Founded in 1888 one of SD county’s oldest cities, occupies 36.5 square miles. Pop. 147,514., 46% Latino, 44% White, 5% Asian/Pacific Islander, 2% Black. In 2005 Escondido was ranked one of the 25 most conservative cities in the US. (govpro.com)
The first census, in 1850, showed Escondido as home to large Spanish-speaking population. Non-Spanish speakers came during the next 3 decades, known as the “Southern California Land Boom”.
Before incorporation as a town, the land Escondido occupies was a ranch, called Rancho Rincón del Diablo, owned by San Diego Judge Oliver S. Witherby, who bought it from the heirs of San Diego native, Juan Bautista Alvarado, Regidor of Los Angeles, and first Regidor of San Diego, who had received it as a Mexican Land Grant 1843, after Mexico won independence from Spain.
In 1868 the judge sold the ranch to Edward McGeary and the Wolfskill brothers, who sold it to a group of Los Angeles investors in 1883. They, in turn, incorporated the Escondido Land and Town Company, and in 1888 Escondido was incorporated as a city. Economic growth and the price of land benefited from the laying of the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific railways in the 1880s, and in 1930 U.S. Route 395 (Rte. 15) was opened, leading to further growth. The industry through the 1970s was agriculture – muscat grapes, citrus fruits and avocados.
The government of Escondido is made up of a Mayor and Four Councilmembers, of whom Olga Diaz is one, the only Hispanic to serve in elected office in Escondido since its incorporation in 1888. Not only is she the first Hispanic to be elected, she is also unapologetically a Democrat, in what is known to be a very Republican leaning region. Listen to how her passion for the rights of children prompted her to take action and get elected to a Council that she felt was not responding to their needs.
Do you have this kind of passion for a cause in your life? Be inspired by Councilmember Diaz’ story, and go out to change your corner of the world!