A small herd of cows in Mission Valley!

I don’t know who painted this mural. I do know I’ve seen it in Mission Valley near Friars Road for many years. You can see how faded it is.

The small herd of painted cows occupies a low wall beside lanes of traffic. You pass the old mural as you drive off eastbound Friars Road and approach Mission Center Road.

Those who drive through Mission Valley will also see miles of shopping malls, office buildings, hotels, condos and apartments, not to mention a gigantic sports stadium which is about to be demolished. But had you visited the valley in the first half of the 20th century, you would have seen acres and acres of dairy farms.

Cows began to rapidly multiply in Mission Valley in the 1880’s, beginning with the Allen dairy. As San Diego’s population grew, the demand for dairy products steadily increased, and by the 1920’s there were twenty commercial dairies. But in the mid-20th century city dwellers targeted Mission Valley for development. U.S. Highway 80–now Interstate 8–was built. Dairy farmers were enticed to sell their valuable land, and eventually all of the cows vanished.

So today, if you happen to see a small herd of cows grazing by a Mission Valley roadside, it’s probably because you’ve sped past this faded mural.

Panorama of Mission Valley, 1912. Farmland fills the valley in this historical photo. (Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.)
A view of part of Mission Valley today.

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Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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