Along with the other two really rich guys in San Diego at the time, Albert Spalding was cited as being one of the civic boosters that started pioneering road-building in San Diego more than a century ago.

“California copies its modern highway system from the San Diego County Highway Commission of about 1909 when our road program was being mapped out and administered by the late E. W. Scripps, John D. Spreckels and A. G. Spalding,” Forward said. “Our plan was so successful that the State took Austin B. Fletcher and C. C. Carleton to initiate the State Highway Program.”— From the San Diego Union of January 6, 1938, quoted in California Highways and Public Works January-February 1949, via

Funny how things happen. Spalding, whose sporting goods company is still around, is called an “organizational genius of baseball’s pioneer days” on his plaque in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Bill Swank, the San Diego baseball historian, says Spalding moved here with his second wife, who was involved with Katherine Tingley’s Theosophical Institute, a religious organization that was set-up in Point Loma, today a swank ocean-view neighborhood of San Diego.

“Spalding was not religious, but his mistress was one of Madam Tingley’s top lieutenants,” Swank said. “When his first wife died, he married the mistress and moved to San Diego. When they died, Tingley thought she’d get all their money; she was left very little.

“He also ran for U.S. State and was narrowly defeated by political hi-jinx within his own party. Spalding played a major role in filling the mudflats at the lower end of Broadway for what we know today as the Embarcadero (which, of course, included Lane Field).”

Funny how history runs around.


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