Although we have lost many historical houses in Carlsbad to disrepair and the desire for new construction, there are quite a few left standing. Many of these have thankfully been restored and/or maintained.
One such house on Highland Avenue is the Culver-Myers-Capp House built in 1887 by Alonzo Jackson Culver with lumber left over from the Gerhard Schutte (now the Ocean House) and David Wadsworth houses. Culver used wooden nails, pine from Julian for the floors and limestone, rocks and sand for the walls of the lovely Queen Anne-style house. It originally sat on 30 acres of land and had many out buildings, including a blacksmith shop, carriage house and well house.
As with many old houses, the Culver-Myers-Capp House has its share of interesting stories. Alonzo Culver's son, Clinton, apparently smuggled Chinese railroad workers who had come in through Mexico. Supposedly crossing the land that the now sits on, they were escorted to the house. When the police would attempt a raid, the workers would sneak through a secret passageway from an upstairs bedroom, down under the kitchen and out to the carriage house. Allan O. Kelly stated in an interview that his understanding was that they were actually hidden in the attic, and the current owners have never located a “secret passageway.” Supposedly, the getaway was concluded when Culver would drive away with them in his “fancy” automobile. He was eventually caught and served time in the McNeil Island Penitentiary in the early 1900s.
Clinton Culver lived in the house for a time after his father moved to San Diego. He was a successful photographer in Carlsbad. He sold the house to David Harrington in 1914. Harrington gave it to his daughter and son-in-law, Guy Maltby, in 1916. Maltby’s daughter, Gertrude Myers, called the “Grandma Moses” of Carlsbad, moved into the house in 1936 and lived there until the 1960s. During World War II, servicemen’s wives lived upstairs and soldiers slept in tents outside in the eucalyptus grove. Gertrude Maltby Myers sold the house in 1967 and moved to live with her daughter. The Capp family purchased the house and took great pains to restore it to its original splendor. The house was designated a historic site by the Carlsbad City Council in 1986.
A walking tour map of the Village area includes this house along with other structures. The map is available at the Carlsbad History Room, all city libraries, the Welcome Center in the Village and the Historical Society in Magee Park.
Myers Family vertical file collection, Carlsbad History Room
Culver Family vertical file collection, Carlsbad History Room
Culver-Myers-Capp House vertical file collection, Carlsbad History Room