Originally an unincorporated community in San Diego County, Poway officially became a city on December 1, 1980. Even though Poway lies geographically in the middle of San Diego County, it is considered by most as being located in north San Diego county. Poway's rural roots gave rise to its slogan "The City in the Country."
Poway lies north of the city of San Diego and south of the city of Escondido. Some nearby communities of San Diego include Rancho Bernardo, Sabre Springs, Scripps Ranch, Rancho Peñasquitos, and in the county to the east, the community of Ramona.
Artifacts such as arrow heads, spear points, metates, grinding stones, and pottery found along the bed of Poway Creek all indicate an early Diegueño presence. Various pictographs adorn many of Poway's boulders, and modern techniques suggest that these paintings date back to the 16th century or earlier.
The name of the valley of Poway (Pauwai) is derived from the language of the Diegueno Indians who roamed the area for several hundred years before the Spaniards came. Traces of these Native Americans still remain. In Diegueño, the area is known as Pawiiy.
Poway's contemporary history began in the late 18th century, when padres from the Mission San Diego de Alcalá kept cattle in the valley. Documents of Mission San Diego de Alcala record the name of the valley as "Paguay" as early as 1828. Though there is a discrepancy on the exact translation of "Paguay," the generally accepted version indicates "the meeting of little valleys" or "end of the valley."
For approximately a century, Poway served as a stock range for the mission and local ranchos. In September 1839, Corporal Rosario Aguilar was granted Rancho Paguai a rancho in the valley and it was confirmed in May 22, 1840 but he refused it becoming Juez de paz in 1841 and moving instead to San Juan Capistrano.
American settlers began to come to the valley for farming purposes in the late antebellum period. Few records of this time have survived, and not until 1894 and the inception of the Poway Progress did the town's history become a thing of record. In 1887, about 800 people lived and farmed in Poway. Around the start of the 20th century, Poway farmers had moderate success in the production and vending of fruit, grain, and dairy products. Expansion, however, failed to follow agricultural success. Though the farmers prospered, the town existed in a static state for decades, varying only slightly in population, demographics, crop selection, and the like.
Poway has a creek and fertile soil, but the lack of easily available water prevented the settlement from attracting large-scale farmers and the accompanying population growth. Not until 1954 did the town establish the Poway Municipal Water District, which utilizes water from the Colorado River Aqueduct to irrigate all of Poway's 10,000 acres (40 km2). When water came to the town, people did as well. In 1957, following the sewer system's completion, developers built housing tracts, and modern Poway grew from there.
In 1980 Poway incorporated and officially became the City of Poway (nicknamed "the City in the Country") rather than a neighborhood of San Diego itself. Poway no longer relies on agriculture for its primary source of income, and has instead transitioned into a residential community for those who work for employers in and around the San Diego area. It has been designated a "Tree City" for the last decade.
Major portions of the town were evacuated during both the 2003 Cedar Fire and 2007 Witch Creek Fire.
In 2004, the City of Poway adopted the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, based out of nearby Camp Pendleton. The Fred L. Kent Post 7907 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars has been the official go-between with the battalion, which has been redeployed at least once to Iraq since its adoption.
The pop-punk band Blink-182 originated here in Poway, California.
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Updated: 22nd September, 2023 10:01 PM (UTC).