Please see the ad below from the Poway Progress newspaper of February 10, 1894 for the Poway & Escondido Stage Line. Take a look at the line about halfway down listing the main stage stops: “Poway, Escondido, Valley Center, Bernardo, and Virginia.”
Virginia? That would seem at first glance like one BIG detour! But no, there was, for a few years anyway, a place, essentially just a post office, in San Diego County called Virginia. It was in the southern end of the Poway Valley.
In the very rural, sparsely populated north San Diego County of those days, post offices moved around a lot, based often at the ranches of individual families. The notice about the creation of the Virginia post office offers a typical example.
“The 320-acre ranch of Dr. Wright, which lies in the Clemente valley on the Escondido stage road about three miles northeast of the old adobe postoffice, has been purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Frank Tower,” began an item in the San Diego Union of January 21, 1891.
The article went on to say that the Towers “have just finished a comfortable dwelling and are running a store and postoffice also. The name of Virginia, for Mrs. Tower, has been chosen for this new postoffice instead of Linda Vista, as after the lower office was discontinued its name was given the office at Wells’ place on the Southern California [Railway].”
The 1897 San Diego City/County Directory described Virginia a “A postoffice near the foot of the Poway grade, south side, about 15 miles north of San Diego.” Listed underneath that description was a grand total of five residents’ names, one of them being “Tower, F.C., rancher.”
Listings in directories over the next few years showed the same handful of people in Virginia. Apparently it was a bit out of the way for people in the northern and eastern parts of what was then called “Linda Vista mesa.” Residents in that area petitioned for another post office not long after Virginia had been established. That petition was granted, creating a postoffice whose name is familiar to all of us today.
“Benjamin Myers has received his commission as postmaster at the new office of Miramar, near the Scripps ranch,” announced the San Diego Union of May 12, 1892.
The Virginia post office was formally closed October 31, 1900.
Sources for this post included historic San Diego city and county newspapers, San Diego county directories, and the U.S. National Archives listings of postmaster appointments.
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