How did Robert Asher's Book come to be?
From My Palomar, Page 4:
In the late 1990's I met the most charming man, Walt Fleisher. He gave a historical presentation at the Christian Conference Center telling about Robert Asher, who was the benefactor of their land.
Mr. Asher homesteaded the property in the early 1900's. During that time, Mr. Fleisher's father, Bob Fleisher, was a Scout Master and would camp with his troops at Iron Springs on Palomar. The scouts would hike on an overnight trip to Asher's place through what is now the State Park. That is how Robert Asher and Bob Fleisher met. They became very close friends and corresponded back and forth. Twice a year, Mr. Fleisher would make the trip in his Studebaker to Palomar from his home in San Diego to pick up Mr. Asher. He would take him to and from Santa Ysabel where he spent the winters in a warmer climate.
After Walt's presentation that evening, I told him that I had been collecting historical information on the mountain with the hopes of having another book published. He said he had something for me and asked for my address. A few weeks later he stopped by with an old, musty, cardboard box. He explained that Mr. Asher had interviewed and written about different families that lived on Palomar during the 1920's and 1930's. After Mr. Asher died, this box of his typed and hand-edited manuscripts, and glass plates of his photography, came into his father's position. I was thrilled and asked if I could copy them and return them to him. Instead he responded, "This is for you".
That night I was up until two o'clock in the morning reading through the chapters. I had been given copies of a few chapters, but others were new to me. Then I came to the bottom of the box and found the "Table of Contents" and an "Introduction". Robert Asher had intended this to be a book nearly 80 years ago! My heart raced as I cross-checked and confirmed that it was complete with all seventeen chapters.
We owe a debt of gratitude to weekender Frank Spencer for scanning and outlining an editorial framework for Asher's typescript. A big thanks to resident Brad Bailey for having the slides printed and made available to use for the book, and for sharing his keen enthusiasm for Palomar Mountain history with Peter Brueggeman, a cabin owner on Palomar and a librarian with UCSD. Thank you to Peter for donating his expertise and taking this project to the next level to prepare for publishing. He thanks Lawrence Lovell and Phil Liff-Grieff for fact-checking assistance. Thanks also to former resident Susan Humason for arranging printing through her company.
We dedicate this book to Mr. Walt Fleisher, now 90 years old, I appreciate so much him keeping this "treasure" of Robert Asher's these many decades, and giving it to the people of Palomar to bring Asher's work to a wider audience.
To all the folks now, and for generations to come, intrigued by history of our favorite Mountain, "This is for you."
~Bonnie Phelps, 2005
Palomar resident, editor of the Palomar Mountain News, and always looking for historical information for another book!