Unforgettable: Long Ago San Diego

Little man with a big gun

The Strange Case of Mr. Wallace Leach, Part Two

Wallace Leach barged into the Occidental Hotel bar with a broken nose and a powerful thirst. He was in San Francisco on business, he said, but was out for revenge. He came to hire a ...

The Strange Case of Mr. Wallace Leach

Part One: “Circular Insanity”

The sun over Coronado said 3 p.m. Wallace Leach bumbled out the side door of the Horton House bar and shielded his eyes from the glare. Though a snappy dresser — he was one of ...

Hurlers and the behind in Lockling Square

Boys of summer, 1880 edition

Bay City’s taking on The Resolutes today at Lockling Square. As the players warm up, some shout encouragement, but most stand stiff. They toss and catch the ball with affected grace, as if posing for ...

History out the corner of your eye

Place, people, and change with Asian Story Theatre’s Stories of the Sun Café

Asian Story Theatre’s Stories of the Sun Café runs three performances through the weekend of June 27-29. Written by Kent Brisby, who researched the subject with Joyce Teague for two years, the piece is the ...

Those damn beehives!

Hattie Ada Dougherty granted a license to burn

Back in 1888, Hattie “Ada” Dougherty had a ranch between Japatul and Sacatera, southeast of Alpine. She wanted to clear some land for ploughing but couldn’t. Her neighbor, an old, unnamed man had some of ...

The Press War

Women compel men to think — that’s what Clara Foltz said.

Clara Foltz must have lived at least nine lives. A descendant of Daniel Boone, she was a wife, until her husband abandoned her and their four children. She was the first woman to practice law ...

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 ...