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


Address: 400 Carlsbad Village Drive

The 1880s was a watershed decade for coastal San Diego. Robert Kelly, the owner of the Rancho Agua Hedionda land grant, coordinated with the Santa Fe Rail, allowing train tracks to be laid through the coastal section of his rancho. This created an opportunity to connect land in this area to points north and also to the City of San Diego. All commerce and travel could now be done by rail, creating opportunities for real estate investment, business, and agricultural development.

This Depot structure, built in 1907 to replace the original 1887 structure, is located at 400 Carlsbad Village Drive and is original to the site.


Address: 2802 Carlsbad Blvd

From the 1850s onward, health spas and water cures were the fashion for all ailments in America.

Keeping in mind the importance of water in a desert environment and also the popularity of health spas and “taking the waters” in the 1880s, John Frazier, who was living in Vista, purchased coastal land along the newly laid rail lines northwest of the Rancho Agua Hedionda boundaries and sunk two wells at different depths. To his delight, both were successful finds: one mineral and the other artesian. Train passengers who drank from the wells said that the well water made them feel much better. The train stop was informally named “Frazier’s Station.”

Hearing of Frazier's water discovery near the rail lines and that one of the wells’ water showed an analysis indicating a similarity to that of the world-famous “Well Number Nine” in the Karlsbad Bohemia Spas, four investors created the Carlsbad Land and Water Company in 1886. This action by Gerhard Schutte, D. D. Wadsworth, and two other investors, Samuel Church Smith and Henry Nelson, was the beginning of the small town of Carlsbad, anchored by their five-story, health spa hotel.

Combining health cures and real estate opportunity, the Carlsbad Land and Water Company purchased 270 acres from John Frazier, the discoverer of the waters, and 130 adjoining acres of coastal land at $40 an acre. These 400 acres were entirely outside of the Rancho Agua Hedionda.

The Carlsbad Land and Water Company set about forming a town. John Frazier was retained as general superintendent of the wells since the availability of water was an important selling point for any western lands. Roads were graded and their boundaries were marked with the planting of eucalyptus trees. Small building plots suitable for a house or business were surveyed. Most lots were only large enough for the construction of a home, not for any form of agricultural work.


Address: 2978 Carlsbad Blvd

Gerhard Schutte, one of Carlsbad’s Town Founders, constructed this mansion-style home for his wife and family in the 1880s. Built of wood brought in by rail, it was very different from the previous adobe structures on the ranch lands. The original Victorian home is original to this site. A mirror image of the Schutte Family home was built one block north by D.D. Wadsworth. It is no longer in existence.

Schutte and his family lived in this home until 1906, the year he sold the remaining Carlsbad Land and Water Company real estate holdings to the South Coast Land Company. The Schuttes moved to National City.

Both the Schutte and Wadsworth former private homes went through an evolution to become business headquarters and rooming houses used by the South Coast Land Company. The company ran water lines from the San Luis Rey River water systems to the remaining parcels of land in Carlsbad.

Eventually, the former Schutte home was sold and turned into a restaurant connected to the home. In 1914, Mses. Whiting and Reed, who purchased this structure, opened the Twin Inns Restaurant. They created a family-style restaurant, featuring chicken dinners served on Blue Willow pattern china.

In 1917, this business was sold to Ed and Neva Kentner who moved their family into the upper floors and expanded the restaurant with extensive additions. They retained the

restaurant’s name, and family-style dining on the Blue Willow China while putting their own stamp on the business.

Eddie Kentner began advertising his chicken dinners by placing plaster-modeled chickens outside of the restaurant. A guest registry was kept of all those who dined; some notables were Groucho Marx, Clark Gable, and Richard Nixon. Kentner’s restaurant became so famous among those who traveled along Highway 101 that it was featured two times in National Geographic Magazine. It was more than a place to eat. It became an integral part of Carlsbad life, hosting weddings, school proms, and even city meetings.

The Kentner family ran the businesses until mid-1984.

Two Twin Inns auxiliary buildings are now in Magee Park.


Carlsbad Blvd. and Beech Avenue


At Magee Park

The Granary and Gazebo, once part of the historic Twin Inns Restaurant property, were moved to Magee Park. The granary was used for storage. The gazebo, a more modern construction, was located in the extensive gardens surrounding the restaurant and was often the site of marriage ceremonies.

The Twin Inns Restaurant chicken dinners were advertised by large plaster chickens located outside of the restaurant. The last remaining chicken is now roosting inside the Shipley Magee Barn.


258 Beech Street

This craftsman-style cottage was constructed by another one of Carlsbad’s town founders, Samuel Church Smith. It is one of the first homes built in the town of Carlsbad in mid-1880 and was entirely constructed of wood. It remains relatively unchanged as a home, with a few additions by the Shipley Family. Only two families have owned and lived in the house: the builder, Samuel Church Smith, who lived here for just a few short years, and the Alexander Shipley family, who purchased the home in 1890 and whose daughter, Florence Shipley Magee, was the last resident. Florence passed in 1974.

Between 1891 and 1896 the Shipley’s used this house as a San Diego County base for Alexander Shipley’s numerous visits to the nearby Carlsbad Mineral Spring Hotel. Alexander, who suffered from respiratory illnesses, traveled frequently between their home in Calistoga, California to Carlsbad. The very wealthy Mr. Shipley reopened some of the wells to be used for domestic use. During the winter of 1896, they decided to sell their Calistoga home, “Rockwood,” and moved permanently to Carlsbad. The Shipley family was active in petitioning for the establishment of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church and were members.


At Magee Park

The barn dates from the mid-1890s, when the Shipley Family had this simple one-story barn with a loft built to house their horses and buggy. While the exact date of barn construction is unknown, we have estimated through photographs and letters that probable construction was between 1896 and 1901.

The Shipley Barn is original to the site. The Shipleys were urban dwellers and not farmers so the barn would not have been used to house farm equipment or farm animals.

Florence (née Shipley) Magee willed her home and property to the city to be used as a historical and recreational park.


At Magee Park

Heritage Hall was the original St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, built in 1926. It was moved from Harding Street, in 1979, to Magee Park. In the 1950s, as the St. Patrick’s congregation grew and a larger church was needed, this building evolved into the original Carlsbad City library and Carlsbad Police Department.


2775 Carlsbad Blvd

Carlsbad’s first church was built in 1894, at the corner of Lincoln Street and Oak Avenue. Money was donated by the Shipley, Ramsay, and Shaw Families. In 1959, Florence Shipley Magee donated land at this address, and the small chapel was moved to its present location. The chapel is still in use.

More information and memorabilia on each of these sites can be found by visiting the Carlsbad Historical Society Shipley Magee Museum located at 258 Beech St. and online at www.