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Fallbrook Remembers: The American Ostrich Company


Last updated 9/23/2019 at 10:57am

Photos courtesy of San Diego History Center, Union Title Library

Ostriches brought from South Africa are shown on the 80-acre ranch owned by E.J. Johnson in the 1880s in Mount Fairview, which is now known as Bonsall.

FALLBROOK – When the Titanic sank in 1912, the most valuable cargo on board was ostrich feathers. Only diamonds were worth more by weight then. Stylish Victorian ladies wore hats, boas and shoes adorned with exotic African ostrich feathers and flirted behind plumed fans.

Today, Fallbrook residents pass by the abandoned Ostrich Creek Bridge hidden in trees at Overland Trail at the south end of town. It spans Ostrich Creek, named for one of the town's earliest industries. Yes, there was an ostrich farm in Bonsall.

In 1883, E.J. Johnson bought 23 ostriches in South Africa for $1,000 per pair...

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