Beautiful Kensington’s historyTop Highlights Thursday, January 26th, 2012
With its boundaries east of the 15 freeway, south of Mission Valley, north of Monroe Avenue and west of Fairmont Avenue Kensington is a beautiful community of San Diego. Today, it is a very desirable and upscale neighborhood that is sought after by many buyers. But let us look at the history of Kensington.
The Kensington location was first considered for development in 1909 as a potential site to build luxury homes for retired executives of the Santa Fe Railway Company. In 1885, the land was surveyed and sold for the first time. It was part of a ranch owned by Santiago Arguello. The property changed hands over the years and eventually a parcel of 157 acres became the property of the Kensington Park Land Company, April 8, 1910. The Kensington Park Land Company divided and sold tracts of land to developers whose business was the creation of individual properties designed to accommodate residences and businesses.
San Diego’s Kensington neighborhood is known today for its appeal as a historic residential area with beautiful single family homes, distinct in their California style. This reputation can be attributed to the efforts of real estate developers, especially the Davis-Baker Company of Pasadena, Calif. In 1926, Davis-Baker opened a project called Kensington Heights, using an aggressive marketing plan to sell property in a declining real estate market. Their promotional efforts and aesthetic demands for a specific architectural style made Kensington Heights appealing to buyers. At the same time, Davis-Baker created a visual identity for the neighborhood with picturesque Spanish and other elegant style homes.
The neighborhood we think of today as Kensington is a collection of five original subdivisions: Kensington Park, Kensington Park Annex, Kensington Park Extension, Kensington Talmadge and Kensington Heights. Kensington Heights was the last of the parcels to be developed, and consisted of 115 acres overlooking Mission Valley. It sits high on a dry mesa surrounded by wooded canyons and overlooks a broad rambling valley. It is cooled by breezes blown in over the ocean from the west.
The Kensington Heights project was different from the beginning because Davis-Baker planned to build houses before selling the lots and required houses built by others to conform to certain aesthetic standards. They did this so that the neighborhood would have a specific character and style, setting it apart from the surrounding developments.
During the real estate boom, developers had little incentive to do anything more than divide the property and sell lots as quickly as possible. Developers simply placed a few advertisements in the San Diego Union newspaper and eager investors presented themselves to purchase vacant lots. Rapid real estate development had produced neighborhoods lacking unity in architectural style and consistency of land use, with commercial and residential districts overlapping in a haphazard sprawl.
Kensington Park land development projects were choice real estate parcels which enticed investors from other parts of California, especially the Los Angeles area.
Eventually the developments of Kensington were all completed into one style of community that has maintained its desirability up to today.
Trent St. Louis is a licensed Real Estate Agent
and a member of the National, California and
San Diego Association of Realtors. You can reach Trent at SpecialAgentTrent@gmail.com or at his office in Hillcrest, The Metropolitan Group. DRE#01273643.
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