Author James D. Newland, La Mesa resident and a historian and manager with California State Parks, has partnered with the Mt. Helix Park Foundation to create this photographic history featuring evocative images of Mt. Helix and its neighbors, landmarks, notable events, institutions, and individuals.
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Every year, the morning of Easter Sunday, thousands of intrepid souls trek to the summit of San Diego County’s Mt. Helix. Once there, they experience the nearly century-old tradition of a community-based sunrise service held at the historic Mt. Helix Nature Theater.
Constructed for that purpose in 1925, and located in a unique, privately-owned “public” park, the landmark serves as just one of the reasons this conically shaped peak has become a regional, cultural, and natural icon. Named for a rare gastropod, the 1,119-foot-high pinnacle also serves as a geographic beacon for the mostly unincorporated surrounding neighborhoods of Mt. Helix, Grossmont, Calavo Gardens, Casa De Oro, Spring Valley, and the adjacent, historically related municipalities of El Cajon, Lemon Grove, and La Mesa.
Today, these semirural neighborhoods are renowned for their idyllic, family-friendly landscapes; classic early-20th-century Revival–style and custom midcentury modern architecture; and long-standing commercial and community institutions.
The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.
James D. Newland
October 26, 2015