Day 26 – February 5 – Carlsbad, CA – Day 21
Yesterday was a down day, although I worked for several hours on my very long blog with all the photos of the critters at the San Diego Zoo. I did however spend a few of the morning hours sitting in the sun reading Bambi before and I sat down at the computer. I took this photo of the view from our condo because it was the first time since we arrived that we could see the far-off mountains. They were usually obscured by the winter mist that comes off the ocean.
Today is our last day in Carlsbad. We have had a good time. We saw some of the sites, found some geo-caches, had some lazy days and enjoyed the warmer temperatures and lack of snow.
There was only one thing left on my To-Do-In-Carlsbad list and that was the Historical Park and Magee House.
The house was built in 1887 by an early Carlsbad pioneer Samuel Church Smith who located an artesian well that provided abundant fresh water. Others had tried to find water in the area with no success. Mr. Smith would meet the train when it came into town and hand out glasses of water to the passengers to promote Carlsbad as a nice place to move to and live. Apparently the water gained a reputation of having healing properties.
When Mr. Smith’s water business failed he sold the house to Alexander Shipley in 1896. The Shipley’s lived in the house until they died . After the passing of Mr. Shipley their widowed daughter Florence Shipley Magee moved back into the house to care for her mother and until her mother died. Florence lived there until her death in 1974, at which time she bequeathed the house and property to the City of Carlsbad.
The Historical Society owned a nice-sized piece of property in a highly developing area of Carlsbad – at the time still a vacant lot – and rather than have two locations, sold the lot and set up the Society at Magee Park. They probably generated several million dollars from the sale because they are still operating the house and park and other buildings that have since been moved to the park with the interest earned.
The house was a kit house from Nebraska. At the time Mr. Church bought this prime property on the highest hill in Carlsbad there were almost no wooden houses in the area. Everything was made of adobe brick so his wood house was quite an extravagance. We had a good visit with the staff and a good look around at all the period pieces before going outside to read the placards on the other buildings.
The complete works of Charles Dickens. This object was tucked in a corner in a small room of the house dedicated to the story of the railway in Carlsbad. Neither of the docents knew what it was or even if it had anything to do with the railroad. One fellow thought it may have been a stirrer/agitator for a laundry tub. Anyone know what it is?? The original Smith barn – that was only used as carriage shed – was still there and is the oldest surviving barn in California (I think that is right). Moved onto the property were a former Catholic Church now used as a meeting room and the Granary from the Twin Inn (local landmark hotel that is the ‘home’ of fried chicken in California). After we finished checking out Magee House and Park we drove back to Hosp Grove Park; the first place we visited when we arrived in Carlsbad. At the time our phones would not load the information about the five caches hidden in that section of the park so we made sure they were loaded before we left the condo today and went off to find them. Success on all five. Plus I had noticed a couple of caches hidden at a big shopping mall across the road and we were able to find them as well. That made 7 new Smileys on our geo-cache maps!The big wind storm we had last week uprooted this tall eucalyptus tree. It was just short enough to miss landing on the roadway.Obviously a storm a previous year caused this really big one to fall and it would have definitely blocked off at least one of the road lanes; if not both.
It was almost four thirty so we turned tires toward home. We made a short stop at Von’s for some groceries for the road – PB and J and bread and apples and oranges – and were hit up by some cute little Girl Scouts to buy a couple of boxes of their cookies. They sell 8 varieties of cookies. We only bought a box each of two kinds.
Tonight we pack up all our belongings and tomorrow we check out and head 3 1/2 hours inland to Indio where we will spend the night before heading into Joshua Tree National Park on Sunday. Over the next two or three weeks we will travel through Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Mojave Desert, Petrified Forest and Mesa Verde National Parks. Good times ahead!