Unforgettable: Long Ago San Diego

Early San Diegans couldn’t celebrate without lots of noise

More unexpected vignettes from San Diego's history — including the Horribles

1.) This photograph, taken in the late 1880s, was rare for its time. No male cradles a wide-brimmed hat in his arm. No one stares up, or dreamily off, as if posing as the person ...

An evening at Villa Montezuma; Coda

Something between a viper and vampire.

(The second in a two-part series. Part one was published March 18.) It’s after midnight, February 15, 1888. The last of the guests are finally leaving Jesse Shepard’s musicale at the Villa Montezuma. One- and ...

An evening at Villa Montezuma

A carnivorous smile among the city’s upper crust

Between 1887 and 1889, Jesse Shepard gave musicales at his Villa Montezuma. He had an international reputation as a singer/pianist. Others called him a charlatan. To bring instant culture to the pioneer town, San Diegans ...

It has been considered a poor week for killing

Unforgettable outtakes: Southern California, back in the day

ALL THE NEWS THAT’S FIT TO PRINT. John Phoenix, San Diego Herald: “Very little news will be found in the San Diego Herald this week. The fact is there never is much news in it ...

Young Keno: The marshal gets his man

Part three of three

Sylvestro Morales swore to get even with Wilson and Castillo. “I will never rest,” he shouted, “until I have squared accounts!”

Young Keno: Manhunt

Part two of three

He stayed up to give them the news. When they hadn’t come by 11:00 he went to bed. They woke him around midnight. “Murray surrendered,” Griffin told maybe two dozen men. “Gone to San Diego three hours ago.”

Young Keno

Losing kin to wanton gunfire shapes a lawman some.

Asked if the shot was fatal, Stroud replied, “It could not have been more fatal.”

San Diego’s hotel era ended in flames

Who would burn down the grand hotels of North County?

When the Hotel del Coronado opened in 1888, Oceanside already had two “grand” hotels, the St. Cloud and the South Pacific. They faced each other, just two city blocks apart, separated by the California Southern ...

“Unforgettable” Outtakes

Vignettes from San Diego history: Oceanside and Carlsbad.

From the Carlsbad Plain Truth (editor William Webster Borden, whose slogan was “Independent but not neutral”): “Charles Kelly has a remarkable hen. She disappeared on Dec. 25, 1886, leaving a brood of young chickens behind ...

The many trials of Madame Tingley, part five of five

“I saw very plainly that [Katherine Tingley] had impure intentions,” said Henry Reuthling from his seat in the witness box. “What do you mean by impure?” Reuthling: “I mean that her suggestions were of a ...

The Many Trials of Madame Tingley, part four

Lomaland, a “vile spookery”? Balderdash!

The Allegations In his later years, Harrison Gray Otis rode in an armor-plated, 1910 Franklin Model H. The headlights protruded like cannons; a bronze horn stretching across the molded, deep-green hood resembled an elephant gun. ...

The many trials of Madame Tingley, part three

The siege of Point loma goes global

Tingle, tingle, little star / Oft I wonder who you are. / What you do that isn’t right, / Every blessed, spooky night. In mid-October, 1901, as Madame Katherine Tingley’s Universal Brotherhood gained popularity, the ...

The many trials of Madame Tingley, part two

The siege of Point Loma begins.

Human lemmings trundling up the steep cliffs of Point Loma? A mass exodus? Never had so many San Diegans been on the move at the same time. Until February 23, 1897, occasional visitors went either ...

The many trials of Madame Tingley, part one

What Theosophists found in San Diego.

On January 8, 1903, just before his final remarks as attorney for the defense, Samuel Shortridge paused. He seemed to stare through the floor, as he struggled to find the crucial words. Then he rose ...

Extremes: The Final Days of Father Zalvidea, Part Two

As young Santiago entered the dark room, morning sunlight speared the old, crippled padre on the cot. He lay on his back where, to himself, he’d performed nightly baptisms, heard confessions, joined neophytes in wedlock ...

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