El Cajon Timeline
Thank you to Bonnie Fredensborg for creating this timeline and the El Cajon Historical society for providing their assistance
City History Through the Decades
1912 to 1921
-El Cajon is incorporated and five men are appointed to serve on the Board of Trustees. They are: James A. Harris, George W. French, Dr. Charles R. Knox, J. B. Rumsey, William Stell.
-Population in El Cajon is approximately 200.
-First poultry raising begins in El Cajon with two chicken ranches in 1913
-First “Big Freeze” occurred January 5, 1913 when El Cajon residents awoke to a chilly 11 degrees, an all-time low for the Valley.
-First street lights were established by the Board of Trustees, with 19 lights in 1914.
-First cement sidewalks and curbs are installed on Main Street in 1917.
-Fourteen inches of rain fell and flooded much of El Cajon.
1922 to 1931
-The first Fire Chief is Rexford I Hall who served from 1924 to 1933.
-First El Cajon movie theater at 120 E. Main opens May 18, 1927 built by Roy L. Fuller.
-Population: 1,050 in 1930.
-First Chief of Police appointment is Edward W. Menke in 1931.
1932 to 1941
-Main Street is widened in 1935.
-First meat packing and processing plant is started by Aubrey Sears on W. Main St in 1940.
-Population: 1,471 in 1940.
-Fletcher Hills becomes an army training camp with 5,000 soldiers in 1941.
-El Cajon’s First Presbyterian Church.
1942 to 1951
-1942 El Cajon Police Car
-First City Mail delivery is started in 1942.
-New firehouse is completed on South Orange Ave in 1942.
-Sunshine Street is declared a major street by the City Council in 1944.
-Olaf Wieghorst retires to El Cajon. He is known as the Dean of Western Painting in 1944.
-El Cajon Theatre burns down in 1945.
-First Mother Goose Parade takes place in 1947.
-Colorado River’s water first started to flow through the City’s water system in 1947.
-Ray Halgren becomes first full-time paid fire chief in 1948.
-Curfew of 9:00 is passed for minors in 1949.
-Fletcher Hills booms with 600 homes in 1951.
-El Cajon has the most explosive decade growth in its history, and in the history of any comparable community in the nation. Population: 5,600.
1952 to 1961
-New Police and Fire Department erected at the corner of East Douglas and Highland Avenue in 1952.
-First Mother Goose Ball is held in 1953.
-33-foot tower is built atop the First Baptist Church on Prescott & Douglas and is the highest point in El Cajon in 1953.
-Rex Hall is named Citizen of the Year. He is considered “Son of El Cajon” in 1956.
-J. C. Penney relocates to new building built by Mr. Ballantyne to the east of the present location in 1959.
-Population: 37,618 in 1960.
-There is one stoplight in El Cajon at Main and Magnolia in 1960.
-Cajon Speedway at 1888 Wing Avenue opens on July 15, 1961.
-Interstate -8 opens as first interstate in El Cajon in 1961.
1962 to 1971
-Official City of El Cajon seal is adopted in 1962.
-El Cajon celebrates 50th Anniversary in 1962.
-Population nearly 40,000 in 1962.
-Average cost of a new house is $12,650, a new car is $3,233, bread is 22 cents, and the average income is $5,807 in 1963.
-St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center for the developmentally disabled opens at 2119 E. Madison in 1966.
-Population: 52,273 in 1970.
-City purchases W. D. Hall property, now City Hall in 1971.
1972 to 1981
-City purchases the Knox Hotel and moves it to 280 North Magnolia to become the historical focus of the City of El Cajon in 1972.
-First meeting of the El Cajon Historical Society in 1973.
-Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug establish world famous Taylor Guitars in 1974.
-Jimmie Johnson, well-known racecar driver is born on September 17, 1975.
-East County Performing Arts Center opens with a crowd of 667 attendees in 1977.
-AYSO boys and girls soccer league is formed in 1977.
-Population: 73,892 in 1980.
1982 to 1991
-Local florist, Jenny Irey, is invited to the White House to decorate for Christmas in 1982.
-John Reber carries Olympic Torch through the City on its way to L.A in 1984.
-El Cajon celebrates the 75th year of incorporation in 1987.
-Trolley Transit Service begins in El Cajon in 1989.
-Population: 88,693 in 1990.
-International Friendship Festival held in downtown El Cajon in 1991.
1992 to 2001
-In-N-Out burger opens at 1541 N. Magnolia in 1992.
-Concerts on the Green at Prescott Promenade begin in 1996.
-Mark Lewis elected Mayor in 1998.
-Olaf Weighorst Museum opens at 131 Rea Street in 1999.
-El Cajon resident, Carol Sing, age 57, swims the English Channel in 1999.
-Sophie’s Gallery opens on Rea St in 2000.
-Cajon Classic Cruise Car Shows begin in downtown each Wednesday evening in 2000.
-El Cajon Cemetery closes on July 1 to new burials, due to lack of room for expansion in 2000.
-Population: 94,869 in 2000.
2002 to 2012
-Cedar Fire breaks out and surpasses largest fire in California history, burning 280,278 acres in 2003.
-Wieghorst Museum holds first Wieghorst Western Heritage Days on Rea Street in 2003.
-Cajon Speedway closes in 2004.
-New Police Station opens at 100 Civic Center Way in 2011.
-Population: 100,116 in 2012.