Bringing vibrant and innovating lighting to the gateway of El Cajon is our Downtown Arch Monument. The location of the new landmark is West Main Street, just west of Magnolia Avenue. The arch was installed on the night of June 2, and the official lighting ceremony was held at the closing of the Cajon Classic Cruise Car Show on Wednesday, June 10, 2009.
This archway provides visitors with a location identity similar to those found in other successful revitalized areas of the region. By making the area more attractive for both residents and visitors, new businesses are likely to occur within the redevelopment area, which will provide our residents with additional employment opportunities, along with fun and unique places to shop and conduct business.
Funds used to pay for the project came from the El Cajon Redevelopment Agency, which receives tax increment derived from property taxes. No general funds of the City are used for these types of redevelopment projects in the downtown area.
Selected last year by a vote by the public, this decorative arch is held aloft by two metal standards with a dedication and historical plaque on each support column. The names of the Mayor and City Councilmembers, the designer Graphic Solutions and the contractor LNI Custom Manufacturing, Inc. are engraved on the dedication plaque. The name and likeness of our town founder, New Englander Amaziah Lord Knox, has been placed on the historical plaque.
In 1869, Knox arrived in the newly opened-for-settlement El Cajon Valley, the same year gold was discovered in what would become Julian. By 1876, there were enough miners, drovers and others riding and walking from the wharf in San Diego that rough dirt roads were formed through Mission and Paradise valleys and over Grossmont and across the valley on their way to Julian. Where that road turned, at today’s East Main Street and Magnolia Avenue, Knox built a small hotel for those who could afford $1 a night for a room, dinner, and boarding their horse. Fittingly, this is where the welcoming arch was installed. Thanks to the arch, after 140 years, Amaziah Lord Knox is still in the middle of it all!