Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Is Camp Pendleton government land or leased from a family?

Dear All-Knowing, All-Seeing One:

I heard from a fairly reliable source, my cousin, a retired USMC Master Sergeant, that Camp Pendleton is not government land but actually leased from a family who has owned the property for many years. I am curious about the details of this lease. It would also be interesting to know about the owners and how they acquired this land. Or has my cousin been out on the rifle range too long?

-- Tankless in La Mesa

If the Marines are renters, I hope they don't expect to get their cleaning deposit back. The place must be trashed by now. But as it happens, the feds have owned Pendleton since 1942, so they can run tanks on the lawn and lob grenades in the living room if they want to.

The Marines have about 300 square miles of floor space out there, just about what we need to keep Orange County and L.A. at bay. Once upon a long time ago, before the military moved in, it was the Rancho Santa Margarita y las Flores, a land-grant rancho. Eventually the land was split into three chunks and came into private hands. It was cow-pie country until 1942.

The farsighted Marine Col. Joseph Pendleton started all the trouble in 1915, when he visited San Diego and suggested they needed a West Coast training base. His lobbying got him MCRD, built during World War I. Now that the Marines had their foot in the door, they started looking around for a big, big hunk o' land for training. By the late 1930s, the frontrunner was charming Kearny Mesa, the rancho officially labeled as too far away.

But, hey, they can change their minds if they want to. The big military brains liked the rancho's ocean access, so they started waving money at the owners. The O'Neills owned a part that ran into Orange County, and they gave the Marines the brushoff. The Baumgartners owned the part around San Onofre and said they'd be glad to rent the land, but they wanted the option to evict the military as soon as World War II was over so they could build a resort hotel on the beach (the Unexploded Ordnance Hilton?). The Floods had the land to the south and couldn't wait to unload the cows and move to San Francisco.

Pearl Harbor galvanized the military into action. They used the War Powers Act to condemn the whole place and take it over. They started moving in before the families even knew they'd lost their land. Naturally the owners took it to court. Naturally they lost. The feds wrote out three very low seven-figure checks and booted out the civilians. The enterprising O'Neills went straight to President Roosevelt and must have presented one heck of an argument, because their portion of the land was removed from the condemnation order.

So, Tankless, I guess Cuz got wind of one little part of the story. He just never heard the updated, kick-'em-out part of the deal. Near as I can tell, the U.S. military "rents" only one training facility. It's owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the feds share it with the state National Guard, a juvenile jail, and some other tenants. It too is prime seaside land. It too is named Camp Pendleton.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Treetop Tutoring Center: Jeanne Volk‘s triple tutoring whammy

“Kids miss school friends they were used to seeing and playing with most days.”
Next Article

San Diego inside sports

El Cajon Speedway, dark side of NFL, pick-up b-ball, Lakeside's Jarrod Boswell, start of Padres, SDSU football scandal

Dear All-Knowing, All-Seeing One:

I heard from a fairly reliable source, my cousin, a retired USMC Master Sergeant, that Camp Pendleton is not government land but actually leased from a family who has owned the property for many years. I am curious about the details of this lease. It would also be interesting to know about the owners and how they acquired this land. Or has my cousin been out on the rifle range too long?

-- Tankless in La Mesa

If the Marines are renters, I hope they don't expect to get their cleaning deposit back. The place must be trashed by now. But as it happens, the feds have owned Pendleton since 1942, so they can run tanks on the lawn and lob grenades in the living room if they want to.

The Marines have about 300 square miles of floor space out there, just about what we need to keep Orange County and L.A. at bay. Once upon a long time ago, before the military moved in, it was the Rancho Santa Margarita y las Flores, a land-grant rancho. Eventually the land was split into three chunks and came into private hands. It was cow-pie country until 1942.

The farsighted Marine Col. Joseph Pendleton started all the trouble in 1915, when he visited San Diego and suggested they needed a West Coast training base. His lobbying got him MCRD, built during World War I. Now that the Marines had their foot in the door, they started looking around for a big, big hunk o' land for training. By the late 1930s, the frontrunner was charming Kearny Mesa, the rancho officially labeled as too far away.

But, hey, they can change their minds if they want to. The big military brains liked the rancho's ocean access, so they started waving money at the owners. The O'Neills owned a part that ran into Orange County, and they gave the Marines the brushoff. The Baumgartners owned the part around San Onofre and said they'd be glad to rent the land, but they wanted the option to evict the military as soon as World War II was over so they could build a resort hotel on the beach (the Unexploded Ordnance Hilton?). The Floods had the land to the south and couldn't wait to unload the cows and move to San Francisco.

Pearl Harbor galvanized the military into action. They used the War Powers Act to condemn the whole place and take it over. They started moving in before the families even knew they'd lost their land. Naturally the owners took it to court. Naturally they lost. The feds wrote out three very low seven-figure checks and booted out the civilians. The enterprising O'Neills went straight to President Roosevelt and must have presented one heck of an argument, because their portion of the land was removed from the condemnation order.

So, Tankless, I guess Cuz got wind of one little part of the story. He just never heard the updated, kick-'em-out part of the deal. Near as I can tell, the U.S. military "rents" only one training facility. It's owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the feds share it with the state National Guard, a juvenile jail, and some other tenants. It too is prime seaside land. It too is named Camp Pendleton.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Alison Tummond: preventing summer’s silent killer

“Anytime you have a pool, or a bathtub, or a toilet, or a bucket, a child can drown.”
Next Article

More on Orange County vs. Del Mar fair money

What Ed Bedford thinks of Governor Newsom
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close