La Presa – 1889

The Otay Press of Chula Vista published a lengthy letter-to-the-editor in its issue of April 18, 1889. The letter writer, identified as “Hal,” was touting his home town of La Presa.

“If there is a lovelier spot on the face of nature than the region around La Presa presents today,” Hal began, “it is worth taking a great deal of trouble to see; for certainly the combinations here are enchanting.”

The beautiful scenery “owes but one feature to it,” he wrote. “That feature, however, is important. It is the Sweetwater Reservoir.”

Here, you could say, borrowing a contemporary term, Hal riffed on the reservoir:

“It is dam full of water. I mean it is full of damned water—that is to say that the great dam dams the water and therefore the water is dammed.”

He then goes back to a more traditional message.

“It makes a beautiful lake three miles long by a mile wide. The surface of Spring Valley and the surrounding hills is covered with wild oats…. clover and bespangled with flowers. For a week past the mower has been gliding through the rank vegetation; the horserake following, and thousands of hay cocks are dotting the hillsides and valleys.”

The Sweetwater Dam, which created that reservoir, had been dedicated just one year earlier from the time Hal wrote his letter, and La Presa was just beginning to develop.

“Nearly two months ago Mr. Schaeffer received an appointment of postmaster here,” the letter continued. “He immediately sent on his bonds and there the matter rests. We are patiently waiting for the establishment of our postoffice and a daily mail. In the meantime our mail is forwarded from National City with semi-occasional regularity.”

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