One of the Earliest Extant Maps of Bird Rock, La Jolla.
"Referee's Partition Map of Pueblo Lot No 1782", drafted in 1895 by Benjamin McLeran, is a manuscript plan delineating the early land divisions within what is presently known as the Bird Rock neighborhood of La Jolla. Bounded by the notable landmarks of La Jolla Hermosa Park to the north and Bird Rock Elementary School to the south, this map offers a detailed perspective on property ownership, land subdivisions, and the broader infrastructural developments of the time, most notably the route of the San Diego, Pacific Beach & La Jolla Railway.
In the latter half of the 19th century, La Jolla emerged as a focus for railroad-based land speculation, as the San Diego region experienced a dramatic increase in settlement and infrastructural development. Central to this was the San Diego Land & Town Company, which dominates the map's holdings, possessing 150 acres. Originally established in 1880 to sell parcels of land and finance the California Southern Railroad, the San Diego Land & Town Company transitioned into a potent player during San Diego's 1880s property boom, even as its railway ambitions met challenges. The influence of Boston-based investors, keen on transforming San Diego into a Pacific terminus of a transcontinental railroad, underscored the financial and developmental strategies of the period.
The cartographic details further reveal a myriad of land divisions, representing notable stakeholders of the era, such as the Savings Bank of S.D. Co., Mrs. F.A. Gray, D.C. Collier Jr., and others. Intriguingly, each of these names is crossed out, suggesting a dynamic flux of property transactions or potential disputes. The narrative encapsulated within this map's inked lines is expanded by the trace of the San Diego, Pacific Beach & La Jolla Railway, a symbol of ongoing transport advancements. The rail project, initiated by J. Malcolm Forbes, encountered numerous challenges but marked a significant achievement with its official opening in 1894, celebrated grandly by the San Diego community.
The intersection of transportation aspirations and land speculation during the late 19th century is lucidly rendered in "Referee's Partition Map of Pueblo Lot No 1782". Beyond mere delineations of property and transport lines, this manuscript captures the socioeconomic ambitions, challenges, and transformations defining a pivotal era in the history of La Jolla and the broader San Diego region.
The San Diego Land & Town Company was initially set up in 1880 to sell land to finance the California Southern Railroad, a thwarted attempt to make San Diego a Pacific terminus of a transcontinental railroad. Despite California Southern's failure to directly link San Diego to the East Coast, the well-financed Boston-based syndicate that controlled the SDL&T Co. shaped the company into a major force during San Diego's 1880s land boom.