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Fallbrook Historical Items

    Below is some brief information related to the questions in the Fallbrook History Trivia Quiz. The numbers correspond to the questions in the quiz. If anyone finds any historical inaccurancies in what I've written below, please contact us so that I may make the necessary corrections.

    I strongly encourage everyone to join and support the Fallbrook Historical Society. The have a wealth of information and a wonderful museum complex. Please help preserve our heritage and check it out!

  1. Where was Fallbrook Hardware located before it burned down in the 1980's?
    Fallbrook Hardware was located at the corner of Main and Alvarado. Evidence suggests it was a hardware store as early as the late 1880's, but didn't become known as Fallbrook Hardware until 1902. The store was owned and operated for many years by G .F. Westfall. His son Victor, took over the operation in 1913 and ran it until the early 1950's. The Schekel family ran the business from the 1950's to the 1980's. The building burned in 1987. In the historical items section of this site you can see a letter I have in my possession which is written on early Fallbrook Hardware letterhead. The letter is dated January 27, 1904 and is signed by Mr. Westfall.

  2. Where was Fallbrook's first traffic light? I remember when the first traffic light was installed at Main and Alvarado. It was a pretty big deal at the time. That was about 1971 or 1972

  3. What is the significance of the number on the water tank that stands on the hill overlooking S. Mission?
    One night in June of 1974, members of the senior class snuck up to the water tower and painted a big "74" on it. Shortly thereafter it was painted over by water district. Not to be outdone, the class of '75 took their turn at the water tank the following year. To the chagrin of the water district, it became a tradition for all graduating classes to paint the year of their class on the tank. It was a hassle and I'm sure, more than a little expense for the water district to keep painting over the "Graffiti" every year. Eventually, they gave in and just began painting the number of the next graduating class themselves. A tradition that continues today.

  4. In what year did the Fallbrook Enterprise newspaper begin publication?
    The Fallbrook Enterprise newspaper was first published in 1911 and was established by H.V. Alexander. It became the North County Times Fallbrook edition in 1997.

  5. What was Richardson's?
    Richardson's Drive-in was Fallbrook's original "hamburger joint". The building was constructed in 1954 and still stands on Main St. across from The Wayside. Today, it is Pedro's Tacos. There was also a A&W Drive-in that stood in the area of the "El Jardin" restaurant, but it closed in the middle seventies. Jack-In-The-Box was built in the early seventies and McDonalds in 1976.

  6. It what year did Vital Reche first arrive in the Fallbrook area?
    Vital Reche is considered by most to be Fallbrook's first settler. He arrived in Fallbrook in 1865 and settled in the Live Oak Park area, t
    hree miles east of the current downtown. This was the first center of Fallbrook and boasted of 25 familys by 1880. Mr. Reche produced a brand of honey called Fallbrook, which was named after his town of origination in Fallbrook, PA. In 1869, Mr. Reche donated land for Fallbrook's first school at what is now the corner of Reche Road and Live Oak Park. The school was called the Reche Grove School and was also used as a community center of sorts. There is an old building known as the Reche Schoolhouse (Reche Club) that stands on the property today. The current building was constructed in 1896 after the original schoolhouse burned. Vital Reche also established a store, campground, and in 1887 Reche became Fallbrook's first postmaster.

  7. According to Ripley's "Believe it or not" where was the "World's Smallest Post office" located?
    Believe it or not there was once a railroad that ran through De Luz. The first post office there was established on November 1, 1882 in the De Luz Railroad Station and Henry J. Camp was the first Postmaster. The railroad tracks were re-routed along the coast after the flood of 1916 which had caused a great deal of damage to the tracks. At that time the post office was moved further up the canyon to it's present location. The post office can still be seen today at the De Luz Ecology Center. It's been many years since I've looked at it, but if me memory serves me correctly, it is just big enough for a person to get inside to deliver the mail to the boxes that face the outside. At one time it was featured in "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" as the "worlds smallest post office". It is still standing today and somewhere around here I have a letter that was postmarked there over a century ago.

  8. What was the name of Fallbrook's first newspaper?
    Fallbrooks original newspaper was the Fallbrook Review and was first published in 1885. It is believed that the newspaper folded (no pun intended) sometime during the 1890's when the editor moved away, but the San Diego Historical Society claims to have an edition in their archives published as late as 1916. A couple of other copies of Fallbrook papers from the 1890's have surfaced, namely The Fallbrook Observer and The Fallbrook Union, but my guess is these papers were either special editions or were very short lived. Perhaps someone could enlighten me on this.

  9. In what year was the Willard Hotel (later known as the Naples and Hotel Ellis ) demolished?
    The Willard Hotel, later known as The Naples and then the Hotel Ellis, was built in 1887. The Hotel had over "60 rooms, 12 foot ceilings and curved staircases of carved walnut". In 1958, after much vandalization of the premises, the owners sadly ordered the building demolished. If only they had saved this wonderful structure, it would surely be the crown jewel of Fallbrook today. To learn more about the Willard hotel, contact the Fallbrook Historical Society.

  10. When the first post office was established in the Bonsall area, it was known by what name?
    Records show that Bonsall was originally known as "Mt. Fairview" and briefly as "Osgood". In 1889 residents petitioned for a post office and it was granted the name "Bonsall" for James Bonsall, a retired methodist minister who developed a nursery in the Little Gopher Canyon area. His house still stands there today.

    Did you read all that? Click here to try the quiz again.


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