Poway Through The Years

J. H. Lawsons Place

1769 –1846

Franciscan (Spanish) & Mexican rule

Much land in what is now California was awarded as land grants by the Mexican government. A man named Rosario Aguilar applied to the Mexican Governor for Rancho Paguay, but he never did what was needed to take over the land.

Philip Crosthwaite
Philip Crosthwaite


California Statehood

Since the land grant to Aguilar was never completed, the new state could award land ownership here to homesteaders who settled and developed it.

The first homesteader in Poway was an Irishman, Philip Crosthwaite, who built an adobe home in 1855 on 160 acres where Creekside Plaza now stands.

More and more families came to build homes and farms in the fertile valley. The first post office opened in 1870.

Businesses and churches were built to serve the growing population. Developers had big plans to bring a railroad through the center of town, where Old Poway is now.

The local boom collapsed when plans for the railroad were abandoned. Businesses closed and many people moved away.

Still, Poway Valley’s soil and climate were great for farming. Peaches and grapes became the main crops, although many others were grown here. Farmers sold their produce in San Diego.

When droughts hit, crops failed and farmers suffered. Too little water meant there was none for new homes and farms. Local leaders needed to find a good supply of water for the town.

Philip Crosthwaite
Share This