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Old Town San Diego Historic State Park

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The Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, located in San Diego, California, is a city park which attempts to recreate life in San Diego from 1821 to 1872. During this time period, San Diego was California's first Spanish settlement, with a mission and fort already established there in 1769. For this reason, the park's design incorporates Spanish styles and early American architecture.


Facilities
Five original adobes are part of the complex, which includes shops, restaurants and a museum. Other historic buildings include a schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, San Diego's first newspaper office, and a stable with a carriage collection.

Dining
The Historic Park and surrounding area are a popular tourist destination, known especially for its authentic Mexican restaurants. The park itself hosts four eating establishments: The Cosmopolitan Restaurant, The Jolly Boy Restaurant and Saloon, Casa de Reyes, and El Fandango.

Transportation
The Old Town Transit Center serves the area with trolley, bus, Coaster, and occasional Amtrak service.

Major Changes in 2005
In the Spring of 2005, a new firm, Delaware North, won the bidding for the park's concessions. Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts outbid Diane Powers' Bazaar Del Mundo, which had operated the concessions for the previous 33 years. As a result, on May 31st, 2005, Plaza Del Pasado replaced the shops at the former Bazaar Del Mundo, the former Casa De Bandini became The Cosmopolitan Hotel, and the former Rancho El Nopal became Jolly Boy Restaurant and Saloon.

Powers reopened her Bazaar Del Mundo Shops nearby at 4133 Taylor Street. The former Casa De Pico now operates in Grossmont Center, about 12 miles east of Old Town in La Mesa.

The contract inked between Delaware North and the Department of Parks and Recreation requires that the shops and restaurants adhere to the theme of Old Town as it was from 1821 to 1872.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park recreates life in the Mexican and early American periods of 1821 to 1872. Five original adobes are part of the complex, which includes shops, restaurants and a museum.  La Casa de Estudillo is a mansion built around a garden courtyard. La Casa de Machado y Stewart is full of artifacts that reflect ordinary life of the period. Other historic buildings include a schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, San Diego's first newspaper office, and a stable with a carriage collection. (San Diego became California's first Spanish settlement when a mission and fort were established in 1769.)

Location-Directions
The park is located on San Diego Avenue and Twiggs Street in San Diego.
Old Town San Diego, CA Latitude/Longitude: 32.7542 / -117.1961
 
Robinson-Rose House Visitor Center
James Robinson came to San Diego from Texas in the Spring of 1850 and developed a successful law practice. He built this two-story structure in 1853 to serve not only as his family residence but also as the home of the San Diego Herald, the San Diego and Gila Railroad office, as well as other private offices. Robinson died in 1857 and his widow Sarah Robinson sold the building to Louis Rose, who probably purchased it as a family residence. Fire destroyed the roof in 1874 and the building fell into ruins by the turn of the century. The reconstructed building now serves as Old Town State Historic Park's visitor center and has on display a model of Old Town as it looked in 1872, created by Joseph Toigo.
 
McCoy House
In March 2000, the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) completed construction of the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park Entry Redevelopment project, which included extensive landscaping and reconstruction of the McCoy House. State Park archaeologists excavated in Old Town San Diego in 1995 to recover information needed to reconstruct a large residence built in 1869 by James McCoy, a well-to-do Irish immigrant who served as San Diego’s sheriff and state senator. Prior to 1851 the property belonged to Maria Eugenia Silvas, descendant of a Spanish Colonial soldier who came to Alta California in the 1770s.

 

For a complete listing of all things Old Town, explore our Old Town San Diego Community Directory.

Old Town San Diego home page
Return to GoThere San Diego

Photo Tours of Old Town San Diego & State Historic Park

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