Q1 2019 Newsletter

Our latest newsletter is here.

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Q4 Newsletter


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Allan O. Kelly

Allan O. Kelly

Allan Oscar Kelly

Allan O. Kelly, one of the founders of the Carlsbad Historical Society, was born in 1900 in Carlsbad. Members of the Kelly family at that time still owned most of the Mexican land grant called Rancho Agua Hedionda. As a child, he assisted on the family ranch, rode horses and attended the one room Calaveras school house.

He served as a director of the Costa Real Municipal Water District, as representative of the San Diego County Water Authority, and as president of the San Luis Farm Bureau and Cattleman’s Organization. Allan also served as a Board member of the Oceanside-Carlsbad High School District and on the County Planning Commission. In addition to belonging to the Carlsbad Historical Society he was active with the Toastmasters, the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and his church.

Allan had an avid interest in geology and traveled around the world doing his own research. He published several books on the subject. He lived to be 100.

Here is a link to Allan’s entry in our website, with extended documentation.

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Q3 Newsletter

Our latest Newsletter is available at our website carlsbadhistoricalsociety.com, and following this link.

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Wartime Letters of Ray and Rose Rita Langen

New book by Langen Family

Wartime Letters of Ray and Rose Rita Langen

Ray and Rose Rita Langen

While going through some boxes from the back closet of our family home on Carlsbad Boulevard, my sister, Joan (Langen Fessenden), found our parents’ WWII letters. These letters chronicle the day-to-day trials of a young family separated by war. From our father’s time in the U.S. Navy and our mother’s days on the family farm in Minnesota, the letters give tremendous detail– Navy life at Great Lakes, Illinois, the military train west, Victory over Japan Day in San Diego, a typhoon aboard the USS Kent, shore liberty in post-war Pearl Harbor, engine room watch on the USS Hamul, first-person descriptions of decimated Okinawa, life on the open ocean, and the victory train ride home.

Through the eyes of a loving, homesick, 22-year old father of two, Ray Langen wrote two or three letters a day to Rose Rita, expressed his feelings, and described his daily routine. The letters provide glimpses into the connectedness of Ray’s brothers sent to war, the relatives’ eagerness for positive news, and insights into how they coped on the homefront in the German/English/Irish/Swiss farm town of Hokah, Minnesota.

In September of 1945, just days after VJ Day, my father rode up the coast from San Diego in a fellow sailor’s 1941 Pontiac. They passed through Del Mar (where they witnessed a fire at the stables), Carlsbad, Oceanside, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Lake Elsinore, and Fallbrook.

Eight years later, in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, my father was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The doctor told my father that he would fare better in a warmer climate. The doctor suggested Southern California, far from the molds of the Mississippi River valley. Thanks to his wartime experiences, my father was familiar with coastal Southern California.

In June of 1953, my parents and their seven children headed west to settle in Carlsbad. For over 50 years, the letters were stored in a bedroom closet. The Langen siblings are so grateful that our sister Joan, a retired high school English teacher, organized and edited the material. We hear the voices of our parents’ era, the hopes, the opinions, and (for language lovers) even the idiomatic expressions of those gone live on in these missives. First published in 2012 as a digital book (available everywhere) by BookBaby Publishers, The Wartime Letters of Ray and Rose Rita Langen is in its second paperback printing. A few copies are for sale at Magee House (for $15.00). – -Ken Langen

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Q2 Newsletter

Please follow this LINK for  our latest Q2 2018 Newsletter.

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The Barrio in Carlsbad

As Cinco de Mayo draws near, thoughts wander to our own Mexican-American community, and questions arise as to when and how it developed in downtown Carlsbad. In future months, we will be covering more individual stories of these community volunteers. For this email blast we will focus on the original development.

Below is a very brief history of the Carlsbad Barrio. More can be found in Seekers of the Springs by Marge Howard Jones, or please check out “Barrio Voices”, a video available on our website at


Carlsbad ‘s agricultural fame began in 1914 with the ready supply of water provided by the South Coast Land Company and their division of land offered at fair prices for agricultural development. One of the first growers, Sam Thompson, began Carlsbad’s avocado industry, followed by many other growers of fruits, beans and flowers. But even with land, water, and know-how, an important element was still needed in order to thrive, and that was provided by immigrant farm workers from Mexico.

The 1916 Mexican Revolution created a large exodus of people from Mexico, who arrived in Carlsbad by a variety of ways, and with a variety of stories. They were all looking for employment in the agricultural fields and groves. Many settled in the south end of town, near the railroad tracks, and located close to the bean and flower fields. Some of the first to arrive were the Ramirez, Trejo, Acuňa, Aguilar, Gastelum, Martinez, Mata and Soto families.

Most of these families still have many members living in the area. These families settled near each other, creating a tight knit community. Their hard work and talents, built businesses, establishing deep and productive ties to Carlsbad, and their neighborhood, which they called Barrio Carlos. Each of these families have contributed to creating a more vibrant Carlsbad.

As time passed the Barrio grew, adding new families, each adding their important contribution to Carlsbad and also to the barrio. One such family was the Monroys who moved to Carlsbad in 1978. When Mario retired in 1985, both Margie and Mario became involved in local issues as well as the League of Women Voters and the Carlsbad Historical Society. Margie and Mario became a vital part of Carlsbad the Barrio transition and redevelopment. Their community service contributed to volunteering in various growth study plans, Friends of the Carlsbad Library, the Carlsbad Planning Commission, board members of La Posada de Guadalupe, and they were very active in their grandchildren’s school.

More information on the Barrio Carlos can be found at the Barrio Museum, across the street from the Lola’s 7 Up Market and Deli, at the corner of Walnut and Roosevelt. Ask at the Deli when they can show you the museum. Third grade history tours have been stopping to see this museum. Connie Trejo, former Board CHS Member, is Carlsbad Historical Society’s Goodwill Barrio Ambassador.

Brief History of Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May) celebrates the Mexican Army’s defeat of the French Army at the Battle of Puebla, in 1862, under General Ignacio Zaragoza. In 1861, under Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon III), France invaded Mexico trying to expand its empire there. The Mexican army consisted of 4000 poorly equipped men, while the French troops numbered 8000. According to Mexico Online: “The victory represented a significant morale boost to the Mexican army and the Mexican people at large and helped establish a sense of national unity and patriotism.”

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