By Maude L. McLees
When my father, Winfield Scott Clark, came to San Diego in August of 1889, he had a letter of introduction to Governor Robert W. Waterman. As a result, he soon had a job as an engineer at the Stonewall Mine, which the governor owned. And so Father, Mother and their eight children moved up into the Cuyamacas.
The Stonewall supported a flourishing community at the time, there being some 500 people in the camp, and we lived there for several years. The mine was 800 feet deep, and my father was the engineer at the 400-foot level. Gradually the mine got too close to the lake and was flooded; since it did not seem possible to pump out the water, the mine was closed.
My father went down to the Jamacha Valley and bought an 80-acre ranch. Soon he was busily at work as a farmer, and felt that his mining days were over. In the meantime, however, the mine had been taken over by a bank in San Francisco, and my father was asked if he would care to go back, as caretaker for the 1000-acre property. My mother, who had come to Stonewall as an invalid and had completely regained her health, was delighted, as she felt that the Cuyamacas were responsible for her recovery. So we returned to the Stonewall Mine.
The idea of opening a summer resort at Cuyamaca was suggested by my mother, and the bank agreed. So, for the next three years, my father and mother had this resort, and there would be in camp, during the summer months, five or six hundred men, women and children. It was a happy place, and some of our visitors made long visits. The George Marston family would come up and spend three months, as did the Seftons, the Alexanders and many others.
Mother was a natural hostess, and a variety of simple entertainments did much to make the place a success. During the days there were hikes to Cuyamaca peak, horseback riding, and rowing on the lake; in the evening there were games around the long table in the fifty-by-forty-foot dining room, or perhaps a dance in the attractive, nearby school-house which had been a part of the Waterman property. No one demanded speed and excitement in those days!
It ended all too soon. The property was sold, and the new owners were intent only on getting rich in a hurry. They brought in many rough miners, and cleaned up $150,000 in two years. Of course, it ruined the place as a resort, and with regret, my parents sold out and left.