Archive for May, 2014

BORDER PLACES: With a history, but now gone.

Memories are archives of our past that bind us to places that no longer exist. For me the Jacumba Hotel is a good example of that. Its location was high desert, seventy-five miles east of San Diego about half a mile from the Mexican Border. Surrounded by live oaks, it sat on Historic Old Highway 80. A lot of folks from the mid eighteen hundreds on have passed through this little community.

20'sJAC HOTEL OLDIn the twenties and thirties the Jacumba Hotel was a hot spot. People came up from Imperial Valley and down from Hollywood to take the waters at the hot spring, which is still there, and steamy.

I spent a few nights at the hotel while my family’s ranch house was in construction. Creaky metal bed, lace curtains, iron light sconces, lion clawed bathtub, a great lobby with a big fireplace. Halls were long, dark and a little spooky. It was a great place to chase spirits.

To the west of the hotel there was a dance floor. The flat area still exists. It had lights, a bandstand, and was open to the stars.80'sJAC HOTEL

HOTEL FPLCThe hotel no longer exists, destroyed by fire in the mid eighties. The old fireplace is the only standing remnant of the structure. At night passing locals have heard Scott Joplin and Boogie Woogie music, but only under a full moon.

My name’s Wally Runnels and I write Border Pulp.


JAC_HIST80This is the western edge of Jacumba looking down on Historic Old Highway 80. (double-click to enlarge the photo) It’s called Historic so it must be old. Actually it goes back to the 1800’s when the road was dirt. Got dusty when the stage came through. Four to six horses can kick up a lot of dirt.

The houses were built in the twenties and thirties. Some were summer homes for the folks in Imperial Valley where the heat can be over 125-degrees, hot. At 100 degrees Jacumba can be summer cool compared to the blazing weather in Imperial Valley. Even ancient Indians came up from below to find shade in Jacumba’s 100-degree plus heat. And with a breeze it would only feel like 99-degrees. Brrr.

This picture was taken in the late spring. Jacumbians were wearing overcoats and neck wraps because it was only 80-degrees.

My name’s Wally Runnels and I write Border Pulp.