School History

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Kit Carson

Kit Carson

Our school was named for a pioneer of the Wild West, Kit Carson. His real name was Christopher Houston Carson, born to early settlers of Kentucky and Missouri. His father fought in America's Revolutionary War.

Carson made his fame as an explorer in the untamed frontier. His success as a fur trapper came with the help of his first wife, Singing Grass, a Native American from the Arapaho tribe. He generally had peaceful relations with Native tribes, and spoke more than eight Native languages. But the clash of cultures caused problems and violence as settlers claimed more land across the Great Plains and the West, threatening the Native American way of life.

Carson signed on as a scout guiding the way for John Fremont's famous explorations into the West including territory that would become California. The expedition became stranded in the Sierra Nevada Mountains that winter, but Carson's keen wilderness skills saved them from mass starvation. It was said that food was so scarce their mules "ate one another's tails and the leather of the pack saddles.'

Kit Carson played a key role in the Mexican-American War in 1846-48, after the American forces had been trounced outside the area where the Wild Animal Park sits today. in what would be called the Battle of San Pasqual. When enemy forces had surrounded them, it was Carson, along with a Delaware Indian and a soldier who cleverly slipped through the enemy blockade and walked 26 miles, in the rain, barefoot, and without their canteens. They rallied the cavalry at Casa Bandini in Old Town, which returned to vanquish the enemy and reclaim San Diego.

During the Civil War, he helped organize the New Mexico volunteer infantry for President Abraham Lincoln's generals fighting to preserve the United States, the Union Army. The treatment of Native tribes became at times brutal. Carson resigned his Army work and returned to the West to live quietly as a rancher.

In late 1867, he personally escorted four Ute chiefs to Washington, D.C., to visit the President and seek government assistance. Soon after hie returned home, his wife gave birth to their eighth child and died from medical complications. Carson died a month later and was buried next to her grave. His last words were: "Adios Compadres" (Good-bye friends).

Although he lived in sometimes violent times that brought about brutal actions, accounts of Kit Carson describe him as an honorable man.

Kit Carson Elementary School was built in 1941 atop an olive grove, among beautiful canyons and hillsides. A clear view to the Pacific Ocean is possible from many homes here. That's why we're named Linda Vista, which means "beautiful view" in Spanish.

The community of Linda Vista was created in 1940 when homes were built to house the families of United States Defense Department workers, and men and women working for General Dynamics and Boeing Aircraft, during the war effort.

The very first shopping center in the United States was built here (on Linda Vista Road, between Comstock and Ulric streets) and dedicated by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt herself! This shopping center still serves many of our residents.

Since the late 1970's, Linda Vista has drawn immigrants from Southeast Asia seeking asylum from brutal political situations in their home countries. Throughout its history, Linda Vista has grown and diversified. We are currently home to the University of San Diego,Francis Parker School, Bayside Community Center, and the San Diego County Office of Education.

Our community is wonderfully diverse in many ways, and Carson Elementary is very proud to serve the children and families of Linda Vista.

The history of our school name is carved into stone above the front entrances, in an artistic style called bas relief created in 1942. The carvings were created by famous artist Donal Hord, and are important enough to be listed on the San Diego Historical Society register.

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