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Who built the big concrete teepee on top of a hill near Escondido, and why?

Dear Matthew Alice:

I remember a long time ago there used to be a big concrete teepee on top of a hill near Escondido. You could see it from all over. Can you find out who built it and why, and what ever happened to it?

-- Wondering, Escondido

Okay, folks, now we're talking reality. There definitely was a big teepee on top of a hill in Escondido, and I have the pictures to prove it. And not that out-of-focus, half-a-mile-away Bigfoot stuff.

In 1929 Idaho sheepman Abram Houghtelin bought a bunch of land between Escondido and San Pasqual, south of Highway 78 (near present-day Teepee Drive). For reasons he never made clear, even to his family, he decided to build a huge teepee at the top of a hill. He and his sons did all the grading and construction; the finished product was 50 feet tall and 60 feet in diameter, a huge wood-framed cone covered with sparkly tarpaper. They planted citrus and avocado around it, but the stock market crash halted building before he could reinforce the structure with metal and plaster. The thing sat there, unused, for almost 50 years. Since the teepee was visible from as far away as Poway, it was adopted as a favorite local landmark, even though nobody knew why it was there. Or maybe because nobody knew why. It was vandalized, of course, and teenagers used it as a hangout. It deteriorated in the sun and wind and finally blew over in a storm in December of 1977.

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Dear Matthew Alice:

I remember a long time ago there used to be a big concrete teepee on top of a hill near Escondido. You could see it from all over. Can you find out who built it and why, and what ever happened to it?

-- Wondering, Escondido

Okay, folks, now we're talking reality. There definitely was a big teepee on top of a hill in Escondido, and I have the pictures to prove it. And not that out-of-focus, half-a-mile-away Bigfoot stuff.

In 1929 Idaho sheepman Abram Houghtelin bought a bunch of land between Escondido and San Pasqual, south of Highway 78 (near present-day Teepee Drive). For reasons he never made clear, even to his family, he decided to build a huge teepee at the top of a hill. He and his sons did all the grading and construction; the finished product was 50 feet tall and 60 feet in diameter, a huge wood-framed cone covered with sparkly tarpaper. They planted citrus and avocado around it, but the stock market crash halted building before he could reinforce the structure with metal and plaster. The thing sat there, unused, for almost 50 years. Since the teepee was visible from as far away as Poway, it was adopted as a favorite local landmark, even though nobody knew why it was there. Or maybe because nobody knew why. It was vandalized, of course, and teenagers used it as a hangout. It deteriorated in the sun and wind and finally blew over in a storm in December of 1977.

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Comments
1

Hi. I was born in 1952 in Escondido at Mt. Palomar Hospital and my folks had, as I remember the story, the ranch across from the teepee. Maybe it was further away but I seem to remember it was across the road and they knew Abram. We moved to Northern California a few months after I was born and then to Los Angeles before I was 3. I'd love to know an actual address or nearest cross streets for this teepee. Thanks!

Nov. 15, 2016

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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
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