Just as its name suggests, the city of Lemon Grove, was originally an agricultural center renowned for its lemons. Today, Lemon Grove is a charming residential community conveniently located less than nine miles from downtown San Diego just east of Encanto and south of La Mesa. The city motto — “Best Climate on Earth” — is backed up by more than 300 days of sunshine each year. The population of approximately 26,000 residents enjoys an ideal locale within San Diego County, affordable housing opportunities, an award-winning school district and numerous recreational opportunities. Many of the citrus groves have been replaced with tidy homes on large, shady lots. The real estate market features a good balance between new and older suburban homes and interested homebuyers can expect a diverse choice of single-family housing.
Homes range affordably in price from just over $300,000 to nearly $700,000 in neighborhoods such as Lemon Grove Addition, Mildred Way and Lemon Grove Park. The Lemon Grove School District serves approximately 4,600 students in grades K-8 and has in recent years won awards for its web-based program — LemonLINK. LemonLINK is “…a program focusing on high-speed connectivity, equity and adequate access to resources, development of web-based instructional tools and ongoing professional development for teachers.” This innovative and technologically advanced tool has garnered national recognition including support from Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
The history of Lemon Grove dates back to 1868. The town was the inspiration of Robert Allison and his two forward-thinking sons, Frank and Joseph. While Frank drove sheep into the area from San Francisco, Joseph filed subdivision maps for the town site of “Lemon Grove.” Land sold quickly and soon the citrus groves were flourishing. First came the general store, then the post office, school house and church. But the most significant development was the railroad depot in 1898, which enabled Lemon Grove to ship lemons to the east coast. After 1940, the citrus groves began to be replaced by homes and commercial buildings during the boom period following World War II. Lemon Grove was incorporated in 1977.
Although it is nestled in close proximity to the heart of downtown San Diego in the middle of a $20 billion a year trade area, Lemon Grove is still a small, idyllic community known for its youth sports organization, community recreation and special teen events as well as its arts complex, theater, seniors’ center and library. Various community events are held on an annual basis including the Lemon Grove Old Time Days, Neighborhood Cleanup Day and Concerts in the Park sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department.
While it maintains its rural roots, San Diego is a mere trolley ride away and this metropolitan city is home to numerous spectacular attractions, historical sites, pristine beaches, arts and cultural venues, and professional sporting events. Some of the most popular sites in San Diego are Balboa Park, Old Town State Park, the San Diego Zoo, Sea World and the San Diego Wild Animal Park.
Originally constructed as a parade float in 1928, the large lemon in the central business district has become the symbol of Lemon Grove’s rich history. For more than 100 years, the city has retained its small town charm and precious link to the past. Lemon Grove residents live in a community, which still cherishes a simple way of life while looking forward to a promising future