Browse the Timeline:

As part of observing St. Michael’s 125th Anniversary, the staff and several dedicated, history-loving parishioners have been opening up the archives, visiting the Carlsbad library, and compiling documents and photographs in order to preserve the parish story for yet another generation. The scope of the inquiry is wide and deep. How did we get here? What did the region look like in previous centuries? How has Carlsbad evolved over the decades? Read below to find out!

Intro: Early Regional History & 1890s

Learn about the Native American people who lived in North County San Diego, the Spanish missions, the Mexican period, and California statehood that sets the stage for modern Carlsbad.

Church milestone: St. Michael’s founding in 1894.


Learn more about founding missionary and first vicar Rev. Jacob, and get a sense of what was happening in Carlsbad at the turn of the century. Some of the buildings from this period are still here today!


New water lines bring rebirth and new possibilities for agriculture in Carlsbad, and Rev. Hickman succeeds Rev. Jacob. Plus, take a look at an old St. Michael’s ledger with financial records from this early decade.

The 1920s

Carlsbad farming expands to include growing flowers, fruit, and avocados as the infrastructure of the modern community takes shape. Prohibition begins as the Great Depression looms.

Church milestone: St. Michael’s Parish Hall built in 1928.

The 1930s

Depression days take their toll on the city and St. Michael’s, but as the decade continues, new floriculture becomes a defining feature of Carlsbad, and new investments make the area a resort destination.

The 1940s

World War II changes the makeup of North County with the construction of Camp Pendleton in Oceanside. Meanwhile, St. Michael’s contributes to USO programs with other Carlsbad neighbors.

The 1950s

Post-war population growth leads to Carlsbad’s incorporation as a city, and parallel growth at St. Michael’s sparks a fundraising campaign for a new church building. A major decade for the church and the city.

Church milestone: The chapel is relocated and the new church is built.

The 1960s

The City of Carlsbad changes and plans for its future, while a difficult period at St. Michael’s leads to a search for new leadership. Fr. Driver arrives and brings renewed health to the church.

Church milestone: The Church Education building is first constructed.

The 1970s

Substantial growth at St. Michael’s creates a vibrant new hub of activity, and the church is consecrated by the first bishop of the newly formed Diocese of San Diego.

Church milestone: St. Michael’s achieves full parish status.

The 1980s

The City Council adopts a redevelopment plan to enhance tourism in the downtown area, and parallel expansions at St. Michael’s follow a growing congregation, especially in youth ministry.

Church milestone: The Parish Hall is expanded.

The 1990s

St. Michael’s celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding, and looks ahead to its ‘Second Century.’ New campus developments are also completed, leading to several landmarks we know today.

Church milestone: Boyd Hall expansion and Celtic Cross installed.

2000 – Present

This final installment of the History Series chronicles the recent years and developments that lead up to the present day. The parish begins the new millennium by considering a number of possible futures.

Church milestone: The new church narthex is completed.