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Bricker, Jackson feted by Fallbrook Historical Society

Janice Bricker and Betty Jackson received two of Fallbrook’s most notable awards at the Fallbrook Historical Society’s annual meeting and luncheon on Saturday, April 24 at “The Barn,” located on the same property as the organization’s museum.

Bricker was presented with the ‘Pioneer of the Year’ award and Jackson the ‘Vintage Person of the Year.’

“Both of those awards are given to people who have endured, been here a long time, and contributed to the community,” said Jack Story, president of the Fallbrook Historical Society. Story explained that the awards have been presented for over 30 years and the winners are selected by a committee.

“We review a list of candidates from information we have,” he said. “It’s getting so there’s not too many people that go back very far here.”

Story said Bricker was selected based on the three generations of her family that have lived in the area and made contributions to it.

“We like to select people whose family goes back three or four generations here;

goes back to the Ormsby family,” said Story.

Jackson was chosen for the award because of two things – her longevity in the area and her accomplishments as a local restaurateur.

“[Jackson] had a popular restaurant here for so long,” said Story.

When speaking to the crowd that attended the event, Story emphasized the importance of knowing local history.

To me, it’s important; I don’t care if you moved to Fallbrook yesterday, you should come down [to the museum] and see what your community is all about; what’s happened in the past,” he said.

“To me, it’s nostalgic; but to have a place where a person can go to learn about the history of where he or she is living is important,” said Story.

Story also explained how the Fallbrook community has supported the historical society and its endeavors.

“The people have certainly been supportive; we were able to build the ‘Barn’ and it is all paid for,” he said. “The community has really backed us up. Of course, we always encourage donations so that we can continue to make improvements to the museum.”

Stories on the individual award winners appear below.

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Pioneer of the Year

Janice Bricker

Christina Macone-Greene

Special to the Village News

When Janice Bricker accepted the “Pioneer of the Year Award” at the Fallbrook Historical Society luncheon, a wave of honor washed over her, she said. It wasn’t the fact that she was being personally recognized, Bricker, 76, said it ran deeper than that because it was a moment of remembrance for the three generations before her.

“Getting this award is really nice and an important part of my family’s history,” said Bricker.

Guidelines are that a ‘Pioneer of the Year Award” recipient must have family who moved into the community before 1900. These days, such a search isn’t that easy.

“It’s difficult now to find people who are still here, whose families settled here during that time,” said Pat Showalter, board member of the Fallbrook Historical Society.

Luckily, Bricker’s heritage made the award a reality.

It all started with Bricker’s great grandfather, Matthew Ezra Ormsby. He was part of a large wagon train which mapped itself from Pennsylvania to California back in 1868. “My family first ended up in the Temescal Canyon, Elsinore area,” she said.

A couple years later, the clan found a new homestead in Rainbow. Ormsby traded his mules for a piece of property.

Not long after, Ormsby made his way down Rainbow Canyon and settled in Bonsall. There, he operated a general store and also served on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

The roundtrip from Bonsall to San Diego on horseback took a full day. Sometimes, he brought his young son, John Ormsby. “My great grandfather had to take my grandfather otherwise he’d just cry,” she said.

Bricker’s grandfather owned a family farm at Couser Canyon in Pala. One of the children he and his wife raised was Bricker’s mother, Bessie Ormsby Helsel.

When Bricker was born, she spent her youth and young adulthood in Escondido. She left the city and moved to rural Fallbrook after finding her soul mate, husband Garth Bricker.

“Garth and I were married about seven years when he got a teaching job at Fallbrook Elementary in 1959,” Bricker said, adding how her husband arrived in Fallbrook with his family in 1946.

The couple, along with their three young children, rented a “tiny” house off of East Mission.

“I was 26 years old then and felt fortunate because the principal’s wife was young and got all the new teachers’ wives to join the Angel Society, which was then the Children’s Home Society, and the Junior Women’s Club,” she said, noting how welcome the group made her feel.

Bricker and her husband happily moved out of their “tiny” bungalow two years later and purchased their own home.

Although Bricker’s husband retired from teaching a while ago, they never considered moving out of Fallbrook.

Over the years, Bricker has witnessed the rapid growth in her community.

“Even though Fallbrook has changed a lot, it’s been able to keep its small town feel,” she said. “This town has brought me a lot of nice friends, a good way of life, and memories.”

And now, it’s brought Bricker a special place in Fallbrook’s history.

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Vintage Award

Betty Jackson

Christina Macone-Greene

Special to the Village News

Considered a Fallbrook pioneer businesswoman, it was only fitting for Betty Jackson to receive the 2010 Historical Society Vintage Award.

Jackson, the owner and creator of Jackson Square in the 100 block of North Main, led women to a new age in business in the Friendly Village.

Jackson, 89, said she is “humbled and fascinated” by the recent recognition.

“The award is so nice and I appreciate it, but I really don’t think I’ve done anything to warrant an award,” said Jackson.

The Historical Society begs to differ.

“Betty Jackson was our choice because she is someone who has made a positive contribution to our village through her business and community involvement,” said Pat Showalter, board member of the Fallbrook Historical Society.

Jackson retired five years ago, but continues to keep a close eye on Jackson Square.

Life before Jackson Square was a journey for she and her husband, Bob. With four kids and a dog in tow, they arrived in Fallbrook in 1958. The couple had hopes of operating a successful family avocado ranch.

“We lived in a barn from the Fourth of July until Christmas,” Jackson said, noting how it took nearly six months for their home to be built. “We felt the hottest summer and the coldest winter in there.”

Jackson came up with a backup plan when their avocado business was a bust.

When a nearby neighbor dumped a truckload of ice plant and ivy cuttings on their driveway, Jackson scooped them up and replanted them in flats.

With no particular green thumb talent, Jackson said she was “shocked” when the cuttings thrived. This success led to the opening of The Country Cover Ground Cover Nursery in 1959.

The barn they once lived in became their nursery. A visionary, Jackson converted their lath house into a tea room.

“Our favorite customer was Dolores Barrymore, who was voted one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood,” she said. “She was one of my best customers who brought people [here] from Hollywood.”

In 1960, Jackson decided to make the move to Main in the downtown area. She operated both the Country Cover Gift and Garden Shop.

In 1965, Jackson and her husband purchased the property and built the other quaint buildings at Jackson Square. Again, Jackson managed all the retail outlets which included upscale clothing, a bookstore, gift card shop and more.

“I was running the whole darn thing; no wonder I was tired,” she said.

The locale created such a huge draw, Jackson thought it would be nice to have a restaurant there, too.

Like plants, Jackson knew nothing about the restaurant business. “Serving dinner for 12 people at my house was a big deal,” she said.

The unstoppable Jackson opened The Caldron Restaurant. Its success led to it being voted a ‘Top 10’ gourmet eatery in San Diego County.

Her restaurant savvy didn’t end when The Caldron Restaurant closed in the late 1970s. Jackson then teamed up with her son, James Jackson, and created the trendy Square One Restaurant.

From the mouth of a true pioneer, Jackson thinks she knows why she was successful: “I just couldn’t and wouldn’t be defeated.”

Given the fact that the Fallbrook Historical Society selected Jackson for this award, it is evident that they agreed with that sentiment.

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