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Posted July 22, 2008
Fantastic New Book Highlights Escondido History
Early photographer¿s images collected in new book By Pat Sherman - 10/14/2007 Thought the preservation of history often falls on the shoulders of curators and archivists, sometimes pieces of the past are saved though serendipitous events. Take, for instance, the image of students in a typing class at the old Escondido High School in the early 1900s. Sun streams through an arched window as girls in plaid skirts peck away at manual machines. That image and about 60 others, captured by famed Escondido photographer Louis Alphonso Havens, would have been lost forever had it not been for the curiosity of a young Escondido. In his Vista home last week, author and landscape architect Stephen Covey held the 5-by-7 inch glass negative to the sunlight. His dad, Cecil, discovered it while he and a friend were walking home from Felicita Elementary School in March 1954. Cutting across a vacant lot west of the school, the boys came upon a demolished barn. ¿It was just this huge pile of rubble, and inside that pile you have everything that was in the structure: furniture, clothing and all this stuff,¿ said Stephen, 35. ¿When they came across these glass negative all lying in a pile, they¿re saying them and breaking them and having a great time. Then they realize, `Hey, these are cool.¿¿ Inspired by the negatives his father found more then a half century ago, Covey has authored an illustrated book chronicling Havens¿ career as a photographer in Escondido: ¿Early Escondido: The Louis A. Havens Collection,¿ to be released by Arcadia Publishing in the spring. Convey will offer a preview of the book during Pioneer Room Friends annual meeting Thursday in Escondido. To collect enough images for the book, Convey supplemented his fathers¿ negatives with photographs from the Pioneer Room, the Escondido History Center and private collections. Though there were many negatives at the barn, when Cecil returned the next date at the urging of his parents, they were gone. ¿All that debris had been pushed into a big gully and bulldozed over,¿ said Convey, a photo archivist and project manager with The Collaborative West in San Clemente. ¿There¿s so many people that come to this area that don¿t have a clued about the history of Escondido,¿ he said. ¿With these sitting in the closet, I just thought it¿d be a missed opportunity if I didn¿t do anything with them.¿ Havens was probably the first successfully commercial photographer in Escondido, chronicling the town¿s people, events and architecture from 1911 to 1944. Before retiring to his fathers¿ walnut farm in Santa Ana, Havens sold his business, negatives and equipment to the owner of the propriety near Felicita Elementary School. Havens opened his first studio at 1222 S. Kalmia St., now the side of the Blue Mug café. During renovation of that building, several of his negatives were discovered behind the drywall. ¿Maybe they were just meant to end up there,¿ Convey said. Since people with camera equipment were scarce in those days, Havens¿ business grew quickly. The chamber of commerce, the city and business owners all called upon him to help document Escondido¿s rapid growth. Most of the photographs that appear on early Escondido postcards were by Havens. Whether it was a wedding. Funeral or fire, Havens would be there with his big box camera and bellows to capture the moment. ¿Here you have this small that¿s just kind of learning it¿s identity,¿ Stephen said. ¿havens is a cutting edge photographer. He¿s got great equipment. He¿s a charming guy. He really was a conduit of information to get the word out that Escondido was a great place to be.¿ Though Havens was seemingly everywhere with his camera, Covey was surprised t learn how modest Havens seemingly was. Few photographs with his image survive. ¿He¿d fix your camera for free, work long hours to get you a great photograph,¿ Covey said. ¿On the other have, he never really likedWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 24, 2008
This is a great story of Early Escondido from the perspective of the photographer, Louis Havens, who was the town historian long before his time.. Great read, fantastic images.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.