Newsletter for Q2 2016

Please see our newsletter here.

President’s Message

Ginny Unanue

We’ve had a very successful year with scheduled field trips from Carlsbad 3rd Grades. Five different schools have visited the Shipley/Magee House and Barn. Susan Gutierrez led tours of the house and grounds, with special activities. Germán Gutierrez led tours of the barn and its contents. Marvin Sippel gave presentations on the early rancho and Kelly Ranch days in Carlsbad, with many artifacts he provided. These three people are to be highly commended for the wonderful work they did as docents for these tours. We also owe a vote of thanks to our paid docent, Elizabeth, for her contribution of activities as follow-up to the tours, to be completed upon return to school. You’ll read more about this in this issue.

As a side note, I would like to have some other members of the Society volunteer to be trained to be docents for these visits by third-graders.

We need more involvement by members, and not just Board Members, in many of the activities sponsored by the Carlsbad Historical Society. Please consider volunteering for one or more activities held throughout the year. It would be such a gift to the Society!

School Tours

Visiting third grade classes from Aviara Oaks, Jefferson, Kelly, Magnolia, and St. Patrick’s kept our volunteer docents busy this year! We greeted our young visitors at the Shipley Magee House museum, after introducing them to a brief overview of Carlsbad history , our visitors were encouraged to participate in a historical fact finding scavenger hunt. Marvin created a fun and energetic hands on ranching experience behind the museum. If noise level is any judge of enjoyment, then we can safely say, all participants had a great time racing around on hobby horses, trying out saddles or learning the rudiments of branding and lassoing. Also, the kids a tour got a of the barn and the other structures in the park. Ginny Unanue, greeted the classes at the St. Michael’s chapel, through the use of a Power Point presentation, the history of Carlsbad’s first church came alive.

Marvin Sippel and kids from Saint Patrick’s School

School tours have ended for the year, but we are already in the preparation stage for next fall. We encourage and invite our members to check out the school tour information on our website and click on the School Tour Link. We’ve also provided information for videos, and historic walking tours on our website.

If you know of any organization; scouting group or school that would enjoy an informational field trip please ask them to contact us at our email address

If you are interested in participating and sharing Carlsbad history with visitors, we always welcome volunteers and even though you would work with one of our trained volunteers, we also offer a basic brush up of our history A usual school tour lasts between 2-3 hours and most times are scheduled in the morning starting at 9 am. We also would love to have volunteers with other unique and vanishing skills that they would be willing to share to the classes such as crocheting, knitting, identifying farm equipment and its use, playing a game such as marbles or even cursive writing. Send us an email or leave a message on our answering machine if you have a few hours available. We’d love to have your help.

Special Donations

April was a wonderful month for donations adding to our historical collection. We started off with a bang when the Langen Family donated a beautiful aerial view oil painting of Carlsbad circa 1953, shown below.

1953 Large Oil Painting of Carlsbad

Painted just one year after the City of Carlsbad’s incorporation, the artist Edward H. Burn captured a detailed view of our beautiful city on a 10 by 16 foot canvas. A combination of vibrant colors combined with minute details of Carlsbad, which included fields, lagoons, roads and buildings remind us of a simpler time. Plans are underway to display such a large painting.

Two of the Twin Inns red leather bound Guest Registers were returned to public view when Robert Burke, former owner of Neiman’s and the purchaser of the Twin Inns Restaurant donated them to the Carlsbad Historical Society for historical interpretation and display. The registers span the years from the 1930s- to the early 1960s. One of the registers had the Twin Inns chicken watermarked on each page.

Twin Inns register from the 1930s.

We thank everyone for your interest and dedication in preserving Carlsbad history by making these

wonderful donations and encourage others to keep an eye out for objects and photos that expand our knowledge of our past.

Richard Nixon appears in the register

Presentation by Thomas Deméré

-To the Historic Preservation Commission

Mr. Deméré is Curator and Director at the San Diego Museum of Natural History, and gave a presentation on the paleontological finds in Carlsbad. He brought with him a mastodon tusk recently found in the 78/College Blvd. dig area.

Mastodon tusk found recently in Carlsbad

Mr. Deméré shared the following map, that was produced by the U.S. Geological Survey, for Carlsbad, and it shows in different colors the ages of the terrain and hills in this town. There is an area (marked Kt, in light green) that is over 70 million years old (Cretaceous period, meaning “chalk” period), where the local dinosaurs where found.

Location of Cretaceous Rocks in Carlsbad

The Carlsbad Ankylosaurs is the only one of its kind in the world. The other dinosaur found is commonly known as a Hadrosaurus, and it has a duck bill and a back protruding head.

About 66 Million years ago, there was a catastrophic event (possibly a meteor collision) that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs (except for the bird’s ancestors). This is why it is fundamental to look for Cretaceous (or earlier) rock formations in the search for dinosaurs.

The depth of the Ocean 15,000 years ago

Carlsbad and most of North County San Diego has been mostly undisturbed for the past 70 million years. The coastal region has been above and below sea level several times, but we have not had any major erosion, volcanic eruption or mountain rise. Only 20,000 years ago, at the beginning of the end of the last ice age, the coast was miles out to sea; one of the islands in front of Los Angeles may have been in contact with the continent.

Why the First Carlsbad Land and Water Company Failed

An unfortunate sequence of events led to the near failure of the first town. In 1883 there was an all time record rain fall of 25 inches. The following year John Frazier digs his well and finds water at a relatively low depth. In 1886, Schutte, Wadsworth, Smith and Nelson form the Carlsbad Land and Water Company. By 1887, the population of Carlsbad had grown to 300 people. However, the decade of the 1890s was one of terrible droughts and there was not enough water to support the growth of the town. Its population dropped to half. The economic depression that followed finished off the Land and Water Company. The very large and expensive hotel built by the investors burned in 1896. Once most businesses closed, and many families moved away, the area reverted to what it had been before– mostly a ranching area.

The New Power Plant Will Be Operational By Next YearBye Bye Iconic Smoke Stack

During 2015 the Encina Plant storage tanks next to the Freeway were removed and the site started to get ready for the new gas fired turbines. Currently they are being installed and by the end of next year, 2017, the existing power plant will be torn down. The new plant will have six quick start generators, which can be brought up on line as the needs for electricity change, and they will be air cooled (however, they will consume some fresh water that will be sprayed to make the air conduction more efficient). NRG plans to start operation in early 2017.

Proposed Location of the New Turbines

Construction of the Encinas Power Plant started in the 1940s. Having such a source of income, if the City incorporated, was one of the factors weighing in favor of making Carlsbad a city. The higher stack was built in the 1970s because the fumes from the lower stacks were found to affect the paint on cars downwind in Carlsbad and Oceanside.

New Members

Jodi Williams Wallis – Life Membership

Knox Williams – Life Membership

Andrea Pasek – Life Membership

Carole and John Sanders

Sally Katich

Susan Kelly

Doug Sippel

Dolores Frazee


Have you noticed our New Members section of the newsletter keeps growing? We owe a big thanks to the efforts of Vice President and Membership Chair Marvin Sippel! What ‘s Marvin’s secret to increasing our numbers? The personal touch! Marvin reaches out to family, and long time friends explaining that we strive to increase and enhance the area’s knowledge of our history through our collection, preservation and outreach of history and artifacts. He explains how our dues help us to achieve our goals and then he asks them to simply consider membership. Please consider following Marvin’s example and reach out to family, and friends and ask them to consider membership. We are planning a two adobe home tour in the Fall for members and prospective members. These include the Juan Maria Romouldo Marron adobe, and the Allan and Katherine Kelly Hilltop adobe. We will all be glad you did!

Annual Election

Please consider serving on our Board of Directors. Election ballots will be mailed out in late August. Terms of office are for two years and will begin January 2017. The following positions, are up for reelection :President, Secretary and Treasurer. If you are interested in serving please submit your name by August 1, 2016 to be included on the ballot.

Annual Dues

Our annual dues are collected by the end of each year. Individual membership is $25, family memberships are $35, and business memberships are $50. Please consider upgrading to a Life Membership for $250.


Volunteers are welcome for any of these areas:

* Friday Docent

*Third grade tours

*Private tours with Victorian teas

* Carlsbad history research

*Photo collection management


All members are welcome to attend our bimonthly Board of Directors meetings.

Meetings are held in the Magee House meeting room at 4 pm. on the third Monday of every other month. Meetings are held in the following months; January, March, May, July, September, and November.


President: Ginny Unanue

1st Vice President: Connie Trejo

2nd Vice President: Marvin Sipple

Secretary: Susan S. Gutierrez

Treasurer: Germán Gutierrez

Carlsbad Historical Society

P.O. Box 252

Carlsbad, CA 92018-0252

(760) 434-9189

Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11 to 3 pm.

Private Tours with Tea are given

Monday through Thursday



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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