Vista is a southern California city located in San Diego County. It has a population of approximately 98,000 people. Located just seven miles from the Pacific coast, Vista has a Mediterranean climate and is incredibly picturesque.
Prior to American settlement, the area now known as Vista was inhabited by the Luiseño Indians for thousands of years. Sanctioned settlement began in 1798 with the establishment of the San Luis Rey Mission, and continued when Mexico granted landownership to people, commencing the Rancho era in California. The population grew steadily until the 1850s, when a changing political climate and diminished water sources threatened to halt progress.
From Sea to Shining Sea
Once California became an American state in 1850, people in the Vista area began vying for the town to be officially recognized. This finally occurred in 1882, when settler John Frazier applied for a post office and named the town Vista. The first winery in the United States was established by a frenchman and his son in Vista in 1886.
With Water Comes Prosperity
Stymied by a lack of abundant water, Vista grew at a slow pace in the beginning of the 20th century. This all changed in 1923, when the town members voted to grant the Vista Irrigation District the necessary funding to construct a new water supply from Lake Henshaw. Agriculture began to flourish with crops such as tomatoes, celery, and citrus fruits. Some hillsides were also planted for avocados and, by 1948, Vista had became the “avocado capital of the world.” The City of Vista was officially incorporated in 1923.
Because of it’s mild and warm climate, residents of Vista enjoy year-long outdoor activities and beautiful scenery. One of the city’s favorite pastimes is its open-air theater, the recently opened Moonlight Amphitheater. Popular annual downtown activities include the North County St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival, the Vista Strawberry Festival, the Vista Rod Run (over 25 years running) and the annual Winterfest & Christmas Parade. Notable Vista residents include Miss California 2009 Carrie Prejean; professional baseball player Red Killefer; and professional skateboarder Matt Hensley.
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