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Historic Registry now recognized

It hasn’t been a quick process, or an easy one, but the Fallbrook Historic Registry and the first set of historical landmarks in Fallbrook have now been recognized.

At a dedication ceremony held September 19, San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn read a proclamation that officially recognized the project and commended the efforts of the Fallbrook Historical Society and local resident Tom Casey.

Don McDougal, representing the Fallbrook Village Association and Fallbrook Area Visitors Bureau, opened the event with a welcome to attendees and invited to the podium both Horn and Bruce Dennett of the Fallbrook Historical Society.

Dennett, who played an important role in the historical registry project, served as the historical society’s representative for the dedication.

He, in turn, thanked Horn for his support of the project, saying, “On behalf of the board of the historical society and its members, we express our heartfelt appreciation for you and the board of supervisors for helping us fulfill our goals…and to celebrate our heritage.”

Dennett said that individual plaques, which have been made and donated by a local business, will be placed at each of the 21 initially recognized historical sites beginning in about a week.

“Roger Borst of Borst Designs has donated all of the signs,” he explained. (See accompanying list of the first sites recognized.)

How it began

Dennett said the initial effort began in 1991, when the County of San Diego issued a contract to a research company to “come up and look over buildings and find out which ones might be suitable for a historic registry.”

Liz Yamaguchi (now deceased) and Marge Yackey of the historical society lent their assistance to the inventory at that time that culminated in a resource guide that listed 111 historic buildings and sites in Fallbrook. At that point, Dennett said the project sat idle until 2006.

In 2006, Rainbow resident Casey, who at the time was serving as the chairman of government affairs for the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce, began to prepare a historic initiative that he presented to the chamber board in February 2007.

Casey’s efforts also included the Historic Route 395 project, which was dedicated with signage in 2008.

Of his intent regarding the historic registry of buildings and sites, Casey said, “I wanted to promote tourism by commemorating Fallbrook’s heritage and the beginning of a new chapter in the community’s continuing endeavors to build upon that base.”

A team effort

Casey said it took a hardworking team to pull together all the detailed information required to bring the project to fruition.

He, Dennett and Anne Burdick began moving the project forward. Beverly McDougal, Sandy Baxter and Thea Moore of the historical society lent their support.

The group also enlisted the assistance of Fallbrook Community Planning Group member Eileen Delaney in regard to having the county recognize buildings that were already listed in the earlier resource guide.

“In September of 2008, we submitted 13 buildings to the county under the fast track plan,” Dennett said. “[The Historic Site Board] didn’t consider the proposal until April 2009 and then dismissed the whole program.”

Dennett said to get the sites reconsidered by the county, work would have to be redone, the properties resurveyed and a fee of approximately $1,000 per building paid.

“With Fallbrook having been turned down by the Historic Site Board, the issuance of a proclamation, accompanied by supporting documentation, can become part of the official record of the County of San Diego,” said Casey.

At that point, Casey presented the case to Supervisor Horn, who agreed to set up the proclamation.

“The proclamation has lasting force and is strictly a local deal,” Dennett said. In summary, he explained that the county is not directly involved in the historic registry, but all the supervisors gave it their approval and it is a matter of record.

Meanwhile, Dennett diligently made approximately 90 ‘house calls’ to the current property owners of the historical sites, a task that took two years.

“[He] approached each site’s owner with an invitation to become part of the program and to request their permission to place a beautiful granite identification plaque on its frontage, setting the foundation for a historic sites guide map that the [historical] society plans to produce in conjunction with the Fallbrook Area Visitors Bureau,” said Casey.

“The reason we wanted to involve the visitors bureau was because if we just distributed the registry to visitors of the historical society museum, we would only have three or four people a week get them,” Dennett said. “If they are also handed out at the FAVB, a lot more people will receive them.”

Of the historical registry’s benefit to tourism, Casey said, “It is ideal to have a sufficient amount of attractions that would extend the time a tourist spends in the area or justify making multiple trips to take it all in.”

Future sites for the registry

Both Dennett and Casey said they look forward to the historical registry growing.

“Within the next 10 to 12 months, we expect to add another 10 to 12 buildings to it,” Dennett said. “Within two years, we hope to come up with a total of fifty.”

“It’s all about telling the story of Fallbrook,” said Casey.

A commitment to energy conservation

In tandem with the historic registry dedication event, Judy Mitchell, executive director of Mission Resource Conservation District (MRCD), presented a ‘Leave Your Mark’ pledge tree that contains the names of thousands of local residents who have vowed to conserve energy, reduce utility bills and protect the environment.

The project, part of the Flex Your Power statewide outreach campaign, was made possible through a grant to MRCD.

“Fallbrook was one of only two towns in the county to get this grant,” said Mitchell. “We will be sending [the evidence of these commitments] on to the state level to demonstrate that saving energy is going to be a part of our future.”

As a result of the grant, MRCD has been conducting a variety of events and activities to raise awareness of energy-efficient programs and products in order to educate the community.

Show of appreciation

At the conclusion of the dedication event, Don McDougal expressed, on behalf of everyone present, the community’s appreciation to Horn for his continued support of Fallbrook and the many programs he has made possible.

“[Horn] has donated so much in county funding to this community,” said McDougal, pointing out that the new sound system he was using had been purchased with some of those funds.

“This is the first time we have used it,” he said.

McDougal went on to point out other new additions to the square, including new fencing and wrought iron gates, installed to increase security. He also pointed out renovations to the landscape that were implemented by his wife, volunteer Pat McDougal.

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