Did you know…?
In 1915 the U.S. Government acquired a parcel of land at the intersections of Mission Gorge, Magnolia and Woodside Avenues. Called ‘Santee Camp’, several quartermaster units for the Army were encamped in tents at the site, which also contained a fueling depot. A structure was built and used as the headquarters for the camp, known as “Greenleaf’s Ice Cream Parlor”, possibly a code name. The Army terminated use of this site in October 1943.
In 1944, the Wagon Wheel Dance Hall opened in that building at 8861 North Magnolia. The main dirt road from El Cajon ran past the Wagon Wheel on the way to Lakeside. At the time the structure was one of very few in the area which consisted mostly of the railroad, and grazing cattle and horses. By 1951 it became the Wagon Wheel Restaurant and Dance Hall, known for great food and entertainment. People would come all the way from San Diego, not as easy as you might think back then, to dance all night long. The entire building from front to back was used as a dance floor and food was served from the bar.
In 1976 the Wagon Wheel changed ownership and became Mulvaney’s. It was known for its amazing prime rib dinners and the largest dance floor in San Diego.
In 2003, new owners did a major renovation to update the decor, and paid tribute to its history by going back to its original name of Wagon Wheel. After a short stint as Lacey J’s Roadhouse Saloon & Grille, it is now home to the Riverview Community Church.