Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Montezuma Road Opens


Last updated 9/19/2015 at 9:43am

This story was featured in the June, 1964 issue of the Borrego Sun.

"Borrego Springs will celebrate the long-awaited opening of Montezuma road with a gala, day-long celebration June 24.

Gale Gordon, honorary major, has proclaimed the day a holiday in Borrego Springs, and all businesses will be shut down, at least from 10:00 a.m. till noon. The holiday also has been endorsed by the Borrego Springs Community Association and the Chamber of Commerce.

The road, which will provide a shorter and more scenic access to the valley, will be formally opened at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10:00 a.m.

The ceremony, to which local, county, state and national dignitaries have been invited, will be in the vicinity of Culp Canyon, about two miles from the highway's junction with Palm Canyon drive.

Local residents wishing to attend the formal dedication may drive over Montezuma road from the Borrego end until 9:30 a.m. The road will be closed then until after the ceremony.

A second ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held about an hour later at the junction of Montezuma road and Palm Canyon drive.

Gordon will be master of ceremonies at this ceremony, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.

A parade of floats and other units entered by local businesses and civic organizations will follow the ribbon-cutting.

A no-cost buffet luncheon will be held at La Casa del Zorro about 1:00 p.m. after which visiting dignitaries will be taken on a tour of Borrego Springs.

The celebration will terminate with a barbecue dinner and entertainment program at the Desert Club at 7:00 p.m.

A six-piece Dixieland band, led by Sonny Helmer, one of San Diego's best known jazz trombonist, will play during the opening ceremonies at the Borrego end of the road and that evening at the Desert Club.

Also featured on the entertainment program at the Desert Club will be an aquacade by the June Devine swimmers from La Mesa who performed at the Lions Club barbecue last year.

The group includes about 25 high school girls and boys from La Mesa area who have been trained in water ballet, diving and precision swimming by Mrs. Devine, a former professional star swimmer.

A special production number has been arranged for the group to commemorate the opening of Montezuma road.

The barbecue and entertainment at the Desert Club is being sponsored by the Lions Club.

Trophies for the best floats in the parade will be presented by the Chamber of Commerce at the barbecue.

Visitors will be welcomed to the celebration and dignitaries will be escorted on their tour of the valley by a team of local women to be known as "Borrego Greeters."

On the team are Olga Vogt, Lois Clark, Loretta Anderson, Jean Campbell, Beverley Burnand, Helen Carlson, Ruth Nelson, Carol Woods, Fern Hendrickson, and Wanda Corey.

Opening of the 11-and-a-half-mile-stretch of Montezuma road will culminate 9-and-a-half years of effort by the community, the County of San Diego and work crews from the Montezuma honor camp.

During this period county officials estimate that 160 tons of explosives were used to excavate some 570,000 cubic yards of dirt and rock.

The new road will reduce the driving distance to Christmas Circle by two miles, compared with State Highway 78 through Santa Ysabel and Julian and 14 miles compared with State Highway 79 through Warner Springs."

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