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By Larry Johnson, President, Mountain Empire Historical Society

July 16, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- Have you driven down scenic Highway 80 through its eastern stretch of San Diego County and noticed a lone chimney standing like a silent sentinel in a field, or a very old building that appears to date back to a previous era and wondered about their history?

If so, a new book written by historian and author Cherry Diefenbach called Renegades, Rock Houses and Resorts…the Stories of Jacumba Hot Spring and Surrounds may be just the ticket.

This nearly 500-page book provides a comprehensive history of the area using more than 1,200 photos, hundreds of old newspaper articles, and personal accounts from the descendants of early settlers. Many of the photographs have not been published elsewhere.

Finished after nearly five years of research, the book chronicles the colorful history of local mountain and desert comunities including Bankhead Springs, Boulder Park/Desert View Tower, Boulevard/Manzanita, Hipass/Tierra Del Sol, Jacumba Hot Springs, Live Oak Springs, Mountain Springs, and Oasis.




This book is available for purchase from the Mountain Empire Historical Society (MEHS).

You can order a copy through the nonprofit Mountain Empire Historical Society online at or call Larry at (619)478-5566. You can also mail a check for $54.90 (includes tax and shipping) to MEHS, PO Box 394, Campo, CA 91906.

The MEHS is a non-profit organization which operates the historic Gaskill Brothers Store Museum in Campo. The website is open for business but the Museum is temporarily closed due to the COVIC-19 virus. 

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