In 1902, Ed Fletcher and William Gross purchased the Villa
Caro Ranch, which included the smaller peak on the north side
of Mt. Helix. Fletcher named this mountain Grossmont, in honor
of Gross. In 1910, the two men developed it as a picturesque
June, 1920- Grossmont Union High School
District was formed.
December 13, 1920, lot purchased from
Col. Ed Fletcher for $10.00; September 17, 1921, grading and
footings constructed; and January 13, 1923, buildings completed.
The ivy which was used so extensively
in the landscaping was obtained from Castle Rocks Ranch in El
Cajon. Mr. J. M. Asher, San Diego's first florist and pioneer
nurseryman (1869) and developer of Castle Rocks Ranch in 1879,
had brought the ivy to Castle Rocks. It was taken to the Grossmont
High School campus by the Busch boys who were among the first
students to attend there and whose parents owned Castle Rocks
Ranch at that time.
In the year 1922-1923, the first classes
of the Grossmont Union High School were held on the new Grossmont
campus. Carl Vance was the principal and . Carl Quicksall,
a teacher. In 1924, Mr. Quicksall became superintendent when
Carl Vance resigned. In 1944, Mr. Quicksall retired and
Lewis Smith became superintendent. Mr. Smith retired in 1964
and John T. Warburton took over as superintendent.
"The new Grossmont Union High School,
situated upon a sightly knoll and commanding a sweeping view
of El Cajon Valley and the picturesque Cuyamaca Mountains, is
constructed of gray granite. With its suggestive towers, turrets,
and battlements, this two story, semi-octagonal building from
the rear, gives the impression of some impenetrable medieval
castle where armed hordes might battle vainly before stern gates.
Yet approaching it from the front, one might easily imagine
that those walls and shining windows were concealing some fairy
princess; and for all that, they may - who knows?
The above description of our school,
written by Hayden Honnell, starts the imaginative powers to
working and one might expect to see a horde of medieval humans
occupying the structure. What one does see, however, are the
boys and girls of the twentieth century busy in the school life
of Grossmont. This building represents the interest and sacrifice
of many people who have done a great deal to further the opportunities
of the students by consolidation and one might go far to find
a person who is not proud indeed of the new "Grossmont."
The history of the school union began
in 1920, when on August 14th of that year the El Cajon and Riverview
High Schools consolidated with the Allison Spring Valley and
Lemon Grove Grammar School districts. The Riverview High School
was used in 1920 - 1921 in preference to El Cajon High School
because it was larger. The first trustees of the consolidated
schools were A. B. Foster (President). Eveleen K. Bryan,
Izer Davis, R. T. Robinson, Jr., and W. J. Seat. On October
4, 1920, a resolution was offered in a meeting of the trustees
to call a bond election for November 5, 1920, to raise the sum
of one hundred and ten thousand dollars for the new building
to be erected at Grossmont on fourteen acres of land given by
Col. Ed. Fletcher. When the returns of the bond election were
canvassed, it was found that a large majority were in favor
of the bonds.
On June 18, 1921, the contract for the
new building was let to Young and Beer. The material for the
structure was to be gray granite from the hills on Grossmont,
which Colonel Ed. Fletcher furnished the contractors at the
cost of getting it out. The work was to begin July 1, 1921,
and to be completed in twelve months. J.W. Wiley of La
Mesa was hired as the Board's inspector, and it was in part
due to him that the good looking building we have was secured.
The work was begun at the time specified,
and the building was slowly erected. During the erection, the
ceremony of laying the cornerstone took place on February 6,
1922, in the presence of the teachers and pupils of the high
and grammar schools, and a large number of citizens.
As the building was not completed at
the time for the fall opening for school, and as it seemed that
the contractors would be unable to complete it, the Board took
over the finishing of the contract and with Mr. Wiley as Superintendent
of Construction the building was finally completed in every
detail by December. Meanwhile, however, school began on September
25, with an attendance of three hundred and twenty, which has
increased up to the latter part of the school year to three
hundred and fifty.
With this brief history in mind of the
facts leading up to the present school whose beauty of structure
can be seen in the opposite picture, the students of Grossmont
take great pride in knowing that their school is a fitting and
lasting monument to the patrons of the district."
quote by Helen Moriarty '24
1952- Helix High School was built in La Mesa at 7323 University
Avenue with Mr. Benton Hart as the principal.
1955- El Cajon Valley High School was built in El Cajon at
1035 East Madison Avenue with Mr. John Cornelius as its principal.
Mr. Cornelius retired in the spring of 1969 and Mr. James R.
Peace, a former teacher at that school, became the new principal.
1957- Mount Miguel High School was built in Spring Valley at
1800 Sweetwater Road with Mr. Melvin Grant as its principal.
1959- El Capitan High School was constructed in Lakeside at
10410 Ashwood (formerly part of San Diego River) with Mr. Russel
Savage as principal.
1960- Granite Hills High School was built in El Cajon at 1719
East Madison Avenue and Mr. Phillip Morell is the principal.
1961- Monte Vista High School was also built in Spring Valley
at 3230 Sweetwater Road with Mr. Stanley McClintic as principal.
1965- Santana High School was constructed in Santee at 9915
Magnolia Avenue with Mr. Robert Spencer as principal.
La Mesa's population, in 1950, was 11,000. By 1960 it grew
to 30,000. Today, the population of La Mesa is nearly 60,000.
La Mesa Historical Society)
El Cajon's population in 1950 was 6,000. By 1960 the population
was 37,618. Today the population of El Cajon is nearly 96,000.
(Source: City of El Cajon)