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Matthew:

I like to fish Lake Hodges, and a pal told me that somewhere at the bottom of the lake there is a town that existed before they built the dam. Is this a fish story, like the other tales he tells me?

-- Fisherman Frank, Escondido

If the water level in Hodges gets any lower, we can go look around for ourselves. But I don't think we'll find a town. Just two soggy ranches. The Hodges Dam was built between 1917 and 1919 to stop up a river that flowed through what was then called Crescent Valley. The Carroll brothers each had a ranch down there, but when Ed Fletcher and his water company blew through town, he convinced them to sell out so San Dieguito would have a reliable year-round water supply. The village of Del Dios sprang up after the lake formed. It was principally a Boy Scout camp and get-away spot for city slickers. Maybe your fishy friend was thinking of the town of Bernardo, not too far away. It was a moderately boomy place early in the century -- post office, general store, blacksmith, school, and a few thousand folks. If my calculations are correct, the long-defunct Bernardo is now under the North County Fair shopping center.

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