The San Diego River Valley has attracted settlers and development since Native American roamed the area. Indian villages have given way to shopping centers, hotels, apartments and office buildings making Mission Valley one of several centers of activity in San Diego County.
The river has been tamed to the point that its hard to even see most of the year and only occasionally floods a few parking lots in very wet years. As part of Spain’s attempt to secure what is now the San Diego area from Russian encroachment, Father Junipero Serra founded the first California Mission on Presidio Hill in 1769. He later moved Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala to its current location in Mission Valley, giving the area its name.
The Mission’s presence encouraged an emphasis on agriculture in the area. Dairy farms were popular for many years in Mission Valley. Sand and gravel quarries also became important industries with several still in business. Commercial development was given a boost with the completion of U.S. 80/I-8 in the 1950s. Four major malls—Fashion Valley Mall, Fenton Marketplace, Hazard Center and Mission Valley Mall—as well as several smaller shopping centers and auto dealers have replaced most of the agriculture in Mission Valley. Old Town and Heritage Park are at the southern end of the valley and La Jolla, Mission Bay, Point Loma and Downtown San Diego are all easily accessible.
Modern condominiums and rental apartments have been and continue to be built in the area making it an improving residential area.
In 1967 SDCCU Stadium was completed and had been home to the San Diego Chargers until they left for Los Angeles for the 2017 Season.
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