FHS Self-Guided Walking Tour #2

Main Street, West Side (from Elder to Hawthorne)

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

This tour includes El Real Hotel, old railroad right of way, citrus plant, school, church.

Starts at parking lot at Alvarado and Pico. Park here and go through narrow alley of Packing House Restaurant to Main (this is a narrow adventure; if you prefer you can go a few steps further and walk through the Inland Empire bank parking lot to Main). The building which houses the Packing House restaurant was constructed as a hotel in 1930. In its early years, movie stars like Carol Lombard and Clark Gable stayed here on their way to Rancho San Luis Rey horse sales (the ranch was on both sides of I-15 down to Hwy 76). The hotel had advanced features like solar heating (visit upstairs hall). (Note menu for future reference.) Interesting pics in bar

Go down S. Main on sidewalk, pointing out the Enterprise (need some newspaper history). Turn right on Elder, pass Elder House (give history) and point out new construction across Elder on old RR ROW. This is the upper end of the Pico Promenade revitalization area. The plan is for Elder to turn here and follow Pico St. back to the lot where you parked. Looking south along the Pico Street you can see that Alder trees have been planted along both sides of Fallbrook Creek. This is an interim measure to improve appearances until the Pico Promenade and flood control project can be realized.

Still at the bridge and looking south, note the next two half blocks to the right of the creek, extending up to Mission Rd. This is the location of the once thriving Fallbrook Citrus Association picking, packing and shipping industry. The FCA closed operations in 1988, and the large building which had housed the packing plant burned in 1990. The huge two level brick structure once packed boxcars of lemons which were transported by RR on a siding which extended to the loading docks from the main line along Fallbrook Creek. (The RR Station was on Alvarado, and the tracks followed the creek down to the Santa Margarita River, crossing the Naval Weapons Station and Camp Pendleton to reach the RR line on the coast). Directly in front of you was a cluster of yellow painted wood cottages where Citrus Association employees lived. (When the Bracero program was active, the Mexican Consul visited to inspect conditions. Along the creek were open air stalls where fruits and vegetables were sold to the public. Up to the right, you can see that part of the former complex is still operating as the Lemon Twist Packing Company.

Walk back up Pico St. to Fig and go up Fig to the sidewalk beside the new Library parking lot (needs some history of library and Friends). Continue up the sidewalk next to the library and stand at the corner. From here you can look across Mission and down one block and see the Lemon Twist Co. operations. If you look directly across the street and up the hill a bit, among the trees, you can see a New Deal era building. It is two stories high, made of stucco, with a tile roof, and it is located on the campus of the Maie Ellis School. It was completed in 1936 and served the school as an auditorium and cafeteria for many years, and it is still in use.

Closer at hand, looking diagonally across Mission, is a white clapboard church with fish scale shingles, built in 1887. Note the side gables and the gothic revival detail in the bell tower and steeple. Built by the Methodists, it now belongs to the First Christian Church. Directly across Mission is a small frame structure which was once the residence of Rev. Pittenger, the minister of the Methodist Church in the 1890's. He was also a Civil War hero and an author. After he died, his wife, a very active WCTU member and a worker for Woman's Rights continued to live here. Now the residence is part of the Fallbrook Country Day School, Fallbrook's Montessori school.

Walk north on the Mission Road sidewalk alongside the Library until you reach Alvarado St. Look over at the house across Alvarado. This was the home of Dr. Morgan, one of Fallbrook's early doctors. It is a craftsman style bungalow with wide overhanging eaves and large decorative brackets. It is unusual in that the lower part of the siding is clapboard, while the upper part is covered with wood shingles.

Cross over Alvarado St. (PLEASE BE CAREFUL. WATCH FOR CARS TURNING RIGHT AT THIS INTERSECTION!!) and walk to the end of the block. Standing on the corner of Hawthorne and Mission, look diagonally across the intersection and see one of the rare Spanish style stucco homes in Fallbrook. Cross carefully over Hawthorne Street to the sidewalk on the other side, go past the apartment house and you will see a small residence of vertical tongue and groove siding, down to your right. It is a folk Victorian, one of the few remaining in Fallbrook. Its seemingly awkward placement is due to street changes in this area. Mission Road was originally Hill Street and was not a through street until the (60's??) . When it was cut through and turned into a ring road around downtown, it was widened several times, taking front and side yards from existing residences. Imagine the road as a dirt track in the center, with the land sloping gently up to the houses across the street and down to the front of this house and you have a better picture of the original charm of the homes here.

Looking across Mission again, and several doors to the right, you see an excellent example of a residence with 1920's rural craftsman architecture (the house with the garage underneath). Return to Hawthorne Street and walk east toward the Baptist Church. Cross Hawthorne at the STOP sign and go down Pico to Alvarado. You pass by, across Pico, a small wooden residence converted to Lawyers offices on the opposite side of the street. Stand for a moment at the corner and look up to the right, across the street at a rectangular craftsman style bungalow modernized with asphalt shingle siding (Henry Ellis house). Built in 1922, it has had only two owners. Note especially the wood shingled porch roof supported by flaring post beams seated on brick pillars.

Directly across the street, where the parking lot is now, was Fallbrook's three story resort hotel. (Provide details) (Describe the plans for landscaping)

Cross Pico and walk under the eucalyptus trees next to the pepper tree covered vacant lot. When you reach the sidewalk, you are in front of the Fallbrook Association of Realtors building, which was Fallbrook's Southern California Telephone Company office, constructed in 1941. With its white stucco exterior, exposed beams and Mission tile roof, it is unique in the downtown area.

Look at the mural across the alley, which was done by the owner of Fallbrook Cycle and Hobby. Pass by the bicycle shop and the insurance center to reach the corner of Main and Alvarado. Stewarts is in the building constructed in 1913 for the Citizens Commercial Bank. It was of concrete, with a specially built walk-in safe. Earlier, in 1885, on this corner, Fallbrook's first hotel was built, a two story structure with a verandah on the street sides. It was torn down in 1911, and a house still standing on Alvarado Street was built with its redwood lumber.

Pass by the Westerner store, built in 1949 as a Western Auto Store. It has had only two owners since it was built, the present owner has had it for 33 years. The Western facade was built by Ron Scofield who now makes carriages in gold country. The next building was the site of Fallbrook's first separate post office building, until 1910, when it moved across the street.

Check out the Lace Apron just beyond and note as possible lunch stop. Also, look at the selection of paintings exhibited here.

Next is Pinnell's Art Gallery.

Then is Fallbrook Fine Art, a Gallery of American Realism.

Upstairs from the Mini Mall, with its many hand-crafted items, is Gerlach's Art Glass, specialist in stained and leaded glass.

Now retrace your steps back down Main Street and cross at the light.(Here tell about the plans for Harrisons.)

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.