Carlsbad Time Lines

Q4 2023                                                                Carlsbad, California, Historical Society

President's Letter - Fall 2023

As 2023 comes to a close we have a few items of interest to share.

Our annual meeting/Holiday get together is planned for Sunday, December 3, 2023 from 2-4. Come visit with old friends, visit our displays, and meet our new docent Bonnie Kushner. This event is open to members as well as their invited guests.

We just finished reading and highly recommend "In a Garden by the Sea, the Story of Luther and Olive Gage" written by one of our members, Jo Ellen Guthrie. It’s an insightful look at Carlsbad's early flower culture and civic growth. It's available for purchase through Amazon. Purchase your copy before our scheduled spring book signing.

As downtown Carlsbad changes, we want to highlight how it all began. This newsletter will feature the development of the Barrio. We also recommend viewing the Barrio Voices video found at these links.

History of the Barrio: September 2023

Barrio Carlos was made up of seven square blocks starting south of Carlsbad Village Drive between I-5 and the railroad tracks. Until the mid 2000s many of the original families still lived or owned property in this area. This made it unique in its community continuity and Mexican heritage.

In the early 19th century (around 1916) many Mexican immigrants crossed into the United States looking for work and as an escape from their revolution. Some gained employment working on the railroads and while constantly moving north, they searched for more permanent jobs easily found in agricultural work.

The development in Carlsbad of the various agricultural growers; avocados, subtropical fruits, and flowers created an ideal place for them to settle.

A small neighborhood south of downtown, near the rail lines, was established “Barrio Carlos”.

One of the first settlers in Barrio Carlos were the Ramirez family who built a home and farm on the southwest corner of Roosevelt and Walnut, and farmed beans, and raised pigs, horses, cows and chickens.

Pablo Trejo bought 5 lots on the northwest corner where he built 2 houses, a garage and a store.

By 1924 many other families arrived; Acuna, Aguilar, Gastelum, Martinez, Mata and Soto.

The area continued to develop with a pool hall and protestant chapel of Weslyn Methodist Missionaries.

Alex La Betta bought land around the Trejo store and built simple one and 2 bedroom homes with used lumber. These had no electricity or plumbing and were purchased by the arriving immigrants. The backyard outhouses polluted the water wells, and up until the 1960s diseases often occurred due to cross contamination. Children often had scabies, impetigo and lice.

Men, women and children worked 9 hour days, 6 days a week, for 50 to 75 cents an hour.

The national economic depression impacted this area and when the opportunity arose, some of the original settlers returned to Mexico.

Others reached out to form groups that aided their neighbors. An Alianza Cooperativia was established and this allowed neighbors to exchange vegetables and fruits and beans that added to the community spirit of closeness and dependence on their friends and relatives.

Mexican children who attended the local school were forbidden to speak Spanish, creating a bilingual second generation.

Changes in the Barrio

The drawing below, taken from the City of Carlsbad’s website, shows in dark green the area called the Barrio Carlsbad. It extends from Oak Avenue to Tamarack Avenue, but the Community Church, the Senior Center, the Pine Center and two large parks are located here too.

The City intended to have a plan for the Barrio, jointly with the Village, to enhance and protect it. However, lately there has been a lot of development of multi-story  buildings and businesses, and some locals have sold out and moved out. A comment we heard recently is that there are no longer young latino men watching out for trespassers, and now some homeless people are hanging around the Barrio.

City of Carlsbad drawing of Barrio Carlsbad

Carol Place Street before demolition

Construction along former Carol Place Street

Multipurpose building on Madison and Oak Avenues

Apartments on Oak and Madison Streets

Multipurpose building on State and Oak Avenues

965 Oak Avenue Retirement

Apartment building on Harding and Pine Avenues

Apartments on Harding and Chestnut Avenues

Our Website is 20 years old!

We launched in 2003. The number of visitors has increased over the years, as the internet “robots” read deeper into our website, and index us. Tourists to Carlsbad can read up on our town by visiting our website. The Carlsbad Library has a free scan-to-usb service that we have used a lot. Most documents can be shared, as well as presentations and posters, that have been uploaded to our website.

Passing of our member Ralph Peterson

Originally from Wilson, New York, Ralph grew up in El Cajon. He served in the Army, and taught high school American History for 30 years. He was an avid bicyclist and traveler. He traveled most recently to Alaska, at the age of 94. He is survived by his wife Rona Djeddah, a daughter, two grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.


Your holiday visitors might enjoy an easy walking tour of downtown sites. Please follow the links below.

Carlsbad Historical Society - The Heart of Historic Carlsbad - Self-Guided Tour

Carlsbad Historical Society - The Shipley-Magee House - Self-Guided Tour


President: Susan Schnebelen Gutierrez

1st Vice President: Kenneth Langen

2nd Vice President: Marvin Sippel

Secretary: Ginny Unanue

Treasurer: Germán Gutierrez

Carlsbad Historical Society

P.O. Box 252 Carlsbad CA 92018-0252

(442) 500-4471