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El Cajon Stories

Special thanks to the El Cajon Historical Society, Carroll Rice and members or our Community  for input and help on the content of this page.

Castle Rock

Castle Rock was where Westfield Parkway  is today

 

CASTLE ROCK RANCH BEFORE SEARS IN WESTFIELD PARKWAY
A Centennial Moment

What was in El Cajon before Westfield Parkway Plaza? Castle Rock Ranch!
The Ashers were among the American families who arrived in Old Town in 1869. Josephus Asher worked in San Diego for the U.S. Government Customs Division, as he had also done in San Francisco. Asher promoted Alonzo Horton’s campaign to relocate San Diego’s official city government from Old Town’s Presidio Hill to the “New Town” area near the bay. The formal transfer was completed in 1871 and Asher, fascinated with fruit culture, opened his first florist shop and nursery in New Town… Read More….

EL CAJON BLACKSMITH CREATES HOME AMONG INDIANS
A Centennial Moment

After his blacksmith business slowed, Jesse Julian Ames moved inland from Old Town, settling in Old Los Coches Rancho, near the current Old Highway 80, in the 1840s.
Jesse, a former seal hunter in Baja California, married Perfecta Espinoza, the daughter of a Spanish Officer. Jesse built the first four-wheeled wagon in Old Town, serving as an example to those who had to travel back and forth from ranchos; riding in their traditional two-wheeled Mexican carrettas was much slower. However, when General Kearny’s “Army of the West” pulled out of the Old Town area, there was not enough business to support Jesse and Perfecta’s growing…  Read More….

CITY SEAL ADOPTED IN 1962
A Centennial Moment – Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

On February 26, 1962, the design was officially adopted by the City Council of El Cajon. The seal won first prize in a contest sponsored by the Fiftieth Anniversary Committee. Designed by Dale G. Walton, of El Cajon, the four quarters of the seal represent the four peoples or nations who have had sovereignty over El Cajon. In the lower right hand quarter is an Indian design emblematic of the first settlers in the Valley. The lower left quarter comes from the coat of arms of Spain. The upper right quarter represents Mexico and the upper left the United States. Across the face of the seal are two hands clasped in friendship…Read More….

Mule team supply wagons

Mule team supply wagons

KNOX HOTEL IN EL CAJON, A PLACE FOR TRAVELING GOLD MINERS
A Centennial Moment

The first seventeen miles of the old Indian Trail, from the coast to Grossmont Pass, could be ridden in a single day, walking took two or three. By whatever method, dozens and then hundreds of miners arrived in the El Cajon Valley. They had always stopped to camp for the night and sleep where others had slept before, through rain and cold weather, then heading out the next day to follow a trail carrying them…Read More….

CAJON SPEEDWAY TRACK HISTORY
By: Bob Gardner

It’s funny how things turn out sometimes.
During the 1950’s a plot of land next to Gillespie Field was apparently destined to become a baseball park and a spring training facility for a major league baseball team. And the last thing on the mind of Earle Brucker Jr., a former professional baseball player, was the possibility of becoming a promoter of an auto racing facility…   Read More….

SODA POP BUSINESS IN EL CAJON
A Centennial Moment – Excerpt from “Bus and Auto Tour of Historical El Cajon”

One of the City’s oldest homes, El Granito Spring Ranch, at 1300 Lorna Avenue, started as a large adobe room built for curing olives. In 1892, a rancher bought the property, added on to the structure, and planted the valley’s first orange trees. In 1909, the ranch became relatively famous as El Granito Springs because of the purity of the water, which flowed from underground springs. Bottled, that water was sold as a sure-fire cure for every kind of ailment. Later, the water was flavored, carbonated, and called soda “pop” because when you took the top off the bottle it made …Read More….

El Cajon's First Mayor

El Cajon’s First Mayor

EL CAJON’S FIRST MAYOR: JAMES A. HARRIS
By: James Graves

James Augustus Harris was born in Russell county, Alabama, December 27, 1846. His mother died when he was an infant and he was reared by his grandparents. His educational opportunities were extremely limited and he attended school but a few months before enlistment as a soldier in the 17th Alabama infantry, before his 16th birthday. He served throughthe civil war in that organization with the exception of a year spent in the signal service in Mobile bay. During most of his enlistment he acted as a courier at the headquarters of General Shirley and while so engaged mastered the rudiments of education, becoming an expert penman and …  Read More….

ELECTION 1912 & 2012
A Centennial Moment

At the general election on November 12, 1912, 123 of 158 electors voted to incorporate a 1 1/4 square mile area centering on the historic corners of Main Street and Magnolia Avenue. The board of five trustees met the following week to elect one of their number as Mayor and appoint a City Attorney. Regular meetings were scheduled for the first Wednesday of each month, however, special meetings were held to get the administration … Read More….

MY LIFE IN EL CAJON
By: Kathryn (Dodson) Benson

I was born in El Cajon, Calif., Sept. 21, 1913, the fourth child of John H. and Dena (Brouwer) Dodson.  I was delivered by Dr. Charles Knox who was the son of one of the early residents in El Cajon.  When he grew up he went away to medical college and was just beginning his practice in El Cajon when my older brother, Jack, was born.  He was also there to deliver me …  Read More….

William Stell’s Grapes

FOOD FROM THE EARTH
El Cajon Valley’s Abundance
By: G. Carroll Rice

The Kumeyaay called it Amut-Tar-Tum (level-ground-center). These native people and their ancestors used every resource from the sea to the mountains for nearly 12,000 years, and were intimately familiar with the lush valley. The water table was high, springs were abundant, and streams crossed the valley to nourish the soil. Oak trees provided shade, wood and acorns while other plants offered seeds, roots and greens.
Nature was the gardener of the valley, but the Indians labored in it as well. They transplanted trees to shade trails, moved food and medicinal plants closer to camping areas, and burned off the underbrush at regular intervals. There is also evidence that they diverted streams to irrigate planted crops and conserve water for the dry seasons. Food gathering, preparation and storage required a full-time effort from every man, woman and child … Read More….

CITY’S FIRST DOG CATCHER IN 1937
Centennial Moment – Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

On August 12, 1937, the one and only Ed Cartwright reported to the City Councilmen asthe new Chief of Police. The Council promptly appointed him to his new post. There is little background on how Ed came by this position or what the reasons were behind his hiring. However, in view of the many resignations and various other expressed displeasures in retaining the position were apparent. And perhaps the Council felt it was time to bring a stranger who could look at the city in an objective manner and have neither enemy or friend until he had established his policies. The Council felt good about this move … Read More….

WOMAN’S CLUB WELCOMES HOME RETURNING SOLDIERS IN 1919
A Centennial Moment – Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

Following every victory there must follow the return of the victorious. Military life for the common Dough Boy is not an easy one, whether in stateside camps or the muddy tranches overseas. A welcome home is perhaps the biggest event in any young man’s life when he returns from war. That was when the El Cajon Woman’s Club took over. They arranged and made a banquet fit for the returning soldier or the victorious King in Library Park. The table was piled high with food – home cooked food. Those of the 143 men who had returned were honored as only mothers, wives, sisters and sweethearts could honor their returned heroes …Read More….

Home in El Cajon

Ochard in El Cajon

PROFITABLE LAND IN THE EL CAJON VALLEY
By: Eldonna Lay, curator of the Knox House Museum

“On ten acres of vineyards costing $50 to $150 an acre, a family could live comfortably with a first year investment of $15. That took care of root stock, supplies, and labor. The second-year outlay totaled $6, with $8 spent in the third year. (The extra two dollars represented pay for a man to prune the vines.) With a vineyard of that size, a rancher could expect to raise tons of grapes and, at $20 to $35 a ton, his net profit would be at least $1,500.” Summing up, Chase stated that with “industry and intelligent care, any poor man in California may become well off in ten years on ten acres of … Read More….

1933 HIGHLIGHTS – CITRUS GROWERS PROSPER & MORE!
A Centennial Moment – Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

The Citrus Association continued to announce record shipments out of the valley, despite the ravages of the depression. Lemons on the Eastern market were bringing top prices of $5.40 to $6.15 a box or approximately $2,087.70 per carload. Forty-four carloads of lemons were shipped to the Eastern markets along with 50 carloads of oranges…. Read More….

J.P.R. HALL HOUSE BUILT IN THE 1890’s
A Centennial Moment – Excerpt from “Bus and Auto Tour of Historical El Cajon”

Jesse Phillip Rexford and his wife Charlotte arrived in San Diego in 1886 and not finding the city to their liking, bought land in the east end of the El Cajon Valley. After working on the Hotel Del Coronado (now 125 years old), Wilson Dana Hall, eldest son, helped his father build the current home out of redwood. The family gave up the home in the 1930s and after various … Read More….

1941 HIGHLIGHTS – FLETCHER HILLS BECOMES AN ARMY CAMP & MORE!
A Centennial Moment – Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

Five thousand soldiers took over the entire Fletcher Hills area as a training camp. Up to this time there had not been a single house built there.
The telephone company announced that more than 1,000 phones had been installed within the City….Read More….

Farm with beehives

Bee hives contributed to farming success

THE 48,000-ACRE EL CAJON VALLEY
Vineyards, Vegetables And Pigs
A Centennial Moment

The El Cajon Valley looks drastically different than it did in the 1800’s. Once home to Indians and the Mission Padres, the Valley’s rich soil was ideal for farmers.
Between 1810 and 1821, one of the land parcels previously under the control of the Mission de Alcala, located on San Diego Mission Road, was the 48,800-acre El Cajon Valley. Under the direction of Mission Padres, local Indians planted vineyards, vegetables, grains and raised pigs for Mission and Presidio consumption …Read More….

1922 HIGHLIGHTS – HIGHWAY SET-BACK BATTLE LOOMS & MORE!
A Centennial Moment – Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

The total rainfall for this year was better than 14 inches. The dirt streets became so mired with mud that is was considered too dangerous for the school vehicles to operate on them. It was decided that the school vacation time would be extended for another week or more, until the roads became safe again. There was not a single protest from the children…. Read More….

1916 HIGHLIGHTS – EL CAJON OSTRICH FARM & MORE!
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

El Cajon was still strictly an agricultural community just emerging from those early days of “hay and dust and horse and buggies”. The Valley itself was rich in fruits and truck crops. Five-acre farms outside of the city limits were bringing their owners $2,000 a year profit, a good living in 1916.
Avocados, known more commonly in 1916 as “butter fruits,” were bringing fancy prices of $4 to $6 a dozen…. Read More…. 

The Corona Hotel on Main and Magnolia

The Corona Hotel on Main and Magnolia

EL CAJON’S CROWN JEWEL:
The Corona Hotel – 1886-1920
By: G. Carroll Rice

Times were good! The Southern California Land Boom was in full bloom in the mid-1880’s when Mrs. Anna Stough Knowles conceived the idea of a modern first-class hotel in the midst of the action. Mrs. Knowles was the daughter of Oliver J, Stough, a man of wealth who had made fortunes in real estate from Pacific Beach to Burbank; and it’s a good bet that he was a silent partner in her ‘hospitality’ enterprise. With money at hand, she purchased ten acres on the north side of Main Street at Magnolia, directly across the street from Amaziah Knox’s workaday El Cajon Hotel built ten years earlier … Read More….

EL CAJON TO GET ELECTRICITY TODAY
By: San Diego Union Newspaper July 14,1911

El Cajon July 12 ‐ Current will be turned on to El Cajon tomorrow or next day over the new electric power line which has been extended from La Mesa Springs to Lakeside by the San Diego Consolidated Gas and Electric company. …  Read More….

1942 HIGHLIGHTS – FORTUNE TELLING OUTLAWED & MORE!
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

“The City Council passed an ordinance banning the issuance of a permit to conduct the art of Fortune Telling within the City limits. There was no reason for this sudden move by council, but it can be assumed that there was some underlying reason. That the ordinance still stands in the books today… The Council authorized the purchase of a 4-foot by 6-foot American flag to be flown over the Civic Center. An air raid horn was ordered …  Read More….

Land in El Cajon

Land in El Cajon

EL CAJON LAND SELLS FOR LESS THAN $1 PER ACRE
A Centennial Moment

In 1868, nineteen years after the Sacramento gold rush, which sped the transfer of ownership of California from Mexico to the U.S., the Pedrorena’s El Cajon Rancho was sold. Heirs to the Rancho sold to a partnership led by San Francisco land speculator Isaac Lankershim and some partners.
The purchase cost them $48,800, less than $1 an acre, for an area that included today’s El Cajon, Lakeside … Read More….

MAJOR LEVI CHASE, EL CAJON’S FIRST BOOSTER
A BUDGET OF BACKGROUND
By: G. Carroll Rice

There was no legal question as to the ownership of the El CajonValley in 1868 when the Rancho El Cajon was acquired by San Francisco/Los Angeles businessman and land speculator Isaac Lankershim. A decision of the United States Supreme Court in 1856i had confirmed that the land comprising the Rancho El Cajon was the private property of the heirs of Miguel Pedrorena. However, by 1868, the valley was populated by nearly fifty farmers who had settled here under the impression that the land was open to homesteading’ under the provisions of legislation signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862 … Read More….

EL CAJON’S OLDEST BUILDING
By: Bonnie Fredensborg

The oldest building still standing is located at 169 E. Main Street. Until the early 1900’s it housed the Home Telephone Company, the Cuyamaca Bank and the El Cajon News …  Read More….

Levi Ranch in El Cajon valley

Levi Ranch in El Cajon

EL CAJON:
FROM EXPLORATION TO RANCHO
By: G. Carroll Rice

The arrival of Spanish Catholic missionaries at San Diego Bay in 1769 marked the beginning of recorded history in Southern California. In 1868, Isaac Lankershim purchased the El Cajón Rancho from the Pedroarena family and by 1869 the „settler‟ era in the El Cajon Valley began. Records of agricultural activities and settlement in the Valley during the one hundred year period between these two events are often conflicting or totally absent. The Mission records for the first fifty years which have survived fire and neglect are particularly intriguing but usually brief and often vague. It was not laziness that caused the missionaries to neglect their journals; they were men who exhausted themselves working in the fields as well as fulfilling their perceived roles as pastors and „fathers‟ to a people they thought uncivilized and in danger of hellfire … Read More….

EL CAJON’S TROOP 46 BSA- (The 1940’s)
By: G. Carroll Rice

The Boy Scout Hut on Lexington Avenue was crammed on Wednesday evenings back in the 1940s. You could hear young men, aged 12 to 18, singing The Deacon Went Down in the Cellar to Pray, Johnny Verbeck (whose meat grinding machine led to disaster), and Billy the Goat a good block away. Singing was a great outlet for energy bubbling in the minds and muscles of between 40 and 70 super-vocal, supercharged Scouts. The meeting opened with a roll call, the Pledge of Allegiance, …Read More….

HOW EL CAJON SCHOOLS GOT THEIR NAMES
By: John Montgomery & Hazel Sperry

Ever wonder how El Cajon schools got their names? Did you know one school in El Cajon opened the day after the Pearl Harbor bombing? Below is some information from a list compiled by former Cajon Valley School District Superintendent, John Montgomery and El Cajon’s first historian, Hazel Sperry. Their list appeared in the Californian insert on October 14, 1987 for the City of El Cajon’s 75th Anniversary of Incorporation …  Read More….

The Flume

The flume opens

THE FLUME: WITH WATER EL CAJON CAN GROW
By: El Cajon Historical Society & Helix Water District

In 1886, the San Diego Flume Company was incorporated, construction began later that year and the project was completed in 1888. The San Diego Flume Company was purchased by Ed Fletcher, a real‐estate developer, for $150,000 on June 1, 1901 and the name was changed to Cuyamaca Water Company. During this time, the San Diego area was experiencing a prolonged drought and was in need of a stable water supply … Read More….

EARLY CHURCH BEGINNINGS
Unity of El Cajon’s Little Chapel on Highland Avenue
By: Unity Church of El Cajon

In the 1920’s a small Victorian chapel was built on what was the highest point of land in the El Cajon Valley.  For that reason the street was named Highland Avenue and the church, located at 315 Highland Avenue, became home to the Foursquare Gospel Church and a parsonage for the minister and his family.  There were five rooms built into the back of the church, two on ground level, and three upstairs.  The area was rural and the little white chapel looked out over the farms and ranches in the valley and over a couple of blocks toward Main Street and the small city of El Cajon …  Read More….

PHOTOS OF CASTLE ROCK RANCH AND SEARS IN WESTFIELD PLAZA
Home to the Asher Family
By: El Cajon Historical Society

The large piece of land now occupied by Westfield Shopping Town – Parkway, was originally purchased by the Ashers, who named it Castle Rock Ranch because of the many granite boulders and rocks that covered the land …  Read More….

Olaf Weighorst Troop in the Mother Goose Parade - 1946

Olaf Weighorst Troop in the Mother Goose Parade – 1946

POST WAR IN 1947
Centennial Moment – Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

The impact of the postwar days started to reveal their first full meaning to El Cajon in these past two years. In that time 120 retail businesses have been started. Fifty-one new business buildings have been built and occupied. The retail sales volume soared to $11.5 million. Business property foot frontage on Main Street had price tags of $600 per foot quoted. The population of the City and surrounding populated areas showed that an estimated 12,900 persons lived in the area, as compared with 9,000 in the 1945-1946 era … Read More….

THE SIGNIFICANCE BEHIND EL CAJON STREET NAMES
By: John Montgomery & Hazel Sperry

Although the City of “El Cajon” has a Spanish name and origin, the original street names are not the same. Only in El Cajon’s more recent history have the streets names been after Spanish origin. Below are street signs most El Cajon residents and visitors will recognize along with how they got their name …  Read More….

EL CAJON’S FIRST MAYOR JAMES A.HARRIS
A Centennial Moment

James Augustus Harris was born in Russell County, Alabama, December 27, 1846. His mother died when he was an infant so he was raised by his grandparents.
His educational opportunities were extremely limited. Only attending school for a brief time, Harris enlisted as a soldier in the 17th Alabama Infantry before his 16th birthday and served through the Civil War. During most of his enlistment, he acted as a courier at the headquarters of General Shirley and mastered the basics of …Read More….

El Cajon Flume

El Cajon Flume

THE FLUME BRINGS WATER TO THE VALLEY
A Centennial Moment

Due to the growing demand for water in San Diego and inland towns, the lack of a dependable supply was becoming even more of an ongoing problem. Until 1885, even residents of San Diego were forced to use wells for water. Then, in 1886, a British-backed San Diego Flume Company was formed. The plan was to build an earthen dam around a lake in the Cuyamacas, then construct a redwood flume to carry water …Read More….

 

 

THE EL CAJON THEATER
Anonymous

In 1922, Andrew Molines moved to El Cajon with his wife Mary and daughter Rose. He began the El Cajon Theatre on Main Street by renting a building and showing films that he rented from the La Mesa Theatre. When a special film was available at a higher cost, he would share the cost of renting it with the La Mesa Theatre. Andrew would hire high school students to take the film immediately after the showing and deliver it to La Mesa where they would the show it the same day. His second daughter Josephine was born the following year … Read More….

AIRPLANES OVER EL CAJON (1909-1944)
By: G. Carroll Rice

Early Fliers: In 1909, while the Wright brothers were trying to sell the idea of powered heavier-than-air flight to the army and navy, Donald Gordon, of Bostonia, put a motorcycle engine on a modified glider and made short flights from his father’s ranch.
St. Kieran’s Church, off Greenfield Drive, now occupies the hill where the Gordon family lived, and it’s easy to imagine a twenty-one-year old Donald running down the slope to be borne aloft by one of his homemade gliders in 1907. It’s probable, also, that he was inspired by reports of the glider flights made by John H. Montgomery on Otay Mesa in 1883, the year he was born in Connecticut. Donald was not alone in researching gliders; Popular Science, Popular Mechanics and similar magazines carried plans for gliders and reported on the progress of experiments in flight as early as 1903… Read More….

EL CAJON’S FIRST HISTORIAN: HAZEL SPERRY
By: Eldonna Lay, curator of the Knox House Museum

Hazel and Arlo Sperry moved their two children onto 46 acres of citrus land in El Cajon. Immediately, Hazel plunged into social and school activities, which led to her life-long fascination with El Cajon’s history. Hazel, taking copious notes in her crabbed, spidery handwriting, began interviewing and recording …Read More….

El Cajon Post Office in 1945

El Cajon Post Office in 1945

1945 HIGHLIGHTS – THEATER BURNS AND POST OFFICE GAINS & MORE!
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

Representative of Lemon Grove visited the City and started a study of the El Cajon City Government to better understand the problems of the community and prepare themselves for incorporation.
The El Cajon Post Office moved from its location on Main Street to a new building on the corner of Douglas Street and Magnolia Avenue. In July, Postmaster Roether announced that his office had been adjudged a first class office.
From a census taken by City officials towards the end of the year it was learned that better than 1,000 new homes had been constructed within the City limits…. Read More….

1956 HIGHLIGHTS – NEW POLICE AND FIRE BUILDINGS & MORE!
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

A new modern building was erected at the corner of East Douglas Street and Highland Avenue for the housing of the City Police and Fire Department at a cost of $74,824.The Reverend Charles F. Richardson passed away during the mid-summer of this year. Reverend Charley (as he was more affectionately known) had served as minister of the Community First Presbyterian Church for 20 years from 1913 to 1932. During those years, Rev. Charley had …Read More….

1923 HIGHLIGHTS – THE “BIG WHEEL” MOBILE FIRE EQUIPMENT & MORE!
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

The City acquired its first firefighting equipment that was mobile. It was a two-wheel chemical hose cart, officially dubbed by the Volunteer Firemen as the “Big Wheel” and was powered with the brawn of manpower. Usually the Big Wheel was pushed to the fire by two men. It was housed in an altered one-room former office structure that had served as the office of the W.D. Hall Company.
One wall of the small building was removed which faced…. Read More….

El Cajon's First Fire Truck

El Cajon’s First Fire Truck

1924 HIGHLIGHTS – FIRST FIRE TRUCK AND MORE!
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

On January 20, 1924, the Fire Department received its first real fire truck. In the picture above, from left to right, the men on the truck are Bill Meredith, Rexford Hall, Warren Hawley, A.L. Ballantyne, Fred Jones, Harry Apelman, Arthur Rossberg, Ed Mueler, Harry Hill and Skip Hall. The tax rate for 1924 – 25 was announced at $1.60 for each $100 in…Read More….

 

1927 HIGHLIGHTS – TRAFFIC COURT AND MORE!
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

In April, the Court Recorder reported to the Board of Trustees that in March there had been 13 violations of the Motor Vehicle Act within the city limits. All were convictions and the City Court collected $245 in fines. Also, there had been two violations of the Wright Act resulting in the collection of $150 in fines.
1928 – A report to the Trustees by the City Court for February showed the following convictions – one for a vehicle turning around in the middle of a block on Main Street. Another was for parking in a restricted zone. A minor was hauled into court for driving a…Read More….

1932 HIGHLIGHTS – AGRICULTURE DURING THE DEPRESSION AND MORE!
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

If you had strolled down Main Street this year you would have found announcements of first class haircuts for 25 cents. Or if you looked in the newspaper you would have found that all-wool men’s suits could have been had two for $39.75. Or you might have seen Hovey Crandel’s (future mayor of the City) advertisement in the newspaper, that at the Black Diamond Market boiling beef was 5 cents a pound. Grocery specials included tall…Read More….

1935 HIGHLIGHTS – PUSH TO WIDEN MAIN STREET AND MORE!
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

knowles2

Knowles House

Mrs. Lethia L. Knowles passed away this year. She was an outstanding citizen of the community. She had served on the City Council. But perhaps her greatest achievement was the “Knowle’s House,” a restaurant. Hardly a single real estate salesman failed to end a tour of the Valley for a lunch at the “Knowles’ House.” It sort of put the topper on the sales pitch, and usually resulted in the sale when the customer was filled with good food. The townsmen equally agreed that it was a good place to eat, especially when “Irish Stew” was featured on the menu.
The City Fathers made a major decision in the advancement of communication…Read More….

1944 HIGHLIGHTS – POST WAR PLANNING AND MORE!
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

The City Councilmen suddenly realized that with our nation’s victories and the influx of a rapidly growing population, that far-reaching plans for the post-war days would have to be formulated to accommodate the future. The Council then selected the following pioneers of the City and the persons they felt had the vision of the future to…Read More….

1946 HIGHLIGHTS – MOTHER GOOSE PARADE CONCEIVED AND MORE!
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

The First Mother Goose Parade in 1946

The First Mother Goose Parade in 1946

This was the year that brought about the birth of the Mother Goose Parade. True, it was only a dream this year when Thomas Wigton, Jr. conceived the idea while adding the final touches to a Christmas theme display window in his store.

Wigton took his idea to other business people of the town of how he wanted to bring to animated life the imaginary world of childhood, made up of floats in a parade. The men who served on that first Parade Board were…Read More….

 

 

1950 HIGHLIGHTS – CITY MANAGER HIRED AND MORE!
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

As a result of the study by the City Council it was decided to advertise in civic publications for a City Manager. After considerable screening by the Council, Bernard Noden was selected for the post.

Election results for three councilmen for a period of four years showed that J.R. Steel, Carlos Hull and Hovey Crandall were seated. One thousand one hundred and fifty-two votes were cast in the …Read More….

1953 HIGHLIGHTS – PLANS TO BUILD A NEW CITY HALL AND MORE!
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

Plans for the first City Hall, built for the specific purpose to house the City government offices, were accepted by the Planning Commission and approved by the City Council. The entire exterior and interior design was to conform to the recently constructed Police-Fire Department buildings. The Riha Construction Company was awarded the contract for the building of the structure at 270 Highland Avenue.

The City acquired a new fire truck, with the purchase price being…Read More….

1954 HIGHLIGHTS – A NEW CITY HALL AND MORE!
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

City Hall in 1954

City Hall in 1954

The new City Hall was completed and accepted by the City from the Riha Construction Company at a cost of $95,627. The personnel of the City started to move into the new quarters and the City Council started holding their meeting in their new chambers.

One of the major items to appear on the agenda of the Council was the problem of smog. Reports had been persistent that the stuff was appearing in the atmosphere regularly. The Council instructed the Planning Commission to give special attention to all future industrial plant plans to the elimination of putting smoke into the air. The lesson of the plight of Los Angeles…Read More….

1955 HIGHLIGHTS – FLETCHER HILLS GROWS AND MORE!
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

The Union Title and Trust Company publication “Topics” announced that better than 1000 homes had been built in the Fletcher Hills area.

Many were saddened when it was learned that Col. Ed Fletcher passed away. Fletcher was a most integral part of the development of the City of El Cajon, and as a matter of fact the entire east county major communities and cities. Col. Ed had as his motto “Water is King” and throughout his life …Read More….

 

1956 HIGHLIGHTS – REX HALL CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AND MORE!
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

 Like the pioneering blood that flowed in his father’s veins, that determination of spirit and the quest for victory that was so much a part of his mother, Rexford Hall’s name has popped up enumerable times in the past 50-year history of the City. He could well be called the “Son of El Cajon.” His unceasing efforts to the betterment of the community, his time he contributed to the Fire Department, his service on the school boards and Civil Service Commission, and certainly his generosity of which he had given freely to so many…Read More….

Police Chief Ed Cartwright

Police Chief Ed Cartwright

 

1957 HIGHLIGHTS – POLICE CHIEF ED CARTWRIGHT AND MORE!
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

In this year of 1957, it is safe to say that nearly every child who had attended grammar school in El Cajon over the past 20 years knew Police Officer Ed Cartwright. He was a familiar figure at street crossings used by school children. Most of them would call him “Ed” or “Big Ed.”  Big Ed had served as Police Chief, a patrolman, and as a school crossing guard. He knew almost everyone in town and had a host of friends. Many mourned his passing this year….Read More….    

 

1958 HIGHLIGHTS – BUILDING BOOMS AND MORE!
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “50 Years of Progress”

The Union Title and Trust Company publication “Topics” announced that better than 1000 homes had been built in the Fletcher Hills area.

Many were saddened when it was learned that Col. Ed Fletcher passed away. Fletcher was a most integral part of the development of the City of El Cajon, and as a matter of fact the entire east county major communities and cities. Col. Ed had as his motto “Water is King” and throughout his life …Read More….

CENTENNIAL MOMENT – COVERED WALKWAYS !
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “Bus and Auto Tour of Historical El Cajon”

 Picture a typical unpaved western frontier town with small stores cheek-by-jowl lining both sides of the street and you have Main Street until the 20s and 30s. Those first crude buildings were replaced by some which remain today. Notice the distinctive roofed walkways in front of the buildings on the north side of the street. El Cajon Boulevard and Main Street were El Cajon’s portion of the county’s only direct route between San Diego and everything east. With more people owning…Read More….

The Claydell ranch house

The Claydell Ranch House

CENTENNIAL MOMENT – CLAYDELLE!
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “Bus and Auto Tour of Historical El Cajon”

 Claydelle – 322 Claydelle Avenue – was the name of one of the area’s early ranches. Owned by the Hill family, the ranch was named after their children – Clayton and Della. Built in 1897, this house is one of the oldest remaining Victorian-style homes in the city. Typical for the times, it is very small, but it boasts a high cross-gable roof, horizontal wooden siding, and an open veranda with four posts under a low hipped roof. Just as typical was a large kitchen garden where the garage stands today, and a hen house. In the days before…Read More….

 

CENTENNIAL MOMENT – EARLY EL CAJON HOMEOWNERS ON ORANGE AVENUE!
A Centennial Moment -Excerpt from “Bus and Auto Tour of Historical El Cajon”

Driving along Orange Avenue, you pass multiple homes which were once occupied by prominent people. For this reason, it was referred to as “Silk Stocking Lane.”

John Montgomery’s House – 518 Orange Avenue. Formerly a coach and, later, Superintendent of what is now the Cajon Valley Union School District, John Montgomery was so loved and respected by the community that his name was given to Montgomery Middle School.

Shutte Family Home – 505 Orange Avenue. In the 1930s, Cory was the manager of a new grocery store, the forerunner of today’s supermarkets. Before moving here, they rented the house we now know as the Knox House.

Julian Hall House – 447 Orange Avenue. Son of W.D. Hall and grandson of J.P.R. Hall, Julian was better known to family and townspeople as “Skip.” He and his brothers worked at the…Read More….

 


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