Located 15 minutes east of San Diego, El Cajon is Spanish for “the drawer,” relating to it being surrounded by mountains in a nestled valley. El Cajon is home to the San Diego Air & Space Museum’s annex at Gillespie Field. The annex provides an important restoration and replica reproduction program for the museum and has many displays available for viewing. For more information, visit http://sandiegoairandspace.org/museum/gillespie-field-annex.
La Mesa in Spanish means “the table,” or alternately “the plateau,” relating to its geography. It is the hometown of NBA player Bill Walton, football stars Reggie Bush and Alex Smith, singer of rock band Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder, and the birthplace of heavy metal musician Dave Mustaine. Its official flower is the bougainvillea. At the beginning of each October, La Mesa holds their biggest event of the year, Oktoberfest.
The Lemon Grove community was settled in 1869 by its first known permanent resident, sheep rancher Robert Allison. From the 1860s to 1900 the area was known for sheep and poultry ranching and vegetable crops. In the early 1900s, the community acquired its name when large citrus groves were planted and lemon and orange growing and shipping became the area’s major industry.
Today, there is a 10-foot-wide statue of a lemon at 3361 Main St. It is located by a small lemon grove beside the Orange Line trolley tracks near the local trolley station and downtown bus stop. Written across the base of this monument are the words “Best Climate on Earth.”
The city is named after Milton Santee, second husband of Jennie Blodgett, whose first husband was George A. Cowles, a ranching pioneer in the San Diego area. Santee has one major regional park, Santee Lakes. Santee Lakes consists of seven public lakes and has a campground and other amenities on-site. Santee is also home to a popular Southern California rock climbing area.