Archive for January, 2009

The Towns of Yesteryear

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Bankhead Springs Hotel

Bankhead Springs Hotel

 

Traveling from Yuma or El Centro to San Diego, most people stay on interstate 8 and miss all the little towns on state route 80. The first town that you come to as you climb out of the desert is Jacumba at 2800 feet.

Jacumba

Jacumba is a border town less than a half a mile from the Mexican border. On the Mexican side is the small community of La Rumorosa. There used to be a small border crossing at Jacumba but it was closed in1995.

The town of Jacumba is home to about 660 people. In the 1930’s and 1940’s it was a thriving town of over 5000. It had a world class hotel The Jacumba Hotel and it was the party destination of the movie stars of the era. It had a large hot mineral spring that a spa and pool were built around. State route 80 and the railroad were the transportation outlets to the town.

The Interstate

 

During the 60’s and early 70’s interstate 8 was built. The last section, the Pine Valley Bridge was completed in 1975. The interstate paralleled the old State route 80 usually about 1 to 2 miles to the north. At the In-co-pah grade into the desert, interstate 8 used the old state route 80 roadbed for the east lanes and brought the west lanes up through the next canyon north. Once the interstate was complete, the thriving communities of Jacumba, Bankhead Springs, and Boulevard went into decline. Most people pass by on Interstate 8 and do not know these communities exist even though there are exit signs.

The Jacumba Hotel closed and then burned in1985. The only thing left is the big stone fireplace. Jacumba has returned to it’s farming and ranching roots. There is a small 2500 foot airport used mostly for crop dusting. The center of town is like a ghost town. The general store somehow stays in business mostly with the business of locals. A new spa opened a few years ago but whether it can revitalize the town is yet to be seen.

 

Bankhead Springs

 

The small community of Bankhead Springs is almost non existent except for the sign. The last business in the community, the hotel has been for sale for years.

 

Boulevard

 

This town of about 1500 is at the crossroads of State route 94 and State route 80. It has a few businesses even a u haul dealer but customers and traffic are slow.

 

Live Oak Springs

 

This community does a little better than the rest because of the store and the large campground. It gets some spillover traffic from the Golden Acorn Casino just up the road. However if the Casino builds the hotel that they are planning , business will drop.

All these east county communities have a colorful history of more than a century. It would be a shame to see them disappear because they have been forgotten.

 

 

The Product Gallery

 

I hope everyone enjoyed this week’s story. Before you go please be sure and check out our list of products on the right under our blogroll. Just click on any of the links that interest you and you will travel to that products website. Everyone have a safe and productive week and we will see you next week with a new adventure