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100 years to celebrate Allison K. Sampite | Sat, Apr 02 2011 12:00 PM

The Chula Vista Committee of 100 was formed last fall to create a year-long celebration of events organized by and for the community to commemorate Chula Vista's 100-year history.

Co-chaired by Mayor Cheryl Cox and Councilwoman Pamela Bensoussan, ideas for the committee began forming as early as September 2009, when the official planning committee collaborated with the community.

The first meeting produced nearly 60 ideas for Chula Vista's centennial celebration.

The first responsibility of the committee was to write and publish a book about 100 years of Chula Vista.

Last September, residents, business owners, city staff and community leaders began compiling the book "Chula Vista Centennial: A Century of People and Progress."

The city's story was researched and written by retired University of San Diego history professor and Chula Vista resident Steven Schoenherr.

The book starts with Chula Vista's outset as the lemon capital of the world, which grew into the seventh fastest growing city in the United States.

Decade by decade, interviews with residents, business leaders, educators and local government officials bring individual recollections of the city's land and people to life. The 244-page hard cover full-color book contains the 100-hundred year history of Chula Vista and will be available in May. Schoenherr said he began working on the book in August 2008 and has put an average of 30 hours a week in since then.

Schoenherr said the challenges have been in finding sources. "Few agencies, companies or families have kept old documents and photos," he said. "The entire decade of back issues of The Star-News are missing from 1919 to 1920, and this newspaper has been my primary source."

Included in book are full-color maps of the city's growth and neighborhoods, with more than 200 historic photos highlighting the development in industry, commerce, politics, culture in the Chula Vista community.

Cox said the book's significance is helping the community understand that everyone has a role in telling the stories of Chula Vista. "And there are a lot to tell," she said.

Last month, the committee kicked off the year with a two-night concert held at Chula Vista High School's Performing Arts Center, attracting nearly 1,000 attendees.

For more information on the Committee of 100 log onto www. chulavista100.com.

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