Regular readers know that one of my special interests is the lost towns of San Diego County, towns and villages which once thrived as small communities but no longer exist as separate entities. Sometimes, their names live on long after the local town hall or stagecoach stop has disappeared. That’s true of Bostonia, whose name endures as a neighborhood within the city of El Cajon. There was a time when Bostonia was the dream of two men who, like many others, came from elsewhere to buy land in San Diego County and pursue new lives. In this case the two men, Charles Crosby and William Souther, who came in 1886, happened to be from—guess where?—Boston, Massachusetts. And though they’d left the frigid winters of their hometown behind they still decided to name their newly acquired ranch New Boston. Within a few years, this had evolved into Bostonia.
Below is an article in the Poway Progress newspaper of June 30, 1894:
The article led off by announcing that Souther and Crosby were putting up a general store and that a postmaster had been appointed.
The article also mentioned plans to “extend the stemming house,” an indication that the town would be a center for fruit cultivation and processing.
Bostonia soon rated its own listing in local directories, as shown in this page from an 1897 San Diego County Directory:
While it’s been absorbed by the city of El Cajon today, local maps still carry the name Bostonia, and one of the neighborhood’s streets bears the name Crosby as well.
Sources for this post included historic San Diego County newspapers and directories and the book, San Diego County Place Names A to Z, by Leland Fetzer.
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Absolutely fascinating. I have lived in the El Cajon valley for 47 years and never new that.
Thank you. Appreciate your comment.
Thank you! My mothers maiden name was Souther and she always believed, but was unable to prove, that she was related to William Souther. I have also read his name as Charles Souther. research can be fun. 🙂
Thank you for your interest. Research can indeed be fun, and often revelatory. Good luck!