Author James D. Newland, La Mesa resident and historian and manager with California State Parks, has partnered with the La Mesa Historical Society to create this centennial history featuring many evocative images of La Mesa, its associated neighbors, landmarks, and notable events, institutions, and individuals.
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On February 16, 1912, La Mesa Springs, a community of 700 citrus farmers, home seekers, developers, and businessmen, incorporated into the City of La Mesa. Located amongst the rolling hills and mesa lands between San Diego and El Cajon, today’s suburban city of over 56,000 is still renown for its small-town character, featuring its historic “village” business district, family-friendly neighborhoods, good schools, and ample retail and recreational amenities. The area’s centuries-old prehistory and history can be traced to the natural springs that attracted stockman Robert Allison in 1869. Allison Springs, later renamed, prospered and grew after the arrival of the railroad in 1889. After incorporation, the young city grew steadily, reaching 3,925 residents by 1940. Post–World War II La Mesa exemplified the exponential suburban growth of the region, expanding to the north and west of the old downtown to accommodate 50,000-plus residents by 1980—all were attracted, as today, to the “Jewel of the Hills.”
James D. Newland
May 26, 2010