Old Town, San Diego

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Coordinates: 32°45′27.45″N117°11′44.11″W / 32.7576250°N 117.1955861°W / 32.7576250; -117.1955861

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The entrance of Old town Old town, San Diego, CA, USA.jpg
The entrance of Old town

Old Town is a neighborhood of San Diego, California. It contains 230 acres (93 ha) and is bounded by Interstate 8 on the north, Interstate 5 on the west, Mission Hills on the east and Bankers Hill on the south. [1] It is the oldest settled area in San Diego and is the site of the first European settlement in present-day California. [2] It contains Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and Presidio Park, both of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Old Town State Historical Park Old Town San Diego 012.jpg
Old Town State Historical Park

History

The Serra Museum in Presidio Park marks the original site of the Presidio and Mission PresdidioPark.jpg
The Serra Museum in Presidio Park marks the original site of the Presidio and Mission
Las Casa de Estudillo Museum, Old Town La Casa de Estudillo Museum, Old Town, San Diego DSCN0387.JPG
Las Casa de Estudillo Museum, Old Town
McCoy House Museum McCoy House Museum, Old Town, San Diego, CA DSCN0409.JPG
McCoy House Museum
Outdoor cafes at Old Town Outdoor cafes in Old Town, San Diego, CA DSCN0398.JPG
Outdoor cafes at Old Town

The San Diego Presidio and Mission San Diego de Alcalá were founded in 1769 by Gaspar de Portolá and Junípero Serra on a bluff at the western end of the San Diego River valley. The Presidio and Mission constituted the first Spanish settlement in Alta California, the present day state of California. After five years the Mission moved to a location several miles upriver, while the Presidio on its hill remained the primary settlement. In the 1820s the town of San Diego grew up at the base of the bluff, at the site commemorated by Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, while the Presidio fell into disrepair. [3]

In 1834 the Mexican government granted San Diego the status of a pueblo, or chartered town. However, the population of the town declined so much that in 1838 its pueblo status was revoked. One problem was the town's location far from navigable water. All imports and exports had to be brought ashore in Point Loma and carried several miles over the La Playa Trail to the town. [4]

The Casa de Machado y Stewart, an 1830s adobe house in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. San Diego - Casa de Machado y Stewart 01.jpg
The Casa de Machado y Stewart, an 1830s adobe house in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

When California was admitted to the United States in 1850, San Diego (still largely limited to the Old Town area) was made the county seat of San Diego County, even though the town's population was only 650. [5]

The Old Town area remained the heart of the city of San Diego until the 1860s, when a newcomer to San Diego named Alonzo Horton began to promote development at the site of present-day Downtown San Diego. Residents and businesses quickly abandoned "Old Town" for Horton's "New Town" because of New Town's proximity to shipping. In 1871, government records were moved from Old Town to a new county courthouse in New Town, and Downtown permanently eclipsed Old Town as the focal point of San Diego. [6]

Class 1 Streetcar homes in the Old Town neighborhood of San Diego, California. Class 1 Homes in Old Town.jpg
Class 1 Streetcar homes in the Old Town neighborhood of San Diego, California.

In the 1910s, Old Town became one of the many San Diego neighborhoods connected by the Class 1 streetcars and an extensive San Diego public transit system that was spurred by the Panama-California Exposition of 1915 and built by John D. Spreckels. These streetcars became a fixture of this neighborhood until their retirement in 1939. [7] [ unreliable source? ]

Economy

Church of the Immaculate Conception (built 1917). San Diego - Immaculate Conception 03.jpg
Church of the Immaculate Conception (built 1917).

The Old Town neighborhood has nine hotels, 32 restaurants and more than 100 specialty shops. [8] There are 12 art galleries and 27 historic buildings and sites, including Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, Presidio Park, and the Mormon Battalion Visitor Center. The area also contains Heritage Park, a county park showcasing historic buildings which were moved to the site from other locations, including several Victorian homes and San Diego's first synagogue, Temple Beth Israel. A major government building is the District 11 headquarters of Caltrans, the California Department of Transportation. Old Town Realty (currently in the Silicon Valley/Carmel Valley) has roots in San Diego and Los Gatos, CA. Edward Tico (SDSU graduate) started this organization. [9]

Annual events

San Diego's Cinco de Mayo celebration is held in Old Town every year. [10]

The Old Town Art Festival takes place in October of each year. [11]

San Diego's Dia de los Muertos is annual community-wide celebration held every November 1 and 2. [12]

Fiesta Navidad is a two-day Christmas festival in December, highlighted by the Mexican tradition of Las Posadas, which re-enacts the story of Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem for the first Christmas. [13]

Community organizations

The Old Town Community Planning Committee advises the city on land use and other issues. The Old Town San Diego Chamber of Commerce promotes business interests and tourism. [14] Local service organizations include a Kiwanis club.

The Boosters of Old Town (BOOT) is a support organization for Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Their financial support and assistance helps provide funds for a period attire clothing bank and for special programming and events such as Ladies Day, Historic 4th of July, Fiestas Patrias, Holiday in the Park, and descendant activities. They also operate the BOOT Store in the Robinson-Rose Visitor's Center, support the Blacksmith Shop, maintain a history research library, and publish the "Poppy Paper," an official monthly newsletter. [15]

The nonprofit Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) operates two museums in Old Town San Diego: the Adobe Chapel Museum and the Whaley House Museum. [16]

Infrastructure

Old Town Transit Center SDT Old Town1.jpg
Old Town Transit Center
Houses in Old Town Old Town San Diego 2010.jpg
Houses in Old Town

The Old Town Transit Center is a major intermodal transportation station where travelers can transfer between San Diego Metropolitan Transit System city buses, the Green Line of the San Diego Trolley, the Coaster commuter rail line, and the regional rail system of Amtrak in the form of its intercity Pacific Surfliner route. [17]

Related Research Articles

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park United States historic place

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, located in the Old Town neighborhood of San Diego, California, is a state protected historical park in San Diego. It commemorates the early days of the City of San Diego and includes many historic buildings from the period 1820 to 1870. The park was established in 1968. In 2005 and 2006, California State Parks listed Old Town San Diego as the most visited state park in California.

Mission Valley, San Diego Community of San Diego in California

Mission Valley is a wide river valley trending east-west in San Diego, California, United States, through which the San Diego River flows to the Pacific Ocean. For planning purposes the city of San Diego divides it into two neighborhoods: Mission Valley East and Mission Valley West.

Hillcrest, San Diego Community of San Diego in California

Hillcrest is a suburban neighborhood in San Diego, California northwest of Balboa Park and south of Mission Valley.

San Diego Electric Railway mass transit system

The San Diego Electric Railway (SDERy) was a mass transit system in Southern California, United States, using 600 volt DC streetcars and buses.

North Park, San Diego neighborhood in San Diego, California, USA

North Park is a neighborhood in San Diego, California, United States, as well as a larger "community" as defined by the City of San Diego for planning purposes. The neighborhood is bounded:

Presidio of San Diego United States historic place

El Presidio Reál de San Diego is a historic fort in San Diego, California. It was established on May 14, 1769, by Gaspar de Portolá, leader of the first European land exploration of Alta California - at that time an unexplored northwestern frontier area of New Spain. The presidio was the first permanent European settlement on the Pacific Coast of the present-day United States. As the first of the presidios and Spanish missions in California, it was the base of operations for the Spanish colonization of California. The associated Mission San Diego de Alcalá later moved a few miles away.

Golden Hill, San Diego human settlement in San Diego, California, United States of America

Golden Hill is a neighborhood of San Diego, California. It is located south of Balboa Park, north of Sherman Heights/Highway 94, and east of Downtown.

University Heights, San Diego Community of San Diego in California

University Heights is a neighborhood in Central San Diego, California centered on Park Boulevard and Adams Avenue. According to the City of San Diego Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk parcel maps, University Heights is bounded on the west and north by the edge of the mesa, the southern boundary is Lincoln Avenue, and the eastern boundary is Boundary Street along the western edge of Interstate 805. The area is filled with a number of restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, and artist studios primarily on Park Boulevard and Adams Avenue. Live entertainment can be found most nights. Adjacent to Hillcrest, Normal Heights and North Park, additional restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and night clubs are within easy reach.

Mission Hills, San Diego historic district in the United States

Mission Hills is an upscale affluent neighborhood of San Diego, California, USA. It is located on hills just south of the San Diego River valley and north of downtown San Diego, overlooking Old Town, Downtown San Diego, and San Diego Bay.

Kensington, San Diego Community of San Diego in California

Kensington is a neighborhood of San Diego, California. Its borders are defined by Interstate 15 to the west, Interstate 8 to the north, Fairmount Avenue to the east, and Monroe Street to the south. Its neighboring communities are Normal Heights to the west, and City Heights to the south.

Grantville, San Diego Community of San Diego in California

Grantville is a middle-class neighborhood in the city of San Diego, in California. It borders the communities of Allied Gardens, San Carlos, Serra Mesa and Mission Valley East.

Point Loma, San Diego Community of San Diego in California

Point Loma is a seaside community within the city of San Diego, California. Geographically it is a hilly peninsula that is bordered on the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, the east by the San Diego Bay and Old Town, and the north by the San Diego River. Together with the Silver Strand / Coronado peninsula, the Point Loma peninsula defines San Diego Bay and separates it from the Pacific Ocean. The term "Point Loma" is used to describe both the neighborhood and the peninsula.

Morena/Linda Vista station

Morena/Linda Vista is a San Diego Trolley station on the Green Line. It is located just east of the intersection of Linda Vista Road and Morena Blvd. The next westerly station is Old Town Transit Center, located to the southwest. The next station to the east is Fashion Valley Transit Center.

Fashion Valley Transit Center

Fashion Valley Transit Center is a station on San Diego Trolley's Green Line. The station is elevated and has side platforms. It is located near the intersection of Riverwalk Drive at Fashion Valley Road. The station is located at the Fashion Valley Mall in the Mission Valley East neighborhood.

Hazard Center station station on San Diego Trolleys Green Line

Hazard Center is a station on San Diego Trolley's Green Line. The street-level station has side platforms. It is located near the intersection of Hazard Center Drive at Frazee Road. The station is located across the street from the Hazard Center development and serves as a park and ride center, with spaces available in the lower portion of the adjacent garage. This stop is located in the densely populated Mission Valley West neighborhood.

Rio Vista station

Rio Vista is a station on the San Diego Trolley's Green Line. The street-level station has side platforms. It is located near Qualcomm Way and the San Diego River. The station is a part of the Rio Vista development, which includes apartments and office parks in the Mission Valley East neighborhood.

Fenton Parkway station railway station

Fenton Parkway is a station on San Diego Trolley's Green Line. This street-level station has side platforms. It is located near Fenton Parkway and the San Diego River. The station is near a large apartment complex, several office parks, and Fenton Marketplace in the Mission Valley East neighborhood.

Midway, San Diego

The Midway area, also called the North Bay area, is a neighborhood of San Diego, California. It is located at the northern (mainland) end of the Point Loma peninsula, northwest of Downtown San Diego and just west of Old Town. It is often considered to be part of Point Loma, although the city treats it as a separate Planning Area.

La Playa is a bayfront neighborhood in the Point Loma community of San Diego, California. It is bordered by the San Diego Bay on the east, Naval Base Point Loma on the south, the Wooded Area neighborhood to the west and Point Loma Village/Roseville-Fleetridge to the north. It lies across a channel from Shelter Island.

La Playa Trail historic commercial trail in San Diego, California, USA

The La Playa Trail was a historic bayside trail in San Diego, connecting the settled inland areas to the commercial anchorage at Old La Playa on San Diego Bay. The La Playa Trail has been recognized as the oldest commercial trail in the Western United States. The trail was used during the Pre-Hispanic, Spanish, Mexican and American periods of San Diego history. Much of the length of the original trail corresponds to the current Rosecrans Street in the San Diego neighborhood of Point Loma. There are eight registered National Historic Districts and 70 identified historic sites along the trail, according to the La Playa Trail Association, which was formed in 2005 to recognize the historic nature of the trail and to honor the many different peoples who traveled along it.

References

  1. Old Town community profile, City of San Diego
  2. Journal of San Diego History, Summer 1999
  3. Journal of San Diego History, October 1968
  4. La Playa Trail Association
  5. San Diego population table, San Diego Historical Society
  6. Engstrand, Iris Wilson, California’s Cornerstone, Sunbelt Publications, Inc., 2005, p. 80
  7. The Home of the San Diego Historic Class 1Streetcars
  8. Old Town Chamber of Commerce: Businesses
  9. Caltrans District 11
  10. fiestacincodemayo.com
  11. oldtownartfestival.com
  12. "Old Town San Diego's Dia de los Muertos". sddayofthedead.org. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  13. Old Town San Diego Guide
  14. Chamber of Commerce webpage
  15. "Home page". Boosters of Old Town San Diego. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  16. "Home page". Save Our Heritage Organisation. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  17. San Diego Metropolitan Transit System

See also