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Tidbits of Carlsbad History – Carlsbad is all about the water

Batiquitos Lagoon

Carlsbad history is all about the water!

Water has been an integral part of Carlsbad’s history starting with the early settlements. A Lagoon, a river, a mineral springs and an ocean is what Carlsbad’s story is all about.

Carlsbad History – Luiseno Indian Tribe

Carlsbad history begins with the Luiseño people who located one of their villages, Palamai, near what is today Agua Hedionda Lagoon. The Luiseno Indian tribe lived in small villages near our fresh water sources, they called them Palamai or “place of big water”, our lagoons.
Carlsbad History – Spanish 1778

The Spanish established the Mission San Luis Rey, named after the Luiseno Indians.The Spanish set up mission system to protect their claim to the land and to bring the Catholic religion to the natives. 21 Missions were set up in California at that time. Much of the land that is now Carlsbad was under the control of the missions for use as ranchland.
Carlsbad History – Mexico 1821
Mexico gained independence from Spain and the mission era ended.  The Mexican governor issued private land grants:  Juan Marron was granted the Agua Hedionda land by the Mexican government, which Marron called Rancho San Francisco. The Agua Hedionda Lagoon (“agua hedionda” means “pestilent or stinky water” in Spanish)Mexican Revolution 1910 – Carlsbad Barrio – Lola’s Mexican deli, Barrio Museum and Ramirez house.

Carlsbad History – Whistle stop – California Southern Railroad 1883

Carlsbad started as a whistle stop on the new California Southern Railroad.  In the 1880s a former sailor named John Frazier dug a well in the area. He began offering his water at the train station and soon the whistle-stop became known as Frazier’s Station. A test done on a second fresh-water well discovered the water to be chemically similar to that found in some of the most renowned spas in the world, and the town was named after the famed Spa in the Bohemian town of Karlsbad. The site of John Frazier’s original well can still be found at Alt Karlsbad, a replica of a German Hanseatic house, located on Carlsbad Boulevard.

  • Frazier’s Mineral Well, site of the original well dug in the 1880s.

The discovery of the mineral water soon led to stops by train passengers to drink this water, rumored to have special healing properties: there was a sign at the railroad station reading “alright, drink and be happy.” 

Carlsbad History – Twin Inns 1887

To take advantage of the find, the Carlsbad Land and Mineral Water Company was formed by a German-born merchant from the Midwest named Gerhard Schutte together with Samuel Church Smith, D.D.Wadsworth and Henry Nelson. The naming of the town followed soon after, along with a major marketing campaign to attract visitors. The area experienced a period of growth, with homes and businesses sprouting up in the 1880s. Agricultural development of citrus fruits, avocados and olives soon changed the landscape. By the end of 1887, land prices fell throughout San Diego County. However, the community survived on the back of its fertile agricultural lands.

Carlsbad History – Carlsbad Village “The Village by the Sea” 
Carlsbad is an old village dating from the 1880s. The Carlsbad Historical Society produced a self-guiding walking tour map available at the Visitor’s Center in the Old Santa Fe Train Depot.

Carlsbad History – Old Santa Fe Depot 1907: The depot was built in 1907 (replacing the first built in 1887) by the Arizona Eastern Railway and also served as a telegraph office, Post Office, Well Fargo Express Office, and general store. Served in later years as a shipping point for local fruit, vegetables, and flowers. Closed in 1960, it is now the home of the Visitor’s Information Center. 400 Carlsbad Village Dr. On the National Register of Historic Places.

Carlsbad History – Shipley-Magee House
The Shipley-Magee House Museum is furnished in a turn of the century style, which depicts the life style of the early settlers of Carlsbad who had once owned the house.

Carlsbad – History in the Making – Today
Carlsbad is a vibrant village in North County San Diego located right along the coast. The majority of the hotels, shops and restaurants are very close to, the village, with some properties directly on the beach and others within walking distance to the ocean. Carlsbad is a very walk-able town, stroll the streets of downtown and enjoy a taste of Carlsbad’s history.  Many of Carlsbad’s historical sites are still in good shape.  We are proud of our unique history and enjoy sharing it with others. The Alt Karlsbad Hanse House on Carlsbad Boulevard, site of the first mineral water spa in the town, a mainstay of Carlsbad since the 1880s.

The Shipley Magee house is home to the Carlsbad History Museum.

Carlsbad History is alive today and hopefully tomorrow as well.
For more historial information about !Carlsbad: