By TRACEY STOTZ
[Editor’s note: This article appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of “lookout avenue,” the quarterly newsletter of the La Mesa Historical Society. To subscribe to the newsletter, visit lamesahistory.com.]
There are so many facets to the McKinney House landscape project, which aren’t always apparent to someone driving by.
The Landscape Committee, which includes Historical Society board members Kristin Dooley, Jim Newland, Alex Quintero and is chaired by Tracey Stotz, has been working behind the scenes for more than a year to pull together the overall plan, recruit donors, seek bids and schedule phases of work.
After removing the beetle-infested and deceased historic pine, the rest of phase one was to demo the grass, take down and level the yard, add a small wall in the front of the house, add new water lines and irrigation valves, plant a new pine and install decomposed granite through out the site.
Most of phase one is completed thanks to donations from Artistic Arbors Gardens, RCP Block and Brick, La Mesa Rotary and many individual donors who made personal gifts and purchased bricks. The Historical Society already had $860 in gifts made in memory of Gordon Jones reserved for the landscape project, so all told we have raised $13,360 so far. That should get us through phase one.
As soon as the site dries out we will be compacting the yard and bringing in the decomposed granite to provide the yard a more historic ranch feel. After that, supporter Don Cary is ready to donate his services to paint the McKinney House and Behr paint is lined up to donate product. From there we plan to finish the fence (it won’t be as tall as the wood posts currently out front which will be cut down) and add plants including moving the memorial rose garden to the front of the house. Fundraising still needs to be done for these and the additional phases of the plan, which are spelled out on the site schematic that reflects the McKinney House’s interpretive period (1908-1920).
Future components include:
A trellis extending from the house to provide shade for programming
A large display structure near the Archives Building to permanently display large objects such as a printing press from The La Mesa Scout and historic signage
Interpretive signage throughout the site
The ongoing fundraising campaign to fund the project is “Buy A Brick.” The inscribed bricks, each $100, will wind throughout the front yard of the property. The first order of bricks has been placed and will be installed after the decomposed granite is in. A second order will be sent once we reach the order minimum. To purchase a brick, visit lamesahistory.com/product/buy-a-brick/.
Our original intent was to have a ribbon cutting ceremony this summer when phase one was complete but at press time we were unsure what virus safety guidelines would permit. The website, lamesahistory.com, will have more details on upcoming events once the site is open. If you have would like to help with the project please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 619-466-0197.
— Tracey Stotz is vice president of the La Mesa Historical Society.