Lincoln Acres is an unincorporated community surrounded by National City. The I-805 freeway cuts through this little town, thanks to sweeping legislation during the 1950’s when California began to create a massive network of freeways throughout the state. It worked in terms of furthering “civilization.” California is the 8th largest economy in the world.
Jacob Dekema, Head of the Division of Highways District 11 (San Diego) believed that the success of the Roman civilization rested on its extensive system of roads. Dekema, however, created California “civilization” at the expense of historic preservation and small-town community cohesiveness. The I-805 opened in 1975 at the expense of many homes and businesses, which had to move.
Lincoln Acres is a blend of modern day suburbia cut by a freeway and a reminder of the quaint days when sleepy towns peppered this area.
A Brief History
The November 7, 1922 San Diego Union reported that a crew of engineers were working to have Lincoln Acres ready for sale by November 25th. Three days later the “Dirt Dealers” R.E. Harrison Co. revised their project’s opening since the rains meant a dust-layer set engineers back from selling the plots. The Dirt Dealers assured people that Lincoln Acres would be “a place where you can live at peace with the world.”
Once the Dirt Dealers began to sell the plots in December and through 1923, their advertisements included promises such as:
“GET your “kids” off the streets –raise them at Lincoln Acres.”
“$15.60 DOWN and $10 per month will buy a beautiful half-acre tract for only $150, with water, gas, electricity and graded streets at Lincoln Acres. Nothing like it ever been offered before.”
“QUIT getting your vegetables out of a tin can–raise them at Lincoln Acres.”
Today, if you drive along the main drag and you’ll happen upon a grassy hill that has no name, so I’ve given it one: “Graffiti Park.” The area is closed off by a gate, but you can see it from the sidewalk. Someone mounted a marquee from what appears to be the 1950’s. Stones have also been decorated with spray paint to depict a skeleton, a buddha and a Native American figure.
The major historic place in Lincoln Acres is La Vista Memorial Cemetery, which inters homeless, has an area specifically reserved for San Diego Muslims and has the remains of Frank Kimball, the man who established National City.
Drive through the homes and you’ll also find this Orchid Gardens. Best of all, Lincoln Acres residents have an excellent sense of humor. I found this sign along one suburban street: