The broad open sweep of the San Diego River Valley, located at the geographic heart of the City of San Diego, has always attracted settlers and development. From the early days when the Indians built their villages along the river banks to its present reincarnation as an urban center for shopping, hotels, restaurants and office buildings, the valley has been a center of activity for the San Diego area. In 1769, Fr. Junipero Serra relocated Mission San Diego de Alcala to the valley from the Presidio areas.
The mission gave the area its name and also established agriculture as its primary business. Dairy farms thrived and cows dotted the landscape for many years. In the early part of the 1900s sand and gravel quarries were important industries. Several are still operating today.