Carlsbad Time Lines
Q3 2023 Carlsbad, California, Historical Society
This year, our community celebrated its 36th season of TGIF Jazz in the Parks. From the very beginning in 1987, we as a family and as a community always anticipated this event as the kick-off to summer. Kids were out of school, and for many of us, our weekends started with a picnic dinner, and concert. It was a great time to wind down from a hectic schedule, catch up with neighbors and friends, share a blanket, and food. It was a great family event. Everyone brought their kids, who enjoyed the freedom to run around, and especially loved meeting up with their friends. The Carlsbad Historical Society, with the help of Connie Trejo and Family, set up a banner and grills and sold hotdogs, sodas, and ice cream. It was a wonderful way to connect with the community, and the way many of us, me included, learned about our organization and joined.
In this newsletter we are sharing two stories from longtime residents who were involved in the very beginning with the Jazz in the Parks events. We hope you enjoy learning a little more about TGIF and Jazz in the Parks.
Remembering the early days of the Jazz in the Park
Jazz in the Park at Magee Park
Like many events in Carlsbad, Jazz-in-the-Park, aka TGIF, grew from humble beginnings at Magee Park and has blossomed into the major summer event that it has become. The first few years were small Friday night concerts downtown with a couple hundred people in attendance. One of the things I remember about the early years at Magee Park was the influx of mosquitoes that came to visit everyone at sunset. Until they were subsequently controlled, the concerts often ended early. Fortunately that didn’t deter people from coming to enjoy family, friends and live music. Quickly we all started to plan our week around the Jazz Concerts, and looked forward to Fridays! After Stagecoach Park was built it was added to the venue list, and all of a sudden we, who lived in the northern part of town, had a reason to now go to La Costa and enjoy that venue.
One of the things that made Jazz so special were the volunteers who mingled through the crowds selling raffle tickets, t-shirts and other goodies. This was an era before food trucks so everyone brought picnics, blankets and friends to enjoy the concerts with, and to start off the weekend with fun and relaxation. It was something that everyone looked forward to with great anticipation.
I was always touched to see fathers dancing and having a wonderful time with their children and introducing them to a variety of music. While we may not have recognized it initially, these concerts were building community among the residents, and acted as a great gathering space for all of Carlsbad. It’s wonderful to now see the next generation of Carlsbadians coming together for fun and fellowship and to continue the Friday night tradition that has been such a foundation that makes Carlsbad the great City that it is and will continue to be.
Stephen “Hap” LHeureux
Hap and Ann L’Heureux, Peter, Sue and Robin Ladouceur
Connie Beardsley was the first and most important director of the Art's Office. Much of our direction of fun and having arts in the city of Carlsbad came from the mayor at the time, Mary Cassler, who passed a bill that set aside at least 2% from any development that had to include or fund arts in the city. It also encouraged the developers to involve artists in the design and process that included art in the development. Because of Mary and that requirement we got some great art and design in the Dove Library and art pieces around the city! Excluding the problems with the "Bars” that almost destroyed arts in the city, we have persevered and have at least a smattering of art. I was on the art's Commission for over 8 years (2 terms) and was chair for quite a while. We were lucky to have expertise and great musicians that set the tone of excellence in the beginning. Working under Connie was Colleen Finnegan who eventually ran the concerts.
At each concert one of the council members would open the concert with a welcome and also at intermission would read the winners of the raffle prizes. Arthur Wood was an Arts Commissioner when I was on the commission. He was the one who raised money each year from Carlsbad businesses for the Jazz programs! The raffle money earned was, as I remember, put back into the concerts and paid for the purchase of the dance floor, upgraded stage and sound equipment, etc. The Arts Associates were the early friends group that helped sell the raffle tickets along with Commissioners help too! The Arts Associates eventually sold wine glasses and t-shirts and picnic tables each year as fund raisers for the concerts. In the beginning the city council gave the arts office a budget of I think $25,000 to pay for the musicians.
Unknown, Amelia Irvine in white hat, Ralph Roos
The Arts Associates was formed by a lovely group of Carlsbad volunteers, many of them also volunteers at the Library Book Fairs held yearly. Jackie Wrench was the first president of this group and Ann L'Heureux was the next! They also had a fundraiser early on at the Village Faire, a very well attended event. Along with lots of PR and a kiosk outside the Cole Library that posted arts events monthly there also was an Arts Newsletter that was sent to all the members of the Arts Associates who paid a yearly membership. The newsletter was written by the Arts Office with an inclusion of an essay from the president. Everyone that was involved in both the Arts Associates and the Arts Commission were also participants in volunteering at the Jazz concert! The early years the concerts were held at Magee Park, StageCoach Park and Calavera Park! At first maybe 6 concerts for the summer season and quickly it rose to 9 concerts and then 12 for a few years? After the park's regular season we also had a concert held near Labor Day or sometime in August. For a few years we had the San Diego Symphony come to Carlsbad to the open field in the industrial center. At the end of the concert we also had fireworks.
The early years were very local. Much Smaller crowds. Mostly what we call the old guard of the very involved city participants. And slowly we got more and more of the newer and younger crowds as the population grew. Most people saved the summer to be home to enjoy Jazz in the Parks. The police and Fire Depts were a huge part of its success. The Boy Scouts early on sold hot dogs and chips and then a coffee truck was added and eventually more food vendors were a fun addition. The arts office eventually had an art tent for the kids to enjoy at the parks while the parents enjoyed the music. The Dance floor has always been a huge draw to the evening. It was, before the pandemic, the highlight of a busy summer week to spend Friday night at a picnic enjoying live music! The Arts Commission under the arts office would vote yearly on the details and decision making for each year's concerts. The Arts Associates, as a friends group, were the lovely volunteers that helped with the sales of the raffles and t-shirts, wine glasses, etc. they helped with the raffle sales at the concerts too and the money they raised went back into the needs of equipment needed to upgrade the concert venues. The Arts Office was under Cliff Lang who was the Director of the libraries in Carlsbad. Early years there was only the Cole Library. We now have two major libraries. Added was the Dove Library which now includes the Cannon Gallery, run by the Arts Office.
Connie Beardsley, Unknown, Collen Finnegan
We loved the early years when the concerts were small. Friends that we all knew in attendance. A special dinner you could buy at the last concert to share with friends. Our blankets always open for more friends to join us! Small town fun by the ocean at Magee Park was our favorite spot! Lots of great memories of many years of fun picnics and lots of dancing under the stars and food shared. Probably the best loved events that the Arts Office conducted each year and the best loved event that the Arts Commission was involved with.
Unknown, Matt Hall, Unknown, Ann Kulchin
The Art of the Picnic
One of the most fun aspects of the TGIF Concerts was the weekly picnic, and exploring and sharing food. Of course there were the normal bags of chips, salsa, crackers and cheese, and carry out dinners, but it really upped the game when we started to share new recipes in our mega blanket get together with friends.
Flying the Pride Flag at Carlsbad City Hall
On Tuesday June 13, the City Council voted 3 to 2 to reverse its previous decision to fly the rainbow Pride Flag at City Hall every June. This followed many public comments and discussions by the Council Members. The opposing votes were from Mayor Keith Blackburn and councilmember Melanie Burkholder.
Mayor Pro Tem, Priya Bhat-Patel, said that more special language will be added to the resolution “to ensure that we can fly this as government speech.” Also the resolution will clarify that City’s flag poles cannot be used as public forums.
“In June 2000, President Bill Clinton officially designated June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, in recognition of the Stonewall Riots and gay activism throughout the years.”
Other designated celebrated months are:
February: Black History Month
March: Women's History Month
April: Celebrate Diversity Month
May: Jewish American Heritage Month
September: Hispanic Heritage Month
October: LGBT History Month
November: Indigenous Heritage Month
Effort To Save The 1927 Carlsbad Village Theatre
Carlsbad Village Theatre
There is an effort ongoing to try to keep the Theatre operating as a theater. In the past it has been used to show movies and hold small theater productions, as well as rented for special events. The fear of those driving the effort is that it would become another brewery or restaurant, and that its historical look would be “modernized”. However, the theater is not large enough for certain shows, and it lacks a “green room”, where performers can await their entrance.
Commercial Real Estate Developer RPG of Encinitas, the present owner of the Carlsbad Village Theater, on State Street downtown, has offered the property for rent. It could be used as a restaurant and shops combination. The second story could be used for offices and housing. RPG says it would change the appearance of the front of the building, while preserving “the historic architecture and feel” of the structure.
The theater was built in 1927, two years before the 1929 American Stock Market crash. It cost developer, A. J. Clark, $40,000 to build. (The latest County assessment puts its value at 3.8 Million.) It changed names several times, to Iris Theatre and Sylvia Theatre, and was owned by several families: the Samuels, the Dunhams, and finally the McMahons. The last renovation took place in 1999. It was sold to RPG in 2013.
Memories of going to the movies at the Carlsbad Theater
By Ginny Unanue
I grew up in Carlsbad from the time that I was four. It was a small, very close town, before it became a city. I lived next to the railroad on Tamarack Ave, and it was a very short walk to the beach, but just a slightly longer walk to "downtown", where our small number of businesses was situated. I loved Hagen's Variety Store, and getting comic books from Joe's smoke shop. My most favorite place of all was the Carlsbad Theater! On a Saturday afternoon, clutching 35 cents in my hand, I walked down the dirt road (formally Lincoln) along the railroad to go see a movie. A quarter admission was what it took, to see a cartoon and a double feature (kid appropriate), and 10 cents for a bag of popcorn. If I had more change from babysitting, I might have enough to also purchase a container of JuJubes! Those would last at least a week, one of which would stick to a tooth until it finally dissolved completely. Ah, those were the most wonderful days, growing up in Carlsbad, with wonderful Saturday afternoons in our Carlsbad Theater!
Samuel Church Smith in front of his house, with daughter on horse
City Repairs Magee House
Thank you to the Parks and Recreation department for their support with the repair of the two sets of steps up to the front deck of the Shipley-Magee House. Also, the back deck had a damaged support pole that was replaced. Another important repair was the replacement of the East side entrance door, which was damaged by rain splashing on it. This has motivated a plan to add rain gutters missing around most of the house.
The Historical Society was consulted about the original trim and color of the facia on the house. We have some black and white photographs that go back to the 1890s, plus some from the time that there was a small fire in the 1970s, shortly after Florence Shipley Magee donated the house to the City. It seems that there was more white color, and some people remember the trim being forest green rather than brown. Any input is welcome.
Carlsbad Historical Society
P.O. Box 252 Carlsbad CA 92018-0252