|Historic Sites located in Old Town San Diego|
Church of the Immaculate Conception
First Brick Courthouse
|The Alvarado House
A reconstruction of an original 1824 house which was once home to the sister of the last California governor appointed by Mexico.
Casa de Aguirre
This is a reconstruction of a house built in the 1850's by Jose Antonio Aguirre. Aguirre married two of his neighbor Don Jose Antonio de Estudillo's daughters. He married Francisca, and after her death married her sister Maria del Rosario.
Casa de Bandini / Cosmopolitan Hotel
Originally a one-story adobe, the home of Don A. Bandini. Built in the early 19th century, this adobe was the headquarters of Commodore Robert F. Stockton in 1846. The building was purchased in 1869 by Alfred Seeley, who added the second story and opened it as the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Now operates as the Cosmopolitan Restaurant.
Casa de Estudillo
Constructed in 1825 as the home of Don Jose Antonio de Estudillo, a Spanish aristocrat. It became a sanctuary for women and children during the American occupation in 1846. For a number of years it was incorrectly identified as "Ramona's Marriage Place" from Helen Hunt Jackson's "Ramona". The adobe structure is considered to be one of Old Town's outstanding show places.
La Casa de Estudillo was turned over to a caretaker in 1887 who sold its tiles, locks, doors and windows. In 1910 architect Hazel W. Waterman supervised the restoration of the house with funds provided by the Spreckels family.
Father Junípero Serra established the first San Diego Mission on Presidio Hill. Officially proclaimed a Spanish Presidio on January 1, 1774, the fortress was later occupied by a succession of Mexican forces. The Presidio was abandoned in 1837 after San Diego became a pueblo.
Racine and Laramie Store
Juan Rodriguez, a Mexican soldier who had received the land as compensation for his service, probably built his home here in the 1830s. It burned in the Old Town fire of 1872 and has been reconstructed and furnished with period pieces to recreate the Racine and Laramie store, which sold cigars, tobacco and stationery, as it was in 1869.
James Robinson built this two-story structure in 1853 as his family residence and as the home of the San Diego Herald, the San Diego and Gila Railroad office and other private offices. Fire destroyed the roof in 1874. The reconstructed building now serves as Old Town State Historic Park's visitor center. Hours: 10-5 daily; Admission: free.
San Diego House
Built in 1830, this was originally a small adobe saloon and provision store, owned by two black men, Richard Freeman and Allen Light, the first two African/Americans to settle in Old Town. In 1856 it was known as the American Hotel. Reconstructed building originally built in 1838.
San Diego Sheriff's Museum
A project of the Honorary Deputy Sheriff's Association, located one hundred feet from where the first cobblestone jail once stood. Interactive exhibits from the 150-year history of the Sheriff's Department; displays include guns, badges, handcuffs, uniforms, patrol car, helicopter, motorcycle, jail cell and courtroom. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10-4; Admission: free
San Diego Union Newspaper
This wood-frame structure was prefabricated in Maine and shipped around the Horn in 1851. This first office of the San Diego Union newspaper is restored as it was when the Union printed its first edition on October 10, 1868 and was published as a weekly. It contained four pages as was common in those days. Visitors can view the original printroom with a Washington press and the editor's office. Hours: Daily 10-5; Admission: free
Seeley Stable Museum
Albert Seeley ran the San Diego-Los Angeles Stage Line, which was put out of business in 1887 after the coming of the railroad. Seeley Stables was the Yuma/San Diego stage stop in the 1850's. It has been reconstructed and now houses a collection of vintage carriages and transportation memorabilia. Hours: 10-5 daily; Admission: free.
Original San Diego Presidio, this museum chronicles Old Town's inhabitants from the Kumeyaay to the present with classic photos and exhibits. Operated by the San Diego Historical Society, 2727 Presidio Drive.
Charles Noell and John Hayes operated a general store out of this two-story pre-fabricated building as early as 1850. In 1854, Hayes leased the structure to Robert Lloyd and Edward Kerr, who named it the U.S. House. Other ventures at this locale include an auction house, butcher shop, boarding house, restaurant, and a match factory. This structure, like many in Old Town, burned in the fire of 1872. Hours: 10-5 daily; Admission: free
According to the Travel Channel’s America’s Most Haunted, the Whaley House is the number one most haunted house in the United States. The alleged hauntings of the Whaley House have been reported on numerous other television programs and been written up in countless publications and books since the house first opened as a museum in 1960. Although we cannot state positively that the Whaley House is really haunted, the voluminous documentation of paranormal occurrences at the site makes a compelling case. But, if there are ghosts at the Whaley House, who are they and why are they here?
|Old Town San Diego is considered the "birthplace" of California. San Diego is the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement in California. It was here in 1769, that Father Junipero Serra came to establish the very first mission in a chain of 21 missions that were to be the cornerstone of California’s colonization. Father Serra’s mission and Presidio were built on a hillside overlooking what is currently known as Old Town San Diego. At the base of the hill in 1820’s, a small Mexican community of adobe buildings was formed and by 1835 had attained the status of El Pueblo de San Diego. In 1846, a U.S. Navy Lieutenant and a Marine Lieutenant, raised the American flag in the Old Town San Diego Plaza.
In 1968, the State of California Department of Parks and Recreation established Old Town State Historic Park to preserve the rich heritage that characterized San Diego during the 1821 to 1872 period. The park includes a main plaza, exhibits, museums and living history demonstrations.
Historic buildings include La Casa de Estudillo, La Casa de Bandini, La Casa de Altamirno Pedrorena and the Mason Street School, San Diego’s first one room schoolhouse. Just up the hill from Old Town San Diego Historic State Park, you’ll find Heritage Park where several of San Diego’s most notable Victorian homes have been relocated and authentically restored to their original splendor. Just a short walk down San Diego Avenue is the Whaley House, an officially designated haunted house, the Little Adobe Chapel on Conde Street, the first Church in Old Town San Diego and El Campo Santo on San Diego Avenue, a 1850 Catholic Cemetery.
Come visit the original and reconstructed buildings and furnishings that illustrate the ambiance of 1800’s San Diego . . . where California Began!