Origin of Place Names for Fallbrook, CA Area

AlvaradoAlvarado family were cattle ranchers prior to 1860 on Rancho Monserate and Rancho Santa Margarita.
BonsallNamed in 1889 by the U.S. Post Office for James Bonsall, a retired Methodist minister who developed a fruit-tree nursery in 1889 there. The community was originally known as Mt. Fairview. The name was changed to Osgood, after the chief engineer in charge of the Southern Railway Survey in the 1870s, to try to influence him to put the Railway through Bonsall.
Burma Road Truckers hauling goods from Los Angeles to San Diego thought this road resembled the road convoys traveled on in Asia in World War II, and so named it. (5)
De LuzThere is some uncertainty over the origin of this name. The De Luz River was named Arroyo Corral de la Luz on an 1878 map of Rancho Santa Margarita. Research by Don and Mary Rivers led them to believe that the river was named after the Saint LaMadrass De La Luz. The other theory is that an Englishman named Luce kept a corral of horses here in 1881, and hence the site was referred to as Luce's corral, which spanish-speaking settlers pronounced as "Corral de Luz". In any case, the U.S. Post Office shortened it to De Luz when a post office was opened in 1882.
FallbrookName of Reche's brand of honey, named after his original home town of Fallbrook, PA.
Gopher CanyonNamed for the abundant gophers.
Monserate MountainSpanish for "serrated ridge". An early Spanish homesteader believed Monserate Mountain resembled the region of the Monserrat Monastery near Barcelona, Spain.
MoosaThe original name was Pamoosa, an Indian word meaning Long Beard. A bearded face can supposedly be seen in the rock falls of Moosa Creek. The Post Office Department shortened Pamoosa to Moosa to avoid confusion with Pamona. (4)
Morro HillSpanish for a "crown-shaped rock or hill". The Luiseno Indians called this "the hill of the First People", who took refuge there during a flood.
OsgoodThe chief engineer in charge of the Southern Railway Survey in the 1870s. Former name for Bonsall.
PalaIndian for "place of water". An Indian gathering-place long before the Spanish arrival in 1769.
PalomarSpanish for "place of the pigeon". Palomar Mountain was part of an 1846 land grant, Canada de Palomar. In 1868 Palomar Mountain was renamed "Smith Mountain", in honor of a murdered homesteader, but the name was restored in 1901 by the U.S. Geographic Board in response to a local petition.
PaumaIndian for "place of little water". Name of an Indian village in 1795.
PicoNamed after a nephew of the Pico Brothers, a vaquero named Jose M. Pico. Pio Pico was the last Mexican Governor of California and a wealthy California resident.
RainbowNamed for J.P.M. Rainbow and for the connoted pot of gold in 1888, after a coin flip decided between Rainbow and Larsen, after Rainbow's partner Peter Larsen.
RecheVital Reche, 1858 Fallbrook settler.
San Luis ReySpanish for "St. Louis, King". Padre Lasuer named San Luis Rey Mission in 1798 for Louis IX, King of France.
Santa MargaritaSpanish for Saint Margaret. Father Crespi of the Portola Mission arrived at the river on the feast day of Santa Margarita in 1769, and hence named the river Santa Margarita. Saint Margaret was a third-century Antioch maiden who was martyred.
Santa Rosa MountainsNamed for 1846 Rancho Santa Rosa land grant.
Sleeping Indian HillFrom an Indian account that one of their maidens had died here and was buried in a cave in the Hill.
Valley CenterNamed by 1880s homesteaders in "Bear Valley" for its central geographic location in then-San Diego County, before Riverside County was carved out of it. If named today in the same way, "Valley Center" would be "Valley North".


Go to Fallbrook Area Information: History

Copyright © 1998-2000 by Tom Chester.
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Last update: 26 May 2000.