Poultrymen of the South Bay

by Steve Schoenherr

The Jesse Carne Hatchery began on the north side of the Sweetwater Valley in 1911 (photo courtesy of the Bonita Museum)

1889 - An early commercial chicken ranch began in the Otay Valley in 1889. In the fall of that year, J.C. Pelton began to operate a chicken ranch. He hired V. A. Peavy to build a brick brooder house that measured 14 by 34 feet, where he installed a "patent Petaluma incubator" with 600 eggs (Otay Press 10-24-1889). By the following February Pelton had 300 chicks hatched out and 3,000 more eggs in the course of incubation. (Otay Press, Oct. 24, 1889; Feb. 10 and 13,1890).

1899 - Fred and Anna Magnuson operated a chicken ranch at 488 old Second Avenue. James Madison Johnson settled his family on five acres at Fifth and F Street in Chula Vista in 1889. The James Johnson House at 525 F Street is Historic Site #6. Daughter Flora Johnson married Elsworth Flanders in 1891 and they bought five acres just west of the Johnson property and built a home that later became the nucleus of the Chula Vista Hospital. The Flanders returned to New Hampshire in 1899 due to the severe drought that killed the lemon trees and their property was sold to the Magnuson family for a chicken ranch.

1910 - Mr. and Mrs. Jack Reuter brought their four sons to Chula Vista in 1910, when Burt was nine years old. "Dad started raising chickens and the boys helped as we grew older," said Burt. "Then I took time out to find Laura Dallett, living on Otay Mesa, where she was born, and married her." Reuter went on to tell that he bought five acres, between 5th Ave. and Palomar, from J. R. Scott in 1928. He enlarged the ranch building and had 16,900 laying hens there at one time. "This entailed a lot of feed," Reuter remarked, "so to feed them for less, we started to manufacture our own. The feed business grew so large that we had to discontinue the chicken business and went entirely to feed in 1935, known as the R&S Feed Co." The Reuters operated the feed business until 1964 when they sold out and retired. (Chula Vista Star-News, Mar. 30, 1972 )

1911 - Jesse Carne was born in Tulomne County, ill California, in 1879. His parents came from Cornwall, England, to work in the gold mines. He grew up in the gold country and also worked in the mines and quartz mills of California and Nevada. Elizabeth Fultz came to San Diego as a two-year-old child in 1886. She grew up in downtown San Diego and Lawson Valley. As a child she attended the East School, now known as the Sherman School. As a young woman she worked in San Francisco as a dressmaker. She was living in Oakland in 1906 during the great earthquake and flIe that destroyed the city of San Francisco. Later she moved to Nevada where she met Jesse Carne. Elizabeth Fultz and Jesse Carne were married in Tonopah, Nevada on June 17, 1908, and lived In nearby Miller, Nevada, which later became a ghost town. Elizabeth convinced Jesse that the mining business was too dangerous and unhealthy. She had a family in the San Diego area and Jesse had a brother there, so they came to San Diego in 1911 and began raising chickens on a nine-acre ranch on a hill between Sunnyside and Bonita where the Bonita Woods houses are now located. They were surrounded by lemon orchards on three sides and a cliff on the east side. The chicken ranch grew, and regular shipments of eggs were sent to San Diego on the railroad that ran through the valley until the flood of 1916 washed out the tracks. After the flood, shipments were made in Jesse's own truck. Elizabeth and Jesse had two daughters, Edith in 1914, and Dorothy in 1916. (Family, Friends, and Homes, 1991, p. 39. )

Edith and Dorothy Carne in the brooder house of the Carne Hatchery (photo courtesy of the Bonita Museum)

Edith Carne was born Aug. 13, 1914, in San Diego at the only hospital, Saint Joseph's, predecessor of Mercy Hospital. Her mother was Elizabeth Fultz who moved to San Diego from Kansas in 1885, and married Jesse Carne, a miner in Nevada, around the time of the 1906 earthquake. Mrs. Carne was concerned about her husband's health as a miner, so they moved to San Diego in 1911 and they bought a house at the end of the road in Bonita surrounded by lemon orchards. Her father sold eggs at the Bonita railroad station until the 1916 flood, then sold eggs in nearby Chua Vista and National City, brought back 100-lb bags of flour. Carne family never bought bread, always made fresh every day. In 1923 they moved to 5-acre ranch in National City and the hatchery there became the largest in the county. Edith graduated from San Diego State in 1936 and became a teacher in National City, retired in 1976. She married Lee Wyatt in 1947, and became a rare woman leader in the Boy Scouts of America. She wrote two books: "My Early Life on a Chicken Ranch," and "My Life at the Hatchery" (Carne vertical file, Bonita Museum). Copies of Edith's books are from the Morgan Local History Room, National City Public Library.

1913 - Mr. and Mrs. John Shuttleworth were born in England, married 1887, moved to Canada, then to Chula Vista in 1913 at 3rd and J street where they lived for 44 years. They raised chickens and fowl "all kinds. Rabbit business, duck business and pigeon business." ( Chula Vista Star-News, Oct. 2, 1960. )

1914 - "Chicken raising is splendidly exemplified in the handsome results obtained from the business conducted by Dr. L. J. Taylor and son, E. C. Taylor, formerly of New Jersey, who are raising chickens on their five-acre Lemon ranch in Chula Vista. The place is called South Acres. The Taylors traveled over 20,000 miles by motor car through Southern California in search of an ideal spot to live. They finally bought the five acres in Chula Vista which constitute South Acres. This land was planted in lemon trees. The Taylors sought means of making the land produce an income, pending the time when the lemon trees should produce their golden crop. After studying the proposition they decided to use the lemon groves for raising chickens to the mutual advantage of the lemons and the chickens and decided profit to the owners. The shade of the trees is useful in raising the fowls while the fertilizer from the chickens benefits the trees, to say nothing of the hens keeping down undesirable small plants and eradicating insects. Thus far, the combination as a business venture has proved highly profitable and beneficial io all concerned from every point of view . In a nutshell Dr. Taylor summarized the chicken proposition as follows: 'In April, 1913, we bought 1200 chicks at $90 the thousand. We sold the chicks for just about what they cost and kept 500 pullets in this batch. By September, these were laying. November 15, they had paid for their cost and we still had the pullets. We sold during one week, eggs amounting to $75. Eggs in November brought us $240. During the following year, these hens produced 6900 dozen eggs, or an average of 180 each. The hens have cost us three-tenths of a cent per day for food, or about $1 per hen per year. Thus each hen has yielded us a net profit on the year of $2. The original 500 chickens, developed into hens, have earned us a profit thus far of more than $1000.' To thrive, chickens must have green food the year round. It is possible to get this at almost no cost in Sen Diego and Chula Vista, which is one of the main assets of this section as a chicken raising location. On less than an acre of land, we have been able to raise enough. alfalfa and kale to keep our 5000 chickens well supplied with the necessary green food. Lack of rain is another asset. The laying pens must be kept absolutely dry. The backs and ends of these houses on our ranch are not only water-tight, but air-tight. In times of rain, curtains are let down to protect the open fronts. The hens live in these houses the year round. The foundation of the Taylor system is what poultrymen call the Corning system. It is available to anyone. The Chula Vista men have added various improvements of their own which they have worked out as the product of experience. One of these is a hanging wire hopper for feeding green stuff. This arrangement saves loss of 50 per cent of the food and also keeps the greenery clean since the chickens must pick it through the wire, in bits and cannot scratch it about nor get it on the ground. Along the edges of the laying pens are trolley boxes into which the droppings are scraped from the pens. By this means, the pens are kept clean and sanitary, while the droppings are conserved and used as fertilizer. There is an active demand for this by-product and the Taylors sell the surplus droppings at SI per barrel. Figures dealing with the fertilizer show that the Taylors realize an average of 35 cents per hen per year from the droppings. (San Diego Union, Oct. 1, 1914)

1916 - Charles and Florence Bean were retired professors from Oswego, New York, came to Chula Vista in 1916 and became chicken ranchers. They bought the Byron Bronson House at 613 Second Avenue and lived there until 1949. This spectacular house, known locally as the "Blue Castle," has been designated Chula Vista Historic Site No. 10. ( Family, Friends, and Homes, 1991, p. 410. )

1916/03/01 - The San Diego Poultry Association began its career March 1, 1916. when a few poultrymen recognized the benefits to be derived from collective buying of grain and supplies, and manufacture of various mashes and the mixing of feeds on a large scale. From an original membership of more than 800 members, representing more than 300,000 laying hens, it is considered one of the most successful co-operative organizations in the country. (San Diego Union, June 12, 1927)

"Poultry Source of Wealth for San Diego County." (San Diego Union, Jan. 1, 1917) full page

In the special edition of the Jan. 1, 1917, newspaper (above), poultry raisers from around the county were featured, includeing two from Chula Vista: J. E. PLACE, Chula Vista. "I have been in the poultry raising line at this place for four years and am fully satisfied with what I am accomplishing, making a very good living for myself and family by exclusive poultry raising on my five acre holding. I have 1500 fowls, mostly White Leghorns with a few Wyandottes and several pairs of other strains. In addition to the poultry I raise green stuff for the table and for chicken feed, but devote, practically all of my efforts to poultry." B. W. OSBORN, Chula Vista. "You ask if there is money to be made in the poultry business in San Diego county? I answer most emphatically yes. However, anyone contemplating going into that business, (like any other) should have sufficient capital to carry him through the first year. I have known many who embarked in the business and worked hard and had excellent prospects but who had to admit failure because of lack of money to see them through the first months before the plants could produce revenue. I have five acres here and a flock of 2000 Leghorns, devoting much of my efforts to day-old chicks and commercial hatching. I think I have shown my confidence in the business by recently purchasing incubators, with 8000 egg capacity. The work required in this business is not hard, it is simply putting your time in and above all keeping your mind on your business." (San Diego Union, Jan. 1, 1917)

1919 - Ralph Sexauer bought about two and a half acres of land, next door to Mr. Hazzard raising rhubarb at 722 old 2nd Avenue (now Fourth Avenue) between J and K Streets, planning to become a farmer and poultry raiser. In 1919 Ralph and Ella moved into their own house on the ranch at 750 old 2nd avenue and began purchasing chicken houses and stock. Much of the acreage was planted in celery, and as the ranch prospered, Ralph leased five acres acres the road to expand production. He was instrumental in the organization of the Celery Growers' Association in this area. In 1933 he was asked to accept the position of president of the San Diego Poultrymen's Association. For the next twenty-six years he served in that capacity, retiring in 1960. For some years after retirement, he was a member of the Board of Directors of Sierra Mutual Fire Insurance Company of San Diego. With the end of World War II and a population growth in Chula Vista, Ralph sold the ranch and moved "into town" at David on and Church Avenue. Ella died in 1961. Ralph remained in the Davidson house until 1979. His remaining years were lived at Fredericka Convalescent Hospital. He died August 10, 1985. (Family, Friends, and Homes, 1991, pp. 336-337.)

1919/03/21 - Edward Melville is building a large corning house for J. A. Reuter at old 4th and G Street, Mr. and Mrs. Reuter are expanding the chicken business this spring, now have 2000 hens. ( Chula Vista Star, Mar. 17, 1933. )

1920 - While small colony houses, 15 by 22 feet, opening to the south or east, are found, the average over the county the Corning system of housing. These latter houses run from 80 to 200 feet by 16 to 20 feet, and accommodate 300 to 1500 hens. The yards are so fenced that green feed may be grown in half of the run while the flock is occupying the other half. This gives an opportunity to produce most of the green feed necessary in the poultry plant with he minimum amount of space and labor. There are a number of very successful poutryrmen who, after once placing their pullets in the Corning houses, never again allow their laying stock on the outside. A large majority of the poultrymen are members of the San Diego County Poultry Producers Association, a co-operative corporation. (San Diego Union, Jan. 1, 1920)

1920 - "Jack Soper, a large chicken raiser on National Avenue, had a splendid hatch, lost only 40 of 2400 eggs." ( Chula Vista Star, Feb. 3, 1933 )

1921 - "San Diego's status as an egg-producing center was emphasized yesterday when four carloads containing 53,700 dozen eggs were shipped to markets in Los Angeles. Shipments to date this year from San Diego total 94 carloads, or 1,128,000 dozen eggs. Five years ago the city imported 22 carloads, or 264,000 dozen eggs, but since that time San Diego has changed from an import to an export status and now ships more than four times as many eggs as formerly were imported. This means that San Diego poultrymen have increased their output practically 600 percent in the last five years. Most of this year's egg shipments were handled through the San Diego Poultry association, which has taken an active part in the phenomenal growth of the egg industry here." (San Diego Union, Dec. 15, 1921)

1922 - Mary "Maisie" Campbell was born May 28, 1903, in Glasgow, Scotland, the oldest children of John and Flora Charlotte (MacPherson) Campbell. When Ewen and Mary were ten months old, their parents and two uncles joined the Barr Colonists, a group from Great Britain who went to the Parklands in Canada, where each homesteaded one hundred eighty acres. In 1915 Mr. Campbell had a serious accident while taking his threshing outfit home. They had to move to a warmer climate and an easier way of life. They went to Southern California by train. Maisie wrote: "We arrived in San Diego the evening of December 28, 1915. We found a ranch in Nestor, but had to wait a few months to move in, so rented another house nearby so we could attend the local school. Ewen and I only went to this school (called Highland) three months, then took the examination for high school. We started National City High School in September 1918, ten miles from our ranch. At that time there were no school buses, so went by way of a stage (bus) which was operating from San Diego to the Mexican line. We lived a couple of mile from the line (border). No paved roads." She graduated in the first class of Sweetwater High School in 1922. Maisie, Ewen, and Bessie enjoyed the dance in the Otay Watch Factory building, and at one time they owned one of the Otay watches. After high school, Maisie went to work as a bookkeeper at the San Diego Cooperative Poultry Association, retiring after twenty-five years, as head bookkeeper. The Cooperative Poultry Association had 2400 members. They marketed member's eggs, manufactured chicken feed, had a hardware store and gasoline station. ( Family, Friends, and Homes, 1991, pp. 241-242. )

1922 - Nellie Foley was born on a ranch in Palm City that raised and sold chickens for 33 years, then in 1955 was replaced by the drive-in at 13th and Palm developed by her husband Lee Morgan. ( Chula Vista Star-News, Jan. 13, 1955. )

1923 - Jesse and Elizabeth Carne started a hatchery that was located on five acres of land at 16th and Palm Avenue in National City. Jesse's brother, Ernest, took care of the ranch. One of the Dlany jobs that Edith (Wyatt) and Dorothy (Moody) Jesse and Elizabeth's two daughters) had was to turn the eggs in the afternoon when they got home from school. Father and Mother Carne and a hired man, William Weiss, turned them in the morning. There were thousands of eggs to turn, and it took two hours to complete the task every day of the week. The girls were rewarded with one dollar a week which was a goodly sum in those days. In the late 1920's the business had grown so much that Mr. Carne purchased three large . incubators that could handle 130,000 eggs every three weeks and by using a pulley and rollers, one person could easily turn the eggs in a very short time. The Carne Hatchery grew to be the largest and most active in San Diego County. There were other large hatcheries located in Escondido, Ramona, and La Mesa. Not only were chicken eggs hatched but also goose, turkey, duck, quail and any type of poultry a customer would bring in to the hatchery. Eggs were shipped in to be hatched from all parts of the country, some as far as Washington and Missouri. In the many years the Carne's were in business, they could never "count the chickens before they hatched". The hatchery was sold in 1951. The building and house still remain on the Northeast corner of 16th and Palm as apartments. (Excerpt from Chula Vista Historical Society, Stories, Tales, Folklore of our Communities, vol. 1)

The Jesse Carne Hatchery in National City after 1923 (photo courtesy of the Bonita Museum)

1924 - Frank Schmedding bought an acre of land on the corner of Otis and what was then National Avenue, later changed to Broadway (at 493 National). "We built a modest Eastern-style house with a cellar (not the usual thing in California). It soon became a wine cellar. My dad made wonderful wine. We also used it to store the many vegetables that we grew in our garden. Dad then started raising chickens for a living and did quite well for a number of years. He also raised rabbits, fruit, and vegetables. We also bought a cow. We were quite independent on our acre of land or "Our Ranch" as we fondly called it." (By Herman Schmedding, son of Frank and Matilda Schmedding, Family, Friends, and Homes, 1991, p. 331.)

1925 - List of poultry producers in the Chula Vista city directory:
Anderson, Marian Mrs poultry r 82 old 2d av
Applegarth, Clinton E (Estelle) poultry h 635 old 2d av
Briggs, Marcus (Ella) poultry h 704 old 2d
Bunting, John (Agnes) poultry h 329 D
Burgess, Alonzo P (Leona) poultry h 553 F
Charles, Alice M Mrs poultry r 467 old 2d av
Darrow, Archer E (Mary) poultry 440 F
Davis, Gell (Carrie) poultry h ws old 5th av, 1 n of E
Doan, Harold C (Margt) poultry 812 old 5th
George, R H poultry h ws National av, 1 s L
Gilman, Cozier (Grace) poultry 716 old 4th
Glore, Arth L poultry h ws National av 2 s of L
Hayward, Arth G (Sarah) poultry h ss M, 2 e of National av
Hayward, Hugh S poultry h ss M, 4 e of National av
Jones, Geo (Alice) poultry h rear 647 G
Kellogg, Irving M (Frances) poultry 453 F
Kendall, Chas D (Lida) poultry h 468 old 2d av
Kendall, Ranson P (Clair) poultry h 476 old 2d av
Kester, Mabel Mrs poultry r 518 old 6th av
Kinch, Isaac (Caroline) poultry h 439 J.
Kramer, John P (Anna) poultry h ss M, 1 e of National av
Lee, John J (Anna) poultry h 554 I.
Menzel, Wm L (Margt) poultry h 510 old 6th av
Miller, Andrew G (Ellen) poultry 727 Alpine av
Moosau, Maude Mrs poultry r 430 old 2d av
Ramsay, A M poultry h 671 old 2d av
Reuter, Burt W (Laura) poultry 475 old 4th av
Reuter, John A (Helena) poultry 495 old 4th av
Roberts, Chas (Josephine) poultry h ns J, 1 e of old 5th av
Rogers, W est (Margt) poultry h230 National av
Rosvall, Otto W (Cora) poultry 222 G
Spencer, Edwin M (Mae) poultry 260 H
Sprague, Herbert A (Lena) poultry h 26 National av
Strait, Danl S poultry h577 old 2d av
Swanson, F Albin (Edith) poultry h 117 old 2nd av
Terpening, Irena poultry 212 K
Arnold, Anton (Cresizia) poultry h ns Elma 1 w of old 1st av
Badders, Wm E (Mary) poultry h 76 National av
Baeder, John J (Lizzie) poultry h 370 old 2d av
Beall, Jesse E (Vienia) poultry 266 H
Clark, Martin S poultry h 521 Glover av
Cole, Geo B (Gelemma) poultry 201 H
Cram, Geo W (Eliz) poultry h 82 Madison av
Creel, John A (Phoebe) poultry h 806 old 1st
Cuhel, Jos (Laura) poultry h 555 D
Fasano, Frank (Alice) poultry h 625 G
Freeman, Willis (Mary) poultry h 321 J
Helmers, Geo (Lilie) poultry h 540 old 6th
James, Mary Mrs poultry r L ne cor old 1st
Littl,e J Howard (Mildred) poultry h es National av, 1 n of N
McCauley, Jas E poultry h es National av, 2 s L
McClaughry, Jas (Alice) poultry h 318 G
McNeill, Stuart B (Eliz.) poultry h ws National av, 3 s of M
Osborn, Bud W (Winnie) poultry h ns M 1 e of old 1st av
Osborn, Lafayette (Sarah) poultry h ws old 1st av, 2 n of M
Pankau, Herman (Caroline) poultry h 620 old 2d av
Paterson, Pinckney A poultry 210 H
Pearsall, Allen G poultry h ss I, 1 e of old 5th av
Selby, Josiah T (May) poultry 459 F
Sexauer, Ralph M (Ella) poultry h750 old 2d av
Vonder Au, Martin J (Margt poultry h 605 old 2d av
Weaver, Dan E (Marjorie) poultry h 335 H
White, Paul L (Jessie) poultry h 680 F
Wood, Walter H (Sarah) poultry h I nw cor of National av

Peters Feed Store is shown in this photo after 1924 when it was located at Third Avenue and Madronna in Chula Vista. The sign reads "Grain, Hay, Feed, Poultry Supplies." It was originally founded in 1913 by Frank Norton and Herbert Pratt as the Chula Vista Feed Store, and its main business was supplying poultry feed. In 1914 it was purchased by William Peters who ran a grocery store at the site of Black's Market on Third Avenue. Peters expanded the store in 1924 and was a prominent figure in Chula Vista for many years. He served for twelve years on the city's Board of Trustees, then served as mayor from 1922 to 1940. After his death in 1945, the store was run by his son, J. D. Peters. In 1980 Joan Klindt took over the business and moved it to 49 Third Ave. as Peters' Home and Garden.

1926 - George and Mamie Donovan moved from San Diego to Otay, to the corner property on Fourth and Orange (then Second Street and Ninth Avenue) purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Chris Deboyer. It was one and a half acres with a small one-bedroom frame house on the hill. The closest neighbors were George and Mabel Morehouse. They had acres of lemons and hundreds of chickens they raised for fryers and their eggs. "My dad fenced in the corner property and we soon had chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, rabbits, and later pigeons. We bought all our feed at Peters Feed Store on Third Avenue. The little chickens we ordered by mail. When they arrived at the post office, our mailman Clarence Austin, a very nice man, notified us and we went to bring them home. You could hear all the peeping as soon as you entered the post office. We had a very primitive incubator. It was a ten-cylinder, with an electric bulb to keep the chicks warm. Of course, not all of them lived and my sister and I wept over them." (by Mary Donovan Welch, Family, Friends, and Homes, 1991, pp. 384-385.)

1929 - The Poultry Producers of San Diego and the San Diego Poultry Association merged into one organization, the San Diego Co-operative Poultry Association.

1930 - Darley Frank Howe moved to Chula Vista from Nebraska with his family in 1892, when he was 2, purchased a five-acre lemon grove on land where the present Food Basket is located on J Street. He married Vera Berliner of Chula Vista in 1929, began a chicken farming business on his parents land in 1930, selling eggs to local customers, retired in 1959, wife Vera died 1975 and Darley died in 1985 at age 92. ( Chula Vista Star-News, Apr. 25, 1985)

1930 - "In the early days, we kept hundreds of white Leghorn chickens for their eggs. Selling eggs was a popular business in Chula Vista during the early thirties. We raised Rhode Island red chickens to eat, because they had more meat on their bones, and we liked their eggs because the yolks were richer in color. We would sit upon the veranda roof with our slingshots and pelt the chickens below with dates from our palm trees, a fun pastime!" ( by Anita Brown Amos, Family, Friends, and Homes, 1991, pp. 6-10. )

1932 - Fred Otto opens his Otto Bungalow Grocery Sept. 3, 1932. Ten years ago they purchased the 21-acre tract on which their present home and new buildings stand on Third Avenue bet J and K streets. Mr. Otto employed his land to grow celery, vegetables and chickens. The grocery department takes up one side of the store, while the lunch room occupies the other half. Counter and stools for ten people have been installed. Sandwiches and percolated coffee will be served at all hours while a special hot lunch will be featured every day except Sunday. Crews of the nearby packing plants who heretofore have had no convenient place to eat lunch will probably form the majority of the noon counter customers it is said. Fresh milk, chickens and eggs will be sold in the store daily, the first from the Floersch Dairies of Nestor and the latter two commodities from the Otto ranch." (Chula Vista Star, Sept. 2, 1932.)

1933 - Chicken Coop restaurant was located at 394 National Avenue. ( Chula Vista Star, July 7, 1933. )

1934 - George Daschbach died this month, age 77, had lemon and chicken ranch at 346 old 4th avenue for 38 years. ( Chula Vista Star, Mar. 23, 1934. )

1935 - Another unit of the poultry industry's development has been the establishment and growth of an immense feed supply business with some 50 stores throughout the county. In this same activity has been developed the San Diego County Cooperative Poultry association, a mutual organization composed of about 2000 of the county's leading poultrymen, under manager Ralph Sexauer. They have banded together to buy feed supplies and to market the eggs produced in the plants of association members. (San Diego Union, Nov. 24, 1935)

1936 Bruce Herms was born in San Diego and was eight years old when his family moved onto one of the remaining "Little Landers" farms in San Ysidro in 1936. The "Little Landers Community" had come into being at the turn of the century. It was an idea sparked by William E. Smythe and the "back to the soil" movement. Smythe had been appalled by the industrial revolution and the plight of workers in the eastern industrial cities. He sought an alternate life style where the average man could live with dignity and independence in a healthy rural environment. He had seen the failure of earlier social experiments involving communal type systems He realized the importance of private ownership and individual intiative. His belief was that a family with one or two acres could become economically self-sufficient by growing their own food - vegetables, fruit, and meat - in a planned intensive manner. His motto was "A Little Land and a Living." He named his ideal farm community San Ysidro, in Spanish, after the patron saint of farmers, Saint Isador. The Herms' farm was the epitome of the Little Lander's dream. Virtually every inch of the two-acre plot not occupied by buildings was cultivated: tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, milo maize, string beans, lima beans, cabbage, lettuce, kale, chard, rhubarb, beets, turnips, radishes, onions, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, chayotes, hubbard squash, cucumbers, young berries, boysenberries, figs, apricots, crab apples, pears, quinces, lemons. "...What we didn't eat, or can, or store ... we sold." Four long rabbit hutches housed 500 rabbits: New Zealand Whites and Pedigree Giants. These were carefully bred, raised, and trucked to market. The chicken houses contained an incubator, brooder, and roosts. Between 300 to 500 chicks were raised by means of the brooder to fryer size, then off to market, only to be replaced by other newly hatched chicks, in a seemingly endless cycle. Meat on the table was usually chicken or rabbit, but frequently supplemented by hamburger or beef from the market. Those rabbits that appeared on the dinner plate had their pelts carefully preserved to be sold later on. The chickens: Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rocks, and White Leghorns provided an ample supply of eggs for the home and the market. Surprisingly, there was no horse or cow on the farm because space did not allow. But milk was readily available from the Arden Dairy (later called Dairy Mart) and Bottling Plant just a short walk down Vista Lane. (Family, Friends, and Homes, 1991, pp. 135-137. )

1941 - Chicken Inn Cafe and Motel, owned by Charles and Florence Majors, was located at 99 National avenue. ( Chula Vista Star, Friday, Feb. 14, 1941. )

1946 - Tom Payton was born to James and Ellen (Meech) Payton at Bristol, England in 1882. Tom met Ellen Ruth Phillipps in Bristol, although "Nell" was born and raised in her ancestral village at Padstow, Cornwall, England. Tom and Ellen "Nell" emigrated from England to Toronto, Canada, and were married at St. Johns Church on March 29, 1905. The family migrated to the United States in 1912, settling in Illinois. Tom and Nell Payton left Illinois in 1946 and moved to Chula Vista. Tom was a good carpenter and built and remodeled several homes. Their final home was on land they purchased between Oxford and Palomar and Third and Fourth Avenue. The original driveway was located through the present Lauderbach Elementary School playground. The street Tom and Nell lived on was Garrett, so named by them because it was "in-line" with the Garrett in Chula Vista. Tom and Nell owned a small chicken ranch and sold and delivered eggs for several years. (by Sandy Garfield Palumbo, Family, Friends, and Homes, 1991, pp. 259-260)

1961 - John Wright owned Wright's Poultry of Chula Vista, with a plant located at 1043 National Ave. ( Chula Vista Star-News, Nov. 19, 1961. )

1969 - Chicken Delight restaurant was located at 323 third Ave. ( Chula Vista Star-News, Feb. 16, 1969. )

1973 - The new fast food chain, Picnic 'N Chicken, opened an outlet at 1005 Third Avenue in Chula Vista. ( Chula Vista Star-News, Feb. 22, 1973. )

1977 - Kentucky Fried Chicken opened in Bonita, adjacent to the Jack-in-the-Box. ( Bonita Post, Feb. 17, 1977)

  • Carnes vertical file, Bonita Museum & Cultural Center, 4355 Bonita Road, Bonita CA.
  • Chula Vista Historical Society. Family, Friends, and Homes. San Diego CA: Tecolote Publications, 1991.
  • Newspapers: The Bonita Post, The Chula Vista Star, The Otay Press, The San Diego Union.
  • Schoenherr, Steven. Chula Vista Centennial, A Century of People and Progress. Chula Vista, CA: City of Chula Vista, 2011.
  • Schoenherr, Steven and Mary E. Oswell. Bonita (Images of America). Charlston SC : Arcadia Pub., 2009.

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