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I don't think of the Automobile Club of Southern California as slow or reluctant in boosting road related interests, and that certainly was true in the pre 1920's period.  Along with the railroads, they built the Southern California tourist industry (in my humble opinion).  And they were quick to identify and mark auto trails.  

So if the Camino Real Association of California was mapping the El Camino Real in 1905, why doesn't the ACSC 1911 Tour Book make note of the route?  It references the Coast Route, referring of course to the road that followed the coast through La Jolla and not Rose Canyon.  But no El  Camino Real.

I suppose that raises the question of when the bells were put up.  Mrs. A. S. C. Forbes, chairwoman of the location committee (and designer of the bells) writing in 1915 refers to the 400 bells installed along the El Camino Real.  It is strange to me that the 1911 Tour Book doesn't seem to note them.  

ANSWER: I was writing the above I thumbed through the 1911 Tour Book looking for reference to the El Camino Real, and then noted something interesting I hadn't paid attention to before.  The ACSC logo on the cover lacks the familiar bell!!  See copy below.  I wonder if the "bell movement" influenced the logo redesign....or was it simply the mission influence?

Also in reading California Missions and Landmarks: El Camino Real by Forbes on page 279 (Google Books...ya gotta love em!)  it is noted that there are no bells south of Los Angeles in 1911 and that suggests that the interest in El Camino Real may have been limited at that time..  However by 1915 the bells existed at every mile along the El Camino Real (75 in san Diego County), and perhaps not by coincidence the ACSC had a bell in its logo, and was touting the El Camino Real.  Also, not incidentally,. officers of the ACSC had all along been active in the "bell movement."

Well, enough speculations....the "facts" as printed in the 1911 ACSC Tour Book follow:

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The Mission set I'm using are all copy right dated 1915.

I have had good luck with turn by turns and having period maps matching the dates helps! :D

I have a small question.  What do you consider the El Camino Real in this section?  I pose the question because the 1915 ACSC Mission map, which is for me the first example of the ACSC identifying a road they actually call the El Camino Real, has it going through Pacific Beach, not Rose Canyon. 

On the other hand, "California missions and landmarks: El Camino Real" by Mrs. A. S. C. Forbes (on Google Books) which describes the effort to identify it and put up bells, clearly states they consider it went through Rose Canyon (pg 265).  Aside from who is historically correct, which variant do you consider the El Camino Real for your purposes?  Or does it matter?

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First, your post regarding San Diego is most informative and the kind of stuff I appreciate knowing.  You definitely added to my "knowledge bank."

You suggested  further exploring the road between San Diego and San Luis Ray, and I assume with some emphasis on the El Camino Real.  I am taking this map ride as a definite non expert, so forgive any wrong turns and detours!

Let's start with the San Diego 1915 ACSC strip map from their Mission set......because it is the first time I have thus far found in my ACSC stuff them making a "big deal" of the El Camino Real. This surprised me a bit because the El Camino is so embedded in my memory in association with the Club.  I'm wondering when they took it up as a "item."

And before I do the more detailed 1906 and 1911 materials, I want to toss in the 1915 Automobile Blue Book maps and turn by turns. 

I'll photograph and post the 1906 and 1911 when I get some light tomorrow.

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Good insights and info.  I appreciate it!

Gosh, I didn't know there was a sub-mission at Los Flores, and I drove right past the site five days a week for four years!

Do you prefer to move north or south for the next segment....or jump over to 80 and the Old Spanish Trail.......or?

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As promised, here are the map and text from my 1911 Automobile Club of Southern California Tour Book. for the road between Oceanside and San Juan Capistrano.  Again, I haven't looked at it carefully in comparison to my 1906 Gray maps, nor the 1901 Historic Topographical Map (love that guy!) overlay on Google Earth.

It appears at first glance that the 1911 road stayed to the east of the tracks more than the 1906, and the leg east to San Luis Ray and Ysidora is eliminated.  I would suppose that the 1906 alignment via San Luis Ray is more "authentic" in regard to the original El Camino Real, but who am I to say?! ::)

By the way, for visitors and members alike, the payoff for me is dialog and knowledge, so your reply posts keep me interested in sharing maps.  Thanks.  And don't hesitate to post anything that is reasonably related.  Perhaps you live in the area  (but have never posted) and could take a look on the ground to see what there is to see (or not).

Back to a point I raised in the prior post with the topo.  When you pull the topo up and look at the modern roads, Pala and North River and the loop sort of jump out.  It looks at first glance like there is a modern trail that follows to old alignment from western Pala Road past the west side of what I suppose is called Whale Lake, and then goes on to the site of Ysidora.  Any speculations or knowledge about that?

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This will probably be a little esoteric for most, and perhaps old hat for you road pros, but I think I will do it anyway. 

When  you overlay the 1901 USGS topo on Google Earth's image of San Luis Ray, the road pattern of 1901, 1906, and today almost jump out.  North River Road and Pala Dr are clear, and Douglas Blvd looks like an old right of way too.  No surprises there, and they match the 1906 map pattern as well, fixing the location of the blacksmith shop pretty well.

What fascinates me is that the old alignment of the 1906 El Camino Real road appears  walk-able, or ride-able (if not restricted by the military) north west of Pala Road on the west side of  Whale Lake and north westward to the site of Ysidora (and beyond).

What do you think?

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In reviewing the route of El Camino Real between Oceanside and San Juan Capistrano, I noted this set of text and maps from my 1906  C. J. Gray "Auto Roads - Southern California."  Note in the text the plans for a new road next year. 

The 1911 ACSC Tour Book maps (which I will post later) show the road approximately where the Old Pacific Highway runs.  On the other hand, it would appear that the 1906 alignment in Gray conforms generally with the Google Earth labeled El Camino Real, which is a bit more inland.

Probably no surprises for So Cal road pros, but it is fun to find early sources.  It gives more reason for collecting these old maps and turn by turns.

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That is VERY NICE map work!  I have done a few far less ambitious projects and recognize the effort it takes to produce maps of that quality.  Nice work!

I'll take a look at the 1911 Tour Book.  It will certainly have El Camino Maps.  And I think I sold a set from about 1917 but kept digital copies.

I confess that none of the US numbered roads are of big interest to me, not to knock them.  My collection is heavily pre 1927, and I figure that by then most of the interesting roads had been identified.  Although I enjoy say Route 66, I consider it way over hyped, and prefer to explore its predecessors.

My interests are a mile wide and an inch deep.  Last Month I traveled part of the Dixie and the Old Spanish Trail; this spring I may do one of the northern transcontinental's, and probably something in the southwest.  I have hundreds, probably thousands of old guides, maps, ABB's, Hobbs, Mixers, Kings, TIB's and the like, so I never get bored.

It sounds like you are pretty well equipped, but no one has everything, so if I can help, just ask, and I'll follow up on the 1911 (or 1906) stuff shortly.

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I pulled out the 1911 ACSC Tour Book.  It gives me a little rush just to look through it. There are hundreds of exquisite strip maps and accompanying turn by turns.  Of course the El Camino Real is covered BUT it is not, so far as I note, identified as such.  Of course there are tons of hotel and auto ads, but the maps and turn by turns are certainly among the first done, at least in combination.  In fact, my earliest west coast turn by turns published elsewhere (ABB) are in the 1913 timeframe.

I don't feel comfortable scanning pages as I fear damaging the binding, but I could probably with my wife's help, photograph some pages that would be readable.  Is there a specific section that would be a good sample for your interests?


One final note.  The September 1924 issue of Touring Topics (the ACSC magazine)  described how the information to make the maps was collected (two men in a car with speedometer, altimeter, compass, and notebook).  One comment that proved interesting is that the first strip maps were prepared 13 years earlier, which may make the 1911 Tour Book the first example of their use by the ACSC.

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I don't recall the Touring Topics story mentioning names, but I'll dig it out and reread it.  It has been some years.

The club certainly reissued a map over a several year period.  You also notice original copyright dates removed and a blank left in its spot.  And some of the Washington State strip maps carry dates like 1917-1919, which makes you wonder what they were saying.  Was the map published in 1917, and updated in 1919, or what? :)

Some folks, especially oil map collectors, tend to distain the strip maps, but like you say, other than topos, and perhaps old county atlases, they are the premo road maps of the period.  I have thought from time to time that I would produce a few turn by turn old road guides using Hobbs, Automobile Blue Books, old post cards, and ACSC strip maps, and I once did one as a test on the LA to San Diego route. I thought it looked pretty good, but I'm lazy so that was the end of it.

If someone got serious, they could easily produce a series of nice guides with minimal effort, assuming of course they had the materials.  :)

One of my early acquisitions, was the 1911 ACSC tour book, which has not only great maps, but nice written directions, missing of course in later strip maps.  And I picked up about ten years ago, a couple of Grays California road atlases, from 1906 and 1907.  I don't think I have seen any earlier automobile road atlases for California, but there may be a bicycle guide.  Have you spotted any?

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That is some listing of ACSC strip maps!  I have a few hundred myself, and have tried over the years to identify the date by design or cartographer.  Many of course have the month and date on the back, or the copyright date on the front.  And you can sometimes date them by the auto club's address.  And I suppose I could do some dating by the symbols used, which changed in the early years.

Have you come up with other methods?

Incidentally, I have an interesting article from the 1920's in Touring Topics describing the methods used to make those maps.  Not a lot of surprises, but you have to respect the accuracy they achieved before there were aerial surveys and satellites!

Thanks for the list!

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