MS 218 Stuart Family Mount Laguna Collection

Summary Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection
Stuart family
Stuart Family Mount Laguna Collection
MS 218
Date [inclusive]
2.0 Linear feet (4 boxes)
This collection contains personal and business papers pertaining to the Stuart family of Mount Laguna from 1915 to 1995. The collection includes personal correspondence, lodge and cabin rentals and sales, and papers regarding their involvement in the Mount Laguna Post Office, Mount Laguna Improvement Association and Mount Laguna Protective Association.

Preferred Citation

Stuart Family Mount Laguna Collection, MS 218, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

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Biographical / Historical Notes

Arthur Clay Stuart was born in Carthage, Missouri. He quit school after the sixth grade then left home at the age of thirteen. Despite his early departure from school, daughter Sue Martin expressed that “he read everything he got his hands on.” Eventually he would come to California during the depression to seek work. In 1936, Clay found employment with the Works Progress Administration Forest Service and was sent to a remote tent cabin in Mount Laguna, located in the Cleveland National Forest, to build a water system. Mrs. Ruth Marie Stuart followed as soon as she could. One of the original families in the area, Clay and Ruth made it home for the next fifty years. They were considered pioneers, devoting their time to develop and improve Mount Laguna.

In 1942, Clay bought the Laguna Mountain Lodge store and the Post Office building. In time he owned the Laguna Mountain Lodge, the Blue Jay Lodge, and the Pine House Café. He also ran the Blue Jay Dine and Dance Lounge, and Pine House Dining room and recreation center. Ruth, who was a licensed real estate broker, helped run the Lodge. She also served as Postmaster for the Mount Laguna Post Office from January 1942 to October 1965. Clay would serve as Postmaster from October 1965 to June 1972.

Clay was involved in the Mount Laguna Improvement Association, also known as the Burnt Rancheria – El Centro Improvement Association, which was responsible for the development and implementation of a water pipeline. The pipeline became known to the community as the “miracle well” because it brought a reliable source of water to the area. Clay also took part in the construction of the Mount Laguna Community Church, a one-room school house. For fifteen years, he served as chairman on the board of directors for the Mountain Empire Electric Company Rural Electrification Administration (REA). For an equal amount of time, Clay served as trustee and chairman on the board of the Mountain Empire School District. In the 1950s and early 1960s, he was chairman of the San Diego County Committee for School Reorganization. At different times, Clay and Ruth acted as secretary for the Mount Laguna Protective Association which dealt with electricity and the construction of the Laguna Highway.

Clay and Ruth lived with their two children above the Mount Laguna Lodge until Clay went into retirement and sold all his property in 1967.

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Scope and Content

This collection contains personal and business papers pertaining to the Stuart family of Mount Laguna dated from 1915 to 1995. Significant documents include records of cabin sales and rentals as well as papers demonstrating daily functions of the Mount Laguna Post Office. There are also records from the Mount Laguna Improvement Association, responsible for drafting and operation of the water pipeline, and Mount Laguna Protective Association, involved in electricity and construction of the Laguna highway, including lists of permittees and subscribers, correspondence and finances.

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Collection is arranged into five series:

Series I: Stuart Family Personal Papers

Series II: Laguna Mountains Lodge and Cabins

Series III: Mount Laguna Post Office

Series IV: Mount Laguna Improvement Association

Series V: Mount Laguna Protective Association

Items in each series are arranged by subject.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection January 24, 2012

1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research. Original photographs previously separated to the SDHC Photograph Collection.

Conditions Governing Use

The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number 990601A.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Aimee Santos on January 24, 2012.

Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

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Related Materials

Separated Materials

Original photographs separated to the SDHC Photograph Collection, Accession number 2002/050.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Blue Jay Dine and Dance Lounge.
  • Blue Jay Lodge.
  • Burnt Rancheria – El Centro Improvement Association.
  • Cleveland National Forest (Agency : U.S.).
  • Laguna Mountain Lodge.
  • Mount Laguna Community Church.
  • Mount Laguna Improvement Association.
  • Mount Laguna Protective Association.
  • Mountain Empire Electric Company.
  • Mountain Empire School District.
  • Pine House Cafe.
  • Pine House Recreation Center.
  • San Diego County Committee for School Reorganization.
  • United States. Works Progress Administration.

Family Name(s)

  • Stuart family

Geographic Name(s)

  • Cleveland National Forest (Calif.)
  • Mount Laguna (Calif.)
  • San Diego (Calif.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Stuart, Arthur Clay
  • Stuart, Ruth Marie


  • Building
  • Church
  • Electricity
  • Lodging-houses
  • Mountains — California
  • Post-office
  • Postmasters
  • Real property
  • Roads
  • Water
  • Water-pipes

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Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Carrier’s Route Directory and Address Book cover partially detached from binding, as well as some pages completely detached from binding.

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Collection Inventory

 Series I: Stuart Family Personal Papers

Correspondence, 1968-1972 and undated 1:1
Address book, 1972-1979 1:2
Loose addresses, undated 1:3
Newspaper clippings, 1967-1995 1:4

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 Series II: Laguna Mountains Lodge and Cabins

Cabin and trailer owners, 1939 and undated 1:5
Cabin sales and rentals, 1948-1956 1:6
Finances, 1942-1945 1:7
Cabin rental request correspondence, 1947-1953 and undated 1:8
Photographs (copies), 1915-1942 and undated 1:9

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 Series III: Mount Laguna Post Office

“History of Mount Laguna Post Office” by Ruth Stuart, 1942 1:10
List of Postmasters, 1920 August 4-1991 January 24 1:11
Oaths of Post Office carriers and employees, 1933 June 28-1941 August 15 and undated 1:12
Inspections 1933-1940 1:13
Correspondence with Post Office Department, Washington, 1933 January 24-1944 January 13 1:14
Correspondence with Post Office Department, San Francisco, 1933 June 20-1944 March 11 1:15
Correspondence with the United States Department of Commerce, 1933 and undated 1:16
Correspondence with the American Surety Company of New York, Star Route Proposal, Bond and Oath, 1932 July 2-1934 August 27 and undated 1:17
Correspondence with the National Recovery Administration, 1933 and undated 1:18
Correspondence with the Postmasters’ Supply Company, 1933 June 29-1934 April 23 1:19
Notices and bulletins, 1932-1940 and undated


“The Postal Bulletin,” April 14, 1934 (in Oversive Collections D3)

Notice: “Do you know: Parcel Post Service…” (in Oversize Collections D3)

Notices (4): Change in postal rates for Argentina; Conditions fabricated gold may be exported; Conditions silver or fabricated silver may be exported; and “Amendments to Postal Laws and Regulations” (in Oversize Collections D3)

San Diego Post Office contacts, 1935 1:21
Postmaster’s Account Book, 1930 April 1-1933 June 29 1:22
Cash Book, 1931 April 20-1933 June 1 1:23
Postmaster’s Account and Cash Book, 1933 May-1935 July 1 1:24
Postmaster’s Account and Cash Book, 1935 July 1-1936 June 30 1:25
Postmaster’s Account and Cash Book, 1936 July 1-1937 December 31 1:26
Postmaster’s Account and Cash Book, 1938 January 1-1939 June 30 1:27
Postmaster’s Account and Cash Book, 1939 July 1-1940 June 30 1:28
Postmaster’s Account and Cash Book, 1940 July 1-1941 June 30 1:29
Stamp invoices, 1931 January 1-1942 March 31 1:30
Adjusted service bonds invoices and receipts, 1936 2:1
Remittance letters, 1934 March 31-1944 March 31 2:2
Certificates of Deposit of Surplus Funds, 1942 January 13-1944 March 25 2:3
Requisitions, 1935 October 1-1940 May 6 2:4
Window Registration Book, 1931 July 28-1937 June 12 2:5
Bills for box rent, 1928 May 15-1935 January 1 2:6
Bills for box rent, 1935 January 2-1936 September 25 2:7
Bills for box rent, 1936 September 24-1940 April 26 2:8
Register of Money Orders Issued, 1931 March 1-1941 January 23 2:9
Money order records, 1931-1945


Money order stubs

Application for Domestic Money Order

List of Paid Money Orders

Defective Money Orders Returned

Sender’s receipt for insured mail, 1937 September 31-1942 December 5 2:11
Record and receipts of C.O.D. Parcels, 1931-1935 and undated 2:12
Coupons for Paying Office, 1934-1942 and undated 2:13
Special deliveries records, 1933-1935 and undated


“Records of Articles for Special Delivery” (in Oversize Collections D3)

Cancellations at Mount Laguna, 1935 May 20-1937 December 27 2:15
Cancellations at Mount Laguna, 1940 July 1-1942 January 23 2:16
Cancellations at Mount Laguna, 1942 January 26-1943 October 31 2:17
Change of address requests, 1933 June 28-1948 July 23 and undated 2:18
Carriers’ Route Directory – names and addresses, 1937-1950 3:1
Names and addresses, 1950-1962 3:2
Miscellaneous postal services and correspondence, 1928-1945


Receipt for registered article

Receipt between outgoing and incoming postmasters

Withholding tax report 1944

Registry dispatch receipt cards

Motor vehicle tax stamps

Post office supplies list

Correspondence and forms regarding improper treatment or loss of mail

Missing person notice

Telegram regarding service route

Miscellanea, 1933-1934 and undated

Scope and Content:

Automobile insurance correspondence

Probation system notice

“The California District Postmaster,” March 1934

Cards labeled “Mount Laguna Calif…”

Blank unemployment response forms


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 Series IV: Mount Laguna Improvement Association

Membership lists, 1968-1983 3:5
Members in favor of name change from Burnt Rancheria – El Centro Improvement Association to the Improvement Association, 1950 3:6
Permittees: Burnt Rancheria Tract, 1950 3:7
Permittees: El Centro Tract, 1950 3:8
Permittees: Boiling Springs, 1961 3:9
List of subscribers, undated 3:10
Term Permit – Permission to Use Lands, 1947 3:11
Drafts of water pipeline, undated 3:12
Association correspondence, 1939-1940 and undated 3:13
Correspondence: Subscriptions to the Water Pipeline, 1939-1950 3:14
Correspondence with the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, 1939-1951 3:15
Construction: Receipts, Invoices, and Statements, 1940-1952 3:16
Checks and stubs, 1947 November 8-1948 June 19 3:17
Checks and stubs, 1948 June 19-July 26 3:18
Checks and stubs, 1948 July 27-1950 August 19 3:19
Checks, 1950 August 25-1951 March 20 3:20
Bank slips and statements, 1948-1951 3:21
Association employee hours worked, 1947 3:22
Association employee pay stubs, 1947-1950 4:1
Photographs (copies), 1957 4:2

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 Series V: Mount Laguna Protective Association

Record book, 1934 July 1-1942 May 30


Special Use Permittees

Constitution and By-Laws

Meeting Minutes

Accounts Received and Paid

List of Special Use Permittees, 1935-1962 4:4
List of Special Use Permittees, undated 4:5
Rural Electrification Administration (REA) Project Subscribers, 1940-1941 4:6
Special meeting attendance roster, undated 4:7
Meeting minutes, 1940-1947 and undated 4:8
Meeting announcements, 1939-1941 and undated 4:9
Meeting report announcements, 1939-1940 4:10
Correspondence: meeting invitations, 1935-1942 4:11
Correspondence: membership, 1935-1939 and undated 4:12
Correspondence: internal, 1939-1945 4:13
Correspondence with the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, 1936-1941 4:14
Correspondence: REA and electricity, 1935-1941 and undated 4:15
Correspondence: Laguna Highway, 1935-1950 4:16
Congressional Bill to add land to the Cleveland National Forest, 1939 January 3-1940 February 17 4:17
“Mount Laguna Protective Association Financial Statement,” 1939 August 22-1945 August 25 4:18
Financial correspondence, 1940 April 1-June 19 4:19
Membership dues and records, 1947 August 24-1948 August 9 and undated 4:20
Receipts, 1940 February 20-July 12


Office supplies

Used piano bench

Electrical service

Newspaper clippings, 1936 February 2-1940 December 2 4:22
Photograph (copy), 1970 October 4:23
Miscellanea, 1936 February 4-1942 September 19


Blank forms of Application for Membership and for Electric Service

Correspondence regarding tuning and repairs to piano

Mountain Empire Electric newsletter, January 1941


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