Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | April 29, 2017

Stage Stop Roundabout


Most of you have read about a change being made in an area we still call the Stage Stop 

at the base of the mountain.  Going down on Highway 76, where you turn left toward Rincon, is an intersection that has been a meeting spot for about 130 years or so.  The stage line stopped there in the late 1800’s. You can still see huge olive trees on the south side with the remnants of an adobe foundation.  Let’s see, Rincon Springs Café closed in 1962.  I was 10 that year, but do have faint recollection of stopping at a café with my folks and playing around those trees when I was a little girl. 

A few decades ago a bank was built in the ‘Y’ where all the poppies were so vibrant when I drove by a couple weeks ago. The bank became a gift shop and farm stand. That building came down recently to make way for the Roundabout. 

I wonder what those stage drivers would think of this fancy Roundabout.  We are promised a safer intersection. It will be interesting to see the progress.  Hummm, ‘Stage Stop Roundabout’ has a nice ring to it!

Cathryne, the Public Information Officer for Caltrans, provided the links below.

Bonnie Phelps

SR-76 Valley Center Road Intersection Improvement Fact Sheet  

Union Tribune Article




CATHRYNE BRUCE-JOHNSON | Public Information Officer

Caltrans District 11 | 4050 Taylor Street – MS 121 | San Diego, CA 92110 

Office: 619.688.6670 | Cell: 858-688-1431 

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  1. As usual, a great and interesting post from Bonnie Phelps! Love reading all the historical facts surrounding our beautiful Palomar Mountain!

  2. Bonnie, I hate to contradict you BUT — a stage may have stopped at Rincon in the 1880s, but it was not the Butterfield. The Butterfield Stage Line operated only from 1858 to 1861 and was stopped at least in part due to the Civil War and then a cross country stage line – the Central Overland Stage, I think,– opened up farther north. The Butterfield — 1858 – 1861 — and NOT driven by Jacob Bergman, who was stationed at Ft. Tejon at the time — came up the San Felipe draw and then roughly followed today’s 79 South through Oak Grove and Aguanga to Colton to Los Angeles and thence north to San Francisco. If you don’t believe me, ask historian Phil Brigandi — or Google it!

    Later stages and mail routes probably did go south of the Mountain and on to San Diego — Another route went from Warner’s through Ramona, etc. to San Diego. Bergman’s mail route went from Julian to Colton.

    What has happened, I think, is that like the term “Kleenex” is sometimes used to refer to all brands of tissue, the term “Butterfield Stage” has been used to refer to all stage coach routes in Southern California. The actual Butterfield only ran those few years and the route was as I have described it.

    A roundabout there will be interesting, however!


    • Hi Coral and Arlie, Thank you so much for taking the time to point this out. I updated the post so it doesn’t have a stage name at all. The link in the first sentence of the original post is where I got the info. It points to the museum in Valley Center. I think they would appreciate your research. I was in there the other day and they have very little on Palomar but would sure welcome it. Here is the link:

  3. Highly unlikely the Butterfield Overland Stage as it ran on the North side of Palomar, née Smith, Mountain from 1858 to 1861! I remember the old cafe on the South side of the highway and I think, at one time Saturday night dances were held there.

    • Dances… how fun. Think we have some square dancing in the works again. Will keep you posted. I deleted the Butterfield name… I’d just used it from the article posted here that I’d included in the original post: Guess this is how that fake news gets started! Thanks! Bonnie

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