From 2009-2010 Ramona Orangebook Directory
100 Years In the Making

"Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago"
-Warren Buffet
As you travel down Main Street into town you will see something magical there. Hundreds of great trees on either side of the road welcome you home. This shady entryway is a miracle of generosity, foresight and great luck. Ramona is in possession of one of San Diego County's marvels and it all started a long time ago...
Colonnade3 In 1909 Ramona's pioneers planted our town's most famous landmark - the Ramona Historic Colonnade of trees lining Main Street. During the spring of that year, townspeople planted 2,000 sugar gum trees. Their work was recognized by the San Diego Union, which commended the successful planting of trees three miles along both sides of the main road. "Eucalyptus was the tree decided upon," the Union reported, "for the hardy Australian tree has demonstrated beyond any question of doubt that it can do as well and even better in Southern California than in its native country."
Historically a major concern of Ramona's early settlers was the improvement of the hot, dusty carriage road leading in and out of town. As Mrs. Ida Bargar recalled in 1974 at the age of 96, "Picture Ramona without Main Street, any eucalyptus trees as an entryway into our town, no vegetation of any kind except brush, and you will see the valley that welcomed a Missouri family which was to become an important part of the Nuevo Ramona history, when our family arrived here in 1891." The eucalyptus trees that line Main Street today from the western end of the valley through the eastern end of town are unique because the trees represent a continuing community undertaking to beautify the town.

From the late nineteenth century through the early twentieth, other California communities planted eucalyptus trees to shade their roads and highways. However, few of these survived. In Ramona, one planting was not enough. As the town grew, trees remained central to its planning and to the hearts of its residents, who continued to plant in the colonnade - in 1909, 1910, 1915, 1920, 1931, and on into modern times in the 1980s and 2000s. Early tree plantings were encouraged by State legislation in 1913 and 1931; today the Ramona Tree Trust plants on Main Street with the permission and support of the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS).

As a result of the collective work of generations of Ramonans, today's colonnade stretches almost two miles from Wynola to 9th Street. On this Centennial of the Ramona Historic Colonnade hundreds of trees more than 70 feet tall grace the community. Of the 302 trees along Main Street, 226 are historic eucalyptus trees (planted between 1909 and 1931); these are interspersed with 76 smaller trees, planted by the Ramona community at large and since 2002 by the Ramona Tree Trust.


The same two miles of the colonnade bequeathed to us by those who have gone before continues to shade Ramonans and backcountry travelers alike, linking all with the past. The trees are a living legacy passed down from one generation to another. Throughout the century of its existence, the Ramona Historic Colonnade has served as the emblem of Ramona, whether on a hand-drawn map for a school yearbook or the cover of a Chamber of Commerce brochure. The colonnade reminds us of our rural roots, common agricultural heritage, and the pride Ramonans take in their town and community. So, next time you drive by - slow down and enjoy the gift that was given. For the wonder is, as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, that we can see these trees and not wonder more.