El Cajon Boulevard has a rich history filled with automobiles, food, landmarks, and historic events. Originally named El Cajon Avenue, the famous roadway started as a dirt road and was home to the first small business district in San Diego. In 1873, the oldest house in East San Diego, the home of Albert Hille and Emma Schnug was moved to El Cajon Avenue. The Victorian style home was originally built in National City but later relocated to the present day location at 3705 El Cajon Boulevard. In 1912, Highway 80 (the first transcontinental highway) was joined with El Cajon Avenue and spanned from San Diego to Georgia. It wasn’t until 1937 when the city voted that El Cajon Avenue officially change to El Cajon Boulevard because of its significance for travelers. As the transition from Avenue to Boulevard went underway, the street was widened by 100 feet and decorative street lighting was installed.
By the late 1940’s El Cajon Boulevard had over 450 businesses lining the historic route. The addition of numerous gas stations, repair shops, and hotels in the 1950’s shaped the fast-paced culture in the area, which reflected the particular type of people who passed through – businessmen and travelers.
Oscar’s Drive-In, the first Jack In The Box, was opened on El Cajon Boulevard in 1951. It opened as a classic car-hop style dining experience and eventually became the first drive-thru restaurant to focus on using a two-way intercom to order food. The new development of fast food franchises mirrored the changes happening in society, as more people began driving automobiles and began eating out with their families.
By the mid 1950’s, El Cajon Boulevard was a modernized metropolis of dining, automobiles, and businesses which all helped to pave the way for this small urban area.