FHS Self-Guided Walking Tour #3

Heritage Square Area (from S.Main to S.Mission, and from College to Fallbrook Streets)

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

This tour includes historic buildings, park, cafe, businesses.

Park your car in the alley below Beech Street Park (on Mission, between Ash and Beech)

To Start: Walk to center stairs up to the park, and turn left at the landing (add something about history of park); circle through the park on the cement walk; at the lower Beech Street corner of the park, go down to the street and cross the alley to the sidewalk beside the chain link fence of Fallbrook Muffler. The area you are traversing on this tour is one of Fallbrook's industrial areas, slated for revitalization.

Continue along the fence to the Beech Street bridge, passing one of the walkways along the creek, which is named (what else!) Fallbrook Creek. Stand on the bridge, looking to your right, south, toward Fallbrook Street. From 1916 until TBS, the Santa Fe Railroad tracks came to Fallbrook along this creek. They came from the main line along the coast, north of Oceanside, on what was then the Santa Margarita Ranch.

One of the major reasons for bringing the train to town (aside from the fact that floods continually washed out the tracks and Fallbrook Depot on the river) is what you see when you turn around and look north toward town. The burned out building and rubble you see to the left of the creek was once the thriving Fallbrook Citrus Association, a picking, packing and shipping industry. The huge two level brick structure once shipped TBS carloads of lemons per day during the packing season. The train arrived at the loading docks on a siding from the main line on the creek. There was a workers village of yellow painted wooden cottages behind the plant on the other side of College Street, and a row of open air stalls for selling fruits and vegetables along Pico Street. When you visit the Cultural Center, you can view one of the many revitalization plans for this area, which have included a police station and a Palomar College campus.

After Santa Fe discontinued the railroad, the right of way was sold for development. Describe future plans for the Pico Promenade (which is the name of the development and flood control plan for Fallbrook Creek).

Walk on past the little house of TRY Enterprises and the Homework Center, which was once the residence of TBS. Cross Beech Street to the two story brick structure, the oldest store in town. It was built by 1882, three years before the town was laid out, when Fallbrook was still just a post office in Live Oak Park and a railroad station down on the Santa Margarita River. Constructed for a livery stable and blacksmith business, its upper floor has served as the Odd Fellows Hall, meeting place for the Fallbrook Grange, and a church. Inside you can see the original bricks, but nothing remains of the storefront which, until ten years ago, faced Pico Street (the main thoroughfare when it was built.

Continue up Beech Street and turn left at the alley. We'll come back to the interesting little shops you see across the way. Following the alley, you can see the problems a community faces when trying to revitalize an older industrial section of town. Toward the end of the alley, you come to the parking area of a new structure. Walk through the lot and up the stairs to the sidewalk which leads up to S. Main.

The building on the corner across the street, which houses The Frame Shop, is full of craftsman charm. Note the clapboard siding and wood shingled roof. Cross College Street to the sidewalk in front of the house, and see the roof beams which show under the eaves of the porch. Walk a few steps further to the pepper tree and look at the next building, which was Fallbrook's first hospital. Now a multi-unit rental, it originally housed the Shipley Maternity Home and was purchased in 1951 by The Fallbrook Hospital Association. (Later, if you are interested, you can drive out Elder Street and see Fallbrook's modern medical complex.)

Go back across College Street, and continue south on Main. Arnold's Law Office is in a converted structure, once the residence of TBS. The next little building was given its Victorian look in the town's 60's Victorian Western boom. It was originally TBS. Several doors down is another newer adaptation. Home of the Fallbrook Sanitary district for thirty-two years, it at one time housed a candy mold factory on the lower floor.

Cross Beech and head down toward the lower level shops of Heritage Square. Rudy's Barber Shop, Country Grooming and Hairitage Family Salon are located in a wooden cottage which was built during the Second World War as apartments for workers at the Naval Weapons Station. In remodeling for commercial use, each has been given a distinctive facade. There is a gate to the left, which takes you to a professional office through a small courtyard. If the gate is not open, follow the wooden sidewalk in front of the shops down the stairs to the alley. Go around the end of the building to narrow stairs at the rear. Go up the stairs into an inner garden and follow the path through the garden or the wooden walkway past offices and arrive at the raised deck. From there, climb the stairs to the cafe and shops which front on Main Street.

While you are in front of the Wayside, look across the street at Richardson's Drive-in- This "space-age" style building was the first drive-in restaurant in Fallbrook. With its pitched roof, it is reminiscent of streamline moderne. The tube lights and sign date back to 1954 when it was built. Also across the street, to the left of Richardsons are two warehouse type buildings which have been transformed with Victorian western fronts. Details on Fallbrook Florist building include bracketed ornamental cornices and decorative pendants framing the doors and windows. The adjacent pet store, Creature Comforts, served as Fallbrook's post office for almost twenty years. Its roof still has the flagpole, and once sported a life-size horse beside it to advertise the business. The board-and-batten facade here has squared columns, a roofline cornice, and decorated overhang.

Now turn around and look at the front of Heritage Square. Each section of the building (which was originally a gas station of the early 20's, built in the year that Main Street was paved) has its own storefront style. Note the turreted clock tower and the bracketed wooden pediments of the doors and windows. Go back to the right and you find a small lot with picturesque office for selling automobiles. Before resuming the tour, go inside and check the menu and hours of the Wayside Cafe, in case you want to come back for lunch. You might encounter Dick Griset, the owner of Heritage Square having lunch here. He came from Orange County in (give history). Now go back down the stairs and exit to the alley through the gate under the gigantic pepper tree (the largest in Fallbrook).

Walk to the left, down the alley, until you reach Heritage Hall. The hall, used for ballet and martial arts classes and meetings, is a turn of the century building which has been on the move, its most recent (1982) being from the alley behind the Village Square at Main and Alvarado. Before that it was at two different locations on Main Street. It has been a general store, a drug store, and a cabinet shop. Note its original storefront facade. Continue down the alley beside beautiful white flowering bougainvillea growing on the wooden fence.

At the end of the alley, on Ash Street, look to the right at the small white Fallbrook Church of God (give history). Directly ahead, the residence facing Ash Street, with its decorative porch rails and posts was built by Chesley West, the owner of the service station on the corner. Continue up the left side of Ash to Main and cross over to the next building, the only remaining early service station/garage left on Main Street. Note the pipes supporting the roof where the gas pumps were once located, and the restroom doors and exterior plumbing along the side. (Put in something about employees and car racing and relation to Mahr's station).

Take a moment to look across Main Street at Good Guys Hardware and Home Center, with its distinctive sign. It is housed in a former Mayfair Market, Fallbrook's second chain grocery, built in the early 50's. Present owners, the Ahamed family came to Fallbrook nineteen years ago and purchased the Good Guys from Otis Heald, who also owned the lumber yard in the area now occupied by the Major Market shopping center. The Ahameds, from Nairobi, Kenya, Africa, are active in business and community events in Fallbrook.

Follow the sidewalk around the corner, passing the 7-11 store, and continue down Fallbrook Street until you see the Fallbrook Creek on the right. When the Pico Promenade flood control and beautification is completed there will be a pond here, with walkways and landscaping and you will be able to walk along both sides of a beautified and controlled creek. You can see the young alder trees which were set out by community volunteers in an early 1996 Tree Planting Festival, and the path created with chips between the creek and the businesses.

You are standing in the former railroad right-of-way which followed Pico Avenue and the creek between Fallbrook Street and College Street. To your left is a building of the agriculture industry, which houses Fallbrook Fertilizer, Feed and Farm Supply. Built before the railroad came to town, it was originally a tomato cannery. Note the mural type sign featuring Fallbrook's agricultural origins. When Fallbrook began in 1885, its first celebration was a strawberry festival. Enter the feed store and look at the wall to your right, and you can see photos of the old building, before and after the railroad came.

Return to Fallbrook Street and take the pathway between the feed store fence and the creek, following the new alder trees back to Ash Street. Cross to the sidewalk beside Standish Precision's parking lot and find your car in the alley below Beech Street Park.

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.