The Carlsbad Historical Society increases and enhances the knowledge of the area’s history. CHS assures and maintains cultural traditions of the community; works with the City of Carlsbad on cooperative preservation, restoration and display of historical resources; and solicits the help of the community in acquiring historical items and property.

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The Carlsbad Historical Society was established in 1975 to preserve, promote, and enhance knowledge of the surrounding area's history, significant landmarks, institutions and memorabilia. We are a non-profit organization dedicated to reaching out to the community through educational as well as social events.

Our museum and archives are located in The Shipley-Magee House, at 258 Beech Ave. The museum portion is furnished in a turn of the century style which reflects the life style of the early settlers of Carlsbad who once owned the house. Also, displays of Carlsbad and the surrounding agricultural community are housed here in order to educate the public during the tours.

Our historical gardens feature a nationally registered Rose Garden, in addition to a Victorian Herb bed, a native Southern Californian bed, a Carlsbad commercial growers bed and a Patriotic Red, White and Blue bed.

Magee Park hosts the Shipley Barn furnished with displays of Carlsbad agricultural memorabilia; the Granary, relocated from the historic Twin Inns Restaurant; and Heritage Hall, the relocated original St. Patrick's Church which was also used for the original Carlsbad City library and Carlsbad Police Department.

Carlsbad Historical Society Founders

Español -Italiano -Français -Deutsch

Location of Museum/Office: 258 Beech Street,
Carlsbad, Downtown; 1 block off HW 101

Days: Saturdays and Sundays
11AM to 3PM

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 252
Carlsbad, CA 92018-0252
Phone: (442) 500-4471
E-Mail to:


Ammonites in Carlsbad

American Rhinos in Carlsbad

Paleontology in Carlsbad

10,000 years of History in the San Diego Area

Archaeology in Carlsbad

Early History

First Sight of Carlsbad

Robert Kelly

Oatman Massacre

History of Shipley-Magee House

Carlsbad Downtown 1925

Carlsbad Connections Displays

Carlsbad Services and Other Topics Displays

Allan O. Kelly

Tales of the Wilson Ranch

Roswell Henry Wilson Pioneer Nurseryman

Carlsbad Architecture, by Marge Howard-Jones

Recent posters of Carlsbad, Mayor Lewis and our Sister Cities

Rain Fall Data 1850-2018

Regionl Historic Preservation Study Carlsbad 1980

Regionl Historic Preservation Study Carlsbad 1980 Maps

Cultural Resources Survey 1990

The American Colonies

America after the Lousiana Purchase from France

Life on a San Diego County Ranch by John Kelly

Life on a San Diego County Ranch (~1925) by John Kelly -- PDF

Life on a San Diego County Ranch (~1925) by John Kelly -- HTML

Life on a San Diego County Ranch (~1925) by John Kelly -- HTML in Chapters

A History of Carlsbad (1961) by Jack Harmon

A History of Carlsbad (1961) by Jack Harmon

History of Carlsbad

Early Influences
The 1880s and 1890s
The Early 1900s
The '20s
The '30s
The '40s
The Post War Years

Historia de Carlsbad - en Español

Influencias Iniciales
Los 1980 y 1890
Los comienzos de 1900
Los Años 20
Los Años 30
Los Años 40
Los Años Posteriores a la Guerra

America in 1846 before the Mexican War


A -- is for annexed, La Costa was one;
B -- for the Barrio – History! Fun!
C -- is for Crespi, for Carl, and for Chase;
D -- for the Dog Park, where pooches can pace.
E -- is for Elm the old main street through town;
F -- for the Flower Fields, they’ve brought renown.
G -- for guayule and old Luther Gage;
H -- for Hosp Grove where the “eucs” replaced sage.
I -- for the Indian tribes still here now;
J -- is for Juno, the Shipley’s bow-wow.
K -- for the Kelly’s and all their good deeds;
L -- is for Ledgerwood planting those seeds.
M -- for Marron and for Florence Magee;
N -- is for nature, lagoons and the sea.
O -- for Our Paper, our very first read;
P -- Portola, he rode here on a steed.
Q -- for our Quadrants, northwest is the best;
R -- for the railroad, it brought folks out west.
S -- for the spring that the seekers did find;
T -- for Twin Inns, that’s where lots of folks dined.
U -- for utopia, paradise found;
V -- for the Village, the best, it’s renowned.
W -- for water, it’s part of our history;
X -- as in X marks the spot, it’s a mystery.
Y -- for the years since our City was started;
Z -- for the Zany Hats, now long departed.

Geoff Armour

Ranchos of San Diego


20,000 BC - 1896: Prehistoric - Mission - Rancho

1896 - 1924: Town - Agriculture

1925 - 1951: Community Growth

1952 - Present: Cityhood


1542 - Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, sailing for Spain, claims "California" for the crown.

1602 - Sebastian Vizcaino anchors off Point Loma, and names San Diego Bay.

1769 - Sacred Expedition - First written historical document of Carlsbad by Father Crespi

1798 - Father Lausen established the Mission San Luis Rey de Francia

1821 - Mexico gains independence from Spain

1844 - Rancho San Francisco changes name to Rancho Agua Hedionda

1848 - California becomes part of the United States of America

1860 - Rancho Agua Hedionda changes ownership to Frances Hinton

1870 - Hinton dies, wills Rancho Agua Hedionda to Robert Kelly

1880 - Robert Kelly gives right of way to railroad through Rancho Hedionda coastal land

1881 - John Frazier settles on Government surveyed land north of Rancho Agua Hedionda

1883 - Frazier discovers artesian and mineral water near coast

1886 - Capitalizing on Frazier's discovery, the real estate development company "Carlsbad Land and Water Company" is formed. It purchases Frazier's property and additional acreage north of Rancho Agua Hedionda and establishes the town of Carlsbad

1887 - Building lots subdivided, building boom in Carlsbad

1890 - Robert Kelly dies, wills Rancho Agua Hedionda to nieces and nephews

1900 - Land bust in Southern California- Carlsbad almost abandoned

1914 - South Coast Land Company purchases remaining land from defunct Carlsbad Land and Water Company

1922 - Water piped in from the San Luis Rey River allow development of Flower and avocado industry

1927 - Highway 101 diversion completed through Carlsbad, State highway bypasses downtown business district.

1930 - Carlsbad Mineral Springs Hotel opens- tourism industry born in Carlsbad

1936 - Army Navy Academy moves to Carlsbad

1937 - Leo Carrillo purchase Matthew Kelly homestead Los Kiotes

1940's - WWII comes to Carlsbad, houses demand increases

1952 - City of Carlsbad incorporates

1954 - I-5 Freeway connect Carlsbad to Oceanside

1956 - Carlsbad City's first city library established

1959 - Palomar Airport opens

1966 - I-5 from La Costa to San Diego opens

1969 - Plaza Camino Real Shopping Mall opens

1972 - La Costa annexed to City of Carlsbad

        - Car Country Carlsbad opens

1981 - Carlsbad Triathlon begins

1999 - Lego Land opens

2002 - 50th anniversary of incorporation

2003 - Carrillo Ranch Park opens

Books on Sale

"Windows on the Past: An Illustrated History of Carlsbad, California" by Susan Schnebelen Gutierrez, was written in 2002 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of Carlsbad as a City. It updates the previous books on the subject.

This book measures about 8.75 x 11.25 inches and is 160 pages hardbound. It has numerous historical pictures and documents from Carlsbad.

We have this book on sale at the Shipley-Magee House for $12.

"A Taste of Carlsbad's Past," by Susan Gutierrez and contributors

"Beckett Explores Carlsbad's Past," by Susan Gutierrez and Ann L'Heureux

"Beckett Walking Tour of Historic Downtown Carlsbad," by Susan Gutierrez, Marje Howard-Jones and Ann L'Heureux'

The first book on the history of Carlsbad is available on line at the link below, by a kind gift from the Friends of the Carlsbad Library.

A History of Carlsbad (1961) by Jack Harmon

Park Gardens

The Carlsbad Historical Society museum is located within Magee Park at 258 Beech Ave, Carlsbad, California. Surrounding the museum are a variety of old fashion gardens that attempt to demonstrate Carlsbad's agricultural past. All of the gardens are maintained through the combined volunteer efforts of the Arboretum Society, the Carlsbad Historical Society and the California Coastal Rose Society, as well as city staff.

One of the most outstanding features of the garden is the nationally registered Rose plantings on the west side of the park. Separated into several rose beds, visitors will find over 125 different roses that represent 15 different rose families. Development of these rose beds earned Carlsbad the honor of the American Rose Society's distinction of An American Rose City in 2002.

At the museum entrance, an old fashion garden greets visitors with its jumble of plants ranging from the stately Foxglove to a diminutive ground covering daisy.

Carlsbad, known as the Avocado Capital in the 1920s and the Flower Capital in the 1940s, has a diverse and enduring agricultural past. The Commercial Growers plantings represent a small number of the commercially viable crops that Carlsbad produced. Additionally, two highlights for any visitor are the Southern California native plants and the Victorian herb garden.


The Carlsbad Historical Society is located at 258 Beech Ave,
Carlsbad, California 92008.

For driving directions, please use the following link.

Map of 258 Beech Ave
Carlsbad, CA 92008


The Carlsbad Historical Society offers something for everyone by hosting lectures, social events, trips, and tours for its members as well as local students. Under the direction of the Carlsbad Historical Society, a specially designed tour was developed to teach local third grade students about local history. Each spring Carlsbad Historical Society Docents greet third graders at our museum and provide information about Carlsbad that helps teach students about life in the past.

Guides lead a tour for interested visitors through our historic park gardens, giving insight and information about Carlsbad's agricultural past.

December welcomes our Victorian Christmas Celebration. Utilizing local native plant material, volunteers decorate the Shipley-Magee House in a manner similar to the method of early Carlsbad residents.

The Carlsbad Historical Society sponsors a variety of guest lectures and member tours of historic sites throughout the year. All events are open to the public. Please call our office at (760) 434-9189 for a listing of upcoming events.


We are always looking for new members. For those interested in preserving, promoting, protecting Carlsbad history please print out and mail the membership application below to:

Carlsbad Historical Society
PO Box 252,
Carlsbad CA 92018-0252

A membership entitles you to a subscription to the newsletter and entrance to all Historical Society functions and activities and helps fund our efforts. If you have any questions or comments, please call our office at (442) 500-4471.

Membership Application


Cool San Diego Sights Carlsbad Magee House

Buena Vista Audubon

Friends of Carrillo Ranch-

Oceanside Historical Society-

San Diego Historical Society-

Rockwood Shipley House in Delaware-

Escondido History Center-

Valley Center History Museum-

California Surf Museum-

Mission San Luis Rey-

Vista Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum-

San Diego Archaeological Center-

Save our Heritage San Diego-

California Historical Society-

Santee Historical Society

Cupa Cultural Center

Mule Hill Historical Trail

Old Poway Park

Rancho Los Peñasquitos County Park

San Dieguito Heritage Museum

San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park

Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead

Solana Beach Civic & Historical Society

Valley Center History Museum

Other interesting historical links

City of Carlsbad-


Finding Aids

Finding Aid for the Allan O. Kelly Papers

Finding Aid for the Charles Bennett Ledgerwood Papers

Finding Aid for the Marge Howard Jones Papers

Finding Aid for the Zahniser Papers

Ted and Hazel Roberts

Location of Museum/Office:

258 Beech Street,
Carlsbad, Downtown

Days: Saturday and Sunday
11AM to 3PM

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 252
Carlsbad, CA 92018-0252
Phone: (442) 500-4471

E-Mail to:


*Oxford University Press, American Horizons, U.S. History Global Context, Chapter 6