picture drawn by Hoang Pham

Circa 1820

In the year 1820 the area behind Montgomery High School was still a fairly pristine riparian habitat. The Otay River remained the same as in 1500, with fish, amphibians, water crabs, etc. There may have been a few gazing cows on the mesa, and they probably came down to drink water in the river. With the seeds in the cow droppings some non-native plants probably started to grow. Cattle raising was the main industry during this time. Father Sierra spent his first night in the United States in a river valley in the southern part of San Diego County. Local legend says that he spent his first night in in the Otay Valley. Most of the cows were kept near the missions. Even when the Janal, Otay and La Punta Ranches were granted in the Otay Valley people did not move here until a bit later. Most of the action was in the Mission Valley around the mission.