28 Living History Old Town San Diego State Historic Park pays tribute to the cultural influences that make California special. Restored and reconstructed buildings in Old Town San Diego are now museums, shops and restaurants that capture the energy of Old Town between 1821 and 1872. The central plaza is lined with buildings—some dating back to the 1820s—that offer a glimpse of the lifestyles of both ordinary residents and the most wealthy and influential. Make your visit memorable by entering into the spirit of OldTown San Diego. Enjoy its history,museums,period demonstrations,entertainment, programs and activities. Guided walks reveal OldTown’s story,and living history interpreters give faces and voices to the people who shaped it.Visit some of the oldest buildings and historic sites in California.Today’s plaza remains the heart of OldTown.Discover the lives of those who came before to better understand how California came to be. Native Americans The Kumeyaay lived near the San Diego River for thousands of years before the mission and presidio were built. Today a sandy native landscape marks the former borders of the river that supplied the native people with many of life’s necessities. At first the Kumeyaay were friendly with the set- tlers, but this changed when their tradi- tions and beliefs came into conflict. Diseases introduced by the settlers decimated entire villages, and the native culture nearly disappeared. Diegueño Indians drawn by art- ist with the 1849 U.S. Boundary Commission expedition.