Fletcher Family Preserves History through Multi-Generational Donation

June 27, 2019

The San Diego History Center is pleased to announce that descendants of the Colonel Ed Fletcher Family are continuing their commitment to preserving the history of the San Diego region through generous support of the San Diego History Center. As part of the History Center’s 90th anniversary tile campaign, the Fletcher descendants’ contribution will yield a “family tree-like formation” of commemorative tiles in the central atrium of the San Diego History Center’s Museum and Archive in the heart of Balboa Park. These tiles are a physical representation of the dedication and support of San Diego individuals, families, and community groups. The eleven tiles dedicated to Col. Ed Fletcher and his wife Mary, the patriarch and matriarch of the Fletcher family, will also name their ten children: Catherine (Mrs. Catherine Fletcher Taylor), Edward “Ed” Jr., Charles, Lawrence, Willis, Stephen, Ferdinand, Mary-Louise (Mrs. Mary-Louise Fletcher Mack Glanz), Eugene and Virginia (Mrs. Virginia Fletcher Hawk Church).

About the Fletcher Family: Colonel Ed Fletcher arrived in San Diego in 1888 and entered the employ of Nason & Company, produce and commission merchants. In 1894 Mr. Fletcher opened a produce and commission business with Omer C. Smith as a partner. Six months later he organized the Ed Fletcher Company, which in 1897 became the Fletcher-Doyle Company. In 1901 he severed his interests in the commission business and became the agent for the Huntington interests in handling the San Luis Rey Valley Water project and the purchase of the coast lands for the South Coast Land Company. In 1908 he entered the real estate business in partnership with William Gross and developed Grossmont and Mt. Helix. He laid out the subdivision of Del Mar for the South Coast Land Company, and later became the agent for the F.W. Thum Company. In partnership with Frank Salmons. he erected the Thum Block at the northeast comer of Sixth and Broadway. In 1910 Colonel Fletcher laid out Pine Hills in the Julian district and erected the Pine Hills Lodge. He also was a co-owner and laid out some 400 acres of land adjoining Cuyamaca Lake. Colonel Fletcher was an active force in city, county, state and national politics. His activities in the political field have always been directed to the end that we might have better government for our home city and county. In 1934 Colonel Fletcher was elected State Senator and rendered San Diego County and the State of California outstanding service in that important office.

According to Tom Fetter, Immediate Past Chair of the San Diego History Center, “This representation of the entire Fletcher Family is very appropriate as there are so few San Diego families who have had such a multi-generational impact on our community. Community infrastructure the family has impacted includes: water rights for San Diego County, building dams, the Plank Road Race leading to the construction of the 8 freeway to Yuma, AZ, the Amphitheater and Cross on Mt. Helix, the list goes on and on.”

Since the first-generation descendants of Col. Ed Fletcher are no longer living, Bonnie Fletcher, a fourth-generation great granddaughter, San Diegan, and current Trustee of the San Diego History Center, has undertaken the endeavor of collecting funds for these commemorative tiles. While Col. Ed & Mary Fletcher, Willis & Jane Fletcher, and Kim & Marilyn Fletcher are already represented, the effort will support commemorating the remaining nine children. “Col. Ed had a completely unique, entrepreneurial spirit, especially for the time. As Fletchers, we have to do our part to keep that spirit alive and inspire future generations to keep that fire going,” said Bonnie Fletcher. “I’m thrilled to be so involved in the San Diego History Center and am excited to help represent my family in such a special way.”

The Fletcher Family is large – they maintain a family newsletter and annual 4th of July Reunion in Del Mar. They also assign numbers at birth after all – which makes this fundraising endeavor a daunting task. This is especially true considering the family’s strong feelings about including all generations in the effort. Fourth generation Fletcher and native San Diegan, Nicole Fletcher Zappala says, “It’s important for us to think of these tiles as a visual metaphor. We want everyone from every Fletcher generation to feel tied to our heritage. Our hope is that everyone can feel connected, proud, and inspired to be connected to our past, so that we can make the best San Diego possible for future generations.”

A portion of funding also comes from the Ed and Mary Fletcher Foundation, where descendants meet regularly to discuss grant proposals from charitable organizations in San Diego County. Leslie Harrington, a philanthropic advisor at the San Diego Foundation, has been a big help in facilitating these meetings.

Bill Lawrence, San Diego History Center’s President and CEO, shares, “We are grateful to the support of the Fletcher family to help further our region’s exploration of our shared past, present and future. With approximately 43 tiles left, I hope that this gift will inspire other San Diego families to support the San Diego History Center through the commemorative tile program.”

For more information about donating to the San Diego History Center, click here or contact [email protected].