The 1990s

New Carlsbad Landmarks

Tourism expanded outside of the downtown area in 1993, when the flower fields along Interstate 5 were converted from an agricultural endeavor to a sightseeing destination. The Carltas Company, the land management division of the Ecke family, secured a loan from the California Coastal Conservancy to establish the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch. The Flower Fields, planted with ranunculi, draw hundreds of thousands a year to walk among the rows of flowers on sixty acres that overlook the ocean.

In 1999, LEGOLAND opened just a few miles away from the Flower Fields. It was the first LEGOLAND outside Europe, and it quickly began bringing millions of visitors into Carlsbad every year.

The Second Century

During the 1990s, the Vestry and numerous committees were developing new plans to carry St. Michael’s into the future. Different proposals were discussed as new drawings hinted at possible futures for the campus, for the “Second Century.” There was talk of buildings, new programs, and new ventures like a preschool. Many different ideas were being considered.

The first century concluded in 1993 with the dedication of the expanded Boyd Hall. The building was re-developed into a two-story structure, with improved office space for growing staff and better infrastructure for youth ministry.

In 1994, a year-long observation of the church’s 100th anniversary took place. There were grand celebrations of the centennial with the public, the 1887 bell was rung 100 times, and an 1892 prayer book was used for services.

After nearly two decades of St. Michael’s ministry, Fr. Woodridge retired in 1996, and he and his wife Clara moved to Oregon to be closer to his family. His longtime assistant, Fr. W. Neal Moquin became Rector in the summer of 1996.

[PHOTO] Fr. Woodridge speaks at the dedication of the new Boyd Hall, with Bishop Hughes in attendance.

[PHOTOS] Cake from the celebration of the 1994 church centennial.

[PHOTOS] Fr. Woodridge’s final Sunday and send-off.

New St. Michael’s Landmarks

In 1997, the St. Nicholas Playground was completed and would quickly become a beloved part of the campus, enjoyed by both the children of the parish and the wider Carlsbad community.

The playground originated in 1996 during discussions for a possible St. Michael’s preschool. While a necessary requirement of such a facility, the Vestry recognized that children would benefit whether or not a preschool followed, so it was decided to go ahead with the construction of a playground first.

Despite various attempts, the establishment of a preschool has never to come to fruition. However, the playground remains a key asset to children’s ministry today.

In 1998, after two years of planning, The Betty Ramsay Rose Garden along with the Celtic Cross was dedicated. A large Celtric Cross stands in the center over a Canterbury Cross as part of the base. This new landscape provided an inviting new entry into the parish grounds.

Fr. Woodridge returned to visit and took part in the dedication.

1999 Website Screenshot

St. Michael’s Goes Online

At the turn of the new millennium, the church was developing its first website. It premiered in 1999 and brought the church into the new digital frontier.

From the September 13, 1998 Vestry Minutes:

“Joel West and Jonathan Troike gave a demonstration on the planned internet website for St. Michael’s, which include parish history, Christian education for all ages, missionaries, monthly calendar of events for the year, etc.”

From the 1999 Adult Formation Annual Report:

“One exciting project which has begun in 1999, and will hopefully begin to bear fruit in 2000, is the utilization of the St. Michael’s web page as a resource for Adult Formation materials. Several of the Catechumenate classes, and other resources are being prepared for the web. We hope to launch some of these sometime in the year 2000.

In addition, we plan on beginning as “ask the Catechist” page next year, where questions can be posted (anonymously or otherwise) to our teaching team.”

2005 Website Screenshot

2013 Website Screenshot

[PHOTO] 1996 construction begins on the rebuilt complex for Carlsbad By The Sea.

Text Sources, Photos, and References:
• Windows on the Past: An Illustrated History of Carlsbad, California (2002) by Susan Schnebelen Gutierrez
• St. Michael’s History Booklet: From 1894 to 1983
• St. Michael’s Archive
• Internet Archive: The Wayback Machine