Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, San Diego, CA
Guy and Margaret Fleming
1884 - 1960

Guy Fleming

Born in Ayr, Nebraska, Fleming spent his adolescence in Corvallis, Oregon, where he worked for his father’s lumber business. In 1909 he moved to San Diego, California, working as a gardener for the Little Landers Colony of San Ysidro, the first in a series of agriculture cooperatives conceived by journalist William E. Smythe. Impressed by Fleming’s design and planting of the village’s park, County Agricultural Commissioner George Hall encouraged the gardener to pursue a career in horticulture. In 1911 Fleming joined San Diego’s city nursery, where he was promoted to lands foremen in time for the 1915 opening of the Panama-California Exposition, held in Balboa Park. He served as a guide to the exposition, and, after it closed, he established a landscaping business, managing ranches in Lake Side and Rancho Santa Fe.

In 1916 local philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps hired Fleming to perform a tree survey for both her privately owned land and the adjacent, city-owned Torrey Pines Park. When the two properties were joined in 1921 to form the Torrey Pines Reserve, Fleming was appointed Park Custodian. In this role, he laid out the reserve’s first trail system and oversaw construction of the Torrey Pines Lodge. He was also instrumental in passing a 1924 city ordinance that expanded the Torrey Pines Preserve to nearly 1,000 acres, incorporating the Los Pensaquitos Marsh and Torrey Pines City Beach, as well as preserving additional canyons and mesas to the south. In 1932 Fleming became district superintendent, responsible for Southern California’s State Parks. He retired from this position in 1948 but remained active in conservation. He founded the Torrey Pines Association in 1950 and pushed for the reserve’s inclusion in the state park system, which was achieved six years later. He died in San Diego at the age of 76.