Old Town San Diego SHP
Narrated by Russ Christoff
In 1769, Spanish occupation of California began in San Diego, and a mission and fort were built in the area.
The Presidio was the hub of San Diego for many years, and eventually in 1820, a plaza was laid out and a small community arose.
As Americans began to pour into California, trade became fairly strong here, and people of many nationalities were drawn to the area.
Eventually however, a more developed city grew up near the wharf and the heart of old San Diego began to fade.
In 1968, California State Parks began preserving the area, which is now known as Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Today, Old Town is alive with activity.
Gift shops and restaurants line the colorful plaza.
Visitors are welcomed to wander the park’s walking streets and pathways, and are encouraged to tour its historic buildings and sites.
Many structures have been rebuilt to look as they did during the Mexican and early American periods, 1821 to 1872.
Several buildings in Old Town are actually original adobes that have been stabilized and restored, and are considered to be highlights of the park.
One of these is the La Casa de Machado y Stewart. This original adobe is considered to be a fine representation of a simple dwelling built during California’s Mexican era.
Across the way from the Machado y Stewart adobe, is the Mason Street School.
People who enter this building will see what the interior of a one room schoolhouse looks like.
This historic structure was the first public school building in San Diego.
Along one wall you’ll also find old photographs of teachers who taught the early residents.
Education still continues here.
This state park along with other California State Parks, strives to educate school children with programs that help to bring the history of California to life.
Costumed volunteers such as these at Old Time San Diego, give their time and talent to enhance the visitor’s experience.
For those that are interested in antique printing presses, a stop at the San Diego Union Building is worth a look.
Work was done recently to restore the building to look as it did in 1868, when the first edition of the San Diego Union Newspaper was printed here.
The Seeley Stable houses a collection of horse drawn vehicles and western memorabilia.
This building is one of Old Town’s biggest attractions.
Some of the artifacts found here are extremely rare.
Inside interpretative displays line the walls and park aids and volunteers are on hand to talk about the park.
Also available to respond to questions is the park’s mounted ranger, Dick.
The day I visited he was busy discussing the history of the San Diego area with park visitors.
He led me to my next stop, the beautiful courtyard garden of La Casa de Machado y Stewart.
This wonderful restored adobe is the most famous of Old Town’s original structures and dates back to 1827, when it belonged to the commander of the San Diego Presidio and his descendants.
The restoration of this adobe began in 1910.
Today, people can tour rooms furnished with antiques that reflect the era when the Machado y Stewart family lived here.
There’s plenty to see and do when you visit this historic state park.
If you plan to shop, have lunch and visit the house and stable museums, you’ll need to set aside the better part of a day.