Development of the City of La Mesa - Rediscovering San Diego (2023)

April 17 (Th) (A through L)

OR April 29 (Tu)

May 1 (Th) (M through Z) Meet in the Vons Parking Lot near the China Buffet:

7984 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942 GOOGLE MAP MAPQUEST

Accessible: Yes

Description:Stroll past old School remains as you view the first Movie Theater, Original Greyhound bus depot and cab stand. Proceed past such historic businesses as Logans Bakery, the local Drug Store with fountain , Post Office, Original Gas Station, Barger Shop Mortuary (original site of Drew Ford), Village Florist, Buick Agency and the former Opera House (now a Mexican restaurant). View the Dorothy Hotel and the Old Bank, La Mesa Lumber, the FireStation, and the first Post Office.

Directions: (From the Kroc Center)Take University Ave to La Mesa Blvd. Turn right on La Mesa Blvd and left into the Vons parking lot. (See map on our class website).

(Video) La Mesa Then & Now: Revisiting 1980s series on San Diego neighborhoods


TheDevelopment of La Mesa

From humble beginnings

The City ofLa Mesa (meaning “Jewel of the Hills”) was founded on February 16, 1912. Formerly known as La Mesa Springs, it was acommunity of 700 citrus farmers, home-seekers, developers and businessmen. This suburban city now houses over 58,000residents spread over 9 square miles, but is still renowned for the small towncharacter, with features such as the historic “village” business district,family friendly neighborhoods, great schools and ample retain and recreationalamenities.

FollowingSpanish colonization in 1769, what is now La Mesa became part of the MissionSan Diego de Alcala. Mexico wonindependence from Spain in 1821, and in 1834, the new government secularizedmission lands. In 1832, Pio Pico, thelast governor of Mexican California, granted 40,000 acres of ex-Mission land toSantiago Arguello, commander of the Persidio of San Diego.

The historyof La Mesa can be traced to the natural springs that attracted stockman Robert Allisonin 1869. He deemed it “Allison Springs”,later to be known as La Mesa Springs. Allisonbought land in 1868, just three years after the Civil War and after buyingthree children while crossing the plains from Iowa. He intended to use the landas a sheep ranch and for other animal husbandry activities. The natural springs of the area providedwater for livestock, and when gold was discovered in Julian, La Mesa became aconvenient stop for the eastward movement of people and goods. Allison donated money and land forconstruction of a water flume (to carry water from the Cuyamacas through EastCounty) and railroad. The city grewafter the arrival of the San Diego and Cuyamaca Eastern Railroad in 1889 (nowthe route of the MTDB Trolley).

In the earlydays, children took a train to San Diego to attend school. The first school was built in 1895, namedAllison School. Teachers were paid$60/month.

After incorporationin 1912, the city grew steadily, reaching 3,925 by 1940. It grew by expanding to the north and west ofthe old downtown to accommodate the growing population.

(Video) Profile on San Diego neighborhood La Mesa 1987

Some of the landmarks that you maysee on your tour

Old PostOffice (8393 La Mesa Blvd): The old PostOffice building, at the corner of La Mesa Blvd. and 4th St, was constructed in1939 by noted local architect Frank L. Hope, Sr. It was designed in the Art Moderne style, andis the first commercial building to achieve local landmark status in LaMesa. The contractor (Weston Hicks) andproperty owner (George Sheldon) were early civic leaders. Look at the windows and corner entry to seehow glass blocks surround the front door and the tall and narrow metal framedwindows.

La Mesa Firestation: Formerly a livery, the first LaMesa Fire station was created in August 1915.It housed a Moreland Fire Truck, purchased by the city for $2,275. Shortly after, a Volunteer Fire Departmentwas created in La Mesa.

Moreland Fire Truck

DorothyHotel: Located on the corner of PalmAvenue , the Dorothy Hotel was often home to a famous Hollywood director. Alan Dwan directed Shirley Temple in “Heidi”and John Wayne in “The Sands of Iwo Jima”.While in town, he would film on an open-air lot in the heart of downtownLa Mesa. Over 100 one-reel movies wereproduced in 1911 alone. In 1920, a newwave of moviemaking occurred via the Grossmont Studios.

Shirley Temple in Heidi

(Video) Neighbors concerned about 64-unit apartment complex planned for La Mesa Village

La Mesa OperaHouse: Now the Por Favor Restaurant, theLa Mesa Opera house existed for 19 years.Origins date to the early development of La Mesa Springs as the community’scommercial center, starting with the Park-Grable Company’s initial suburban development. The promotional campaign for La Mesa Springsattracted 49 year old carpenter/contractor and Opera House builder WilliamBaldridge to La Mesa the next year. In1908, he began construction of his “opera house” on the north east corner ofPalm Avenue and Lookout (which is now La Mesa Blvd.). This would be the first commercial buildingconstructed east of Palm Avenue. Thefirst official event was held on Thanksgiving eve in 1908 and attracted some400 locals and visitors from nearby communities. By 1909, the opera house was declared one ofthe highlights of this new growing town.It was used as proof of its social and civic maturity, and was regularlypromoted as the community’s home for entertainment and community meetings. Baldridge’s son, Sidney, was interested inworking with director Allan Dwan (see above), and was delighted to get workwith Dwan and the “Flying A” film crew.When the crew moved to Santa Barbara in 1912, both Sidney and WilliamBaldridge moved with them, leaving La Mesa Opera House to a newproprietor. Wilhelm Bauer, a Germanimmigrant who arrived in San Diego in 1907) ran the Opera House until1922. In 1923, operations weretransferred to local real estate man Horatio Houghton, but the once modernOpera House was now dated. It was soldto the Bank of Southern California in 1926 and demolished in early 1927,becoming a Spanish Revival style bank building and current home to Por FavorRestaurant.

La Mesa Opera House

Old shoestore: Look past the current business ofHomeland Florist and reflect that it was once a shoe store. The proprietor shocked some patrons duringthe Roaring ‘20s by offering open toedshoes. If you look above the floristshop’s façade, you can still see vestiges of red cap stone and a red tileroof.

Bell fromthe original Allison School: If you passby La Mesa Middle school, you can still see the original school bell which wasused to summon students to Allison School in the 1800s.

Risque Hair Designing: While here, look for the intricate roses,arches and other historical elements which were included in this building builtduring the 1920s.

LoganBakery: Logan Bakery was a long-time LaMesa business which closed down a few years ago. It is currently Handful of Wildflowers gift boutique,but you can still see the plaque and a historic photo on the building.

A notable character that helped shapeLa Mesa history

(Video) La Mesa organizations hold day of remembrance on anniversary of riot

ElmerDrew: In 1927, Elmer Drew opened Drew’sGarage on the corner of La Mesa Blvd. and Allison Avenue. He rented a vacant building from IraRobinson. His mother loaned him money tobuy the necessary tools for his new business.When he opened shop, he didn’t have any real mechanical skills except topump gas, change tires and batteries and wash cars. He acquired his skills over the years. He even kept a bed upstairs for on callemergencies, as he was the only employee.In 1934, the local Ford dealer down the street from Drew’s garage wentbroke. Their head mechanic (WallaceTodd) was told that he could take anything he wanted as there wasn’t any moneyto pay his wages. He walked out with theFord clock and headed to Drew’s Garage.He asked if he could work there, and then hung the clock inside thegarage. The clock is still in use todayat Drew Ford. Local Ford car owners whohad been serviced by Todd began to bring their Model Ts, Model As and Flathead V8sto Drew’s Garage. Soon after, Drew wasapproached by a Ford representative and asked if he might want to be a FordDealer. He replied “No, because theprevious Ford dealer went broke”. TheFord rep left, but came back and offered to sell Drew $200 in parts and a Forddemonstrator car for $20/month. Drewreplied “I think I can swing that”. Therest is history. (from the Drew Fordwebsite).

Drew's Garage

Walter Tood and Elmer Drew 1940

Holiday activities of early La Mesa

Christmas: La Mesa loves holidays, a tradition which datesback to the first “real Christmas” in 1928.The goal was to provide an activity complete with outdoor trees to showoff the Yuletide civic spirit. Planswere made to place illuminated Christmas trees along the sidewalks of LookAvenue (which is La Mesa Blvd. today).The American Legion offered the live trees to be put up by a “committeeof Legion men” to the front yard of any citizen’s home or business. They were also placed in drilled holesnormally reserved for flags during the 4th of July parade. In keeping with the festivity of the event,the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce also offered a “silver loving cup” to themerchant with the best decorated street tree.The first and second place residential winners were allowed to keep the “livetree” for their yards. Just in case youwere wondering, the La Mesa Electric Co. won the “sliver loving cup” and FrankGrable won first place among residential trees.85 years later, the lit up downtown village is still a La Mesatradition.

(Video) La Mesa shooting victim identified as Navy Sailor

Mother’sDay: Although it did not become anational day of observance until 1914, there was a citywide observance held onMother’s Day in 1911 at the La Mesa Lodge of the Modern Woodmen ofAmerica. This was an early fraternalbenefit society set up to provide benefits to families who had lost a wageearner. The lodge members, along with theall-male La Mesa Band, led a procession from their lodge on Railroad Avenue(now Nebo Drive), down Lookout Avenue to the brand new Congregational Churchbuilding on Third Street. There, theRev. Charles W. Hill gave a rousing sermon on the values of motherhood. It was a standing room only crowd! Not to forget the single women, the LadiesGuild of the Congregational Church had just met two days earlier for the “OldMaids Convention”, an evening of entertainment featuring the best of localtalent in music and drama performed at the La Mesa Opera House. Competing ladies dressed in dowdy outfitswith winners receiving “make-overs”.

Mother's Day, 1911


How was La Mesa CA started? ›

Grable and Charles Park formed the Park-Grable Investment Company. Together they developed 1,000 lots from 200 acres in central La Mesa. With a population of 700, the community incorporated as the City of La Mesa on February 16, 1912.

When was La Mesa built? ›

The City of Lamesa had its beginnings in July, 1903 when a block of 160 acres was carved out of the home section of Frank Conner's Ranch. Earlier the town site had been part of the large Slaughter Ranch, famous for its "Lazy S" brand.

Why is La Mesa called La Mesa? ›

La Mesa in Spanish means "the table", or alternately "the plateau", relating to its geography. La Mesa was part of a larger tract, Mission San Diego de Alcalá, and was used by Spanish missionaries. La Mesa was founded in 1869 and The City of La Mesa was incorporated on February 16, 1912.

What is the zip code for La Mesa CA? ›

La Mesa

What is La Mesa famous for? ›

La Mesa is now best-known for its seasonal festivities, as well as for its quaint downtown area on La Mesa Blvd. more commonly referred to as “The Village.”

Does La Mesa mean in Spanish? ›

Etymology. Borrowed from Spanish la mesa (“the table”).

Is La Mesa a good neighborhood? ›

La Mesa has been ranked as one of the top 10 best suburbs to live in San Diego County. This popular city is made up of 15 neighborhoods and the 91942, 91941, 91943, 91944 zip codes.

Who owns La Mesa? ›

When it comes to Italian restaurants, most fall into one of two categories: basic pizza joints where the pies take precedent, and more fancy s… La Mesa owners Genadi Vasilev, Jon Santoro and Drew Huggard stand with Chef Pablo Hernandez-Cruz.

Is La Mesa good? ›

For families wondering what the environment is like, the area is very family friendly with beautiful homes tucked away in quiet neighborhoods away from the University area. If there was a city to recommend living in, La Mesa would be the best option! La Mesa is a suburb of San Diego with a population of 59,562.

Is La Mesa expensive to live? ›

Cost of Living in La Mesa, California by Expense Category

La Mesa's housing expenses are 73% higher than the national average and the utility prices are 16% higher than the national average. Transportation expenses like bus fares and gas prices are 31% higher than the national average.

Whats it like living in La Mesa? ›

For families wondering what the environment is like, the area is very family friendly with beautiful homes tucked away in quiet neighborhoods away from the University area. If there was a city to recommend living in, La Mesa would be the best option! La Mesa is the perfect place to live, shop, and enjoy.

Is La Mesa affordable? ›

"It is most definitely a great place to live, along with many other niceties in San Diego. It is also cheaper than a majority of other areas." "La Mesa is a pretty chill place. Majority of the people are kind and caring of one another.

What are the best zip codes to live in San Diego? ›

92014. #1 Best ZIP Codes to Live in San Diego Area.

What the Z in ZIP code stands for? ›

ZIP is an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan. However, the USPS intentionally chose the acronym to indicate that mail travels more quickly when senders mark the postal code on their packages and envelopes. It makes sense that the term ZIP code would be related to being zippy, which means “lively” or “peppy.”

How big is La Mesa? ›

What percentage of Mesa is white? ›

Persons 65 years and over, percent 16.6%
Female persons, percent 50.6%
Race and Hispanic Origin
White alone, percent 78.3%
54 more rows

How far is La Mesa from the beach? ›

La Mesa is approximately 12 miles (19 km) east of the Pacific Ocean.

What does San Diego in English mean? ›

From Spanish San Diego (literally “Saint Diego”). Diego is a name on itself not a diminutive of anything as previously identified here as: Santiago (“Saint James”), ultimately cognate to English Jacob and English James.

What is Diego the Spanish version of? ›

So while it can be said (depending on which theory you believe) that Diego can be translated to English as James, it can also be seen as the equivalent of Jacob, Jake, and Jim. And in reverse, James can be translated to Spanish not only as Diego, but also as Iago, Jacobo, and Santiago.

What does Chula mean in Spanish? ›


In Mexican Spanish, chulo/chula is the word you're looking to use if you find something (or someone, but in a kind, non-sexual nor romantic way) really pretty. Use it to compliment a part of someone's outfit or to tell someone you think they look cute today.

What are the good parts of Mesa? ›

  • Red Mountain Ranch.
  • Dobson Ranch.
  • Eastmark.
  • Parkwood Ranch.
  • Superstition Springs.
  • Sunland Village East.
  • Northgrove.
  • Mesa Grande.
6 Sept 2022

Is La Mesa walkable? ›

La Mesa is Somewhat Walkable

Some errands can be accomplished on foot.

How many employees does La Mesa RV have? ›

La Mesa RV corporate office is located in 7430 Copley Park Pl, San Diego, California, 92111, United States and has 638 employees.

How many stores does La Mesa RV have? ›

The company has strategically placed eight dealership locations in California, Arizona and Florida including San Diego, Davis, and Garden Grove, California; Yuma, Mesa, Tucson and Quartzsite, Arizona; plus Sanford, Florida.

Who owns La Mesa RV? ›

Jason Kimbrell - Owner - La Mesa RV | LinkedIn.

Is Mesa a good city to live in? ›

For starters, Mesa makes the list for top places to live, and for good reason! This Phoenix suburb offers reasonably priced real estate with a median home price of $168,500 and average monthly rent of $907, so you'll be able to find the perfect budget-friendly home, condo, or apartment.

How long is La Mesa to San Diego? ›

Distance between San Diego and La Mesa is 14 kilometers (9 miles). Driving distance from San Diego to La Mesa is 20 kilometers (12 miles).

Is Serra Mesa a good place to live? ›

Serra Mesa is a nice, family friendly neighborhood. It can be expensive to live there, but it is a quiet neighborhood that is pretty safe to live in. Rate It!

Is rent expensive in Mesa? ›

The average rent for apartments in Mesa, AZ, is between $1,070 and $2,232 in 2022. For a studio apartment in Mesa, AZ, the average rent is $1,070. When it comes to 1-bedroom apartments, the average rent in Mesa, AZ, is $1,357. For a 2-bedroom apartment, the average rent is $1,655.

How much money do you need to comfortably live in LA? ›

What salary do you need to live in Los Angeles? According to one estimate by, an annual income of $74,371 was about right for the average person to live comfortably in Los Angeles. Of course, this varies depending on where you want to live in LA and how you want to live.

Is Cali the most expensive state? ›

Another important consideration is affordability. According to, Hawaii is the most expensive state to live in, with its housing costing three times the national average. New York and California rank as the second and third most expensive states in which to live, respectively.

Is Costa Mesa a good place to raise a family? ›

This is a city full of life that is an excellent place for families because there are some K-12 schools that are fundamental. There are also some popular tourist attractions such as South Coast Plaza, which is a great place for anyone to visit!

Where should I live near Costa Mesa? ›

Five Best Costa Mesa Neighborhoods to Live in
  • South Coast Metro Neighborhood. South Coast Metro Median Home Value: $762,405 (July 2021) ...
  • East Side Costa Mesa Neighborhood. East Side Costa Mesa Average Home Price: $1.69M (July 2021) ...
  • Westside Neighborhood. ...
  • Mesa Verde Neighborhood. ...
  • Central Costa Mesa Neighborhood.

Where is La Mesa in GTA? ›

La Mesa is an industrial neighborhood in Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online, located in East Los Santos.

What does La Mesa pay? ›

Average La Mesa RV Center hourly pay ranges from approximately $11.00 per hour for Lead Cashier to $20.32 per hour for RV Technician. The average La Mesa RV Center salary ranges from approximately $25,638 per year for Front Desk Agent to $161,409 per year for Finance Manager.

What is La Mesa tax rate? ›

What is the sales tax rate in La Mesa, California? The minimum combined 2022 sales tax rate for La Mesa, California is 8.5%. This is the total of state, county and city sales tax rates.

What is the average household income in Costa Mesa California? ›


Where do the wealthy live in San Diego? ›

Here's a quick rundown of our list: Carmel Valley. Del Mar Heights. La Jolla.

What is the nicest area to live in San Diego? ›

Best Neighborhoods to Live in San Diego
  • Oceanside. The artistic beach community of Oceanside offers some of the most affordable coastal living in all of Southern California. ...
  • Carlsbad. ...
  • Pacific Highlands Ranch. ...
  • La Jolla. ...
  • Solana Beach. ...
  • Torrey Pines. ...
  • Downtown San Diego. ...
  • South Park.
27 Dec 2021

What is the nicest city in San Diego? ›

The 15 Best Neighborhoods in San Diego for Tourists
  1. Downtown, Gaslamp Quarter, and Embarcadero. The Horton Grand Hotel in downtown San Diego. ...
  2. Little Italy. ...
  3. Coronado. ...
  4. Mission Bay, Mission Beach, & Pacific Beach. ...
  5. La Jolla. ...
  6. Balboa Park. ...
  7. Hillcrest. ...
  8. Mission Valley and Old Town.
17 Nov 2022

What do the first 2 digits of a ZIP code mean? ›

The first digit in a ZIP code represents a defined group of U.S. states. The second and third digits represent a region in that group, such as a large city. To send mail, only the first five digits of the ZIP code are required.

What are the 4 extra digits of a ZIP code? ›

So what do the extra numbers mean? These last 4 digits represent specific delivery routes within delivery areas. This extra detail means an even more precise matching to a more granular level. It could represent a handful of houses on one side of a street, or even a single building that receives a high volume of mail.

What was before ZIP Codes? ›

The prehistory of the ZIP code

You might have used the recipient's street address along with the city and state, but you wouldn't have seen a ZIP code. Mail was hand-sorted, and delivery relied on local knowledge of its intended destination.

What ZIP Code is the richest? ›

Table of Contents
#Zip CodeCity
5 more rows
12 May 2022

In what state is the richest ZIP Code? ›

Washington state reaches highest position yet with Medina's 98039 at #6. San Diego County breaks into top 10 with Rancho Santa Fe at #10. Nation's 100 most expensive zip codes located in just 10 states, with 70% from California. Los Angeles County remains the country's priciest with 21 zips.

Is mesa of Spanish origin? ›

From Spanish mesa (“table”), from Vulgar Latin mēsa, from Latin mēnsa.

Who owns La Mesa Lumber? ›

Olson's two sons, Don and Ray, joined him at La Mesa Lumber when they returned home from the service at the end of World War II. Don and Ray started as yardmen and lumber-handlers and eventually took over management of the company. La Mesa Lumber Co. is still owned and operated by the Olson family.

Who owns La Mesa in Omaha? ›

The restaurant started in 1993 as the dream of Founder Francisco Onate who wanted a place where families could come together.

What are Mexicans from Spain called? ›

For example, an individual with origins from Spain can identify as Hispanic because it's a Spanish-speaking country. But they might not call themselves Latinos because Spain isn't in Latin America. Similarly, a person from Brazil may call themselves Latino, Latina or Latinx because the country is in Latin America.

What does mesa mean English? ›

noun. me·​sa ˈmā-sə : an isolated relatively flat-topped natural elevation usually more extensive than a butte and less extensive than a plateau. also : a broad terrace with an abrupt slope on one side : bench. Mesa.

What does mesa mean in Latin? ›

Mesa comes from the Latin mensa meaning "table," which is very much what a mesa looks like. A mesa is formed when the weaker horizontal rocks around a big formation start to erode and fall away, leaving stronger rocks standing in a flat-topped hill.

What is the largest timber company in the US? ›

Highest production of sawn wood in North America
RankCompanyProduction or Capacity [m3/yr]
1West Fraser Timber Co Ltd8460000
9 more rows

Where is the largest lumber mill in the US? ›

West Fraser is the largest softwood lumber producer in North America at over 7.2 billion board feet of capacity. This includes the recent purchase of Angelina Forest Products in Lufkin, TX and expanded capacity at the Dudley, GA sawmill.

Who is the biggest lumber supplier in the US? ›

Six of the most notable lumber suppliers in the United States are as follows:
  • Curtis Lumber and Plywood. ...
  • Georgia-Pacific LLC. ...
  • Sierra Pacific Industries. ...
  • Hampton Affiliates. ...
  • Idaho Forest Group. ...
  • Weyerhaeuser Co. ...
  • Quality Of Their Lumber. ...
  • Your Purpose For The Lumber.
6 Dec 2021

Is La Mesa a chain? ›

La Mesa is a Mexican restaurant chain found only in a few states in the Midwest. The restaurant serves appetizers, soups and salads, tacos, burritos, fajitas, seafood, build-your-own options, dessert, and more.

Who owns herringbone La Jolla? ›

Herringbone, the high-profile La Jolla restaurant that San Diego celeb chef Brian Malarkey created — and later sold four years ago — is returning to his ownership and will reopen next year as a “French-inspired” steakhouse.

Who is the largest employer in Omaha NE? ›

Biggest Companies In Omaha, NE
  1. Berkshire Hathaway. Zippia Score 4.8. ...
  2. Medical Solutions. Zippia Score 4.1. ...
  3. Union Pacific. Zippia Score 4.8. ...
  4. Loup Logistics. Zippia Score 4.8. ...
  5. Kiewit. Zippia Score 4.7. ...
  6. Home Instead. Zippia Score 3.9. ...
  7. Radisson Hotels International Inc. Zippia Score 4.5. ...
  8. Werner Enterprises. Zippia Score 4.7.


1. Lake Murray in La Mesa 1994
(CBS 8 San Diego)
2. Controversial proposal to move La Mesa's homeless to Campo fails to advance
(CBS 8 San Diego)
3. News 8 Throwback 2001: Revolving house in La Mesa
(CBS 8 San Diego)
4. La Mesa Model Railroad Club HO Scale DCC Layout Tour Tehachapi
(TSG Multimedia)
5. Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho: Higanteng 'kugtong' sa Cebu, kumakain daw ng tao?!
(GMA Public Affairs)
6. Rediscover a New UCSD: A RA YouTube Special
(REYT - Retiree and Emeriti YouTube Channel)
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