Calimesa, California

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Calimesa is a city in Riverside County, California, United States in the Greater Los Angeles area. The population was 7,139 at the 2000 census, and current estimates as of 2009 show a population of 7,498. It is situated on the San Gorgonio Pass.



The City of Calimesa was incorporated in December 1990, soon after the incorporation of its northern neighbor, the City of Yucaipa. Prior to its incorporation, the City of Calimesa existed as an unincorporated town that straddled the Riverside–San Bernardino County line at the location where Interstate 10 climbs the San Gorgonio Pass going eastward from Redlands, California.

Historically, Calimesa is divided from the City of Yucaipa by the Wildwood Canyon Wash; but politically, "County Line Road" divides the two towns. Much of what was originally known as "Calimesa" actually lies within the city boundaries of Yucaipa, including "I-Street" (Calimesa) Park, and Calimesa Elementary School. Because State of California law prohibits the incorporation or annexation of cities over county lines, the City was unable to adjoin what was considered the town of Calimesa when it finally incorporated. When Yucaipa incorporated, they included the area outside of the Yucaipa Valley on the "hilltop" or "mesa" that was traditionally known as Calimesa within its city boundaries, so as not to leave a gap of unincorporated area between the two towns. And although the two cities are in separate counties, both Yucaipa and Calimesa share same basic street grid system and addressing, including many named and alphabetical street which extend from Yucaipa well into Calimesa. The general boundary between the two cities is County Line Road, which ironically does not follow the exact county line in some places due to the alignment of Calimesa Creek, which meanders in and out of both Yucaipa and Calimesa.

Historically Calimesa began as a small rural-town with mostly single-family homes and ranches. With completion of U.S. Route 99 (modern day I-10 freeway), businesses opened and Calimesa began to feel a separate identity from the larger neighboring town of Yucaipa. In June 1929 nearly 100 residents attended a meeting and decided to apply for their own post office and to state a “name contest” in which the winner was paid $10. Calimesa was chosen from 107 names submitted; and is said to come from “cali” (meaning California) and “mesa” from the Spanish word meaning “table" or table-lands.” The first post office was the grocery store at Calimesa Boulevard and Avenue K.

The modern history of the area was initiated with the establishment of Spanish missions in Alta California in 1769. The need for a land route to these missions inspired Captain Juan Bautista de Anza to lead a party through the area in 1774. As early as 1820, reference can be found to the messenger foot path for the missions in Arizona to the San Gabriel Mission.

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