When the City of San Diego started to expand beyond the Old Town and the harbor area, it went first east into the area above Mission Valley. California Craftsman bungalows and Spanish mission architecture homes were built along wide streets, many with views. Neighborhoods like Kensington and Talmadge were built during the 1920s as upscale neighborhoods. Normal Heights grew up around the original site of California State University, San Diego and the College Area surrounds it current site.
The area is bounded by I-8 and SR-94 giving it good access to the downtown area as well as the eastern parts of the county. Other neighborhoods include Gateway, Webster, Rolando, El Cerritos and Oak Park. Each area is a distinctive mix of cultures and architecture.