About Us

The History Center Is

  • an all-volunteer organization, incorporated in 1975, with officers and directors elected by the general membership of the organization.
  • a not-for-profit, tax-exempt, public benefit, educational California corporation, and exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (Tax ID 95-2984773)
  • funded by annual membership dues, contributions, bequests and memorials, grants and fund-raising events.
  • actively collecting additional archival materials and objects associated with the history of La Mesa
  • engaged with the La Mesa community and other civic institutions.
  • an active advocate for historic preservation of La Mesa’s cultural resources.
  • one of La Mesa’s hidden gem institutions.
  • the sum of its membership and volunteer’s effort.

The La Mesa Historical Center Mission

To promote, collect and educate on and about the history of Greater La Mesa area for the benefit of the community through the McKinney House Museum, Historical Archives and public programs.

The Greater La Mesa area includes the communities of Grossmont, Mt Helix, Casa de Oro, Spring Valley, Rancho San Diego and Fletcher Hills along with San Diego’s College Neighborhoods, Rolando, Del Cerro, and San Carlos, all of which share associated histories.

The La Mesa Historical Center Vision

An organization actively engaged in preserving La Mesa’s unique heritage for future generations to see and enjoy.

Become a Volunteer With The Center

Volunteers are an integral part of the Center. Opportunities include serving as a docent in the McKinney House Museum or on the Home Tour, archival and collection work, writing and graphics, video editing, fundraising, historic preservation, and facility maintenance. If you are interested in volunteering please call the archives at (619) 466-0197 or email volunteers@lamesahistory.com to join this enthusiastic group of people.

McKinney House Museum

McKinney House Museum

The McKinney House Museum is a period-furnished facility available for tours and special events. The McKinney House is open every Saturday from 1 to 4 pm (closed holiday weekends). Special, school and group tours can be arranged. Call (619) 466-0107 for further information. Rev. Henry A. McKinney built the home for his family in 1908. The McKinney’s were active in the cultural, educational, commercial and fraternal life of early La Mesa. The house is furnished in the 1908 – 1920 period.  Interested in being a House Docent?  Call us at (619) 466-0107 to sign up for training.

Palermo Building Research Reading Room

Historical Center Archives

One of the Center’s most active programs is its historical archives and Palermo Building Research Reading Room. The Center’s Archival Collections include documents, records, newspapers, artifacts, photographs, video and oral history records focused on the history of La Mesa and its environs. The Center Archives are open every Saturday from 1 to 4pm (excepting holidays*) or by appointment. Photocopies and photographic image reproductions are available for a fee. The Center has also authored books, publications and CDs/DVDs and other items relative to the history of La Mesa.

* We will be closed on 12/24/22 and 12/31/22.


Home Tour

Annual Historic Home Tour

One of the Center’s most popular events is the Annual Historic Home Tour. Each year the Center features 5 to 6 historic homes that illustrate the wonderful suburban landscape of La Mesa. Visitors are transported via buses to view these wonderfully restored and rehabilitated homes. The participant owners generously offer to share their homes for this marvelous example of Greater La Mesa community spirit. Check the Events section of the website for more details.


Special Events / Roundtables Lectures

The Center’s educational mission is met through a variety of events and programs including roundtable lectures, “Meet Me at the McKinney House” family friendly programs, walking tours, historic plaques in La Mesa Village, traveling photo exhibits, and participation at community events such as the Rolando Street Fair and the La Mesa Flag Day Parade. This is an area we are constantly refining so check the Events tab above to see what is new on the horizon.

Board Officers

President – Veronica Martzahl
Vice President – Tracey Stotz
Membership Vice President – Kristine Alessio
Secretary – Sharon Smith
Treasurer – Jeremy Martinson
Past President – Jim Newland

Board of Directors – At Large Members

Samantha Alberts
Donna Bloomer
Sheryl Castro
Steven Churchill
David Cline
Kari Dodson
Michele Greenburg-McClung
John Richardson