In 1769 Don Gasper de Portola (from Spain) scouted 
around the area where Camp Pendleton is now located.
He named the Santa Margarita Valley in honor of St. Margaret of Antioch.

Later, the Spanish crown granted a large block of land known as 
Rancho Santa Margarita Y Las Flores Y San Onofre
to the Mission San Luis Rey, located southeast of Pendleton.

It was transferred into private ownership of Pio and Andre Pico in 1841.
Pio Pico (Spanish politician) later became last governor of Alto California. 
John Forster (English businessman) married Ysidora Pico, sister of Pio and Andre. 
Forster paid the property taxes, assumed the title Don Juan Forster
and turned the rancho into a profitable business.

When Forster died in 1882, James Flood and Richard O'Neill 
acquired the rancho and managed it for 24 years.
O'Neill built a dam in 1883 to create a lake, and introduced irrigation. 
The ranch prospered; its beef and crops were sold nationally, and
the eventual 200,000 acres became a buffer between
North San Diego County and Orange County.

 After Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government purchased 125,000 acres
 for $4.2 million, to create a military training facility known as Camp Pendleton.

The lake is part of a recreational facility with RV sites, camping, fishing, kayaking
and other family-oriented activities.

There are many other ponds and pools on Pendleton;
they are covered on their own page.