Carlsbad Time Lines
Q3 2021 Carlsbad, California, Historical Society
President’s Letter -Third Quarter
To paraphrase; “It’s summertime and the living is easy”.
This summer we are returning to a sense of normalcy and
our museum is open every weekend on Saturday and
Sunday from 11-3 and the same operational hours on the
first and third Friday of each month. Warm summer days
mean limited parking near Magee House and our museum,
so plan to visit early in the day. It’s a great little trip for
you and your summer visitors; we’ve got lots of interesting
new post pandemic displays.
One of our most recent exhibits features the pioneer Kelly
Family. We’ve utilized the space in our conference room to
create a unique and informative exhibit that highlights the
entire Kelly Family from early pioneering settlement in the
1860s to the current generation and their civic
contributions. Items on display are generously loaned
artifacts from the Allan O. Kelly Family, and they create a
unique opportunity for visitors to learn more about our
history beginning with the Rancho period, and continuing
to the establishment of the City of Carlsbad.
New Display for Allan Kelly’s collection
Maps and posters for the new Allan Kelly display in
the conference room.
Save the Date
Sunday, October 17, 2021 from 1-3 we will be meeting at
St. Michael’s Church Hall for our annual meeting and
election. I’ll present a brief talk on the Pioneer Kelly Family
and the museum will be open for those interested in
walking across the street and seeing the newest display.
Carlsbad City Facilities is creating an action item checklist
of needed repairs for all historic buildings located in Magee
Park. This includes Magee House and Barn as well as the
Granary and Heritage Hall. A contractor will be visiting
each site later this summer and submitting their
recommendations. Requests for funding of repairs will be
included in the facilities budget requests to the city for
Magee Park and Homeless
Carlsbad PD Homeless Outreach Team is creating a
positive presence at Magee Park. Their efforts are greatly
Please submit your name if you are interested in running
for election. Positions of President, Treasurer and
Secretary for the term 2022-2024 will be voted on this
October at our annual meeting. Send your name to
Not so Very Different
Living in urban Carlsbad in 2021 you wouldn’t expect to
have a bobcat roaming your neighborhood, eating your
house pets. But that is exactly what happened in my
neighborhood in July. Drought, pandemic, global warming
or encroachment on natural habitat could all be
contributing factors to the recent arrival of bobcats living
among us. John L. Kelly, the son of Matthew Kelly the Los
Kiotes homesteader, and nephew of Robert Kelly the
owner of the Rancho Agua Hedionda wrote in his memoirs
“Life on a San Diego Ranch” about his encounter with one
particular bobcat . Copies of this bound book are available
for checkout at the Carlsbad Library, and of course
members are welcome to borrow one of our copies.
Here’s the excerpt as written by John L.
“One very foggy morning, I was letting my flock of sheep
and goats feed along through the bushes on a hillside,
when suddenly I saw only a few yards ahead of me a large
bobcat wrestling with a half-grown goat, and trying to drag
down. I had my double- barreled shotgun with the one
barrel loaded with thirty-six caliber pistol bullets, and the
other barrel loaded with number seven shot for quail or
rabbits. Instead of shooting at once as I suppose I should
have done, which would have probably killed both goat
and wildcat, I rushed in shouting at it, but with my gun
ready to shoot it the instant it separated itself from the
goat. At about this stage of the game, however, Leach
rushed past me and leaped onto the cat. Before I had
been afraid to shoot for fear of killing the goat, and now I
could not shoot for fear of killing my faithful little dog.
The big wildcat was far bigger than Leach, but what has
size got to do with it when a Scotch terrier sees a prospect
for a fight? All I could see was a rolling mass of dog and
wildcat clinched in a deadly combat and before I could do
anything they were rolling down the steep hillside under
some thick brush. I thought the big wildcat would surely
kill him. By the time I got down to where I could see the
fight again, the wildcat had evidently had all the fight he
wanted for just then he managed to break loose and
dashed away down the hill with Leach in hot pursuit.”
Former Carlsbad Resident; Murph the Surf- Heist
Break in at the NYC American Museum of Natural
In October 1964, the “Star of India”, a 563 carat oval blue
sapphire larger than a golf ball was stolen from the New
York City American Museum of Natural History, as was a
100.32 carat “DeLong Star Ruby” and a 116 carat
“Midnight Star” black sapphire. This was the largest jewel
theft in NYC history. And the theft was pulled off by a
former Carlsbad resident, Jack Murphy and two of his
criminal cohorts Allan Kuhn and Roger Clark.
Born in Los Angeles, Jack Murphy, an only child, spent his
childhood in Carlsbad. His family left town in the 1940s
and moved to many other states before he eventually
ended up in Florida.
At 27 years of age Jack “Murph the Surf “ was living in
Miami listed as a surfing champion in Florida and a Cocoa
Beach surf shop owner, he and 2 friends also were thieves
pulling off waterfront mansion robberies and escaping by
After they stole the Star of India and 22 other gems, on
October 29, they returned to Florida and hid the gems
underneath the boat. Two days later the police were
tipped off and they were captured. A movie titled “ Murph
the Surf” was released in 1975 and provides a glamorized
version of the theft.
Jack Murphy, “Murph the Surf” served two years jail time
for the gem theft, and later returned to prison for several
decades after being convicted for a brutal homicide in
“Star of India” sapphire
“Jack “Murf the Surf” Murphy sits in an outdoor lounge
chair with his dog on his lap as he reads a Woody
Woodpecker comic book. Inscribed on the bottom border
of the print; “Jack Murphy 8-1948. Later in life Murphy
gained the nickname “Murf the Surf” as a professional
surfer, and infamy as a jewel thief and convicted criminal,
with his participation in “The Greatest Jewel Heist of the
20th Century” serving as the inspiration for the 1976
motion picture “Murph the Surf”.” Photo from Carlsbad
Local History Collection Archives
KELLY RANCH FAMILY
MUSINGS, MEMORIES, REFLECTIONS FROM
SON-IN-LAW MARVIN SIPPEL –LATER “ OUTLAW”
In 1956 I married into the Allan and Katherine Kelly
family which included daughter Lucia and son Wm. Allan.
Allan was a cattle rancher, author and Katherine was a
former school teacher at Pine School in Carlsbad.. Son
Allan was a student at Davis UC campus.
Lucia and I met at Whittier College in January, 1954. She
had returned to WC after spending a semester at UC
Davis. She worked at the Campus Inn as a door checker
where students ate. Before leaving for summer break I
mused to myself that I will plan to date her in Sept. Our
first date was attending the football game at Hadley
Field and we began dating regularly thereafter.
We got pinned in January of our senior year, engaged in
June after graduation and married in July 1956. I had
been drafted into the army just at the end of the Korean
War serving at Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Denver, CO. I
worked with psychiatric patients there. We married
midway through my commitment and settled into our apt
in Denver .. Lucia taught elementary school.
After graduate school receiving my teaching credentials
and MA degree, we moved to Escondido where I taught
middle school physical education for 6 years. Our oldest
son, Doug, was born in 1959, and in 1961 we moved
into the old ranch house which Lucia’s parents had built
in 1920.s. They later built a Weir Brothers adobe in
- so their older house was vacant. It was single wall
construction (no insulation) and had a fireplace and oil
burner heater. One could see some light between the
boards. It was located on a dirt road ½ mile from
two-lane El Camino Real. Water was piped about one
mile from Holly Berry Spring . It had a sulfur odor and
taste. Hence, we got town bottled water for drinking. At
times the filter for the water line got clogged with small
frogs which required cleaning regularly. It wasn’t fancy
living but the rent was cheap and we saved money to
build a new home.
In winter we had to ford the creek which had running
water after a storm. I put railroad ties in my pickup truck
bed for better traction. Rural life location included many
critters: coyotes, bobcats, rabbits, snakes, skunks and
many sundry others. A rattle snake was found under my
baby son’s crib, and a skunk hid in a drawer in the stove.
Many similar kinds of experiences occurred. Bobcats
raided the chicken coop. Life in the country was eventful.
Lucia Kelly and Marvin Sippel
In 1964 we built our new home on 2 acres given to us
by Lucia’s parents. My father in law and I bought 25
head of Hereford cattle at the LA livestock market and
he bought a bull named Uncle George– Once again we
were in the cow- calf cattle business. New pasture
fences, corral with two catch pens and loading chute
were constructed. All were located on a dirt road later to
become Canon Road and then extended to reach the site
of now Sage Creek High School.
Lucia’s brother returned from Arequipa, Peru and
resumed farming. We electrified the old windmill with a
new pump, planted permanent pasture, and housed our
kid’s horses, steers, and eventually some friend’s horses.
At one time we had about 25 head of livestock to
accommodate which were located in pipe corrals or
pastures. We farmed our own oat hay, bought alfalfa
and lived as country folk at the edge of Carlsbad. City
kids loved to come out and experience horse riding and
such events as creek wading and “tomato throwing
contests” when Raul Sanchez’s fields were done
harvesting. Our six Kelly and Sippel kids had lots of city
Enumerated are some of the animals we had over the
years” steers, horses, sheep, chickens, goats, dogs, cats,
bulls, etc. In addition to the above animals I will briefly
mention some of the experiences our families had over
● foals being born; horses out at night on ECR when
gates were left open; nightly sound of horses
hooves on asphalt drive coming up to find
some morsels of grain.
● calls from Carlsbad PD to come fetch horses again
● wire fences cut and animals out; cattle rustling
with steer butchered in the field and stolen. No
brand mark located on the hide so we couldn’t
● Trash of all types dumped on property needing
● Mailbox vandalized by one of my former high
school students who didn’t graduate. Later kittens
in the mailbox.
● Brush fires needing fire dept. assistance . (
note;) during mowing weeds I accidentally started
a fire requiring 2 helicopters and a dozen fire units
to quell the fire)
● Flooding after deluge rainfall with benches and
debris from Rancho Carlsbad Mobile Home Park.
Our fences were wiped out with animals stranded
on isles of land. The park was up-stream from our
ranch. I remember the sound of roaring water all
night long as it passed under the highway bridge
on ECR. Agua Hedionda stream was a massive
● Numerous birthday parties for our kids and their
● Hay rides pulled by our tractor starting at the Irwin
Kelly barn on ECR.
● Beautiful spring wild flowers after a wet rainy
● Kelly family and Rotary club barbecues under the
● Our kids climbing into an old tractor tire and
rolling downhill bumping into a haystack.
Then watching Uncle Ning do the same but with
● Driving the WWII Recon truck with a flat bed to
haul hay from the fields and stacked in Kelly Barn.
● Acquiring a surplus military (mule) 4WH drive .
One time our six kids drove it, tipped over, and
rescued Susan Kelly from the water. We adults
heard the story years later.
● Another time Susan was bitten by a rattler and GF
Kelly used his pocket knife to treat here. She
later was hospitalized. More examples could be
Choose and Cut Christmas tree business: Having lots of
land also had its tax problems. In the late sixties, the
land was assessed as future homes and taxes increased
by $300 per acre. As a result, to pay taxes we began an
18 year business of selling trees to satisfied customers.
Many remember coming early the Friday after
Thanksgiving to select, tag and reserve a tree for later
cutting. The old timers tell us their experiences still now.
We had Ken Youngdale’s Kelly School MGM classes and
parents help over several years replant for a pay of $1
per tree. This produced loyal future customers.
Katherine and Allan Oscar
The senior Kellys were a unique couple. Katherine was a
master gardener, great cook,and helped raise her
grandkids, as well as volunteering in many places.
Besides ranching, Allan wrote on numerous subjects, in
particular the subject of Impact Geology. He was Citizen
of Year several times and a lifetime Rotarian.
Lastly, how Marvin temporarily was an outlaw from the
Son Wm. Allan served on the Carlsbad Unified School
Board Many years. One year the Teacher Union had a
dispute with the board regarding salaries and other
matters. As a teacher I did not support his re-election. In
a short time we “Mended our fences” and moved on with
Marrying into the Kelly family has been a truly wonderful,
loving life which I wouldn’t exchange. Rich experiences
and unique people.
New Life Members
Joan Langen Fessenden
CHS BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President: Susan Schnebelen Gutierrez
1st Vice President: Kenneth Langen
2nd Vice President: Marvin Sippel
Secretary: Ginny Unanue
Treasurer: Germán Gutierrez
Carlsbad Historical Society
P.O. Box 252 Carlsbad CA 92018-0252
258 Beech Avenue Carlsbad CA 92008
Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11 to 3 pm
Private Tours with Tea are given Monday through Thursday BY