Historical Marker Program

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Early Days of Poway

Poway Valley was an area of plentiful rain and ever-flowing streams. In the early 1800s many families homesteaded here, each receiving a government grant of 160 acres of free land. By 1870 Poway boasted the only post office between San Bernardino and San Diego. It served 20 families, all of whom lived in the Poway Valley. By the mid-1880s, Poway had become a prosperous, well-populated farming community.

Approximately 800 people lived in the Poway Valley by 1887, at which time the community boasted a church, store, livery stable, stage coach station, blacksmith shop, and even a Chinese laundry! There was a schoolhouse on Community Road, diagonally across from the Community Church, and a hotel, The Terrace, was located between Adrian and Aubrey Streets on the east side of Midland Road. The expectation of a railroad line coming through the Poway Valley, passing just west of today's Midland Road, caused a real estate boom as two men from England, a Mr. Chapin and a Mr. Baird, laid out a subdivision call Piermont near the present day center of Old Poway. 

Street names such as Midland, Adrian, Aubrey, Edgemoor, York, and Temple are remnants of the busted real estate boom that occurred when the San Diego Central and Southern Pacific Railways abandoned plans to lay tracks through Poway and took the railroad through Escondido instead. The inflated prices for Poway property evaporated and, once again, the valley returned to farming.

The Poway of today is a grown-up version of the community of 100 years ago, with friendly neighbors, paved streets, electric lighting, and indoor plumbing. But it's good to look back to that simpler time, and to acquaint ourselves with the men and women whose sweat, tears, and laughter first established Poway—our City in the Country.

Visit Poway History

Poway is proud to feature several historic buildings throughout our community. To view descriptions and locations of these historical landmarks, view the Map Tour above or the informational brochure (PDF).