History

1846 Battle of San Pasqual redux

In the San Pasqual Valley southeast of Escondido, in the darkness of early morning on December 6, 1846, the American Army under Stephen Watts Kearny fought the bloodiest encounter to win California from Mexico. The San Pasqual battle was only one of the military encounters in California in the war, but proved to be the bloodiest and most controversial as to outcome. San Pasqual Battlefield…


San Diego North County Japanese-Americans recall World War II internments

In San Diego County, which had a population of 2,076 Japanese-Americans in 1940, families were sent to Poston, 12 miles south of Parker, Ariz. Poston was one of 10 internment camps created during World War II after an executive order authorized the Secretary of War to designate specific areas as military zones and excluded certain people from living in them. President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order…


Old West theme parks paint a false picture

In 1940, just a year before Pearl Harbor plunged the United States into a world war, Walter and Cordelia Knott began construction on a notable addition to their thriving berry patch and chicken restaurant in the Orange County, California, city of Buena Park. This new venture was an Old West town celebrating both westward expansion and the California Dream – the notion that this Gold…


From San Marcos ‘Dressing’ to Thanksgiving

(Editor’s Note: This was the state of the holiday just one year ago pre-COVID, for those with nostalgia for the way ot was before social distancing and over 260,000 Americans lost their lives…) California supplies the nation’s Thanksgiving tables California ranks #8 in turkey production in the United States (2016), and we supply most of the western states from our poultry farms located in several areas in…


Donald Trump’s Joe McCarthy moment?

When CBS, NBC and ABC cut away from President Donald Trump’s news conference at the White House on the evening of Nov. 5, they took pains to explain why they were shutting off the nation’s commander-in-chief. It was a moment that for me, as a journalism historian, carried echoes of the 1954 takedown of another flamboyant populist demagogue, Sen. Joe McCarthy. Making false accusations The…


Local ironworker Paul Pursley spent 10 weeks at Ground Zero following Sept. 11

Sept. 11, 2001: Local ironworker Paul Pursley spent 10 weeks at “Ground Zero” following the terrorist attack. His major complaint in the years following concerned his inability to get correct, and affordable, treatment due to the costs involved, costs that Congress finally agreed to add funding to the 9/11 First Responders fund almost 18 years later. “Ironworkers worked every day,” Pursley said. “We went on 12-hour shifts…


Sending in the llamas and clowns on 9/11

Sept. 10, 2001 was pretty much like any other day. That is to say honored only in its passing, don’t remember what happened. Sept. 11, 2001, as we all know, was a day seared in our personal and national memories like few others. Don’t know when the carnage began, but at my Del Dios home phones started ringing way too early in the morning and…


Three-Dot Lounge visits Rancho Santa Fe

We are going to consider a few outstanding three-dot items stripped from below, well below, today’s coronavirus headlines. But first, a reminder and salute about he who pioneered the three-dot way It’s been over 20 years since famed San Francisco journalist Herb Caen (1916-1997) died. For journalists and San Franciscans, Caen was a superstar. Known as “Mr. San Francisco,” his columns were a vital piece…


CSUSM: Little-known FDR ‘Black Cabinet’

As a Cal State San Marcos professor of history, of course, Jill Watts is also a student of history. Watts knew that many U.S. history textbooks, in the all-important pages about the hugely consequential Franklin Delano Roosevelt presidency, make passing references to what the black press of the day coined the “Black Cabinet,” an unofficial group of African-American advisers to FDR as he navigated the politics of the Great Depression and the New…


Remembering my Lake San Marcos neighbor

Our next-door neighbor died last night. But he was much more than a neighbor. He was a best friend, a father figure, and a 103 year-old icon of a life well-lived. Karen and I met him when we moved in to this retirement community two years ago. He stopped us as we passed on the sidewalk in front of our new home. He was pushing…