Magee House (continued)  
In 1887, Samuel Church Smith was one of the founders of the Carlsbad Land and Water Company. He was joined by Gerhard Schutte, D.D. Wadsworth, (owners of the Twin Inns), and Henry Nelson, in its development. This group of men capitalized on local resident John Frazier's discovery of mineral water while digging a well on his property. It was soon discovered that the mineral water found by Frazier was identical to the mineral water in Karlsbad, Bohemia. Soon after, city founders were then told that the mineral water found in Karlsbad and on John Frazier's property had "medicinal healing powers."

As a result of making this connection between Karlsbad and its identical mineral water in this developing town, Carlsbad, California became the namesake of its sister city. With the subsequent development of the town's first water company and the namesake of the town, the mineral water helped to draw tourists to this new and developing beach community.

In the 1890's, an economic downturn forced Church Smith to sell his home to Alexander Shipley. Shipley was a retired Foreign Service diplomat, who wanted to relocate to the milder coastal climate for health reasons. He brought along with him his wife Julia and their daughter Florence. In 1912, Florence married Hugh Magee and moved inland to the "Condor's Nest" near Pala.

Magee was a descendent of the original California Estudillo Family. Florence stayed with Hugh Magee until both her father and her husband died in the 1940's. Florence found herself not only to be a widow, but childless as well. It is then that she decided to move back into her parent's home. Florence Magee lived in her family's home in Carlsbad, the remainder of her life.

Florence Shipley-Magee on her horse
(Courtesy of the Carlsbad History Room)

At the time of her death in the 1970's, Florence Magee left the family home and surrounding property to the City of Carlsbad to be turned into an historical museum and park. Visitors to the Magee House have the option of wondering through the home and the surrounding grounds via a self guided tour with headsets and tape recorder or a guided tour with the museums docent. They can also peruse through the many historical paper archives stored there. Among the many well preserved documents are personal letters written by original Carlsbad residents. This is a museum where history comes alive, a museum where you are encouraged to become a part of the history that is before you. The grounds are regularly tended by three different volunteer organizations, The Rose Society, Garden Club, and Arboretum Club. It is a well represented piece of nostalgia, using the memories of a single family home at the turn of the last century in what was the developing community of Carlsbad.

Photographs of the Magee House