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Original Structures in downtown Carlsbad Village

Carlsbad Mineral Spa

Original Structures in downtown Carlsbad Village – Carlsbad History
1. Alkaline Mineral Water Spa – Frazier’s Well / Alt Karlsbad
2802 Carlsbad Blvd.

The original well was dug and housed by John Frazier in 1883; however, the current housing and Alt Karlsbad structure were built in 1964 by Kay and Chris Christiansen.
John Frazier tapped a mineral spring on his homestead in 1883. Within a short period of time, water became the base of the Carlsbad economy due to the spread of word about mineral water and the frequent train stops carrying travelers who came to drink of the water. Two different types of water were tapped: one artesian and the other a mineral water allegedly identical in taste and chemical content to water lauded for its healing powers found at a famous spa in Karlsbad, Bohemia – hence the name of the town. By 1890 there was a 50-foot tower pulling water from a 510 foot well. The original well was declared a state historical site in 1955. Owners Kay and Chris Christiansen built Alt Karlsbad in 1964, recreating a 12th century structure as a backdrop for their replica of the European namesake. Currently, Alt Karlsbad today houses a spa and has reopened a bottling plant with the same mineral water. The-history-of-the-city-named-for-its-water-source.

2. Red Apple Inn / Army Navy Academy
2585 Carlsbad Blvd.

The original structure, the Red Apple Inn, was built in 1927 by A. G. Blair and bought in 1936 by the Army and Navy Academy of Pacific Beach (it is now Fegan Hall at the Army Navy Academy). Other structures were built in 1939 by Alonzo R. “Robert” Baird to house more of the Army Navy Academy. Following World War II, classrooms, dorms, and a large gymnasium-auditorium were added. The Academy now covers approximately 16 acres.

3. Individual Home – Carlsbad History
Magee House
Magee Park, 258 Beech St.

Samuel Church Smith, one of Carlsbad’s town founders, built this craftsman cottage in 1886. Then the collapse of the California land boom in 1896 forced Smith to sell to Alexander Shipley, an eccentric retired foreign service officer. He, his wife, and their daughter, Florence, lived here and were active in St. Michael’s Church but otherwise stayed aloof from other residents. The red barn behind the house also dates to the Shipley occupancy. In 1912, Shipley’s daughter Florence married Hugh Magee, a North County rancher, and moved away. Florence returned after her husband’s death in 1941 and later willed the property to the City upon her death in 1974.

4. Church – Carlsbad History
St. Patrick’s Church / Heritage Hall
Magee Park, 2650 Garfield St.

Built in 1926 by John Dalton and originally located on Harding Street, this building was moved in 1953 and again in 1979 to its present site in Magee Park. This building served as Carlsbad’s first Catholic church and later as its first City Hall and police station. It also housed the city’s early library and a dance studio. Today, Heritage Hall serves as a facility for public meetings and programs.

5. Hotel – Carlsbad History
California-Carlsbad Hotel / Carlsbad-by-the-Sea
2855 Carlsbad Blvd.

The original hotel was designed and built by the Eastman Hotel Company in 1929.
Opening the California-Carlsbad Hotel in 1930 heralded the start of Carlsbad’s tourist industry. Therefore this project was billed as a great health resort, taking advantage of the mineral water nearby. During the 1940s, the hotel was frequented by the wealthy and Hollywood celebrities. After World War II, the hotel was converted into a retirement home by the Lutheran Services of San Diego and then rebuilt and upgraded in the late 1990s. The original exterior look of the facility was replicated in this process.

6. Twin Inns
2978 Carlsbad Blvd.
This Victorian structure was built by Alonzo Culver in 1887 for Gerhard Schutte, known as the “Father of Carlsbad.” Schutte and partners Samuel Church Smith and D.D. Wadsworth, founded the Carlsbad Land and Mineral Water Company and had as their vision “a town of small farms and gracious homes.” They bought up 400 prime acres for $40 an acre. They laid out a townsite, lined roads with eucalyptus seedlings, and named streets. In 1919, Ed and Neva Kentner bought and converted it to a restaurant named the Twin Inns. The house gained fame for its fried chicken dinners and the four seven-foot plaster chickens out front. The Twin Inns was sold in 1984 and is currently a restaurant called Ocean House.

7. Home/Restaurant
Cohn House
3003 Carlsbad Blvd.

Los Angeles grocer, Albert Cohn, completed this Spanish Colonial retirement home in 1929, on a $40,000 budget which included wood from Denmark and slate from Vermont. After World War II, the estate was sold and converted to a restaurant-resort named the Royal Palms, which became a popular stop in route to the Del Mar Race Track for Hollywood notables. Also, this property served as a backdrop for many of the early Zorro television episodes. In 1972, it became the present-day Norte Restaurant, and in 1984, a develop ménage House / Monterey Condominiums

8. Train Station
Santa Fe Depot
400 Carlsbad Village Drive

Designed by Fred Perris and built in 1887, this gabled Victorian railroad depot is one of the few pre-1900 stations left in the country. In 1907, the town name, including the sign on the station, was changed to CARL., to distinguish it from Carlsbad, New Mexico. Townsfolk rebelled at the name and their protests finally succeeded in changing the name back to CARLSBAD in 1917. In the 1920s and 1930s, Carlsbad became a major producer of vegetables, fruits, and flowers, which were shipped all over the country from this depot. But after World War II, rail traffic declined; passenger service was discontinued in 1957; and the depot closed down permanently in the 1960s. However, fully restored in the late 1980s and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995, the depot is now home to the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

9. Commercial Building
Killian Building
2900 State St.

In the early 1920s, Oscar and Mattie Killian built the Killian commercial building on State Street. Some of Carlsbad’s earliest commercial ventures – a grocery store, a doctor’s office, and the town newspaper – were located here. The building was destroyed by a fire in 1927 and then rebuilt in 1929. Today the building retains its integrity as one of the first large-scale commercial buildings in the city.
9. Real Estate
South Coast Land Company / Garcia’s Barbershop
2956 State St.
This small one-story building was associated with the South Coast Land Company, the firm largely responsible for the early 20th century growth of Carlsbad. This company was formed in 1914 and the building was likely constructed (architect not known) about that time on what was then First St (now State St.). Today this unobtrusive building, serving as a local barbershop, symbolizes the development of Carlsbad.

10. Local Hotel
Los Diego Hotel / Via Vai Restaurant
2907 State St.

Businessman Roy Chase built the Los Diego Hotel in 1925 to promote travel and commerce between Los Angeles and San Diego – hence the name. By the early 1930s, State Street was replaced by Carlsbad Boulevard as the main route to San Diego, and the demand for tourist accommodations dropped. The hotel was converted to shops and offices and has remained this way ever since.

11. Theater
Carlsbad Theater
2822 State St.

Designed by Roy Struve (architect for the La Paloma Theater in Encinitas) and built by Roy Chase between 1926 and 1927 at a cost of $40,000, the theater was constructed to seat 600, with a full stage and small orchestra pit. The first film shown in 1927 was Clara Bow’s It, a racy film for the time. From 1946 to 1961, the Carlsbad Theater served as a movie house. Hence, it was later used as a playhouse and then served the Hispanic community for nearly 20 years with Spanish language films. Recent years have seen attempts to restore and preserve it, making it available for special program.