DEL MAR — The Fletcher surname has been well-regarded in the city’s history —even for decades before Col. Ed Fletcher, then a state senator, deeded to the area what is known today as the San Diego County Fair. Now the fair is eighth largest in North America and sixth largest in the country. Prior to that, it had been a marginal golf course and riding stable commonly referred to as the slough.
From time to time, a Fletcher has served on the fairground’s board of directors. Currently Kim Fletcher of Del Mar is a board member.
As one might expect, several members of the Fletcher family are involved in the ongoing $8.5 million campaign to turn the former Del Mar Shores school site on Ninth Street into a community park that will include sports fields, dog walks, walking paths, and places to just sit and enjoy the greenery in the scenery.
Shy of its goal, the campaign committee is encouraging folks to pony up $41 per month for 36 months.
Decades before the Shores became the community’s most modern and upscale school, Ed Fletcher farmed the acreage between Fourth and Ninth streets. He also cultivated Torrey Pines mesa that later became Camp Callan and is now San Diego Municipal Golf Course where the Buick Invitiational is played.
Residents of the early era recall there was a ball field complete with bleachers at the foot of Ninth Street where town teams used to play on weekends. There were a few homes scattered west of Highway 101 and the Santa Fe tracks.
School-age kids helped to harvest zucchini squash, Kentucky Wonder pole beans, and peas.
During the winter months, the temperatures would sometimes dip to freezing and smudge pots that burned oil were fired up at night to save the crops..
Question is sometimes asked: How come kids did some of the harvesting? Men were engaged in other endeavors and the ladies had their hands full doing home chores and canning fruits and vegetables so it fell to the younger generation to work in the fields. They earned 20 cents an hour. It provided the cash to take a Greyhound bus to Encinitas to enjoy a Hop-a-Long Cassidy Western thriller at La Paloma Theater, buy a bag of popcorn for a dime and soda pop for a nickel. Sometimes it was even affordable to take a date.
Maybe the park should be named Fletcher Park.
Filed Under: EyeWitness