By Katherine Hon
As discussed in earlier PastMatters columns, many 1870s San Diego pioneers lost their street name honors in North Park in 1899 and 1900. The original street names from present-day Alabama Street to Pershing Avenue were discussed in previous columns. This time the focus is on original names of north-south streets in the West End tract, which extends from present-day 28th to Ray streets and was formed in 1873 by William Jefferson Gatewood (1830-1888).
Gatewood was born in Illinois and came to California by 1850, when the federal census recorded him as a miner living in Sacramento. Two years later, the California state census recorded him as a miner in Calaveras County. By 1860, he was living in San Andreas, Calaveras County and working as a lawyer. Starting in 1867, he edited and published a newspaper there, called the San Andreas Register. He moved to San Diego in 1868 at the urging of Philip Crosthwaite — a San Diego resident since the 1840s and Gatewood’s brother-in-law. Crosthwaite wanted Gatewood to bring his newspaper to San Diego. Gatewood published the first issue of the San Diego Union on October 10, 1868. Less than a year later, Gatewood sold his interest in the newspaper and focused on his career as an attorney who also dealt in real estate. The newspaper continues to this day as the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Gatewood was actively involved in efforts to bring the railroad to San Diego, serving as president of the San Diego and Gila Southern Pacific and Atlantic Rail Road Company in 1869, and president of the San Diego and Fort Yuma Railroad Company in 1870. He became editor of another newspaper — the San Diego Daily World — in July 1872. Businesses advertising in the early issues included “J. Nash, general merchandise,” and “A.E. Horton, real estate.”
Gatewood died on March 26, 1888. The San Diego Union’s March 27, 1888 issue announced his passing under the headline “Colonel Gatewood Dead: One of the Early Pioneers of San Diego Closes an Eventful Life.” The article noted, “He filled many positions of public trust, and it may be said was always faithful to his constituents, regardless of party affiliations.” Gatewood and his wife, Mary Crosthwaite — who died in 1881 — are buried at Mount Hope Cemetery.
Gatewood named his north-south streets after people he knew. From present-day 28th Street eastward, the original street names were Pemberton, Winder, Johnson, Gatewood, Brunson and Robinson. In the ordinances of 1899 and 1900, Pemberton became Idaho (later 28th), Winder became Utah, Johnson became Sherman (later Granada), Gatewood became Kansas (later 29th), Brunson became Nebraska (later 30th), and Robinson became Ray. Joseph Nash’s Park Villas tract is on either side of West End; the shared streets now called 28th and Ray may have been named by Nash in 1870.
Historical records do not reveal a San Diego pioneer with the last name of Pemberton. If Gatewood provided the name, perhaps he wanted to recognize First Lieutenant (later Major) John Clifford Pemberton (1814-1881), who fought valiantly with the U.S. Army 4th Artillery in the Mexican-American War during the late 1840s. Gatewood served in the 3rd Regiment of Illinois Volunteers during this war, and may have fought in some of the same battles.
An argument against Gatewood honoring John C. Pemberton with a street name is that Gatewood was an ardent Unionist, while Pemberton fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Lieutenant General Pemberton surrendered Vicksburg to Major General Ulysses S. Grant in 1863. However, Gatewood wrote in the first issue of his San Diego Union newspaper in 1868 that his “influence shall be used in urging the people to lay aside the animosities engendered within the last few years.” Maybe that also applied to Gatewood’s own opinions about the Civil War.
If prominent merchant Nash provided the name, he may have wanted to recognize Mark Pemberton, who was born in Ireland in 1833 and came to the U.S. in 1868. In 1870, Mark Pemberton was living in Los Angeles. He became involved in contacting businesses and residents to subscribe to that growing city’s first directory. The San Diego Daily Union’s December 16, 1871 issue mentioned under “Los Angeles Items” that “M. Pemberton, who has commenced canvassing for a Directory, is meeting with encouraging success. We understand that the Directory will embrace…Anaheim…and other places in the county and will be a most valuable publication for all business men.”
While the actual person behind the Pemberton street name is conjecture, there is no doubt Gatewood named Winder Street for his Old Town compatriot William Andrew Winder (1823-1903). Born into a prominent Maryland family, Winder stayed loyal to the Union while his father became an infamous Confederate general during the Civil War. Winder’s interesting life story is told in “The War Criminal’s Son: The Civil War Saga of William A. Winder” by Jane Singer. He spent much of the Civil War commanding a post at Alcatraz, then a military prison and a fortress guarding the Bay of San Francisco. In 1869, Winder arrived in San Diego’s Old Town, where Gatewood had set up shop for his San Diego Union newspaper.
Winder’s varied post-military career included surveying, mining and real estate. City deeds document that in February 1869, Winder acquired the 80-acre east half of Pueblo Lot 1127 from the city trustees for $20, and Philip Crosthwaite acquired the 80-acre west half for the same amount. By 1873, City Lot Book 1 indicates those 160 acres had changed hands. Joseph Nash mapped the east half as part of his Park Villas tract, and Gatewood mapped the west half as his West End tract.
Lot Book 1 also records that by 1873, Winder had purchased 10 acres in Pueblo Lot 1122 — an area in Middletown north of Upas between Curlew and Kite streets. Throughout most of 1887, Hart & Stern advertised lots for sale in the “Winder Tract,” exhorting readers of the San Diego Union, “Don’t Fail to See Winder Tract, situated within five minutes’ walk of the Motor Line soon to be completed to Old Town.”
Winder played a role in establishing important infrastructure by participating with others — including Gatewood — in the San Diego Bay Shore Railroad Company to build a rail line from Old Town to Horton’s Addition. Winder also helped develop the San Diego Water Works, which brought well water from Mission Valley to the growing town. He had the most success practicing medicine in early San Diego. Although Winder never attended medical school and did not have an official license when he began, he was referred to as “Dr. Winder” by 1872 and established an office in New Town in 1873. He attended to Gatewood’s wife when she fell from a fishing boat and nearly drowned in 1875 and treated many other prominent San Diego residents.
Winder left San Diego in 1894 for a special government appointment in Round Valley near Sacramento, followed by other assignments in South Dakota. He died of cancer on March 6, 1903 in Omaha, Nebraska. Although he lost his North Park street name in 1899, a Winder Street survives in Middletown, extending east of India Street for a few blocks not far from the Winder Tract.
The next PastMatters column will examine the original names of more North Park streets in the West End tract.
— Katherine Hon is the secretary of the North Park Historical Society. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619-294-8990.