San Marcos (Images of America)
According to legend, the name San Marcos can be attributed to a group of Spaniards who, while out on a mission to capture suspected horse thieves, accidently stumbled upon a beautiful little valley on the feast day of St. Mark. This little valley would remain sparsely populated for years to come, as a Mexican land grant tenanted by vaqueros, an agricultural salvation for homesteading early Californians, and the site of small towns that would nearly disappear between the pages of history. With the arrival of the Santa Fe Railroad, eventual official incorporation in 1963, and continuous progression today, San Marcos has formed an identity as a prospering and growing community that still retains the feel of a rural small town.
I M A G E S of America San M arcoS Charlie Musser and the San Marcos Historical Society 9962SANMtxt.indd 3 2/27/14 10:05:18 AM The Twin Oaks Valley was named for this enormous oak tree with a double trunk, which grew on the property of Major Gustavus French Merriam, one of the first homesteaders in the San Marcos area. In the 1980s, the rotting tree was damaged by lightning and was cut down. A new oak growth has now sprouted in its place. (Courtesy of San Marcos Historical Society.) On
Astleford, Edith French, Bluebell Fulton, Hilma Hanson, Frances Lewis, Helen Brown, and Jennie Boyle; (fourth row) Eddie Bucher, Oliver Erickson, John Hanson, and teacher Jennie Yeager; (fifth row) George Mahr, Everett Hall, Erskin Gall, Carl Erickson, John Sapp, Tommy Gailey, and teacher Mrs. Stevenson. 94 In 1923, the community of Richland remained very small with an eighth grade graduating class of only four girls. The four graduates from left to right are Madge Borden, Delia Van Dorin,
pounds over one season. The Jordans closed the school in 1914, possibly after receiving a hefty inheritance after the death of Major Merriam. The first public school to serve the original San Marcos township was the Barham Schoolhouse, which was relocated from the defunct Barham township to the northeast corner of Rancho Santa Fe Road and La Mirada Drive in 1889. In 1895, a new school known as the San Marcos Grammar School was constructed for $2,500. Students pose here while attending the 1908
hauled from San Diego along the Poway grade, a tough trip made over the course of multiple days. The Merriam family had accumulated small amounts of materials themselves and, using ox-drawn carts with solid wood wheels borrowed from the Bandini family, began to set up a home upon arrival. The major is seated in the background on the right. 16 Within four days of settlement, the Merriam family was accosted by four rifle-touting vaqueros asserting that the family was on property owned by the
townsfolk, when construction on the railroad began, the tracks were laid nearly two and a half miles away at Mission Road and Las Posas Road. For years, the town attempted to draw investors with cheap rates, $15 to $35 an acre, and “no saloons,” as seen in the bulletin. While the “gentle sea breeze” was pleasant, the town was floundering due to its distance from the railroad. In 1901, residents dragged the four main town buildings by teams of mules to present Mission Road and Pico Avenue to be