Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Ed Fletcher Papers
Date (inclusive): 1870-1955
Collection number: MSS 81
Fletcher, Ed, 1872-1955
48.0 lin. ft.
80 archives boxes, 5 card file boxes, 14 flat boxes, 35 mapcase folders, 4 volumes
Mandeville Special Collections Library
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
The papers of Ed Fletcher of San Diego, California, consisting primarily of the business records of Ed Fletcher (1872-1955),
a noted San Diego land developer, civic leader, and member of the California State Senate. A native of Massachusetts, Fletcher
arrived in San Diego in 1888. By the 1920s he had become one of the most influential men in the county. His financial success
resulted in large part from his understanding of the importance of water and highway development for urban expansion in Southern
California. As the prime mover behind numerous dam and aqueduct projects he promoted the irrigation of large segments of inland
and coastal areas, including the El Cajon valley, Rancho Santa Fe, Solana Beach, and Del Mar. As a champion of highway construction
he raised money to build local roads and lobbied for transcontinental motor routes. He began his political career as a Progressive
Republican. San Diegans elected him to the California State Senate in 1934 and he served there for twelve years. After his
death in 1955 his many sons continued the family tradition of business and civic leadership in San Diego. The papers document
all aspects of Fletcher's career but are most complete in regard to his water-related enterprises. Included is correspondence,
legal documents, blueprints, reports, and photographs. Although the bulk of the collection consists of business records, a
large group of the photographs provide a visual record of the Fletcher family. The bulk of the materials date from 1900 to
1950, with the 1920s through the 1940s heavily represented. The accession processed in 1991 is arranged in seven series: 1)
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE, 2) BUSINESS RECORDS, 3) CALIFORNIA STATE SENATOR AND OTHER REPUBLICAN PARTY MATERIALS, 4) WRITINGS
AND INTERVIEWS, 5) PERSONAL MEMORABILIA, 6) PHOTOGRAPHS, and 7) SCRAPBOOKS OF NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS. The accession processed
in 2003 contains oversized photographs, certificates and ephemera and arranged in three series: 8) PHOTOGRAPHS, 9) CERTIFICATES,
and 10) EPHEMERA.
Scope and Content of Collection
Accession Processed in 1991
In 1954 the Fletcher family donated a large collection of Ed Fletcher's papers to the University of California, Los Angeles
(UCLA). UCLA transferred this collection to UCSD in 1978. The family also gave additional papers to the San Diego Historical
Society, and there is much overlap between the two repositories' collections.
The papers at UCSD consist primarily of Ed Fletcher's business records, although a large group of photographs documents the
history of the Fletcher family. The bulk of the materials date from ca. 1900 to 1950, with the 1920s through the 1940s best
represented. Included is correspondence, legal documents, reports on hydraulics, drafts of articles, copies of interviews,
maps, blueprints, photographs, and news clippings. The collection is a rich source of documentation for the history of San
Diego County in the early 20th century and for the history of California water development.
At the time of processing in 1990, much of the original order of the collection had been destroyed. A number of alphabetical
files remained intact, and these were used as a basis for reconstructing the correspondence. Whenever possible the processor
attempted to discern the original arrangement of the materials and restore this arrangement, although it was necessary to
create many artificial categories.
Often, the processor removed from subject files correspondence with prominent individuals, bringing this correspondence together
within the General Correspondence series. In these cases the processor created cross-reference sheets for the original subject
file, so that all letters from the file could be traced.
The papers are now organized in seven series: 1) GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE, 2) BUSINESS RECORDS, 3) CALIFORNIA STATE SENATOR
AND OTHER REPUBLICAN PARTY MATERIALS, 4) WRITINGS AND INTERVIEWS, 5) PERSONAL MEMORABILIA, 6) PHOTOGRAPHS, and 7) SCRAPBOOKS
OF NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS.
SERIES 1: GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE
The GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE is the largest series and has been arranged alphabetically by name. Where possible, each correspondent
has been identified as to his relationship to Ed Fletcher or to a Fletcher company. As a rule, correspondents with less than
three letters present in the collection are grouped at the end of each letter, under "A Miscellaneous", "B Miscellaneous,"
Notable among correspondents are Fletcher's business partners and financial backers, including E.O. Faulkner, William G. Henshaw,
William E. Hodges, H.W. Keller, William G. Kerckhoff, James A. Murray, Frank Salmons, Charles F. Stern, William and Ferdinand
Thum, and John Traenor. There is very little correspondence with William Gross, although there is some with Nels Gross, apparently
William's nephew. Papers relating to some of these partners can be found in the series.
Local businessmen and civic leaders represented in the correspondence include Burt Anthony, Frank Belcher, Arthur and Stanley
Bent, George S. Burnham, Claude L. Chambers, Charles T. Chandler, Ira Copley, G. Aubrey Davidson, John and Florence Dupee,
James D. Forward, Samuel Fox, E.B. (Jay) Gould, Jr., Robert Hart, Mathias Heller, J.P. Johnson, Jr., H.H. Jones, Melville
Klauber, George W. Marston, A.V. Mayrhofer, W.F. Raber, Ray Sauer, Joseph Sefton, Kate Sessions, John and Claus Spreckels,
Clarence Sprigg, Jerry Sullivan, A.J. Sutherland, J.C. (Jack) Thompson, Julius Wangenheim, O.B. Wetzell, Sherwood Wheaton,
Walter Whitcomb, and Fred M. White. There are also letters from San Diego pioneers such as Cave Couts, Rufus Choate, and T.S.
Van Dyke. A letter from newspaper magnate E.W. Scripps relates to the development of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Also included in the correspondence are the files of various officials of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad; members
of the California State Railroad Commission; San Diego mayors and councilmen; State governors and officials; and U.S. and
California senators and congressmen, including Carl Hayden, Jacob Javits, William F. Knowland, William G. McAdoo, and Samuel
Shortridge. U.S. Presidents Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, and Richard Nixon (then vice-president) are represented by
brief letters, as well as Secretary of State Charles E. Hughes, Harold Stassen, Alf Landon, and Chief Justice Earl Warren.
Included in the Warren file is a legal opinion from Warren establishing order of priority for two Fletcher grandchildren born
on the same day.
Foreign dignitaries represented include Jose Lugo and A.L. Rodriguez, governors of Baja California, Pascual Ortiz-Rubio, president
of Mexico, and A. Somoza, president of Nicaragua. Also included is correspondence with various commanding officers of Camp
Pendleton and the Eleventh Naval District.
Letters are also included from these nationally known figures: J.G. Bullock of Bullock's Department Stores, banker F.L. Crocker
of New York City, film personalities Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, transportation magnate Henry E. Huntington of Los
Angeles, and C.R. Smith of American Airlines. Correspondence with Joseph Strauss of Chicago, who built the Golden Gate Bridge,
relates to a prospective bridge to Coronado. Letters from the secretaries to the Duke of Windsor and President Woodrow Wilson
can also be found.
There is much correspondence relating to the Grossmont subdivision, including letters from people prominent in the arts and
entertainment fields. These include opera singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink, author Owen Wister, pianist Teresa Carreno, songwriter
Carrie Jacobs-Bond, and a poem by John Vance Cheney dedicated to Fletcher and Grossmont. Correspondence concerning motion
picture enterprises at Grossmont include letters from Arthur Sawyer and Herbert Lubin of S-L Studios, Richard Thomas of Sennett
Studios, and Mrs. Wallace Reid.
Another extensive part of the correspondence consists of exchanges between Fletcher and his managers and engineers, including
William Post, Thomas P. Ellis, Thomas A. King, F.M. Faude, Chester Harritt, Lou B. Mathews, William B. Shropshire, and F.H.
Tolle. Less extensive is the correspondence with Edmond A. Bartl, Eugene C. Batchelder, E.W. Case, Fred E. Green, Hofflund,
and Don Walter.
Fletcher maintained correspondence files with his many attorneys. These were Charles C. Crouch and Hugh A. Sanders of Crouch
and Sanders; Judge William A. Sloane and Harrison Sloane of Sloane and Sloane; and Frederick W. Stearns and A.H. Sweet of
Sweet, Stearns and Forward. Less extensive is the correspondence with others Fletcher lawyers such as Percy C. Black, Albert
J. Lee and Henry J. Stevens.
SERIES 2: BUSINESS RECORDS
The BUSINESS RECORDS series is arranged in six subseries: A) Reports, B) Field Notes, C) Partnerships, D) Water Companies,
E) Land Companies, and F) Other Fletcher Activities.
A) The Reports subseries, arranged alphabetically by author, largely contains typescript engineering and land survey reports,
hydrologic reports, water supply studies, cost estimation, and descriptions of physical conditions for the Volcan and Cuyamaca
Water Systems. Materials include final reports, blueprints, data, legal descriptions, and photographs. Of particular interest
are W.L. Huber's two reports entitled "Engineering Report Upon Proposed San Luis Rey Irrigation District" and "Engineering
Report Upon La Mesa, Lemon Grove and Spring Valley Irrigation District," which summarize and illustrate, using tipped-in photographs,
those early systems. W.S. Post's "Report on Water Systems and Projects in San Diego County" also provides photographic documentation
on Lake Henshaw and other projects.
B) The Field Notes subseries contains typescript survey descriptions of township sections, including references to previous
surveys and bearings of structures, features and corner markers. Of interest are transcriptions of surveys for numerous ranchos
including Rancho Guajome, Canada de San Vicente, Agua Hedionda, Pauma, San Jose de Valle, Bernardo, San Vicente, Santa Margarita
y las Flores (Camp Pendleton), and Santa Isabel.
C) The Partnerships subseries contains documents related to Fletcher's financial activities with William B. Gross, William
Henshaw, James A. Murray, Charles F. Stern, Ferdinand and William Thum, and John Traenor.
D) The Water Companies subseries divides into several companies related to Fletcher's water enterprises, specifically the
Volcan Land and Water Company and the Cuyamaca Water Company.
The records contain general documentation about the company, including articles of incorporation, directors' meeting minutes,
newspaper clippings, and miscellaneous materials.
The San Dieguito System documents dam building, damsites, water distribution, and irrigation districts in north San Diego
County on the watershed from Warner Dam to the ocean. Water companies include the San Dieguito Mutual Water Company, the Volcan-Escondido
Mutual Water Company, Pamo Mutual Water Company, and the San Diego County Water Company. There is extensive documentation
of the planning and construction of Lake Hodges Dam (Carroll Dam) and Carroll Conduit, especially, riparian rights, calculations,
blueprints, and progress reports. San Dieguito Dam, Pamo Dam, and Warner Dam are also represented, as well as the San Dieguito
Irrigation District, Cardiff Irrigation District, Santa Fe Irrigation District, and San Luis Rey Irrigation District.
The Cuyamaca Water Company describes general activities of the company and of the the formerly named San Diego Flume Company.
Materials contains board of directors' meeting minutes, legal documents, water contracts, and physical descriptions of properties.
Also included are the bylaws and meeting minutes of the El Cajon Valley Interurban Company, as well as files related to the
Linda Vista Irrigation District, which relate to the formation of the district and it's bond sale. Additionally, the subseries
includes administrative correspondence, monthly reports, personnel lists, subject files, and other operational records.
The Cuyamaca Customers subseries contains correspondence files, arranged alphabetically, with customers regarding billing
The State Railroad Commission subseries contains files related to the regulation of the Cuyamaca Water Company as a public
utility, including applications for rate increases and annual reports to the Commission.
The Case Resulting From Hamilton Filing subseries contains documentation of the "Hamilton Filing" Hearing. In this case Fletcher
had dismissed C.T. Sacket, an engineer briefly hired to survey the water holdings of the company in the San Diego River valley.
Sacket then stole documents from the Fletcher company and filed on the lands through one of his friends named Hamilton. The
Land Office in Los Angeles decided against Hamilton, and instead of appealing, Hamilton gave his filings, free of charge,
to the City of San Diego, which then applied to have the case re-opened before a Committee of Congress. Included are exhibits
for the hearings along with correspondence with U.S. Senators Henry H. Ashurst, Henry L. Myers, James D. Phelan, and Thomas
J. Walsh; U.S. Representatives J.A. Elston, Scott Ferris, William Kettner, John H. Stephens; Secretary of Interior Franklin
Lane; Cato Sells, E.B. Meritt and C.R. Olberg of the Indian Affairs Commission; attorneys Bordwell and Mathews, Brittan and
Lane, and O.R.W. Robinson; and engineer Walter L. Huber.
The El Capitan Dam subseries contains files related to water projects on or across the El Capitan Indian Reservation, especially
the right-of-way of the flume and attempts to build the El Capitan dam. The City of San Diego vs. Cuyamaca Water Company documents
the company's response to the City's condemnation suit for ownership of the damsite for the proposed El Capitan dam. Materials
include court documents and exhibits. The Mission Gorge #3 (Boulder Creek) subseries contains legal documents related to Fletcher's
bid to appropriate water from the San Diego River. The Sale of System subseries relates to the sale of the Cuyamaca Water
Company to the La Mesa, Lemon Grove and Spring Valley Irrigation District.
E) The Land Companies subseries is further divided into nine subject areas: A) Stone and Timber Act Applications, B) Del Mar
/ Oceanside, C) Grossmont Park Company, D) Avocado Acres, E) Solana Beach, F) Madrid Gardens Apartments, G) Miscellaneous
Land Companies, H) Ed Fletcher Company, and I) Lake Cuyamaca Lodge.
The Stone and Timber Act Applications subseries contains mining claims and timber applications for properties filed by Ed
Fletcher or associates. The properties often adjoin watersheds for dam projects.
The Del Mar / Oceanside subseries includes a 1916 list of landowners from Carlsbad to Del Mar containing the owner's name,
a property description and acreage; descriptions of South Coast Land Company properties, and blueprint maps of Leucadia and
The Grossmont Park Company subseries documents Fletcher's land transactions in the El Cajon Valley along the Cuyamaca Water
Company right-of-way. Included are files related to property deeded to S-L Studios, a motion picture film company producing
wild west movies that lasted only six months. Also included are business records of the El Cajon Raisin Company.
The Avocado Acres subseries largely contains correspondence, trust deed documents and property descriptions for Avocado Acres,
a land project in Encinitas. Of particular interest is the typescript transcription of a radio interview with Avocado Man
at his avocado grove in Encinitas.
The Solana Beach Seaside Camp subseries documents a trailer camp developed by Fletcher and contains correspondence, receipt
books and business records.
The Madrid Garden Apartments subseries contains business records related to the management of the Glendale property, especially
correspondence with the manager, Mrs. Ira Craft.
The Miscellaneous Land Companies subseries documents numerous small land development projects, especially in San Diego County.
Included are files for Pine Hills, Rancho Santa Maria, Poway, Palomar Mountain, and Santa Margarita Ranch, later Camp Pendleton.
The Torrey Pines Company, a Fletcher fruit and produce supply company, contains business records for labor and equipment.
Several files related Camp Kearny, a World War I Army training camp, document Fletcher's development of the camp's water supply.
Also included is a typescript claim for damages to Fletcher's property illustrated with photographs.
The Ed Fletcher Company subseries contains payroll records (1951-1954) and miscellaneous correspondence and financial records.
The Lake Cuyamaca Lodge subseries documents the sale of that property from Army trench building.
F) The Other Fletcher Activities subseries is arranged in three subseries: A) Yuma Mesa Grapefruit Syndicate, B) Highways
and C) Miscellaneous Projects.
The Yuma Mesa Grapefruit Syndicate subseries contains business records for the development of twenty acres of reclamation
The Highways subseries documents Fletcher's participation and promotion of numerous highway projects beginning with the 1911
plank road section of the San Diego to Phoenix road. Other overland highway projects include the Southern National Highway,
the Lee Highway, the Dixie-Overland Highway, and the Broadway of America motorcade.
The Miscellaneous Projects subseries comprises other California water projects in which Fletcher was involved.
SERIES 3: CALIFORNIA STATE SENATOR AND OTHER REPUBLICAN PARTY MATERIALS
The series CALIFORNIA STATE SENATOR materials contains materials relating to topics and projects of concern to Fletcher during
his terms in the Legislature. These are not in any way comprehensive files from his Senatorial office. Much of the series
relates to Fletcher's efforts to establish the Cabrillo Monument.
SERIES 4: WRITINGS AND INTERVIEWS
Within the series are many documents dealing with the history of San Diego county and its water supply, including papers assembled
for Fletcher's planned "water history" of San Diego. Included is correspondence between U.S. Grant, Jr. and E.S. Babcock relating
to Grant's development of a water system. Other letters concerning the early development of water are those from John and
Claus Spreckels and M.C. Healion. There are also letters concerning the history of the San Diego area, including those from
George F. Gray.
SERIES 5: PERSONAL MEMORABILIA
The PERSONAL MEMORABILIA series contains items that document some aspects of Fletcher's personal life. These include materials
relating to his travels, such as an illustrated diary of his 1919 motor trip through Baja California and a program for the
dedication of the cross atop Mt. Helix.
SERIES 6: PHOTOGRAPHS
The PHOTOGRAPHS series is arranged in seven subseries: A) Business, B) Assembled for Memoirs and Miscellaneous Photos, C)
Family, D) Photo Albums and Memorabilia, E) Small Photos and Memorabilia, F) Photograph Albums, and G) Large Photographs and
The PHOTOGRAPHS are extensive and include both business and family materials. Here can be found a detailed visual record of
dam construction in San Diego county. Also included are views of San Diego buildings and geography, numerous albums relating
to travels and land developments, and portraits of Fletcher's friends and associates (many of them autographed). The family
photographs document many generations of both Fletcher's extended family and his immediate family.
SERIES 7: SCRAPBOOKS OF NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS
Fletcher's SCRAPBOOKS OF NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS are large bound volumes containing thousands of articles from a wide variety
of newspapers. Most date from the 1930s and 1940s. They relate primarily to legislative affairs, although two large volumes
are devoted to the activities of the Ed Fletcher Company from 1909-1919.
Accession Processed in 2003
The accession processed in 2003 consists mostly of oversized photographs from throughout Fletcher's adult life. There is also
numerous oversized certificates from 1895 to 1954 and some ephemera. These materials supplement the larger collection without
adding significant new themes. The materials are arranged in three series: 8) PHOTOGRAPHS, 9) CERTIFICATES, and 10) EPHEMERA.
SERIES 8: PHOTOGRAPHS
The PHOTOGRAPHS series contains a variety of images of Fletcher's projects, family, and acquaintances. The images are arranged
SERIES 9: CERTIFICATES
The CERTIFICATES series consists of one folder containing certificates of election, military recognition, as well as acknowlegements
from a variety of private service organization. The certificates are in chronological order.
SERIES 10: EPHEMERA
The final series, EPHEMERA, contains a variety of items including artwork sent to Fletcher, reproductions of colonial documents,
and photographs of significant letters and checks.
Colonel Edward ("Ed") Fletcher was a noted San Diego businessman, land developer, civic leader, and California State Senator.
He worked to develop the county's water resources and highways, and his efforts contributed significantly to the urban development
of Southern California.
Born in Massachusetts on December 31, 1872, Fletcher's mother died when he was 4 years old. His father kept the family together
for five years, but finally placed the children in foster homes and moved to Florida. In 1888, at the age of 16, Ed took his
savings of $126.50 and moved to San Diego to live with his sister Bess, who had come there following her marriage to Jarvis
Fletcher claimed that he arrived in San Diego with $6.10. He became friends with M.T. Gilmore, a prominent bank officer, and
Gilmore gave Fletcher his first job -- cleaning out Gilmore's yard. Beginning his business career as an agent for a produce
merchant, Fletcher travelled by bicycle into remote rural areas of the county. He soon developed a network of loyal customers
and a thorough knowledge of San Diego county geography. Through his experiences he quickly realized that the growth of the
county's population depended largely on the development of water resources. He established his own produce business, eventually
joining his brother-in-law in a partnership, called the Fletcher-Doyle Company.
Fletcher went back to Massachusetts in April 1896 and married his childhood sweetheart, Mary Catherine Batchelder. It was
apparently a happy marriage and the couple had ten children -- seven boys and three girls. The families of most of these children
still reside in the San Diego area and are still active in the civic and business life of the city.
In his youth Fletcher was involved in a number of military organizations. In 1892 he joined the Naval Militia and was elected
Ensign a year later. He organized a regiment of volunteers during the Spanish-American War. In 1904 he received a commission
as Ensign in the Naval Militia, and Governor Pardee appointed him Commanding Officer of the unit. In 1906 he went to San Francisco
for duty after the earthquake and fire. During World War I he was one of the five members appointed to the District Exemption
Board for southern California, serving the entire period of the war. Governor Hiram Johnson appointed Fletcher a "Colonel"
on the governor's staff. Fletcher retained this position until his election to the State Senate in 1934, but people continued
to use the title in addressing him.
Fletcher's familiarity and appreciation for the San Diego "back country" led to greater involvement in its land and water
development. Deciding to focus his efforts on land development, he sold his interest in the produce business to his brother-in-law
and founded a real estate enterprise, the Ed Fletcher Company.
One of Fletcher's most important developments involved the Villa Caro ranch, which included present-day Mt. Helix, Grossmont,
and parts of El Cajon. Financing for this venture came from William A. Gross, an actor and theatrical producer who had met
Fletcher at Yellowstone Park in 1901. Fletcher and Gross conceived of creating an artists colony in what would become Grossmont
Park, and they succeeded in attracting the opera singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink as a resident. They eventually sold lots
to a number of prominent people in the arts, including songwriter Carrie Jacobs-Bond, pianist Teresa Carreno, and author Owen
Wister. Motion picture companies used the area in the 1910s and 1920s, and Grossmont Studios flourished for a brief period.
Fletcher himself established a country residence at the foot of Grossmont.
Fletcher's least successful venture was Fletcher Hills, a large tract north of La Mesa. Fletcher placed the lots on the market
immediately prior to the Depression and sales were slow throughout the 1930s. It was not until the late 1940s that the area
began to grow, and the development eventually became profitable for Fletcher's heirs.
In many of his land development ventures Fletcher followed a similar pattern. He functioned as the visionary, possessing foresight
and knowledge of the local area. His partners were usually wealthy men from outside the San Diego area, content to furnish
the financing and leave Fletcher in charge of the logistics. Generally the partner would contribute 5/6 of the cost, with
Fletcher adding the remaining. Fletcher would then carry out the work, often without a salary, until the project was finished
or the property sold. The partner would then have his money repaid at 7% interest, Fletcher would take 25% of the profits
as salary, and 75% Fletcher would re-invest.
Fletcher's many partnerships proved lucrative. With William and Ferdinand Thum, brothers who had become millionaires through
the manufacture of ball bearings, Fletcher financed many San Diego building projects. In 1911 he interested William E. Hodges,
Vice-President of the Santa Fe Railroad and President of the Santa Fe Land and Improvement Company, in projects such as Rancho
Santa Fe, Hodges dam, the San Dieguito water system, and residential developments in Solana Beach and Escondido. Along with
William G. Henshaw and William G. Kerckhoff, Fletcher developed Warner Ranch, obtained financing for creation of the Volcan
Land and Water Company, and helped to build Warner Dam, which became Lake Henshaw.
Early in his career Fletcher became involved with the development of San Diego County's water resources. In 1903 he conceived
of channeling the waters of Pauma Creek near Mount Palomar for irrigation of the Pauma valley. He succeeded in securing financing
for this project from William Kerckhoff of the Pacific Light and Power Company in Los Angeles, an associate of transportation
magnate Henry E. Huntington.
Fletcher's involvement in the San Diego Flume Company was one of his most important water-related enterprises. Along with
his partner James A. Murray, a banker from Butte, Montana, Fletcher improved the flume system substantially and eventually
delivered water to the communities of El Cajon, La Mesa, and East San Diego. The system ultimately included the Cuyamaca and
Murray dams, both built by Fletcher, Murray, and other associates. Under Fletcher the San Diego Flume Company evolved into
what would be known as the Cuyamaca Water Company.
On many occasions Fletcher attempted to sell the Cuyamaca system to the city of San Diego, but political and financial complications
prevented the sale from taking place. Negotiations with the city began as early as 1913 and continued through the 1920s. Early
opposition came from John D. Spreckels, San Diego's most powerful business leader. Spreckels and his associates had constructed
their own water system and succeeded in contracting for the city's water supply. Although Spreckels later supported the acquisition
of the Cuyamaca system, further complications ensued. Fletcher finally sold his system to the La Mesa, Lemon Grove, and Spring
Valley Irrigation District in 1926.
Fletcher was also deeply involved in the building of roads and highways. He became the chairman of the County Road Commission
in 1910, was instrumental in building the old plank road to Yuma, Arizona, raised money to build local motorways, and served
on the County Highway Commission for many years. But one of his most important road projects was the promotion of a transcontinental
highway through the southern states. He was president of the Dixie-Overland Highway Association and the Lee Highway Association,
reading a message from President Calvin Coolidge at the dedication of the San Diego terminus in November, 1923.
In 1926 he organized and participated in a record-breaking cross-country motor tour via the Dixie Highway, driving to Savannah,
Georgia and back to San Diego from St. Augustine, Florida. In 1929 he travelled in an enormous motorcade from San Diego to
Memphis, Tennessee. Through this event -- organized by Fletcher and named "The Broadway of America" -- he intended to publicize
the need for a San Diego to New York City motor route.
Always civic-minded, he was a Director of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, and organized both the San Diego Athletic Club
(and with George Marston and Fred White lost an enormous amount of money when the Club defaulted during the Depression) and
the Commonwealth Club. For several years he chaired the city's Community Chest drive, and he worked closely with the President
of the State Teacher's College (precursor of San Diego State University) to upgrade the college's facilities. He gave Solana
Beach a mile of waterfront footage for a park. He also provided the County of San Diego with property for Grossmont High School,
the Mt. Helix cross, and camps for various youth groups.
Along with other civic leaders, Fletcher was instrumental in promoting military installations in the county. In 1906 he entertained
the officers of the Atlantic Fleet at his country home at the Villa Caro ranch. He furnished water for Camp Kearney at a low
rate during World War I and he lobbied for the establishment of local Navy and Marine bases.
Fletcher became involved in politics during the rise of Progressivism. A staunch supporter of Governor Hiram Johnson, Fletcher
was a "reform" Republican and a member of the Lincoln-Roosevelt League -- a group opposed to the influence of the Southern
Pacific Railroad in California politics. In 1934 San Diegans elected Fletcher to the State Senate, and he held his seat for
12 years until his retirement. Among his legislative accomplishments were the establishment of the Cabrillo Monument on Point
Loma and numerous bills relating to forestry. He co-authored legislation concerning water resources, including bills to fund
the Central Valley Water Project and the establishment of the San Luis Rey Water Authority. In the 1945 session he promoted
Senate Bill 310, which conveyed state lands around Mission Bay to the city of San Diego for park development. Fletcher ran
for Congress in 1940 but lost the election to incumbent Ed Izac.
In 1952 Fletcher published his memoirs, a loosely organized collection of reminiscences intended primarily for his children.
The most detailed portions of the book related to the development of San Diego's water resources, a topic on which he wrote
Ed Fletcher died in San Diego in 1955. Many of his sons continued the family tradition of local business and civic leadership.
Steve Fletcher became the manager of the Ed Fletcher company, Charles Fletcher served as president of Home Federal Savings
and Loan, and Ferdinand Fletcher was a prominent attorney.
For more details of Ed Fletcher's biography, see Memoirs of Ed Fletcher (1952) in the rare book collection of the Mandeville
Special Collections Library at UCSD.
Ed Fletcher Papers, MSS 0081. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.
Transferred from UCLA
The microfilm edition of the Ed Fletcher Papers reproduces the original manuscript collection for the accession processed
in 1991 with the exception of Boxes 82 through 86; Boxes 95 through 98; all Mapcase (MC-XXX) materials; and the bound volume
entitled "Exhibits for hearing" in Box 57, Folder 8. The accession processed in 2003 has not been microfilmed.
Each microfilm reel corresponds to an individual box in the collection. Reel 1 reproduces the contents of Box 1 and so forth.
Each folder title has been photographed at the beginning of a folder.
Microfilm reels for Boxes 1-28 are located at FB-511; microfilm reels for Boxes 29-56 are located at FB-512; microfilm reels
for Boxes 57-89 are located at FB-513; microfilm reels for Boxes 90-94 are located at FB-514.
All materials in the microfilm edition are covered by U.S. Copyright Law and may not be reproduced without permission of the
Original documents in the accession processed in 1991 may be consulted for research, but photocopies can only be made from
the microfilm copy. Boxes 95-98, containing extremely brittle newspaper clippings, cannot be used without the permission.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Cuyamaca Water Company. -- Archives
Fletcher, Ed, 1872-1955
San Diego Flume Company. -- Archives
Baja California (Mexico : Peninsula)--History
Cabrillo National Monument (San Diego, Calif.)
Dams--California--San Diego County
Dams--California--San Diego County--Views
Interstate Highway System
Legislators -- California -- San Diego County
Photographic prints -- 20th Century.
Real estate development -- California -- San Diego County
Roads -- California -- San Diego County
San Diego (Calif.)--Pictorial works
San Diego County (Calif.)--History
Scrapbooks -- 20th century.
Urbanization -- California -- San Diego County
Water resources development -- California -- San Diego County