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History of the Valley Fort

In 1956 a gentleman named Dr. Larkin, currently a resident of Vista, purchased the property to create a commercial idea similar to Knotts Berry Farm, but with a New England style feel. He chose this property because of the trees and plentiful water supply. He had a museum, firearms display, snack bar, and general store. Most of the time it was open to the general public, but was also rented out for use by private parties.

In 1967 Marlene Englebretson purchased the land and re-designed the property to resemble a western town with Tepees, campgrounds, and corrals. The property even had a miniature golf course. The restaurant hosted country and western music. During those years, guests could spend the night, fish for their dinners and ride horses. The children could swim in the pool and enjoy ice cream cones. Adults shopped in the antique stores and little gift and candy shops.

Tragically in 1978 floodwaters came and washed out the bridges that connected the beautiful properties and the water damage was enough to dash the efforts and dreams of continuing and growing.

The Valley Fort and Red Dog Saloon were in operation during the 1970s and the1980s, and then were sold and the restaurant and bar operated as a catfish house for a year or two. After that, the property was leased out to the “Cask and Cleaver“. They served prime rib and steaks to the Fallbrook community for about 10 years before closing their doors. For years afterward, the property sat vacant and was found in complete disrepair by the Hornsvelds, long time residents of Fallbrook.

Besides the restaurant the property hosts “Hank’s Sunday Farmers Market at the Valley Fort“, Summer Concerts on the back patio stage, The Annual Bonsall Country Festival, Weddings and Special Events. The Hornsvelds have revived the Valley Fort to its Historic splendor where friends and family can come to enjoy food and entertainment in a lovely country setting. They dream of one day expanding the surrounding properties to create a complete western experience for all to enjoy!