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For many years, before the recording of time, the Native American people of northeast San Diego County inhabited an area known as El Capitan in a canyon area near the town of Alpine today.
The City of San Diego purchased the area to allow creation of the El Capitan reservoir to help satisfy the water needs of the growing metropolitan area to the west. In 1932, the small band of Mission Indians, now known as the Barona Tribe, purchased the Barona ranch land north of Lakeside where their village sits today.
They went to work with a bingo hall across from the main village, which morphed into a tent-style casino during the 1990s. Today it has a beautiful hotel and casino with a championship golf course and several fine restaurants. Leaders we know include Clifford LaChappa, Ernie Magginni, and Joe Welsh. Their forward thinking through the years has helped the tribe create a multi-faceted business operation, not just another casino.
They did not stop, even as the dollars flowed into the world class property. The tribe opened a service station since there were no facilities for anyone who did not plan properly. Next they built a museum and cultural center. Around the turn of the century, a car racing track was carved out of the rocky terrain further north on Wildcat Canyon Road toward the mountain town of Ramona.