by Tom Morrow
Ever wonder how Oceanside came to be? It’s a good story. It isn’t romantic, rather it is one based on commerce.
In 1881, rumors the railroad would be soon be connecting San Bernardino to San Diego became reality. The community of Oceanside was founded when San Luis Rey businessman Andrew J. Myers applied to the federal government in 1882 for the new town’s site of 160 acres along the railroad right-of-way. Ironically, another businessman, Francis H. Whaley, sent a letter to the federal government requesting a patent for the very same parcel. Both letters reportedly arrived in Washington, D.C. the same day, but it was Myers’ request which was opened first by the government official handling such matters, resulting in Myers getting the town site.
By 1887, many San Luis Rey residents had moved with Myers to the new coastal community, which had grown to more than 1,000. Oceanside was incorporated in July 1888.
At the same time Myers made his claim, Judge Chauncey Hayes bought 1,240 acres of land in what is in present-day south Oceanside and northern Carlsbad. This parcel also was along the railroad right-of-way. Myers and Hayes would later join forces to sell their land in home-lot sizes on the new town site.
But, what name to call the new town in 1883 caused some heated arguments between Myers and Hayes. A third man, 27-year-old Cave Couts, Jr., son of early North County pioneer Cave Couts, came into the picture. Cave Junior had been hired by Myers to survey the town site. He got in on the discussions of what to name the new town. The more popular choices were: “La Playa,” (the beach) and “Orilla del Mar” (shore of the sea), which were names considered best for land sales purposes, but Myers stubbornly insisted upon an English name. The trio decided upon “Oceanside,” although there are other early accounts stating otherwise.
Oceanside Mortuary is donating a new headstone in Pioneer Cemetery to include Myers, his wife, Sophia, and two of his children. A.J. Myers died Feb. 28, 1907.
So, as you pass streets with names you never heard of, chances are they represent early pioneers in the building of Oceanside.
HISTORY HICCUP —- From a high school student’s history essay: “Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline.”
QUITE QUOTABLE —- “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” – Ronald Reagan
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