Carlsbad Historical Society hopes to add paleontology exhibit – reprint

By Phil Diehl12:01 a.m.Nov. 22, 2012Updated1:50 p.m.Nov. 21, 2012

Members of the Carlsbad Historical Society would like to expand the scope of their museum by a few million years.

The Historical Society has applied for a grant that would allow it to add a small paleontology exhibit, explained society President German Gutierrez.

The exhibit would include information about such creatures as the ankylosaurus, a low-slung, armor-plated dinosaur that lived in the area now known as Carlsbad about 65 million years ago. The ankylosaurus weighed as much as six tons and had a tail like a hammer or a club.

“Remains dating back over 100 million years have been found in North County, particularly in Carlsbad, and are displayed at the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park,” Gutierrez said last week.

The display would be primarily photos and posters, he said, but the Natural History Museum has thousands of ancient fossils and maybe a few to spare. “I’m wondering if maybe they can lend us something,” he said.

The Historical Society recently applied to the Carlsbad Charitable Foundation for a grant of about $4,000, he said. The money would be used, along with $1,000 of the society’s own money and volunteer labor, to add the paleontology exhibit and improve some existing exhibits.

The Historical Society’s museum is in a barn on the west side of the city’s Magee Park, along Carlsbad Boulevard. It was built about the same time as the park’s house, which was completed in 1887. The barn stored tools and a horse-drawn buggy or buckboard, Gutierrez said. The original buckboard was bought in 1910 by the Shipley family, which owned the property. It’s on display after being restored, with black leather upholstery and rebuilt wood-spoke wheels.

Julia Shipley was known to be a proficient buckboard driver, states a display card beside the vehicle, which she sometimes drove on the narrow, dusty roads from Carlsbad to Escondido and Del Mar.

The barn was closed for a long time, but about 10 years ago the historical society added a concrete floor and opened it as a museum.

Among the exhibits is one of the big chickens made of painted plaster that used to advertise chicken dinners at the old Twin Inns restaurant, the distinctive Victorian at Carlsbad Boulevard and Carlsbad Village Drive.

“There were several generations of chickens over 50 years,” Gutierrez said. The fake fowl were not very sturdy, though, and “they would go bad over time.”

Also on display is a 4-foot-tall bank vault made in the late 1800s that in the 1930s was used by the only public bank in Carlsbad. The vault’s lock is controlled by an internal timer, a way of assuring no one can open it overnight.

“At 9 in the morning — ‘click’ — it would open,” Gutierrez said.

Other items are old saddles, farm tools and stone tools used by American Indians.

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About Carlsbad Historical Society

The Carlsbad Historical Society was established in 1975 to preserve, promote, and enhance knowledge of the surrounding area's history, significant landmarks, institutions and memorabilia. We are a non-profit organization dedicated to reaching out to the community through educational as well as social events.
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