Incorporated in 1912, El Cajon is 14.1 square miles and lies just 17 miles from the ocean, 35 miles from the mountains, 75 miles from the desert, 27 miles from the gateway to Mexico and 16 miles from downtown San Diego. A superb freeway system makes all this only minutes away.
The El Cajon educational system is one of the best in San Diego County. The Grossmont/Cuyamaca College District offers two unique campuses with state of the art theater and fitness facilities. Gillespie Air Field and highway access in all directions makes transportation convenient.
In the early part of the nineteenth century, explorations of the mission padres for pastureland led them to El Cajon Valley. The surrounding foothills were a barrier to straying cattle as well as a watershed to gather the sparse rainfall for verdant grasslands along the valley floor. For years, the pasturelands supported the cattle herds of the mission and its native Indian converts.
Early development began in the 1890s with the coming of the railroad and the construction of the flume bringing water from the mountains. Small five and ten acre lemon ranches were established around the new town of La Mesa Springs. El Cajon's economic prosperity and population growth quickened in 1906 after the Park-Grable Investment Company subdivided land and began selling land parcels More houses were built and a small commercial area of wooden storefronts appeared along La Mesa Boulevard, then known as Lookout Avenue. When La Mesa was incorporated in 1912, the population had risen to over 700.
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