Charlie Collier and the Point Loma Railroad

by on May 18, 2022 · 1 comment

in History, Ocean Beach

How OB’s True Founder Built a Rail Line to Point Loma and Ocean Beach – Traces You Can See Today

By Eric DuVall / Pt Loma – OB Monthly / May 16, 2022

As the sands of time drifted into the 20th century, conditions remained very nice at the mussel beds on the west side of Point Loma. Nice and slow, that is. The surf crashed, the gulls laughed as they sailed along with the sea breeze, and wildflowers carpeted the dunes.

Only rarely was this reverie interrupted by the presence of homo sapiens. People, that is. They tended to show up in groups, mainly in wagons — talley-hos, they called them — and almost exclusively on weekends. Sure, you could get out to Los Medanos (The Sand Dunes), as the Spanish used to say, it just wasn’t that easy.

It hadn’t started badly for twentysomething rookie real estate hustlers Billy Carlson and Frank Higgins; it just ended up that way. The partners had managed to borrow a reported $50,000 (approximately 1.5 million 2022 dollars), and for that bargain price, they had purchased 600 acres of hills and sand dunes, with an ocean view. Beautiful ocean, wonderful beach, so naturally they named the new community New Jersey. Kidding, of course! No, obviously they called it Ocean Beach.

Carlson and Higgins started selling Ocean Beach lots in the middle of 1887. Lots of people bought those lots. You had to put down only 15 bucks, after all. It was collecting the subsequent payments that proved to be the tricky part.

For the balance of this great article, please go here.

For more on Charlie Collier, see OB Rag series:

The Case for Charlie Collier as the True “Founder” of Ocean Beach

Published September 20, 2012 by Frank Gormlie

Thumbnail image for The Case for Charlie Collier as the True “Founder” of Ocean BeachThis is the fourth and final part of my series on “What is the true birthday of OB and who is its true founder?” (Here are Parts One, Two, and Three.)

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Frank Gormlie May 19, 2022 at 7:53 am

I was hoping that Eric would do a shout-out to the Rag for our former posts and research on Collier. Plus the Rag pushed back on the OB “establishment” when they chose ‘smilin’ Billy Carlson as OB’s founder.


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