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Guide to the El Cajon Horticultural Society Records MS 254
MS 254  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical / Historical Notes
  • Arrangement
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Processing Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Scope and Content

  • Title: El Cajon Horticultural Society Records
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 254
    Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 0.5 Linear feet (1 box)
    Date (inclusive): 1889 July 10-1909 November 13
    Abstract: The collection contains a ledger of the El Cajon Horticultural Society from July 10, 1889 through November 13, 1909.
    creator: El Cajon Horticultural Society.

    Biographical / Historical Notes

    The El Cajon Horticultural Society was formed in July of 1889. The original 18 members met in the El Cajon school house and were comprised of local ranchers and farmers. G.H. Bowers was the temporary secretary for the Society’s first meetings, with George M. Hawley adopting the role officially. W.H. Somers served as president, C.B. Richards as vice-president, and H. Culbertson as treasurer. The goal of the society was to unite the growing community of farmers to discuss agricultural topics and methods.
    In the late 1800s, El Cajon was a thriving agrarian community, though like the rest of San Diego County, the city lacked a consistent water supply. In 1889, the San Diego Flume Company completed a 33.5 mile aqueduct that ran from the Cuyamaca Mountains down through the El Cajon Valley with the intent to help irrigate San Diego as a whole. The Horticultural Society took great interest in the construction of the irrigation system and even met with representatives from the San Diego Flume Co. to discuss the city’s interests and negotiate water rights. The society changed their name to the El Cajon Valley Improvement Association in 1909.


    Pages of bound ledger are arranged chronologically.

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Lauren Rasmussen on February 2, 2012.
    Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

    Preferred Citation

    El Cajon Horitcultural Society Records, MS 254, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    Some pages are torn. Others are partially or completely detached from binding. Edge of ledger is warped.
    Loose materials in ledger removed, but retained in the same folder with notations of original location for each item. (February 14, 2012)

    Scope and Content

    The ledger contains records of the El Cajon Horticultural Society from July 10, 1889 through November 13, 1909, including a constitution, by-laws, elected officers, members, and meeting minutes. The ledger records meeting minutes from July 10, 1889 to December 27, 1902, with no entries from 1903 through 1908; this 5 year hiatus is left unexplained. Meeting minutes record the date as a heading above the meeting notes and are signed at the end by the secretary or the secretary pro tem. In most cases, the meetings consist of a call to order, a reading of the last meeting minutes, reports of the officers and committee members, unfinished business, new business, open discussion, and meeting adjournment, though the detail of each record differs from meeting to meeting.
    The meetings are concerned primarily with the discussion of different agriculture techniques and what can be done to improve conditions in the valley community. Horticultural methods like grafting and budding are discussed in detail. Society members debate specific cultivating methods of citrus trees, grapes, flowers, and fruit. Several of the meetings are primarily concerned with water development and what can be done to increase water efficiency in their farming endeavors. An entire meeting is devoted to the topic of fertilizer and another on the topic dairy farming. One meeting notes different methods for deterring rabbits and squirrels.
    The Society also notes their concern regarding the well-being of their community as a whole. On occasion they divert from agriculture topics to societal issues, such as how to diminish the number of drinking and gambling establishments in town. It appears they desired to establish an agricultural library, which would have been the first of its kind in San Diego County. It is unclear if this library was ever actually established.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Bowers, G. H.
    Chase, Levi
    Culbertson, H.
    El Cajon Horticultural Society.
    El Cajon Valley Improvement Association.
    Furber, Harry E.
    Hawley, George M.
    San Diego Flume Company.
    Shepherd, George C.
    Somers, W. H.
    Agriculture -- California
    California -- History, Local
    El Cajon (Calif.)
    Farm produce
    Local history
    San Diego (Calif.)
    Societies -- History, organization, etc.
    Water rights -- California