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National City is a city located
in the South Bay region of the San Diego metropolitan area, in southwestern San Diego CountyCalifornia.

The population was 56,173 at
the 2020 United States census, down from 58,582 at the 2010 census. National City is the second-oldest city in San
Diego County, having been incorporated in 1887.

In 1868, Frank Kimball and
his brothers Warren and Levi, contractors and builders from San Francisco,
purchased the entire rancho and thus began the foundation of the city,
retaining the National name.

Frank Kimball first brought
novelty and change to the area by building his personal residence. His home
included a bathtub as well as hot running water, making it the first modern
house in the entire county. However, it was more than his personal innovative
endeavors that allowed the region to flourish. By constructing the first roads
and railroad in what is now National City, Frank and his brothers most notably
were responsible for introducing modern transportation to the residents of the
community. The brothers also implemented the area’s first post office and a
wharf for sea-bound imports and exports. These large ventures, coupled with
smaller personal missions, both contributed to the overall goal of creating a
community unparalleled to the times. A lasting mark of the Kimballs was the
trees they imported and planted from Europe and Asia, accomplished via a
partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These trees can be found
dotted throughout the city to this very day. It was the passion and influence
of the Kimballs as well as other early pioneers that made way for the city’s
incorporation on September 17, 1887

In the
mid-20th century, businesses on National Avenue catered to the entertainment of
sailors stationed at 
Naval Base San Diego, and became known as the “Mile of
Bars”. In the late 20th century, the city, seeking to end the association
of the street with 
drinking culture, urged the growth of automobile dealerships, transforming the area to be known as the
“Mile of Cars”. Part of the change of business types was
the closure of a 
Pussycat Theater in 1999. 

National City has road access
by the Interstate 5Interstate 805, and California State Route 54, in addition to surface streets.
National City Blvd, which once served as part of the historic U.S. Route 101, still
serves as a north–south arterial street parallel to Highland Ave. Plaza Blvd
and 30th Street/Sweetwater Road serve as east–west arterial routes. It has rail
access through the San Diego Trolley‘s Blue Line. The nearest commercial airport is San Diego International Airport.

In 2012, National City was
honored as the most walkable city in San Diego County. It currently holds
a walk score of 71, among the highest scores for cities of similar size. However,
its current score also puts National City among bigger cities like Seattle, Washington (74) and Portland, Oregon (66).
San Diego’s current walk score is 56.

Although there are no
specific communities identified by the city of National City, certain areas
have self-identified as communities. The Old Town community is bordered by McKinley Ave. (to
the west) and National City Blvd. (to the east), and 24th Street (to the south)
and 8th Street (to the north). While Lincoln Acres is an unincorporated area of
San Diego County, it is located wholly within the boundaries of the
incorporated city of National City and both share the postal code (91950). The
South Port Business Center, an industrial park in which many businesses
operate, is bordered by I-5 to the west, National City Blvd. to the east Mile
of Cars Way (24th St.) to the north, and W. 28th St. to the south. The
residents near Las Palmas and El Toyon Parks have neighborhood
councils where they can voice their concerns with the city’s elected officials.

The Neighborhood Council
Program was developed in an effort to improve communication with the community
and to bring services directly to National City residents. The program
helps to unify neighbors to further enhance the image of the city, instilling
civic pride into neighborhoods. Regular monthly meetings are held in each of
the three Neighborhood Councils. Agenda topics are driven by resident requests,
current events, and a desire by city officials to keep residents abreast of new
programs and upcoming developments. Meetings are usually attended by police and
fire officials, as well as members of the City Council.

Besides attending regular
meetings, Neighborhood Council participants assist the city in improving their
neighborhoods by volunteering during clean-up and beautification events and by
helping to reduce crime. Residents also participate in family events sponsored
by the Neighborhood Council Program such as National Night Out and Movies in
the Park, as well as other city-sponsored events.

Like most of
Southern California and the San Diego County region, the majority of National
City’s current area was originally occupied by 
chaparral, a plant community made up mostly of
drought-resistant shrubs. National City’s broad city limits encompass the San
Diego National Wildlife Refuge and the most northern area of the Sweetwater
Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. The 
Sweetwater River runs from the Cuyamaca Mountains, through
National City and 
Chula Vista via a flood control channel (natural route
as opposed to a canal) and empties into the San Diego Bay. Most of west
National City is flat with an average elevation of 72 feet (22 m), which
made it historically desirable and well suited for the Spanish to graze their
horses. The eastern areas of National City tend to have canyons and ridges with
an existing wildlife.

Also special
about National City is:

The National
City Mile of Cars is
recognized as one of the first “auto malls” in the world.

City’s three-mile port area (4.8 km) along the San Diego Bay is part of Naval Base San Diego, the
largest U.S. Naval base on the west coast.

National City
Depot – The National City California Southern
 Depot, built in 1882, served as the first Pacific
Coast terminus station of the Santa Fe
 system’s transcontinental railroad. The station was the
West Coast general office and figured prominently in Santa Fe’s effort to break
the economic and transportation monopoly of California held by the Central/Southern Pacific Railroads. The
first transcontinental trains arrived in November 1885, resulting in one of the
largest land booms in the history of California. Of the original five
transcontinental railroad terminus stations, this unique Italianate designed
station is the lone survivor. Location: 900 West 23rd St, National City. Listed
as California Historical Landmark no.

Westfield Plaza Bonita is
shopping mall in
National City that attracts customers from all around the South Bay region
of San Diego County. It is
one of the only completely enclosed (all indoor) shopping malls in the county.

Valley Hospital
, a 301-bed acute care facility founded by Ellen White, an Adventist, in 1902 as Paradise Valley
Sanitarium. The hospital is owned and operated by Prime Healthcare Services.

Cafe La Maze
(est. 1941) is recognized as one of National City’s most historic restaurants.

Avenue – Car cruising route.

Gardens, the old Victorian style house that John T. Walton lived in.

Brick Row on
Heritage Square, 909 A Avenue; Designed by San Diego architect R. C. Ball (who
designed Folsom Prison), it was
constructed by Frank Kimball in 1887 for $30,000. These 10 individual row
houses were to be used by the executives of the Santa Fe Railroad. This architectural
style is unique to this region and was molded after the row houses of
Philadelphia and similar eastern cities. It was hoped that the railroad VIPs
would not only feel at home surrounded by familiar architecture, but also be
impressed by the cosmopolitan appearance of the young city. All the apartments
have a formal dining room with fireplace, a kitchen, a parlor with fireplace, a
butler’s pantry, and four bedrooms upstairs. Twelve-inch-thick (300 mm)
interlocking brick walls divide the units. The brickwork on the row houses was
laid with an artistic eye to break the severe line of the long walls. The
bricks above the second story are set upright at an angle. A one-story wooden
porch runs the length of the building. Listed on the National Register of
Historic Places, it now is an integral part of National City’s Heritage Square.
Each of the 10 units is privately owned and maintained; however, there is a
protective covenant on the facade, so the exterior will always be in keeping
with the Victorian surroundings.

In August 2005, the National
City Public Library opened the doors of its newly built, 49,508 sq ft
(4,599.4 m2) state-of-the art facility. The library offers more
than 160,000 books and has one of the largest computer centers in the State of
California’s public library system with over 60 computer units.

On December 18, 1884, Frank
Kimball opened the city’s first public library in his own home. In April 1884,
the library was moved to the downstairs room of Granger Hall on National
Avenue. In 1895, it was moved to the Boyd Block, currently McKinley and
visually, 16th Street. From 1911 to 1954, National City operated its Carnegie
Public Library in the present site of the National City Civic Center. The
library operated in the present day Art Center since 1954 until the opening of
the new location in 2005.

The National City Public
Library houses the Kile Morgan Local History Room which houses a significant
number of original archives and manuscripts of the National City founding
families, as well as maps, artifacts, high school year books and scrapbook.

Overall we love house
cleaning in National City because of the city’s charm, the warmth from the community
and the positive energy.

national city