By James D. Newland
The 12th annual La Mesa Historical Society Historic Home Tour follows last year’s sold-out tour with another outstanding lineup that continues the society’s reputation for offering some of the most popular and satisfying tour events in San Diego County.
‘Brigadoon-like’ La Mesa Highlands
Similar to the hidden village of Scottish lore that only appears to the lucky few who stumble upon it every hundred years within the Scottish Highlands, La Mesa Highlands is generally unknown to those who do not live in its rolling hills and large boulder-strewn lots. These large-view lots provide an opportunity for an eclectic, diverse and enchanted suburban/rural landscape that reflects its unique development history. The rural suburban neighborhood southeast of downtown La Mesa is one of the city’s best-kept homeland secrets.
The 1928 La Mesa Highlands subdivision, and its adjacent 1927 Boulder Heights tract — both originally developed by the Grable, Francisco & Bleifuss Company — features housing stock with an eclectic mix of architectural styles and landscaping that provides a distinctly rural-suburban community that lies just a few blocks southeast of La Mesa Village.
Neighborhood of art, architecture, landscape
The society has arranged for tour guests to experience these seven wonderful examples of period authenticity, tasteful updates, decor and expansions, artistic expression and creative landscaping.
This year’s tour features an eclectic mix of homes from the 1940s and 1950s. Those who enjoyed last year’s all midcentury modern style homes will be rewarded with two midcentury modern properties. One is a pristine home designed by famed and revered midcentury San Diego architect C. J. Paderewski and another built by noted custom builder/designer George Eckel, along with homes from local builders Dennstedt & Landt and Louis Moisan.
The other tour homes illustrate the eclectic custom-built nature of the Highlands and its neighboring tract Boulder Heights, with excellent examples of Cape Cod, colonial ranch and contemporary Mediterranean homes. Several of these homes being built for local business leaders and merchants.
Several of the tour homes are pristine and authentically preserved while several have been updated and expanded in ways compatible with their original designs.
One home will remind visitors of the “Tardis” from television’s “Doctor Who,” in that its outward appearance does not reveal its much larger living space within.
There is also a wonderful array of artwork within the architecture, décor and landscape that help display the indoor-outdoor lifestyle that the Highlands and Heights so appropriately reflect.
Don’t miss the artist studios, in-home distillery and private vineyard that will surprise and impress.
All in all, this year’s tour will “lift the clouds” and reveal another gem neighborhood, the La Mesa Highlands.
The La Mesa Historical Society Historic Home Tour will be held on Saturday, Nov. 4 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guests will check in and depart by shuttle from the city parking lots at Allison and Date avenues. Advance tickets for the event are $25 for members and $40 for nonmembers. Day-of tickets are $30 for members and $45 for nonmembers. Visit lamesahistory.com or call 619-466-0197 for more information and to purchase tickets.
—James D. Newland is past president of the La Mesa Historical Society.