A Place Called Borego

January 1, 1997

The Journal of San Diego History
SAN DIEGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY
Winter 1997, Volume 43, Number 1
Richard W. Crawford, Editor

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Cover image

Cover: Looking up the Yaqui Pass Road near the Desert Lodge (now La Casa del Zorro) in Borrego Valley, circa 1940. Courtesy of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park collection.

map with locations of historic sites

Page 28. Borego Valley in the mid-1930s. The early roads drifted all across the val­ley, and there were many other minor roads besides the ones shown here. “Each homesteader made a road in to their place from the very few main roads,” says Lelah Porter “We just took off and made a road wherever we wanted to go and oth­ers used it.” The first real surveyed road along the section lines was what is now Palm Canyon Drive, which was built around 1930. (The modern names of roads are shown in parentheses.)

1) The Beaty Ranch at the mouth of Coyote Canyon, later called the De Anza Ranch (now Whitaker Horse Camp).
2) Milo and Lelah Porter’s homestead.
3) Roy Brininger’s homestead.
4) Harry Oliver’s homestead. The other Hollywood homesteaders were all nearby.
5) Borego State Park headquarters and campground at the mouth of Borego Palm Canyon.
6) Judge Kelsey’s homestead.
7) Borego Valley School.
8) The original Beaty homestead and his home after selling the canyon ranch.
9) The Ensign Ranch.
10) Borego Post Office and store.
11) Dana Burks’ ranch, later The Desert Lodge (now La Casa del Zorro).

John McCain's cabin

Page 30. John McCain’s cabin near the original Borego Spring, 1912.

Doc Beaty

Page 32. A.A. (“Doc”) Beaty, Borego’s best-known homesteader, 1944.

Ruins of the Ensign's date grove

Page 34. Looking down on the ruins of the Ensign’s date grove, 1944.

The Porter homestead

Page 35. The Porter homestead, circa 1928. Milo and Lelah Porter are leaning on the back of Milo’s original mail truck. Courtesy of Mrs. Milo Porter

The entire student body of the Borego School

Page 36. The entire student body of the Borego School, 1936. Their teeacher, Emalyn holland, is standing in the rear of the group.

Borego Post Office

Page 37. Eslie Wynn (right) standing in the doorway of the original Borego Post Office, circa 1930. Courtesy Fleta (Beaty) McCandless.

Borego Valley Store and post office

Page 39. Eddie DuVall’s Borego Valley Store and post office, circa 1938.

Roy Brininger homestead, 1933

Page 40. The Roy Brininger homestead, 1933. Note the ocotillo stalk construction.

Raising turkeys

Page 41. Raising turkeys on a Borego homestead (possibly the Brininger place), 1933.

Chamber of Commerce promotional brochure

Page 42. A Borego Valley Chamber of Commerce promotional brochure, circa 1932. DeMarais Collection.

Borego Valley prison road camp

Page 43. The new Borego Valley prison road camp at what is now Tamarisk Grove.

Little Borego townsite

Page 44. The Little Borego townsite, circa 1940, showing the hotel and “Doc” Woillard, the last resident of the ill-fated townsite.

Advertisement for the Little Borego townsite

Page 44. A 1926 advertisement for the Little Borego townsite south of modern Ocotillo Wells. San Diego Union, October 17, 1926.

Dana Burks' original adobe ranch house

Page 48. Dana Burks’ original adobe ranch house, 1937. It later became part of the Desert Lodge, Borego’s first hotel.