Sunday, April 28, 2013

Charles Hatfield House - Valley Center, CA, USA

This house, thought to have been built circa 1920,  is believed to have been occupied for a time by Charles Hatfield.  In 1916 the City of San Diego hired local rainmaker Charles Hatfield to produce rain.  A resident of San Diego County, Mr. Hatfield had been known to experiment in rainmaking by burning chemicals from the tops of towers.  Whether Charles Hatfield actually produced rain or if it was just a coincidence will probably never be known, but the ensuing rainstorm washed out roads, bridges and dams and resulted in multiple deaths not only in San Diego but throughout all of southern California.  The movie, The Rainmaker, starring Burt Lancaster is a fictionalized account of the incident.

No proof exists that Charles Hatfield actually lived in this house, but old stories and local legends seem to indicate that he burned chemicals from a tower on this property and, although he was not the owner, he did live briefly in the house.  According to a recorded  interview he did state that he had lived in Valley Center.

The house has been unoccupied and deteriorating for years and the property has been sold.  A commercial development called Hatfield Corners is planned at the location.  During the week of April 21, 2013 the house was demolished, and on Sunday, April 28, no trace of it remains.  The landowner had offered to let anyone who was willing to pay to have the house moved off the property to have it, but after several months there were no takers.

In the 1960s my step-grandparents lived in Valley Center and we drove out there several times a month.  This house was always a "landmark" for me on those drives.  It was situated up an embankment and that great porch overlooked the main road.  It has only been in the last few years that I heard of the Charles Hatfield connection, and I will miss seeing this house and the memories it brings.

Formerly located on the west side of Valley Center Road at the intersection of Woods Valley Road.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Fire Station #7 - Oceanside, CA, USA

Oceanside's Fire Station #7 opened in July of 2008.  It features a Mission style design complimenting Mission San Luis Rey not far to its east.  This station serves the western San Luis Rey Valley area.

Located at 3350 Mission Avenue, just east of Foussat Street and south of the 76 Expressway.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Henie Hills - Oceanside, CA, USA

In 1939 Olympic ice skater and movie star Sonja Henie and her brother Leif began purchasing 1600 acres of undeveloped land in the hills east of El Camino Real and north of the present Highway 78.  They had a private retreat there and entertained Hollywood friends.  Leif and his wife Gerd had a 3629 sq. ft. home built.  By the 1950s the land was being developed into estate view homes and later parcels were sold to developers.  The land where Tri-City Hospital and MiraCosta College are now located was once part of the Henie's land holdings.  Today the homes in Henie Hills Estates remain subject to minimum standards of lot size and square footage.

Entrance to Henie Hills Estates on Skyline Drive.

Located east of El Camino Real, north of Highway 78 and south of Oceanside Boulevard.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Utility Box Art - Oceanside, CA, USA

In 2008 the Oceanside Arts Commission facilitated the painting of 20 gray utility boxes located at the Oceanside Harbor by volunteer artists.   The project took two years to complete.  The artwork on this utility box depicts children playing on the beach.

Located on Harbor Drive South in the public parking lot, next to the beach.