The Unique History of Escondido California

The Unique History of Escondido California

Escondido, California is a gorgeous small city located north of San Diego. Nestled in the foothills, its name translates to Hidden.

Though there are those that claim that the city was named Agua Escondido (hidden water), others attest that it refers to the fact that the city is a hidden treasure. With beautiful architecture dating back to the 1880’s, this city is indeed a treasure.

Originally settled by Indians about 4,000 years ago, they made tiny villages. Soon after the Indians were found by the San Diego Mission representatives, and the Indians were given employment using the cattle. Upon gaining it’s independence from Spain, Mexico divided the land into Ranchos. A man by the name of Juan Bautista Alvarado was granted a large portion of the land, and he built a luxurious six-room estate which was nestled from view. Sadly, he passed away after only three years on his rancho.

Later a San Diego Judge, by the name of Witherby, received the land. He set up mining operations after his hopes and dreams of setting up the state capitol there fell through. The mining operation didn’t last long, as the property changed hands a few more times and soon became a city in its own right. The land was used as grazing lands (once again), and later became prime agricultural land. At one time Escondido was known for its grapes, olives, lemons, avocados, oranges, and walnuts. Come the 1970’s the agriculture started disappearing as more and more housing developments sprung up.

Early on Escondido celebrated the grape crops every year. It was a county fair of sorts, with cook offs, parades, and a Grape Day Queen. People would travel from all over, but especially north from San Diego. The visitors would stay overnight in the Escondido hotel and would bring business to the local area. This celebration served the purpose of bringing the community together and celebrating their crops. At one point it was one of the biggest celebrations in the state, but towards the 1950’s the area was producing less grapes and more citrus. Water was more available, and citrus flourished. Grapes were a crop that was grown when there was a lack of water available. The Grape Day celebration was disbanded, but the historical society revived it in 1995.

Today there is a renewed sense of community and celebration during Grape Day, which takes place annually in Grape Day park!

Our beautiful city is rich in history, arts, and culture. We celebrate our diverse history, and embrace it’s past, while continually looking towards the future. Escondido continues to grow, and the Interstate 15 makes the commute to San Diego a quick one. We are becoming home to more and more commuters, and as a result Escondido has become less of an agricultural city, and more of a tight-knit family community. We have a lovely small-town feel, and we welcome you to come and visit our city to see exactly why we call it “home”.


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