4935 Mansfield, the prize (house not included) for naming Normal Heights
"Why is this neighborhood named 'Normal Heights'?" is a question asked frequently by residents and non-residents of this neighborhood. Here is the answer:
In 1905, when Col. D.C. Collier and the University Heights Syndicate bought the unnamed mesa lying east of Boundary Street, the land was not as described by the author in a previous article; i.e., high and dry and dusty and covered with not much more than sagebrush and jackrabbits. (Journal of San Diego History, Vol. 52, Winter/Spring 2006, p. 20.)
What Collier and the Syndicate purchased from U.S. Grant, Jr. was for many years the John H. Gay Ranch, with buildings, houses, two reservoirs, and 5900 bearing fruit trees — apples, pears, peaches, plums, mulberries, alligator pears, Mexican limes, lemons, and acres of seedless grapes.
The mesa was cleared, the land platted, and the north-south streets numbered, while six east-west streets were named for U.S. presidents. Meade Avenue was outside the southern boundary of the original subdivision, and Ward Road was a county road.
All that was missing was a formal name for this new subdivision, so an inspired Collier held a naming contest. His ad, published in the October 29, 1905, edition of the San Diego Union and Daily Bee, stated boldly, "Just Think Of It! A Building Lot Free." Collier offered a lot 50 feet wide to the entrant who submitted the best name.
One month and 620 suggested names after his ad appeared in the newspaper, Ms. Eve Fletcher of 1030 15th Street was named the winner for submitting the name "Normal Heights." Lot Eight in Block Eight of Normal Heights was deeded to Fletcher on May 26, 1906. The address was 4935 40th Street (Mansfield).
We can assume Fletcher combined "Normal" from the Normal School in University Heights and added "Heights," which was pretty obvious, given the elevation.