Scenes and Portraits of Old Spring Valley


Spring Valley Historical Society




View of Spring Valley:  1895, Southeast
View of Spring Valley looking south-southeast across Campo Road and
orchards of Helix Farms, circa 1895. The Bancroft adobe is in the clump of
trees to the right of large barn (at left). The photographer's daughter,
Aimee Patterson is in foreground. Fan palms and olive trees line the south
side of Campo Road. The orchard covered hill at right later became part of
the La Mesa Country Estates golf course. A portion of Dictionary Hill is at
left, in the distance.

View of Spring Valley:  1895, Northeast

View of Spring Valley, circa 1895, looking northeast towards El Cajon;
Mt. Helix is at left; citrus orchard of Helix Farms in the valley.
In foreground are Freda Nicolai (standing) and Aimee Patterson
(sitting on hay bale; photographer's daughter).

View of Spring Valley:  1897, Northeast
View of the northwest end of Spring Valley in 1897, looking
northeasterly towards the Merritt Ranch on the low hill. The
horse-drawn buggy is at the point where present day Broadway becomes
Campo Road. White building in center is the Spring Valley General
Store owned by Charles Cheeseman, located near the present intersection
of Campo Road and Spring Street. The drainage in the foreground
is the creek Brookside was named after. Mt. Helix is at far left.

View of Helix Farms: 1890
View of Helix Farms, circa 1890, looking northwest with slope of
Hartzel Hill at left. Bancroft's Cactus Cottage is on hill to
right above ranch buildings; adobe structure is under trees in
center (in line with the faint peak of Cowles Mt. in the far
distance). Next to dog in foreground is a newly planted olive
tree (row of trees barely visible); low bushes transecting
middle of photo mark a natural drainage channel. Photo taken
from the approximate location of Lamar St., near Helix St.


Fisher House: 1890
The home of William and Susannah (Green) Fisher, located where
Tyler St. is today near Central Ave. in the southern half of
Spring Valley. Mr. Fisher was one of the most successful grain
farmers in the area. He built the house in 1883 before the
birth of their first child. They had seven children, five boys
and two girls. This photo was taken circa 1890. Hartzel Hill
is behind the house (at left), to the north.


Helix Olives Label

Helix Lemons Label
Hubert Howe Bancroft's fruit crate label designed in 1897

Helix Farms: 1890 West
View of Helix Farms, circa 1890, from base of "Cactus Hill" looking
westerly towards Hartzel Hill. Hubert Howe Bancroft bought
four adjoining ranches in 1885-86, acquiring roughly 515 acres
and had many improvements made such as the large barn (far right).
The 1863 original adobe structure is hidden by trees at far left.


Hubert Howe Bancroft
Hubert Howe Bancroft (1832-1918)

Hubert Howe Bancroft
Hubert Howe Bancroft (1832-1918)

Hubert Howe Bancroft
Hubert Howe Bancroft (1832-1918)

Helix Farms Water Cistern
Looking up Cactus Hill from near Hubert Bancroft's Rock House. Bancroft's
house "Cactus Cottage" is on the summit (now at the end of Sinclair Lane.).
Midway up the hill, Bancroft had a water storage "olla" built, made of river
cobbles; it feed water down hill to the Helix Farms ranch operations. This
structure still exists on private property on Helix St.


Spring Valley: 1920, Northeast
Spring Valley, looking northeast from near the southern base
of Hartzel Hill across olive orchards on Hubert Bancroft's
Helix Farms, circa 1920. Mt. Helix is mostly out of view at
the far left. Cactus Hill is just right of center with
Bancroft's "Cactus Cottage" barely visible in the trees on
the summit. The 1863-built adobe is hidden among the clump
of dark trees to right (southwest ) of the large barn. Bancroft
planted the date palms lining both sides of Bancroft Dr.
(transversing through photo). A wooden flume used for irrigating
the olive tree is shown in left foreground.


Spring Valley: 1920, Southeast

Spring Valley: 1920, Southeast
A view of Spring Valley, looking south-southeast, from near
the southeastern base of Hartzel Hill across Bancroft Drive
at the Helix Farms olive (foreground) and citrus orchards,
circa 1920. Lamar St. cuts through the citrus trees and winds
up the hill. Dictionary Hill is barely in view at the far right,
background. Palm trees line Bancroft Drive (some still exist today).


Spring Valley: 1920, Southeast

Vida Rancho: 1897, Pickers
The Patterson family picking five tons of lemons at La Vida Rancho
in February 1897. Francis Elliotte Patterson purchased the
41-acre ranch, located on the northern edge of Helix Farms,
from Charles Crosby for $9,200 in 1888. The ranch had vineyards
as well as many varieties of fruit trees. Patterson named the
ranch after his middle daughter Vida. Thanks to Patterson's
photographic skills, much of the rural life existing in the
valley in the late 1800s was documented for posterity.


Bancroft Ranch House: 1863
The Bancroft Ranch adobe located in Spring Valley, San Diego County.
Built in 1863, this historic landmark now houses a museum of items
related to the inhabitants of this region, frequented for centuries
for its spring water. The adobe was built for Augustus Ensworth,
and later housed the Rufus Porter family. Noted historian Hubert
H. Bancroft purchased the adobe and property in 1885, and planted
many types of fruit trees and palms. The olive trees along Golf Drive
and some palms along Bancroft Drive were planted over 100 years ago.

The Spring Valley Chamber of Commerce was instrumental in getting the
adobe designated California State Historic Landmark No. 626 in 1958,
changing the name from the "Porter adobe" to the "Bancroft Ranch House."
On March, 24, 1963 — just short of one hundred years after being built
— the newly restored adobe was opened as a museum. The Spring Valley
Historical Society was founded in April of that year and became the
manager of the property, later purchasing the adobe and a portion of the
land in 1967. The Society has been dedicated ever since to preserving the
history of the Spring Valley area. The museum is located at 9050 Memory
Lane (off Bancroft Dr.); admission is free.


Rufina Porter-Crosby
Rufina Porter (1854-1946)

Rufina Porter-Crosby
Rufina Porter Crosby, daughter of Rufus and Sophia Porter; married to Charles Crosby
(who planted the eucalyptus trees in 1880, where Eucalyptus Park is today on Bancroft Dr.)


Sophia Moody Porter
Sophia Moody Porter (18??-1908)

Rufus King Porter
Rufus King Porter (1820-1903)

Lottie Crosby Putnam
Lottie Crosby Putnam, Rufina's eldest daughter
Olive Crosby Bassett, Rufina's youngest daughter
William Waters Bassett, Olive's husband

Augustus S. Ensworth
Judge Augustus S. Ensworth (1811-1865)



Hinch Rock House: 1895, Northeast
View, looking northeast, of historian Bancroft's stone guest
house/studio above the spring-fed reservoir circa 1895. The
building, built by the Hinck brothers, was also used as a
school room by the Bancroft children when they lived here
intermittently. Enclosed vegetable gardens are behind the
structure, today known as the "Rock House" (located on James
Circle, and restored by the County). Bancroft's residence,
the Cactus Cottage, is on top of Cactus Hill (now transected
by Helix St.) — today accessed by Sinclair Lane.


Helix Farms and Water Cistern: 1895, North
Looking across the north end of Hubert Bancroft's Helix Farms and northern
end of Spring Valley, ca. 1895 (Bancroft Dr. runs past the house left of
center and intersects with Campo Rd. out of view, behind the olla). Bancroft's
water storage "olla," made of river cobbles is prominent at right. A pipe
transported water down hill to the Helix Farms ranch operations.


Bancroft Ranch House: 1900

Children in Alderson Reservoir: 1900
Children playing in Alderson's reservoir, circa 1900. William C. Alderson
owned approximately 50 acres, planted in citrus and eucalyptus trees,
located at the northeast corner of Bancroft Dr. and Campo Rd. Looking
northwest, the tip of Cowles Mt. can be seen in the distance (at center);
a slope of Mt. Helix is barely visible at far right upper edge.


Spring Valley Cowboys and Horses: 1900
Cowboys in Spring Valley (San Diego County), July 4th 1909. Included
are the sons of William and Susannah Fisher who had a large farm at
the south end of the valley. The Fisher boys grew up in the valley,
living near the northern base of Dictionary Hill where Tyler St. is today.


Hammond Ranch: 1897, North
Hooded horses on road on Dr. Hammond's ranch located in the
northeastern end of Spring Valley in an area known as Calavo
Gardens. Photo taken in May 1897, looking northerly.


Fisher's Bailing Hay: 1900, Northwest
The Fisher boys bailing hay in the early 1900s. They are facing
Tyler St., behind them to the northwest is where Sweetwater Road
now exists.


Spring Valley Schoolhouse: 1893
The second Spring Valley school house, built in 1889, in the location of
present day Faith Chapel Church on Campo Rd. The building measured 25 by
40 feet with a 14-foot ceiling and had 39 desks. The first school building
was built in 1881 and was located on Bancroft Dr. between Olive Dr. and
Lamar St. This photo of Miss Derby's class was taken in 1893, looking west.
It was typical for children to ride donkeys to school.


Campo Road: 1890, Southeast
View down Campo Road to the southeast, taken in the 1890s.
Olive and palm trees line the south side of Campo Road,
where Aimee Patterson is standing. The second Spring Valley
school house can be seen on the horizon, left of the line
of trees. Lyons Peak is in the far distance (left) and San
Miguel Mountain is on far right.