La Vista Cemetery : “The Silent City”
Come see our Historical Archives and enhance your knowledge of the History of National City, where San Diego County began in 1868
RANCHO DE LA NACION: Founded by the Frank Kimball Family in 1868.
FRANCIS AUGUSTUS KIMBALL
Born in New Hampshire, 1860
More than a century ago, on a cold and foggy morning, the early settlers of Rancho De La Nacion (better known as National City) quietly turned spades on earth on a hill above their lands.
The first families; the Kimballs, the Copelands, and the Dickinsons gathered to bury Mrs. Francis Wicapaw of Philadelphia or, as she was commonly known as, the Little Mother. Mrs. Wicapaw was the first of their group to succumb to the rigors of pioneer life.
Frank Kimball chose 30 acres on a peaceful hillside with a sweeping view from Otay to Point Loma for his settlement’s “Silent City on the Hill.”
Seven years after Mrs. Wicapaw’s burial in 1870, Kimball’s music-loving wife Sarah planted eucalyptus trees in the shape of a grand piano around the top eight acres of the “Silent City on the Hill” and it became Silver Gate Cemetery.
Sarah Kimball’s eucalyptus trees are there towering now, encircling a hundred pioneer graves, including her own. Today, the Kimballs, Copelands, the Dickenson’s and many more pioneers have scattered graves amid wild flowers in the oldest part of the cemetery. The graves mark the history of not only National City but of San Diego County as well.
Over the years Silver Gate Cemetery became La Vista Memorial Park. When La Vista Memorial Park was born, a ravine running through the middle of the cemetery was revamped and turned into a pool filled with water from the park’s own well. A monument to the Armed Forces rises from the center. An annual grand complimentary Memorial Day celebration is held at the fountain for the public to enjoy.
La Vista’s Historical Archive
National City’s Historical Society’s Vice-President Lady Marilyn Zubov, along with President Janice Martinelli and Lady Margaret Puhn, feature a Hallway Walk in Time through the major historic revelation of La Vista Memorial Park and the history contained within.
Some of the features are the 30 Civil War graves in the park, the history of the “Grand Army of the Republic,” and the archives of both the Union and Confederate Soldiers and in-depth information of our City Founders.
There is a city map from 1912 showing all property lines and written in names of the ownership of each parcel. Do you have any ancestors you would like to look up? Maybe you can find them listed on our map or in our original cemetery records.
Frank A. Kimball House Tour
The historic Frank A. Kimball House is listed on the National City Historic Site List.
It stands as a visible symbol of the life and legacy of Frank and Sarah Kimball who devoted their lives to the building and betterment of National City and its people.
The National City Historical Society and the City of National City welcome you.
For tour information, please contact:
Frank A. Kimball House
923 A Avenue
National City, CA 91950
Hours: Saturday and Sunday
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.