Mayor holds town's
history close to heart
By Ruth Lepper
December 14, 2005
BORREGO SPRINGS – Abby King has set her priorities for her
year's term as honorary mayor of Borrego Springs. She is going
to find out as much as she can about the town's history.
things I'm working on now focus on getting archival oral
histories of people who have been in Borrego a long time," she
King is working with a committee that is
part of the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association. She
said they have found several people who have lived in Borrego
Springs for up to 60 years.
"We want people who were involved in the
early days of farming here. There is historic interest in
Borrego the town, not just the park's history, but Borrego
Springs itself," she said.
The committee is raising funds to buy a
recording device with high-quality archival features.
"We are getting those people interviewed
and their photographs taken. It's a big chore, but we are going
to do it."
King, 45, said she gained her interest in
history from her late mother. The family moved to Borrego
Springs when she was 9. Being a military family, there had been
several moves during her childhood. Coming to the desert after
her father retired brought stability into her life, she said.
"My mother was the type of person who,
throughout her life as a military wife, no matter where she
landed, she could relate to the community," King said.
The town's population has increased
considerably since King's arrival, with most of the growth in
recent years. About 8,000 live in Borrego Springs during the
cooler months and fewer than 3,000 in summer.
"With our new-found real estate boom,
we've seen a lot of changes," she said. "When I moved here, it
was very much a core group of local people, then the people who
came for five months out of the year. After winter, they left
and we wouldn't see them again until the fall."
King decided to stay in Borrego Springs
after graduating from high school. That puzzled some people.
"They would say, 'Why are you staying
here? There's no opportunity,' " she said. "Now that I've been
here long enough to come full circle, people are recognizing
what a wonderful community it is, not just to visit, but to live
King officially took over as honorary
mayor Oct. 29 in ceremonies during Borrego Festival Days. She
credits the honor to her community involvement. King works
full-time as community manager for two homeowners associations
and finds time to be involved with several groups.
She is president of Borrego Springs
Children's Center, a day-care center, and serves on the Borrego
Springs Sponsor Group, which advises the county on planning
issues. She also is on the board of trustees for the community
service district that deals with water-related issues for the
Club Circle community, and she is on the site council for
Borrego Springs Elementary School. King is a trustee for
Community United Methodist Church and is on the alumni committee
at Borrego Springs High School.
She was in the 1979 graduating class at
the high school, which at the time was the largest class in the
"We had 24 students," she said. "There are
probably four who still live here. There were 16 or 17 of us who
went all the way from fifth grade through high school. Of those,
about 11 of us still keep in pretty regular contact."
The district hosts an all-school reunion
every five years. The latest, in October, drew about 250 people.
"Some were spouses, but that's a wonderful
turnout," King said.
King's husband, Charles King, is the
information technology manager for Borrego Springs Unified
School District. They have two sons, Nathan, 14, and Wyatt, 6.