World’s largest lemon, the lips, and going with your feelings
Just south of where I live in La Mesa is Lemon Grove.
Lemon Grove was first settled in 1869 by sheep rancher Robert Allison. Other settlers followed — vegetable farmers, and sheep and poultry ranchers.
In the early 1900s, the citrus industry was booming, and many of the Lemon Grove farms and ranches were converted to citrus groves, mostly lemons but also oranges. Sadly, there’s not a single lemon (or orange) grove left in Lemon Grove, California.
It was at that time that the community became known as Lemon Grove, and on July 1, 1977, the name was made official when Lemon Grove incorporated as a city.
As of the 2010 census, the population was 25,320 spread out over 3.88 miles, giving the city a population density of a whopping 6,500 people per square mile. It doesn’t feel that dense when you go over there.
In 1930-31, Lemon Grove was the center of the first successful school desegretation court decision in the history of the United States. The case resulted from the Lemon Grove school board deciding to build a separate school for chilcren of Mexican heritage.
On January 5, 1931, Jerome Green, the Lemon Grove Grammar School principal, under instructions from school trustees, refused to let Mexican children enter the school and directed them to the new school. Children previously had been instructed by their parents to return home if they were sent to the new school. Ultimately parents refused to send their children to the new school, resulting in a boycott since they were not allowed back at the Grammar School.
In the court case that resulted, the judge ruled that children of Mexican origin could not be segregated under the laws of the state of California because they were “of the Caucasian race.” Thus laws allowing segregation of “Oriental,” “Negro,” and “Indian” children did not apply. The case is known as the “Lemon Grove Incident,” sadly making it sound rather minor and incidental.
I had not explored Lemon Grove in several years so I found some old things still around and some new things that had popped up.
First up is one of my favorites, the lips on the hillside at Lemon Grove Avenue and High Street:
The story is that in 1977, a teenager named Stephen Garcia painted the indentations in the boulder to look like lips. Technically, the “Lemon Grove Lips” are located just a few feet in La Mesa, but the City of Lemon Grove maintains the lips as a piece of public art. The red paint is that used by the city to paint street curbs, officially calling it “curb red.” Occasionally the lips get hit by vandals who scrawl graffiti on them, but within hours the City repairs the damage.
Next up is the world’s largest lemon:
The world’s largest lemon is located at 3361 Main Street in Lemon Grove, California, adjacent to the tracks for the Orange Line of the San Diego Trolley. It is about ten feet wide and six feet tall. There are a dozen lemon trees planted behind the large lemon but they are not doing so well, at times looking like they are on their last root.
When I was searching for information on the large lemon, I found a site providing address, directions, and hours. Under hours, it said “Always visible (Call to verify).” I’m trying to determine under what conditions something that is ten feet long and six feet high might not be visible…………lol
Just down the street from the world’s largest lemon is the Grove Pastry Shop:
I have been by the Grove Pastry Shop dozens of times, but I had never been around to the left side. I found a beautiful and pleasant surprise, four murals depicting the history of the Lemon Grove area:
While I was walking around taking pictures, I had this feeling that I was being watched.
My wise old grandmother always said, “Go with your feelings.”
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Posted on May 17, 2013, in Cats, Fauna, History, Manmade, Out & About, Photos, Public art and tagged cat pictures, first school desegregation case in United State history, grove pastry shop, jerome green, lemon grove california, lemon grove grammar school, lemon grove incident, lemon grove lips, orange line san diego trolley, robert allison. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.