Government Sites & Services


Escondido was incorporated in 1888 as a result of a 64-19 vote by city residents, who also elected the first members of the Board of Trustees.  The Board met monthly, upstairs at 110 W. Grand.  In 1930, the Board of Trustees became the City Council and the chairman became the mayor. In 1955, an ordinance was adopted, setting up the current Council-Manager form of government. 


A Public Library was Escondido’s first city service.  In the early 1900s, the city also began paving roads.  The Parks and Recreation Dept. was formed in 1956, later to become part of the Community Services Department.   Escondido has always offered a wide variety of outdoor recreational opportunities, including camping, fishing, picnicking, hiking, and boating. Currently, the City maintains Dixon Lake, Lake Wohlford, Daley Ranch, and nine urban parks.

The scope of city services has steadily increased over the years, particularly as the city limits extended outward and the population grew. Eleven different departments, in addition to the City Manager’s, City Attorney’s, City Treasurer’s, and City Clerk’s offices, now provide residents with a wide range of services.


Escondido has experienced very few major crimes that have attracted national attention.  Sadly, a post office shooting in 1989 became the second postal shooting in the country, followed by others in different cities that led to the term “going postal.”  Also receiving national attention was the murder in 1998 of Stephanie Crowe, who was stabbed multiple times in her bedroom. Another tragic murder occurred in 2009, when Amber DuBois was abducted on her way to school.  Her murder and Chelsea King’s of Rancho Bernardo, by the same man, led to the passing of Chelsea’s Law, which, among other provisions, increased penalties, parole provisions, and oversight for violent sexual predators who attack children.


Fires have taken lives as well as damaging and destroyed property and throughout Escondido’s history. Thankfully, however; the number of fires has steadily decreased, thanks to stricter fire codes, including mandated fire sprinklers in new construction, as well as more advanced firefighting equipment and strategies.  The Fire Department also began offering medical aid and transport in 1977 with those calls now making up 80% of fire department calls while fire-related calls constitute only 1.7% of their nearly 16,000 annual calls.