by William Roetzheim, Jamul Haven Bed & Breakfast

I’ll be repeating some of my earlier history articles from years ago, as many have not read them yet.

The age of the olive groves in the Jamacha, Jamul, and Dehesa areas probably dates to just after the 1872 newspaper article. In his February 17, 1973 oral history with the San Diego Historical Society, Edward C. Hall reported:

“The golf club out at Dehesa, you know the one I mean, Sunnyside or whatever it is, that property was a solid olive grove 40 or 50 years ago and was planted back in the 1870s sometime (Hall February 17, 1973).

Remnants of olive groves survive at Singing Hills Golf Course and off Jefferson enroute to Simpson’s Nursery. Several olive trees survive on the Gifford property (now Jamul Haven), as shown in the photo where they stand surrounding the chicken coop.

A 1906 biography of Charles M. Gifford illustrates his importance to helping develop the infrastructure of the olive industry in that early year:

“Conspicuous among the industries contributing to the material development of San Diego may be mentioned the olive factory and pickling and canning factory established by Mr. Gifford in this city upon a very small scale in 1900, the original plant being limited to a small scale in 1900, the original plant being limited to an equipment for the pickling of olives. In 1903 an olive canning plant was added for the canning of the largest olives grown in this state, known as Gifford’s Best. At the present writing 1906 a factory is under process of construction providing a larger capacity than was previously possible. The new brick structure is 100 x 100 feet in dimensions and two stories in height, provided with engines of suitable power and with all the equipment necessary for the proper management of the business upon the extensive scale now established. Competent judges claim the factory, when completed, will be finest in the state for the purposes desired, and already the reputation of the plant has become so widely known that shipments are made from points as far as Stockton and the San Joaquin Valley …” (Guinn, History of California: page 1321)