Have you ever heard of Bailey, CA? No? Well that might be because it doesn’t exist….but it could have.
You see, back in 1869 a man named Drury Bailey decided to homestead several hundreds of acres in a particular spot in the Cuyamaca Mountains east of San Diego. He talked his brother James, and his two cousins, Mike and Webb, into staying with him. In the spring they planted some barley. Seems like a rather unremarkable story, thus far, doesn’t it?
Well here’s where it gets exciting: Not too long after settling into their new home, the cousins made a remarkable discovery- GOLD!
I think we all know what happens next. This sleepy little spot in the mountains was suddenly flooded with prospectors eager to find and claim their share of the shiny metal. With the arrival of people came the need for homes, stores, businesses, and of course, entertainment.
Small “cities” began popping up all over the mountain and Drury Bailey knew exactly what to do. Divvying up his barley field, he “laid out a town site and offered free lots to any who would build a home on them.” You can imagine the lots were snapped up rather quick.
Having thus been the founder of this town, you would think he’d have named it after himself. Well, Mr. Bailey was apparently not a fan of his own surname*, because he decided to name the town after his cousin Mike Julian instead. Which is why today we know Drury Bailey’s town as Julian, CA.
If you’re as fascinated by history as I am and want to learn more about Julian, CA, or Drury Bailey and his cousins, you can read these articles in The Journal of San Diego History:
- “Life Beyond Gold: A New Look at the History of Julian, California” by Kathryn A. Jordan.
- “The Ready Relief Mine” by Charles V. Birkett
What do you think? Did Drury Bailey make the right choice? Which do you prefer: Bailey, CA or Julian, CA?