AREA: 42 square miles
LOCATION: 35 miles north of downtown San Diego
INCORPORATED: July 3, 1888
POPULATION: 175,948 (as of May, 2016)
HOUSING: 66,31 units

Fire Mountain
Henie Hills
Historic East Oceanside
Jeffries Ranch
Loma Alta
Ocean Hills
Plumosa Heights
Rancho Del Oro
South Oceanside
St Malo
Sycamore Sprigs
North Oceanside
West Oceanside

30 city parks
4 recreation centers
2 municipal swim centers
2 senior centers
2 city-owned golf course
3.5 miles of public beaches
1,954 foot pier
1,000 slip public marina
4 museums
2 libraries

On July 20, 1769, Father Juan Crespi arrived in the area known today as the San Luis Rey Valley, which was populated by Native Americans. His glowing report of the area as a possible mission site was responsible for the founding of Mission San Luis Rey de Francia in 1798. Three-and-a-half miles from the present site of Oceanside, the mission prospered beyond the dreams of its Franciscan Brothers and came to be known as "King of the Missions." ?0's, but the area's advantages were common knowledge by this date.

The early California period was the time of massive Mexican land grants. On May 10, 1841, Pio Pico and his brother, Andreas, received a grant of 133,441 acres from Governor Alvarado. Known as Rancho Margarita and Las Flores, this land grant is the present site of the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base. The rancho changed hands several times throughout the years. Andreas tired of the quiet life of a California Don sold his share to Pio for $1,000. Pio, in turn, sold his share to his brother-in-law John Forster, an Englishman, for only $14,000. Forster died in 1882, and Richard O'Neill, a wealthy San Franciscan, purchased the rancho from the Forster estate for $250,000. O'Neill sold half interest in the rancho to the "Bonanza King of California," James C. Flood. The heirs of O'Neill and Flood held the property until 1942, when it was sold to the United States Navy.

A small town had grown up around the mission in the San Luis Rey Valley. A storekeeper there, Andrew Jackson Meyers, was far-sighted enough to apply for a homestead grant in the area just south of Rancho Santa Margarita. The Federal government granted "Jack" Meyers 160 acres and a former government surveyor, Cave J. Couts, staked-out the claim, which was to become the very heart of Oceanside. J. Chauncey Hayes handled the real estate for Meyers and the boom was on.

Going to the "ocean side" was a popular weekend retreat for rancho families living in the warmer inland areas. The two words were eventually merged in to "Oceanside". When Hayes petitioned for a post office, he submitted the name Oceanside and put the small community officially on the map.

Early Oceanside grew at a phenomenal rate; on the date of the city's incorporation July 3, 1888 the population of Oceanside was approximately 1,000. In 1887, the Bank of Oceanside was built on the corner of Mission Avenue and South Coast Highway and also a grand hotel, the South Pacific, located on Pier View Way and Pacific Streets near the present pier.

The railroads played an important role in the continuing development of the city. During the boom years, the trains brought thousands of prospective buyers. This continued until a highway was paved between San Diego and Los Angeles through Oceanside before 1920. In the 1920's the city prospered. Streetlights were installed, a new golf course was laid out and a grand new theater, "The Palomar", was built. The City slogan at that time was, "Oceanside, California's Pride." Many noteworthy visitors enjoyed our shore, including Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. And a number of movies were filmed here during this decade.

A new downtown transit center was built in 1983 and in September of 1987, the city dedicated its sixth pier, just in time for Oceanside's Centennial Celebration in 1988. The following year the new Civic Center was constructed and became the cornerstone for downtown redevelopment.

Today, Oceanside is a thriving community that provides all the conveniences of a modern city without the disadvantages.

Reprinted courtesy of the City of Oceanside.

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Updated: 20th August, 2019 4:58 AM.