Alice Day Fisher was no ordinary Lemon Grove housewife. A graduate of Smith College, she moved to Lemon Grove with her husband in 1911. She raised two children – both girls – in Lemon Grove (and later a third daughter, Ann, in San Diego). By 1917 Fisher became interested in the Girl Scout movement. Already active in community affairs, Alice Day Fisher was well connected in both Lemon Grove and San Diego when the first Girl Scout troop was formed in Coronado, California in 1917. She championed the movement, founding the first Girl Scout Council west of the Mississippi in San Diego in 1918. Fisher became the Council’s first Commissioner and remained active for many years.
Born Alice Wilder Day on August 21st, 1883 she grew up in Fitchburg, Worcester County, Massachusetts. Her father, George Day was a municipal tax collector whose ancestry can be traced to the mid 1600s in the Massachusetts Colony. Likewise, her mother, Marion Wilder, came from old English stock who, immigrated to the Massachusetts Colony of British Colonial America in the 1600s. Alice married Jabez William “Bill” Fisher in Los Angeles on April 19, 1911. Mr. Fisher was also born (in 1883) and raised in Fitchburg. He graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1905. Alice graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College that same year.
Alice moved with her husband to Lemon Grove in May of 1911. They moved into a home on Walnut Street in San Diego in 1921, but retained their “Rancho del Sol” in Lemon Grove until the late 1940’s. The couple had three children, Marion Wilder Fisher (1912-1973), Felice Fay Fisher (1914-2005) and Ann Fisher (1920-). Mr. Fisher held various jobs during his career. Between 1912 and 1918 he built a real estate and land development business – the Lemon Grove Land Company – with his business partner, Grover C. Sumner. In 1920 he took a job with the Southwest Onyx and Marble Company serving as its president from 1935 until his death in 1955.
Alice Day Fisher was active in several community organizations including the San Diego Red Cross Motor Corp., the Wednesday Club and the ZLac Rowing Club. She was a president of the University Women’s Club, president of the San Diego chapter of the American Association of University Women, and a member of the Republican State Central Committee. Alice was interested in history. She served on the San Diego Historical Society’s board of directors. She gave monthly radio talks on early California history while serving as the radio chairman and vice regent for the Daughters of the American Revolution. She bought the Casa de Lopez, leased the Casa de Bandini and rescued the Casa de Pedrorena along with several small older buildings in Old Town. She also loved the performance arts. In the 1930’s, seeking to fill the need for a little theater for young people, Fisher bought an old home at Front and Kalmia Streets, converting the carriage house into a very active little theater. She organized a group around the theater known as the “Barn Players.” In 1937 after the close of the California Pacific International Exposition, the players became the “Globe Players” and moved to the newly remodeled Old Globe Theatre. Alice Day Fisher died in 1961.
A Century of Girl Scout Achievements, 1918-2018
Learn more about this extraordinary woman at the Parsonage Museum, 3185 Olive Street, Lemon Grove. She is featured in a new exhibit, “A Century of Girl Scout Achievements, 1918-2018” running through mid December 2018. The museum is open Saturdays 11 am to 2 pm., or during the week for groups by appointment. Call (619) 460-4353 for information.