This past Saturday I gave a talk called ”More Livestock Than People: San Diego’s Agricultural Heritage,” for Oasis at the Santee Branch Library. In the course of researching my subject I found many articles in local newspapers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that gave a picture of rural life within various county communities.
Here’s an example from The Poway Progress newspaper from exactly 124 years ago, November 2 ,1895. I post it because it offers a verbal snapshot of one community, Lakeview, described then as “an arm of El Cajon valley.”
The short article noted that “Three years ago Lakeview was covered with sage brush, the habitat of innumerable jack rabbits and coyotes. Today these same hills and valleys, by a pleasing transformation, are covered with orange and lemon groves, amidst which stand cozy cottages, the homes of an enterprising and progressive people, who wrought this change.
“No more healthy groves can be seen anywhere,” continued the article. “Trees planted three years ago are well loaded with fruit.”
The reporter went on to state that a newly completed schoolhouse had been opened the week before, with 17 students enrolled,“the occasion having been appropriately celebrated in the evening by an entertainment of a literary character, including a stereopticon exhibition by one of the citizens.”
In addition to The Poway Progress, sources for this post included The History of San Diego: 1542-1908, Volume II, by William E. Smythe, and the 1888 book, The City and County of San Diego, Illustrated and Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Pioneers, by T. S. Van Dyke.
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