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Welcome to Lilac, California



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January 08, 2014
Valley Center is a lame, nebulous town name. My fellow Valley Center citizens, I propose we change the name of our little town to "Lilac." Or any other meaningful name a majority of citizens can agree on, perhaps "Vesper," or "Paradise Mountain" but certainly not "Hell Hole Center." I know, I know, changing the name of our town is a rather radical proposal, but Valley Center has had several town name changes in the past, and maybe it is time to update our town title once again.

Consider, that from a real estate, geographic and market-branding perspective, "Valley Center" sounds like a shopping mall moniker, located anywhere. Indeed, when we locals tell people where we live, I am sure you often hear the common response of "Where's Valley Center? ," despite the fact the town has been named Valley Center since 1887.

Renaming our town "Lilac," "Vesper" or "Paradise Mountain" would ring true to our historical roots, and give our town a name with soul, personality and impact. But don't get me wrong; I love Valley Center. It just seems we could have a better, more evocative name for our favorite corner of the world.

Consider that we arrived at the current name of Valley Center more by accident than by intention. As students of Valley Center history know, our town was originally called "Bear Valley," which was and is a good strong name. But back in 1874 when prospective Postmaster John Adams applied to the Post Office Department in Washington DC for the name, he got a letter back from Washington DC saying "There is a Bear Valley in Mariposa County," and advising him to select a new town name not currently used in the USA.

So Postmaster Adams simply deleted the word "Bear," and "Bear Valley" became officially known as just "Valley" in 1874.

Then our town's name changed again in 1878, from simply "Valley" to "Valley Centre" with the odd spelling intact. Nine years later, in 1887, the name was changed again to the current spelling of "Valley Center." So maybe now it is time to update our town name again. Of course we residents would have to update our home and email addresses, but easily done.

Call me crazy, but I believe in miracles. Just because the Postmaster picked a lame name 100 years ago doesn't mean we can't go back and fix it now. Indeed, local towns can and do change their names relatively quickly and easily.

For example, just several months ago, the east San Diego County town of Jacumba (population 520) legally changed its name back to the historical "Jacumba Hot Springs" to draw tourists to the town's natural mineral hot springs and spa business.

Visitors to the Valley Center history museum may recall there was a time from 1898 until 1912 when our local little hamlet of Lilac had what was said to be the United States' smallest post office. Bringing back the historical name of "Lilac" for Valley Center would give our town a sense of place, and convey a quiet country ambiance. Indeed, the beautiful flowering lilacs of springtime are iconic symbols of our surrounding sage plant community countryside.

To update our town name and follow the successful footsteps of Jacumba and El Toro, we'd probably need County Supervisor Bill Horn to help carry the ball and work with the State and Federal Government to sign off on the new name. Finally, the U.S. Board on GeographicNames

would need to approve, just like it did for Jacumba less than 12 months ago.

Well, a name change worked wonders for Norma Jean Dougherty (Marilyn Monroe) Pepsi Cola (formerly called 'Brad's Drink). And the Orange County City of El Toro was renamed Lake Forest with a vote of the people.

Imagine it is one year from now, and the town name change is done, and we have all made the adjustment. I bet we residents would all be proud to have a cool, historical new name for Valley Center like Lilac, Vesper or Paradise Mountain.

So feel free to email me any positive, compelling town names you think Valley Center could be renamed, and I will print the top 5 contenders in my next real estate column. Anything but "Hell Hole Canyon" could be an improvement over our now familiar but essentially lame name of Valley Center.

The Valley Center real estate market sales cycle is now in its traditional winter slow sales period. Unsold home and land inventory is creeping up, and prices are up only about 1 percent over the last 60 days. Gone are the typical multiple offers of a hyper-active spring and summer buying season. Sellers are again grateful to receive any reasonable offer, at least until the peak buying season returns in April. Now is a good time to buy for people who can make the logistics of a winter move date work. Winter 2014 buyers will likely pay several percentage points less than the same property will sell for this summer.

1) VC Homes (92082 zip code) priced under $300k: 1 home only, at $294k, a converted barn on five acres, with Pauma Valley Views.

2) VC Homes priced $300 to $400k: 11 listings at press time—some good values

3) VC Homes priced $400 to $500k: 12 listings, 3 bed, 2-bath homes on acreage

4) VC Homes priced $500 to $600k: 14 active listings

5) VC Homes priced $600 to $700k: 7 listings

6) VC homes priced $700k to $1 million: 12 listings .

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    Name Change
    January 09, 2014 | 11:04 PM

    Valley Center is a good name, but what about Paradise Valley? Sounds like it's more descriptive about how we all feel about living here.

    Anne Geinzer
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