Chic Urban Neighborhood
This upscale enclave on the southeast rim of Mission Valley is picturesque, with attractive (and pricey) Spanish-styled homes. It's a peaceful pocket amid the hubbub of the inner city. There's a tiny business district along the single main artery Adams Ave. The original homes and the quiet, winding streets. The Spanish tiled cottage style homes and their immaculate lawns are the epitome of what neighborhoods should be.
San Diego's Kensington neighborhood is known today for its appeal as a historic residential area with single-family homes, distinct in their California style. This can be attributed to the efforts of early real estate developers in the area. The Kensington location was first considered for development in 1909 as a potential site to build luxury homes for retired executives of the Santa Fe Railway Company. The Davis Baker Company of Pasadena developed much of the original homes. Famous local architect Richard Requa, who was associated with Davis Baker, brought his distinctive California architectural theme, which had Mediterranean influences.
With its stone gateways, ornamental lighting, and curving streets, Kensington has a non-standard layout as it is located on a narrow peninsula isolated on three sides by steep slopes, much of which is dedicated open space. It is home to a miniature "Main Street" along Adams Avenue, replete with coffee shops, restaurants, a branch library and the regionally famous Ken Theatre.
The neighborhood we think of today as Kensington is a collection of five original subdivisions: Kensington Park, Kensington Park Annex, Kensington Park Extension, Kensington Talmadge, and Kensington Heights. Kensington Heights was the last of the parcels to be developed, and consisted of 115 acres overlooking Mission Valley. As it did then, this general area today makes an ideal residential location; it sits high on a dry mesa surrounded by chaparral-wooded canyons, overlooks a broad valley, and is cooled by breezes blown in over the ocean from the west.