Escondido (// ES-kən-DEE-doh) is a city located in San Diego County's North County region, 30 miles (48 km) northeast of Downtown San Diego, California. The city occupies a shallow valley ringed by rocky hills. Incorporated in 1888, it is one of the oldest cities in San Diego County. The city had a population of 143,911 in the 2010 census.
The Escondido area was first settled by the Luiseño, who established campsites and villages along the creek running through the area. They named the place "Mehel-om-pom-pavo." The Kumeyaay migrated from areas near the Colorado River, settling both in the San Pasqual Valley and near the San Dieguito River in the southwestern and western portions of what is now Escondido. Most of the villages and campsites today have been destroyed by development and agriculture.
Spain controlled the land from the late 18th century to the early 19th century, and established many missions in California to convert the indigenous people. When Mexico gained its independence from Spain, the local land was divided into large ranchos. Most of what is now Escondido occupies the former Rancho Rincon del Diablo ("Devil's Corner"), a Mexican land grant given to Juan Bautista Alvarado (not the governor of the same name) in 1843 by Governor Manuel Micheltorena. Alvarado was a Regidor of Los Angeles at the time, and the first Regidor of the pueblo of San Diego. The southern part of Escondido occupies the former Rancho San Bernardo, granted in 1842 and 1845.
In 1846, during the Mexican–American War, the Battle of San Pasqual was fought southeast of Escondido. This battle pitted Mexican forces under Andrés Pico (brother of then-California-governor Pío Pico) against Americans under Stephen W. Kearny, Archibald Gillespie, and Kit Carson. A park in Escondido is named for Carson.
The city was home to a largely Spanish-speaking population in the first census, taken in 1850 when California became a state. After statehood, non-Hispanic settlers came to Southern California in increasing numbers. The decade of the 1880s is known as the "Southern California Land Boom" because so many people moved to the state.
In 1853, pro-Southern Copperheads proposed dividing the state of California to create a new Territory of Colorado (at this time the territory that would become the state of Colorado was named "Jefferson"). San Diego Judge Oliver S. Witherby suggested placing the capitol of the new territory in Rancho Rincon del Diablo. He envisioned a railroad connecting San Diego to Fort Yuma through an area about two miles (3 km) south of the current Escondido site, heading east through San Pasqual. With a series of deeds in 1855 and 1856, the rancho was transferred from the heirs of Juan Bautista Alvarado to Witherby. He planned to profit from the town that he believed would be established from the dividing point on the railroad below the eastern hills. The proposal for splitting the state and creating the new territory passed in the California legislature, but died in Congress in the run-up to the Civil War. It was effectively killed in 1861 when Congress organized the Territory of Colorado in the area previously occupied by the Jefferson Territory. With Witherby's vision of owning a bustling state capitol unrealized, he set up a mining operation on the rancho instead.
In 1868, Witherby sold the rancho for $8000 to Edward McGeary and John, Josiah, and Matthew Wolfskill. McGeary owned half the rancho, while the three Wolfskill brothers each owned an equal share of the other half. John Wolfskill farmed sheep, horses, and cattle on the rancho for a number of years. Wolfskill had frequent conflicts with the Couts family, owners of the neighboring Guajome, Buena Vista, and San Marcos ranchos, over grazing lands and watering holes.
In October 1883, a group of Los Angeles investors purchased Rancho Rincon del Diablo. This group sold the land to the newly formed Escondido Company in 1884. On December 18, 1885, investors incorporated the Escondido Land and Town Company, and in 1886 this company purchased the 12,814-acre (52 km2) area for approximately $100,000. Two years later, in 1888, Escondido was incorporated as a city; the vote was 64 in favor of cityhood with 12 votes against. Railroads such as the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific were laid in the 1880s. The opening of U.S. Route 395 in 1930 boosted economic growth in Escondido.
Escondido was primarily an agricultural community, growing muscat grapes initially. After a dam was built in 1894-5 to form what is known today as Lake Wohlford, orange and lemon trees were planted in large numbers, as were olive and walnut trees. By the 1960s, avocados became the largest local crop. Since the 1970s, Escondido has lost most of its agricultural land to housing developments.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 37.0 square miles (96 km2). 36.8 square miles (95 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) of it is water. The total area is 0.48% water.
The city is growing at a rapid rate with new communities like Hidden Trails appearing at the east end of East Valley Parkway. The city proper is surrounded by several sparsely populated unincorporated communities. These include Jesmond Dene and Hidden Meadows to the north; Felicita Park to the southwest; and Rincon Del Diablo to the southeast. Residents of these communities have Escondido mailing addresses and zip codes, and their children are sometimes assigned to Escondido schools, but residents of these communities cannot participate in city elections.
The city contains several neighborhoods including:
The Escondido Creek bisects the city. It originates at the Lake Wohlford Dam in the northeast, passes through downtown and leaves the city through the Harmony Grove area in the southwest before eventually emptying into the San Elijo Lagoon. The creek path through the city was developed into a concrete flood control channel in the 1960s. A Class I bicycle path runs along most of the channel's length.
Natural vegetation types in the Escondido area include chaparral brushland, oak woodland, riparian (stream) woodland, and grassland. The Daley Ranch Preserve north of the city provides a good location to view these natural vegetation types.
Escondido tends to have a typical Mediterranean climate with warm summers and cool wet winters. Owing to its inland proximity it is considerably warmer than coastal cities like San Diego, Carlsbad or Oceanside during the summertime, and cooler in the winter. Yearly precipitation averages around 15 inches (380 mm) and can vary considerably from year to year. Rainfall totals are higher in the hills to the north and east, with 20-24 inches falling in most areas above 2,000 feet elevation, and over 30 inches on Palomar Mountain, 15 miles east. More than 80% of all precipitation takes place from November through March. Snow is virtually unheard of, though occasionally winter and springtime thunderstorms will drop small hail. The climate is mild enough to allow widespread cultivation of avocados and oranges. Escondido is located in a plant hardiness zone 9. The hottest temperature recorded in Escondido was 112º on July 22, 2006.
|Climate data for Escondido No 2, California (1981–2010)|
|Record high °F (°C)||91
|Average high °F (°C)||68.8
|Average low °F (°C)||43.1
|Record low °F (°C)||22
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.03
Three lakes are located in or near Escondido, all of which allow boating and fishing, although Lake Wohlford has had a "temporary ban on private water craft and equipment that could have been exposed to mussels", according to the official Escondido website.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
In the 2010 United States Census, Escondido had a population of 143,911. The population density was 3,890.7 people per square mile (1,502.2/km²). The racial makeup was 60.4% White (Non-Hispanic White 40.4%), 2.5% African American (2.1% Non-Hispanic black), 1.0% Native American, 6.1% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 25.4% from other races, and 4.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 48.9% of the population. ,
The Census reported that 141,792 people (98.5% of the population) lived in households, 1,333 (0.9%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 786 (0.5%) were institutionalized.
There were 45,484 households, out of which 18,989 (41.7%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 23,535 (51.7%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 6,082 (13.4%) had a female householder with no husband present, 3,115 (6.8%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 3,121 (6.9%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 343 (0.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 9,528 households (20.9%) were made up of individuals and 4,235 (9.3%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.12. There were 32,732 families (72.0% of all households); the average family size was 3.57.
The age distribution of the population shows 39,778 people (27.6%) under the age of 18, 15,455 people (10.7%) aged 18 to 24, 41,043 people (28.5%) aged 25 to 44, 32,551 people (22.6%) aged 45 to 64, and 15,084 people (10.5%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32.5 years. For every 100 females there were 98.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.1 males.
There were 48,044 housing units at an average density of 1,298.9 per square mile (501.5/km²), of which 23,759 (52.2%) were owner-occupied, and 21,725 (47.8%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.0%. 70,936 people (49.3% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 70,856 people (49.2%) lived in rental housing units.
As of the census of 2000, there are 133,559 people, 43,817 households, and 31,153 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,421.4/km² (3,680.9/mi²). There are 45,050 housing units at an average density of 479.4/km² (1,241.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 67.82% White, 2.25% African American, 1.23% Native American, 4.46% Asian, 0.23% Pacific Islander, 19.19% from other races, and 4.81% from two or more races. 38.70% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 43,817 households out of which 39.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.9% are married couples living together, 11.7% have a female householder with no husband present, and 28.9% are non-families. 22.4% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.1% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 3.01 and the average family size is 3.50.
In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 29.7% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 31.4% from 25 to 44, 17.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 31 years. For every 100 females there are 98.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 96.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $42,567, and the median income for a family is $48,456. Males have a median income of $32,627 versus $27,526 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,241. 13.4% of the population and 9.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 17.9% of those under the age of 18 and 5.7% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
The city can be divided into two demographically distinct areas. Peripheral hilly areas to the north, southeast, and southwest are relatively wealthy and populated by non-Hispanic whites, and flat areas adjacent to the downtown are predominantly Hispanic. As of 2006-07 school year, non-Hispanic white children comprised 71.7% of all students in Bernardo Elementary School (southwest), 60.8% of all students in L.R. Green Elementary School (southeast), and 54.7% of all students in Reidy Creek Elementary School (north); In contrast, Farr Avenue, Pioneer and Lincoln Elementary schools (three large schools just north of the downtown) all have more than 85% of Hispanic and less than 6% non-Hispanic white students.
In 2007, the city ranked #65 by violent crimes per capita and #58 by property crimes per capita among 165 cities in California with populations greater than 50,000. Compared with the 12 largest cities in San Diego County, it ranked 6th in both categories. Its crime rate was lower in both categories than San Diego, El Cajon, and National City; higher in both categories than San Marcos, Carlsbad, Encinitas, and Santee. Escondido had a higher violent crime rate but lower property crime rate than La Mesa and Chula Vista; it had a lower violent crime rate but higher property crime rate than Vista and Oceanside.
However, since 2008, Escondido has seen a drop in overall crime. In 2009, 629 violent crimes and 3,880 property crimes were reported in Escondido. There were four murders and non-negligent manslaughters, 42 rapes, 249 robberies, 334 aggravated assaults, 779 burglaries, 2,402 larceny thefts, 699 vehicle thefts, and 23 arsons. In 2010, Escondido saw a 5 percent drop in violent crime, with only 597 reported violent crimes according to the Escondido Police Officer's Association. However, there was a 3.9 percent increase in the number of property crimes, including residential and commercial burglaries, from 3,880 in 2009 to 4,033 in 2010, according to FBI statistics. In 2011, violent crime has decreased by 17.09% as compared to the same period in 2010. Leading the reduction is rape which is down 24.32%. Armed robberies went down 23.86%, followed by aggravated assault which is down 16.81%. There were 3 homicides in the city, the same as the previous year.
Residents work in a range of industries. Out of the approximately 64,000 employed civilian residents over the age of 16, 15% work in educational, health care and social services; 13% in retail trade; 13% in construction; 12% in professional, scientific, management, administrative, and waste management services; 11% in arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services; 11% in manufacturing; and 11% in other services.
Realty Income is among the companies based in Escondido.
According to the City's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||Palomar Medical Center||2,664|
|2||Escondido Union School District||1,795|
|3||City of Escondido||1,075|
|4||Escondido Union High School District||715|
|5||North County Transit District||484|
|6||ARS National Services||439|
|10||The Home Depot||333|
Downtown has become more active in the past few years with the opening of restaurants, cafes, and galleries. A satellite location of the Mingei International Museum, a well-known museum of folk art from around the world, occupied the former J.C. Penney building on Grand Avenue from 2003 to 2010. One block off Grand Ave. is Grape Day Park with the civic center and the California Center for the Arts, which features two theaters, a visual arts museum, an educational complex, and a conference center. The Escondido Children's Museum and the Escondido History Center, two independent non-profit museums, are located in Grape Day Park. The Children's Museum features hands-on exhibits and programs for children up to 10 years of age, with an authentically regional perspective on natural and social science. The History Center features the city's original Santa Fe Depot, first library, Victorian house, barn, and blacksmith shop. The Pioneer Room of Escondido Public Library (located in the Mathes Center building next to the Main Library) offers photographs, maps, oral histories, genealogical collections, directories and yearbooks documenting Escondido's history. On Friday evenings a car rally called Cruisin' Grand takes place on seven blocks of Grand Avenue, featuring pre-1970 vintage cars.
The Escondido Arts Partnership, a non-profit art organization established in 1995, created and hosts the Second Saturday Art Walk, involving several galleries and museums in Escondido. It also has a Municipal Gallery including five galleries and five art study spaces. It operates the Betty Woodaman Memorial Art Library, a donated-based art library that offers art books local community, and publishes an annual collection of poetry and art called "Summation".
In 1981, Escondido National Little League became the 19th team to make it to the Little League World Series from the state of California. The team was first District 31 champions, then District 8 champions. They then won the Southern California Divisional Tournament at Youth Athletic Park by beating San Bernardino Civitan 3-2 in the quarterfinals, then beating Granada Hills American 5-1 in the semifinals and then beating Ladera National 7-5 in the finals to earn a trip to the Western Regional. At the Western Regional in San Bernardino, the Escondido team won four straight games to earn the trip to Williamsport.
In October 2010, Merritt Paulson, owner of the AAA Portland Beavers franchise, announced that the team was being sold to the North County Baseball ownership group, led by Jeff Moorad, part-owner and CEO of the Beavers parent team, the San Diego Padres. The ownership group discussed building a stadium in Escondido to become operational for the 2012 baseball season at the earliest. In December 2010, the Escondido city council voted to go ahead with the ballpark. The stadium was slated to open in April 2013. However, the plan to move the team fell through in late 2011.
Escondido has fifteen parks.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park (also called by its former name, "Wild Animal Park") is located near Escondido, in the San Pasqual Valley. It is the sister park to the San Diego Zoo. The Safari Park shows animals in open habitats.
Deer Park Monastery is a Buddhist sanctuary that occupies 400 acres (1.6 km2) in the hills north of Escondido and west of Daley Ranch. It is one of three monasteries in the United States under the direction of a well-known Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh.
Escondido is governed by a council-manager system. The city council consists of a mayor and four City Council members. Along with the City Treasurer, they are elected at large to four-year terms. The current mayor is Sam Abed. Current City Council members are Ed Gallo, John Masson, Olga Diaz, and Michael Morasco. The current City Manager is Jeff Epp. The current City Treasurer is Douglas Shultz. The most recent election was held on November 8, 2016.
A 2005 nationwide study listed the city of Escondido as one of the most conservative cities in America. The city is particularly known for its positions on illegal immigration. Approximately half of the population is Hispanic, and then-council member Sam Abed estimated in 2006 that 35,000 people, or 25% of the city population, are undocumented. Since 2010 federal immigration officials have worked out of the Escondido police station in an unprecedented city-federal partnership. In 2006 the city council proposed and then abandoned an ordinance to punish landlords who rent to illegal immigrants. Due to a public outcry and legal challenges to that proposed housing ordinance, as well as the election of Diaz to the City Council, the council has ceased any overt measures against illegal immigrants. Council policies now focus on "quality of life" issues instead. Periodic police checkpoints are set up which randomly stop drivers to check drivers licenses, registration, and insurance. An overnight parking ordinance has been proposed that would limit the number of cars each household can legally park on city streets. The city is estimated to have lost as much as a quarter of its non-citizen population between 2006 and 2007; Latino activists attribute this to a perception of the city as hostile to immigrants.
In the United States presidential election of 2008, 53.3% of voters residing in incorporated Escondido voted for John McCain, 44.9% voted for Barack Obama, and 1.8% voted for one of the third-party candidates. Unincorporated areas were considerably more conservative: among voters in neighborhoods of Rincon Del Diablo, Hidden Meadows, and Valley Center, 62.3%, 65.5%, 66.9% of voters respectively cast their votes for John McCain. In a survey conducted by The Bay Area Center for Voting Research, it found that Escondido was the 11th most conservative city in the United States.
Escondido is served by the Escondido Union School District, the Escondido Union High School District, and the San Pasqual Union School District. The city has 19 elementary, five middle, and seven high schools.
Public high schools:
There is a wide range of API scores for Escondido schools, reflecting the demographic diversity of the city. As of 2009, two elementary schools in the district scored above the 80th percentile of all schools in the state, and nine elementary schools scored below the 20th percentile.
Westminster Seminary California is located in Escondido.
Two highways serve Escondido: Route 78 and Interstate 15. Route 78 enters from the west as a freeway which ends at Broadway. The highway follows surface streets and leaves the city heading east into the San Pasqual Valley.
The North County Transit District (NCTD) operates local bus service, with the Escondido Transit Center serving as a hub. The transit center has connections to both the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System and the Riverside Transit Agency.
The Sprinter light rail line, operated by NCTD, links the transit center to Oceanside using the existing 22-mile (35 km)-long Escondido Branch trackage of the San Diego Northern Railroad. The rail line opened in 2008, making Escondido one of the first cities in the United States to operate Desiro-class diesel multiple units manufactured by Siemens in Germany. At the Oceanside Transit Center, the Sprinter connects to three commuter rail lines (the Coaster, the Metrolink Orange County Line, and the Metrolink Inland Empire-Orange County Line) and Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner regional rail line.
San Diego Gas & Electric is the electric utility for the city. The City of Escondido Water Utilities serves most customers within the city while Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District serves potable and recycled water to the greater Escondido valley and some portions of the incorporated city.
Palomar Medical Center is a hospital located in west Escondido near the I-15/78 interchange. It is the only designated trauma center in northern San Diego County. It opened in 2012, replacing a PMC facility that has stood in central Escondido since 1950. The original Palomar hospital, located east of downtown at the Valley Parkway/Grand Ave. junction, has remained open and rebranded Palomar Medical Center Downtown, serving as a standby/overflow medical center.
Born November 8, 1970, he grew up in Escondido, a sleepy farm town about a half hour's drive north of San Diego.
Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the woman recently accused by federal prosecutors of running a Washington, D.C., prostitution business by phone from California, owns a house in Escondido, but her neighbors said last week that it provided her a quiet refuge, rather than a remote command post.
After he stopped making films in 1969, the couple raised horses at their ranch near Escondido, northeast of San Diego.
Eric Weddle recently moved into a house in Escondido.
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