue team from San
Diego, sent to New York City to work in the
aftermath of 9/11. Deployed from September 17
until October 8, they worked “the pile” in 12-
hour shifts. Pete Ordille photograph
1 1 6 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
The Witch Creek Fire of 2007 started east of Julian and
combined with the Guejito Fire in the San Pasqual Valley,
spreading nearly to the coast, and burning more than 197,990
acres and killing 2 people. The fires triggered the largest
evacuation in county history with more than 500,000 people
evacuated and a final total cost of $1.339 billion. The Witch
Creek and Guejito Fires were among twenty-one wildfires
burning in Southern California at the time. Escondido Fire
The largest structure fire in the city’s history destroyed four
four-story condominium buildings under construction in
downtown Escondido in 2007. The dry wood framing, much of
it still surrounded by scaffolding, burned explosively with 300-
foot flames and a 1,000-foot tall column of smoke visible from
as far as the coast. The active fire continued from early afternoon
until well into the night. A total of 100 firefighters responded
along with 25 engines, including all five of Escondido’s and 20
others from across North San Diego County. Damage was
estimated at $6 million. Troy Burlington photograph.
The city’s second four-alarm fire occurred in
2017 when the abandoned historic Talone’s meat
market and slaughter house on Hale Avenue, next
to the I-15 Freeway, burned to the ground and
presented a risk to the Sprinter light rail line.
Escondido Fire Department photograph
C h a p t e r 5 F 1 1 7
1000 BC-1700 AD
First people in area were the Kumeyaay Indians
1843 Governor Micheltorena granted Escondido Valley to
Juan Bautista Alvarado, who named the 12,653 acres “El
Rincon del Diablo.”
1846 Battle with Mexico fought at San Pasqual, December
1847 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
1850 California became a state
1855 After Alvarado died, his descendants started selling off
his land and Judge Oliver Witherby of San Diego began
buying portions of El Rincon del Diablo. It took him 10
years to purchase the entire ranch.
1884 Post office name changed from Apex to Escondido.
1885 The Thomas brothers came to California. Five of the
brothers, Jacob Gruendike, and seven others formed the
Escondido Land and Town Co. and purchased the
12,814-acre valley for $102,042.
1886 Construction began on the Escondido Hotel on the east
end of Grand Avenue. The University of Southern
California, with Methodist backing, was given land to
build a church on Grand Avenue and a seminary at 3rd
and Hickory. Graham & Steiner opened the first store in
town. The Escondido Times, a local newspaper, began
weekly publication. The Board of Trade was founded,
renamed the Chamber of Commerce in 1895.
1887 Construction of the Oceanside-to-Escondido railroad
line began in March 1887 and was completed in January
1888. The Lime Street School, in what would later
become Grape Day Park, opened. The first stagecoach
travelled between San Diego and Escondido.
1888 The City of Escondido was incorporated on October 8.
It consisted of 1854 acres.
1890 Population: 541. Escondido Irrigation District proposed
a $450,000 bond issue to build a reservoir.
1868 Nathaniel Harrison, a freed slave, homesteaded on the
side of Palomar Mountain. Witherby sold Rancho del
Diablo to John, Josiah, and Matthew Wolfskill and Ed
McGeary for $8,000.
1870 Zena Sikes built his adobe home (across Bear Valley
Parkway from today’s Westfield Shoppingtown,
1891 Grand Avenue, downtown, had at least 12 oil lights. The
Advocate, the second newspaper in town, began
1893 50,000 fruit trees were planted.
1883 Valley purchased by the Stockton Company, a group
formed by fifteen men from Central California. They
planted grapes next to the Escondido Creek. It rained
fifty inches which was too much for the grapes.
1 1 8 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
1894 Construction of Bear Valley Dam began. USC’s seminary
became Escondido High School.
1895 Bear Valley Dam completed. Water became available.
City’s first library built.
1900 Population: 755. Grove owners formed the Citrus
Union within the decade.
1901 Street lights were changed from oil to gas.
1905 The water bonds were paid off on October 31. Grand
Avenue received sidewalks.
1907 Two inches of snow fell in February and again in April.
A movie theater opened. Escondido High School
students dug a pool by hand, next to the school.
1908 The first official “Grape Day” was held on California
Admission Day, September 9.
1914 Palm trees were planted on Grand Avenue from the train
depot to Maple Avenue.
1915 Hotel Charlotta opened. Escondido Humane Society
1916 “Hatfield’s Flood,” 24.1 inches, ruins railroad tracks. No
trains in or out of Escondido for a month.
1917 San Diego Gas & Electric purchased the Escondido
Utilities Company and provided 24-hour service.
1918 Lake Hodges Dam was completed.
1920 Population: 1,789. Prohibition began, banning
manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol while
thousands of acres of grapes are being grown in Escondido.
1921 First service station started in town.
1909 Giant eucalyptus tree was planted in what will become
Grape Day Park. Local newspapers, the Escondido Times
and The Advocate, merged into The Times-Advocate.
1910 Population 1,334. The first electric service in town was
available on March 5 from sundown until 10:00 p.m.
The Lime Street School, the city’s first, was torn down.
Escondido Women’s Club was organized. Carnegie
Library replaced city’s first library.
1911 Natural gas became available. In December, William
Alexander bought the Escondido Land and Town
1912 Grand Avenue was fully paved.
1922 A 20-man volunteer fire department was established.
1923 Escondido Hotel, built in 1886, is torn down.
Escondido Hospital, the first in town, was opened on
Grand Avenue by six doctors.
E s c o n d i d o T i m e l i n e F 1 1 9
1924 Escondido Dam and Lake becomes Lake Wohlford.
Kiwanis and Rotary clubs form.
1927 Escondido High School moved into new building at the
corner of Hickory Street and 4th Avenue. The Masons
erected a flag pole in the middle of the street on Grand
at Broadway. The Felicita Pageant debuted.
1928 Escondido Fruit Growers divided into Escondido
Lemon Association and Escondido Orange Association.
First commercial avocados planted.
1936 WPA built an adobe band stand in Grape Day Park.
1938 Escondido celebrated its fifty-year anniversary. The
second City Hall, built of adobe, opened at Grand
1940 Population: 4,560.
1929 A. L. Houghtelin constructed a 50-foot-diameter
wooden tepee, which became a local landmark for
nearly 50 years. First Escondido High School burned
down. Lemon packing house opened.
1930 Population: 3,421. Post office began home delivery of
the mail. Many street names changed. The city’s Board
of Trustees changed their name to the City Council.
1931 Lake Hodges overflowed the first time.
1933 Charlotte Baker and Elizabeth Martin started the city’s
second hospital in a former egg and poultry business on
the west side of Lime Street, now Broadway, just north
of 2nd Avenue.
1941 World War II troops camped in Grape Day Park.
1944 Flagpole on Grand Avenue at Broadway was removed.
1 2 0 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
1945 Local lemon production reached a peak, with 1,159,039
field boxes. Railroad passenger service between
Escondido and Oceanside was discontinued.
1947 Escondido High School had its first night football game.
1948 Palomar Observatory was completed. Palomar Hospital
District was formed.
1949 Highway 395 opened through town.
1950 Population: 6,544. Highway 395 to San Diego was
opened. Palomar Hospital opened with 10 patients.
Cora Swingle was the first woman elected to serve on
City Council. The Ritz Theater was gutted by fire.
1951 The city’s first annexation added 8.7 acres to the city.
1952 Ups N Downs Roller Rink opened. Kay Owens started
Escondido’s only radio station, KOWN.
1955 After a construction flaw in Escondido High School was
discovered, the student body was divided, with some
attending a new campus on North Broadway. The rest
were taught in temporary classrooms on the original
1967 Four inches of snow fell in December. Patio Playhouse
1969 Kit Carson Park was dedicated.
1970 Population: 36,792.
1971 Dixon Dam and Lake were dedicated. City’s first
library building was moved from Grand Avenue to
Grape Day Park.
1956 New library at 3rd Avenue and Kalmia Street replaced
the Carnegie Library. The Escondido Historical Society
1959 Entire student body attended Escondido High School
together again at North Broadway site.
1960 Population:16,377. Lemon packing house closed.
1962 Orange Glen High School opened.
1964 Escondido Village Mall was built on East Valley
1966 Medians were added to Grand Avenue. The first
Escondido Drive-In opened.
1972 San Pasqual High School opened. San Diego Zoo’s Wild
Animal Park opened.
1974 Lorraine Boyce was the first woman to be elected mayor.
1976 New Police Headquarters was built at 700 West Grand.
Heritage Walk was established in Grape Day Park.
1977 Dixon Lake Recreation Area was dedicated. Escondido
Auto Park was built. The Tepee, a large wooden
structure and local landmark for nearly fifty years was
blown down by the wind.
1980 Population: 64,355.
E s c o n d i d o T i m e l i n e F 1 2 1
1981 Current library at Broadway and 2nd Avenue was built.
Escondido Auto Park opened. Escondido National Little
League All-Star team played in the Little League World
Series in Pennsylvania.
1982 Rube Nelson’s Country Corner grocery store closed.
2000 Population 133,630. Steve Waldron started the Cruisin’
1984 Santa Fe Depot was purchased from the Santa Fe
Railroad Company and moved to Grape Day Park.
2001 Escondido Humane Society in Kit Carson Park burned
down. Escondido Children’s Museum opened on Grand
1986 North County Fair Shopping Center (currently Westfield
North County), a regional shopping center, opened.
1988 Escondido celebrated its centennial. City personnel
moved into a new City Hall at the corner of Broadway
and Valley Parkway. Biannual Street Faire began.
1989 Downtown Farmers Market began in October
1990 Population: 108,635
1994 California Center for the Arts opened.
1995 East Valley Community Center opened. First Night
began December 31, 1995. Escondido Arts Partnership
1996 Grape Day Festival and Parade were revived. City
purchased Daley Ranch.
2003 Queen Califia’s Magical Garden by Nikki de Saint Phalle
opened in Kit Carson Park. In October, firestorms
raged. Mingei International Museum satellite opened
downtown. Escondido Humane Society opened new
facility on East Valley Parkway.
2004 Escondido Children’s Museum moved to Studio One at
the California Center for the Arts. “Vinehenge,” public art
that doubled as a playground opened in Grape Day Park.
2006 Escondido Historical Society celebrated its fiftieth
anniversary with a name change to Escondido History
2007 Witch Creek fire destroyed more than 200,000 acres
and caused two deaths. President Bush landed at San
Pasqual High School to tour the devastation. Paramount
Condominiums, under construction on Escondido
Boulevard, burned down.
1 2 2 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
2010 Population: 144,464 California State Polytechnic
University, Pomona developed plan for “Revealing
Escondido Creek” to create a linear park to ultimately
replace most of the flood control channel.
2008 Sprinter light rail system began running between
Escondido and Oceanside.
2012 The new 740,000-square-foot, 11-story Palomar
Medical Center on the west side of Escondido was
2013 The first leg of the Amgen Race of California started in
2014 Maple Street Plaza, a pedestrian mall with public art pieces
opens across from City Hall. For the first time, four of the
five City Council Members were elected from individual
districts with the mayor elected by all city voters.
2015 After more than 50 years, most departments in the
Palomar Medical Center downtown campus closed. The
Roynon Museum of Earth Science and Paleontology
opened to the public on Grand Avenue.
2009 Final stage of the Amgen Race of California brought
thousands of bicycle enthusiasts downtown.
2016 New agriculture-themed playground area opened at
Grape Day Park. EcoVivarium, a “living museum,”
featuring reptiles, amphibians, and arthropods opened
to the public.
2017 Talone’s meat market and slaughterhouse, vacant for
several years, burned down.
2018 Signage added to History Center’s Heritage Walk Buildings
and Grand Avenue receives a new “Escondido” sign.
2020 Like so many communities around the country, many
businesses, recreational hotspots and civic events also
faced hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
E s c o n d i d o T i m e l i n e F 1 2 3
Escondido is a city rich in history, zealous for innovation, and thriving with culture. As a regional destination, Escondido is loved
by everyone from hikers to vintners, car enthusiasts to animal lovers. Every time I visit Escondido, whether it is for a football game
or a Rotary meeting, I am welcomed by the friendly faces and inviting places that make this city so special.
Escondido’s unique blend of nostalgic history and vibrant future can be viewed as you walk or roll down Grand Avenue on a Friday
evening in June during Cruisin' Grand. Its deep ancestral roots can be discovered as you spend a Saturday hiking the trails of Daley
Ranch. The city’s abundant offering of nature is best experienced by spending an evening camping under the stars at Dixon Lake. And
the essence of the community can be felt as you trick-or-treat through the Old Escondido neighborhood on Halloween.
Arts and culture are alive in Escondido. Just take a stroll through the Escondido Arts Partnership Municipal Gallery during the
Farmers’ Market on a Tuesday or catch a performance by the students from A Step Beyond on the big stage at the California Center
for the Arts. Enjoy a Broadway-worthy production from Patio Playhouse this summer at Kit Carson Park Amphitheater or bring your
littlest ones to play and explore at the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum. My family has made so many incredible memories
with Escondido as our backdrop.
As you take the time to explore the jewel of the hidden valley through the pages of this book, I leave with you a quote by American
cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead. “A city is a place where there is no need to wait for next week to get the answer to a question,
to taste the food of any country, to find new voices to listen to and familiar ones to listen to again.” May you always cherish what you
love about Escondido and embrace what you may have never known.
Supervisor, San Diego County
Left: San Diego County Supervisor Kristen Gaspar.
Right: The San Diego County Board of Supervisors (from left to right): Greg Cox, District 1; Kristen Gaspar, District 3; Nathan
Fletcher, District 4; Dianne Jacob, District 2; and Jim Desmond, District 5.
1 2 4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Sharing the Heritage
P r o f i l e s o f b u s i n e s s e s ,
o r g a n i z a t i o n s , a n d f a m i l i e s t h a t h a v e
c o n t r i b u t e d t o t h e d e v e l o p m e n t a n d
e c o n o m i c b a s e o f E s c o n d i d o
Q U A L I T Y O F L I F E ...........................................................1 2 6
T H E M A R K E T P L A C E .................................................................1 6 6
B U I L D I N G A G R E AT E R E S C O N D I D O .......................................1 9 4
F A M I LY H E R I T A G E ...................................................................2 0 4
S h a r i n g t h e H e r i t a g e F 1 2 5
Carmichael & Sons’ General Store, February 1910.
1 2 6 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Quality of Life
H e a l t h c a r e p r o v i d e r s , f o u n d a t i o n s ,
u n i v e r s i t i e s , a n d o t h e r i n s t i t u t i o n s t h a t
c o n t r i b u t e t o t h e q u a l i t y o f l i f e i n E s c o n d i d o
The American Heritage Charter Schools ............................................1 2 8
Palomar Health ............................................................................1 3 2
Graybill Medical Group .................................................................1 3 6
Escondido History Center ...............................................................1 3 7
Escondido Union School District ......................................................1 3 8
Neighborhood Healthcare ...............................................................1 4 2
City of Escondido ..........................................................................1 4 6
The Grand ...................................................................................1 5 0
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego ..........................................1 5 2
Citracado Dental ..........................................................................1 5 4
Friends of the Escondido Library .....................................................1 5 6
North County Cemetery District ......................................................1 5 8
Rotary Club of Escondido ...............................................................1 6 0
Escondido Union High School District...............................................1 6 2
Assistance League ® of North Inland County .......................................1 6 3
Interfaith Community Services ........................................................1 6 4
Q u a l i t y o f L i f e F 1 2 7
Above: Setting the tone: Five bronze
statues salute the American flag at the
Below: “Coach” Dennis Snyder,
Founder & First Executive Director
In 1992 the California State Legislature
passed the Charter Schools Act, which allowed
the formation of independent public schools that
were free from many of the bureaucratic burdens
placed on regular public district schools. These
new independent public schools were
established to provide educational choice and
competition, encourage innovation in public
schools, and improve student achievement.
These new schools were also required to operate
under a ‘charter’ granted by the local school
district and are therefore commonly referred to
as ‘charter schools’.
In August 1996, under the guidance of Dennis
Snyder—referred to as “Coach” Snyder by
staff, students, parents and community members,
Escondido Charter High School (ECHS) received
its charter from the Escondido Union High
School District and began operating in a
business complex at 1855 East Valley Parkway,
Escondido, California with 62 students. From
the outset, ECHS focused on small class sizes
that provide academic excellence, back-tobasics
education (reading, writing, math and
science), technology/computer competency, and
character development based on traditional
American culture and values: honesty, integrity,
individual initiative, service to others, personal
responsibility and the entrepreneurial spirit.
ECHS has grown steadily since the beginning
by steadfastly maintaining its focus and
providing a solid, top-notch educational choice
for thousands of students.
Since 1996 “Coach” Snyder has assembled
outstanding teams of educators and has overseen
the expansion of the American Heritage Charter
Schools from its first school, ECHS, to now include
Flex Learning—9th to 12th grades; Heritage
Elementary Charter School—K to 6th grades;
Heritage Junior High Charter School—grades 7th
& 8th grades; and Heritage Flex Academy—K to
8th grades. “Coach” Snyder’s vision to provide
‘educational choice’ in the local public school
system has become a reality for students and their
families in and around Escondido.
The Escondido Charter High School is
committed to providing a safe and orderly learning
environment in which teachers are responsible for
implementing a curriculum based on the
fundamental skills that form the foundation of
learning: reading, writing, mathematics, and
computer skills. Accomplishment in academic
areas is stressed. In addition, the Escondido
Charter High School emphasizes the
understanding and appreciation of American
Civilization and United States History.
The Escondido Charter High School believes
that parents and the school share a dual
responsibility in developing the education plan that
will provide the individual student the opportunity
to succeed both as a scholar and as a citizen.
All the American Heritage Charter Schools
fill a very important role. The schools have
dedicated staff members who are committed to
helping students succeed. A safe, orderly and
secure environment is provided at all of the
schools and the staff members understand the
sacrifices that families make, and they support
the vital role that parents play as partners in
providing the education of the students.
The over-riding mission of the American
Heritage Charter Schools is to help prepare
students for a successful, meaningful,
productive life—whether it be continuing their
education, entering the workforce, joining the
military, or establishing a home. Upon
1 2 8 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
graduation ECHS students have been accepted
at top-rated colleges/universities. This mission
is accomplished by developing students with a
solid base of foundational knowledge, critical
thinking skills and previously listed positive
character traits stressing honesty, integrity,
personal responsibility and by instilling
traditional American ideals of hard work,
discipline and service that is necessary to
provide leadership in the community.
In addition to providing academic rigor, the
American Heritage Charter Schools provide a
full range of athletic opportunities as well as
many extra-curricular activities including a
Robotics Program, an Academic League Team, a
very active National Honor Society and a Civil
Air Patrol Cadet Squadron #714 that is a US Air
ECHS is known for its magnificent statues...The
life-size bronze statues on ECHS’ campus reinforce
our American history, culture and values.
• The Flag Raising—created by artist/sculptor
Phyllis Peuker Raynes of Valley Center—was
unveiled in August 2003 and displays respect
for our nation’s flag. As Raynes created these
five life-size, bronze figures, she gave a name
to each one: Penny, Roberto, Isabelle, Donald
and Edward. The first letter of each name
• Lincoln—created by world-renowned sculptor
Mark Lundeen of Loveland, Colorado, was
unveiled in February 2005 in the ECHS
courtyard in front of the school’s library. This
life-size, bronze statue shows Abraham
Lincoln holding a page from his famous
Second Inaugural Address.
Above: The Flag Raising figures show
respect for our flag.
Below: The statue of Lincoln holds a
page from Second Inaugural Address.
Q u a l i t y o f L i f e F 1 2 9
Above: The Spirit of ’76 painting
brought to life.
Below: A Patriot Day assembly
• The American Spirit—also created by
artist/sculptor Phyllis Peuker Raynes—was
unveiled in May, 2008 in front of the
American Spirit Theater on the ECHS
campus. These three life-size, bronze figures
celebrate the founding of our nation and
bring Archibald Willard’s famous painting,
The Spirit of ’76, to life. As Raynes created
each figure, she named them: Ulysses,
Samuel, and Adam. The first letters of their
names spell: “USA.”
American Heritage Charter Schools’
innovative programs provide a seamless
academic progression from kindergarten through
high school and accommodate the varying needs
of the student population.
• Escondido Charter High School (ECHS), 9th
to 12th grades, 1868 East Valley Parkway,
Escondido, California 92027
• Flex Learning, 9th to 12th grades,
463 North Midway Drive, Escondido,
1 3 0 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
• Heritage Elementary School, Kindergarten to
6th grades, 1855 East Valley Parkway,
Escondido, California 92027
• Heritage Junior High School, 7th & 8th grades,
2255 East Valley Parkway, Escondido,
• Heritage Flex Academy, Kindergarten to 8th
grades, 2269 East Valley Parkway, Escondido,
When Escondido Charter High School, the
flagship school for the American Heritage Charter
Schools, was established in 1996, the policies and
procedures were adopted by the founding Board
members: Neal Steinbeck, President, and Keith
Battle, Anita Powell and RoseMarie Crouch. The
school’s founder, “Coach” Dennis Snyder, was the
first Executive Director for ECHS and from the
beginning provided important leadership and
guidance and selected Ron McCowan to serve as
the first Director/Principal. The school’s ‘tone’ was
set! The vision for ‘improving pupil learning’
continues as the focus for all the schools with the
staffs and parents working together—
TEAMWORK—making a difference in the lives of
the students. From vision to reality—a reputation
of excellence has been established by the
American Heritage Charter Schools and continues
through the on-going dedication of the staffs,
students and parents.
School colors: Black, maroon and white
School mascot: White Tigers
School motto: “We will face any challenge with
strength and pride.”
For additional information about American
Heritage Charter Schools, call: (760) 737-3154 or
Below: Heritage Junior High School.
Q u a l i t y o f L i f e F 1 3 1
Above: Charlotta Baker Hintz and
Elizabeth Martin founded Escondido’s
first hospital in 1933.
Below: Palomar Memorial Hospital
opened on Feb. 16, 1950 with 37 beds
and 35 staff. The hospital grew to
more than 300 beds by 1976 and was
fully operational until 2016.
Palomar Health has a long and rich history
dating back to 1933 when a nurse and dietician
from Orange County lead a grass-roots effort to
establish Escondido’s first permanent hospital.
Those early roots sprouted into what is today
the largest public health district in California.
Through name changes, expansions, and facility
movements, Palomar Health has stayed true to
its roots by meeting the health and well-being
needs of a growing community.
Mrs. Charlotta Baker Hintz, a nurse and Miss
Elizabeth Martin, a dietician, life-long friends
from Friedensau, Germany, founded “Escondido
Community Hospital” in the fall of 1933 (North
County Inland’s first hospital) in a vacated egg
and poultry building at 125 South Broadway in
It originally began as thirteen beds but
quickly grew to twenty-five, leaving little space
to walk between beds and putting patients on
waiting lists. Newborns slept in cardboard cribs.
Emergency operations were performed on a
stretcher in the bathroom. Patients with
infectious diseases were placed next to noninfected
patients. By 1945, the community
realized it needed a new and expanded facility
to meet growing demand.
In 1945, a citizen’s group formed the
Escondido Valley Hospital Association and
began raising money to build a new hospital.
They set a goal of $150,000, about one-third the
cost of the building with the remainder to be
supplied by state and federal grants. They held
benefit dances, rummage sales, raffles, etc., and
raised the money in five months and eventually
identified the ideal property on a nine-acre hill
on Grand Avenue and Valley Parkway. The
property was purchased from Numerologist
Stewart Henderson for $12,965 (after offering
$20,000) because he looked on the new hospital
as representing LIFE. (The specific offer
corresponds to L being the 12th letter of the
alphabet, I the 9th, F the 6th, and E the 5th and
Henderson believed if he sold the land for
L-I-F-E it would bring him good fortune).
In 1948, two historic events took place in
Escondido: the completion of the Palomar
Observatory and through a vote of the people,
the formation of Palomar Health, the largest
public healthcare district in California covering
eight hundred square miles. Less than two years
later, the new hospital was constructed and on
1 3 2 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
February 16, 1950, ten patients transferred
from the hospital on South Broadway to
Palomar Memorial Hospital, named in honor of
local veterans who died during war. The thirtyseven
bed hospital would become an iconic
figure in the heart of Escondido for the next
almost seventy years. On opening day it had 35
employees, a monthly payroll of $9,000 and a
daily private patient room rate of $13.
The hospital grew in size with multiple
additions throughout the 1950s and ’60s to
keep pace with the population growth in north
San Diego. In 1970, the iconic nine-story
McLeod tower was constructed and by 1976,
total bed capacity reached 306. The district
opened its second hospital, Pomerado Hospital
in Poway, on June 29, 1977. In 1985, Palomar
Memorial Hospital received full designation as a
trauma center and was renamed Palomar
Medical Center in 1987.
As the region continued to grow and new
hospital building codes made retrofitting the
60-year-old facility a costly endeavor, Palomar
Health hosted a series of more than 200 town
hall meetings to discuss the future of healthcare
in north inland San Diego County. Ultimately
Proposition BB passed with nearly seventy
percent of voters saying yes to a bond measure
in November 2004 to construct a new hospital
in Escondido and upgrade existing facilities. In
August 2012, the district’s third hospital,
Palomar Medical Center Escondido, opened on
Citracado Parkway. The new 288-bed acute care
facility was known as “The Hospital of the
Future,” earning multiple awards for its quality
of care, architecture, technology, and small
carbon footprint. In June 2015, Palomar Health
decided to close the downtown campus and sell
the land to use for housing.
Two of the most prominent Escondido
physicians during the mid-twentieth century, and
activists to build a new hospital, were Dr. Martin
B. Graybill and Dr. Linus Adams. Dr. Adams
opened his practice in what is now Rosemary-
Duff Florist shop on Broadway and 2nd Avenue in
1931 next to the mortuary and what would
become Escondido’s first hospital.
Dr. Adams loved to practice “country
medicine,” his daughter, Edith Adams
Hillebrecht said, meaning doing a little bit of
everything. She says he had his own pathology
lab with a scope, operating room, x-ray machine
and three separate rooms for people who were
contagious. He had the same nurse, Lena, for
the entire duration of his practice.
Dr. Adams was instrumental in forming
the Escondido Valley Hospital Association to
raise funds for the new hospital and became
chief of the medical staff in 1956 during a
time when every physician in town took turns
doing shifts at the hospital. When he retired in
1965, a wing of Palomar Medical Center was
named for him.
Dr. Douglas Moir, a long-time Escondido
resident and respected cardiologist, began his
practice in 1975 and as of 2019 serves as the
Chair of the Palomar Health Board of Directors.
As a community activist, Dr. Moir was heavily
involved in the fundraising and promoting of
Proposition BB to build the “Hospital of the
Above: Escondido Community
Hospital opened in a vacated egg and
poultry building at 125 South
Broadway in downtown Escondido.
Below: Palomar Medical Center
Downtown, c. the 1970s.
Q u a l i t y o f L i f e F 1 3 3
Right: Dr. Doug Moir has been
actively involved in promoting the
health and well being of Escondido for
more than forty years as a
cardiologist and community activist
Below: Palomar Medical Center
Escondido was hailed as the Hospital
of the Future when it opened in 2012.
Future” on Citracado Parkway. Together with his
wife and friends, Dr. Moir also started one of the
first hospital pet visiting programs in the nation
at Palomar Health, Rx Pets (now known as
Palomar Paws) that became a national model.
Dr. Moir is a founding member of the California
Center for the Arts and the Escondido
Charitable Foundation and has been an active
philanthropist in the community. In 2018, the
North County Philanthropic Council awarded
Dr. Moir with the “Robert Krejci Standard of
Excellence Award” for his tireless effort to
promote and support the community.
Palomar Health provides comprehensive
coordinated care that extends from traditional
hospital services to the community and your
home. However, meeting the needs of the
community goes beyond the normal breadth
In 1991, Palomar Health committed to
helping survivors of sexual assault and child
abuse by founding Forensic Health Services
(FHS) to provide forensic medical evaluations
and evidentiary examinations to hold
perpetrators accountable. Today it serves more
1 3 4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
than a thousand victims of domestic violence
and sexual assault each year.
Palomar Health maintains industry-leading
standards as the only hospital-based home
health care provider in San Diego County
allowing patients to have peace of mind that
they will receive top-quality care in the comfort
of their home.
To uphold the mission “to heal, comfort and
promote health in the communities we serve,”
Palomar Health holds more than six hundred
free health education classes each year so
residents can make the best health care decisions
for their families.
Palomar Health is committed to supporting
the healthcare workforce of tomorrow by
operating the Pathmaker internship program
that provides hands-on opportunities for more
than 850 high school and college students
performing 165,000 internship hours every year.
Throughout the past eighty-five years,
Palomar Health has continued to meet the
needs of a growing community by providing
industry-leading health care close to home. In
that time, the physicians, nurses, technicians
and the entire workforce have been recognized
with numerous national awards and
designations including Centers of Excellence in
Orthopedics, Heart and Vascular Care,
Bariatrics, and Stroke care. The district
operates the only Level Two Trauma Center in
North San Diego County and one of
the busiest Emergency Departments in
California. In 2014, Palomar Health passed
Mayo Clinic’s rigorous evaluation process and
was named California’s first member of the
Mayo Clinic Care Network, bringing expertise
from this top-ranked hospital to the residents of
North San Diego County.
Palomar Health is as committed as ever to
heal, comfort, and promote health in the
community and be the health system of choice
for patients, physicians and employees for
generations to come.
The Pathmakers internship
program is developing healthcare
leaders of tomorrow..
Q u a l i t y o f L i f e F 1 3 5
Right: Dr. Martin Graybill.
Below: Graybill Medical Group’s office
at 225 East Second Avenue.
Escondido was a small town of just thirty-five
hundred residents when a young Dr. Martin B.
Graybill and his wife, Ruth, arrived in 1931. As he
later recalled for Escondido historian Frances Ryan,
“On Christmas Eve that year, Ruth and I stood on
a hill in West Escondido and saw the panoramic
view of Palomar Mountain covered with snow, the
beautiful greenery in all areas, and the beautiful
orange trees just below us. I said to Ruth, ‘This is
paradise. Here is where we should settle.’”
Thus began a decades-long legacy of healthcare
service to the community. In 1932, Dr. Graybill
and Dr. Henry C. Barron opened the first Graybill
Medical Office at 145 West Grand Avenue, on the
second floor of what was then Escondido Hospital.
During those early years, the physicians delivered
babies, performed surgeries, took turns covering
the emergency room at the hospital, and worked
as a team helping each other with a wide variety of
medical procedures. The Group remained in its
original location for more than two decades before
moving to a new building at 250 South Kalmia.
Economic development and a growing
patient base resulted in growth for the Group
and, eventually, a need for larger facilities. In the
mid-1990s, the Group relocated to a new multistory
medical office at 225 East Second Avenue.
Today, Graybill occupies nearly the entire
Today, Graybill Medical Group has locations
throughout North San Diego County plus
Murrieta and Temecula in Riverside County. It
provides more than 350,000 patient visits
annually. More than eighty physicians and
advanced practitioners offer the following services:
• primary care services, including family
medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics
• urgent care
• specialty care services, including cardiology;
ear, nose & throat; functional medicine;
gastroenterology; general surgery; orthopedic
surgery; sports medicine; and urology.
In 2020, as a result of the COVID-19
pandemic, the Group instituted enhanced safety
measures at all locations to avoid the transmission
of coronavirus. This included taking temperatures
of all who enter the premises, requiring the
wearing of facial coverings, encouraging social
distancing, and recommending the use of
telehealth whenever possible.
Dr. Graybill continued to practice medicine
until his death in 1979. His values of quality,
personalized health care remain the Group’s
guiding principles today.
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The Escondido History Center is a
non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. The
grass roots community organization was
formed in 1956 as the Escondido
Historical Society. Its purpose: to collect
photographs, artifacts, and documents.
In January 2006 the organization’s name
was changed to the Escondido History
Center. The History Center relocated
the city’s first library to Grape Day Park
in 1971 and it became the first
component of the Center’s museum.
The Escondido History Center has a photograph
collection of over 8,000 images of Escondido
and the immediate area, and a collection of over
30,000 artifacts that emphasizes items with a
clear connection to Escondido either by
manufacture or use. Much of the History
Center’s archival materials, including rare
books, manuscripts, maps and paper files are
currently on long term loan to the Pioneer
Room of the Escondido Public Library where
they are accessible to the public.
The Escondido History Center’s largest
accomplishment is saving a number of significant
buildings from destruction and moving them to
Grape Day Park where they now form our local
history museum. By visiting the Escondido
History Center, visitors gain an understanding of
Escondido’s history, and see how the city has
grown and changed since it was incorporated in
1888. The museum buildings represent the many
facets of our community: residential, agricultural,
business, transportation, and cultural life.
With the initiation of the museum, the
Escondido History Center began a period of
great growth and organizational progress which
continues through today. The History Center’s
many activities are as follows:
• operating a free public museum
• operating a working blacksmith and wheelwright
• providing blacksmithing and wheelwright
• providing access to research materials
• promoting local history through various
• conducting school tours and group tours
• producing a quarterly newsletter and other
• interpreting Escondido history through
exhibits, events and tours
• producing annual events such as the
American Heritage Car Show, Adobe Home
Tour, Grape Day Festival, and Movies in
• conducting monthly walking tours of
Above: A view of the Escondido
History Center from Broadway
looking west. The History Center is
comprised of six historic buildings
which include the 1895 Escondido
first library; an 1890 Victorian
country home; the 1907 Penner Barn;
the 1908 Bandy Blacksmith and
Wheelwright Shop; the 1888 Santa
Fe Depot; and a 1929 Pullman
Bottom, left: A major function of the
Escondido History Center is to
promote local history education to the
schools in the area. Volunteer, Norm
Barnhard, can be seen leading a
group of 3rd graders through the
Santa Fe Depot.
Bottom, right: Movies in the Park is
an annual event produced by the
Escondido History Center in
partnership with the City of
Escondido. Free to the public,
four family-friendly movies are
shown each summer attracting
hundreds of participants.
Q u a l i t y o f L i f e F 1 3 7
Above: Orange Glen School was built
quickly to replace Oak Glen School,
which was destroyed by fire in 1894.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE FRANCES RYAN
COLLECTION, ESCONDIDO PUBLIC LIBRARY
Below: Bus driver Jack Stoft and his
young passengers paused for a photo
in front of Escondido Grammar
School, located at Fifth Avenue and
Broadway (formerly Lime Street)
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ELOISE PERKINS
COLLECTION, ESCONDIDO PUBLIC LIBRARY
Escondido Union School District (EUSD) has
been a proud member of the community for more
than 135 years—well before Escondido became a
city in 1888. EUSD has been educating, nurturing,
and empowering the children of Escondido since
the 1880s, giving the district a strong sense of
community and commitment.
EUSD is hardly stuck in the past, however.
Serving nearly 16,000 children from preschool
through 8th grade, the district is a forwardthinking
community that believes in educating
and caring for the whole child—preparing them
for success in our neighboring Escondido Union
High School District, in college, and beyond.
From the district’s humble beginnings, at the
Little Rock Springs School, to our newest school
community, at Quantum Academy, EUSD has
grown and changed with the times.
Had a visitor from the future told Elizabeth
Judson, Escondido’s only teacher in the 1880s,
what was to come for the community’s schools a
century later and beyond, she likely would have
thought it the stuff of science fiction: Children
building robots, writing computer code, designing
presentations on handheld electronic devices,
taking instantly viewable photographs, making
movies. In the 1880s, no one would have guessed
that a woman would ever lead the school district.
But that did happen, in 2006, when Jennifer
Walters became superintendent.
Much of the work that today’s Escondido
students produce also would be recognizable to
nineteenth-century teachers. It’s just on a much
bigger scale. EUSD children grow fruits and
vegetables in large school gardens. They study
the local environment. They create art and make
music. They conduct science experiments. They
exercise and compete in sports. They write
stories, poems, and essays. They add, subtract,
multiply, and divide—albeit in a much more
thought-provoking manner than a century ago.
EUSD’s roots in the community are deep, and
it’s been a generous, give-and-take relationship
from the beginning. Residents in 1894 rallied to
rebuild a fire-stricken Oak Glen School into
what would become Orange Glen School—
thanks to the donation of orange trees from
orchard owner B.F. Dixon. In the 1930s and
1940s, the small neighboring districts of
Oakdale, Richland, and Rincon needed help
educating their children, and they were
added to the Escondido district. In 2014,
residents overwhelmingly supported the district
with the passage of a $182.1 million bond that
1 3 8 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
today is providing much-needed modernization
upgrades to our campuses.
Community partnerships give Escondido
students access to extraordinary enrichment
experiences. Today, EUSD is fortunate to call
more than two dozen organizations true
community partners in the education and care
of our students. These include—but are far from
limited to—an arts center, a state university, a
technology company, a museum, an orchestra,
health agencies, environmental organizations,
charitable foundations, youth agencies, local
government, and much more.
These partners aim to get our students out in
the field learning to protect our watershed. They
work to shade our kindergartners from the
bright Southern California sun. They raise funds
for innovative classroom projects like a
hydroponic garden. They enrich our students’
musical education experience. They support our
families with an extra layer of social-emotional
resources. These are parents and taxpayers who
support multimillion-dollar bonds to modernize
EUSD families want their children to have
opportunities that enrich their lives and are
relevant to the things they are learning. EUSD
students have opportunities that go beyond
reading, writing, and arithmetic. The district
achieves this by creating enrichment programs
with partners in the community. These programs
provide hands-on experiences in and outside the
classroom that would expose students to realworld
applications of the lessons they are learning
in science, math, art, music, and more.
One of those most valuable partners has been
the California Center for the Arts, Escondido,
(CCAE), which provides professional performance
space for our students as well as numerous arts
education programs. The crowning achievement of
this partnership is the annual smART festival. The
visual and performing arts showcase, which began
in 2013, is a flagship event for the district,
featuring thousands of pieces of art and numerous
band and theater performances. Its growth and
success is a testament to the partnership between
the district and CCAE.
In 2019, one of these programs was awarded
an Honorable Mention Inspire Award in the
Classroom of the Future Foundation’s annual
Innovation in Education Awards. That program,
“Protecting Our Watershed: Inquiry to Action,”
was spearheaded by an EUSD science educator,
who brought together The Escondido Creek
Conservancy, San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy,
and San Diego Zoo to give every 3rd-, 4th-, and
5th-grader hands-on field work experience.
This extraordinary field work also happens for
our middle-schoolers thanks to the Friends of
EUSD’s partnership with Escondido’s own
San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
supports our youngest learners and their
families, with field-work visits to the museum
and complimentary museum memberships so
students can return with their parents. The
Summer Scholars program with the Palomar
Above: Escondido Grammar School,
completed in 1910, also known as the
Fifth Avenue School. The two-story,
red-brick school was similar to its
predecessor, Lime Street School.
PHOTO COURTESY OF FRANCES RYAN
COLLECTION, ESCONDIDO PUBLIC LIBRARY
Below: First-grade teacher at Rose
Elementary, Stephanie Glanz was
honored as a “San Diego County
Teacher of the Year for 2018-19.” She
teaches in the same classroom where
she sat as a second-grader.
CREDIT: COURTESY OF ESCONDIDO UNION
Q u a l i t y o f L i f e F 1 3 9
1 4 0 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Family YMCA combines academic work with
enrichment activities. In addition to extra
academic support, students had the chance to
learn to swim and try other sports.
These partnerships support our children and
families beyond academics and focus on health
and well-being to ensure that students are ready
to learn when they arrive in class every day. With
school social workers, family liaisons, and
counselors in every school, backed by a stellar
intervention and Integrated Student Supports
team, our students and families are well-assisted.
The district’s community collaborative
partnership program, born as the award-winning
CARE Youth Project, has made a tremendous
impact on our students and schools. This project
earned a prestigious Golden Bell Award from the
California School Boards Association, and a
Public Health Champion Award from the County
of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency.
In 2015, EUSD was one of 11 school districts in
California to be designated as a model of
attendance improvement by the State School
Attendance Review Board.
These are just a fraction of the dozens
community partnerships of which we are proud
to be involved.
EUSD programs are admired near and far. The
Technology and Innovation team’s work is just
one example. Its iREAD program has been
modeled around the world, with educators from
Japan and New Zealand making repeat visits to
EUSD to learn more and replicate the program’s
success. Our technology initiatives continue to
grow, with one-to-one iPads rolling out across all
grade levels, accompanied by the highest level of
professional training for all teachers in order to
maximize the potential of this education tool.
This technology enhances the learning experience
for students, giving a boost to communication,
collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. It
comes as no surprise that EUSD is a three-time
recipient of the Apple Distinguished Program
award that recognizes innovation, leadership, and
Today, EUSD educators and support staff are
committed to opening the doors to the unlimited
potential for every student through award-winning
academic, arts, technology, and family engagement
programs. In EUSD, all means all when preparing
our students for the twenty-first century.
Opposite, top: Lincoln Elementary
students grow food in a hydroponic
indoor garden established by teacher
Melody Crook. Everything the
students harvest is used in the
COURTESY OF THE ESCONDIDO UNION
Opposite, middle: Del Dios Academy
of Arts and Sciences was established
as a specialty school in 2014. In
2018, the school unveiled a state-ofthe-art
STEM lab that was made
possible by a $100,000 grant from the
Northrop Grumman Foundation.
COURTESY OF THE ESCONDIDO UNION
It’s no wonder that so many of our students,
parents, teachers, and staff members are 2nd-,
3rd-, or even 4th-generation EUSD families.
One of EUSD’s award-winning educators
teaches in the very classroom where she sat
years ago as a 2nd-grader.
The Escondido Union School District is
dedicated to providing a high-quality, enriching
educational experience for all students. It is a
school district that is constantly moving forward
in an upward trajectory.
The sky is the limit for EUSD students, and
they are ready to tackle the world. See for
yourself: We encourage community members to
set up a visit to one of our beautiful campuses or
attend one of our festive events.
Opposite, bottom: EUSD was a
pioneer in using hand-held digital
devices to enhance learning and
instruction. By 2020, every student in
the district will be assigned an iPad to
use for classwork and homework.
COURTESY OF THE ESCONDIDO UNION
Above: EUSD boasts a robust visual
arts program, and students’
creativity is showcased at the annual
Left: Broadcast production programs
are in place at five middle schools and
numerous elementary schools in
EUSD, with students producing daily
and weekly news programming.
COURTESY OF THE ESCONDIDO UNION
Q u a l i t y o f L i f e F 1 4 1
It was 1969, the year that man landed on the
moon. The possibilities seemed endless and a
spirit of unity was foremost in the minds of local
Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong left a plaque
on the moon in July 1969 that said: “Here men
from planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon.
We came in peace for all mankind.”
If we could land on the moon, surely
concerned Escondido leaders could bring a
spirit of unity and collaboration to solve our
problems right here at home. A handful of
concerned Escondido citizens did just that by
opening Escondido’s first, free community clinic
in September 1969.
Thanks to the determined efforts of Dr. and
Mrs. Oliver Thomas, along with Dr. and Mrs.
William Boyce and others, the free clinic called
“Escondido Community Clinic” became a
reality. City volunteers paid the city one dollar
for a one-year “lease” for a building in
Once the clinic opened its doors, Dr. Thomas
began seeing patients at no charge for three days
a week and free healthcare was available for
anyone in need.
Why the need for a free clinic? It was quite
simple. Sick children who were missing school
could now get help and medication when
their parents could not afford to pay a doctor.
Adults could get care as well. Adults checking
into Palomar Hospital’s emergency room with
a toothache, the flu or a bad back now had
access to a new “medical home” at Escondido
Community Clinic and could avoid going to the
local emergency room.
Fifty years later, Neighborhood Healthcare
(Escondido Community Clinic) now boasts
sixteen health centers located throughout San
Diego and Riverside counties. Since that first
clinic’s opening in 1969, each successive decade
has brought more growth and diversification to
Neighborhood Healthcare, which incorporated
In the 1970s, the clinic acquired nonprofit
status, added volunteer dental services, and
moved into a new facility to allow more patients
to get care.
In the 1980s, the clinic’s services expanded to
include prenatal care for moms and babies. Tracy
Ream was named chief executive officer, the clinic’s
first full-time physician was hired and Saturday
hours were added. Because of the extraordinary
demand for its services, Neighborhood Healthcare
outgrew its original health center and renovated a
retail building on Elm Street in Escondido, thanks
to financial assistance from Palomar Health. The
center offered prenatal care, vaccines, and medical
services for those without health insurance.
Five new clinics—in Temecula, Pauma Valley,
Lakeside, El Cajon, and La Mesa—opened in the
1990s. In partnership with Palomar Health and
Escondido Women’s OB/GYN group, a nurse
1 4 2 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
midwife program for comprehensive prenatal,
deliveries, and postpartum care for low-income
women was initiated in 1995. The same year, an
adult medicine office in Escondido specializing in
care for the HIV population was opened under
the expertise of Dr. Daniel Harrison, an internal
medicine doctor who specialized in treating the
exploding population of HIV positive individuals.
In 2002, Neighborhood Healthcare merged
with East County community health centers
in Lakeside, El Cajon, and La Mesa and was
designated to receive federal funding. In
response to the increased demand for geriatric
services, Neighborhood Healthcare purchased
and renovated a building in Escondido to serve
older adults in 2008.
The next decade brought further growth and
accomplishments for Neighborhood Healthcare.
In 2016, the organization successfully
completed a $3-million campaign for the Gold
Family Health Center in Poway. This milestone
was celebrated with a groundbreaking ceremony
and, in 2018, The Gold Family Health Center in
Poway opened its doors.
Meanwhile, Tracy Ream retired as CEO in
November 2017 after thirty-one years of
service. The Board of Directors named Dr.
Rakesh Patel as her successor. Dr. Patel worked
at Neighborhood Healthcare for fifteen years
prior to his appointment as CEO. He began
working as a family physician in 2002,
spending much of his time caring for the
Middle Eastern refugee population seeking care
at Neighborhood Healthcare, El Cajon. Over
the years, he had moved into more
administrative leadership roles.
“I am honored to be part of an organization
where hearts still guide our mission and where
I am supported by the hardest working and
most compassionate employees, leadership and
board of directors out there,” said Dr. Patel.
“Our mission is to improve the health and
happiness of the communities we serve by
providing high-quality healthcare to all,
regardless of situation or circumstance has
never changed in fifty years. That’s what makes
the relationship we have with the communities
we serve so special.”
During Tracy Ream’s remarkable tenure, she
led a nonprofit community healthcare agency
that transformed from a tiny office provided by
Neighborhood Healthcare builds
lifelong relationships. A patient as a
child, this young woman (left) is now
employed with us as a nurse. We are
Q u a l i t y o f L i f e F 1 4 3
Above: Breaking ground for the Gold
Family Health Center.
Below: Growing access to quality
healthcare for the community.
the City of Escondido for a dollar’s rent per year
to a two county, 14-site health system serving
67,000 low-income and uninsured patients and
comprising some 271,000 medical, dental and
behavioral health visits a year.
Since its inception, Neighborhood Healthcare
has been committed to providing quality
healthcare and promoting wellness to everyone in
its communities. Over the years, Neighborhood
Healthcare has expanded its services to include
not only medical care, but also dental, behavioral
healthcare, chiropractic care, acupuncture care
and podiatry. In addition, various educational
programs to encourage healthy lifestyles are
offered as well as teen wellness clinics. This
program helps local teenagers address healthcare
1 4 4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
issues and includes screening for depression.
Teens discuss traits of healthy relationships and
staff teach interested students how to prepare for
a college education.
Neighborhood Healthcare now operates 16
health centers in two counties, cares for 66,500
patients, employs 720 staff members, and has
an operating annual budget of $75 million.
Clearly, the little neighborhood clinic has
grown up quite nicely. And, in 2019,
Neighborhood Healthcare celebrates an
enduring milestone—fifty years of healing and
hope to its neighbors in need!
Top: The generous support of the
Escondido community has allowed
Neighborhood Healthcare to grow to
16 health centers serving 66,500
patients each year.
Middle: The annual Pace Setter Gala.
Bottom: Celebrating fifty years
Q u a l i t y o f L i f e F 1 4 5
The City of Escondido’s rich past brings
charm and stability to the community. You can
see it in the historic homes of Old Escondido or
experience it in the thriving downtown area and
the weekly blast from the past, “Cruisin’ Grand.”
Yet integrated with Escondido’s treasured
heritage is a progressive future, bright and
brimming with promise. New jobs, new cultural
amenities, new entertainment venues, new
choices for residential living, and a new vision
for Escondido’s future make Escondido a safe,
clean, and efficiently run city.
Incorporated in 1888, Escondido is a fullservice,
general-law city with four Council
Members elected by district, and a Mayor
elected at large. These elected officials create the
policy that shapes the City while navigating
challenges and prioritizing the safety and
quality of life in Escondido. The City operates
under the Council-Manager form of government
1 4 6 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
that combines the strong political leadership of
elected officials in the form of a Council with
the strong managerial experience of an
appointed local government manager.
More and more people are making
Escondido their “City of Choice.” As the heart
of San Diego’s North County, it is one of the few
remaining communities where people of all
income levels can enjoy the Southern California
lifestyle. Escondido offers attractive homes in a
wide range of prices, education options from
grade school to university, two lakes, several
parks, a sports center, golf courses, restaurants,
breweries and wineries, shopping centers, an
established auto park, comprehensive
healthcare and the nearby San Diego Zoo’s
Safari Park. In addition, our beautiful local
theaters bring world class entertainment to the
area at the California Center for the Arts,
Escondido, Patio Playhouse, the Amphitheater
at Kit Carson Pak, and the Welk Theater. Queen
Califia’s Magical Circle sculpture garden was
donated by late internationally renowned artist
Niki de Saint Phalle and opened in Kit Carson
Park in 2003.
In recent years Escondido was named
by Money Magazine as the “Best Place in
the West” in which to retire and, at the
other end of the spectrum, was named a
“Kid-Friendly City” for our broad range of
Q u a l i t y o f L i f e F 1 4 7
1 4 8 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
youth programs. Ladies Home Journal also
ranked Escondido number eight among the
“Top Ten Cities for Government.”
The Escondido City Council adopted a
Council Action Plan in 2000 to provide a
comprehensive road map for achieving goals.
The City Council Action Plan represents the
City Council’s collective vision for Escondido’s
future and the key strategies that will be used to
achieve that vision. It is developed biennially
following a workshop where key policy
interests are identified and discussed by the
City Council, City staff and the public. City staff
then work collaboratively to make sure the City
Council’s goals remain a top priority across all
departments. The current Council Action Plan
is focused in four areas:
Economic Development—A key priority for
the Escondido City Council is to ensure the
City’s business community thrives. Staff have
expanded Escondido’s Comprehensive
Economic Development Strategy to target
specific geographic areas based on factors such
as demographics and emerging trends. To keep
Escondido positioned as a business forward
community, the City has partnered with the
other five cities in the North County region
along the Highway 78 Corridor to form
Innovate 78 to collaborate as a hub for
innovation. Escondido strives to maintain a
strong relationship with business groups in
the City including, the Escondido Chamber
of Commerce, the Downtown Business
Association, and the Mercado Business District.
Fiscal Management—The City of Escondido
weathered the Great Recession that began in
2007. During that time, the City reduced
government size, improved efficiencies, and
streamlined regulations. Because it proactively
responded to the economic downturn, the City
now boasts a bond rating of AA- and has built a
General Fund reserve surpassing $17 million. In
an effort to continue to protect the City’s fiscal
health, the Escondido City Council has started
to contribute surplus funds to the employee
Neighborhood Improvement—A key priority
for the Escondido City Council is enhancing the
quality of life in the City. Strategic goals have
been set to improve our neighborhoods:
increasing proactive code enforcement staffing
and activity, aggressively addressing issues
related to homelessness, improving traffic flow,
rehabilitating pool and recreation facilities, and
developing more opportunities for youth.
Public Safety—Escondido is a full-service
city with our own police and fire departments,
and providing top notch public safety services
is central to our mission. In the past few years,
the City has developed unique and effective
strategies to partner with the community to
enhance public safety. These programs—
the Neighborhood Transformation program
(NTP) and the Neighborhood Enhancement,
Awareness and Training (NEAT) program are
thriving and creating a strong sense of
empowerment in the City’s neighborhoods.
Escondido continues to be a great city in
which to conduct business, to explore, and to
Q u a l i t y o f L i f e F 1 4 9
Above: The site of The Grand,
c. the 1950s.
Below and opposite page: The Grand
Opening, October 2020.
THE HISTORIC RITZ THEATER
The cultural heart of Escondido has always
been on Grand Avenue, and for much of the
city’s early history, an icon of Grand Avenue was
the Ritz Theater. Originally built in 1937 by Mr.
and Mrs. John Johnson, the historic theater was
once a vibrant place of community life in the
early-mid 20th century until 1951 when a fire
gutted the interior. It reopened in 1954, but
struggled and eventually even became an X-
rated movie house in the early 1970's called the
Pussycat Theater. After being shut down for a
time, the theater was reopened with family films
in 1976 and renamed the Bijou Theater, but the
venture failed. The theater was remodeled again
in 1981 and featured Spanish language films. In
1993, the theater was renamed once more as the
Big Screen Theater and showed art films, but
that did not last long. In 2003 the theater was
once more called by it’s original name the Ritz
Theater, but the double bill only lasted nine
days and the theater closed, remained vacant for
over 15 years.
In 2018, New Vintage Church, a local nondenominational
church led by Pastor Tim Spivey,
launched an exciting, fresh project to restore the
Ritz and redevelop the adjacent corner building
into a stunning new performing arts complex and
community events venue, called The Grand. This
reimagined and fully renovated space would not
only function as a theater, but now serve multiple
uses, bringing new people, vibrancy and cultural
activity back to the heart of Escondido.
Working closely with a world-class team of
architects, city council and planning officials, as well
as the Escondido Historical Society,
Pastor Spivey and his team were very
intentional about honoring the historic
significance of the original Ritz Theater,
utilizing the art-deco elements that are
reminiscent of the theater’s golden era,
including a newly commissioned mural
by esteemed artists Darren LaGallo and
Chandler Woods. The result was a
beautifully expanded and enhanced
structure, including the iconic corner
blade sign that is now a landmark,
making this one of Escondido's most
significant buildings in the same style as
the California Center for the Arts and
1 5 0 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
A GRAND NEW ERA
The new Grand building opened Fall of
2020. The renovation included a fully updated
Ritz, with the addition of state-of-the-art
lighting and sound and a 477-seat theater that
accommodates not only movies, but also
includes the addition of a stage for live
performing arts productions and concerts. A
mezzanine level was also added to the theater
space to provide a versatile event and cabaretstyle
Interior design pay homage to some of the
original design elements, including decorative
seat ends similar to the original 1937 theater
seats. Whether showing vintage films, featuring
civic youth orchestra, or showcasing the
developing talents of young theater performers,
this theater is once again the cultural heartbeat
Additionally, The Grand features 20,000
square feet of public gathering and event
spaces, including the only rooftop patio venue
of any kind on Grand Avenue and Manzanita
Roasting Company, a nationally recognized craft
coffee café, owned and operated by Samantha
and Weston Nawrocki. These beautiful spaces
bring people from all over the region together to
connect and celebrate. Part of the Grand design
was to provide classy, high-end gathering spaces
that help build Escondido’s reputation as an
event and recreation destination.
Finally, The Grand remains the home and
primary worship space for New Vintage
Church. While it will never resemble what
most people think of as a traditional church
building, Pastor Spivey believes this facility to
be the kind of endeavor that churches of the
future will need to grow and thrive. “We
believe that the gospel of Jesus restores,” states
Pastor Spivey, “not only individual lives, but
communities and cities. The idea that the
gospel can restore life, beauty, art, culture,
education, and community back into this
prominent and visible historical corner is part
of what we believe God is calling us to do. This
corner of Grand Avenue, both its location at
the heart of our city marketplace and its
cultural significance as a historic theater, is an
ideal location for our church to make a
Q u a l i t y o f L i f e F 1 5 1
BOYS & GIRLS
Above: Historical and current photos of
the Conrad Prebys Branch Clubhouse.
Below: Pool builder Bruce Dunn
makes a splash with Club kids
during the Baker Branch pool
In 1954, Escondido resident Lefty Mitchell,
sought to provide a place where boys could
gather for constructive activities after school. As
chief of police, Mitchell saw a need for youth
guidance and started the Escondido Boys Club
with the support of several business and
The Boys Club quickly became a second
home that instilled morals, gave members a
sense of responsibility and hope for a better
future. Six years after seeing the influence of The
Boys Club, Soroptimist International opened the
Escondido Girls Club to serve girls in the area.
Through the course of twenty-seven years,
the Boys Club added a gymnasium, a child
development program, and a teen center. Due to
changing demographics, which resulted in
families with both parents working, the two
organizations combined in 1981 to create the
first merged Boys Club & Girls Club in San
Diego County. In 1989, the organization opened
a second clubhouse in Escondido—the Neville
& Helen Baker Family Branch. The club
currently operates multiple school and public
housing based sites in the community.
Today, the Conrad Prebys Escondido Branch
is part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San
Diego. The organization’s largest clubhouse, it
serves over 1,200 youth annually, with its two
gymnasiums, ball field, computer lab, dance
studio, and arts room. The branch offers youth
the opportunity to explore sports, technology
and the arts. Through after school programs and
day camps, the club promotes the social,
emotional, mental, and physical development of
school age boys and girls. The Club also
provides licensed child care for children, ages
six weeks through six years.
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In its 65 years of service, the Boys & Girls
Clubs of Greater San Diego have impacted
over 100,000 children and has mentored
influential community members such as renowned
wildlife artist Joe Garcia, NFL quarterback
Sean Salisbury, television actor Randy Vasquez,
PGA golfer Mark Wiebe, and State Senator
The Albert & Wilma Wilson Ball Field
opened in 2016.
Q u a l i t y o f L i f e F 1 5 3
JUNGMAN, DDS, FAGD
Above: Dr William Randy Jungman
and Dr Julie Kangas in the late
Below: Dr Robert D. Jungman and
son Dr William Randy Jungman with
the senior Dr.’s first dental office door
from Iowa, celebrating the completion
of their current, Citracado Dental
Opposite page, top and middle: The
Citracado legacy continues with two
of Dr Jungman and Dr Kangas’ sons
now a part of the dental
practice. Shown in this 2019 photo
are (from left to right) Dr. Robert
Jungman, Dr. Julie Kangas, Dr. Wm.
Randy Jungman, and Dr. Nicolaus
Opposite page, bottom: (From left to
right) Eagle Scout Nick Jungman,
Eagle Scout Brian Jungman, proud
mom Dr. Julie Kangas, happy dad Dr.
Randy Jungman, Eagle Scout David
Jungman, and Eagle Scout Dr. Robert
There is no greater example of a legacy
family dental practice in San Diego County
than Escondido’s Citracado Dental Group.
Founded by second generation dentist, Dr.
William Randy Jungman in 1980, he followed
his father and brother into dentistry. Dr. Randy
met the love of his life, Dr. Julie E. Kangas, and
they married upon her 1981 graduation, also
The dental legacy began with Dr. Robert D.
Jungman (University of Iowa-1947). Practicing
a few years in West Des Moines, he was called to
Korean War duty as a U.S. Navy dentist.
Stationed in San Diego, which he loved,
discovering that “winters are optional” here. Dr.
Randy Jungman spent time in his father’s office
and saw that this profession offered him a
perfect mix of serving in healthcare, getting to
know people on a personal level, and using his
loves for art and science. Dr. Jungman’s older
brother, Dr. Greg Jungman, moved to Colorado
Dr. Randy Jungman opened his first office in
a tiny building on Broadway. After working
opposite days with his wife and dental partner,
they moved to the Del Norte Plaza in 1985. By
the early 1990’s it was apparent that the
personalized dental care provided by Dr.
Jungman & Dr. Kangas was successful beyond
their imagination. They were fortunate to be
able to build a larger and more modern office. In
1996 they moved into their third and final
location for Citracado Dental, on El Norte
Parkway. This mission style building was
designed by a college friend, architect Art Sturz
of Santa Barbara. Designed from the inside out,
it accommodates all the modern and
technological advances that are needed today, in
a very timeless and comfortable office.
Doctors Jungman and Kangas have been
continually busy seeing patients, and growing
their dental practice. They have always had a
personal commitment that dental care be
available to as many in our community as
possible. This has included extended hours and
Saturdays. In addition to the Jungman and
Kangas family, Citracado has had other long
term associates to provide their same level of
care. They maintain a team of skilled dental
hygienists, and are committed to their patient’s
preventive health. Additionally, they provide the
specialty services of a periodontist and an
endodontist to provide complete family
dentistry in their office. They value their long
term staff, and know patients love seeing their
familiar faces when they come in. Citracado
Dental has over 150 Five Star Google reviews
from their wonderful and thoughtful patients.
1 5 4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Citracado Dental has continued to stay at the
forefront of dentistry. They offer “same day”
crowns, 3-D x-ray technology, as well as
Invisalign orthodontics and dental implants in
our office. Among their newest professional
services offered are dental sleep apnea appliances
and saliva DNA testing for advanced periodontal
care and total health dentistry. Their love for
dentistry was passed on to their children, as two
of the four sons followed them into dentistry. Dr.
Robert W. Jungman (named after his grandfather)
graduated from the UCLA School of Dentistry in
2012, and after a residency at UCLA, he joined
the practice. He is now a partner and the clinical
director. Dr. Nick Jungman graduated from USC’s
School of Dentistry in 2018, like his parents, and
after completing his residency in Santa Barbara,
he joined the practice as well.
They have also been very involved with the
Escondido community from the beginning. Dr.
Jungman has become and remained very
involved with the Escondido Jaycees, The Boys
& Girls Clubs and the Boys Scouts of America.
Dr. Kangas is active in the American Business
Woman’s Association and is a Chamber of
Commerce Ambassador. They are proud parents
of four Eagle Scouts.
The doctors and team of Citracado Dental are
committed to providing the highest level of care
in a comfortable and affordable manner. From
our family to yours-we promise to always treat
you like family!
Q u a l i t y o f L i f e F 1 5 5
FRIENDS OF THE
Above: Jean Farke (left) and Marjorie
Vaile, members of the Steering
Committee for the Friends of the
Library in 1970.
The Friends of the Escondido Library
2018-2019 Board of Directors. Seated
(from left to right): Patricia Crosby,
library director; Mary Roy, secretary;
Jim Tisdale, vice president; Elmer
Cameron, president; and Cookie
Allen, library volunteer coordinator.
Standing (from left to right): Directors
Linda Faulkner, Marlene Hoover,
Georgia Chonko, Marge Kelley, Linda
Parker, and Judy Tisdale; and Linda
Atkinson, shop coordinator. Not
shown: Christel Luther, treasurer.
Friends of the Escondido Library began with
a seven-member steering committee of local
citizens who agreed to handle details of
organizing this group. Dorothy Flessa chaired
the committee and the charter meeting of
the Friends was held June 7, 1970, at which
time forty-four charter members adopted
the organization’s constitution and bylaws.
Richard Kornhauser served as president for
the initial 1970-71 term. Graham Humphrey
At that time, the 6,000-square-foot library,
built in 1956, was located at Kalmia and
Third Avenue. It is now the library’s Pioneer
Room which houses its collection of local
Escondido history and genealogy research
materials. The current two-story, 40,000-
square-foot library on the same block was
built in 1980 and underwent a major renovation
The Friends held their first of many book
fairs and sales October 28, 1972, earning about
$450. Most of the items for sale were discards
and duplicate books weeded from the Library’s
existing collection. In April 1973, Friends
volunteers began manning a small area within
the old Library on the first Friday of each month
to sell books and records. That little area grew
into a small shop.
Now, approaching 50 years from the Friends
founding, a current 11-member Board of
Directors administers the Friends of the Library
and membership averages about 300 people,
with some 50 volunteers helping to operate the
shop. The Friends Book Shop occupies a
prominent space inside the library and is open
forty hours a week.
The shop is stocked with books, magazines,
CDs, DVDs, and more, all donated from
residents of the community. Books are priced
very reasonably all the time, and half-price sales
are held in the shop almost every month.
Proceeds from the shop consistently average
about $75,000 a year which allows the Friends
1 5 6 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
to provide college scholarships to dedicated
staff employees, and to sponsor a host of
library programs that serve all ages of the
community. We support a very active and
progressive library and just some of these
programs are listed below.
Every year, the Summer Reading Challenge
enrolls hundreds of patrons in all age groups.
Youth Services Division presents BabyLapsit for
newborns to toddlers to enjoy great books, fun
songs and rhymes; The Toddler Tales program
shares bilingual stories and songs; Inclusive Art
Club where children of all ages and abilities
enjoy stories and create art from favorite
pictures books; Rhymes and Reading Storytime
aimed at preparing preschoolers to enter
kindergarten; Knights Realm Chess Club for
ages 6-12; Paws for Reading for children to read
aloud to Certified Pet Therapy Dogs and
improve their reading skills; an occasional PJ
Storytime where kids come to the library in the
evening in their pajamas and bring their favorite
stuffed animal to listen to some great stories,
and a Sci-Fun Science Club offering cool science
experiments for kids, taught by a retired
scientist. A big hit is the annual John Abrams’
Animal Magic program.
Teen programs include a Burritos & Books
reading club; TeenTasticFunTime arts & crafts;
Safe Space Escondido for ages 12-17 in a safe
and friendly space to be yourself, meet new
people, and participate in craft activities; Virtual
Reality at the library for teens and adults to
interact with unusual creatures and explore
familiar and otherworldly landscapes.
Adult programs include a very popular Winter
Concert Series of professional musicians;
Escondido Writers Group; Rincon Literario
Bilingual Book Club; Second Tuesday Book Club;
two Adult Graphic Novel Clubs; Book Club in a
Bag program; and a variety of occasional events
like (Halloween) Boos & Booze to learn about
brewing craft beers, and a Succulent Swap for
gardeners and gardeners-to-be.
Above: The Friends of the Library
Below: Attendees line up in the
Children’s Library area in anticipation
of the Animal Magic program.
Q u a l i t y o f L i f e F 1 5 7
The North County Cemetery District—a
consolidation of the Escondido Cemetery
District and the San Marcos Cemetery District—
was formed in 1984. This combined the
resources of the two districts to provide a higher
level of service and to standardize the policy and
prices for residents and taxpayers of the district.
The roots of the North County Cemetery
District can be traced all the way back to the late
1800s. In fact, the first recorded burial in
the area occurred in 1878. With the death of
Charles Thomas (part of the family which
established the Escondido Land & Town
Company) eleven years later, the Oak Hill
Cemetery was officially established. The
Escondido Land & Town Company deeded
thirty-four acres of land along the southeast
border of Rincon Del Diablo for use as a
“Back then, the location was quite a distance
from town,” said Dennis Shepard, general
manager of the District Office. “Of course, the
town has grown quite a bit since then. Our site
has grown from 34 acres to 150 acres.”
The Oak Hill Cemetery Association, a
voluntary group, was formed in October of 1889
to administer the cemetery. Many local
volunteers assisted. Albert Bandy constructed a
decorative archway for the entry gate which
remains to this day.
Oak Hill Memorial Park is a public owned
cemetery, paid for by a specific population
through their taxes. The North County
Cemetery District administers the cemetery and
is governed by a five-member Board of Trustees.
The district consists of two cemeteries—Oak
Hill Memorial Park on Glen Ridge Road in
Escondido and San Marcos Cemetery on
Mulberry Drive in San Marcos.
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“We provide a history of service to the
community,” said Shepard, who has served with
the district in two different capacities since
1991. “The individuals involved with the
district are members of the community who
have helped the community grow.”
One constant remains. Community residents
value their cultural and family histories.
“During services or watching people visiting
their families here, you can’t help notice the
tremendous pride they have in family heritage,”
Serving its community and providing
outreach within the community is very important
to the North County Cemetery District.
“We do our best to positively impact our
community,” said Shepard. “We partner with the
Allied Veterans Council of Escondido for a
Memorial Day service. We also partner with
other organizations, such as the Audubon
Society, whose members stop by on a regular
basis. Our location is ideal for birdwatching.
Then, there are those people who like to visit
the grounds to take walks every day.”
Each Memorial Day at Oak Hill, a special
service is held to honor American war dead. The
service features an avenue of flags, ritual of the
flowers and a roll call of the current year’s
That’s not the only special event to be held at
the cemetery. In 2004, the cemetery introduced an
event in late October called “Echoes of the Past.”
Organized by the Escondido History Center, its
purpose was to breathe life into memory by
selecting some of the decedents and having actors
portray them for visitors. Dressed in period
clothing, the actors were coached to accurately
interpret the individuals being depicted. The event
attracted residents to one of Escondido’s beautiful
landmarks and generated pride and interest in the
community’s unique history and heritage.
Clearly, Oak Hill Memorial Park has done its
part to positively impact the community it serves.
But, it is always a work in progress. The past
copings surrounding family plots, the windmill
and reservoir, and some roads have been either
removed or changed. Now, a lake and niche area
is on the west side and Babyland is gently tucked
on the east corner. In the future, Oak Hill will
have features for a scattering garden, a committal
center for ceremonies and family gathering.
Irrespective of design, Oak Hill Memorial Park
will continue to represent the community.
Q u a l i t y o f L i f e F 1 5 9
The members of the Rotary Club of
Escondido in 1959.
Rotary is an organization of business and
professional men and women united worldwide
who provide humanitarian service, encourage
high ethical standards in all vocations and help
build goodwill and peace in the world.
The first organizational meeting of the Rotary
club of Escondido was held at the Lake Hodges
Restaurant in March of 1924. Club 33 of San
Diego sponsored the chartering of the
Escondido Club on October 20, 1924. The charter
membership of the club consisted of 25
Escondido business and professional leaders
including bankers, farmers, businessmen, a
newspaper editor, a doctor, dentist, lawyer,
pharmacist, and school superintendent. In
November of 1924 the club held its first meeting
at the Vale View Restaurant just east of 9th
Avenue. Today, no less than 10 North San Diego
County Rotary Clubs claim the Rotary Club of
Escondido as their sponsor.
At the time of the Rotary Club’s chartering in
1924 Escondido’s population of 3,000 inhabitants
enjoyed a prosperous city whose major
crops were grapes and a growing citrus industry.
Escondido had incorporated October 8, 1888,
and annually celebrated a Grape Day Festival
every September 9th, California Statehood Day.
The event drew thousands of people from
around the area, some arriving by train from
Oceanside. The only parade with more entries
in Southern California was the famous Rose
Parade in Pasadena.
The Rotary Club of Escondido and its members,
as do all Rotary Clubs, believe that the
objective of Rotary is to “encourage and foster
the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise.”
There are four areas by which this “ideal
of service” is fostered: through the development
of acquaintance as the opportunity for service;
the promotion of high ethical standards in business
and professions; through service in one’s
personal, business and community life; and the
advancement of international understanding,
goodwill and peace.
Over the years since the Chartering in 1924,
the Rotary Club of Escondido has built and
maintained strong Community and
International ties. Throughout the years
Community Service Grants through the Club’s
501(c)(3) Escondido Rotary Foundation have
contributed millions of dollars to several
Escondido non-profits and charitable organizations
including scholarships given to deserving
seniors from area high schools. Local elementary,
middle school and high school aged students
have been annually honored for their
scholarship and Service-Above-Self.
Since 1998 the Rotary Club of Escondido has
been recognized as one of the largest contributors
in all of the District 5340 to the Rotary
1 6 0 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
International’s Polio Plus Program. Also on the
international Rotary scene the Club has contributed
time, medical supplies and money to
areas in the world consumed by local disasters
and need including building houses in Ecuador
and Thailand. Through participation in
International Grants the club has provided
funds for Education and Literacy in Liberia,
Monrovia East Africa and Ghana, Africa.
Support has been given to disease prevention
and treatment in Uganda, Africa, clean water
projects in Ecuador and through the 1,000
Smiles Dental Project in Ensenada, Mexico.
For the past several years The Rotary Club of
Escondido has supported the San Pasqual
Academy through many activities such as issuing
school supplies and clothing for the popular
“Shop ‘til you Drop” day. Funds and labor were
provided for a storage shed augmenting the
Academy’s athletic field and provided building
materials and labor for a “Serenity Garden” constructed
during the annual “Rotarian’s at
Work Day.” Holiday gifts from Escondido
Rotarians are made available to all Academy students
What is the future of the Rotary Club of
Escondido? The membership aspires to be a
group of irreverent jokesters, full of fun with the
desire to sing and sing loudly, on or off key. The
Club consists of local leaders who want to give
back to the community supporting local nonprofits,
our youth and charities. The Rotary
Club of Escondido will continue to look for
avenues to grow, personally, and to help others,
throughout the nation and the world.
We are proud to be Rotarians.
Above: The Rotary Club of Escondido
Below: Past presidents of the Rotary
Club of Escondido.
Q u a l i t y o f L i f e F 1 6 1
ESCONDIDO UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT
Above: The original Escondido
Below: Del Lago Academy–Campus of
What are the hallmarks of an outstanding
educational system with a commitment to the
academic and social/emotional well-being of its
students? For over 125 years, the Escondido
Union High School District (EUHSD) has been
committed to providing its students with the
necessary skills to be successful in the school to
career pathway. Since the District first opened
its doors in 1894, EUHSD has inspired and
guided students to reach their personal goals.
Beginning with Escondido High School in
1894 and now on every campus including
Orange Glen (1963), Escondido Adult School
(1968), San Pasqual (1972), Valley (1971), and
Del Lago Academy–Campus of Applied Science
(2013), you will find a unique learning
environment in which students are thriving. With
nationally recognized Advanced Placement,
Career Technical Education, Independent Study,
after school enrichment, career exploration,
STEM and more, opportunities to explore and
grow are abundant. Today, over 180 courses are
available and rigorous graduation requirements
help to ensure the more than 7400 diverse
students are well prepared for the competitive
and global world of tomorrow. Graduates
showcase their readiness for their future by
earning acceptance into some of our nation’s
most prestigious colleges, universities, and trade
schools. Others admirably commit to the military
or choose to pursue a variety of career pathways.
Many remain in, or return to, Escondido sharing
their expertise, running their businesses, or
raising their families.
The District embraces the responsibility of
public education for every child. EUHSD
teachers, staff and administrators work alongside
parents and community members to inspire and
reassure students as they develop into
responsible, productive and engaged citizens.
We are fortunate to be able to offer personalized
assistance to students through support services
such as special education, counseling and
tutoring programs. Students also learn the value
of making wise informed choices to positively
impact their future physical/emotional health.
Each EUHSD campus is committed to
building critical thinking and problem solving
skills so that when students graduate, they are
ready for college, ready for work–ready for life.
The Escondido Union High School District
remains dedicated to educating future
generations as they develop their knowledge
and skills for success.
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LEAGUE ® OF
Escondido is home to Assistance League ® of
Inland North County, an all-volunteer nonprofit
organization helping to transform the lives of
children and adults through community programs.
In 1982, a group of eighty women
established a chapter of National Assistance
League ® . To fund the programs of the chapter, a
thrift shop called The Bargain Box was opened
in a rented building on Escondido Boulevard
with a cigar box as a cash register.
After several years, a capital campaign to
purchase a building was established. This
campaign along with $50,000 in winnings from
the Paul Newman recipe contest won by
member, Janet Sutherland, and $10,000
donated by Major Market, enabled the chapter
to purchase the AAA property on East Valley
Parkway. With the growth of the chapter and its
programs, a larger building rapidly became
necessary. In 2005, a two-story facility was
constructed at the East Valley location thanks to
a second capital campaign and a generous
donation from Matt and Jean McLaughlin.
The chapter has grown to over 150 members
and nine community service programs that assist
children, homeless adults and seniors in need.
Operation School Bell ® helps build self-confidence
and improve school attendance by providing new
clothes and shoes to over 2,000 students in grades
K-12 each year. The Scholarship Program awards
over $100,000 to high school seniors and college
nursing, paramedic, trade and industry students.
Students graduating from San Pasqual Academy, a
residential school for foster teens, are helped toward
an independent life through Operation Duffel Bags.
The donated duffel bags are filled with items
graduates need to begin life on their own. Recently,
Escondido Union High School District foster and
homeless graduates were added to the program.
The chapter continues to fund its programs
through its Thrift and Consignment Shop located at
2068 E. Valley Parkway. The shop offers quality
items in a clean and friendly environment. It accepts
donations of gently used items during business
hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through
Saturday. Please call (760) 746-7532 or visit
Q u a l i t y o f L i f e F 1 6 3
Above: Betty and Melvin Cohn.
Below: Hawthorne Veteran and
Family Resource Center.
On May 20, 1979, volunteers from fourteen
different faith communities in the Escondido
and surrounding inland area met to respond to
the growing crisis of poverty and homelessness
in their communities. Each congregation agreed
to take ownership of one month by voluntarily
distributing emergency food, clothing and other
basics resources. In 1980, Mary Dunn became
first board president.
Working alongside other local organizations
and people from all walks of life, Interfaith
Community Services became a secular 501c (3)
not-for- profit organization in 1982. Although
Interfaith had primarily been a volunteer-led
organization up to this point, Suzanne Pohlman
became its first employee that same year.
Celebrating forty-two years of service,
Interfaith has grown to become the largest social
service organization in North San Diego County.
With over 220 employees and thousands of
volunteers, Interfaith offers its multi-faceted
programs at numerous locations. Services include
food and basic needs assistance, employment
help, tax and legal services, mental health and
substance use services, and housing. Last year,
Interfaith served 20,717 unique people, including
5,328 children, 798 veterans, and 1,477 men,
women and children housed. Interfaith’s model of
Helping People Help Themselves ensures the
commitment of each person served to be part of
the positive change in their own life.
Currently led by CEO, Greg Anglea
and Board Chair, Reverend Meg Decker,
Interfaith pays honor to its historical donor and
• Betty and Melvin Cohn Center, Interfaith
• Hawthorne Veteran and Family Resource Center,
in honor of Dorothy and Tom Hawthorne and
home to the Recuperative Care Program,
• Raymond’s Refuge, in honor of Caroline and
• Escondido Community Sobering Services, a
program of the Joan and Lee James Recovery
and Wellness Center.
For five years, Interfaith has achieved a fourstar
rating from Charity Navigator. Only twelve
percent of charities in the U.S. have attained this
1 6 4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Palomar Mountain’s historic artesian well. Daphne Fletcher photograph.
Q u a l i t y o f L i f e F 1 6 5
1 6 6 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
The historic Ferrara Winery. Forgotten Barrel,
E s c o n d i d o ’ s r e s t a u r a n t s , b a n k s , a n d
r e t a i l a n d c o m m e r c i a l e s t a b l i s h m e n t s
o f f e r a n i m p r e s s i v e v a r i e t y o f c h o i c e s
The Ken Blanchard Companies ® .......................................................1 6 8
Toyota of Escondido .......................................................................1 7 0
Alhiser-Comer Mortuary ................................................................1 7 2
El Plantio Nursery ........................................................................1 7 4
Arie de Jong and Hollandia Dairy ....................................................1 7 6
Palomar Mountain Spring Water ......................................................1 7 8
Rancho Guejito .............................................................................1 8 0
Filippi’s Pizza Grotto ....................................................................1 8 2
Henry Avocado Corporation ............................................................1 8 3
Esperanza’s Tortilleria ...................................................................1 8 4
Jack Powell Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram...............................................1 8 5
West Escondido Automotive & Transmission .......................................1 8 6
OneWest Bank ..............................................................................1 8 7
Volvo Specialist of Escondido ..........................................................1 8 8
Sunny Side Kitchen .......................................................................1 8 9
Visit Escondido .............................................................................1 9 0
Downtown Business Association .......................................................1 9 1
Ledge Media dba HPNbooks ............................................................1 9 2
T h e M a r k e t p l a c e F 1 6 7
Above: Spencer Johnson (left) and Ken
Blanchard (right), co-authors of The
One Minute Manager ® , in 1982.
Below: Ken and Margie Blanchard at
a ribbon-cutting ceremony in 1985.
THE KEN BLANCHARD COMPANIES ®
Ken Blanchard is one of the most influential
leadership experts in the world. He is co-author
of the iconic bestseller The One Minute
Manager ® , with Spencer Johnson, and more than
65 other books that have combined sales of 22
million copies in 47 languages.
The roots of The Ken Blanchard Companies ®
began in 1976 when Ken, his wife, Margie, and
their children, Scott and Debbie, traveled to San
Diego during a sabbatical from his tenured
professorship at University of Massachusetts. After
his speeches wowed attendees at a Young
Presidents’ Organization (YPO) event, YPO leaders
urged Ken to start his own consulting firm.
With this encouragement from YPO, Ken and
Margie decided to stay in San Diego. After a year
of running successful seminars, they invited six
of their UMass colleagues—Laurie Hawkins, Fred
Finch, Drea Zigarmi, Pat Zigarmi, Don Carew,
and Eunice Parisi-Carew—to join them as
founding associates of their new company. They
incorporated Blanchard ® in 1979 and had three
goals: to make a difference in people’s lives; to
drive human worth and effectiveness in the
workplace; and to help each organization they
work with become the provider, employer, and
investment of choice. Today, Blanchard is one of
the largest family-owned businesses in San Diego.
Ken, Margie, Scott, Debbie, and Tom McKee
(Margie’s brother) own and operate the company.
In their quarterly Family Council meetings, they
further support each other in the multitude of
issues related to running the business.
Blanchard offers award-winning training
programs with powerful models that are
instantly applicable to the workplace. Based on
decades of research and experience by renowned
thought leaders, programs include such topics as
1 6 8 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
trust, motivation, change, self leadership, and
customer service as well as two of the world’s
most widely used leadership frameworks: SLII ®
and The One Minute Manager ® . Program content
is proven to help organizations achieve
operational goals while creating a great
workplace experience for employees.
Year after year, Blanchard has been recognized
as a top place to work in San Diego and one of the
top leadership training companies worldwide.
Much of this acclaim can be attributed to the
company’s unique culture.
Employees receive a daily morning message
from Ken with inspiring thoughts, shared
victories, and requests for support.
When the industry was impacted by September
11, 2001, Ken was adamant about avoiding
layoffs. Top leaders agreed to defer all raises and
aggressively cut expenses. After three lean years
without a layoff, the business flourished, and the
entire company went to Hawaii to celebrate. Then
when the 2009 recession hit, everyone assembled
again to brainstorm ways to increase revenue and
reduce expenses—and again Blanchard came
back, stronger than ever.
Blanchard has a decades-long history of
supporting local communities.
• Blanchard for Others is an employee-driven
program that contributes to charitable
organizations and relief funds.
• A percentage of company profits go to
Blanchard’s Give Back program, in which
each employee chooses a 501(c)(3)
organization to receive a donation from
Blanchard in their name.
• The Blanchard Ambassador Program invites
associates to spend up to forty paid hours per
year in service to others.
• The Blanchard Institute provides access to
training and development programs that help
students of all ages develop leadership skills.
• Blanchard’s Infant at Work Program
encourages parents to bring their baby to
work until the age of six months, providing
peace of mind for parents, reduced stress for
coworkers, and socialization for the baby.
• By enhancing systems and products to conserve
natural resources, Blanchard’s corporate
Sustainability Team ensures that sustainability
is ingrained in the company culture.
Finally, servant leadership is at the root of
everything that Blanchard does. “On the road to
success, many organizations hit a plateau and
struggle in getting to the next level,” says Ken.
“We believe the key to breaking through is servant
leadership—a management approach where
people lead best when they serve first.”
Left: Ken and Margie Blanchard.
Below: The Ken Blanchard
Companies ® Family Council (from
left to right): Debbie Blanchard, Scott
Blanchard, Ken Blanchard, Tom
McKee, and Margie Blanchard.
T h e M a r k e t p l a c e F 1 6 9
Above: Nancy and Gary L Myers.
Below: Toyota of Escondido is located
at 231 Lincoln Parkway.
The Myers family purchased Toyota of
Escondido in October 1978 with the dream
of building a family-owned and operated Toyota
dealership. Now, more than forty years later,
Toyota of Escondido continues to serve
thousands of satisfied customers throughout
With more than 300 employees and more
than 1,200 new and used vehicles in its
inventory, Toyota of Escondido is one of the
largest family-owned dealerships in southern
California and the second-largest car dealership
in San Diego County.
Located at 231 Lincoln Parkway, where
Highway 78 meets Broadway, the dealership is
headed up by family patriarch Gary L. Myers, a
graduate of Los Angeles State University and
a former member of the Air National Guard
where he served with honor. The family laid
the groundwork for the dealership you see
The early years focused on the development of
the sales and service departments as well as a
management team to steer the ship. With the
addition of some key, hardworking employees,
the dealership began to flourish.
Meanwhile, the family was growing alongside
the business. Gary pursued his passion for
offroad and sailboat racing while wife Nancy
Myers, a graduate of Criss Business College, was
enjoying racing Flight of the Snowbirds,
Lehmans, and Sabots. A clear theme was
emerging—this family loved the outdoors! From
the deserts to the ocean, racing was in their
blood. A lifestyle that each of their children has
adopted as well.
Son Stephen Myers, a graduate of Southern
California Christian College serves as CFO at
Toyota of Escondido while spending his spare
time racing with his two daughters in the deserts
of California and Baja.
Daughter Cindy Myers relocated to Hawaii
where she is raising her two sons, following her
time in the 63rd U.S. Army Reserve Command in
Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Cindy has her
captain’s license and private airplane license. Son
Daniel Myers is a graduate of California State
University Long Beach with a business degree.
Dan works for Toyota of Escondido as the general
manager. Dan has two girls and one boy and still
enjoys off-road racing regularly.
Son Andrew Myers is a graduate of California
State University Long Beach with a business
degree. Andrew has two daughters and enjoys
off-road racing as well.
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“Toyota of Escondido has truly become a
family business and it’s been a great source of
pride,” said Gary Myers. “It’s been a thrill to watch
my sons embrace the automotive business.”
Over the years, Toyota of Escondido has
continually led San Diego County in new
Toyota truck sales and Toyota certified used
sales. Toyota of Escondido has also consistently
ranked in the top 10 of all 77 dealers in
the Los Angeles region in total new Toyotas
With a total of 70 service stalls, including 20
built to accommodate Toyota’s new and much
larger full-size Tundra trucks, Toyota of
Escondido is readily equipped to handle all of
its customer needs. The dealership also takes
pride in its wide assortment of parts and
accessories for both cars and trucks.
Toyota of Escondido’s Truck Center also offers
one of the most complete truck parts and
accessories selections in the region, with a large
inventory of custom tires, wheels, suspensions
and performance exhaust systems. Its awardwinning
Truck Center is an expert in installing
lift kits, performance exhaust systems, custom
tires, wheels and much more.
Clearly, the success of Toyota of Escondido is
a testament to the commitment and hard work
of the Myers’ family. With a team of dedicated
and experienced employees, they will certainly
achieve their dream of continuing to grow and
expand as a successful family-run business.
T h e M a r k e t p l a c e F 1 7 1
Alhiser Comer Mortuary has been
located at 225 South Broadway
The oldest, continually-operating familyowned
business in Escondido has adopted a
simple, effective and compassionate approach
in dealing with its customer base.
“We put the needs of the family first,” said
Megan Comer, President of Alhiser-Comer
Mortuary. “We are here to walk beside them in
their most difficult time and to make sure that
we treat them like family. They are part of our
The mortuary has been operating in the same
location at 225 South Broadway since 1897. In
fact, the chapel used to be the stable where the
horses would transport the deceased. The old
stable floor remains underneath the carpet today.
Over the years, the facility has undergone
significant expansion and enhancements. The
Wilson family, which took over the business in
the late 1940s, renovated and doubled the
floorspace of the mortuary. The business was
known as Alhiser-Wilson Mortuary at that time.
In 1989, Stuart Comer, a second-generation
funeral director, purchased the mortuary and
extensively refurbished and updated the
building. In 2000, the name was changed to
Alhiser-Comer Mortuary. Stuart also opened a
crematory in order to meet the needs of
families in a changing industry.
Stuart’s daughter, Megan Comer, took over the
business in 2013. The third generation of Comers
1 7 2 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
in the business, Megan works alongside her sister,
Nicole, who serves as a funeral director.
Since then, they have incorporated more
upgrades into the building, including the most
recent addition—a new reception room to better
serve families while still maintaining the
integrity and charm of the building.
Not only has the facility changed over time,
but the industry has transformed as well.
“There’s definitely been a rise in cremation,”
said Comer. “It’s increased steadily in recent
years. In the state of California, it should be
close to seventy percent cremation in the next
few years. That has changed the dynamics of the
business. Traditional funerals with limos,
hearses, church services and viewings are
becoming a tradition of the past.”
The reason for this transformation is
two-fold—people are going greener and it is
“There's been an increase in online
cremation,” said Comer. “Families never come to
the building. They just complete the paperwork
online. The funeral industry tends to be a little bit
behind other industries in the technology arena,
but it's starting to catch up.”
Another dramatic shift has been in people
attitudes from mourning a life to celebrating a life.
“Now people want to have some drinks and a
meal and celebrate a person's life rather than sit
in black in the front row and cry,” said Comer.
“There's been a shift in society to celebrating
Having grown up in Escondido, Comer quickly
realized the importance of community involvement.
“We’ve always been a part of the community,”
she said. “We are part of the Chamber of
Commerce and we were named family-owned
business of the year in 2017. We’ve always made
it a priority to help out our community in
whatever way we can—from providing birthday
cakes for senior centers to volunteering in the
community or donating money.”
One of Alhiser-Comer Mortuary’s bigger
projects recently was creating the new family
viewing room—comprising warm colors and a
calming nature wall—at the new Palomar
“It was very important that we built a room
that was comfortable for families viewing their
loved ones,” said Comer.
Being considered part of the fabric of
Escondido is very important to Alhiser-Comer
Mortuary. The Comer sisters are honored to
continue their father and grandfather’s legacy
and commitment to the community. Sadly,
Stuart Comer passed away in 2018.
“There are a lot of family-owned businesses
in Escondido, but not many have been around
for as long as ours has,” said Comer. “We want
to do our part to help make our community a
Above: Nicole Comer, Stuart Comer,
and Megan Comer with their Family-
Owned Business of the Year Award,
Below: The Comers with the building
staff of Palomar Medical Center in
the Family Viewing Room, 2016.
T h e M a r k e t p l a c e F 1 7 3
Above: The El Plantio storefront,
Below: The original El Plantio Nursery
sign in the parking lot, c. 1960.
El Plantio Nursery & Landscaping has been
in existence since 1959 and has been a familyowned
business for more than half a century. In
1969, Nathan Snapp, who had studied forestry
in college, bought the nursery and ran it for
Prior to purchasing the business, Nathan
worked for the city of Escondido as a personnel
manager. When a new city manager came on
board, Nathan and several other employees quit
in protest. As the nursery was in line with what
he had studied in college and he had always
enjoyed the outdoors, Nathan decided to buy it.
And, it has remained in the family ever since.
Nathan's passion for plants rubbed off on
two of his sons—Bill and Warren—who began
working with him full time. After a few years,
Nathan felt it was time to let them take over the
reins. Warren and Bill bought the business and
assumed ownership on January 1, 1976.
Meanwhile, Warren’s three children—Nolan,
Lloyd and Melinda—are now the third
generation of Snapps to be involved in the
business. Nolan works as landscape construction
manager while Lloyd serves as operations
manager and Melinda functions as landscape
designer. All three hold horticulture degrees.
In the early 1970s, Bill and Warren began
working for their dad at the nursery. A couple of
years later while in college, Warren was
summoned to work full-time in the business.
“My dad discovered that his manager was
stealing from him,” said Warren. “I had to quit
school and start working for him full-time.”
Throughout the years, the Snapp family has
handled the gardening needs of multiple
generations of Escondido families which gives
them great satisfaction.
“We take the time to talk to them, find out
their needs and educate them in an applicable
way,” said Lloyd. “A lot of people value that.
1 7 4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
We’re like barbers and therapists in that our
customers really open up to us. We help them
improve their garden spaces which in turn
brings them joy.”
As Warren is quick to add: “Gardening is
therapeutic. We want to help people have a
good experience by getting close to nature.”
And, being in the community for so many
years, El Plantio Nursery has become part of the
fabric of Escondido.
“We are members of the Rotary Club, the
Chamber of Commerce and we helped revitalize
the river walk by designing a pocket garden
along the flood control channel,” said Lloyd. “In
addition, we hold a number of classes and
educational seminars at the store on topics
ranging from tomatoes to fruit trees to drought
El Plantio has about 25 employees. What
separates them from many other nurseries is
that they provide a turnkey service. This
includes all landscape services – maintenance,
design, installation and construction. They also
install irrigation, new patios, pergolas and
Bill Snapp manages the landscape maintenance
portion of the business. In that regard, El Plantio
crews are out and about every week maintaining
larger residences and commercial properties,
including apartment complexes, homeowner
associations and museums, among others.
“We are able to install an entire yard and
maintain it,” said Lloyd.
Most gratifying to the Snapp family is the
impact the nursery has had on its community
and its residents.
“Every week, people come in and say they've
lived in the area for 20 years and they’ve finally
had a chance to stop in,” said Warren. “They
remember coming into the nursery with their
parents and grandparents and are now just
rediscovering the store. And, then there are
others who have been coming here for decades.
Now, their kids are all grown up and getting
their own yards in order.”
The term “El Plantio” means planted area or
garden place in Spanish. Without question, this
fixture on the Escondido landscape fills an
important niche among true dirt-under-thefingernails
plant lovers and novices, alike.
Top, left: Warren Snapp.
Top, middle: An aerial photo of El
Top, right: Bill Snapp.
Below: El Plantio in 2019.
T h e M a r k e t p l a c e F 1 7 5
ARIE DE JONG
Above: Maartje & Arie de Jong, Sr.
Top, right: Arie de Jong, Jr., in front of
Milne Motors in Escondido.
Below: Arie de Jong, Jr., making sales
calls in Escondido.
For Dutch businessman and philanthropist,
Arie de Jong, life in Southern California after
his immigration from Holland has been good.
Arie was born in 1939 in Alphen on the
Rhine, a town in the province of South Holland,
between Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
Like most families, the de Jongs had little
money during the Depression. During World War
II, the Germans occupied Holland, including the
dairy the de Jong family operated. The de Jongs
were allowed to stay and manage the dairy, since
the Germans were soldiers and not dairy farmers.
In 1942, the residents of Alphen began
feeling the negative effects of food shortages
and rations. Arie’s father, Arie Sr., decided to
“People were starving all around us,” recalled
Arie. “We had food and we used it to barter for
other items. I served as a courier and delivered
packaged food to all the neighborhoods in
Arie Sr.’s twin sister, Henrietta, had
immigrated to the United States from Holland in
the 1920s. His oldest son, Tom, wanted to move
to the U.S and declared his intentions to his
uncle, Sam Bruinsma, Henrietta’s husband. Sam
owned a dairy in Artesia, California, but really
wanted to be a rancher. He sold his dairy, bought
a ranch in Poway, California, and sponsored
Tom’s immigration to America in 1948.
After Tom’s arrival, he wrote letters to his
family in Holland, raving about his new home.
He made a deal with his uncle—if Sam built a
dairy and became a sponsor for them, Tom’s
family would provide the necessary labor to run
“We arrived in America with only $35 in our
pockets,” said Arie. “We left almost everything
behind, including money, in Holland.”
The de Jong family settled in Poway on Sam’s
cattle ranch, the Bar ‘C’ Bar, which is now
Metate Lane, off Pomerado Road, the old
“I was ten years old when we arrived and
that was the only year in which I didn’t have a
job,” said Arie. “I learned English at school.”
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On a trip to Escondido, Arie Sr. and Sam
passed a small, five-acre dairy with a “for
sale” sign posted. In 1950, the de Jong
family purchased the dairy, including a cash
and carry drive-in store, with a $7,000 cash
The dairy was named Hollandia Dairy, in
honor of the Hollandia Creamery back in
Holland, where the milk from their dairy in
Alphen was taken to be processed.
Eleven-year-old Arie and his older siblings
helped feed and milk the cows. At sixteen, he
became a delivery driver, and soon became a
sales manager for the dairy.
The Hollandia Dairy brand was expanding.
The de Jongs began lobbying the Southern
California school boards to deliver
their milk products to schools throughout
They started with one school in the
early 1960s and eventually grew to include
over 1,000 schools in Riverside, San Bernardino
and San Diego counties. Hollandia also
expanded and became a supplier of milk and
dairy products to hospitals, prisons, jails and
When Arie was sixteen he delivered
milk to the Green Oak Boys Ranch, a 143-acre
ranch in Vista belonging to the Los Angeles
Rescue Mission. It was a rehabilitation
facility for the homeless and recovering addicts
In the mid-1990s, Arie heard the ranch was
for sale. He became acquainted with the
director and purchased the ranch to keep it
going as a rescue mission. He renamed it Green
Oak Ranch Ministries, a faith-based, nondenominational
“We usually have about 40 to 80 people in
residence on a regular basis,” said Arie. “Our job
is to get them off drugs and alcohol and back
into a stable position. They have to stay with the
program for nine months before they graduate.”
From their business successes to
philanthropic support, the de Jong family has
clearly developed deep roots in Southern
Above: Back row (from left to right):
Elso, Maartje, Arie Sr., Ellie, and Piet.
Front row (from left to right): Kees,
Arie Jr., Mary, Jet, John, and Karel.
Below: In front of the cash and carry
on the corner of 17th and Center City
Parkway. Standing: Arie Sr. and,
Maartje. Kneeling (from left to
right): Arie Jr., Teun, Piet, Karel,
and cousin Rudy.
T h e M a r k e t p l a c e F 1 7 7
Above: Eric de Jong
Below: Conrad Pawleski, Eric de Jong,
and Silvia de Jong.
In June 2005, North County resident Eric
de Jong and his wife, Silva, purchased Palomar
Mountain Spring Water and its distribution
facility. It had previously been owned by
Eric is part of the de Jong family that has had
strong ties in the community ever since his
grandparents, parents, and aunts and uncles
emigrated from the Netherlands in 1949.
“My father, Arie, who owned a dairy business
with his siblings, was instrumental in the
purchase,” said Eric. “He was always envious of
the water business. He liked that there were
fewer hurdles than in the milk business—no
spoilage, no refrigeration, and no storage issues.
Dad also knew the Einer family and said I
should look into it.”
Since acquiring the company, Eric has
made efficiency improvements and expanded
the suite of waters to include, among others,
sparkling water and flavored water. Palomar
Mountain Premium Spring Water has also
been made available to restaurants in
returnable, refillable glass. However, he did not
change the bottling process, which has
continued to be the success of Palomar
Mountain Spring Water. It has the only bottled
water from a private spring source in Southern
California—water from the springs to the
consumer in its most natural state.
Today, Palomar Mountain Premium Spring
Water is delivered to homes, offices and
restaurants. Its fine water is available at the
Palomar bottling facility and selected
convenience stores. Palomar Mountain Spring
Water offers a variety of waters and dispensers
to meet every residential and commercial need.
The natural spring water is sourced from
free-flowing springs high atop 160-million yearold
Palomar Mountain in San Diego County,
Southern California. The springs lie away from
civilization, high above smog levels,
contaminants or additives.
Palomar Mountain Spring Water is a onestop-shop
for local spring water as it solely
manages the flow of bulk hauling, bottling and
delivery of spring water. Water is collected
straight from the spring and transported directly
to its bottling facility in state certified water
trucks. There, it is filtered to remove possible
1 7 8 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
microorganisms, and passed through high
intensity, ultraviolet light to destroy any
possible bacteria. The result is true, pure, clean
and healthy bottled water.
Conrad Pawelski serves as chief financial
officer/general manager of Palomar Mountain
Premium Spring Water. He was working for Eric
at the time Eric bought Palomar Water and was
actively involved in the purchase of the
company out of bankruptcy in June 2005.
“The business has grown more than tenfold
from the time we bought the business,” said
Conrad. “We will be bringing back our
sparkling water with natural fruit extracts and
no sweeteners, and provide more of our water
in refillable and one-way glass bottles. We have
also expanded our production to include a 4.5-
acre facility in Oceanside for small pack bottling
capability so that we can get our products into
more San Diego North County locations.”
Both Eric and Conrad have deep roots in
Eric was born in Escondido and raised in
Escondido and San Marcos. He graduated from
Calvin Christian High School in Escondido.
Eric and his wife have three children—a
daughter, Ella, and sons Robert and Niels, who
all work in the family businesses.
Conrad has lived in North County since
he was two years old. He grew up in Vista
and resides there now. After attending Cal
Poly, he earned his MBA from Cal State
A family-owned spring and distribution
company, Palomar Mountain Spring Water is
exactly as advertised—true spring water,
straight from the source.
T h e M a r k e t p l a c e F 1 7 9
Before Escondido, before statehood—
Rancho Guejito, sustainably ranching
1 8 0 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
T h e M a r k e t p l a c e F 1 8 1
Right: Bobby DePhilippis performing
with his band, The Sound Doctors.
Below: The front of Filippi’s Pizza
Grotto on West Grand Avenue in
Escondido during opening night of car
show in 2018.
Any list of popular Italian restaurants in
San Diego County is certain to include the
Filippi’s Pizza Grotto has been revered since
its first restaurant was opened in Little Italy in
1950 by the patriarch of the family, Vincent
DePhilippis. Since then, the Filippi’s brand has
expanded to include 15 restaurants, including
one in Escondido on W. Grand Ave.
Vincent’s grandson, Bobby DePhilippis, moved
here from Philadelphia in 1965 and has carried
on the tradition since 1972. He manages locations
in Escondido (the chain’s busiest), Poway, Jamul
and Santee. His daughter, Michelle, the fourth
generation of restauranteurs in the family, runs
the Imperial Beach site.
The Filippi’s story began when Vincent and
his wife Madeline arrived from New York in
1947. Vincent opened an Italian grocery store
on India Street and built a 30-seat restaurant
behind it. Then, they purchased the property
next door and today Filippi’s is the biggest
Italian restaurant in town with 220 seats.
“In 1950, the area consisted entirely of
fishermen,” said Bobby. “If you didn’t speak
Italian, you could get waited on in the store.”
Vincent, who passed away in 1957, created
the recipe for lasagna which still thrives at
Filippi’s locations today.
“My grandfather's recipe is nothing fancy—
garlic, oil and tomatoes, without the peels,” said
Bobby. “We use the best whole milk mozzarella
and the best flour.”
Bobby’s father, Roberto, was more of a
steakhouse and cocktail guy. He launched a
restaurant called Caruso's and then opened
Butcher Shop steakhouses in Chula Vista and
“My father taught me how to treat people,”
said Bobby. “Always have a smile and say hello
to everybody. And, if there are any complaints,
take care of it yourself right away.”
The restaurant business has been part of
Bobby’s DNA for some 50 years. But, he still finds
time to pursue other interests. He promotes
boxing events (he’s been inducted into the
California Boxing Hall of Fame and the West Coast
Hall of Fame) and sings in a band called The
Sound Doctors. And, for good measure, he is a
founding board member of Seacoast Commerce
Bank of Rancho Bernardo which began in 2003.
1 8 2 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Henry Avocado was founded in 1925 by
Charles and Florence Henry, who were among
the first to plant avocados in San Diego County.
Prior to service during World War I, Charles
Henry worked as a gardener in Los Angeles. On
one of the estates, he took special note of some
newly planted avocado trees and marveled at
how well they did in the Southern California
climate. In the early 1920s, he and Florence
Schoeffel were married. Her family owned citrus
groves which they had developed in the late 19th
century along the foothills of the San Gabriel
mountains. Because of their mutual interest in
farming, Charles and Florence searched for a
location to plant avocados and raise a family.
They found an ideal eighty-acre parcel on the
hillsides of Escondido. In 1925, they started
planting Fuerte trees, which, at that time, was the
most popular avocado variety. Over the years, the
original trees were replaced with the Hass variety.
By the 1930s, they had built a packinghouse
and were delivering avocados to many Southern
California customers. Even though times were
difficult during the depression, avocados were a
specialty fruit that commanded high enough
prices to keep the farm going. Florence and
Charles soon realized they needed a distinctive
name for their product. Gil and Warren, their two
young sons, were taking piano lessons from Lyle
Barber, a classically-trained piano teacher. He was
over for dinner one night to celebrate the Henry’s
recent blue ribbon for their avocado entry at the
Los Angeles County Fair. He tasted one of the
award-winning avocados, and, using the musical
term to praise an excellent performance, exclaimed
“Bravo”. They all thought that sounded fitting, so
“Bravo” was combined with “avocado” to become
“Bravocado”. The company has continuously used
Bravocado for its premium label ever since.
After serving in the military during World
War II, the Henry’s eldest son, Gil returned to
Escondido to assist his parents. Gil’s brother,
Warren, after military service in the Korean War,
also joined the company and both took on
added responsibilities after their father, Charles,
was killed in a tractor accident in 1953. Warren
focused on farming and Gil handled packing,
while their mother continued to do the
accounting. Later in the 1950s, Florence’s
nephew, George Schoeffel, joined the company
to handle sales. In subsequent years, the
company dramatically increased production by
developing additional groves.
Henry built the avocado industry’s first
forced-air ripening room in the early 1980s.
Ripening ensured that all avocados in the same
container ripened faster and more evenly, so
consumers could receive a fresher avocado in the
desired stage of ripeness. This was recognized by
consumers as an added value resulting in higher
demand. To supply its expanding demand, in the
1990s, ripe distribution centers were added in
Phoenix, Arizona, and San Jose, California. In
subsequent years, distribution centers were
added in San Antonio and Houston, Texas, and
Charlotte, North Carolina.
In 2018, the company moved its headquarters
from the original property to a modern
distribution building in Escondido, although the
original grove remained in avocado production as
it has since 1925. Throughout its history,
members of the Henry family have been involved
in numerous farming-related associations such as
the Farm Bureau and the California Avocado
Commission, in addition to local civic and
Over the years, additional owners were added
to assist and replace the retiring original partners.
The current managing owners are Phil Henry,
president; Don Hoey, vice-president of Sales; Rick
Opel, vice-president of farm management; and
Vic Varvel, vice-president of packing operations.
In the early years, Henry was strictly a grower
and packer of California avocados. Today, the
Henry’s are still growers, but the company is
better described as a year-round distributor of
custom-ripened fresh avocados.
T h e M a r k e t p l a c e F 1 8 3
Top: From left to right, Luis
Martinez—Victors older brother.
Victor Martinez. Picture taken in
1960 when the two worked at El
Below: Victor and Teresa Center. Left
to right: Raymond, Manuel, Hugo, &
Gabriel. Picture taken at 2017
holiday party. Victor named the
business in honor of his mother
Esperanza’s Tortilleria, founded in 1980 by
Teresa and Victor Martinez, is a family-run
business that believes tortillas, chips, tostadas,
masa (dough) for tamales and other corn and
flour-based products should be made using
Victor, a native of Guadalajara, Mexico,
immigrated to California when he was seventeen
years old. Family friend and former owner of El
Charro Tortilleria, Alejandro Lievanos, assisted
Victor’s father, Victoriano Martinez, by offering
him, his wife, Esperanza, and their children—
Luis, Victor, and Jose—jobs and by sponsoring
the Martinez family in applying for permanent
residency. Victor worked there from 1959 to
1980, all while saving up for his own tortilleria,
which he opened with his wife.
Victor and Teresa, having only a sixth-grade
education, shared a vision of one day owning
their very own tortilla business. Gathering their
limited resources, they decided to take a chance
and move forward with their dream—one which
has led to today’s enterprise.
Now onto its third generation of tortilla
specialists, Teresa and Victor’s sons—Manuel,
Gabriel, Raymond, and Hugo—have been
involved in its management and expansion.
Originally located in San Marcos, the tortilleria
moved to its current location in Escondido in 1996.
Behind an interior door of a small Mexican
market lies a factory filled with loud, rumbly
machinery. Thousands of flour and corn tortillas
are produced every day that will later be served in
homes and restaurants as part of authentic meals.
All the corn products are made from whole
ground corn and are grounded by limestone; a
traditional grinding method started by South
“We like the texture, we like the smell, and
especially like the taste which goes great with
Mexican dishes,” said Hugo Martinez, company
Over the years, Esperanza’s has earned an outstanding
reputation among its customers due to its
simple, yet consistent recipes and strong service.
A wholesale and retail tortilleria, Esperanza’s
distributes to restaurants, grocery stores, and catering
businesses throughout Southern California
and is increasing its clientele to further regions.
1 8 4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
JACK POWELL CHRYSLER DODGE JEEP RAM
Celebrating its sixty-second year in
Escondido, the family-owned Jack Powell
Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram has roots in
Dearborn, Michigan, where Dodge dealer Jack
Powell, Sr., ran Jack Powell Motors from 1933
until 1952, when he moved his family to
California. In 1958, Powell established Jack
Powell Desoto-Plymouth. The company, located
at 332 South Escondido Boulevard, eventually
obtained a Chrysler franchise, following
Desoto’s discontinuation in 1960.
In 1971, Jack Powell, Jr., a USC graduate,
assumed management of the company, which
then sold 10 to 12 new cars per month,
maintained a seven-bay service department,
and employed 11 people, including Jack
Jr.’s mother Anita, who was the bookkeeper.
In 1973, the Arab Oil Embargo was a
significant test of Jack Jr.’s leadership. After
successfully seeing the dealership through
that challenging period, he bought the
business from his father.
In the mid-1970s, Escondido’s auto
dealers recognized the need for larger
facilities and organized to create an auto
retailing cluster. Over a five-year period,
Powell Jr., along with the owners of four
other local dealerships, bought and developed the
78 acres of land that comprise the Escondido Auto
Park. In 1987, Jack Jr. merged Jack Powell Chrysler
Plymouth with his new Dodge franchise to form
Jack Powell Chrysler Dodge, located at 1625 Auto
Park Way. Today, with 15 franchises and
approximately 3,000 vehicles, the Escondido Auto
Park ranks as the city’s primary sales tax generator.
Jack Jr.’s children, Jasmine and Jasen Powell,
entered the family business in the early 2000s,
each receiving extensive training in every
department. This third generation of Powell
auto dealers would help navigate the 2008
financial crisis and the subsequent addition of a
Jeep franchise. In 2012, Jack Jr. retired, selling
the business to Jasen and Jasmine, who, as partowners,
oversee all operations. Jack Powell
Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram employs over 100
people, carries about 1,000 vehicles, and boasts
and annual sales volume of over $100 million.
Top, left: Jack Powell, Sr.
Above: Jack Powell Motors opened
Below: Jack Powell Chrysler Dodge
Jeep Ram in the Escondido Auto Park.
T h e M a r k e t p l a c e F 1 8 5
The West Escondido Automotive &
Transmission facility at 2200 Auto
West Escondido Automotive & Transmission
began in August 1993 when Brian Bowersock, a
23-year-old Master ASE (Automotive Service
Excellence) Certified Automotive Technician, took
over a failing transmission facility encompassing
4,500 square feet at 644 9th Avenue in Escondido.
Not only did the business name change, but
Brian and his brother, Kevin, immediately went
to work to transform the scope of the business.
In addition to performing transmission repairs,
rebuilding and servicing, they would also
become a general automotive service facility,
covering everything from simple engine oil
changes, smog, drivability and diagnosis, to
major transmission rebuilds.
As the business grew, more space was needed
and the business moved to a 7,500 square-foot
(now covering 10,000 square feet) facility at
2200 Auto Park Way. West Escondido
Automotive employs eight Master ASE Certified
Technicians, a manager, two service consultants,
a parts manager and two customer service
drivers. Kevin Bowersock has headed up the
transmission department since 1995.
From the outset, Brian Bowersock has
maintained a simple and effective philosophy.
“Our vision is to provide the highest level of
automotive and customer service to everyone in
the community,” said Brian. “With some of the
longest warranties in the industry, it makes for a
great automotive experience.”
And, the business keeps growing every year.
With locations in Escondido, El Cajon, Kearny,
Mesa, and its newest facility in Miramar/UTC,
the West Automotive Group plans to open from
two to four more locations in the future.
And, Brian’s industry knowledge and reputation
has made him a media personality. For 15 years, he
has done weekly auto segments as the “AutoMan”
on the CW San Diego Channel 6 and Fox 5 News
along with for the better part of a decade, he has
served as host of Auto Talk Radio on KFMB 760 and
now the Answer San Diego 1170 radio.
In addition, West Automotive Group
maintains a strong commitment to its
community. For many years, it has sponsored
youth baseball leagues and boy scout functions
1 8 6 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
OneWest Bank, CIT's Southern California
branch bank, is committed to supporting the
local community of savers and small businesses
through deposit products, lending solutions and
community investments. With over 60 locations
spanning from San Diego and Ventura County,
we proudly offer a personal, high-level customer
experience across our branch network. In 2018,
OneWest won a Gold Stevie award for
excellence in customer service.
In addition to serving customers' everyday
financial needs, OneWest's employees regularly
aid in volunteer efforts, such as providing
assistance at senior centers and food banks.
Chief among its philanthropic pursuits,
OneWest's Escondido branch is proudly
partnered with Operation HOPE, a nonprofit
organization that empowers low to moderate
income youth and adults with financial dignity,
to offer one-on-one counseling at no cost to
clients via the HOPE Inside programming
model. Financial wellbeing coaches help clients
meet their goals, which might include boosting
credit scores, home buying, entrepreneurship,
and better money management.
John Hope Bryant began Operation HOPE in
Los Angeles in 1992 as a means to financially
empower those affected by that year's riots.
Since then, the organization has expanded its
reach across the country and internationally
through the HOPE Inside network of more than
120 locations, promoting personal fiscal
responsibility, small business development and
job creation. Operation HOPE has touched the
lives of four million people, thereby generating
over $3 billion in economic activity within
Above: Clyde Taitano vice president of
Below: Clyde Taitano with Operation
Hope founder John Hope Bryant.
T h e M a r k e t p l a c e F 1 8 7
Volvo Specialist of Escondido is
located at 235 North Andreasen
Drive in Escondido.
Established in 1984, Volvo Specialist of
Escondido is the premier destination for Volvo
repair service, A small, high-end repair shop in a
relatively small city, customers travel to Escondido
from Los Angeles, Arizona, and Nevada to receive
quality service for their Volvos.
Vol-Spec’s factory-trained mechanics work in
clean, full-service work bays, servicing the entire
range of Volvo vehicles. Additionally, it is one of
the only shops in San Diego County that offers
Volvo hybrid repair service. Volvo Specialist of
Escondido has the highest-quality diagnostic and
repair technology, the same equipment that is
found in Volvo dealerships. For those customers
who need to leave their vehicle with Vol-Spec, the
shop offers complimentary rentals and Uber rides.
Volvo Master Technician Axel Cojulun is the
current owner of Volvo Specialist, having
purchased the business four years ago. With over
twenty-five years of hands-on experience with
Volvos, he has worked as an import/export parts
manager, technician, and technical trainer. His
extensive background with Volvo includes
technical work at the company’s Gothenburg
headquarters and the management of a training
center in Latin America. He has shared his
cumulative expertise with Volvo dealerships
worldwide. The technicians of Vol- Spec continue
to attend Volvo training sessions to stay informed
about the latest industry developments.
Axel lives with his wife and children in a
historic residence, once named “San Diego
House of the Month.” Having lived all over the
world, Axel is proud to call Escondido home.
He considers it a town on the rise and, through
Vol-Spec, delivers the kind of skills and service
that you’d expect to find in larger cities.
For more information or to schedule a repair,
please visit www.volvoserviceescondido.com.
1 8 8 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Though it only seats about 24 in
approximately 600 square feet, downtown
Escondido’s Sunny Side Kitchen makes a big
statement as a two-time winner of Yelp’s
nationwide “Top Places to Eat.”
“We are a mom and pop panini shop,” said
owner Kate Carpenter. “But thanks to our
amazing customers we earned a spot on Yelp’s
annual list of top 100 places to eat in the nation.
We are honored.”
Open since 2015, Sunny Side Kitchen
specializes in grilled to order panini sandwiches,
homemade soup, fresh seasonal salads, and
made from scratch bite-sized cookies and glutenfree
muffins. The restaurant’s best-seller is “The
Works,” which features egg, honey cured bacon,
smashed avocado and three melty cheeses on
locally baked sourdough bread.
“The thing that defines us at Sunny Side
Kitchen is handcrafted deliciousness,” explained
owner Bob Carpenter. “We keep that in mind for
everything we do, from making old-fashioned
lemonade one at a time with farmers’ market
lemons to our oven roasted, hand shredded
chicken that goes into the signature Tuscan
chicken panini and all the other details that make
The recipes are from family members and
from Kate’s collection of cookbooks acquired
during her years as a food editor.
“Ever since I was a kid watching my mom in
the kitchen, I have loved cooking, baking and
eating!” she said.“My kids always said I make
the best grilled cheese sandwiches,” Bob said.
“And now that I have made thousands of them,
I think a lot more people would agree!”
Sunny Side Kitchen is happy to be located in
Escondido, where Bob and Kate live. They feel
like they are becoming an established part of the
historic downtown business community, one
bite-sized cookie, cheesy panini and Yelp review
at a time!
Sunny Side Kitchen is located at 155 S.
Orange St., in downtown Escondido. Hours are
6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through
Saturday. Catering available. The web site is
www.SunnySideKitchen.com and the phone
number is 760-294-4450.
Bob and Kate Carpenter.
T h e M a r k e t p l a c e F 1 8 9
Top: Queen Califia’s Magical Circle.
COURTESY OF VISIT ESCONDIDO.
Middle: San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
COURTESY OF VISIT ESCONDIDO.
Bottom: Hungry Hawk
Vineyards & Winery.
COURTESY OF VISIT ESCONDIDO.
Escondido may mean “hidden” in Spanish
but it is no secret there is a lot going on here!
Located just 30 miles north of downtown San
Diego and 20 minutes from the coast,
Escondido is home to major attractions,
beautiful wineries, craft breweries, unique arts
and theatre, delicious culinary experiences and
a charming historic downtown. Visitors and
locals alike enjoy the beautiful climate with
year-round golfing, hiking, biking, fishing, and
The list of “must-do sights”
includes the California Center for
the Arts, Escondido, a unique
performing arts complex,
museum, and conference center;
the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, an
expansive wildlife sanctuary and
conservatory; Stone Brewing
World Bistro & Gardens; and the
amazing sculpture garden, Queen
Califia’s Magical Circle, created by
the late world-acclaimed artist
Niki de Saint Phalle. The San
Diego Children’s Discovery Museum is a
fantastic family resource with interactive
learning activities and the outdoor expanse of
Daley Ranch’s wilderness preserve provides
extensive hiking, biking and equestrian trails
located adjacent to Dixon Lake with great
fishing and camping grounds.
Escondido is host to over thirty-five major
annual events including Cruisin’ Grand
Escondido , which has been one of the greatest
ongoing vintage car show traditions in Southern
California since 1999. More recent to the
local event scene is the Escondido Tamale
Festival in November, which attracts over
twelve thousand people and celebrates
Escondido’s Latino culture.
Embracing a farm-to-table experience,
Escondido offers a variety of culinary
experiences with chef-owned restaurants
and local eateries that are very popular in the
San Diego foodie world. There are also three
weekly farmers’ markets and several year-round
farm stands that supply the community with
fresh produce, flowers, honey, and goods from
Escondido’s regional wineries offer over
twenty diverse tasting experiences from
cool urban wineries and tasting rooms to
hilltop terraces with spectacular views. Guests
can spend relaxing afternoons with friends
and enjoy casual opportunities to meet the
vintners and learn about their award-winning
wines. The Escondido Wine Region is rich in
California’s historical significance for both grape
growing and wine making. Some of California’s
first wine grapes were grown and pressed right
here, starting the state’s wine making traditions
dating back to the late 1700s.
San Diego is considered the “Capital of Craft
Beer” and Escondido is renowned for having the
largest and most historically significant brewery
in Stone Brewing and one of the newest, and the
smallest brewery in the County at the
Escondido Brewing Company.
With a small-town feel and diverse attractions
and things to do, Escondido is a wonderful place
to explore, experience and enjoy!
1 9 0 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
The Downtown Business Association (DBA)
of Escondido was established in 1962 by some
community—minded downtown business
owners. The main thoroughfare of downtown—
Grand Avenue—dates back to 1888.
“The primary function of the DBA is to
promote our historic downtown as a shopping,
dining and entertainment destination,” said
current board president, Alex MacLachlan.
“We’ve learned from the experiences of the past
and we’re developing our own path.”
One means by which the DBA promotes
downtown Escondido is through developing
events or assisting in the development and
running of events. Currently, the DBA sponsors
three recurring events in the community—
Escondido Street Faire (held twice annually in
May and October), For The Love of Chocolate
Festival in February and the Escondido Tamale
Festival in November.
These events bring shoppers, investment,
visitors and awareness to Grand Avenue and to
the city in general. In addition, they support the
economic health and cultural tourism goals of
One event on the DBA’s wish list is the
establishment of an annual outdoor music
festival in downtown Escondido. This festival
would be similar to the former San Diego Street
Scene, albeit smaller in scale.
Always looking to enhance the beauty of the
community, the DBA recently collaborated with the
city of Escondido in a median beautification
program along Grand Avenue. This project
involved the removal of old eucalyptus trees and
replacement with drought tolerant trees and plants.
A key function of the DBA is for business
owners to get to know their fellow
entrepreneurs and business neighbors while
serving as an advocate and promoter of
downtown Escondido. This goal has been
achieved through regular meetings that bring
downtown business owners together.
“We used to have a handful of people
showing up at a monthly merchant meeting,”
said MacLachlan. “Now, we get 40 to 50
business owners together every three months.
We meet at a different business each quarter and
discuss the issues affecting the community. We
are proud of the camaraderie we’ve been able to
build among business owners in Escondido.”
Above: The always popular Escondido
Tamale Festival draws big crowds
Below: The Downtown Business
T h e M a r k e t p l a c e F 1 9 1
Ledge Media is a leading-edge multimedia
and publishing company, now headquartered
in Jackson, Wyoming. Its origins can be traced
back to 1973 where a small regional publishing
company based in San Antonio, Texas was
helping businesses and historical societies tell
their stories in the most compelling and
powerful ways possible. Working with a wide
variety of clients—from corporations to civic
organizations to individuals and families,
Ledge Media has emerged as a force in the
In the mid-1990s, a new division was created,
the Historical Publishing Network, better known
as HPNbooks, and this division focused on
producing hardcover coffee table-style history
and photo-journal type cityscape books. The
first of these was Fire and Gold: The San
Francisco Story. In the ensuing years, HPN
Books has perfected the sponsored-book model
Conceived around the idea of an ultra-highquality
hardcover chronicle of a city or county’s
past, these exceptional books were also designed
to raise funds for a sponsoring organization. As of
2020, HPNbooks has published more than 200
titles, while raising hundreds of thousands of
dollars for its many partnering groups. Now a
woman-owned company, Ledge Media has further
developed their publishing network and
incorporated many new modern technologies
including augmented reality which embeds video
and other information into printed materials.
The unique mix of talents and expertise
brought to bear in a Ledge Media/HPN project
culminates in a remarkable creation—everything
from breathtaking, photo-rich, coffee table
books and other printed materials to stunning
websites and captivating video productions.
For more information, or to inquire about
producing your own publication, please visit
www.ledgemedia.net or www.HPNBooks.com.
1 9 2 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Escondido from the Daley Ranch.
T h e M a r k e t p l a c e F 1 9 3
Webb Brothers Trucking Company, on Grape Day in 1920.
1 9 4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
E s c o n d i d o ’ s e n g i n e e r s , r e a l t o r s , a n d u t i l i t i e s
p r o v i d e t h e e c o n o m i c f o u n d a t i o n o f t h e c i t y
Richard Meyst and Fallbrook Engineering .........................................1 9 6
San Luis Rey Indian Water Authority ...............................................2 0 0
Traci Bass & Associates .................................................................2 0 3
B u i l d i n g a G r e a t e r E s c o n d i d o F 1 9 5
Young Richard Meyst.
Richard Meyst, CEO of Fallbrook Engineering,
the influential medical engineering company, has
been instrumental in developing health care
technology that many of us utilize today.
A medical device design and development
expert, Meyst was an engineer long before
receiving his diplomas from the University
of Wisconsin, Madison. In fact, it was winning
a high school science fair project, in which
he measured the effects of G-force on
hamsters, that really propelled him on his
career path. It also earned him a tour of the
university’s physics and engineering labs back
in the 1960s.
“The local newspaper (Milwaukee Journal)
sponsored the science fair,” said Meyst. “One of
the perks for winning the competition was
getting to spend a week at a Navy base and
going out on a ship. We stayed in the barracks
and went out on a destroyer. It was quite
Born in Milwaukee and raised in suburban
Elm Grove, Meyst began his career in
northern climes before an opportunity arose in
“After graduating from UW Madison, I
landed a job in Glens Falls, New York with a
medical device company in the research and
development area,” said Meyst. “Glens Falls
averages more than two hundred inches of snow
a year. After two years there, I moved to Crystal
Lake, Illinois where I worked for Baxter
Healthcare. Five years later after enduring
three of the worst winters I can remember, I
was recruited by a neighbor who was an
executive with an electronics company (Oak
Industries) that was relocating their
headquarters to Rancho Bernardo.”
The idea of living in Southern California after
those miserable winters certainly appealed to
Meyst, who moved to Valley Center in 1980.
Unfortunately, the company fell on hard times
and Meyst returned to working for a medical
device company. He spent five years with Imed
Corporation and another two years with Diatek,
Corp., a medical products design and
manufacturing company. He held various
technical and management positions with those
companies in developing and manufacturing
new medical products.
Meyst left Diatek in 1988 and began
consulting with Fallbrook Engineering as an
independent contractor. After a year, he became
a partner and a year later became vice president.
In 2003, the company founder retired and
Meyst became the sole owner, president and
CEO. Bill Atkinson, a long-time employee of
Fallbrook Engineering, serves as vice president.
Shortly after Meyst became sole owner,
the company headquarters was heavily
impacted by the San Diego County wildfires—
specifically the Paradise fire—in October 2003
which destroyed two of its four buildings. With
the assistance of employees, friends, colleagues,
and a great insurance policy, the company
rebuilt and, after a year, was performing better
1 9 6 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Left: A newspaper clipping of a
teenage Richard Meyst winning an
award at the Southeast Wisconsin
Below: FEI President and CEO
“Then, the wildfires of October 2007 once
again threatened our property,” said Meyst.
“Fortunately, we were spared, but it became
apparent that our location was vulnerable. So,
we made the decision to move to a safer, more
In January 2008, Fallbrook Engineering
moved its offices from Valley Center to its
current location in Escondido.
The core of its business is product design
and development. And, all these years later,
that is something that still energizes Meyst to
“Being able to design and develop products
that improve the health and overall life
experience of so many people is what drives
me,” said Meyst. “Our project teams
have worked in concert to find design solutions
to many challenging new medical product
opportunities. Satisfaction comes from seeing an
inventor’s dream or napkin sketch product idea
turn into a manufactured product that really
does improve people’s health and saves lives.”
To Meyst, design is the science of compromise.
Its purpose is to find optimal solutions to a myriad
of difficult design challenges that result in safe,
effective, reliable and economical new products.
Over the years, Meyst has been involved in
numerous medical product inventions. In fact,
he has 16 patents to his credit. When asked to
identify his most memorable invention, he is
quick to mention his very first one ranks right
at the top.
B u i l d i n g a G r e a t e r E s c o n d i d o F 1 9 7
Above: FEI Vice President
Below: FEI’s offices at 355
“That first product was a blood transfusion
filter that was better than all other products on
the market,” said Meyst. “It was able to filter
more blood, cleaner and faster than all the
competition. And, my co-inventor and I
developed the product in record time. That
product was sold for better than 20 years at the
rate of 50,000 per month.”
Fallbrook Engineering has many projects
currently in the works. For starters, they are
1 9 8 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
developing a computer-controlled device to
keep track of a patient’s medications and even
“People who are very sick often have complex
medication requirements, and doctors need a way
to improve compliance and make sure patients
take their medications on time,” said Meyst.
They are also working on an ergonomic
hand piece for laparoscopic surgery to reduce
fatigue and allow the surgeon to be faster
and more precise. Many instruments used
today are uncomfortable and don’t fit any
natural hand motion.
Fallbrook Engineering is also developing an
improved method of collecting umbilical cord
blood. When a baby is born, the umbilical cord
and placenta are eventually thrown away, but
the cord blood is rich in stem cells, so they are
looking at a faster and easier way to collect and
store more blood.
“This is the project I’ve been working on the
longest,” said Meyst.
Much of Meyst’s time today is spent as an
expert witness where he has learned many
valuable lessons that can be utilized in current
and future design projects.
“Many of the expert witness projects I take
on are patent infringement legal cases,” said
Meyst. “Oftentimes, the case is complicated
by the fact that the original patents in suit
were not written well or did not anticipate
being challenged in a lawsuit. When we are
working with our clients and their patent
attorneys, we try to look down the road and
help ensure any new patents are properly
researched and documented, technically
complete, meet all of the clients’ needs and will
stand up to future scrutiny.”
Over his long and eventful career, Meyst has
certainly carved out a strong niche as a medical
device design and development expert.
And with all that experience and knowledge,
he has a simple message for students and those
just getting started in their careers: “Do what
makes you happy, and you will do an excellent
job, whether you’re an engineer or anything
else. If you don’t enjoy it, find something else.
You have a long career ahead of you.”
Those are definitely words Meyst has taken
Above: A FEI staff meeting.
Below: The lab on the second story of
B u i l d i n g a G r e a t e r E s c o n d i d o F 1 9 9
SAN LUIS REY
Below: The birth of Lake Wohlford.
Bottom, left: Laying a siphon at La
Bottom, right: Lake Wohlford, 1924.
The San Luis Rey Indian Water Authority, a
federally charted government agency, was created in
1984 by the La Jolla, Pala, Pauma, Rincon and San
Pasqual Bands of Mission Indians and ratified in the
settlement act. The Authority was originally created
to direct and manage the federal litigation related to
misappropriation of water rights associated with the
San Luis Rey river which was the primary source of
water for the reservation lands of all five Bands.
The Luiseno people have lived in the San
Luis Rey Basin of northern San Diego County
for thousands of years. Beginning in the mid
and late 1800s, reservations for the La Jolla,
Pala, Pauma, Rincon and San Pasqual Bands of
Mission Indians were established along and near
the San Luis Rey River.
The La Jolla reservation, which was established
in 1875, is located on the Southern slopes of
Mount Palomar off State Highway 76, about 25
miles east of Escondido and 60 miles northeast of
San Diego. Its population today is about 615.
The Pala reservation, established by Executive
Order in December 1875, is situated about forty
miles northeast of San Diego and on the San Luis
Rey River. Its current population is about 1,125.
The Pauma reservation, established in 1893, is
located in the northeastern corner of San Diego
County in the foothills of Mount Palomar about
sixty-five miles from downtown San Diego. Its
population today is approximately 150.
The Rincon reservation was established in
1875 and is located in the northeastern corner of
San Diego County, along the San Luis Rey River.
Its present population is about fifteen hundred.
San Pasqual reservation, established in 1910,
is situated about 40 miles north of San Diego
and 12 miles from Escondido in the community
of Valley Center. Its current population is
slightly more than five hundred people.
In 1895, a diversion dam was built on the La
Jolla reservation, without the tribes consent,
diverting the water for the five reservations to
the newly founded city of Escondido. The water
was diverted from the San Luis Rey River
through the Escondido Canal, which crosses
several reservations to Lake Wohlford, owned by
2 0 0 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
the city of Escondido. The United States
government sanctioned this project and the
State of California was complicit in this action.
In 1969, the five bands filed a lawsuit
maintaining the Federal Government had violated
its “Trust” relationship with the Bands by allowing
their water to be diverted to Escondido and Vista..
The lawsuit accused the United States, the Vista
Irrigation District and the city of Escondido of
acting to illegally divert ninety percent of the San
Luis Rey River water to an aqueduct—even though
the five North County Indian tribes relied on the
water to supply their lands.
The parties came together to support Public
Law 100-675 San Luis Rey Indian Water Rights
Settlement Act, which was passed on November
17, 1988. In an act to settle water rights, Congress
concluded that "the La Jolla, Rincon, San Pasqual,
Pauma, and Pala Bands of Mission Indians on or
near the San Luis Rey River in San Diego need a
reliable source of water.” This Law established a
$30 million Tribal Development Fund and
allocated 16,000 acre-feet of supplemental water
per year to the Indian Water Authority.
On January 18, 2001, the Secretary of the
Interior signed a preliminary agreement to restore
water rights to the La Jolla, Pala, Pauma, Rincon,
and San Pasqual Bands after years of litigation over
the diversion of the San Luis Rey River by the city
of Escondido, the Escondido Mutual Water
Company and the Vista Irrigation District.
Mission accomplished? Not so fast.
From top to bottom:
Water from the San Luis Rey River
flowing to Escondido.
Building Escondido canal
Building the All-American canal.
Lake Wohlford today.
B u i l d i n g a G r e a t e r E s c o n d i d o F 2 0 1
Above: Tribe members at the historic
signing of the agreement returning
water rights to the tribes in 2016.
Below: Allen E. Lawson signing
the agreement restoring tribal
After decades of debate and litigation, a
settlement in the case was tentatively reached in
2014. But, Congress wasn’t allowed to act after the
Congressional Budget Office labeled the deal as
having a fiscal impact because it would enable the
tribes to fully deplete a fund created in the late
1980s that was specifically earmarked for ending
the dispute. After several amendments to the bill,
the agreement was finally signed into law by the
United States government on December 16, 2016.
The settlement finally took effect on May 17, 2017
after it had been approved by the Federal District
Court in San Diego and the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C.
The big breakthrough in the lawsuit came in
the mid-late 2000s when parts of the All-American
Canal and the Coachella Canal—which both bring
water from the Colorado River to parts of Southern
California—were lined to stop about a hundred
thousand acre-feet of water from seeping into the
ground each year. The first sixteen thousand acrefeet
of the captured water was set aside for the
tribes, as per the 2014 settlement, to make up for
the river water taken from them years earlier.
The San Luis Rey Indian Water Authority was
formed to manage this litigation on behalf of the
tribes. For 47 years, the Indian Water Authority and
the five tribes fought the federal government, the
city of Escondido and the Vista Irrigation District to
return the water rights that had been taken from
them. Long overdue, it was finally realized in 2016.
Unfortunately, litigation carried on for so many
years that by the time the agreement was reached
in late 2017 many of those who had fought so
hard for the deal had already passed away.
For Bo Mazzetti, chairman of the Rincon band
of Mission Indians, it was indeed a bittersweet
moment. He admitted that his biggest regret was
that none of the original people who labored so
diligently for the agreement were not alive to see
it come to fruition.
This included deceased board members Henry
Rodriguez, Robert Lofton, Lester Nelson, Leonard
Nelson, and Rose Hatfield (La Jolla Band of Luiseño
Indians); Leland Majel, Benjamin Magante, Sr.,
Florence Lofton, and Lorena L. Dixon (Pauma
Band of Mission Indians); Mary Matteson, Agustine
Orosco and Ray Natividad (San Pasqual Band of
Mission Indians); Don Magee (Pala Band of Mission
Indians); Vernon Wright, Leo D. Calac, Max
Mazzetti, Donald Calac, Edward T. Arviso, Douglas
Calac, Frank Mazzetti and Richard M. Sola (Rincon
Band of Luiseño Indians).
2 0 2 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
TRACI BASS &
Traci Bass moved to Escondido in 1985 from
the Silicon Valley to be close to her sisters. Traci
got her Real Estate license in 1985 and her Brokers
license in 1992. She is a mother of four and
grandmother to five beautiful little girls. Dedicated
to being a presence in their lives, she nevertheless
hasn’t slowed down her drive for Real Estate.
Working with both buyers and sellers, Traci is
constantly giving her clients one hundred percent
of her attention and helping to build their dreams
of homeownership. Traci has been rated top agent
in sales with her company for over the years and
continues to treat her clients like family, always
giving them her best service. Traci has been
growing her team, and her son Ryan Bass and
daughter Barbie Bass are now assisting her with
making her clients’ dreams come true, no matter
Traci has made her stamp here in San Diego
County and continues to help families reach their
dream of home ownership, either here or relocating
away. With thirty-four years of Real Estate passion,
you’re definitely in good hands with Traci
and her team.
Above: For over thirty years, Traci
Bass has been helping her clients
make Escondido their home.
Below: Ryan, Traci, and Barbie Bass.
B u i l d i n g a G r e a t e r E s c o n d i d o F 2 0 3
Santa Ana photographer Edward Cochems and family at Escondido Grape Day, Escondido, 1912.
COURTESY OF TUSTIN AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY AND ORANGE COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY
2 0 4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
F a m i l i e s a n d i n d i v i d u a l s w h o s e
l e g a c i e s c o n t i n u e t o s h a p e
t h e f u t u r e o f E s c o n d i d o
S P E C I A L
T H A N K S T O
The Hillebrecht/Emerson/Adams Families ..........................................2 0 6
The Bandy Family
(Crandall, Kelsey, Loomis, O’Dell, Bandy) ...................................2 1 1
D’Agosta Shoes .............................................................................2 1 2
The Knappe Family .......................................................................2 1 7
Bob Wilson ..................................................................................2 1 8
The Homer Heller Ford Family ........................................................2 2 0
Chick Embry ................................................................................2 2 2
The Von Seggern Family .................................................................2 2 4
Neri Hoxsie .................................................................................2 2 6
The Lusardi Family .......................................................................2 2 8
The Humphrey Family ....................................................................2 3 0
The Baker Family..........................................................................2 3 2
The Alto Family ............................................................................2 3 4
Judy and Eric Kroesche ..................................................................2 3 5
The Hawthorne Family ...................................................................2 3 6
The Redmond Family and Golfcraft ..................................................2 3 7
The Witman Ranch ........................................................................2 3 8
The Prior Family ..........................................................................2 3 9
Gloria Warren ..............................................................................2 4 0
The Bates Family &
Bates Nut Farm
15954 Woods Valley Road
Valley Center, CA 92082
F a m i l y H e r i t a g e F 2 0 5
THE HILLEBRECHT/EMERSON/ADAMS FAMILIES
Hillebrechts have been farmers in Southern
California for four generations. George and Caro
Stone Bass were married in 1925. Georgia,
James Henry, and Benonia Bass were born
during 1926-1929. Caro Stone Bass Hillebrecht
died in 1947. George struggled with the family
farming business. Ben learned how to farm
from his dad, but received a college degree from
Cal Poly State University.
Ben married a widow, Frances Emerson
Miller, daughter of Eric and Ruth Smitley
Emerson. Eric Emerson had brought his family
to Escondido from Ohio in 1943 and
established an accounting business.
The Ben Hillebrecht family grew with Michael
Miller, Mary Caro, Sally Ruth and Laura Jane, all
two years apart. The growing family and farming
demands created long days of hard work. Each
offspring after graduating from college received
over twenty acres of land in 1990. Michael Miller
Hillebrecht married Carol Anne Spoelstra and
raised three children. Lisa, Robert and Joni grew
up on this farm called Brecht Farm. Mary Caro
manages farmer’s markets in San Diego. Sally
Ruth married Martin Pozzi, a hay broker and
cattle/sheep rancher in Petaluma, Ca. Laura Jane
married John Kapusnik, an engineer. Ben and
Frances worked to improve the quality and
diversity of their crop offerings, and opened two
farm stands that John and Laura continue to
operate “Farm Stand West” and “Fran’s Original
Farm Stand” along with growing produce on
their land. Frances died of cancer in 2004 at the
age of 73.
Ben formally transferred over a hundred
acres to the third generation with hopes for their
success, but remains in the homestead on 40
acres of the farm he loves.
2 0 6 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
T H E E M E R S O N / H I L L E B R E C H T F A M I L I E S
The great grand-children
of George and Caro
Hillebrecht are Lisa, Robert,
and Joni Hillebrecht; Regina
and Steven Pozzi; and
Christina, Adam, Samuel,
and Jillian Waldum
F a m i l y H e r i t a g e F 2 0 7
In 2005, Ben married Edith Anne Adams Blood, a widow
with her own local roots.
Her parents, Dr. Linus Emanuel Adams and Helen Louise
Neill Adams, came to Escondido to start their family in 1931.
Dr Adams, newly graduated from medical school, was one of
the few doctors in a then-small farming town of less than four
thousand people. Dr. Adams was the first doctor to have an
office with all the modern medical equipment, including an
X-ray machine with developing room, operating-room,
pathology lab, and three rooms for bed patients.
Linus and Helen raised three children: Jane Louise, Edith
Anne, and Richard Lee.
Jane Louise married Robert Charles Froeschle and raised two children:
Richard Craig and Anne Louise. Edith Anne, a teacher, married James Richard
McKenzie and raised three children: David Neill, Kathryn Jane, and Julie Anne.
Richard Lee, a pharmacist, married Susan Jeffers (also an Escondido family)
and raised three children: Barbara Lynne, Roderick Colley, and Mark Clement.
Jane Louise married Robert Charles
Froeschle and raised two children: Richard
Craig and Anne Louise. Edith Anne, a teacher,
married James Richard McKenzie and raised
three children: David Neill, Kathryn Jane, and
Richard Lee, a pharmacist, married Susan
Jeffers (also an Escondido family) and raised
three children: Barbara Lynne, Roderick Colley,
and Mark Clement.
Left: from left to right. Siblings Edith Anne, with Mom (Helen
Louise Neill Adams), Jane Louise, Richard Lee in Palm Springs,
2 0 8 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
T H E A D A M S / H I L L E B R E C H T F A M I L I E S
F a m i l y H e r i t a g e F 2 0 9
Today, Ben and Edith continue to live on the
Hillebrecht family farm while also traveling and
enjoying their blended grandchildren and
Ben says, “The forty acres is more than
enough to retire, but difficult to maintain the
farm with raising costs of water.” Growth of this
wonderful city, called Escondido, continues to
flourish with the new modern ways of the San
Top: Catalina Institute of Oceanography Sailing Camp 2015:
Edie and Ben, Samuel, Kate, Julie, and Jillian.
2 1 0 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
The lineage began with George Wyatt Gibson
(Civil War VET) and wife Liddia Warren, who
moved from Arkansas to Oklahoma. After
Liddia died, George moved with daughter Susan
Bandy’s family to Escondido in 1908. When
George passed away in 1909, his death made
the front page of the Escondido paper.
Esther Kelsey married Augustine O’Dell Jr in
Michigan. After Augustine died, Esther moved
with William Loomis to Escondido. They
married in 1908. Esther’s son Emery followed
later. Will and Esther owned Loomis & O’Dell
second-hand goods store on 227 W Grand Ave.
Emery O’Dell married Hattie Crandall in
Michigan. Hattie died in 1918 after traveling to
California. Emery worked with his step-father
and mother until he opened his own furniture
store next door to theirs. Emery and his
children, including Pansy, lived in the basement
of that store.
Tom Bandy and Susan Gibson married in Pauls
Valley, OK. They had nine children, including
Albert. Tom opened a blacksmith shop called “Tom
Bandy and Sons” in Escondido in 1908, which later
moved to the Heritage Park. The family owned a
Victorian-style house on S Juniper Street that is on
the National Register Home listing.
Albert Richard Bandy and Pansy Mae O’Dell
met in Escondido, got married and had Pamela
Condry, Jacqueline Rigg and Allene Robinson.
Albert bought the blacksmith shop from his father
when Tom Bandy retired. Pansy and Albert did
volunteer work. Pansy served as treasurer/Sunday
school teacher at First Congregational Church.
They lived on a ranch on N Fig Street.
Jacqueline Bandy married Edward James Rigg, a
WWII VET serving in the Marines. Jacqueline was
born in 1927 in the house at 832 Escondido Blvd,
now a beauty shop. They had four children,
Cynthia MacDonald, Deborah Sitlington, Christy
Hendrickson and Edward A. Rigg. Sadly, Jacqueline
Jean (Bandy) Rigg passed away on December 6,
2019 at the age of ninety-two.
Our family fondly remembers trips to visit
our grandparents, aunts and cousins in
Escondido. We also shared memories of our
great aunt Mary Bandy, a respected interior
designer in Beverly Hills, who decorated homes
for many celebrities and also maintained a home
Above: Tom and Sue Bandy.
Below: Pansy and Albert Bandy.
F a m i l y H e r i t a g e F 2 1 1
A long time Escondido business establishment
was opened at 146 East Grand Avenue in 1931 by
Alfio D’Agosta who immigrated from Sicily in
1921. He originally opened it as a shoe repair
shop. He and his wife, Josephine, lived behind
the store with their family. The photo above
shows Alfio and his children, Tom and Josephine
(Johnston). Son Cirino (Sid), who is not shown,
had joined the Navy and was off serving his
Country. If you look closely at the calendar on the
wall, you will see the year was 1942. Also, note
the many cowboy boots left for repair by the
Wranglers at Daley Ranch. At this point in time,
Escondido had developed a thriving agricultural
community that included many ranchers and
farmers in need of boot repairs.
In 1946, Alfio relocated the family business
to 106 West Grand Avenue. Solid and sound
operation through the depression years and
through the years of World War II, when
rationing and shortages made business difficult
marked the store’s history. When World War II
ended, Sid D’Agosta became manager and the
store opened a new department featuring men’s
work shoes. Since then the store expanded its
offerings to include both women and children’s
shoes and it became noted for the quality of its
shoes and repair work.
In August of 1960, Alfio D’Agosta established
his second shoe store in Vista. It would be
managed by his son, Tom D’Agosta, and assisted
by his sister, Josie D’Agosta (Johnston). The
Escondido store would be managed by Sid
D’Agosta. Bennie Colia, who joined the family
business in 1946, was named Assistant Manager
of the Escondido store.
D’Agosta Shoes would remain in business on
Grand Avenue in downtown Escondido for 67
years. Alfio D’Agosta would continue working at
the store until he was 92 years old.
2 1 2 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
F a m i l y H e r i t a g e F 2 1 3
2 1 4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
MEMORIAL TRIBUTE TO TOM D’AGOSTA
OCTOBER 24, 1938 TO AUGUST 2, 2020
Those of us who knew and loved Tom
D’Agosta miss him dearly. Tom had such a great
sense of humor and was generous to a fault.
Tom D’Agosta was born at home in
downtown Escondido on October 24, 1938. He
joined two siblings, Josie and Sid D’Agosta. He
attended grade schools here and graduated from
Escondido High School in 1958. Tom joined the
family shoe business in 1958. Right away it was
clear that Tom had the mind of a businessman.
D'Agosta Shoes opened a second shoe store in
Vista which Tom successfully managed.
Expanding his entrepreneurial skills and his love
for motorcycles, he opened the very first Suzuki
motorcycle dealership in San Diego County in
Vista. His second Suzuki dealership was opened
in Escondido and a third he opened in Poway.
Tom decided Escondido could use a broader,
more exciting nightlife. He opened his first
restaurant—The Chez Orleans restaurant and
the nightclub Time Machine—in Escondido in
1980. His grand opening spanned two
weekends with a total of over 4,000 attendees.
Disco had come to Escondido.
In the same year he opened D’Agosta Realty
and D’Agosta Development. Tom was a General
Contractor. He built and ran the Sheridan Inn
on the corner of El Norte Parkway and Centre
City Parkway and was involved in building
many developments in Escondido, including
the project that became known as Circle R.
In 1994 Tom took his love for cooking, fine
dining and delicious food to the next level and
opened Sirino’s Restaurant on his beloved
Grand Avenue. Tom had a vision that Grand
Avenue could attract people who loved to eat,
shop, and congregate and would become once
again the centerpiece of Escondido.
Tom was a true visionary and had big ideas
for Escondido. He served on the Escondido City
Council from 2000 to 2004. Too often people
run for elected office for personal gain. That
wasn't the case with Tom. His motivation was to
give back to the community he loved. Tom was
the sort of homegrown local boy who just
wanted to make sure that government did right
by his neighbor. That's why he served.
Tom loved life. He loved riding his
motorcycle. He loved red wine and good food.
He loved his community and his country. And
most importantly, he loved the people in his
life—number one was the love of his life, June,
the kids he inherited as well as the grandkids,
and the friends that he cherished so deeply. If
you were lucky enough to be in his circle, you
were certainly the better for it.
We miss you, Tommy D. We love you.
F a m i l y H e r i t a g e F 2 1 5
2 1 6 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Julius Knappe (b: 1871) met his future wife,
Bertha Koch, (b: 1882) on a Berlin, Germany,
trolley. After marrying in 1903, the couple sailed
to England then to Canada, where Margaret was
born (1904-1978). The Knappes entered the US
via the Great Lakes. Elsie (1906-1991) was born
in Indiana. The family finally settled in San
Diego where Oscar (1909-1989) was born as
was Helen (1910-1998). The family moved to
Escondido in 1911. Julius, a tailor, opened
Knappe Kleaning Kompany at 437 E. Grand
Avenue. The family lived in the rear. The arrivals
of Bertha (1912-2005) and Frieda (1918-2001)
completed the family.
Upon Julius’ death in 1939, the business
was sold to Hoovers Cleaners. Bertha remained
on their vineyard property at Hill Avenue (El
Norte Parkway) and Broadway. Bertha remarried
in her sunset years to Horace Gilbert. She
passed away in 1973. Later, Oscar developed
the homestead into a neighborhood shopping
center, sold in 1989.
The Knappes celebrate four generations of
descendants born in Escondido. It began when
Margaret married Henry Junge, citrus rancher.
Bertha married James “Cy” Adkins, orthodontist.
Oscar married Leona Wells. Oscar’s Escondido
business endeavors included Valley Oil Co.,
North County Employers’ Association and
The Fabric Mart.
The other Knappe offspring settled within
the county—close enough for family reunions.
Left: Julius and Bertha Knappe,
wedding photo 1903, in
Below: Knappe Kleaning Kompany
Bertha, Julius and Oscar Knappe. c.
1930, Grand Avenue, Escondido.
Bottom: Oscar and Leona Knappe,
50th anniversary celebration, 1984.
The tailor shop’s large window faced Grand.
Julius, just over five feet tall, was often seen
cross-legged on the cutting table hand-stitching
Julius and Bertha, with six other German
immigrant families, founded Grace Lutheran
Church in May, 1919. Their first sanctuary, on the
corner of Grand and Ivy, built by Chinese labor,
was purchased from the Methodists for $2500 in
1920. Grace Lutheran Church and School, now
located at 13th and Redwood, celebrated its
100th anniversary in May, 2019. Arlene Knappe
Shuster (Bob), Julius and Bertha’s granddaughter,
co-chaired the event and is the only living
descendant of the founding families still an active
member at Grace.
F a m i l y H e r i t a g e F 2 1 7
Above: Bob Wilson and his twin
Bottom, left: Bob Wilson's family at
the Richland Schoolhouse at his 90th
Bottom, right: Richland Elementary
School students in 1938. Bob is in the
back row on the far right.
Growing up in Escondido...The Bob Wilson
story began on January 23, 1929, the day he
and his twin brother, Bill, were born in their
family’s home at the northeast corner of Fourth
and Grape Streets in Escondido.
After the birth of the twins, Bob’s father went
to settle up with the doctor.
He asked, “What do I owe you, Doc?”
“Delivering a baby and the pre-care is a
standard $50,” replied the doctor.
“But, doc, there were two,” said Mr. Wilson.
“You’re right,” said the doctor. “Throw in an
extra five dollars for the second one.”
His father’s resourcefulness was evident to
Bob. A post office worker, his father enlisted the
help of his fellow colleagues to help build his
“Dad didn’t have any money to speak of, yet
he managed to not only oversee, but physically
assist in the construction of a small house of
about six hundred square feet,” said Bob. “It
consisted of one bedroom, a bath, kitchen and
living room/dining room combination, along
with a detached garage.”
When the house was finally ready, Bob’s
father carried his bride over the threshold,
through the front door, and set her down on the
kitchen counter at their new home.
“To his horror, the varnish was not yet dry,”
said Bob. “As a result, her dress stuck to the
counter when she tried to get back on her feet.”
Nearly two years after Bob and Bill were born,
a younger sister, Carol, arrived in late 1930. ten
years later, younger brother, Martin, was born.
Tragically, an older sister, Charlotte Jean, died
from polio at the age of seven in 1934.
When Bob and Bill were seven, Mr. Wilson
purchased a ten-acre plot of land in Richland,
four miles west of the city. This became the site
of their second home. Because he couldn’t afford
to own two houses, he moved the family to a
house on 7th Street which he rented. This was
where Bob would begin the first grade. The
country home was finished by the time Bob and
Bill entered second grade. Bob cherishes the
lifetime friendships that were forged in those
Life in Richland was a wonderful experience
for Bob. His father was a “gentleman farmer” in
that farming wasn’t his profession, but it became
a way of life. Most of what they ate came from the
farm. Bob’s mother canned vegetables in season
to be consumed in winter when fresh vegetables
were not available. Protein came from chickens,
rabbits and the occasional turkey. And, they had
a cow for milk, butter and cottage cheese.
Bob and Bill were enrolled at Richland
Elementary School. There was one room and
one teacher for all eight grades. At the time,
2 1 8 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
there were just 12 students in the entire school,
three of them from the Wilson family.
Bob and Bill then made the giant leap from the
rural, one-room school to the imposing new
world of Escondido High School, complete with
six hundred students. Their mother purchased
shiny new lunch pails for the boys. When the bell
rang to signal lunch, Bob and Bill grabbed their
lunch pails and followed the other kids out to the
lawn to eat. To their horror, the twins noticed
everyone else was eating out of brown paper
bags. Not one other lunch pail could be spotted!
Needless to say, that was the last day they would
venture to school toting their lunch pails.
At a high school reunion thirty years later, a
female classmate remarked to Bob: “I remember
you and Bill on your first day in school. You
were the ones with the lunch pails.”
The Wilson boys survived that first year. The
following year, they both went out for football and
made the team. Soon, they joined social clubs and
Bob became student body president in his senior
year. After that inauspicious start, they had arrived.
Bob Wilson was feted with a celebration at
Escondido High School in 2019 to mark his
90th birthday with more than 300 people in
attendance. To cap off the day, Escondido mayor
Paul McNamara proclaimed February 10, 2019,
as Bob Wilson Day in honor of the graduate
from the class of 1947.
Above: Bob and wife Marion.
Below: Bob, Marion and their sons.
F a m i l y H e r i t a g e F 2 1 9
Top: Helen and Homer Heller,
founders of Heller Ford.
Middle: Helen and Don Heller. Don
was named general manager of Heller
Ford in 1969.
Bottom: The Homer Heller Co.
Stage in 1945. Shown are (from left
to right) John R. Crenshaw, service
manager; Homer M. Heller, owner;
Fred Rich, driver; and Percy
Evans, owner of the Escondido
The Homer Heller Ford Family is proud of its
seventy-two-year heritage in Escondido. Three
generations of Hellers kept pace with the city’s
growth, by expanding and relocating their Ford
dealership facilities and volunteering seven
decades of community service.
The Heller family’s legacy began in
September 1940 when Homer and Helen Heller
moved from Long Beach, California, with their
two children, Marilyn, age three, and Don, nine
months, to Escondido’s growing community of
The Hellers’ dream of owning an automobile
dealership came true on January 14, 1941,
when Ford Motor Co. granted them Escondido’s
franchise at 224 East Grand Avenue. A few years
later, Homer was awarded the Oceanside
franchise and partnered with Long Beach friend
Vince Dixon, who became sole owner of Dixon
Heller Ford in 1960.
During World War II, dealers were denied
new cars, so Heller built a thriving used car sales
and auto repair business. Both Escondido and
Oceanside had train stations carrying auto parts
from the East Coast. Heller realized the need for
residents to travel between the two cities to visit
friends and meet trains. Heller was granted a
State of California franchise for passenger service
in 1945 between the two cities, thus setting up
his Homer Heller Co. Stage Line (from station
wagon to school bus to NCTD today).
Heller remodeled the Grand Avenue
storefront in 1946, and opened a full-service
Texaco station at Grand and Kalmia Streets.
Heller also built on Grand Avenue, the Patio
Shops and two-story Arcade Building. The “mini
malls” are still in use today.
The dealership relocated to 400 West Grand
Avenue at Freeway 395 in 1951. It brought
visitors from throughout Southern California to
view the modern facility which served the North
County for thirty years. An innovative “Jewel
Box” featured the latest Ford model on its
2 2 0 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
evolving turntable. During the holidays, the
building was crowned with a lighted, waving
Santa and eight prancing reindeer.
In 1959, the Heller family suffered the loss of
Homer Heller who was killed in a private
airplane crash. Helen was in the unique position
of possibly being the first woman to own a Ford
dealership. After a hard-fought battle, she earned
the Ford franchise in 1960. Son Don Heller
joined the business that year as assistant general
manager and became general manager in 1969.
In the early 1970s, Don was eager to move
the city’s economy forward. He played a key role
in the ten-year planning to establish the new
Escondido Auto Park in which Heller Ford was
the first to open on January 7, 1983. Don added
a Suzuki franchise in 1985 and replaced it with
a Hyundai franchise in 1987. Don’s son, DJ
Heller, joined the dealership sales team in 1991
and worked his way to become general manager
of both the Ford and Hyundai franchises. The
Hyundai store was the highest volume franchise
in San Diego County under DJ’s leadership.
The Hellers’ opportunities for community
service began in 1941 when Homer became the
fundraising co-chairman to build Escondido a
new, modern hospital. In 1950, the thirtyseven-bed
Palomar Memorial Hospital on East
Grand Avenue was dedicated to World War II
Veterans. Helen, a charter member of the PMH
Auxiliary, managed the gift shop which opened
in 1960. It was named “Helen Heller Gift Shop”
in 2002 to honor her 43 service years and
75,000 volunteer hours.
The Hellers served on boards of directors for
many Escondido organizations including
Elementary School Board, Chamber of Commerce,
Planning Commission, Escondido Auto Park,
History Center and its Endowment Foundation,
Girls Club, Girls Softball and its Kit Carson Park
Field Development. Sponsorships were given for
Girls and Women’s Softball, American Legion
Baseball, Boys and Girls Club activities. Heller
Ford loaned used cars to Escondido Police
Department for surveillance work, donated autos
to Escondido High School for Drivers Education,
and participated with cars and floats in the Grape
Retired from the auto industry since 2013, the
Hellers are thankful for their loyal customers,
excellent employees and wonderful friends who
have supported them throughout the years.
Above: The Heller Ford “Jewel Box” at
400 West Grand Avnue topped with
Santa Claus and reindeer in
Below: The Heller family, c. 1991.
Shown are (from left to right) DJ
Heller, general manager; Don Heller,
president; Marilyn Heller Keast,
secretary; and Mrs. Helen Heller,
Founder. Helen passed away in 2006
and Don passed away on February
24, 2020, just eleven days after his
F a m i l y H e r i t a g e F 2 2 1
Robert Dale Embrey was born July 21, 1927,
to parents Howard and Edna Embrey on a farm
near Hawley, in Northwest Oklahoma. Taking
the advice of a relative, they decided to move to
Escondido in 1936. Loading up as much of their
belongings as possible in their 1930 Dodge
Sedan (it had big trunk on the back), they
arrived in Escondido just in time for the start of
the new school year. Chick’s father leased a
service station and home on Old Highway 395
(now West Mission and the home of Superior
Ready Mix) and the family made Escondido
their permanent residency.
His older brother Leland attended Oceanside
Junior College, now Mira Costa; his sister
Virginia enrolled as a freshman at EUHS; and
Robert would start the fourth grade at Central
School. It was at Central School that he would
acquire the nickname “Chick” because a
classmate thought he looked like his brother,
Chick Broerman, the original owner of Frazee
Paints. Leland, now deceased, would end up
being the manager of the San Francisco
Social Security Office. Virginia graduated from
Biola College and UCLA, and would spend
sixty-five years with Wycliffe Bible Translators,
living with the Zapotec tribe of the Isthmus
helping translate the New Testament into
their native tongue. At age ninet-six, she is
currently living near Tucson, Arizona, in an
assisted living home.
Athletics would become a major part of his
career for the next forty-seven years. At
Escondido High School, Chick played football
for four years and was captain his senior year,
and named to the Helms Athletic Foundation’s
All Southern California Second Team in 1944.
He also lettered in basketball and track. Fellow
students elected him as ASB president his senior
Immediately after graduating from EUHS in
1945 he joined the U.S. Navy and was stationed
at the San Diego Naval Training Center until the
end of World War II. Discharged in September
1946, he enrolled at Fullerton Junior College,
where he played football and basketball
(captain), and was ASB president in 1947. More
importantly, that was where he met his wife
Ann. They celebrated their seventy-first year
together on August 14, 2019. In 1948, he
transferred to San Diego State University where
Chick played football for three years, making
first team CCAA defensive back in 1950.
Upon completing his teaching credential in
1952, he became the 7th and 8th grade P.E.
teacher at Central School. When an opening
became available at Escondido High School, he
took over the Varsity reins in 1956. He led the
Cougars for twenty-two years, before handing
the head job over to his longtime assistant
Denny Snyder. During his 22 years as varsity
head coach, his Cougar teams won 144 games.
His teams had 9 seasons in which they won 8 or
more games, and 5 seasons where they lost only
one game. All those wins amounted to a .682
winning percentage. With this winning pattern,
the Cougars won or shared the Avocado title
and the Metropolitan League titles 10 times, and
reached the semifinals of CIF 9 times. They won
three CIF titles, the last being shared with San
Diego High School in 1969.
Robert “Chick” Embrey is quite modest
regarding Escondido High School’s Chick
Embrey Field at Wilson Stadium, mostly
attributing his namesake to having just been
around for such a long time. However, it is
not for nothing that a person’s name is
emblazoned on a local landmark, and indeed
Chick has long been a beloved member of the
community. While winning football games was
important to Chick Embrey, being a coach was
much, much more. Coach Embrey’s real
greatness is the esteem shared by players, fellow
coaches and all those who have come in contact
Following his example, many of his former
players became coaches or were involved in the
field of education. Coach Embrey set the
example for developing lasting relationships,
building character and genuinely caring for
others in all aspects of their lives. Many of the
lasting relationships were developed during the
pre-season when the Cougar coaches would
organize a five day trip to the High Sierras.
Many of the team members would pile into an
Emmanuel Faith Community Church bus,
guitars in tow, and travel to the High Sierras.
Backpacking into the Mammoth Lakes
wilderness, the camaraderie developed during
the few days spent together hiking and fishing
proved invaluable. In addition, the evenings
around the campfire singing with guitars and
2 2 2 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
ending up with a Bible study for all who wanted
to attend, paid lasting dividends on and off the
football field. Today, many former players make
the same journey with their own families.
Chick maintains close ties with many former
players who have kept in touch with him well
into adulthood. Many of his former players and
coaches are members of the Cougar Alumni
Athletic Club. Besides having many outstanding
speakers every quarter, the club raises
scholarships for soon-to-be graduates of EUHS
who wish to pursue higher education. With the
help of Bob and Marion Wilson, a permanent
endowment fund has been established, with
scholarships given to four outstanding athletic
and academic students each year.
Chick’s coaching ability extends to much of
his family. He and Ann raised three sons, Bobby
(deceased) (wife Ruth Ann), Mark (wife Patti),
and Danny (wife Kathy), all of whom were
outstanding athletes at Escondido High School
and had successful years in coaching. Chick and
Ann also have nine grandchildren, many of
whom are involved in teaching and coaching.
They also lay claim to fourteen great
grandchildren in their family tree.
F a m i l y H e r i t a g e F 2 2 3
Above: The J. H. von Seggern Family,
1910. Seated (from left to right):
Ernest 5, Elise 39, Henry 8, and J. H.
52. Standing (from left to right):
Albert 12, Otto 16, and Anna, 13.
Below: The ranch in 1946. The dotted
line marks the ranch’s boundaries. A
is the barns and the house, B is North
Broadway. C is Iris Lane. D is Rincon
Avenue. E is North Broadway to
Reidy Canyon. F is Jesmond Dene
Road. G is the First Barrel of San
Diego Aqueduct that was under
construction. H is North Avenue. I is
is Conway Drive.
Escondido pioneer Johann Hinrich “J. H.” von
Seggern arrived in New York in 1881 from the
family home, Hedenkamp, at Bookholzberg,
Oldenberg, Germany. He visited relatives in
Nebraska, then went to Pecos, Texas, working as
a cowboy. His oldest son, Otto, later recalled that
his father didn’t like the “Six Shooter,” but
preferred a rifle. A relative, Bernhard Friedrich
“B. F.” von Seggern, who had been wounded in
the Franco-Prussian War, sought the healthful,
dry California climate. The two cousins joined up
in San Diego, outfitted a heavy wagon, and
looked for land to farm. In 1884, B. F. purchased
from John Hicks land and a house in Bear Valley,
east of Escondido. In 1894, B. F. sold this farm to
the Escondido Irrigation District when they built
the Bear Valley Dam (now Lake Wohlford). Other
property which B. F. owned to the north of the
lake was transferred to J. H. in 1900; in 2018 it is
still family-owned. By 1910, B. F. had returned to
Germany. J. H. became a U.S. citizen in 1898.
J. H. (1858-1922) married Elise Albers (1871-
1936) in Nebraska in 1893. Her family
immigrated from Sandhatten, Oldenburg,
Germany, to Nebraska in 1885. J. H. and Elise had
five children and established a ranch and dairy in
Bear Valley east of the Escondido Reservoir, on
116 acres bought from Samuel Striplin in 1898.
Their children were Otto (1894-1992), Anna
(1897-1986), Albert (1898-1980), Henry (1902-
1978), and Ernest (1905-1991).
Otto, a civil engineer, married June Sweet in
1923. Anna married John Engel in 1933. He
owned groves, Engel Aircraft Specialties, and an
airport, whose hangar is still in use at the J&W
Lumber Co. Anna became an attorney in
Escondido and later partnered with builders
Chamberlain & McCurdy to build the industrial
area on property she owned. Dairyman Albert
did not marry. Henry, a mechanical engineer
and dairyman, married Los Angeles teacher
Blanche Dessery (1914-2014) in 1945. Ernest, a
mechanical engineer in Burbank, married Helen
2 2 4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Millard in 1943; she had been a teacher at
Escondido High School.
After the Escondido Mutual Water Co. raised
the dam in Bear Valley, causing flooding of the
family land, it purchased the property in 1928.
The dairy and ranching operations moved in
1929 to two hundred acres north of Escondido
along Lime Street (later North Broadway), and
located between Rincon and North Avenue and
along Jesmond Dene Road. The location, on the
north end of Mexican Land Grant “Rancho Rincon
Del Diablo,” was the site of the Wolfskill ranch
headquarters, where the first wood-framed house
in the valley stood. The ranch was also the site of
the one-room Rincon School, at Lime Street and
Jesmond Dene Road. The entire ranch was made
up of smaller parcels previously owned by
Cassou, Lyon, Schunemann, and Dunn. Albert
and Henry formed a good partnership in the dairy,
with Albert being the “animal and crop” person,
and Henry the “vehicle and machinery” person.
Technology changed frequently on the ranch.
One of Henry’s many photographs is captioned:
“Power On, Dec 19, 1931, at 5 pm.” This ushered
in a major change from gas engines powering
water pumps and lighting to electricity driving
milking machines and vacuum pumps, making
milk cooling easier and more dependable. In
1950, a tanker truck began hauling milk that had
previously moved in ten gallon cans. Horses,
rakes, and hay stackers gave way to tractors and
automatic hay balers. Milk contracts changed from
local creameries, to Qualitee, then Carnation.
The ranch lands, now known as Reidy Creek
& Brookside Estates, were sold in 1977.
Henry and Blanche raised two children on
the ranch: Carl, interested in mechanics,
construction, and real estate, lives in Escondido
and is married to Ju lia Greeley, R.N.; and Ellen, a
Smithsonian Institution researcher, is married to
Jan Paul Richter, aerospace and intelligence
analyst, and lives in Annapolis, Maryland. Carl
and Julia have two sons: Erik, who runs an
internet truck parts business in Escondido; and
Kurt, an airline pilot and lives in Texas. Kurt
married Amy McNerney, R.N., and they have two
children: Kaylee and Isaak.
Above: Cows grazing in the late
1940s. This view looks north across
the center of the ranch. The Wolfskill
house was near the large barn, seen
near the center of the photo.
Below: Carl von Seggern, standing by
a corn binder being driven by his
uncle, Albert, 1950.
F a m i l y H e r i t a g e F 2 2 5
Right: Neri Taylor Hoxsie, Jr., with his
Dodge stage on Grand Avenue in
Escondido, 1918. Behind him are
the Palace Hotel, where he had his
stage office, Pioneer Meat Market and
just beyond the parked car Young’s
Neri Taylor Hoxsie, Jr., nicknamed “Nein,”
came to Escondido with his widowed mother,
Elza, and brothers Ray, Orton, Floyd, and Percy
All worked for the railroads but, Neri, after
working many other jobs, was more interested
in automobiles. He became a driver for the auto
stage lines that connected Escondido with San
Diego, Oceanside, and Los Angeles. The auto
stages transported travelers, but also
newspapers and mail between the cities.
In January 1916, Neri was an operator for the
Scenic Stage Line. The favored route to San
Diego went south across the San Dieguito River
bridge at Bernardo, on to Poway, up the Poway
Grade with its hairpin curves, across Miramar
mesa, down Murphy Canyon, across the San
Diego River bridge, up the opposite canyon
(now Texas Street), taking University Avenue to
Hillcrest and down Fifth Avenue to downtown.
But, that January, the great “Hatfield” rains
fell from January 14-19 and from January 24-
28, totaling 19.55 inches for the month. The
deluge washed out roads and railroads. At the
time of the second downpour, Neri was
stranded in San Diego with his auto stage and
two sacks of mail and newspapers.
Escondido merchants worried that business
would suffer with no mail service. The flooding
washed out every bridge in the county except
the one between Ocean Beach and Mission
Beach. On January 29, in his effort to get the
mail to Escondido, Neri took the only possible
route through Ocean Beach to La Jolla, across
Miramar to Poway and on to Bernardo, where
he waded across the river with the sacks of mail
on his back.
The Escondido newspaper hailed his resolve:
“Hoxsie first man from San Diego. Plucky stage
driver came through Sunday after a two days’
trip…his trip from San Diego was one of
hardship and hard work.” He got the mail
through and was the hero of the hour at a mass
community meeting that afternoon.
Opposite, top: The remains of the
Bernardo bridge on February 4,
1916, at the San Dieguito River
crossing. The town of Bernardo is
in the background.
Opposite, bottom: Neri Hoxsie fording
the Bernardo River, February 4, 1916.
Neri Hoxsie is piloting the lead car, a
Dodge, followed by a Ford as they are
towed by Mr. Weaver and his team
across the river.
2 2 6 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
This is a sample caption.
F a m i l y H e r i t a g e F 2 2 7
Left: Francesco Lusardi.
Right: Marguerite Lusardi.
Francesco Lusardi set out for San Diego from
his home in Parma, Italy, around 1869. After
crossing the Atlantic, he worked his way to
California, probably buying passage by rail or
wagon train in bits at a time. When he arrived
in 1873, he reunited with his brother, Pietro,
who had emigrated a few years earlier. The two
began acquiring land and herding sheep
between the Black Mountain area and the lower
slopes of Palomar Mountain.
In 1880, Francesco returned to Italy, where
he married Marguerite Bernieri. Two years later,
the newlyweds were back on Palomar
Mountain, where they welcomed their first of
eleven children, Henry Lusardi. After several
years, the brothers ended their thriving
sheepherding business and turned to dry
farming in Black Mountain, where they
prospered, establishing a school and post office
in what became known as Lusardi District
(present-day Fairbanks Ranch). Francesco and
Marguerite added six children to their family
during the eight years that followed: Josephine,
Camille, Louis, Rachel, Mary, and Frank.
The Lusardis lived in a small adobe house
where, along with farming, they raised sheep,
pigs, chickens, turkeys, horses, and cows.
They did their own butchering and preserved
the beef by dehydration. Religion also played
an important role in the family’s life. Though
the journey was long, the family often made the
trek from Lusardi District north to the San Luis
Rey Mission in present-day Oceanside, where
their children were baptized and received their
In 1895, Francesco sold his interest in
Lusardi District and moved his family to Aliso
Canyon in Escondido, where they raised cattle,
made homemade wine, and added four more
children to the family: John, Peter, Julia, and
August. Camille remembered that she and Louis
would walk the mountains barefoot each
evenings to round up the cattle—dodging
rattlesnakes and coyotes as they went.
All the Lusardi children learned early in life
how to work. Henry quit school at age 15 and
became lead butcher for Louis Cassou in
Escondido. Most of the Lusardi sons left home
to find work in their teens; the daughters
likewise supported themselves before marrying
and raising their own families. Even when they
had their own young families to attend to, the
siblings continued to look out for one another.
In 1911, the Lusardis’ second son, Louis, was
in a runaway horse-and-buggy accident at the age
of 20. He survived, but his legs were badly
injured and he suffered some paralysis. He spent
the rest of his life on crutches and in chronic
pain, but supported himself in a variety of
businesses, making doll furniture, raising bees
and fishing worms, and sharpening lawn
mowers. He was well-respected among his
2 2 8 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Above: The Lusardi family’s
Left: The Francesco and Marguerite
Lusardi family, c. 1913.
brothers and sisters and became a voice of
wisdom in the family, especially after his father’s
death in 1915.
When Francesco died, Marguerite and her
unmarried children moved to Escondido to be
nearer her sons Frank, Louis, and John. Frank
went to Europe and fought in the expeditionary
force in WWI. When he returned, he worked for
Webb Brothers Trucking and Equipment
Company. John and Peter became carpenters, and
Peter went on to co-found Lusardi Construction
Company with his son, Warner. It became one of
the largest building contractors in San Diego
County. Marguerite passed away on July 29,
1933, in Escondido, California, and is buried
next to Francesco at Mission San Luis Rey.
The legacy of Francesco and Marguerite
Lusardi is one of strong moral values that
distilled through their children in the form
of hard work, good heartedness, and integrity.
Many of their grandchildren and great
grandchildren—including Jack Riedel, Leroy
Lash, Jim Lusardi, and Margaret Eggleton, to
name a few—attended Escondido schools
and went on to raise their own families in
the city. By living honorable lives, they and their
children helped shape the present and future
F a m i l y H e r i t a g e F 2 2 9
Right: Graham at the wheel of his
roadster with Elsie and his dog, Zan,
and other friends and family
members, c.. 1919.
Below: Graham Humphrey (left) with
unidentified workers preparing
heating pipes for delivery, c. the
Opposite, top: Graham Humphrey
(right) with unidentified worker ready
to deliver two ‘Craftbuilt” furnaces
from shop at 120 West Ohio Ave. to
Camp Elliot, c. 1942.
Opposite, bottom: Elsie and Graham
taken from north side of their home at
820 East Third Avenue, May 1979.
The Humphrey family has enjoyed a colorful
history in Escondido. William and Gertrude
Humphrey moved from Orange, California to
Escondido in 1911. They had five children—
daughters Pearl, Edith and Grace, along with
sons Norman and Graham. The Humphreys
purchased land for a lemon grove at the east end
of Birch Avenue in Escondido.
Graham Humphrey, who was born in 1893,
did not serve in World War I as he had
a deferment because he drove a milk truck
for Webb Brothers Dairy from San Pasqual
to San Diego. However, he did report for duty
on November 11, 1918, but was sent home
Graham’s wife, Elsie Mary Robson, was
born in 1896 in Geneva, Minnesota. She moved
with her family, including brother Harvey
John and sister Anna Geneva, to Escondido
in 1913. The John Thomas Robson family
lived at 820 East Fifth Ave. The street name was
later changed to East Third Ave. That included
most of the property between Date and Elm
Streets and Second and Fourth Avenues. The
land was used for farming with crops such as
wheat, oats and alfalfa. It also included a
Graham and Elsie met at a Methodist Church
Epworth League meeting in Escondido. They
were introduced by Graham’s brother, Norman,
and married in 1919 in the Robson home.
Graham and Elsie raised four children—Harriet,
Mary Anna, Graham, Jr., and Tom – all of whom
graduated from Escondido High School, where
they shared some of the same teachers.
Graham and Elsie were active in the
community. Graham was a Kiwanian for thirtyfive
years while both were California Farm
In 1927, Graham and Elsie, along with their
young daughters, moved into their long-time
residence at 820 East Third Avenue where they
lived until Elsie’s death in 1981. They were
married for 62 years and resided in their home
on Third Avenue for 54 years. Graham passed
away in 1985.
2 3 0 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Interestingly, that house was physically
transported via truck to 1130 South Juniper
Street in the late 1980s.
“We took quite a circuitous route to avoid
power lines,” said Tom Humphrey, son of
Graham and Elsie. “The location on Juniper
Street was only about a mile away, but the trip
took nearly three hours to complete.”
Tom and his sister, Harriet, developed the
land on East Third Avenue to convert into
condominiums, which prompted the physical
move of the house.
Graham founded the Escondido Sheet Metal
Works in the late 1920s, establishing the
business at 120 West Ohio where the Escondido
City Hall is now located. The floor of this
building was briefly flooded in 1931 when the
Escondido Creek overflowed.
While building his business over thirty years,
Graham became involved in numerous civic
activities. He served as a volunteer fireman for
many years. In 1927, these courageous
volunteers fought to save the old high school at
Fourth and Hickory during a blaze. Graham’s
efforts helped save school furniture while Elsie
helplessly watched the flames from their home
just three blocks away. An iconic photograph of
Graham and his colleagues is displayed in the
city’s Fire Department Museum on Quince Street.
Graham was elected to Escondido city
council in the 1930s where he served several
years, including a two-year term as mayor pro
tem. The plunge at Grape Day Park was built
during this period. That is approximately where
the current railroad station is located.
Meanwhile, Elsie graduated from Escondido
High School in 1915 and always enjoyed the
50+ gatherings when she became eligible. She
was a loving, caring mother, who immersed
herself in her children’s school activities. She
volunteered as a pink lady at Palomar Hospital,
at her church and assisted in various civic
efforts, including the Red Cross during World
Graham and Elsie had eleven grandchildren.
Harriet and husband, Roy Schulbach, had four
children. Mary Anna and husband, Joe Pauletto,
had five. and Tom and wife Sue had two. Tom
and Sue live in Vista, while Graham, Jr. lives in
Edmonds, Washington. Harriet and Mary Anna
and their husbands are deceased.
F a m i l y H e r i t a g e F 2 3 1
Top: LeRoy Baker putting on climbing
Middle: The original check written to
purchase Dietrich Electric in 1938.
Bottom: Neville Baker reviewing plans
with Pat Davis and Zeke Schmidt.
The Baker family has had a major impact on
business and charitable activities in Escondido
since the late 1930s.
It began when LeRoy and Constance
Baker, moved from Missoula, Montana to
Southern California in 1937. LeRoy was an
electrical engineer in search of warmer weather,
and it didn’t hurt that Constance’s family lived
In 1938, LeRoy purchased Dietrich Electric
of Escondido for $4,000. The new company
was renamed Escondido Electric.
Since then, four generations of the Baker
family have been involved in the business,
which was renamed Baker Electric in 1950. The
company has evolved into a full service electrical
and solar contractor, servicing clients
throughout Southern California, still based
LeRoy Baker led the company for the first
decade before his son, Neville, took over the
business in 1947. Neville and his wife, Helen,
had moved west from Louisiana in 1942 to
become involved in the family business. In
1953—after the passing of his father—Neville
became president of Baker Electric. He managed
the business until he handed over the
reins to his son, Kent, in 1982.
In 1964, Neville Baker along with four other
Escondido businessmen formed Escondido
National Bank. In 1983, Neville merged Baker
Electric, Knight Security, and San Diego Wood
Preserving Company into Tri-Baker Holding
Company. After Neville’s passing, his sons separated
the companies. Kent took over Baker
Electric while Jerry and Mark took over San
Diego Wood Preserving Company, and its
Mexican subsidiary, SANCO.
Kent’s brothers, Jerry and Mark, along with
their wives, are involved in different family
businesses and countless charitable endeavors.
Ted Baker, Kent’s son, started with Baker
Electric in 1994 and became president in 2000.
Today, Kent serves as chairman of the board at
Baker Electric and Mark serves as treasurer.
Kent and Ted attribute much of Baker
Electric’s success to the diversity, loyalty and
stability of its employees. The average length of
time for an employee in a management role is
“We are proud of our close-knit core group
of employees who are dedicated to delivering
successful projects from concept through completion,”
said Ted Baker.
Earning a reputation for excellence in
workmanship, Baker Electric has successfully
completed multi-million-dollar contracts for
education, government, residential, commercial,
and other markets. The company has experience
2 3 2 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
in all areas of commercial electrical and
Steady growth prompted the relocation to
larger facilities. In 2006, the company moved
into its fourth location in Escondido, an
expanded facility at 1298 Pacific Oaks Place.
Baker celebrated its eightieth anniversary in
2018 and continues its path of diversification
by adding commercial solar, utility scale solar,
battery storage with two outlying offices in
Rancho Cucamonga, and the Cerritos/Los
The Baker family’s community and charitable
involvement is unparalleled. Among their many
affiliations are the Boys & Girls Club of
Escondido, Escondido History Center, Junior
Achievement, TERI, The Jacobs & Cushman San
Diego Food Bank, and the National Electrical
Construction Association (NECA).
Neville Baker was inducted as president of
the San Diego Chapter of NECA in 1961. He
helped create Little League in Escondido and
was one of the founders of the Boys Club of
Escondido, which in its current state is the Boys
and Girls Club of Greater San Diego. Like his
father before him Kent Baker is also active in
NECA and was inducted president of the NECA
San Diego Chapter in 1983. Kent has also
served on the board for many years.
One of the club’s branches carries the name
of Neville and Helen Baker Family Branch,
thanks to a large financial gift from their sons.
The technology center at the main club also
bears the Baker name. The club’s first recipient
of a Silver Medallion awarded by the Boys &
Girls Club of America, and is the highest honor
for a local board member, was Mark Baker.
In addition, Rotary, Escondido Chamber of
Commerce, and California Center for the Arts,
Escondido have benefited from the Baker family’s
philosophy of giving back to the community.
“We’ve been part of the part of the Escondido
community for more than eighty years,” said
Kent Baker. “It is a vibrant, diverse community
with just the right blend of small-town values
and big-city amenities. We are delighted to
support our community in various forms.”
Above: Four generations of the Baker
family have led Baker Electric.
Below: Baker Electric is part of the
Life Changers Club of the Boys &
Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego.
F a m i l y H e r i t a g e F 2 3 3
Raymond E. Alto was born 1952 in the City
of Escondido to Raymond (Moonshine) and
Barbara Bumgartner Alto. His Grandfather was
Marcus (Hotrod) Alto and Grandmother
Nestora Atilano Alto. His parents both
graduated from the Historic Escondido High
School. His Grandfather Hotrod and his Great
Uncle Max Atilano were prominent men within
the Sunkist Packaging Company. His Father,
Moonshine, Uncle Marcus Jr. and Benji all
played on the Sunkist Packaging Softball night
league under the lights of Finney Field
throughout the 1950’s.
Growing up in an impoverished family,
Raymond went to work at the young age of ten.
He had a paper route and started shining shoes
on the streets of Grand Ave in Escondido. He
would rouse business outside the Skippers Club,
Honest Johns and The Metro, as well as the
barber shops. Juan’s, Joe Grace, and Arcade
Barber with Wedekings Bakery next door. When
he was old enough, his first hired job was at
Lawrence Welk Resort. He met Mr. Welk a few
times and exclaimed he was a very nice man. He
worked at the Bumsteer, Obriens, Dantes, Quails
Inn, and the Country Club. His first restaurant
was purchased from Oscar Champion. He
named it Raymond A’s Café. He went on to own
9 more restaurants in Escondido including JKs in
the Vineyard, Dante’s, The Historic Fireside,
Jalapeno Grill and currently owns an Escondido
Landmark, La Tapatia.
Raymond raised his family in Escondido with
his adoring wife Arvid Castellanos Alto and his
wonderful children Raymond Joseph,
Dominique and Andre. His contribution to this
community is commended and is acknowledged
by the vast amount of patrons throughout the
years. He thanks everyone!
2 3 4 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
The Kroesche family has been synonymous
with Escondido since the mid-1960s. Eric and
Judy Kroesche moved from Orange County to
Escondido in 1965 when Eric purchased Inland
Oil Company, a petroleum distribution business,
located on W. Mission Avenue.
Eric began his career as a human resources
manager and had worked at Disneyland in
employee relations. He met Judy, an education
major, at Occidental College in Los Angeles and
they’ve been together ever since.
“My father-in-law encouraged me to start my
own business,” said Eric. “He was a great mentor.
So, I bought the business and it was definitely onthe-job
Inland Oil Company was renamed SKS, Inc.
after the purchase. The first “S” stood for Claud
Sympson, Judy’s father, who was a silent partner
and mentor. During his career, Claud had been a
national beverage executive. The “K” stood for
Kroesche while the second “S” stood for John
Slack, an initial partner in the company.
Eric expanded the business over the years and,
at one time, SKS, Inc. had fourteen automated
service stations (Exxon Mobil and a Valvoline
distributor) in Southern California, including San
Diego, Imperial, Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles,
and Ventura Counties. Over the years, SKS, Inc.
bought several other companies, including San
Diego Petroleum and Neptune Oil Company. At its
peak, SKS, Inc. had eighty-five employees.
Judy served as secretary on the board directors
while two of their three children—Kitty and John
—worked in the business. In 2015, after fifty years
of ownership, the Kroesche family sold the
business to Flyers Energy of Auburn, California.
Son John was involved in the sale and is still
involved with the company.
Eric and Judy, who now reside in Coronado,
treasured their many years in Escondido. In fact,
Eric still maintains an office in Escondido.
“It is the perfect little community,” said Judy.
“Initially, we thought the business was in
Encinitas. We thought it was on the coast.”
They soon discovered that about seventy
percent of their sales were farm sales. All the big
growers became their customers.
“For more than fifty years, we handled all the
big names in farming in the area,” said Eric. “Of all
the trade associations we were involved with over
the years, the San Diego Farm Bureau was the best.”
During his many decades in the industry, Eric
was heavily involved with trade associations. He
served as president of the Petroleum Marketers of
America and as a board member of the San Diego
In the 1970s, Eric joined North County Bank
during which he served as chairman for more than
twenty years. He continued his community
involvement by serving as president of the
Escondido Chamber of Commerce and in a similar
capacity with the Kiwanis Club of Escondido.
Eric’s approach to business included adopting
many adages over his career. Two of his favorites
are: “You don’t have to go to every fight to which
you’re invited,” and “If you destroy one’s dignity,
you have an enemy forever.”
An avid outdoorsman, Eric has a family cattle
ranch outside of Warner Springs and enjoys flyfishing
Meanwhile, Judy, who taught elementary school
in Costa Mesa, has been active in charitable
endeavors her entire life. She is past president of
Chapter B Escondido PEO. This international
women’s organization is focused on providing
educational opportunities for female students
worldwide. She also served on the board for the
Palomar YMCA and has worked on numerous
In addition, Judy served as president of the San
Pasqual High School PTA in Escondido. Their
three children—Kitty, John, and Suzy—are
graduates of the Escondido school system.
Eric and Judy hosted foreign exchange students
from Luxembourg, Germany, and Norway, and
SKS, Inc., employed interns from local high schools
and from the families of business associates. Many
became permanent employees of the company.
The Kroesche family has certainly left an
indelible mark in Escondido.
JUDY AND ERIC
Top: The Kroesche children (from left
to right): John, Kitty, and Suzy at Kit
Carson Park in 1976.
Middle: Eric Kroesche at his office desk
in the early 1970s.
Bottom: Eric and Judy at country
western party during twentieth
anniversary party at SKS, Inc.,
F a m i l y H e r i t a g e F 2 3 5
The Hawthornes have been in San Diego
since 1956 and Escondido since 1962. The four
Hawthorne brothers, Tom, Paul, Jack, and Gary,
are in the construction equipment business and
own Toolshed Equipment Rental, which they
founded in 2008.
To say that heavy equipment is in the
Hawthorne brothers’ blood would be an
understatement. Their father, J. B. Hawthorne,
founded L.A. Tractor in Los Angeles in 1947.
Sensing the growth, the industry would see as a
result of the Federal Highway Act of 1956, he and
his son Tom acquired the Caterpillar dealership
for San Diego County. Hawthorne Machinery Co.
would contribute to San Diego’s growth over the
next sixty years and continues today.
Toolshed Equipment Rental is located on
property that has been an equipment rental yard in
Escondido since the late 1950s. For several
decades, it was known as McArthur’s Rentals. Tom
and Paul manage the financial and operations of
the business, Jack oversees equipment purchases
and equipment service operations, and Gary is the
manager of sales and marketing. A thirdgeneration
of the family has joined the company—
J. Paul Hawthorne, is the marketing coordinator
and fleet compliance manager.
The Hawthorne’s have always believed in
giving back to the community. Their charitable
contributions over the years have helped local
schools, sports, and non-profits throughout
2 3 6 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
From top to bottom:
Left: In the summer of 1952, Ed and
Terese Redmond moved their family of
six children, ages 6 to 18 to Escondido.
Ed was vice president of Golfcraft Inc.,
which had moved its entire golf clubmanufacturing
operation along with
its employees and their families from
Chicago, Illinois, to Escondido,
California. Golfcraft was the largest
employer in town.
Right: Terese and Ed Redmond at Ed’s
retirement dinner, 1969.
Left: Ed and Terese with some of their
children. From right to left: Ed, Tom,
Terese, Sue, Edward, and Noreen
Right: Nancy and Mary Redmond.
Rick and Mary Hill’s wedding day,
June 16, 1968. From left to right:
Frank DeMartino, Noreen
DeMartino, Tom Redmond, Karen
Jobbett, Edward Redmond holding
Kathy Klein, bride Mary Redmond
Hill, groom Rick Hill, Terese
Redmond, Sue Klein, Ed Redmond,
John Klein holding Nick Klein, Nancy
Lowrey, Jack Lowrey, children
standing in front. Steve DeMartino,
Pete Klein, Joy DeMartino, and
Terese Redmond with her children on
her eightieth birthday, November 18,
1987. From left to right: Sue Klein,
Edward Redmond, Terese, Noreen
DeMartino, Nancy Lowrey, Tom
Redmond, and Mary Hill.
F a m i l y H e r i t a g e F 2 3 7
Three generations of the Witman
family (from left to right) Matt,
Witman, Tom Witman (baby), and
Bill Witman, c. 1992.
The Witman Family began farming in San
Diego County in the 1920s when Harry Witman,
then ranch general manager for the Santa
Margarita Ranch (present-day Camp Pendleton)
oversaw the ranch’s vast cattle operation. In the
1940s, Harry Witman planted an eighty-acre
lemon grove on some land that he leased from the
U.S. Marine Corps. It was then that Harry’s son
Bill Witman left the army to begin his farming
career. After a few years working on the lemon
grove he began vegetable farming in the San Luis
Rey Valley. Sweet potatoes was the primary crop
but broccoli and cauliflower were also grown.
In the mid-1960s in a desire to diversify, Bill first
came to the San Pasqual Valley and in 1966 planted
a Valencia orange grove on land leased from the
City of San Diego. Shortly thereafter more and
more of the farming was moved to San Pasqual
from San Luis Rey until eventually that part of the
operation ceased. In 1983 Matt Witman, Bill’s son,
joined the business. Continuing their belief in
diversification, they began to grow flower bulbs,
sweet corn, peppers, watermelon, turf, avocados,
and all types of citrus crops. All of this was done in
the San Pasqual Valley known for it’s rich soil and
plentiful water. The Witman’s also have an avocado
and citrus ranch in Ramona, farming exclusively
with recycled water. Tom Witman, Matt’s son
joined the operation in 2015. Together, Matt and
Tom will work to keep the family business thriving
into the future.
Throughout the four generations there have
been the heartache of frost, fires, floods, winds,
and insect invasions. But there have also been
the joys of a life on the land surrounded by
nature and wonderful people. If you asked any
of us, we would say that we wouldn’t have
wanted it any other way.
2 3 8 F E S C O N D I D O : A P i c t o r i a l H i s t o r y o f t h e H i d d e n V a l l e y
Frank attended Stanford University, then
labored in a “Bull Gang” in the Salt Creek Field,
Wyoming. He subsequently worked his way up
to become president of Standard Oil of Indiana.
William also attended Stanford and worked
as a corporate lawyer.
John Sr. inherited the Prior Ranch. He
planted the first avocado tree in San Diego
County and developed a strain of short-thorn
lemon trees known as Prior Lisbon. He married
Louise Crenshaw of Kentucky.
Their daughter, Mabel Louise, married Roy
Riffle and they had three children—Mike, John,
and Katherine—all of whom stayed in
Escondido and inhabited the house as the
generations passed on.
Their son, John Jr., married Georgia Hillebrecht,
whose family were also farmers in the Escondido
area. Their children, Greg and Caro, also spent
most of their adult years in Escondido.
Left: Laetitia Miller Wistar, born
Below: Palm drive leading through
the grove to wide front porch of
The Prior family history in Escondido began
in 1891 with the arrival of William Wilson Prior
Sr., from Salem, New Jersey, and his bride Laetitia
Miller Wistar from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
They were the first couple to be married in the
newly-built Trinity Episcopal Church. They
settled in a farmhouse above Hill Avenue, now El
In 1912, they also bought their neighbor’s
house, a two-story, craftsman-style home and
moved in. The succeeding generations lived in
this residence, keeping all of