The History of Poway, CA

Learn about the rich history of Poway, CA

Poway has an interesting, rich history. For instance, did you know that there was a community named Merton that existed around the cross streets of Poway Road and Pomerado Road? The name Pomerado is a loose blending of Poway, Merton, and Rancho Bernardo. There was even a Merton Post Office office that closed in 1903. We are on Pomerado Road and this is right by our Poway office, so I was really excited to learn that. If history unfolded a bit different, we would have been in Merton. What was Merton is now part of Poway. Poway General Contractor Need For Build Inc is proud to serve this entire area.

The name Poway originates from the Kumeyaay language. The exact meaning is not known but is generally agreed to mean “meeting of the little valleys”. If you are looking for historical references to Poway, you may notice that several different spellings exist including Paquay, Paguay, Powaii, Paua and more. The pronunciation is something that has been contested as well. With some people preferring to pronounce the last syllable with a long i sound as in “eye”. A poem written by Robert McGregor in the 1890’s attests to that pronunciation.

Poway’s slogan is the “City in the Country” and it is committed to it’s open space preserves. This keeps it country. Poway’s earliest known settlers are the Kumeyaay people who have roamed the area for about a thousand years before European settlers arrived. There is actually evidence of human occupation of the area 12,000 years ago.

Poway was under Mexican rule as part of California. Mission San Diego de Alcalá used to keep cattle in the valley. California achieved American statehood in 1849. Philip Crosthwaite was the first known homesteader in Poway. He built an adobe home in 1859. The first post office opened in Poway in 1870.

The Pacific Beach Railroad proposed a line going to Ramona with stops in Poway and Merton. The prospects of this happening created a real estate boom in the 1890s but plans fell through when residents did not come up with the required $150,000 in land and cash required to make that a reality. Still, more settlers came to Poway to enjoy it’s soil and climate for farming.

Farming was the main occupation in Poway at this point and the area was known for high quality grapes, peaches, olives and other crops. Dairy farms were also prominent in the area as well. Wineries were “officially” opened in Poway after prohibition ended in 1933. Drought was a growing concern as rain and wells were the source of water for crops. A plan to access water from the Colorado aqueduct in 1954 answered this concern. A sewer treatment center was developed in 1957. Steady access to water and a sewer plant laid the foundation for housing tracts. In 1972 Poway Dam was built which added to the reliable water supply.

New houses, brought schools and shopping to the area. Poway continued to grow. Poway was an unincorporated community of San Diego. In 1980 Poway incorporated as the city of Poway. Today, Poway has a variety of resources including, schools, hospitals and shopping centers to serve the 50,000 residents and the employees working here. Farming is no longer the main occupation. Poway is now primarily a residential community whose residents work for various employers throughout the county. Need For Build is proud to have a location in Poway. We love our City in the Country!