Rebirth in Carlsbad

Ed Fletcher, the first manager of the South Coast Land Company, arranged to bring water in from the San Luis Rey River and formed the Carlsbad Mutual Water Company. Running the lines to Carlsbad infused the town with new life. That arrangement with the City of Oceanside, as well as the climate of the area, brought about the popularity of agriculture in Carlsbad. With an adequate source of water, there was no stopping the influx of people, particularly farmers. The first avocado grove, begun by Sam Thompson in 1916, was followed by many more. Avocado groves would spawn an entirely new industry for Carlsbad.

The growth was so positive that Neva and Eddie Kentner risked leaving secure employment to move their family to Carlsbad and take over operation of the Twin Inns Restaurant. The Twin Inns soon became a popular destination for travelers passing through Carlsbad.

[PHOTO] At this time in 1916, Carlsbad Village Drive was called Elm Avenue.

The sign pictured was put up by the South Coast Land Company to promote farming in the area.

Remembering Rev. Hickman

In March 1913 at St. Michael’s, the Rev. Percival H. Hickman succeeded Mr. Jacob, and also served Oceanside and San Luis Rey. While Mr. Jacob had driven fine horses, Mr. Hickman didn’t even have a bicycle and made all his priestly rounds on foot, even walking to All Saints in San Luis Rey to hold services at least once a month.

Parishioner Betty Ramsay remembered him from her childhood: “Mr. Hickman was an energetic man with a big, bushy (but well-trimmed) white beard. This impressed my little brother, who once asked my mother if Mr. Hickman remembered Noah. He made all his rounds on foot, even walking to All Saints, San Luis Rey. Mr. Hickman was earnest and devout, but as little kids we were rather in awe of him and would conveniently disappear if we saw him trudging up the road to our house.”

A Church/School?

The archives are very thin for the 1910 decade, but there are records suggesting that St. Michael’s may have briefly been a church/school. In 1918, the Los Angeles Diocese recorded that 12 students were enrolled in St. Michael’s educational facilities.

Carlsbad School on Pine Avenue was the first school located in the village. It was a two-story, four-room building constructed with school bonds in the late 1800s. It was replaced in 1925 by a new school in the same location.

From the Archives

One fun item in the St. Michael’s archives is an old ledger with financial records from 1910 through the 1920s. Those early days were a much simpler time for tracking pledges and expenditures!

Text Sources, Photos, and References:
• A History of San Diego North County: From Mission to Millennium (2001) by Lola Sherman
• Carlsbad: Images of America (2009) by Jeannie Sprague-Bentley
• Windows on the Past: An Illustrated History of Carlsbad, California (2002) by Susan Schnebelen Gutierrez
• The Carlsbad Historical Society
• St. Michael’s History Booklet: From 1894 to 1983
• St. Michael’s Archive