Lakeside California has had a long history of development that has seen hotels, racetracks, and ranches come and go. Now the town has a small but humming region of over 21,000 people.
The History of Lakeside: Early Development
Lakeside’s history has seen various key players buy and sell different pieces of land within the town. The town had its beginnings in 1866 when the El Cajon Land Company, consisting of wealthy entrepreneurs, purchased a large swathe of land surrounding Lindo Lake.
The El Cajon Land Company immediately started to develop the town, starting with erecting a Victorian-style hotel. This luxurious inn consisted of 80 rooms, a tennis court, a golf course, and a park. It also boasted fine gourmet dining with some of the highest-quality ingredients.
At its completion in 1887, the hotel project cost the company a total of $50,000 to build – about $1,220,000 in today’s currency. By investing in this hotel, the El Cajon Land Company had hoped to encourage others from far and wide to settle in the little town of Lakeside.
In 1889, the railway system connected with the town of Lakeside for the first time, further promoting growth. With the area becoming more accessible to outsiders, businesses and families started flowing in. Among the amenities that opened were a general store, a stable/blacksmith, a school, and eventually a church.
A Racetrack Draws More Growth
In 1904, millionaire John H. Gay purchased Lakeside Hotel as well as the park surrounding the lake. He proceeded to build a racetrack for automobile and horse racing. The track became famous when Barney Oldfield, a renowned automobile racer at the time, set a world record for the fastest time on the opening day of the track in 1907. After that, it became a hotspot for millionaires and celebrities, but it was eventually demolished in 1920 upon Gay’s death.
History of Lakeside: The Rodeo
The Lakeside Rodeo Association had its beginnings in July of 1920 when Lakeside resident Bill Kuhner organized the first rodeo just south of Lindo Lake. At this time, rodeo arenas were basic and makeshift. After a bit of a hiatus where no rodeos took place, a planned rodeo fitted with reused bleachers from the old automobile racing days reignited the site in 1933. This was when the Lakeside Rodeo Association officially formed.
The association built a grandstand, walls, and chutes for these rodeo events. What started as an amateurish, makeshift event began to look more and more like an actual rodeo arena. Today, rodeos are held each year at the arena located on Mapleview Avenue.
Middle of 20th Century to Today
Varying population groups started to settle in Lakeside, beginning in the middle of the 20th century. These people include Native Americans, Spanish-Hispanics, and Filipinos.
Today, Lakeside, California (92040), is a quiet, rural town that carries the tradition as a ‘rodeo’ town. The locals look forward to the annual rodeo event each spring, run by the Lakeside Rodeo Association, which is a team of dedicated community volunteers. See some of the many things to do in Lakeside in this article.
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