El Cerrito Facts:
- The name “El Cerrito” refers to the little hill that rises from 55th Street to 58th Street. This “little hill” was the largest of the rises on the old Cajon Road and first is documented by that name in the late 1800s.
- Located just west of the Flume Company’s lands, the area saw its first development with large “farm tracts” in the 1890s such as Redlands, Lemon Villa and Waterville.
- The area’s first formal use of the name comes with the establishment of the El Cerrito Park Water District in 1909.
- In the 1920s, suburban developers took advantage of the new State, and soon to be U.S. Highway (El Cajon Boulevard), to re-subdivide the old tracts into smaller residential tracts including the community namesake El Cerrito Heights.
- With the establishment of San Diego State College on Montezuma Mesa in 1931, El Cerrito was the closest residential area to the new campus and grew steadily in the period while other local tracts were hampered by the Depression.
- El Cerrito had its own Business District Association in the 1930s.
- After World War II, the remaining areas of the community, especially those areas south of El Cajon Boulevard, were filled in with early “tract homes” such Belleview Heights.
- The opening of Collwood Boulevard in the 1960s brought the neighborhood some of the earliest “condominium” projects—giving El Cerrito some of the oldest and newest housing stock in the College Neighborhoods.
- Three of El Cerrito’s distinctive and historic houses are currently listed on the City of San Diego’s List of Historical Properties.