Bonita Then

Below is an ad which appeared regularly in the San Diego Union in early 1885:

In addition to the ad, one finds news items pertaining to “the Cooper place” and “Bonita Ranch” often in late nineteenth century San Diego newspapers, as part of the coverage of developing farming operations in southern San Diego County.

Mr. Cooper was soon branching out from poultry to citrus fruits, a trend evident throughout the county during that time. Wheeling and dealing in land was another trend. A Union article in May 1890 reported the sale of the ranch “to a Boston syndicate for the sum of $25,000.” The ranch, the article went on to say, “contains 115 acres. The present lemon grove will be enlarged to the full capacity of the ranch. There are now about thirty acres in citrus fruits. The entire ranch will be devoted to lemon culture together with eighty acres adjoining the tract.”

To apply a little historical perspective on that sale: please note that $25,000 1890 dollars would be worth $772, 384.62 today. For those 115 acres, that would come out to paying roughly $6,700 per acre.

That’s a lotta lemon juice.

Sources for this post included historic San Diego newspapers, the books California Place Names by Erwin G. Gudde, San Diego County Place Names A To Z, by Leland Fetzer, the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Robert Sahr and Ian Webster for information on inflation, and the website of the Bonita Historical Society, .


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