pre-segregation

Lemon Grove Elementary School students – 1929

Pioneers
 

The pioneers of Lemon Grove were the first to settle the area, but not the first to inhabit it. That honor goes to the Kumeyaay who traversed the coastal sage habitat and its cactus strewn lands. The pioneers found land fit for grazing cattle, but without sufficient water for development of farms.

Lemon Grove grew because of its proximity to San Diego. It grew because a rail line was built through it, running from San Diego to the town of Foster and the wagon road from Foster to the gold camps of Julian. That rail line provided easy access to markets in San Diego and eastern markets beyond.

What the town needed was water. The pioneers raised money, formed water companies and built a flume which brought water from the Cuyamaca Mountains some thirty-seven (37) miles to the east. They built reservoirs. They subdivided the land. They cleared the sage scrub and planted lemons – “a sea of lemons” – and set about building a community. Meet the pioneers of Lemon Grove.

Allen, Sherwood R. (1862-1893) Lemon Grove’s first postmaster (1893).

Allison, Benjamin Franklin “Frank” (1848-1936)  Son of Robert Allison. Sold meat in San Diego from family sheep business. Built the first house in Lemon Grove in 1891, a “small shack” on the corner of modern day Lemon Grove Avenue and Golden Avenue.  He signed the original petition to form the Lemon Grove School District in 1893.

Allison, Joseph Augustus (1852-1915)  Land developer. Son of Robert Allison. Instrumental in building a flume to bring water to Lemon Grove. Filed the original subdivision maps for the town site of Lemon Grove in 1891. He (along with A.S. Crowder) would file the La Mesa Springs subdivision map in 1894.

Allison, Robert (1814-1891)   Pioneer sheep rancher. Purchased 3,000 acres in Cuyamaca and 8,000 acres of former mission lands from heirs of Santiago Argüello. The latter purchase included modern day Lemon Grove and parts of La Mesa, Spring Valley and Encanto. Allison was an investor in and provided right-of-way for the San Diego Flume Company which brought water to Lemon Grove in 1889. He was a director and stockholder of the San Diego and Cuyamaca Railroad which ran through his Lemon Grove and La Mesa holdings.

Allison, Temperance “Tempa” Waterman (1815-1890)   Wife of Robert Allison. She is one of two people credited with naming the community “Lemon Grove.”

Argüello, Santiago (1791-1862)  Soldier. Son of the founder of the Pueblo de Los Angeles and twice Spanish colonial governor of California. His brother, Luis Antonio Argüello, was also a Spanish colonial governor of California (1822-1825). Santiago received Mexican land grants including Tia Juana Rancho in 1829, the Trabuco Rancho in 1841 and San Diego Ex-Mission lands in 1846. The Mission land grant included modern day Lemon Grove.

Bates, Elizabeth Chandler (Hall) (1846-1934)  Rancher. Upon the death of her husband, shortly after arriving in Lemon Grove, Elizabeth became the head of the Bates family. She purchased twenty (20) acres from Joseph Allison in 1892 making her one of the first early land owners. With her sons she planted an orchard, then sold the land for subdivisions in 1910 and 1912. She signed the original petition to form the Lemon Grove School District in 1893.

Beidleman, Edward Thomas (1858-1939) Rancher. He was a founding director of the First Congregational Church of Lemon Grove (1894). He was the longest serving of the original board members remaining on the Board of Trustees for over a decade.

Brand, Henry L (1855-1936) Mining Engineer, rancher and early merchant. Bought the first lot in the Lemon Grove subdivision in June of 1892 and built the third house in Lemon Grove. He is credited with selling the first box of lemons from his Lemon Grove orchard for $1.65 in November 1894. Brand ran the Lemon Grove store and was named Lemon Grove’s third postmaster in 1895.

Fletcher, Edward (Col.) (1872-1955) Produce farmer, real estate developer, promoter. He lived in a sod house on Vista Street in 1888 at the beginning of his career. He later built a home in Lemon Grove for his grandfather, Charles K. Fletcher. Fletcher was elected to the California State Senate three times. He brought piped water to Lemon Grove (1910).

Geer, Levi (1843-1898) Merchant. Town Clerk in Dansville, Michigan 1876-1880. Purchased 30 acres from Joseph Allison and built the Sunset View Ranch in 1895.  He was a founding stock holder of Lemon Grove Fruit Association (1896).

Hall, George P (1841-1915)  Businessman. Civil War Veteran. He was a rancher and co-owner of the San Diego Engraving Company. He was a founding stock holder of LG Fruit Association. He signed the original petition to form the Lemon Grove School District in 1893. He was a founding director of the First Congregational Church of Lemon Grove (1894). Hall gained a reputation as a horticulturalist and author. He served as a horticultural commissioner in San Diego County and was the President of the California State Board of Horticultural Commissioners.

Ingram, William B  (1850-1921) Rancher. He signed the original petition to form the Lemon Grove School District in 1893. He was a founding director of the First Congregational Church of Lemon Grove (1894) and a founding stock holder of LG Fruit Association (1896).

Miller, Earnest Charles (1868-1901)  Rancher. Purchased 10 acres of land in Lemon Grove in 1893 and began a citrus tree nursery.

Nickerson, Joseph Samuel (1856-1941) Construction Contractor. Nickerson was hired by Joseph Allison to build the first house in Lemon Grove in 1892 near the south east corner of Golden Avenue and Imperial (now Lemon Grove Avenue). Nickerson was involved in building roads, reservoirs, pipelines and homes in the Lemon Grove, San Diego and surrounding areas. With offices at Ninth and L street in San Diego, he was one of San Diego’s most popular and best known contractors during the 1890’s.

Stiles, Benjamin B (1862–1896)  Rancher.  He was a founding director of the First Congregational Church of Lemon Grove (1894).

Troxell, George Arthur (1867-1937)  William Troxelll’s younger brother. He built a Victorian home on “Lemon Grove Road” in 1894. The home was used as a stage coach stop and hotel. It was demolished in 1993 to make way for the Home Depot.

Troxell, William Slaughter (1863-1945) First citrus rancher in Lemon Grove. After amassing a fortune in the candy business in Illinois, Troxell relocated to Lemon Grove for the weather. He built the Troxell Manor in 1892, extant but threatened. One of two people credited with naming “Lemon Grove.”

Waite, Jerry William (1854-1950)  Pioneer orchardist from Michigan. Fruit grower. He bought 20 acres in June of 1893 and planted one of the first orchards in Lemon Grove. He later acquired over 100 additional acres, building one of the largest ranches in Lemon Grove. His produce was sold nationally under the Waite Orchard Fruit Label.  He was a founding stock holder of LG Fruit Growers Association (1896). He was a founding incorporator of Lemon Grove Packing Company Inc (1903)  Waite Drive is named for the family.

Willingham, John Quincy (1857-1947) Rancher  He was a founding director of the First Congregational Church of Lemon Grove (1894).

Wood, John Andrew (1874-1931)  Battalion Chief San Diego Fire Department (1905-1931). John was known for his colorful stories about the early days of Lemon Grove. He hauled water to railroad construction workers in Lemon Grove and La Mesa at age of 14 in 1888. He later worked for the Nickerson Construction Company based in Lemon Grove. John and his brother,

Wood, Charles E.  (1876-1931), signed the original petition to form the Lemon Grove School District in 1893.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Growers, Ranchers and Orchardists
In the 1880s Robert Allison realized the low coastal mesa of San Diego provided ideal climate for growing citrus fruit – notably lemons. The elevation was right. The ocean influence provided moderate temperatures with no killing frost. Lemon Grove was perfect except for one thing – water. Lemons needed water.

Allison along with others set out to bring water from the mountains to the land. And they succeeded. The land rush was on!

In 1891 Lemon Grove was a sage brush plateau. In 1894 the first boxes of lemons were sold from Lemon Grove orchards and by 1900 hundreds of boxes were being shipped by the members of the Lemon Grove Fruit Association.

These are the people who cleared the land, built homes, planted lemon trees and tended the orchards that fueled the growth of Lemon Grove.

Barry, James H. (1868-1931)  Farmer. Lemon Grove’s first constable 1903.

Denlinger, Walter Franklin (1887-1968) Early rancher, citrus grower. His holdings ran along Washington Street between Alton and Golden Avenue. He donated land for town’s first park on Washington Street. Today the land is the Lemon Grove Park and Senior Center.

Fels, August H.  (1853-1914)   Early rancher. He and his wife Augusta built the largest ranch comprising approximately one-quarter of modern Lemon Grove. He built the Fels Ranch House in 1896 (extant on Massachusetts Avenue).

Fisher, William  (1841-1912)  Rancher. He was a successful grain farmer and vintner in Spring Valley building a two story home there in 1880. He purchased a large track of property in the Lemon Grove that would later be subdivided into Lemon Grove Addition No. 1 in October of 1892.

Halley, John Hamilton “J.H.” (1854-1944)  Rancher. Director, Lemon Grove Fruit Growers Association and member of the Lemon Grove Mutual Water Company. Founding director and later President of the La Mesa, Lemon Grove and Spring Valley Irrigation District (1913-1922). Trustee and treasurer of the First Congregational Church of Lemon Grove (1901-1942)

Hay, Arthur C (1868-1944) Civil Engineer and Lemon Grower. Bought the Plumose Ranch and remodeled the bungalow farm house in 1913. (extant). President of Lemon Grove Fruit Growers Association (1918-1923).

Hunter, Howard Hatfield (1880-1874)  Nurseryman. Founded the Hunter Tree Nursery in 1919, the oldest continually operating business in Lemon Grove. He supplied trees for orchards and landscaping in Lemon Grove and surrounding areas.

Hutchings, Donald Stowell (1901-1976)  Manager of the Lemon Grove Fruit Growers Association 1928-1933.

Jester, Arthur V. (1883-1976)  Manager, Lemon Grove Fruit Growers Association (1912-1921) during the historic January 7, 1913 freeze in San Diego County, damaging half the local citrus crop.

Kida, Jizaemon (1880-1975)  Early Japanese American farmer. He operated farms in El Cajon, La Mesa and Spring Valley. His family was interred at Poston, Arizona during World War II.  His son, Tamotsu, would go on to operate Lemon Grove’s Kida farms.

Kida, Tamotsu “Tom” (1919-2009)  Operated the Kida Farms near Berry Street from 1948-1976, marketing produce under the “Kida Farms” label. Son of early farm family.

Lester, Arthur (1865-1948) Along with his father Brainerd (1832-1910), he was an early Lemon Grove citrus growers. He was a founding incorporator of Lemon Grove Packing Company Inc (1903). Lester Avenue is named for the family.

McKnight, Thomas Joseph Hempstead (1883-1969)  Chula Vista Poultry Rancher Civil Engineer. President of the California Leghorn Breeders of Lemon Grove (1922). He also served as the President of the Chula Vista Board of Trustees (1918-1922).

Mukai, Tasaburo “Thomas” (1886-1954)  Operated a large farm on the edge of Lemon Grove south of Palm Avenue with produce marketed under the “Spring Valley Pride” label. He was among the earliest Nikkei pioneer farming families in San Diego County. The farm was taken in 1968 for the SR-125 freeway right-of-way.

Noonan, Fred C (1860-1838) Rancher. President Lemon Grove Fruit Growers Association 1925.

Olney, Amos Dexter (1883-1972)  Packing House Manager Lemon Grove Fruit Growers Association 1920s.

Prévost, Renan (1898-1990) Grower.  With his brother, Voltaire Prévost (1901-1946), he ran a large farming operation (Mesa Grove Produce). They operated one of Lemon Grove’s largest packing houses on North Street at the railroad tracks. After retiring from the produce business, Renan became an author and publisher of books and music.

Sherrick, Charles A (1855-1932)  Orchardist, Real Estate Agent   Founding incorporator of Lemon Grove Packing Company Inc (1903).  Lemon Grove School Trustee (1903-1909)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Merchants, Businessmen and Entrepreneurs
Joseph Allison recognized that every town needed a place to buy and sell goods. So in 1891, before the first subdivision map was filed, he arranged for the building of a store.

A town needs merchants. As the town grows it needs businessmen of all types. Whether you are selling land, or lemons or plows or shoes, you need people to buy and sell. And you need entrepreneurs, people who will take risks in search of profit,

people who will invest their own money to build a business and with it a community.

These are the people who took the risks and are notable for their role in building the community of Lemon Grove.

Anderson, Henry Arnold “Andy” (1895-1972)  Business Owner, Mechanic.  Opened the first Lemon Grove automobile repair garage at Imperial and Lester Streets. The Lemon Grove Volunteer Fire Department began using the garage for its fire equipment in 1928. Anderson became the volunteer’s first fire chief. Anderson served on the school board (1926-1934). He was the school board president (1929-31) during the Alvarez vs. Lemon Grove School Board desegregation case.

Bond , Mortimer Platt (1860-1940) Rancher and early merchant. Ran the first Lemon Grove Store from 1893-1895. Lemon Grove’s second postmaster (1894-95).

Burnell, Barker (1849-1927) Retail Merchant.  Elected President of the Lemon Grove Community Club in 1912. He was the driving force behind bringing first public library to Lemon Grove.  Active in San Diego civic affairs he served two terms on the San Diego City Council.

Christianson, A.E. ( 18**-1893)  Early merchant.  Built the first Lemon Grove Store in 1891 to fill ranching and domestic needs of the area.

Durham, John S. “Jack”  (1925-2014)  Businessman & Entrepreneur.  Stock boy at Sonka Brothers Store at age 15. WWII veteran (US Navy). Businesses included the Durham Insurance Agency and the historic Cinema Dine drive-in movie theatre. Active in multiple civic organizations including the Lemon Grove Historical Society.

Farella, Nicola Vito “Nick” (1932-2015)  Businessman  Korean War Veteran (US Army) Founder/Owner of Lido’s Italian Foods (1955-1978).

Hart, George Edward (1867-1941)  Merchant. Hart was a prosperous Wisconsin merchant. After relocation to Lemon Grove, he kept accounts for the Sonka Brothers Store from WWI to the great depression. With his wife Mabel, he owned “Hartland” on Main Street.

Irey, Ira Steven (1865-1943) First manager of the Lemon Grove Fruit Growers Association (1899).  He would later go on to become a San Diego City Councilman (1926-1930).

Kerfoot, Arthur Sterling (1868-1944) Businessman.  Proprietor of the Lemon Grove Lumber Yard. The yard was known for its fire tower which housed an electric siren for emergencies.

Klein, Leonard Alton (1917-1980)  Businessman. Civic booster. Owner of Marders Stationery. Active in incorporations efforts and the Chamber of Commerce. House manager of the Lemon Grove Players. Marshal of the Lemon Grove Old Time Days Parade in 1980.

Kleinfield, Joseph P. (1840-1907) Grocer. Civil War Veteran, Infantry Captain. He owned and operated the Lemon Grove Store from September 1895 to 1903 and lived with his family in the adjacent house. Lemon Grove’s third Postmaster.

Lee, Harold Vernon (1896-1986) Businessman, San Diego auto body and paint shop. British immigrant. Original owner of the H. Lee House designed by Frederick C. Clemeshaw and built in 1928. The building was moved to Civic Center Park in 2002 and is now the H Lee House Cultural Center, the home of the Lemon Grove Historical Society.

Lyon, Frank Edward (1872-1945)  Proprietor of the Lemon Grove store and postmaster when building was destroyed by fire and explosion in September of 1906.

Mason, Milton Walter (1877-1955)  Operator of the Lemon Grove Store and postmaster in late  1906 to 1907. Founder of Mason Feed and Supply (in 1891). The business was later run by his son, Channing Perdue Mason.

Mason, Channing Perdue (1909-1969)  Owner of Mason Feed and Supply Company. Member and President of Lemon Grove School Board (1954-1957). Served as a fire commissioner for Lemon Grove Fire District and President of the Lemon Grove Chamber of Commerce.

Miller, Charles George (1873-1953)  Dairyman.  Founded Miller Dairy in 1926.  The dairy would become largest in Lemon Grove. During the Great Depression and World War II it was the sole supplier of milk to the Lemon Grove School District.

Miller, Charles Hubert “Pete” (1912-2007) Dairyman. He was the animal-husbandry expert at Miller Dairy.

Miller, Edward F (1914-1998)  Office manager of Miller Dairy.

Miller, William Paul “Bill” (1921-2015) Dairyman. Musician. WWII Veteran (US Army Air Corp) He delivered milk and became a familiar figure to thousands of customers.

Pero, Ernest Genesis Jr. (1931-2012)  Vietnam War Veteran (US Navy – Retired) Owned a real estate and property management company. He was active in the Lemon Grove business community. Rotarian. Served as chapter president and President of Rotary District Council (2004-2005).

Sonka, Anton (1851-1909)  Immigrant from Bohemia (today, Czech Republic). Patriarch of the Sonka Family and founder of Sonka and Son General Merchandise 1907. He purchased the Lemon Grove Store in 1909. His headstone is located next to the Lemon Grove Historical Society’s Parsonage Museum.

Sonka, Joseph Emil (1887-1947) WWI Veteran (US Army) Merchant and rancher. Partner in the family business, “Sonka Brothers, A. F Sonka and J. E Sonka” – real estate, land development and operator of the Sonka Brothers Store.

Thren, Daniel Frederick (1918-1995) Prominent realtor and philanthropist. Dan bequeathed half a million dollars in 1995 toward the construction of a new Lemon Grove Library. The fund grew to over nine hundred thousand dollars by the time the library was built in 2013.

Wagner, James Harrison “Harr” (1857-1936) Publisher. Harr Wagner played a brief but important role in Lemon Grove History. As the Superintendant of County Schools in 1893, he approved the formation of the Lemon Grove School District. Along with his wife, Madge Morris (Hilyard) Wagner (1865-1924), they owned the Golden Era Magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Developers and Capitalists
 

People came to Lemon Grove for the climate, to improve their health and for the opportunity the new area presented. They had varied backgrounds. Most were farmers turned lemon rancher. Almost all were accustomed to hard work.

A few of the new arrivals came with money. These were the capitalists, the investors, the people with their own income, who did not need to work. And then there were the folks who saw opportunity in buying land, subdividing, building homes or businesses, collecting rent or selling for a profit.

We owe a lot to these risk takers who invested time, money and energy building the community. To protect their investments, they sought public improvements, donated money for schools, ran the business associations, and lobbied for money for parks, libraries, utility (water, gas and electric) systems and roads.

Adams, Albert Edwin  (1871-1956) Developer. Entrepreneur. Adams was the co-owner of the Lemon Grove Park Subdivision. Adams Street bears his name. He was president of the San Diego based Adams-Henry Company (wholesale coffee and spice importer).

Bailey, William Watson  (1846-1940)  Capitalist. Bailey purchased property in Lemon Grove in 1893 and 1894. His daughter married Ira Irey who became the manager of the Lemon Grove Fruit Growers Association in 1899. His son, Chauncey Earl Bailey, operated ranches in Lemon Grove and Imperial Valley.

Braiden, John C (1859-1919)  Real Estate Broker, Land Developer and loan broker. Active in the early development of Lemon Grove (1903-1917). When the Lemon Grove store burned down in 1906, Braiden built a temporary store on the site for merchant Milton Mason. His home and real estate office was located on S/W corner of San Diego Avenue and Railroad Street. He served as postmaster (1903 to 1905).

Bryan, Thomas James (Col.) (1838-1924) Civil War Veteran and Montana Cattleman.  Moved to Lemon Grove in 1895. Served as President of Lemon Grove Mutual Water Company and Vice President of Lemon Grove Fruit Growers Association. Built the Casa Coronelia, a grand home where notables such as William Howard Taft and Calvin Coolidge were entertained.

Fisher, Jabez William “Bill” (1883-1955) Mechanical Engineer, Citrus Rancher, Land Developer. He established the “Cuyamaca Court” subdivision on Buena Vista Avenue (1912) and the Lemon Grove Land Office on Main Street in 1914. After leaving Lemon Grove he became the President of the Southwest Onyx and Marble Company (in 1935) and served on the county Water Authority and board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District. Fisher Lane is named him.

Hunt, William Frederick  (1841-1929) Developer. He built a landmark home, “Coverly,” on Costa Bella Hill to anchor his Costabella subdivision of “highly improved” view lots.

Hurst, Henry H (1851 – ) Capitalist. Early land owner. Bought 10 acres on Central Avenue in July of 1892 from Joseph Allison. The first school classes were held in a barn on his property. He sold his holdings to Jabez William Fisher in 1911.

Kempf, Edward (1842-1930) Kempf was an early rancher and land developer. Moving to Lemon Grove about 1907, he subdivided a tract south of Golden Avenue. The subdivision contained fourteen (14) lots: eight (8) along Golden Avenue and six (6) along the newly created Kempf Street.

Vogdes, Charles Berard  (1856-1922) Spanish-American War Veteran (Major, US Army)  Rancher.  President of Lemon Grove Fruit Growers Association in early 1900s. His brother, Anthony Wayne Vogdes, was President of the San Diego Society of Natural History from 1904 to 1920.

West, William Henry (1875-1978)  President of the Lemon Grove Citrus Association (1927-1957) and a director of the first Lemon Grove Mutual Water Company. First president of the Lemon Grove Chamber of Commerce in 1927. In the early years the Chamber had a quasi-governmental function by overseeing the maintenance of roads, garbage collection, and fire protection. West helped form the Lemon Grove volunteer fire department and obtained the first fire engine from Tijuana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Architects and Builders
 

While it is possible to build a building without an architect, it is difficult to build a building without a plan. Great buildings need great plans and architects are in the business of creating plans. With plan in hand the builder can create the functional, the ordinary or the extraordinary.

Lemon Grove had a small number of architects and builders of note.

Clemesha, Frederick Chapman  (1876-1958) Internationally known Architect. He designed historic Lemon Grove homes including the H Lee House and the Simpson-Hunter Home. He is best known for his WWI memorial monument “The Brooding Soldier” in St. Julien, Belgium.

Dunn, Edmund J (1898-1970)  Building Contractor.  Collaborated with architect Alberto Treganza on numerous buildings in the Lemon Grove, La Mesa, and the Mount Helix area from 1928 through the 1940s. Builder of the 1928 “Big Lemon” parade float. His home (which he built) and orchard survive on Adams Street.

Nickerson, Joseph Samuel (1856-1941) Construction Contractor. Nickerson was hired by Joseph Allison to build the first house in Lemon Grove in 1892 near the south east corner of Golden Avenue and Imperial (now Lemon Grove Avenue). Nickerson was involved in building roads, reservoirs, pipelines and homes in the Lemon Grove, San Diego and surrounding areas. With offices at Ninth and L street in San Diego, he was one of San Diego’s most popular and best known contractors during the 1890’s.

Ray, [Edward] Russel, (1878-1950) Architect. WWI Veteran (Lt. US Army, Signal Corp.) Designed Friendship Hall of the First Congregational Church of Lemon Grove in 1949.  (The building was demolished in 1995.)

Simpson, George (1878-1968)  Carpenter. Swedish immigrant. Built two Tudor Revival style masterpieces in Lemon Grove: the Simpson-House (1926) and H. Lee House (1928).

Treganza, Alberto Owen (1876-1944)  Architect, artist, amateur ornithologist, furniture and cabinet maker.  Designed many civic buildings and homes in the Spanish Revival style including the MacGregor house in Lemon Grove and the old San Diego Police Headquarters at 801 W. Market Street.  He has multiple buildings listed on the register of historic places. In 1928 he designed the “Big Lemon” – the iconic landmark of Lemon Grove.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Professionals: Doctors and Attorneys
Every town needs professionals. These are the people with specialized education, training and skill. They minister to the sick and relieve the pain. They administer the law, help resolve disputes and draft the documents needed to pass title to the land.

In the early days, professionals were few and far between. But as Lemon Grove grew, so did the need for doctors, dentists, attorneys and other professionals to serve the needs of the community.  Here are some of the notables.

Armstrong, James Franklin “Frank” (1904-1980)  Attorney.  Lemon Grove School Board (1953-1959);  Board President 1954-55, 1957-58

Brumbaugh, Simon Clarence Jr. M.D. (1924-2013)  WWII Veteran (US Navy) Family Physician  With his colleague, Dr. Wesley Herbert, Dr. Brumbaugh founded Lemon Grove Medical Group in 1952 and built Lemon Grove’s first and only medical building in 1957. In addition to delivering countless babies for Lemon Grove families, Dr. Brumbaugh was Grossmont Hospital’s chief of staff in 1964-65. He was president of the San Diego chapter of the Academy of Family Physicians and president of the California Academy in 1979. He was a 20-year associate clinical professor of Medicine at UCSD School of Medicine.

Dodson, D.N. (1851-1931)  Attorney, Newspaper Editor. Owned the Ramona Sentinel Newspaper from 1902.  Lemon Grove Justice of the Peace 1913-1918.

Dorman, Vroman J (1909-1994) Attorney. Lemon Grove School Board Trustee (1946-1953) Delegate to the Republican National Convention 1944 and 1952. President of the Chamber of Commerce (1950’s). Top vote getter for mayor in the 1955 incorporation election (which failed).  Father of future mayor of Lemon Grove.

Flagg, George Lowell (1881-1952)  Attorney  President of the Lemon Grove School Board 1937-1944.

Hizer, Julier Clyde (1871-1946) Attorney. Active in community affairs. Was honored as a “Maker of the 1915 Panama California Exposition.” Served as City Attorney for the City of Coronado.

Hussey, Luther Nye (1905-1974) Attorney, Judge (US Army Veteran)  Hussey was elected judge of the Homeland Township Justice Court in 1952 and became a San Diego Municipal Court Judge in 1957.

McGregor, Ebon Bell M.D. (1895-1967) US Navy Lt. during WWII.  Lemon Grove’s only doctor during the depression era (1928-1943). He built the 1937 McGregor house on Main Street with volunteer labor from unpaid medical bills from depression era residents. He was the Director of the Veteran’s Administration under FDR and made the Wasserman Test mandatory. He ran unsuccessfully for state office.

Sjogren, Robert Thomas (1922-2006)  Attorney. Lemon Grove School Board trustee (1959-1971; President 1963-1965). He provided pro bono incorporation service to the Lemon Grove Historical Society.

Smart, Walter Earl (1921-1970) Attorney. WWII Veteran (Army Air Corp)  Served as President of the Lemon Grove Chamber of Commerce and Lemon Grove Rotary Club in 1950’s. He was an unsuccessful candidate for California Lt. Governor in 1966.

White, Frederick Paul (1864-1948)  Retired Doctor, Poultry Rancher. Moved to Lemon Grove in 1901. He was a medical doctor in days before licensing of physicians but continued to provide aid to all who requested his services.

Williamson, Richard Fredrick (1857-1922)  First physician & surgeon in Lemon Grove. After purchasing lands in 1896, he built the historic Hawaiian Plantation Revival home on Mount Vernon Street. The ranch was operated by his brother Thomas Marthwaite Williamson (1863 –1909) until Richard moved with his family to La Mesa in 1905.

Woodworth, Samuel Kline (1861-1941)  Attorney, Justice of the Peace, County Attorney and member of school board in Seneca Kansas prior to moving to Lemon Grove in 1906.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Men of the Cloth
Men of the cloth had been in San Diego since Father Junipero Serra established the Catholic Mission San Diego de Alcala in 1769. Protestant clergy came with the US Army in 1850 to minister to troops stationed there. The first protestant church service was held in Old Town in 1853. The first protestant church opened in May of 1869 on land donated by Alonso Horton.

As San Diego grew, ministers travelled to the people, preaching in homes or barns or any building large enough to hold a few sinners. In Lemon Grove, the First Congregational Church was organized in 1894 with its first church building erected in 1897. It would be twenty-nine (29) years before the second church was established in Lemon Grove.

These men of the cloth stood out for their contribution to the religious life of the resident of Lemon Grove.

Atherton, Isaac Warren (Rev.)(1826-1915) Minister and circuit rider. He organized Lemon Grove’s first church, the First Congregational Church of Lemon Grove in 1894. He donated the first $100 to construction of the church in 1897. (The church building was saved in 1997-99 by the lemon Grove Historical Society as the Parsonage Museum of Lemon Grove.

Bradstreet, Albert Edward  (1861-1917) Minister. Pastor of the First Congregational Church of Lemon Grove in early 1900’s. He is credited with building the church parsonage in 1900 on the south side of the church on Main Street.

Hand, Clifford Nott (1877 -1936)  Pastor.  Lemon Grove Congregational Church 1910-1915 and 1918. Hand was an energetic young pastor who oversaw construction of the second church in Lemon Grove (1913). He formed Boy Scout Troop 1, the first troop in Lemon Grove, in 1912.

Mesny,  Joseph C. (Rev. Fr.) (1856-1938) First Catholic pastor in Lemon Grove. He began holding services for Mexican Catholics in 1926. In 1927 he founded the Church of Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus, the predecessor of Saint John of the Cross Parish.

O’Donoghue, Daniel Msgr (1904-1985) Catholic pastor from Ireland. He founded Saint John of the Cross Catholic Church in 1939. He was the founder and organizer of the Lemon Grove Horse Shows (1941-1957). In 1948 the show attracted 65,000 attendees. Revenues raised were used to build the parish school and 1959 church building. He went on to found the Saint Mary Magdalene parish in 1958, becoming its first pastor.

Straw, Fred Walter  (Rev.) (1855-1935)   Pastor of the Lemon Grove 1st Congregational Church. Lemon Grove School Board trustee (1921).

 

 

 

 

Women Who Made a Difference
Women’s suffrage in the United States did not occur until 1920 but women were important in building communities long before they had the right to hold office or vote. Women were the backbone of the community, laboring behind the scenes at home, on the farm and in the schools. With the advent of the First World War it was hard to argue that the women who worked in the factories and contributed so mightily to the war effort were somehow physically or mentally inferior to the men who had left for foreign shores.

Women made a difference. The women of Lemon Grove were no exception. Let me introduce you to the exceptional women of Lemon Grove. 

Bryan, Eveleen Kennedy (1868-1945) Attorney.  Practiced law in Montana prior to marriage.  Admitted to California Bar in 1905. First female attorney in Lemon Grove; second female attorney in San Diego County. Instrumental in formation of the Grossmont High School District. Past President of the Forward Club of Lemon Grove. Wife of Col. Thomas James Bryan.

Campbell, Gloria Castellanos  (1939-2002) Popular teacher  Taught in the Lemon Grove School District for 38 years. Untimely death due to breast cancer. Memorial garden in the Lemon Grove Middle School is named after her.

Fisher, Alice Wilder (Day) (1883-1961)  Citrus rancher. Wife of Jabez William Fisher. She was the founder and first Commissioner of the San Diego County Chapter of the Girl Scouts of America in 1918 (the first Girl Scout Council west of the Mississippi River). After moving to San Diego she organized the Barn Players which later became the Globe Players forerunners of the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park.

Gonzales, Ramona Castellanos Alvarez (1886-1966) Emigrated to US from Mexico in 1908.  Longtime Lemon Grove resident. Family and Latino community historian.

Huebsch, Mildred C (Murrey) (1909-1976)  Civic Leader.  Charter member and past president of the Lemon Grove Business Women’s League. She was involved in all four incorporation attempts, serving on the steering committee for Citizens for Incorporation of Lemon Grove and a member of the Reorganization Committee during the 1976-77 campaign.

Hunter, Mary Elizabeth “Betty” (Redlein)  (1916-2019) Nursery Owner   Betty’s name was synonymous with Hunter Nursery the oldest continuously operated family business in San Diego County. She was a founding member and major supporter of the Lemon Grove Historical Society. The Hunter Gallery in the Parsonage Museum is named for her.

McCrae-Hale, Isabelle Yvonne Garrett  (1912-1999)  WWII Flight Nurse and WASP pilot. Flew B-26 bombers in non-combat missions.  Won the Powder Puff Derby in 1953 and was an avid private pilot.

Nicolson, Charlotte M.  (1882-1967) Beginning as a clerk in the Sonka Store, she worked for the U. S. Post Office for 32 years. She ended her career serving as Lemon Grove’s first permanent woman postmaster (1941-1949). (Antwonet Treganza served as the acting postmaster for five and one-half months in 1940-41.)

Pfister, Ruth Fredericka Wagner (1913-2008)  Director of Food Services for the Lemon Grove School District for 32 years. She co-founded the California School Food Service Association (CSFSA) and wrote its Code of Ethics. She wrote “Nutritional Guidelines for Schools” for the California State Office of Education that became the bible for nutritious lunch menus for decades.

Ray, Mary Ester (Jackson) (1891-1982)  Founder, St. Philip the Apostle Episcopal Church.  In 1950, Ray held the first service in her home across the street from the current church on Palm Street. She was instrumental in raising funds to bring the historic St. Dunstan’s Church building to Lemon Grove in 1970.

Schellback, Luera Woodruff (1874-1973)  First president of the Forward Club of Lemon Grove (1913)

Sessions, Katherine Olivia “Kate” (1857-1940) Horticulturalist.  Nursery owner. “Mother of Balboa Park.” She owned a satellite nursery on Adams Street in Lemon Grove for raising palm trees. She was a friend and associate of Antwonet Kaufman Treganza.

Stoddard, Helen Marie (Gerrells) (1850-1941) Teacher, Activist.  First Woman to run for national office from the State of California. She ran unsuccessfully for the United States Congress on the Prohibition Party ticket in 1912. Helen served as President of the Texas Women’s Christian Temperance Union from 1891 to 1907. She lived in Lemon Grove 1913 to 1923. She was elected President of the California WCTU in 1920.

Sunbury, Pearl May (1887-1960)  Early resident with husband Oscar. Columnist for the San Diego Union. Their home is extant on Central Avenue.

Treganza, Antwonet Kaufman (1888-1954)  Columnist for San Diego Union newspaper. First woman president of Lemon Grove Chamber of Commerce (1938) and first women to serve as postmaster (in an acting capacity 1940-41).

 

 

 

 

Townspeople
You need people to make a town – ordinary people. From the ranks of the ordinary some step forward to do ordinary things well over an extended period of time. These people were generally well known and sometime stood out for their contribution or for their intersection with historical events or circumstances. We felt these people were worthy of note.

Alvarez, Don Roberto Ricardo  (1919-2003) WWII Veteran (US Navy) International produce distributor. Founder of the Coast Citrus Company. At age twelve he was the lead plaintiff in the desegregation case of Roberto Alvarez vs. the Board of Trustees of the Lemon Grove School District, the first successful school desegregation court decision in the history of the United States. The auditorium of the Lemon Grove Academy is named after him.

Applestill, Charles Martin (1869-1950)  Theatre operator. Imperial County Sheriff (1915-1921)  Owned property in Lemon Grove and lived in Lemon Grove at various times during his career. Served as Chief of Police of Huntington Park (1926-1927).

Barry, James H. (1868-1931)  Farmer. Lemon Grove’s first constable 1903.

Burke, Alfred Irving (1914-1968)  Custodial Supervisor  WWII veteran (Navy) Active in youth sports. Founded Lemon Grove Little League in 1958.  He spearheaded drive to purchase Monterey Heights Little League fields later named in his honor. He was also active in Pony League, Pop Warner football and was a Scoutmaster of Lemon Grove Boy Scouts.

Conrad, Gary Kenneth (1939-2018) Funeral Director. Owned and operated Conrad Mortuary of Lemon Grove, a business opened by his parents in 1954. He was active in several Lemon Grove business and civic organizations.

Cremer, George Dorland (1917-2008) M.I.T. graduate. Aerospace pioneer. Served on the Manhattan Project. He developed products and fabrication techniques for the Saturn and Apollo rockets while working for the Solar Aircraft Company. He lived with his family in the H Lee House 1950-1996.

Faucher, Francis “Frenchie” (1914-1999)  Lemon Grove Postmaster for 20 years beginning in 1949. President of Lemon Grove Historical Society (1994-1995).

Gibilisco, James R “Jim”  (1946-2019) Vietnam Veteran (US Navy) School teacher and longtime softball umpire. Jim served as the Umpire-In-Chief for the Southern California Amateur Softball Association, and designed and taught training programs for hundreds of new umpires. He was inducted into the San Diego County Sports Officials Hall of Fame in 2009.

Gonzalez, Juan de Dios  (1893-1963)   Farm Worker, Community Organizer. As a young man he fought under Pancho Villa in the Mexican Revolution. After moving to Lemon Grove in 1924, he (in 1931) organized parents to protest the school segregation attempted by the Lemon Grove School District, which led to the first successful school desegregation court decision in the history of the United States. He subsequently became the first president of San Diego’s Obreros y Campesinos union, leading walkouts and strikes in San Diego and Orange counties.

Goodbody, Michael D (1901-1942)  Mortician.  Founder of one of San Diego’s oldest mortuaries, Goodbody Mortuary in 1920.  Resided in the 1895 Hay House (extant) on Palm Street.

Goodwin, Max  (nee Gutman) (1909-1999)  WWII veteran (Army), Newspaper Publisher, Homeland Publishing Company, Editor of the Lemon Grove Review (1952-1989).

Graham, Denver         constable 1913-1915

Gray, Fred                   constable 1915-1918

Green, Jerome J (1864-1950)  Notre Dame professor. Assisted Marconi with first trans-Atlantic cable. Taught at San Diego State College. Principal of Lemon Grove Grammar School who, acting on order the school board, barred entrance to the grammar school to Mexican-American students in 1931. Known as the Lemon Grove incident it spawned the first successful school desegregation case in the United States, Alvarez v. Lemon Grove School Board.

Guest, Robert L (1927-2009) Banker.  Branch Manager of the Lemon Grove branch of San Diego Trust & Savings Bank. President of the Lemon Grove Rotary Club and president of the Lemon Grove Chamber of Commerce the year Lemon Grove was incorporated as a city (1977).

Gutman, Mortimer M (See Max Goodwin)

Hensley, Harold Laverne “Pappy” (1908-1987) First fire chief of the Lemon Grove Fire Protection District in 1952.

Maxwell, George E. (1862-1939)  Railroad Agent  and Lemon Grove rancher. He was the Station Master for the Lemon Grove railroad station from (1895-1913). He was active in development of Lemon Grove from 1896 through the 1930s.

Payne, Brent Wilkes (1910-1993) Printer.  Newspaper Publisher. Payne founded the Lemon Grove Review publishing the first edition September 2, 1948.

White, George Best (1880-1949)  Real Estate Broker.  Along with Tony Sonka he revived the Lemon Grove Chamber of Commerce in 1946 after the organization had gone dormant during WWII. He became its first post-WWII president. He was a leader in the movement to create the Homeland Township and was named the township’s first justice of the peace in 1948.

Wight, Anna E (1893-1988)  School Trustee  Named in the Alvarez vs Lemon Grove School District case in 1931.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Titans
The titans are people who stand out among their peers. They were well known in the community. Their influence extended far beyond the borders of their town. They devoted much of their adult lives to the betterment of Lemon Grove. They could be listed in multiple categories of our notable people.  Let us introduce you to the titans of Lemon Grove.

Sonka, Anthony Ferdinand “Tony” (1885-1974)  Influential merchant. Philanthropist. Lemon Grove’s “First Citizen.” Ran the Sonka Brothers Store with his brother Emil beginning in 1910.  Coined the term “Best Climate on Earth.” Founder and officer of the Chamber of Commerce (1919). Developed the Broadway business district east of the railroad. Active participant in assembling historical materials for the Lemon Grove historical group.  Postmaster (1907-1940).

Treganza, Amorita Dr. (1912-2002)   Pediatric optometrist.  First Miss Lemon Grove in 1928. Voted “Woman of the Year” in San Diego in 1964. She became the first president of a national organization for developmental optometry in 1971. She was a member of the first working group (formed in 1965) to begin collection of historical photos, papers and recollections that would become the first Lemon Grove archives. She helped to lead the founding of the Lemon Grove Historical Society in 1978 and was its president (1988-1990 and 1996-1999).

 

 

 

They Represented Lemon Grove
This is a section about the people who ran for elective office and won. They are the men and women who represented Lemon Grove. They served on the school board, the water board, special districts and the Lemon Grove City Council. Some aspired to higher office. One was elected to the County Board of Supervisors. One was elected Treasurer of the State of California – a statewide office.  Meet the people who represented Lemon Grove.

Betts, Bertran A “Bert” (1923-2014)  Accountant.  US Army Air Corp Pilot, WWII  He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters. Betts was elected to the Office of California State Treasurer at the age of 35, serving eight years (1959-1967) in the administration of Governor Edmund G Brown. He was elected to the Lemon Grove School Board (1953-1957) serving as president (1955-56).

Bowersox, Willis John “Bill” (1922-1996)  Pacific Bell Company supervisor and WWII veteran,  Bowersox served on City Council 1982-1986. He was a member of the planning commission prior to his election. He filled a vacant seat when original council member Jack Doherty chose not to seek re-election to a third term.

Buckner, H Warren (1919-2012)  Engineer, aircraft designer. Lemon Grove School Board (1957-1977); Chairman, Lemon Grove Planning Commission 1978-1980. Director, Helix Water District (1980-2007) The H Warren Buckner Succulent and Cactus Garden in the San Diego Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College, and the Helix Water District’s Buckner Pump Stations are named for him.

Burns, Dr. Robert (1923-2003) Member of the first Lemon Grove City Council (1977-1996); Mayor (1994-1996). Occupation: veterinarian. He founded the Lemon Grove Veterinary Hospital in 1955. He served on the Lemon Grove Fire Protection District Board of Directors prior to election to the City council. He was the City representative to the Metropolitan Transit Development Board (MTDB). He was responsible for leading efforts to build the Trolley Depot and Lemon Grove Senior Center. Founding member of the Sheriff’s Department Senior Volunteer Patrol Unit in Lemon Grove. Member of the Lemon Grove Historical Society.

Good, Charles Long (1871-1958) Dentist in San Diego, lived on his 30-acre citrus ranch along Buena Vista Avenue from Central Avenue to Pacific Street. He built the general store in 1912 on main street. San Diego City Board of Delegates (1903-1905); San Diego County Supervisor (1915-1930).  He championed road building in the early days of the automobile.

Griffen, Harry (1907-2001) Bank Manager, Celery Grower, “Mr. Water.” Griffen served as a trustee of the Grossmont High School District (1941-1945); the Lemon Grove School Board 1946-1953. He represented Lemon Grove on the Helix Water District Board of Directors (1951-1978). He was President of Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA)(1972-1973); Served on the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA)(1956-1995) and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD)(1963-1995). Harry Griffen Regional Park in La Mesa is named after him. He designed and built the lemon Grove home extant on Alton Drive.

Heiserman, Lois (1919-2004) First woman elected to the Lemon Grove City Council. Heiserman had been active in the Soroptimists. She was the founding president of the Lemon Grove/Spring Valley Nutrition Board.  She narrowly missed election to the City Council in the incorporation election in 1977. She served on the Planning Commission 1977-1980. She defeated W. Dale Bailey and served on the council for 14 years (1980-1994).

Kunkel, Daniel Vincent (1936-1988)  Building contractor. Lemon Grove City Councilman (1986-88). Died in office. Daniel V. Kunkel Memorial Park is named in his honor.

Lake, Dell E. (1919-2014)  Member of the first Lemon Grove City Council (1977-1986). Retired US Navy Chief.  Electrician. WWII veteran. Lake was a local businessman who founded Dell Enterprises extant on Broadway as Dell Awards. He chaired the Citizens for the Incorporation of Lemon Grove. He served on the Lemon Grove Fire Protection District Board of Directors prior to election to the City council.

O’Rourke, Karen  Berry Starelli (1949-2010)  Journalist, newspaper founder and editor. Elected to the Lemon Grove City Council (1986-1990). Served as the President of the Lemon Grove Historical Society (1987-1988).

Spizak, David (1939-2014)  San Diego Police Lieutenant.  Served on the Lemon Grove School District  Board (1977-1990); Board President (1982-83 & 1984-85).

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Warriors
 

Many men who lived in Lemon Grove served in uniform and fought in America’s wars. In the early days, there were veterans of the Civil War and the Spanish American War. Men such as Col Thomas Bryan and Major Charles Vodges had extensive war records. We have noted military service of our Notable People be they Pioneers, Merchants or Orchardists.

In this section, however, we honor the warriors whose service and sacrifice itself makes them worthy of note. Among them are the sons of Lemon Grove who gave their lives fighting for our freedom.

Bell, Spencer Marcus (1895-1918)  Lieutenant US Army WWI  Died in aircraft accident in France. Buried in Suresnes Cemetery, France.

Brand, Harold (1897-1936)  Captain, US Army Air Corp. Died when his Army airplane crashed near Livermore California. Son of pioneer Henry Brand.

Calhoun. Robert Darrell  (1950-1969)  US Marine Corp Lance Corporal Vietnam. Killed in action by artillery/rocket fire in Quang Nam, South Vietnam. His name is inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Cooke, Lorenzo Wesley (1847-1915)  Civil War Veteran (Brigadier-General, US Army Retired)

Gorchinski, Michael Wayne  (1948-1983)  Chief Petty Officer U S Navy.  Michael is the only United States Service Member from Lemon Grove to be killed in a terrorist bombing. He was killed in Beirut, Lebanon when a terrorist drove a truck filled with explosives into a U S Marine headquarters building killing 241 American service personnel. It was the deadliest single attack on U S military personnel since WWII.

Hayes, Casey Hewitt (1890-1967) Coronel US Army. Served in both world wars. Received the Distinguished Service Cross – the second highest military award of the US Army – for gallantry in battle during WWI (1919).

Kaneko, Julio  (1935-1967)  Staff Sergeant US Army Vietnam Infantry Direct Fire Crewman (ARMY), Headquarters 4thh Division Recon, out of Dragon Hill Pleiku.  Killed in action. His name is inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Lee, Roland Edward (1923-1950) Veteran of WWII and Korean War. US Army Air Corp pilot, recipient of the Distinguish Flying Cross. Killed in action over Korea during the Korean War. Grew up in the H Lee House. Son of Harold V. Lee.

Miller, Ralph Valentine (1919-2018) WWII Veteran (US Army Air Corp) US Air Force Retired. A career military officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Miller flew B-17 and B-24 bombers in the South Pacific, Europe, and Southeast Asian theatres. Worked in family dairy as young man.

Pecarero, Frank Anthony (1949-1970)  Combat Engineer US Army Vietnam.  Killed after stepping on land mine in Phuoc Tuy, South Vietnam. His name is inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Tooker, Earl Lester  (1899-1937)  WWI Veteran (Army Signal Corp) Returned home after suffering a gas attack in France. Worked as a station agent and railroad telegraph operator until his death at age 38 from the effects to exposure to poison gas.

Weber, Paul Frederick  (1945-1969)  Sergeant US Army Vietnam – Aircraft Maintenance Crew. Killed in aircraft crash over hostile territory near Long Khanh, Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). His name is inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

 

 

 

 

 

The Arts: Actors, Artists, Poets, Musicians
The arts are not about building communities in the physical sense. Instead they address the spirit of the people. They offer entertainment, diversion, insight into our predicaments and give flight to our aspirations. The arts enrich our lives and can bring cohesion to communities through shared emotional experience.

Lemon Grove produced many ordinary artists. Among that group a few stood out.

Campbell, Henry Montgomery (1836-?) Victorian Era Opera Singer. Playwright. Music teacher. Enigmatic figure who used multiple stage names through his varied international operatic career. Wrote the song “We are all alike in Khaki” while living in Lemon Grove (1917-1919).

Campobello, Enrico (1836-?)  See Henry Montgomery Campbell

Chesy, Carolyn M Rustad  (1937-1996)  Artist. Founding member of the Lemon Grove Art Association (1979). Designed and painted “The History of the Lemon Grove Post Office” mural and “Miller Dairy” a pastoral scene depicting the locally famous dairy.

Coady, Merle Gaylord (1919-1985)  WWII Veteran (US Navy Musician) Musician/educator. Mason. Ran the Coady School of Music.

Handcox, John L (1904-1992)  Labor Organizer, Poet, Songwriter. Handcox wrote depression era folk songs dealing with conditions in the rural south. His works are recorded in the Library of Congress.

Hopper, Dennis Lee (1930-2010)  Actor, film maker, photographer. Known for 1955 film Rebel Without a Cause. Directed the 1967 film Easy Rider.  Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the film Hoosiers (1986). Lived in Lemon Grove (1949-1954). Attended Lemon Grove Junior High School, Grossmont and Helix High Schools. Studied at Old Globe Theatre.

Roxburgh, Edward George (1951-2017) Artist.  Distinguished legacy of landscape, seascape and still life in oils, graphic design, pastels, murals (the Dr. Seuss mural at the Globe is one), sign design, industrial and event design/installation, scenic design/painting.

 

 

 

 

Athletes
“Baseball was the chief amusement in Lemon Grove in the early days,” according to Anthony Sonka.  “We had a lot of lemon-pickers around, and were always able to get up a good team; the games were played on Sunday afternoons.” “We had a diamond which the players had built themselves, and which they kept up.”

In the days before World War I, the towns along the railroad line fielded teams. A “trolley league” was formed. Lemon Grove won the “Valley Championship“in 1915.

It should be of no surprise that Lemon Grove would produce a smattering of talented athletes. Here are athletes of note.

Gonzalez, Arthur (1917-2008)  WWII Veteran  Professional Boxer. Los Angeles Golden Gloves champion in 1938.  At fourteen years old, he was a participant in the 1931 school boycott known as the Lemon Grove Incident which resulted in the first successful school desegregation court decision in the history of the United States.

Martin, Elwood Good “Speed” (1893-1983)  Professional Baseball Player. Martin was a major league pitcher (1917-1922) and went to the World Series with the Chicago Cubs in 1918.

Moore, Mary Francis (1922-1962)  Played in the All American Girl’s Professional Baseball League (AAGBL) in 1948. Pitcher for the Rockford Peaches. There is a permanent display honoring the AAGBL players in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

 

 

 

Historians and Preservationist
 

 

The historians are people who appreciate the significance of the past and are willing to research and write about it. The preservationists are collectors and protectors who seek to preserve physical objects for the education and enjoyment of others. And there are those who are willing to lead people and build organizations dedicated to capturing the history of a community. Lemon Grove has them all.

This is our tribute to these special people. The Lemon Grove Historical Society would not exist without them.

Dugas, Virginia M (1916-2005)  Served as the third President of the Lemon Grove Historical Society (1984-1987).

Folk, James Frederick (1918-2007)  San Diego Postmaster. President of Lemon Grove Historical Society (1995-96).

Heyser, Donald Louis  (1916-1991)  Engineer, Inventor. He held multiple patents for industrial processes. Founding director and the second historian of the Lemon Grove Historical Society.

Holady, Pearl “Susie” Johnson (1917-2012) Lifelong resident of Lemon Grove, Holaday was a charter member of the Lemon Grove Historical Society. She contributed artifacts and stories about life in the community.

Lindsay, William Taylor. (1897-1992)  Boy Scout Executive.  Founding director of the Lemon Grove Historical Society. Moved to Lemon Grove in 1912. Later retired in Lemon Grove.

McCormick, Elizabeth Helen Wellington (1914-1990)  Founding director of the Lemon Grove Historical Society.

Nottingham, Dorothy “Dolly”  (1923-2018)  First president of the Lemon Grove Historical Society (1997-1982) and author of the Society’s bylaws. She served a second term as president (1992-1994) and, with her late husband Lee Nottingham, a founding member.

Osgood, Agnes Hamilton (1890-1988) Historian/Photographer. Founded the Lemon Grove historical group in the early 1970s which became a driving force behind the formation of the Lemon Grove Historical Society. She was a founding director and the first historian of the Lemon Grove Historical Society.

Reese, Jean (1921-2007)  Bookkeeper. Along with Agnes Osgood, Tony Sonka and Amorita Treganza, Jean was responsible for assembling historical binders that created the early index and foundation for the Lemon Grove Historical Society’s archives.

Showalter, Esther Lighthall Tooker (1901-1984)  Charter member of LGHS and collector of life stories of early Lemon Grove pioneers.

Wilkes, Edith Marie  (1916-2008) Escrow officer. Early advocate for preserving Lemon Grove history. She was a member of the first working group (formed in 1965) to begin collection of historical photos, papers and recollections that would become the first Lemon Grove archives.

Young, Joseph H (1900-1997)  Founding director of the Lemon Grove Historical Society.