About Us

McKinney House Museum
The McKinney House Museum is a period-furnished facility available for tours and special events. The McKinney House regular tour hours are the second and fourth Saturday from 1 to 4pm. 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.
Historical Society Archives
One of the Society’s most active programs is its historical archives and Palermo Building Research Reading Room. The Society’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 Society 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 Society has also authored books, publications and CDs/DVDs and other items relative to the history of La Mesa.
Annual Historic Home Tour
One of the Society’s most popular events is the Annual Historic Home Tour. Each year the Society features 5 to 6 historic homes that illustrate the wonderful suburban landscape of La Mesa. Visitors are transported via Old Town Trolley Buses to view these wonderfully restored and rehabilitated homes. The participant owners generously offer to share their homes for this marvelous example of La Mesa community spirit. Check the Events section of the website for more details.
Special Events / Roundtables
The Society’s Educational mission is met through a variety of special events, including our regular History Roundtable Lecture series on topics of La Mesa History. The Society has also sponsored walking tours, historic plaque programs, traveling photo exhibits, and booths at annual civic events such as the Oktoberfest and Antique Street Faire. Last year the Society also began an association with the Theatre Organ Society of San Diego to create a Silent Movie Night event featuring films from La Mesa’s short but significant role in the early film industry. Check the Calendar Page for the latest Society Events.

The La Mesa Historical Society Mission
To promote, collect and educate on and about the history of La Mesa and its area of historical influence for the benefit of the community through the McKinney House Museum, Historical Archives and public programs.

 

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

 

The La Mesa Historical Socitey Invites
Its members to participate in becoming museum docents, archival volunteers, article writers, special event volunteers, promotions and fund raisers, historic preservation promoters and facility maintenance volunteers.

The Historical Society 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.
  • 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.

Come Learn With Us

From its 19th century origins of cattle and sheep grazing to its period as a silent-movie mecca in 1911-12, La Mesa has a rich and colorful past. Find out more about the history of your community, neighborhood or house at one of our quarterly History Roundtable presentations or at the Research Archives.

Community Participation

The Society’s volunteers regularly man booths and participate in community events such as the annual Antique Street Faire (sponsored by the La Mesa Village Merchants Association) and other special events where history and historic displays and photographs are shared with the public at large.