History and Culture

Bonsall Schoolhouse Circa 1920

Bonsall School History

The Bonsall Schoolhouse opened its doors for the first time on August 26, 1895 and is listed as number 6 on the County’s Historic Site List.

The Bonsall Education Foundation acts as steward of the building and thanks to the continued generosity of the Bonsall Woman’s Club and the San Diego County Neighborhood Reinvestment Program, we have been able to accomplish many of the interior and exterior recommendations for her restoration.

During the summer and fall of 2015, restoration work included the abatement of lead and asbestos throughout the building. On the inside, removal of the drywall revealed beautiful vertical and horizontal bead board. The original Victorian double hung sashes were completely restored to their original condition and required a tremendous amount of detail. Some non-historic items were removed from the exterior and a new floor joist was installed at the rear entrance. A new bead board skirt to replicate the original was attached and the building was painted to replicate the original colors used in 1895.

During the summer of 2019, the renovation work included the repair and replacement of the crawlspace entries and the cladding of the concrete masonry foundation with local stone. Future work includes rebuilding the bell tower, rebuilding and repairing some original interior walls; and creating an ADA compliant and drought tolerant landscape with an outdoor classroom area. Someday soon, we’d like the building to function for its original purpose...to serve the students and community of Bonsall and greater north county San Diego.

Learn more about Bonsall school history

Bonsall High School History and Culture

The idea of a high school in Bonsall was started in 2006 by a handful of Bonsall Union School District parents who wanted more control of their children’s education. Parents loved the K-8 education our students were getting and we wanted that to extend to high school. After a long process that involved approvals from county and state boards of education and area voters, the Bonsall Unified School District was formed in 2012 to replace the Bonsall Union School District, which had only K-8 schools.

The high school was started in a phased-in fashion. The first year began with 9th grade in 2014 in existing buildings on the Sullivan Middle School campus. Each subsequent year, a new grade level was added. In August 2016, a new, state of the art two-story building opened on the Southwest part of the Sullivan Campus which serves as the primary campus today. In 2018, Bonsall High School saw it's first graduating class with 86% of its 56 graduates going on to college or a trade school. We've come a long way in just a few short years.

The culture of Bonsall High School is a family like atmosphere where students and teachers are able to develop bonds of caring and connection due to small class sizes. Most importantly, the students feel that the teachers and staff truly care about them -- because they do!

"I absolutely loved my high school! Not only are they partnered with Palomar College, making our high school a high-tech school, but the community is quite small. There are less than eighty students in the current senior class, and there are about 400 to 450 students in total at Bonsall High School. This fosters a tight-knit community and a familial environment."

Former Student, Class of 2020

Bonsall Town History

The San Luis Rey River Bridge a.k.a. the Bonsall Bridge, was built in 1924-25 and was used until it became too small to handle modern traffic.

This community of fewer than 4,000 people in the rolling hills of North County San Diego wasn’t always called Bonsall. Bonsall was first known as Mount Fairview and was home to the Mount Fairview post office between 1871 and 1880. In 1881, the post office’s name switched to Osgood in honor of chief engineer Joseph O. Osgood of the California Southern Railroad. By 1889, the names Reed, Favorite and Bonsall were being recommended by way of petition. Federal Post Office officials selected the name “Bonsall” in 1889, and H.S. Ehrman served as postmaster when the post office re-opened in 1890. The name Bonsall came from James Bonsall -- a former Methodist minister who had moved to Mount Fairview from the Midwest and built his house in 1887 on what is now called Little Gopher Canyon Road, where he started a fruit nursery and vegetable farm.