Jacumba (pronounced "ha-COOM-ba") is an unincorporated community in San Diego County, California, United States. The Jacumba census-designated place (CDP) had a population of 660 at the 2000 census. The ZIP code is 91934 and the town lies within area code 619. The National Geographic Names Database cites its elevation as 2,829 feet (862 m) above mean sea level (AMSL).
Jacumba is located at (32.617N, 116.188W).
The town is in a valley in the Jacumba Mountains at an altitude of 2,800 feet (850 m). The area is dry with an annual average rainfall of 11.8 inches (300 mm). It is served by Old Highway 80; Interstate 8 bypasses the town at a distance of two miles (3 km). The town is located in the Pacific time zone (GMT -08:00).
Jacumba is located on the US-Mexico border. A small settlement exists on the Mexican side, known as La Rumorosa; the unmanned crossing was closed in 1995. The new, enlarged border fence now runs through the area. The United States Border Patrol maintains an increased presence in the area to curtail smuggling and illegal immigration.
2000 Census Bureau data for zip code was 67.6% white (including Latino), 3.6% black, 4.5% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 0% Native Hawaiian, 19.6% other and 4.6% two or more races. 34.1% are Latino.
The Kumeyaay peoples occupied Jacumba and surrounding areas prior to European incursion. They were probably attracted by the warm Jacumba hot spring (temperature 104 °F), one of many mineral hot springs which occur up and down the Peninsular Ranges of California. Ranchers occupied the area in the 19th century and were often in conflict with the Indians. Many were slain by ranchers for cattle rustling in the 1870 Jacumba Massacre.
Around the turn of the century, the health and relaxation benefits of natural hot springs began to be commercialized. The Jacumba hot spring is prolific and delivered enough water to fill large public baths, the remains of which can still be seen. The water contains sulfur but has a pleasant clean smell. In 1919 rail service connected Jacumba to San Diego. By 1925 the town had a world class hotel, the Hotel Jacumba. In the 1930s, Jacumba had developed into a top destination and had a population of more than 5,000. Many of the foremost movie stars and celebrities of the time regarded Jacumba as a prime destination for relaxation.
Jacumba's role as a prime destination continued through World War II; however as the southernmost California hot spring, it began to feel competition from more northern ones, including Murrieta and Palm Springs. After the new Interstate 8 bypassed Jacumba by two miles, most of the roadside service businesses folded and the community went into economic decline.
The Jacumba Hotel closed and was destroyed in an arson fire in 1985. The ruins stood until 1991. Today, the stub of the massive central fireplace can still be seen. The great public baths closed, The swimming pool was filled in, and the well was capped by its rights-owner.
In the 1980s, the Jacumba Motel was the only hotel facility left in Jacumba. However, the area continues to attract primarily foreign visitors and the motel has acquired rights to the spring and opened a spa.
The community is about 1.6 miles (2.6 km) south of Interstate 8 and about 0.5 miles (0.80 km) north of the Mexican border. At 52 degrees off true north, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) distant is the summit known as Squaw Tit (3,880 feet AMSL). At 0.88 miles (1.42 km) on a bearing of 296 degrees off true North lies Jacumba Peak (3,363 ft). Jacumba Airport is one mile (1.6 km) east at .