City of El Cajon celebrates 100th birthday

Parade starts at 9:45 a.m.

EL CAJON, Calif. - The 100th birthday of the city of El Cajon is scheduled to be celebrated with a day-long festival Monday.

The event will get underway at 9:45 a.m. with a procession from Rea Avenue to City Hall by members of various community groups, such as the El Cajon Queen's Court, Mother Goose, and the Lions Club.

The opening ceremony will feature a salute to veterans led by Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, R-El Cajon, a former Marine. It will also include the dedication of a Centennial Plaza and the unveiling of a granite medallion.

Entertainment will take place on two stages, followed by a closing ceremony featuring a reunion of former Cajon Speedway stock car drivers and a drawing for a Taylor guitar.

The area was originally settled in the early 1800s as pasture land for grazing cattle, which would be penned in by the surrounding hillsides in what became known as "Big Box Valley," according to the city's website. The word "cajon" is roughly rooted in the Spanish word for "box."

The first commercial structure was built in 1876, and when gold was discovered in Julian, the area became a transit hub of sorts.

A 1 1/4-square mile area of the city surrounding Main Street and Magnolia Avenue was incorporated on Nov. 12, 1912. The city has since grown to cover the most of the southern end of the valley and its western foothills, with a population of 99,478, according to the 2010 census.

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