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.


  1. Always a shame to loose landmarks, but money speaks it seems over and over again.


  2. Considering they were willing to give it away, and nobody took them up on it, and since then they have made no money on that corner, I'm not sure what you're talking about. Money hasn't spoken at all.