For hundreds of years, people flocked to a natural spring that sat right in the middle of what is now called Spring Valley, California. Today, there is a whole lot more to this area than just a spring, but the city definitely has an interesting story to tell because of it!
Centuries ago, the Kumeyaay tribe was forced out of the area by Spanish conquerors. In the mid-1800's, a San Diego judge decided to move a few miles to the east and built a huge ranch around the spring -- including a ranch house that was made out of wood salvaged from a shipwreck in San Diego Bay. It was the first house built in the area by someone other than an Indian or a Spaniard, making it a major accomplishment at the time!
Shortly thereafter, a man named Hubert Howe Bancroft bought the judge's ranch, bought a few more ranches to go around it, and started planting trees and orchards all over the place. It didn't take long for Spring Valley to become one of California's biggest olive ranches. There are still plenty of olive trees around the area today!
Thanks to all of Bancroft's hard work, that first ranch house was re-named Bancroft Ranch House, and today it's an official California State Historic Landmark.
So, that was then… What about now?
Today, Spring Valley sits just south of 94 and just east of 125 -- making it easy for the people here to head into nearby downtown San Diego. Spring Valley takes up 7 square miles and is home to more than 28,000 residents. While it's not a formal city, Spring Valley is known as a census-designated place -- meaning that it's similar to a city, but doesn't have its own municipal government.
Sometimes, you'll hear people around here talk about "Greater Spring Valley", but they're actually referring to an area that also includes La Presa, Casa de Oro, parts of La Mesa, and El Cajon. If you want the true lowdown on Spring Valley living, you'll have to ignore all of those other communities!
Even though it's only about 12 miles from the heart of San Diego, Spring Valley has a small-town feel. You can find community-oriented activities here that you would never find in a big city -- like the movies that are played on an outdoor screen at the Spring Valley Country Park during the summer.
That suburban feel appears to be getting more and more popular. Spring Valley's population has grown slowly but steadily since the turn of the millennium. Today, the area is home to all kinds of people, from all different walks of life.
Since San Diego is so close, you can get a big-town feel anytime you want. In fact, a large number of Spring Valley residents head to San Diego every day for work.
As for the kiddos, there are plenty of schools right in Spring Valley. The La Mesa-Spring Valley School District is home to 10 elementary schools and 4 middle schools. High school students in Spring Valley attend 4 different high schools in the Grossmont Union High School District.
If you want to call Spring Valley home, you'll have a number of affordable homes and condos to choose from. As of mid-2012, the median sales price was just under $249,000. That's down slightly from 2011 prices, but it's on par with other nearby areas. As an added benefit, if you're shopping for a home in Spring Valley, you'll see that the average home prices are considerably lower than what you'll pay in San Diego proper.
Renters will be happy to hear that the 2012 median rent list price is 7% lower than it was in 2011. However, the average Spring Valley renter is still paying about $1,300 in rent each month.
Small-town charm with big-city access… It's no wonder Spring Valley has evolved way beyond the spring!