- In the 1800s the steep Alvarado Canyon with its impassable Adobe Falls was NOT a preferred route to travel from Mission Valley up to the “Mesa” lands to the south and east.
- The San Diego Flume Company purchased the steep walled Chappel Canyon north of Alvarado Creek in 1885 for the site of their La Mesa Dam and Reservoir (today’s Lake Murray).
- Prior to the development of the highway, Alvarado Creek and the Adobe Falls were popular swimming areas for local youngsters and watering holes for local stock.
- As early 1931 the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) had eyed Alvarado Canyon for a new “expressway” road to allow commercial traffic to skip the boulevard stops hampering the new U.S. 80 route along El Cajon Boulevard.
- The El Cajon Boulevard Association, and Chambers of Commerce in East San Diego and La Mesa actively fought the development of the new highway bypass in the 1930s and 1940s.
- In 1950 Cal Trans opened the Alvarado Highway route to connect to Balboa Park’s Cabrillo Freeway, the County’s first freeway.
- The Alvarado Freeway provided access to the former Waring lands north of the canyon—eventually becoming the neighborhoods of Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, Lake Murray and San Carlos.
- In 1956 the College Avenue Overpass was completed to allow access to the new suburban community of Del Cerro.
- In 1957 the Alvarado Highway was re-designated as U.S. 80 and over the next few years converted into a high-speed freeway, being officially renamed Interstate 8 in 1964.
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