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La Mesa, California
City of La Mesa
Amaya Drive Trolley Station
Amaya Drive Trolley Station
Flag of La Mesa, California
Flag
Motto(s): 
"Jewel of the Hills"
Location of La Mesa in San Diego County, California
Location of La Mesa in San Diego County, California
La Mesa, California is located in the United States
La Mesa, California
La Mesa, California
Location in the United States
Country  United States of America
State  California
County Flag of San Diego County, California.png San Diego
Incorporated February 16, 1912
Government
 • Type Council / manager
Area
 • Total 9.10 sq mi (23.57 km2)
 • Land 9.10 sq mi (23.56 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.01 km2)  0.44%
Elevation
528 ft (161 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 57,065
 • Estimate 
(2019)
59,249
 • Density 6,514.46/sq mi (2,515.34/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
91941–91944
Area code 619
FIPS code 06-40004
GNIS feature IDs 1660859, 2411576

La Mesa (Spanish for The Table) is a city in San Diego County, located 9 miles (14 km) east of Downtown San Diego in Southern California. The population was 57,065 at the 2010 census, up from 54,749 at the 2000 census. Its civic motto is "the Jewel of the Hills."

History

La Mesa in Spanish means "the table", or alternately "the plateau", relating to its geography. La Mesa was part of a larger tract, Mission San Diego de Alcalá, and was used by Spanish Missionaries.

La Mesa was founded in 1869 and The City of La Mesa was incorporated on February 16, 1912, under the general laws of the state of California. As such, it does not have a city charter but operates under the laws of the state of California in all respects not specifically covered by any city ordinance.

Its official flower is the bougainvillea.

Geography

La Mesa is located at 32°46′17″N 117°1′22″W / 32.77139°N 117.02278°W / 32.77139; -117.02278 (32.771450, -117.022797). It is bordered by the city of San Diego on the west and north, Spring Valley and Lemon Grove on the south, and El Cajon on the east. It includes the neighborhood of Grossmont.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.1 square miles (24 km2). 9.1 square miles (24 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (0.44%) is water.

Climate

La Mesa is approximately 12 mi (19 km)) east of the Pacific Ocean. Because of this, La Mesa typically experiences more extreme temperatures than San Diego, which mostly lies significantly closer to the Pacific Ocean. La Mesa has a Semi-arid Steppe climate. La Mesa typically has hot, dry summers and warm winters with most of the annual precipitation falling between November and March. The city has dry weather with around 13" of annual precipitation. Summer temperatures are generally hot, with average highs of 78 °F-92 °F (26 °C–33 °C) and lows of 56 °F–68 °F (13 °C–20 °C). Winter temperatures are warm, with average high temperatures of 66 °F–77 °F (19 °C–25 °C) and lows of 46 °F–58 °F (8 °C–14 °C).

The climate in the San Diego area, like much of California, often varies significantly over short geographical distances resulting in micro-climates. In San Diego's case, this is mainly due to the city's topography (the Bay, and the numerous hills, mountains, and canyons). Frequently, particularly during the "May gray/June gloom" period, a thick "marine layer" cloud cover will keep the air cool and damp within a few miles of the coast, but will yield to bright cloudless sunshine approximately 5–10 miles (8–16 km) inland. This happens every year in May and June. Even in the absence of June gloom, inland areas tend to experience higher temperatures than areas closer to the coast.

Climate data for La Mesa, California
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 90
(32.2)
92
(33.3)
96
(35.6)
105
(40.6)
100
(37.8)
103
(39.4)
106
(41.1)
106
(41.1)
109
(42.8)
105
(40.6)
97
(36.1)
91
(32.8)
109
(-17.8)
Average high °F (°C) 67.0
(19.44)
68.4
(20.22)
68.8
(20.44)
71.6
(22)
73.3
(22.94)
77.5
(25.28)
82.8
(28.22)
84.3
(29.06)
83.3
(28.5)
78.8
(26)
73.1
(22.83)
68.3
(20.17)
74.77
(23.759)
Average low °F (°C) 44.5
(6.94)
46.0
(7.78)
47.6
(8.67)
50.6
(10.33)
54.3
(12.39)
57.7
(14.28)
61.5
(16.39)
62.8
(17.11)
61.0
(16.11)
55.9
(13.28)
49.2
(9.56)
44.8
(7.11)
52.99
(11.662)
Record low °F (°C) 26
(-3.3)
31
(-0.6)
34
(1.1)
31
(-0.6)
41
(5)
47
(8.3)
46
(7.8)
49
(9.4)
45
(7.2)
30
(-1.1)
30
(-1.1)
29
(-1.7)
26
(-17.8)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.62
(66.5)
2.17
(55.1)
2.42
(61.5)
1.05
(26.7)
0.31
(7.9)
0.08
(2)
0.05
(1.3)
0.08
(2)
0.21
(5.3)
0.54
(13.7)
1.42
(36.1)
1.55
(39.4)
12.5
(317.5)
Source: WRCC, Period of Record General Climate Summary Table

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 1,004
1930 2,513 150.3%
1940 3,925 56.2%
1950 10,946 178.9%
1960 30,441 178.1%
1970 39,178 28.7%
1980 50,308 28.4%
1990 52,931 5.2%
2000 54,749 3.4%
2010 57,065 4.2%
Est. 2019 59,249 3.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010

At the 2010 census La Mesa had a population of 57,065. The population density was 6,259.6 people per square mile (2,416.8/km2). The racial makeup of La Mesa was 54.1% White, Hispanic or Latino of any race was 21.5%, 8.0% African American, 5.8% Asian, 0.8% Native American, 0.6% Pacific Islander, 11.6% from other races, and 5.8% from two or more races.

The census reported that 56,408 people (98.8% of the population) lived in households, 124 (0.2%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 533 (0.9%) were institutionalized.

There were 24,512 households, 6,695 (27.3%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 9,330 (38.1%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 3,102 (12.7%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,335 (5.4%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,731 (7.1%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 243 (1.0%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 8,004 households (32.7%) were one person and 2,924 (11.9%) had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.30. There were 13,767 families (56.2% of households); the average family size was 2.94.

The age distribution was 11,164 people (19.6%) under the age of 18, 6,396 people (11.2%) aged 18 to 24, 16,792 people (29.4%) aged 25 to 44, 14,625 people (25.6%) aged 45 to 64, and 8,088 people (14.2%) who were 65 or older. The median age was 37.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.1 males.

There were 26,167 housing units at an average density of 2,870.3 per square mile, of the occupied units 11,221 (45.8%) were owner-occupied and 13,291 (54.2%) were rented. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.4%; the rental vacancy rate was 7.2%. 26,713 people (46.8% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 29,695 people (52.0%) lived in rental housing units.

2000

At the 2000 census there were 54,749 people in 24,186 households, including 13,374 families, in the city. The population density was 5,909.9 inhabitants per square mile (2,282.8/km2). There were 24,943 housing units at an average density of 2,692.5 per square mile (1,040.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 51.0% White, 6.7% African American, 0.6% Native American, 5.5% Asian, 0.4% Pacific Islander, 9.5% from other races, and 4.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 26.6%.

Of the 24,186 households 24.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.8% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.7% were non-families. 34.2% of households were one person and 12.9% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.86.

The age distribution was 19.8% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 32.9% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% 65 or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.2 males.

The median household income was $41,693 and the median family income was $50,398. Males had a median income of $37,215 versus $30,413 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,372. About 5.2% of families and 9.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.4% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.

Current estimates

According to estimates by the San Diego Association of Governments (not adjusted for inflation). When adjusted for inflation (1999 dollars; comparable to Census data above), the median household income was $45,156.

Arts and culture

Farmer's Market

There is a Farmer's Market in La Mesa Village every Friday afternoon.

Flag Day Parade

On June 14, 1997, with the vision and commitment of Councilmember Ruth Sterling, the City of La Mesa inaugurated its First Annual Flag Day Parade.

La Mesa Walkway of the Stars

The “Walkway of the Stars” is a pedestrian walkway that has been transformed into an urban park in downtown La Mesa. The vision for a place to recognize La Mesa's extraordinary volunteers was provided by Councilmember Ruth Sterling. The park’s theme honors the city’s outstanding volunteers who have provided 10,000 or more hours of service to the city of La Mesa. “Walkway of the Stars” is located between the Allison Avenue municipal parking lot and La Mesa Boulevard.

Oktoberfest

At the beginning of each October, La Mesa holds its biggest event of the year, Oktoberfest, attended by approximately 200,000 people over the three nights of the event.

Back to the 50s Car Show

The Back to the '50s Car Show is an annual summer event where classic car enthusiasts come to display their vehicles. The event is held every Thursday evening during the months of June through August in La Mesa Village along La Mesa Boulevard. Admission to the event is free.

Sundays At Six

Sundays At Six is a free concert series that is offered every year in the months of June and July. For 6 Sundays free concerts are performed in Harry Griffen Park from 6pm - 7pm. The concerts began in 2002. Sundays @ 6 was conceived by Mayor Mark Arapostathis.

Other events

Other annual events include Christmas in the Village, and Antique Street Fair.

Grossmont Center

The city's major mall, Grossmont Center, opened in 1961.

Education

The schools in La Mesa are operated by two districts. The La Mesa-Spring Valley School District operates most of the elementary and middle schools in the city, while the Grossmont Union High School District operates Helix High School and the Gateway day schools.

Elementary schools

  • Rolando Elementary School (La Mesa-Spring Valley School District)
  • La Mesa Dale Elementary School (La Mesa-Spring Valley School District)
  • Maryland Avenue Elementary School (La Mesa-Spring Valley School District)
  • RHR DFAF Private Charter School
  • Murdock Elementary School (La Mesa-Spring Valley School District)
  • Murray Manor Elementary School (La Mesa-Spring Valley School District)
  • Northmont Elementary School (La Mesa-Spring Valley School District)
  • Lemon Avenue Elementary School (La Mesa-Spring Valley School District)
  • Vista La Mesa Academy (Lemon Grove School District)
  • Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran School (private, K-8)
  • St. Martin's Academy (private)
  • Liberty Charter School (private)
  • San Diego Jewish Academy (private)
  • Christ Lutheran School (private)
  • Innovation Center La Mesa – Julian Charter School (charter)
  • La Mesa Arts Academy (4th - 8th Grade) - La Mesa-Spring Valley School District

Middle/junior high schools

  • Parkway Middle School (La Mesa-Spring Valley School District)
  • La Mesa Arts Academy (4-8 Grade) (LMAAC) (La Mesa-Spring Valley School District)
  • Vista La Mesa Academy (Lemon Grove School District)
  • Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran School (private, K-8)

High schools

  • Helix High School (Grossmont Union High School District)
  • Grossmont High School (Grossmont Union High School District) includes some students from La Mesa while having an El Cajon street address

K–12

  • Gateway Community Day (Grossmont Union High School District)
  • Gateway West Community Day (Grossmont Union High School District)
  • Mt. Helix Academy (Private Administration)

Transportation

The City of La Mesa is served by the San Diego Trolley's Orange Line at its stations in Spring Street, La Mesa Boulevard, Grossmont Transit Center, and Amaya Drive, the last two of which are also served by the Green Line.

By car, the city is served by Interstate 8, California State Route 94, and California State Route 125.

Notable people

  • Aaron Boone, retired baseball player and manager
  • Reggie Bush, retired football player
  • Ammar Campa-Najjar (born 1989), Democratic politician
  • Brooks Conrad, baseball player
  • Ralph Drollinger, basketball player and religious minister
  • Josquin Des Pres (20th century musician) Music Producer, TV Music Conposer/Song Writer, Bassist and Instructional Music Author
  • Dennis Hopper, actor/producer/photographer
  • Dave Mustaine, founding guitarist/vocalist of Megadeth
  • Diana Napolis, social worker and celebrity stalker
  • Ellen Ochoa, engineer and astronaut
  • Willie O'Ree, hockey player
  • Jason Phillips (catcher), former baseball catcher for New York Mets
  • Goldie Rapp, third baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies
  • Steve Roach, ambient musician
  • Claudia Sandoval, MasterChef winner
  • Whitney Shay, blues, soul, and rhythm and blues singer and songwriter
  • Alex Smith, retired football player who was raised in La Mesa.
  • Eddie Vedder, vocalist/guitarist of Pearl Jam
  • Bill Walton, basketball player and sportscaster
  • Frank Zappa, musician, composer, songwriter

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