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

Days: Saturdays and Sundays
11AM to 3PM
Mailing Address: 258 Beech Ave.
Carlsbad, CA 92008
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

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


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

(Mexican) 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.

Location 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 (442) 500-4471 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
258 Beech Ave.
Carlsbad CA 92008

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-


Carlsbad Historic Resource Inventory

Oral Histories of Highway 101

Oral Histories from the Carlsbad Library

Kellys 1819-1944 Part One

Kellys 1819-1944 Part Two


School Tours

3rd Grade Educators Guide

Ranch and Farm Terms

Cattle and Horses Terms

Beckett's Walk Through Carlsbad's History

Crazy Quilt Photo

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


The American Colonies

America after the Lousiana Purchase from France

America in 1846 before the Mexican War