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Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

4002 Wallace St

San Diego, CA 92110

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park commemorates the early days of San Diego, and features historic structures built between 1821-1872. Situated in the Old Town neighborhood of San Diego, it’s a state protected historical park

Quick Facts:

  • The park was established in 1968.

  • California State Parks lists Old Town San Diego as one of the most visited state parks in all of California.

  • The site is both a California Historical Landmark (registered in 1969) and on the National Register of Historic Places (added in 1971).

  • Casa de Estudillo, one of the oldest surviving examples of Spanish architecture in California is within the park. It was built in the Spanish Colonial style, meaning that its 13 rooms are connected only by outdoor walkways, rather than interior hallways.

  • This historic structure was featured in the novel “Ramona” published in 1884. It quickly became a tourist attraction and fell into disrepair as visitors claimed pieces of the structure as souvenirs.

  • Restoration of Old Town San Diego began back in 1907 when sugar magnate John D. Spreckels bought the Casa de Estudillo to promote it as a tourist attraction.

  • After changing hands several times, the property was donated to the State of California in 1964.  

  • California State Parks begin restoration of the area and opened it to the public in the early 1970’s.

In 1850, when California was admitted to the United States, the small town of San Diego (population 650) was designated as the county seat of San Diego County.  Until the 1860’s, the Old Town area was the entirety of San Diego.

In the 1860’s, a migrant named Alonzo Horton begin promoting development of land in “New Town” San Diego, which is now the site of downtown. This new development quickly eclipsed Old Town because of its proximity to shipping, and became the new hub of San Diego.

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