|As town of 'Borego'
grew, so did its name
February 13, 2005
BORREGO SPRINGS – In the history of Borrego Springs,
1949 is an important year.
That was when the spelling of the
town's name officially changed from "Borego" to
Borego, with one R, first appeared on
a county map in 1883, according to a 1997 article in the
Journal of San Diego History. It was
believed to have been a misspelling of the Spanish word
borrego, which means yearling lamb, according to the
author of the article, Phil Brigandi, a local historian.
When the town's first post office
opened on March 1, 1928, it was called Borego Valley
It wasn't until 1949, when a new post
office was built near Christmas Circle, which is now the
center of the business district, that the spelling of
the town was changed to Borrego with two Rs.
The first post office was on Rango Way
in the home of postmaster Eslie Wynn. It was a popular
meeting place for homesteaders in the valley who came
there to pick up their mail, according to the article.
Wynn was an enterprising man. Because
many cars and trucks passed by his house, he added a gas
pump, and it became the first service station in the
Business was booming in 1928, so the
following year Wynn built a building to house the post
office and a general store on the north side of Rango
Way. The county established a public library inside the
store. The branch library remained there until 1935,
when it moved to a small building nearby.
By that time, Wynn had built a garage
next to the store. He hired a mechanic while he took on
the added duties of mail delivery to increase his
income. Wynn drove to Julian twice a week to pick up
Borrego mail. The mechanic, James Thomson, became
postmaster and ran the garage.
"Before going to Julian, they had to
go to Ramona to get the mail," said Bob Cassidy, past
president of the Borrego Springs Civic Foundation. "It
was a five-day round trip to get the mail from Ramona."
After Thomson, Glenn DuVall, who lived
across the road, became proprietor of the store and
garage and took over as postmaster. He was followed by
his younger brother, Eddie DuVall.
Brigandi's research shows that the
post office closed in July 1940, when business and
population in the valley went into decline because of
the Depression. Mail was delivered by carriers out of
But Eddie DuVall didn't give up. He
kept the store and garage open for nearly 20 more years.
He also served as the town's deputy sheriff.
Rango Way near Borrego Springs Road –
the area that was the center of town in the 1930s – is
now known as "Old Borego." The post office, store and
house remain, but they are in poor condition. Four
cottages Eddie DuVall used as rentals stand nearby. All
of the property is privately owned, and the buildings
However, every October the buildings
are opened for Old Borego History Preservation Day,
sponsored by the Borrego Springs Civic Foundation.
"I do hope someday we get it as a
museum, showcase it for what it stands for," said
The annual celebration includes
showing a short film taken in the early 1960s when actor
Gale Gordon, who played Theodore J. Mooney on "The Lucy
Show," was honorary mayor.
"It's advertising for people to come
to Borrego and live here," said current honorary mayor
Sam Webb. "Gale Gordon is the announcer. It's really
interesting. It shows the town as it looked back then."
Ruth Lepper is a freelance writer
based in Ramona.
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