This corner of Mission Hills will change in a near future, so to close this chapter of history, I wanted to share all the photos and stories we gathered about this little red house we rented and loved for the past 25 years .
Our clients called it “The little French shop” or “The French shop ” some kids “The Red shop ” but in fact it wasn’t always red actually … Here is a stunning photo of how this corner looked like back at the beginning when this house was built in 1920 .
At that time the house was divided into two duplex . One entrance on Fort Stockton and one on Goldfinch . We still had the two addresses and two electric meters. This is why there were also two fireplaces in the shop all open into one large space … just in case you had be wondering !
Mission Hills was a quiet residential neighborhood. We met one of the member of the first family who lived there and she brought us a photo taken in front of the Goldfinch entrance .
Jacqueline and Dorothy Griswold’s grand parents Olive and Perry D Griswold are here in front sitting on the chairs. On the left is Nellie Griswold.
Just about a month ago, I received an incredible email . Jillian had been doing some ancestry research and recently found the address of his family’s home in San Diego . When he put it in google maps, he found out the house still existed and was our store!
Here is Jillian family story : “My Great Great Grandparents Steve and Dollie lived on the Goldfinch side ( here pictured with their 3 youngest children) while my great grandparents Harold and Wilma lived in the other duplex on the Fort Stockton side with my grandfather Bob and his 3 siblings. I’m fairly sure they lived there from the late 30’s to the early 50’s ”
Steve and Dollie lived in Missouri and Iowa in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, where Steve was a farmer and Railroad worker. Family lore says that Dollie and her family traveled in a covered wagon across the west. They were in their 60’s when they moved to San Diego with their son Harold and his wife Wilma. Harold worked as an aircraft welder and served in the Army Air Corps from 1945-1946. Wilma loved to ride her bike around San Diego and Balboa Park.
Their oldest son, my grandfather Bob, met my grandmother on a blind date in San Diego, and after they were married, they moved, along with Harold and Wilma, to Los Gatos CA where they ran a successful Auto Body shop! Our family has lived in ‘Silicon Valley’ since then “
That is an amazing picture Harold and Wilma on Fort Stockton Drive ! I wish the palm tree was still there. Thank you Jillian for sharing your family story,making this puzzle complete .
Then the house became a business : A Pet Shop. We heard many stories about it as people remembered a cage with a monkey named Josephine outside at the corner ! We never seen any photos but those would be something .
Our landlords Albert and Carol Regis bought the Pet shop in 1961 when they moved from Milwaukee. They ran it until they finally retired in spring of 1995. Their story was somehow similar to ours . They wanted to change careers, had packed everything they owned and moved to San Diego to start this new life and a business they loved as they were so passionate by animals. They were selling birds, a lot of birds. Our storage room was an entire bird cage and the back yard was totally filled with allow bird seeds . They had fishes ( we found the tank on the fireplace ) , horse meat and were grooming too ! They were living in the back of the shop for a few years when they started before to buy a house in Alpine where they lived until they passed away a few years ago .
When we came to look for a location for our shop back in December of 1995 , we had looked in Solana Beach on Cedros and in Del Mar too but our heart was set on this house . Our concept was to have the shop in a house and this looked just what we had imagined back in France before to even put a foot here . On some mail that was inside the shop we could read the name of the owners and a newly made friend helped us contact the Regis . We met and our story of packing our life to start a new career to do something we loved doing together resonate with them . After keeping this place closed since they had retired , they offered us to rent it , telling us we should live in the back just like they did to save money at the beginning . And just like that we became the new tenants of the old Mission Hills Pet shop.
Our dear client and local resident Molly use to work at the Pet shop. She shared many stories with us as well . Thanks for being part of our story too !
December 1995 , we did not have a lease yet but we did shake hands and with these folks it was just as good. We had faith , trust and a good feeling that all would be OK …and all went well until we too were retiring closing the story of this little red house at the corner !
Some have stories about the people who lived here or worked at the Pet shop…we hope we have inspired you and filled your memory with stories of when we use to have our little slice of Provence right here at the entrance of Mission Hills .
Next post will be more history ; this time about the house we are moving to in Provence …my great grand parent’s home ! Please follow this blog to receive an email when a new post in up !