Located in northwestern San Diego County, seven miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, the city of Vista benefits from coastal breezes and moist, temperate air that have made it ideal for agriculture and comfortable for residents. Long occupied by the Luiseño Indians, the region began to change with the establishment of the San Luis Rey Mission in 1798. Several decades later, when Mexico declared its independence from Spain, the landscape was divided into three vast ranchos.
Over the course of the next century, as the prosperity of the property-holding families rose and fell, and boundary disputes were fought in the courts, the ranchos changed hands many times. Owners built manor houses, installed irrigation systems and planted vineyards, orchards and orange groves.
With California’s statehood declared in 1850, the westward push was on. The town that would be known as Vista was slow-growing, but John Frazier, a settler in the area, saw the potential and gave the town its name. The first post office opened in 1882. Once the Vista Irrigation District was established, in 1923, to secure a water supply, growth began in earnest.
In the post-World War II era, the hillsides contoured with flourishing trees, Vista gained its “avocado capital of the world” moniker. Finally, in 1963, Vista was incorporated as a city, its 18.7 square miles home to a population of just over 19,000.
With a strong sense of history, a deep appreciation of community and a rich cultural heritage, Vista continues to grow. In 2008, the Vista City Council “adopted” Marine Squadron 369 based out of Camp Pendleton, which is just under 12 miles north. Local residents provide support to the helicopter squadron, both during deployment and at home.
By 2013, Vista’s estimated population was 96,929. A revitalized downtown attracts residents and visitors with its many options for dining, shopping and entertainment, and Vista’s business park is home to more than 800 regional, national and international companies.