Kensington San Diego County

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Kensington, San Diego county, CA
Kensington is located near Normal Height and north from City Height and El Cajon Boulevard. South oif the 8 Highway, and East from the 15 Highway .

Kensington History

The Kensington neighborhood in San Diego is known today for its appeal as a historic residential area with 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, California.

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 for a specific architectural style made Kensington Heights appealing to buyers. At the same time, Davis-Baker created a visual identity for the neighborhood which became emblematic of the other housing developments with Kensington in their name.

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. This area today makes an ideal residential location; it sits high on a dry mesa surrounded by chaparral-wooded canyons, overlooks a broad rambling valley, and is cooled by breezes from the ocean.

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. The land was part of the ex-mission rancho owned by Santiago Arguello. In 1885, this part of the ex-mission lands was surveyed and sold for the first time. The property changed hands over the years and eventually a parcel of 157 acres became the property of the Kensington Park Land Company on 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.

All the Kensington tracts were handled in the same general way by land development companies. A tract was surveyed and divided into lots, initial improvements such as streets and sidewalks were added, and the new subdivision was opened for business. Lots were then sold and new owners built their homes however they pleased. The Kensington Heights project was different from the beginning because Davis-Baker planned to build houses before selling the lots, and require 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.

Kensington Park Land development projects were choice real estate parcels which enticed investors from other parts of California, especially the Los Angeles area. George Forbes was a typical investor; he was an experienced businessman and real estate speculator who had purchased some of the Kensington land with a mind toward realizing large profits.

A real problem for Forbes was San Diego's declining real estate market. In 1926, the San Diego market was at the end of a speculative boom. There had been tremendous population growth matched by a high volume of residential building ever since 1920.

The Kensington area already contained four subdivisions, and was an unlikely prospect for developers to open yet another new project.

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 and eager investors presented themselves to purchase vacant lots. An advertisement for Kensington Annex was typical of the time, describing the atmosphere of San Diego as "sublime."

Developers also used gimmicks such as associating their project with movie and radio personalities, to lure potential buyers to the new housing sites.

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