Poway calls itself "The City in the Country," and it has retained much of its rustic charm through its transformation into a thriving bedroom community close to the City of San Diego and other areas of the county.
The area was originally recorded in the Mission San Diego de Alcala documents as "Paguay" The name was derived from the Indian word for the valley--Pau-wi--and translates as "the meeting of the valleys." The Paguay name appeared on maps as late as 1869. However, when the Postmaster General granted the area's application for a post office, he crossed out the name that had been suggested and substituted "Poway" fixing the current spelling once and for all. It was the first post office located between San Bernardino and San Diego.
The land was granted to Rosario Aguilar in 1839, but he seems not to have inhabited it or improved it. Philip Crosthwaite was the first settler to build a home in the area when he took up ranching in 1859. The area proved to be excellent cattle range, and Crosthwaite sold the land to the others who continued to run cattle. Farmers were also moving into the area, and ultimately the valley's land became agricultural planted with peaches, grapes and grain.
By 1887, there were 800 people living in the valley and subdivisions were laid out in anticipation of a rail link through the valley. However, the rail link never materialized and the subdivisions were never fully built. This area is now known as Old Poway. Water and sewers came to the valley in the 1950s spurring the growth of the community.
Incorporated in 1980, Poway is known for its excellent schools and its many recreational opportunities. The area still has many areas zoned for horses and homes are often on large lots giving the area a rustic feel.
Old Poway Park is the center of the community hosting a number of events each year including craft shows, farmer's markets and blacksmith demonstrations. The park is home to a vintage train that offers rides to visitors each weekend.
Lake Poway, formed when the Poway dam was built, is well utilized and offers fishing, picnic areas and boating.