ESCONDIDO — The Escondido History Center recently released a book on the history of Escondido, which dates back more than 130 years, called “Escondido, a Pictorial History of the Hidden Valley.”
The book, which was nearly two years in the making, was co-written by the Escondido History Center’s executive director, Robin Fox, and the center’s board vice president, Carol Rea.
The work features hundreds of photographs, the earliest dating to 1886, most of which have not been seen before publicly, according to Rea.
“The opportunity kind of came to us, and we agreed to do the research and pull the photographs,” Rea said. “First, we had to decide how to lay it out, and it was an interesting process because how do you tell well over a hundred years of history in a book and not take 10 years to do it?”
The opportunity came in the form of a publishing company that approached the center and wanted to create a fundraiser book.
“The back of the book is filled with families and businesses and organizations that paid for those pages, and that helped pay for the actual book,” Rea said. “And then proceeds from the book will go back to the History Center. We weren’t able to hold our fundraisers in 2020, and 2021 is looking doubtful, so this is our primary fundraiser.”
The last detailed history book about Escondido, “Hidden Valley Heritage, Escondido’s First 100 Years,” was written more than 30 years ago, in 1988.
“It’s unique because it includes the last 30 years, and that’s why I love it,” Rea said. “It’s going to benefit the old timers who’ve been around here forever and watched their city transition into what it is today, but it’s also good for the newcomers. … I think it will appeal to a wide audience to enjoy, reminisce and to learn about the history of their city.”
The 250-page book is divided into five chapters: Earliest Escondido, Community, Commerce, Culture and Government Sites & Services. This is followed by an Escondido Timeline and finally a sponsors section.
“I love history and I like sharing that love with other people because it’s so fascinating to start reading all of these stories and seeing these photos and imagining what life was like here,” Rea said. “I believe we are a unique community, and this explains it.”
The book can be purchased for $79.95 at escondidohistory.org. It is also available for sale by appointment at the Escondido History Center.