© 2019 by Calimesa Chamber of Commerce

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Calimesa Chamber on Instagram

History of Calimesa

The City of Calimesa was incorporated on December 1, 1990. Soon after the incorporation of its northern neighbor, the City of Yucaipa. Prior to its incorporation, the City of Calimesa existed as an unincorporated census designated town that straddled the Riverside–San Bernardino County line at the location where Interstate 10 climbs the San Gorgonio Pass going eastward from Redlands, California

Historically, Calimesa began as a small rural town with mostly single-family homes and ranches. With completion of  U.S.Route 99 (modern day I-10 freeway), businesses opened and Calimesa began to feel a separate identity from the larger neighboring town of Yucaipa. In June 1929 nearly 100 residents attended a meeting and decided to apply for their own post office and to state a “name contest” in which the winner was paid $10. Calimesa was chosen from 107 names submitted; and is said to come from “cali” (meaning California) and “mesa” from the Spanish word meaning “table" or table-lands.” The first post office was the grocery store at Calimesa Boulevard and Avenue "K".

The modern history of the area was initiated with the establishment of Spanish Missions in Alta California in 1769. The need for a land route to these missions inspired Captain Juan Bautista de Anza to lead a party through the area in 1774. As early as 1820, reference can be found to the messenger foot path for the missions in Arizona to the San Gabriel Mission.

The Assistencia in Redlands (which has been rebuilt) and the San Gorgonio Rancheria were part of the San Gabriel Mission located near today’s Los Angeles. The San Gorgonio Rancheria was located in what is now Cherry Valley near Edgar Canyon. The site of San Gorgonio Rancheria, the location of the present Highland Springs Resort, Whitewater, and a house at the east end of present day Singleton Road in Calimesa became stage stops along this path.