Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Downtown Encinitas ~ Circa 1887

This is what our town looked like in 1887. Originally from Switzerland, my great great grandparents and their son Otto and daughter-in-law Clara, my great grandparents, had settled here 6 years earlier. The population consisted mostly of farmers and their families, with some merchants to keep them supplied. Two blocks to the west is the Pacific Ocean, 25 miles south is San Diego and Los Angeles is roughly 100 miles north. Water has always been a challenge in this area, but with the proximity of Cottonwood Creek just blocks away, Encinitas was chosen as a stop on the railroad line between LA and San Diego.

The railroad brought people to the area who otherwise would never have given Encinitas a second thought. The population exploded to around 5,000 in the 1950s and once the interstate freeway cut a wide swath through town in the late 1960s, the die was cast. Flower growing had become the largest industry here - gladiolus, carnations, roses and poinsettias. But with increasing competition from overseas, the land that had been greenhouses and flower fields became more valuable for housing, and the building boom was on. Some 40 years later, the town is nearing build-out and we're bursting at the seams.

This picture was taken at what is now the Pacific Coast Highway and E Street, where a drive-thru hamburger/taco establishment, a second hand clothing store and a sandwich shop now stand.

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