“Mr. Gillespie and family occupy the 20 mile house, serving meals for the stage line. They are highly respected and quite an addition to the valley.”
So ran a short piece in the Poway Progress newspaper on May 16, 1896
It was called “20 Mile House” because it was at the halfway point on the stagecoach route between San Diego and Escondido. It stood along the old Poway Grade, the twisting and turning mountain road which was then the sole connection between the city of San Diego and the Poway Valley.
In the early 1900s the grade was rerouted further east. The area where 20 Mile House stood today fronts on Old Pomerado Road. But from at least the days of the Gillespies up through around 1910 or so it was the place where stagecoaches stopped to change horses and passengers and crew got a meal.
The building, which no longer exists, often gets confused with another structure built nearby in the late 1920s, the Big Stone Lodge.
Sources for this post included historic San Diego County newspapers, the archives of the Escondido History Center and the Poway Historical and Memorial Society, and the book Historic Stage Routes of San Diego County by Ellen L. Sweet and Lynne Newell.
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How far from the Old Stone Lodge was the 20 mile house?
I’ve spoken to several people at the Poway Historical Society and haven’t heard anything more specific than “nearby.” It was as a result of some people describing them as the same building that I did a little digging and found that the Big Stone Lodge wasn’t erected until the late 1920s.
Thanks for your interest.