~ Submitted by Mary Lou Turner -
Lindo Lake County Park
is a lot of History surrounding Lakeside's beautiful lake and park
situated in the middle of town. According to historians, the Indians --
before the advent of white settlers -- used it as a camping ground
utilizing the water available in this natural lagoon.
The beautiful scenery
surrounding Lindo Lake offered
Petty a wonderfulbackdrop for his photography.
c.1909. Photo by C.F. Petty
the railroad came to Lakeside, families from throughout the country
would proceed to Lakeside on the San
Diego - Cuyamaca Eastern Railroad with all the joyous crowding and
paraphernalia appropriate to a school or church picnic. Not much lake
was apparent, and the decorations consisted mostly of sand and
eucalyptus trees, but the picnics were always highly exciting.
to the old-timer, William S. Doty, “. . . the sack races, three-legged
races, and potato races were both exhausting and dramatic, and the food,
naturally, was superb."
are accounts of the train being so over-crowded that the boys would
justifiably sit on the steps of the open platforms of the little cars
and feel that this was, indeed, life in the raw.
Lindo Lake and Boathouse c. 1920's
to as a "children's paradise," Lindo Lake Park is a source of
enjoyment to those of all ages. Its present usage fulfils the needs of
children and adults alike.
the children, it is an exciting experience to feed the duck population
-- and even the adults get into the act. It is a great place for family
or group picnic with carefully laid out facilities including picnic
tables, barbecue and water with each space. People love to ride horses
on the trails. There are tennis courts, playgrounds for the young, and
two shaded pads which will accommodate large parties. Boating is not
allowed, but there is fishing. Yes, they catch some big ones there.
to be the only natural freshwater lake in San Diego County, it was
originally fed by mountain streams. When sub dividing land in 1886 for
the 3,000 acre Lakeside Town site, the El Cajon Valley Land Company
dedicated 45 acres as a public park. The park was landscaped and a
boathouse built. This natural lagoon became known as Lindo Lake.
PHOTO IN LAKESIDE CONTEST
in a Boat," a first place photo by Elmer Walker in the Lakeside
Camera Club's second exhibit in 1939.
Lakeside Inn was constructed in 1887 and
purchased by John H. Gay in 1904. Gay fenced the park and lake, claiming
both as part of his estate.
1916 a number of townspeople, led by John
Beadle and Bill Kuhner, petitioned the county to regain use of the
park and lake for the general public. A suit was filed, and after a
lengthy court trial, Judge C. H. Andrews ruled that the park and the
lake were public property. It was returned to the county and rededicated
in 1920. Since 1924, the county has maintained the lake and its grounds.
Gay's widow sold the Inn to C. A. Judson in 1920
with the stipulation that it be demolished. In the same year, Judson
demolished the Inn and donated nine and a half acres to Lindo Lake and
Park making the total area 54 1/2 acres.
Gentleman hunting waterfowl from boat with his bird dog
on Lindo Lake. c.1909. Photo by C
Adding to the natural growth of
the park, John Beadle planted many of the trees after the legal dispute.
These trees consisted of peppers, Australian oaks, locusts,
tamaracks, willows, eucalyptus, pines, and cottonwoods. Other varieties
have since been added. John's son, Wesley, although assisting his father
previously, was officially made caretaker of the Park in 1932,
containing a variety of 50 bushes. The lakeshore was a riot of color.
The garden and lake proved to be a very popular attraction.
Droughts in the 1940's found the
lake bed almost dry. The building of Chet Harritt Dam across Quail Creek
upstream blocking the principal water source, evaporation of the water,
and lack of rainfall were all part of the problem.
Lindo Lake with Lakeside
Inn in the background
In 1950, plans were made to sink a number of test
holes in and around the lake bed to try to find a good place to drill
wells. R. E. Anderson Well Drilling of Lakeside was commissioned to
drill the wells. Three wells were drilled near the lake. One of these is
still functioning. A fourth well was built near Cactus Park, which
adjoins El Capitan High School property.
The story as told by Ralph Anderson is that a
diviner of good reputation was called in to locate a site for the
Cactus Park well. Against the advice of Mr. Anderson, the well was
dug at the selected location. However, the amount of water per minute
was insufficient to merit placing pipe lines from that point to Lindo
Blimp at Lindo Lake Park c. July 4,1920
1950, plans were made to sink a number of test holes in and around the
lake bed to try to find a good place to drill wells. R. E. Anderson Well
Drilling of Lakeside was commissioned to drill the wells. Three wells
were drilled near the lake. One of these is still functioning. A fourth
well was built near Cactus Park, which adjoins El Capitan High School
The story as told by Ralph Anderson is that a
diviner of good reputation was called in to locate a site for the Cactus
Park well. Against the advice of Mr. Anderson, the well was dug at the
selected location. However, the amount of water per minute was
insufficient to merit placing pipe lines from that point to Lindo Lake
one time plastic sheeting was placed on the lake bottom. This did not
solve the problem, as puncture holes in the plastic prevented the
retention of water. Another time Bentonite clay was placed on the lake
bottom. This also did not work. Attempts to stabilize the lake for the
most part have been unsuccessful. Pumping water to the lake is presently
aiding in maintaining a good water level.
One note of interest not found in historical
papers available to this writer. "It is claimed that Los Coches
Creek once flowed naturally into Lindo Lake. With building of new
construction in the area many years ago, this flow was changed. If this
is true, what problems could have been eliminated in Lakeside's
history of flooding of Los Coches Creek and parts of the downtown
business district, not to mention the many homes built on the
Many additions have been made to the park over the
years. Tennis and shuffleboard courts, and the children's' playgrounds
were built in 1937. Two double restrooms were added in 1940. Barbecue
facilities, picnic tables, and water spouts have been added over the
The San Diego County Lakeside Library was built
there in 1962. A new parking lot was constructed on Lakeshore Ave. in
1980. This lot is approximately where the old grandstand for the
racetrack once stood. While the parking lot was being constructed, more
than 100 new trees were planted over a ten-acre site.
of the park would not be complete without the courageous fight led by Flossie
Beadle and others to "save the boathouse." The County
Board of Supervisors proposed moving the boathouse from the center of
the lake to shore so the county could seal the bottom with soil cement
and refill it with water, as the lake had not been filled with runoff
admitted her first failure when the boathouse was removed to dry land
prior to September 1966. It became
known as Lakeshore Summerhouse.
Perhaps inspired with Flossie's attempt to keep
the boathouse in the center of the lake, the Lakeside Historical Society
with monies given this group by the 1976 Bicentennial, plus volunteer
help, moved the boathouse back into the center of the lake in 1977.
Boathouse has landed!
Volunteers included Reid Enniss who moved the
boathouse with his company's equipment; Marvin Buckel and Jerry Lester,
who did the bulldozing of the island and roadway; A. L. Meyer, Cliff
Walker, Mr. Campbell, Mr. McElory, Ed Duling, and Lester, who built the
foundation. A walkway was constructed from the shore to the boathouse.
In January 1983, a $3.2 million face-lift Master
Plan was started and to be completed over the next 10 years. The County
has improved Lindo Lake's water quality by improving the lake's
circulation; constructed a community center on the corner of Vine and
Lakeshore; deepened the east basin and created new land in this area;
added irrigation to the picnic and multi-purpose play fields; also they
created equestrian, pedestrian, and hiking trails throughout the park.
Lindo Lake Park is a unique treasure in the heart
of the community of Lakeside, and its colorful history will be
dedication April 30, 2000