FHS Self-Guided Walking Tour #1

Main Street, east side, from Ivy to Fig

Draft. Has many mistakes. Will not be revised until 1999.

This tour comprises about nine square blocks and includes historic buildings, new developments, Square, eating places, businesses.

Park your car in the lot in front of Dixon Woodworking (N.Main at E.Ivy):

Leaving the parking lot and crossing Ivy to N. Main, you will see ahead the Mission Theatre [#1] marquee. Before reaching the theatre, look across the street. This mixed use area is an example of one of the challenges which small towns today face. This was once a thriving Dodge agency with a showroom and a lot full of cars for sale. Fifty years ago, when Main Street was US 395, this was an appropriate use. The Fallbrook Community has worked to beautify the present use by planting a row of magnolia trees at the edge of the sidewalk. As they grow, they will improve the view from Main Street and create a more pleasant experience for patrons of the theatre.

The Mission theatre was built in 1948 at a cost of $20,000. It was Fallbrook's second theatre, and it had an apartment above for the owner's family It is now used only for live performances put on by the Fallbrook Players. Check the box-office window to see when the next play is showing. CAST, the Children's Acting School is headquartered here.

Going south on N. Main, you pass the Kitty Korner and Village Salon, which are located in a structure [#2] built in 1919. It once housed The Enterprise, Fallbrook's local paper, which was first published in 1911. During WWII the teen center was located here.

The next historic building [#3] houses The Artery frame shop. This two story wooden structure was built in 1887. Seven years later it became the home of the Fallbrook Masonic Lodge, and before 1916, it was also used by the Woman's Club, providing a reading room for women who could come to town only on Saturday afternoons. This led to the establishment of the first public library in Fallbrook. You are looking at the oldest building on Main Street still in its original location.

Continue on down Main Street, past Ruthy's Antiques and the shoe store, and cross Hawthorne Street. Turn left on Hawthorne, and follow the sidewalk alongside Christel's Mercantile [#4]. This is a modern conversion of two older buildings, one of which housed the post office in the 30's. Turn and look across Hawthorne Street to see the location of the gun shop, which has interesting antique specimens. Fallbrook's Gun Club began at the turn of the century.

Now continue past Village Interiors, which was Fallbrook's first theatre, constructed in the 30's. After the construction of the new Mission Theatre, this building was converted to a bowling alley. Turn right at the end of the building, go down the alley to the first doorway. A short walk through a narrow hall brings you into the vine-covered patio of Jackson Square. You can stop in for coffee at Clementine's, and take note of Le Bistro's menu for lunch or dinner.

You return to Main Street by walking up the stairs between Barkows and Brandon Gallery, or go through the art gallery displaying the works of Fallbrook artists to reach the street. (The building which houses Brandon Gallery was moved to this location in 1890, and served as Fallbrook's post office for 25 years. The postal boxes were in an alcove near the front window on the right. Woodbury, the post master, also lived in the building with his wife and two children, and the family tended a large garden behind). Back on Main Street, the next shop, which houses The Two Bees, dates from 1922, and served during the 30's as an open air meat market, whose owners lived in the back of the store.

Jewelry Connection and Valentina's Boutique are in a building which was part of Reader's Mercantile, dating back to 1904. The store was originally located down on the corner, and was moved up to this location in 1928. Farther along on this tour we'll point out a place where you can see the original facade. The reason for the move was the construction of Readers new store. The tenants of the new building were Fallbrook's first Safeway store and Keller's Pharmacy, which was equipped with an electric All-White-Knight fountain, and a tall counter featuring glazed Italian tile. Outside, it was fronted with red and yellow decorative brick and a parapet style front. Jack and Dorothy Tanner, owners of Village Stationers since the early 50's, added the shingled awning roof during Fallbrook's "western village" transformation of thirty years ago.

Cross Alvarado at the traffic light and pass the Village Square. We'll come back to it later. About midpoint of the block, Gypsy Beads and Yogurt Palace are located in a 1907 structure which was expanded to house Fallbrook's switchboard in the 20's. The owners, the Bailey family, were the telephone company until 1940. The Place is in an adjacent building which housed a mortuary (stop in and see its tin ceiling from this era).

Abigail's Flowers is the third florist to occupy this building. From the end of the sidewalk look up Fig St to the intersection. Just beyond is a large Victorian cottage style clapboard house with mature palm and pepper trees around it. Dr. Pruett, Fallbrook's first doctor built this in 1888. Cross Fig to the opposite corner, and again look up the hill. You can just see a small yellow board and batten cottage erected before 1887, which today houses the business of Fallbrook's Quilters.

Now cross back to Abigail's parking lot and find the walkway behind the flower laden fence. This angled route is a remnant of the old RR ROW. After the floods of 1916 had washed out the tracks along the Santa Margarita River, where Fallbrook's RR Station was located, a new line was laid into Fallbrook. It followed Fallbrook Creek, which you see here, and continued on to Alvarado Street. Follow this walkway to the alley and through the parking area in front of the angled Chiropractor's office to Vine Street. Look up Alvarado and you can see two palm trees. These mark the location of the RR Station, which was torn down by Santa Fe twenty years ago in spite of protests from the community. Closer at hand is a large warehouse which until recently housed handled avocados. It is being remodeled for a foundry, which will be open for tours.

Turn left onto Alvarado and head back toward the traffic light. You are passing the old Watkins Livery Stable, which was remodeled after the advent of the RR. A photo of the 1890's shows the original structure and members of the family driving different rigs. On the side of the building is Fallbrook's first mural, a white horse! Just before you come the brick wall of the Square, look down the alley behind the Stationery and view the decorative facade on the original building we told you about earlier.

Walk up the alley, behind the little building at the back of the Square, and follow the incline down to the back entrance of the Village Square. This is the site of the Fallbrook's hardware store, which was on this spot from the 1880's until it burned in 1987. Fallbrook's revitalization group, Fallbrook Village Association, put county funds and volunteer resources together and produced this memorial, market area and meeting place. Beside the coffee booth, three Fallbrook artists are painting a mural of GF Westfall, an early owner of the hardware store. The wall where it is being painted is part of Jerry's Barber Shop. For pictures of other murals and some Westfall history, stop in and see Jerry.

Return to the traffic light and look at the street signs. They point up how central this location is, for all numbering starts here. North Main is to the right, South Main is to the left. You are standing on East Alvarado and West Alvarado starts across the intersection.

It's easy to understand why one of Fallbrook's major thoroughfares came to be named Main Street, but why Alvarado Street? Ygnacio Alvarado and his family were citizens of Mexico when the Americans arrived, and they were made American citizens by conquest and Treaty. In 1872, thirteen years before the town of Fallbrook began, the U.S. Congress gave back to the Alvarados with clear title, their 11,000 acre ranch. Besides, this road led out past Reche's and down to their ranch.

For another revitalization project, cross Main Street to the Harrison Building to see plans for a community cultural center.

Copyright © 1998 by Fallbrook Historical Society
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to the Fallbrook Historical Society at this source:
Comments and feedback: Elizabeth Yamaguchi
Last update: 12 August 1998.