CA -- San Diego -- Old Town San Diego State Historic Park:
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SDOTHP_070724_009.JPG: Robinson-Rose Building:
(Built in 1853, Reconstructed in 1989, Monterey Style)
In 1853, attorney James W. Robinson purchased a single-story adobe for his home and law office. He enlarged it in 1855 into a two-story building, with wooden siding and adobe plaster marked to resemble stone. The building developed into a commercial hub, housing offices for the San Diego and Gila Railroad, Masonic Temple, San Diego Herald newspaper, and various retail businesses.
Louis Rose, a German-born, Jewish businessman, bought the building 1868. By then, Old Town's boom years had gone bust. A fire in 1874 destroyed most of the roof, and the building later fell into ruins.
SDOTHP_070724_010.JPG: Window Into the Past:
Look through this window to see Old Town San Diego as it appeared in 1868. Commercial buildings made of wood and older mud-brick adobe structures stand, like weathered sentinels, in the treeless landscape.
The model of Old Town to your right, built by San Diego resident, Joseph Toigo, shows the town four years later.
SDOTHP_070724_020.JPG: San Diego's Tapestry of People:
From its earliest days, San Diego attracted all kinds of people -- Indians, soldiers, sailors, traders, hunters, ranchers, merchants, gold miners, land promoters, dreamers and scoundrels. People with different traditions, experiences and expectations formed the foundations of this community as it evolved from a Mexican pueblo into an American frontier town. This community continues to unfold and enrich San Diego today.
SDOTHP_070724_024.JPG: Who Are the Californios?
Mexican citizens born in California of Spanish-Indian ancestry called themselves Californios. Many of these Spanish-speaking settlers owned or worked on the great ranchos that dotted California in the 1830s and 1840s. They forged a unique society from the preserved remnants of a Spanish heritage and the harsh realities of a frontier existence. Their traditions of family, religion, and hospitality found expression in cooking, horsemanship, outdoor fiestas, and Roman Catholic feast days.
The Californio culture continues to flourish in San Diego. Many descendants of the Silvas, Serrano, Aguilar, Ruiz, Lopez, Valdez, Alipas, and Machado families still refer to themselves as Californios.
SDOTHP_070724_034.JPG: Robinson-Rose House
SDOTHP_070724_041.JPG: San Diego House:
In 1841, American ship captain Henry D. Fitch converted this pre-1840 adobe home into a store and bar, which he operated for six years. The next owners, black pioneers Richard Freeman and Allen B. Light, called the small saloon "San Diego House."
Light earlier had worked for the Mexican government to help prevent the poaching of sea otter along the coast. In 1850, he left San Diego for Humboldt County.
Richard Freeman stayed and was employed as a San Diego policeman until his death in 1851. Freeman's daughter Anita inherited the property. A business continued to be operated here until 1857 when the adobe was razed to make way for the "American Hotel".
SDOTHP_070724_047.JPG: United States House
SDOTHP_070724_049.JPG: La Casa de Machado y Silvas (Commercial Restaurant)
SDOTHP_070724_084.JPG: Racine and Laramie
SDOTHP_070724_086.JPG: Colorado House
SDOTHP_070724_089.JPG: La Casa de Machado y Silvas (Commercial Restaurant)
SDOTHP_070724_093.JPG: Welcome to the Racine & Laramie Historic Museum:
In 1868, Racine & Laramie became San Diego's first cigar store. Having emigrated from Quebec Province following the Canadian Confederation, Messrs. Racine and Laramee sold cigars, tobacco, stationary, pipes, cutlery, and gentlemen's furnishings.
The adobe they rented, when built in the 1820s, was one of the first six structures in this isolated pueblo, population 500. The adobe and surrounding city block were the retirement home for leather-jacket soldier, Juan Rodriguez of the Royal Presidio.
The Rodriguez family had success in proving their Mexican ownership to the U.S. Land Commission. They owned it through depressions and Gold Rush booms. Many Californio property owners were not as fortunate. Their son, Ramon, was elected to the City Council. The widow Rodriguez, in 1867, remodeled the home into stores and rented to the Back Exchange, a proper saloon, and Racine & Laramie. All was lost in the fire on 1872.
This prize-winning historic reconstruction is based on photographs, research, and archeology. The interior is furnished with an outstanding collection of antique, c. 1870, shop fixtures and stocked with goods, similar to those sold on this very spot, in that long ago frontier Pacific port. The clerks will be pleased to answer your questions.
This museum was privately reconstructed, furnished, and operated. Not one ...
SDOTHP_070724_099.JPG: Mason Street School
SDOTHP_070724_101.JPG: La Casa de Machado y Stewart
SDOTHP_070724_154.JPG: Mason Street School. Built - 1865. School is 142 years old. Building is 85% original.
SDOTHP_070724_178.JPG: MASON STREET SCHOOL
First public school house in this county erected at this site in 1865 and known as "Mason Street School -- District No. 1" when San Diego County covered an area larger than three New England states. Restored by popular subscription in 1955.
State Registered Landmark No 538.
Marker placed by San Diego County Board of Supervisors and the Historical Markers Committee Erected 1955
SDOTHP_070724_199.JPG: First San Diego Courthouse
SDOTHP_070724_206.JPG: The city jail
Game Marshall's discovery of gold in the tail race of Sutters Mill at Coloma, 24 January 1848, set in motion the greatest voluntary mass migration in recorded history.
Within a year, opportunists of every persuasion traveling y land and sea from every corner of the globe, swarmed to the placers of the Mother Lode.
This tidal wave of humanity, representing every cultural ethic of the time, swept across the region's bucolic provinces out into the vast Sierra wilderness.
The task of bringing a sense of moral, legal and ethical order to the former land of the Dons, still stands today as one of the major accomplishments of our country's legal system.
SDOTHP_070724_215.JPG: War & A New Era:
In June 1846, a month after President Polk's Declaration of War with Mexico, a band of Americans at Sonoma hoisted the Bear flag of the California Republic, heralding the region's entry into the conflict. The war ended with the signing of the Guadelupe-Hidalgo Treaty, February 1848.
Almost concurrently, gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill, an event that would not touch off the great commercial and social explosion of 1849, for nearly a year. In this interim, the vast, sparsely settled pastoral region and its former Mexican citizenry entered the new era in a continuation of the agrarian pursuits, while military governors sought to integrate the hijos de pais into the Yankee, hell-for-leather way of life.
The former system of Alcaldes, as opposed to the U.S. system of a jury of peers, served to encourage representatives of local constituencies to meet at Monterey to draft a State Constitution in 1849, followed a year later by California's admission to the Union.
SDOTHP_070724_219.JPG: Agoston Haraszthy
Between 1824 and 1848, Mexico granted 813 land patents in California. These "Land Grants" included most of the 25 grazing rights concessions earlier acknowledged by the Spanish monarchy. Records of these transactions were verified by vaguely written descriptions, delineated by primitive maps called disenos.
Under less pressing circumstances, land claims might have been verified in a simpler, more orderly fashion, but the gold rush that brought immigrant hordes turned the process into chaos.
Litigation continued over 40 years as commissioners administering the Land Act of 1851 and courts adjudicating disputes labored to unsnarl the tangled titles. The U.S. rejected 197 claims as without merit, and approved 553.
The polyglot hordes that overran the digs were a lot to try the patient of Job. Native Americans, Catholic, Protestant and Jewish Yankees, Chinese Taoists and Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, Moslems, and multi-ethnic Europeans, accustomed to esoteric laws and cultural mores, turned up on the turbulent frontier.
A logical cross-section of human beings from honest law abiding individuals, to the dregs of humanity added to the explosive mix of religions, cultures, and conditions.
With the inability of the emerging system of government to cope with the staggering problems of maintaining orders, righteous civil groups took control -- the Vigilantes.
SDOTHP_070724_227.JPG: Agoston Haraszthy:
August 30, 1812 - July 6, 1869:
First Sheriff of the County of San Diego:
On April 1st, 1850, the newly formed County of San Diego held its first election for government offices. Hungarian immigrant Agoston Haraszthy, having just arrived in San Diego in 1849, and the Irish-born Philip Crosthwaite both ran for the office of County Sheriff. Haraszthy won with 107 votes over Crosthwaite with 47 votes. At the time of the election, the County of San Diego was 40,000 square miles and included what is now San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial Counties, with a recorded population of nearly 800. Haraszthy served a one-year term as sheriff and left to become a legislator in the State Assembly. During his term as sheriff, he was charged with the duty of keeping the peace, executing writs and warrants, collecting county taxes, and attending all sessions of courts of record held in the county. He was also the keeper of the county jail and was responsible for the detention of all legally incarcerated persons. Haraszthy's two most notable events were his winning "high-bid" to build the first jail of cobblestones, and the Native-American uprising led by Antonio Garra which eventually led to Garra being convicted of murder and shot by a firing squad. To help him carry out the duties of his office, he named Joseph Reiner as his first deputy. Reiner was also later elected as Sheriff of San Diego County.
Agoston Haraszthy is also known by some as "The Father of California Wine," as he pioneered many varieties of grapes and wine-making processes in California. He began the Buena Vista Vineyards, which are still in operation today. He lived a very full and colorful life until his untimely death in Nicaragua, where reportedly an alligator ate him as he attempted to cross a river on his newly purchased plantation there.
SDOTHP_070724_244.JPG: Miner's Law:
Judge Roy Bean's opinion, "West of Dodge there is no law, west of the Pecos there is no God," was particularly accurate in the placers and diggings of the Mother Lode.
Finding a gold jackpot was no problem, "holdin' on to it" was another matter. Connivery, mayhem and murder ran rampant until a predominantly law abiding majority demanded some form of legal redress.
In search of precedent, advocates of the raw frontier turned to the Mining Laws of Illinois and built upon them, in the ensuing century. Establishing and filing claims, maintenance and continuance of title, water rights and conservation, taken for granted today, are products of those turbulent times.
SDOTHP_070724_246.JPG: The Boundary Commission:
The Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo was signed February 2, 1848, ending the war between the United States and Mexico. An International Boundary Commission, under the joint direction of Col. John B. Weller and Pedro Garcia Conde, was set up to survey the new line from Texas to the Pacific Coast. They began work in San Diego, in 1853, with headquarters in the brick courthouse.
The instructions to the commission were to "run and mark that part of the boundary consisting of a straight line from a point on the Pacific Ocean distant one marine league due south of the southernmost point of the Port of San Diego, to the middle of Rio Gila, where it units with the Colorado."
The initial point of the boundary was fixed 18 miles south of San Diego on a spot 500 feet from the ocean and 42 feet above its level. Later, parts of the boundary were re-surveyed due to the Gadsden Purchase adding land to Arizona and New Mexico.
SDOTHP_070724_250.JPG: El Alcalde of the San Diego Pueblo:
In 1834, Governor Jose Figueroa granted a petition from the Old Town settlement to form a town; holding that San Diego's population of 432 persons was sufficient under Mexican law. On May 4, 1834, he forwarded a recommendation to that effect. Organization of the pueblo (Mexican town) was legally undertaken. Juan Maria Osuna was chosen Alcalde over Pio Pico, at an election, December 21. Electors had cast a total of 13 votes.
Some of the laws enforced by Alcalde included a prohibition against carrying weapons in the pueblo; no person was to stay in the town without means of support; and gambling was prohibited. Drunks were given two-day sentences to the work gang.
A partial list of Alcaldes reads like a "Who's Who" of prominent pioneers: Juan Maria Osuna, Juan Maria Marron, Jose Antonio Estudillo, Miguel de Pedrorena, Juan Bandini, and many others. Joshua Bean was the last Alcalde under Mexican Rule. He succeeded himself when he was elected the first Mayor of San Diego in the city's first election, June 16, 1850. His brother, Roy Bean, later became Judge Roy Bean, "Law west of the Pecos."
SDOTHP_070724_251.JPG: First Protestant Services: Episcopalians in Old Town:
The first Protestant denomination to obtain a foothold in San Diego was the Episcopalian. The Reverend John Reynolds was appointed chaplain of the Post at San Diego, December 31, 1850. He was army chaplain for the troops stationed at the mission until August 31, 1854.
The chaplain conducted services at the courthouse. The first service in Old Town was held at 3pm, July 20, 1853. An article in the San Diego Herald said, "An audience of over a dozen is rarely seen at the courthouse, where Dr. Reynolds preaches on Sunday, while the Sabbath calm is broken in upon by the riot of the inebriated, and the very words of the holy writ are drowned by the clicking of billiard balls and calls for cocktails from the adjacent saloon."
SDOTHP_070724_255.JPG: The Mormon Battalion in San Diego:
The United States Flag was already flying over San Diego when the Mormon Battalion arrived. One Company was stationed in San Diego; the others were sent to Mission San Luis Rey and later to Los Angeles where they built Fort Moore.
The company stationed in San Diego, rather than be idle, began working in the community. They built and mended fences, white-washed buildings and fences, built the first brick kiln and fired the first bricks in California. They used the bricks to line wells for the first potable drinking water. They also built the first fired-brick building in California, which was the San Diego Courthouse.
When the Battalion was ordered to Los Angeles to be discharged in July 1847, the citizens of San Diego signed a petition asking that the Battalion members remain. Eighty men did re-enlist for additional duty.
SDOTHP_070724_258.JPG: The First San Diego Courthouse:
This replica of the first Courthouse built in California was constructed in 1991 on the site of the original courthouse. It was recreated by the First San Diego Courthouse, Inc., a non-profit organization, and was funded with donations from various organizations, individuals, and Corporations from the community.
The original Courthouse of 1847 was also built with monies donated from the community, and the construction labor was provided, in part, by several members of the Mormon Battalion.
On March 27, 1850, a legislative act incorporated San Diego as the first city in California. The act marked the beginning of the use of the courthouse of San Diego's first Anglo-American civic center.
SDOTHP_070724_261.JPG: 1872 Fire Destroys Courthouse:
The original Old Town Courthouse was destroyed by fire on April 20, 1872. The same fire burned the greater part of Old Town's business section. The brick section of the courthouse survived the fire. It was demolished during later reconstruction work.
The San Diego Union, May 2, 1872, stated: "The recent destructive fire at Old Town has completely changed the appearance of the place. The character of the inhabitants, however, remains the same -- calm and cool -- indifferent to surrounding circumstances pervading the entire Old Town community..."
SDOTHP_070724_262.JPG: Mayor and City Council (Common Council):
San Diego was incorporated as a city in early 1859 by the state legislature. Joshua H. Bean was elected Mayor, June 16, 1850. As Mayor, he chose a council of five members. They appropriated the east room, in the rear of the building, for the mayor's office. The clerk and common council took charge of the building and occupied the west room.
Under the original city charter of 1850, the mayor had judicial powers in addition to his executive authority. The original charter provided that the common council establish and fix the salaries of the mayor and other city officials. City records indicate that the mayor and city council continued transacting city business from within this building throughout the 1850s and 1860s.
SDOTHP_070724_267.JPG: First California Courts:
California's first constitution provided for a supreme court, district court, county court and justice court. The district court was established in 1849 and acted as the highest court in the state, having original jurisdiction over all criminal cases not otherwise provided for.
The district court held its first session in this courthouse on May 6, 1850, and convened here until 1869. The California legislature elected Oliver S. Witherby the first district court judge of San Diego County, by a joint vote, for a term of two years. At the end of this term the people were to elect the next succeeding judge. The term of office was for six years.
On April 11, 1850, a California statue established a court of sessions composed of the county judge and two justices of the peace. This court had limited jurisdiction in criminal cases and was only to possess general control over the administration of county affairs. The term of office was for four years.
SDOTHP_070724_268.JPG: First San Diego County Grand Jury:
The first San Diego County Grand Jury was impaneled by the court of sessions in September, 1850. The Grand Jury functioned as a judicial part of the court of sessions, until 1863 when the court of sessions was abolished and its jurisdiction transferred to the county court. The legislature replaced the county court by the superior court in 1880. The brick courthouse housed the grand jury, until 1868.
The United States Constitution and the California Constitution provide for impaneling grand juries. The county grand jury is a body of the required number of persons selected from the citizens of the county, before a court of competent jurisdiction. The grand jury is sworn to inquire of public offenses committed or triable within the county.
Membership of the grand jury originally was set at not less than 16 or more than 23 members. It has varied over the years until the number was fixed at 19 in 1876. The number is 24 in counties with a population of 4,000,000 or more.
SDOTHP_070724_273.JPG: San Diego Board of Supervisors:
A state statute ordered the election of a Board of Supervisors, in 1852. The administrative power of the court of sessions was transferred to the Supervisors.
The first supervisors to serve on the board were elected in 1853. They were William C. Ferrell, chairman, January to November Eugene B. Pendleton, November to December; James W. Robinson, Louis Rose, Ephriam W. Morse, George Lyons, and John J. Warner.
In 1853, the Board of Supervisors held their first meeting in this courthouse. They established city and county resolutions pertaining to taxes, road services and appointment of city officials.
In 1860, the board resolved that an "iron cell or crib be placed by the contractors at the rear of the courthouse." Records show the Board met in the courthouse until 1867.
SDOTHP_070724_278.JPG: Oliver S. Witherby, district court judge office.
SDOTHP_070724_290.JPG: Judge Oliver S. Witherby:
The portrait of Oliver S. Witherby was located in the Presiding Department of the Superior Court. It is the oldest and one of the most important historical possessions of the San Diego County Bench.
Witherby was born February 19, 1815 in Ohio. A graduate of Miami University, he entered the practice of law in 1840. Wounded as an officer of the Mexican-American War, he returned to Ohio as a newspaper man and Prosecuting Attorney. In 1848, Witherby settled in San Diego.
The "Father of San Diego Jurisprudence," Witherby was San Diego's first American lawyer, its first representative to the California Constitutional Assembly in Monterey and was appointed the first District Court Judge in San Diego in 1850.
After three years of Judicial service, Witherby departed from the bench to thereafter continue his distinguished career in San Diego as a lawyer, collector customs, public administrator, county supervisor, bank president, businessman, rancher and real estate investor. Judge Witherby died December 19, 18967, having served 48 of his 56 year legal career in San Diego.
The portrait of Witherby was painted by Dr. William A. Winder (circa 1870) and thereafter displayed in the various departments of the Supreme Court until 1959 when the aging 1892 courthouse was demolished. The portrait, then in a state of progressive deterioration, was stored at the County Law Library until 1980 when the Balboa Art Conservation, by a court order, Center was commissioned to restore the painting.
Donations from the San Diego County Bar Foundation, Law Library Justice Foundation,and the San Diego Trial Lawyers Association financed the restoration process.
In December 1992, by a court order, the portrait of Witherby was put on permanent exhibition in the museum of the First San Diego Courthouse, in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
SDOTHP_070724_291.JPG: Colorado House
SDOTHP_070724_295.JPG: Wells Fargo Museum
SDOTHP_070724_298.JPG: Concord Coach No 251:
On Wednesday, April 17, 1868, Concord, New Hampshire, was treated to a grand sight: a steam engine pulling fifteen flatcars bearing Abbot-Downing Co.'s largest stagecoach order ever -- a proud fleet of 30 elegant coaches -- bound for Wells Fargo and Co's Great Overland Mail stagecoach empire. One of the 30 is this stagecoach, #251.
Wells Fargo's order specified coaches suitable for the rugged roads of the West: Iron work to be extra stout; Thoroughbraces 3-1/4 wide & 1-3/8 thick stout stitched; Bodies made roomy inside & 3 inches more room between back and middle seats; candle lamps extra large size.
A finished coach weighed over 2,000 pounds and cost $1,250. It seated eighteen people: nine inside, with a hanging strap as a back-rest for the center seats, and nine more on top, including the driver and shotgun messenger. Upholstered in leather and damask cloth, painted red and yellow and finished with a landscape on each door, the Concord Coach was one of the marvels of American craftsmanship.
SDOTHP_070724_305.JPG: Gold for San Diego:
Miners from the placer diggings on the Colorado River and the hard-rock mines at Julian brought their gold dust and bars to the Wells, Fargo & Co. agency in Old Town San Diego. The agent carefully weighed the gold and packed it for shipment to assayers and the U.S. Mint in San Francisco to be made into gold coins.
If the miner could not wait for the return steamer to bring the coins, Wells Fargo would estimate the gold's value and make an immediate exchange. To ensure accuracy and keep their good reputations, Company agents had to be familiar with the varying purities of local gold. With this honest and accurate service, Wells Fargo established a tradition that has served it well since 1852.
These gold ore specimens are from the Idaho-Maryland Mine in Grass Valley, Nevada County. The mine was owned by long-time Wells Fargo agent Samuel P. Dorsey.
SDOTHP_070724_316.JPG: More About Spreckles and Jackson:
If Alonzo Horton is the father of modern San Diego, John D. Spreckles is San Diego's rich uncle. He came to San Diego in 1887 when a trip from San Francisco to Honolulu was cut short by supply problems. He fell in love with San Diego and spent the next forty years building the city and a large fortune. He was the primary force behind the 1915 California/Panama Exposition and the San Diego & Arizona Railroad. At various times in his life, he owned the Hotel Del Coronado, the San Diego Electric Company, The San Diego-Coronado ferry line, and the Union-Tribune publishing company. The Coronado Yacht Club now occupies his magnificent former home near the Hotel Del Coronado.
Helen Hunt Jackson arrived in California in 1880. She was shocked by the deplorable condition of California's mission Indians and spent the rest of her life fighting for the rights of Native Americans. In 1881, she wrote "A Century of Dishonor" which detailed the mistreatment and poor conditions faced by the native peoples of the American West. The book, unfortunately, was largely ignored. Undaunted, Jackson wrote the hugely successful novel "Ramona." She intended the novel to do for the California Indians what "Uncle Tom's Cabin" did for black slaves; instead, its most enduring effect was to create a collection of regional myths that stimulated the tourist trade. The legends became so ingrained in the culture of Southern California that they were often mistaken for truth.
SDOTHP_070724_324.JPG: An Overland Journey:
In 1861, Mark Twain and his brother traveled west by overland stagecoach. In "Roughing It", Twain described the coach as "a cradle on wheels" as it rocked on its thorough-braces instead of bouncing on steel springs. They rode "atop of the flying coach, dangled our legs over the side and leveled an outlook over the world-wide carpet about us for things new and strange to gaze at... It thrills me to think of the life and the wild sense of freedom on those fine overland mornings!"
Other travelers had a less adventurous opinion of the trip. "A through-ticket and fifteen inches of seat, with a fat man on one side, a poor widow on the other, a baby in your lap, a bandbox over year head, and three or more persons immediately in front, leaning against your knees, making the picture, as well as your sleeping place for the trip," was the statement of Demas Barnes, who made the overland trip in 1866.
Passengers could carry 25 pounds of baggage free. Coals in metal footwarmers helped in cold weather while leather shades blocked desert sun and dust in summer. Travelers grabbed hasty meals of boiled beans, salted meat and coffee at "home" stations reached, with luck, about every six to eight hours.
SDOTHP_070724_342.JPG: Colorado House:
In 1849, Cave Johnson Couts, a twenty-eight year old U.S. Army Lieutenant of Dragoons, arrived in San Diego with his unit to provide protection for the Boundary Commission that would establish the post-war border between the United States and Mexico.
While in San Diego, Couts married Ysidora Bandini, daughter of his close friend, Juan Bandini. He also completed the first subdivision map of the town's pueblo lands for a $2,000 commission.
Construction of the Colorado House began in the summer of 1850, amid controversy that the Lieutenant had obtained the property illegally. In the summer of 1851, the two-story hotel opened across the Plaza from the Bandini House. Hotel rooms were available at the Colorado House for $15 per month. Initially, the hotel was a success, and Couts added a "spacious and airy dining saloon." He also installed a billiard table and boasted that his liquor, wine and cigar selection was on a par with San Francisco.
Within a year, Couts began to lose interest in the hotel and directed his efforts to the development of Rancho Guajome in the northern San Diego County. For fifteen years, he leased out the hotel to various managers who operated it with limited success.
In 1866, Couts was found not guilty of murdering his Guajome foreman on the plaza outside the Colorado. He sold the building to the owners of the adjoining Franklin House. In 1872, both structures burned in a fire that accelerated the decline of Old Town. Reconstructed in 1992, this building now houses the Wells Fargo Museum.
In 1853, army engineer Lieutenant George H. Derby went to "Sandyago," as he termed it. At the Colorado House he observed the Herald occupying the second story "as a vast sign bearing that legend informed us." On the ground floor, visitors were "invited by the urbane proprietor to irrigate".
Seeking diversion during his tour of duty, Derby wrote for the paper, using the pen names "John Phoenix," and for the paper, using the pen names "John Phoenix," and "Squibob," from squib, a term for a sharp, witty attack, derived from the name of a small rocket. Derby often found San Diego to be "usually dull," leading him to indulge in a "reckless propensity to lampoon."
Derby's best-known prank was in 1853 when Judge J. Judson Ames, publisher of the Herald, went out of town. Upstairs at the Colorado House, Derby changed the editorial politics from Democratic to Whig. The Whigs won in San Diego county, and the diminutive Derby anticipated the results when the brawny Ames returned: "We held the 'Judge' down over the Press by our nose (which we inserted between his teeth for that purpose), and while our hair was employed in holding one of his hands..." Ames, of course, did no such thing, and in 1855 collected Derby's writings and published Phoenixania.
SDOTHP_070724_364.JPG: La Casa de Estudillo
SDOTHP_070724_378.JPG: Racine and Laramie
SDOTHP_070724_526.JPG: San Diego Union Building
SDOTHP_070724_570.JPG: Seeley Stable
SDOTHP_070724_594.JPG: Johnson House
SDOTHP_070724_615.JPG: The Johnson House:
The nineteenth century owner of the original modest frame house, George Alonzo Johnson, gained fame and wealth as a steamboat operator on the Colorado River. George and Estafana Johnson lived on the Penasquitos Rancho, about 20 miles from Old Town. While Old Town struggled in the 1860s, Johnson prospered and was elected to the State Assembly in 1863 and again in 1865. The house may have been built in 1869 as an office for one of Johnson's brothers or as a convenient Old Town residence for Estafana. For a time in the 1870s, the building housed a grocery store.
Struck hard by business reverses, Johnson lost his Penasquitos Ranch in 1880. Even his appointment as Collector of the Port of San Diego in 1883 could not halt the family's slide into poverty. In the 1880s, Johnson moved his family into the Old Town house, where they lived until his death in 1903.
SDOTHP_070724_636.JPG: Phillip Crosthwaite:
Phillip Crosthwaite, soldier, trapper, merchant, rancher and public servant, was one of the most active individuals to live in San Diego during the early American Period. A tall, well built man with a distinctive deep voice, full beard and unbowed courage. Crosthwaite was a leading man in the rough and tumble frontier town of 1850s San Diego. Even though Crosthwaite immigrated to San Diego by accident, he became one of its most involved and responsible citizens.
Crosthwaite was born in Athy, County Kildare, Ireland on December 27, 1825. His parents were in Ireland visiting their family after immigrating to the United States a few years earlier. Phillip was left with his grandparents in Ireland where he was raised and educated. In 1843, he entered Trinity College in Dublin, but after his grandmother's death in 1845, he traveled to America to visit his parents. He intended to return to Ireland and finish his schooling, but, on his way back, he and a friend mistakenly signed on to the crew of a ship headed for San Francisco. Upon reaching San Diego, they deserted ship. When the next ship heading back east arrived in San Diego, it had only one spot open for a returning passenger. Phillip and his friend flipped a coin for the spot and Phillip lost, leaving him in San Diego.
Crosthwaite soon acclaimed himself to his new surroundings and took up various jobs including sea-otter hunting. In 1846, when the Mexican War broke out, Crosthwaite joined the California Volunteers of the U.S. Army and fought at the Battle of San Pasqual. When the war ended, Crosthwaite served the city and county in various positions over the next few decades, being the first County Treasurer, a Deputy Sheriff, School Commissioner, County Clerk and Recorder, Sheriff, Chief of Police and Justice of the Peace.
Crosthwaite who involved in many of the significant events that happened in Old Town San Diego during the wild frontier years of the 1850s. He served in the forces sent out to put down the Garra Indian Insurrection of 1851. Later that year, he was injured in a gunfight while trying to maintain peace when a group of ruffians known as the San Francisco "Hounds," attempted to run wild over the town. Besides his civic and military duties, Crosthwaite was involved in business and social life, running a store with Thomas Whaley and becoming an honored member of the Masonic Lodge.
Phillip married Josefa Lopez in 1848. The couple had a large family and originally lived in Mission Valley before moving to Old Town. In 1861, he purchased the San Miguel Rancho in Baja California and moved his family there. He still remained active in San Diego during that time and in 1868 helped convince his brother-in-law, Jeff Gatewood, to bring his printing press to San Diego and start up the San Diego Union newspaper. Crosthwaite continued to serve San Diego as a public servant until he moved to his Baja California rancho permanently in 1874. He continued to visit San Diego often until his death on February 19, 1903. During his later years, Crosthwaite's recollections of early San Diego times helped shape the story of early San Diego and establish him as one of San Diego's most prominent pioneer citizens.
SDOTHP_070724_641.JPG: El Fandango Restaurant (site of Juan Machado Estate):
The property on which El Fandango Restaurant now occupies was the site of the Juan Machado Estate. Juan Machado purchased an adobe house on this lot for 100 pesos from San Francisco Ruiz on January 4, 1838. The house contained three rooms, one finished, one without a roof and a third consisting of only a foundation. The lot fronted the Plaza and was located between the Marron property on the west and the Alvarado property on the east. Juan Machado enlarged this property in 1843 by purchasing the neighboring lot of Lorenzo Soto. Juan increased his holding again on February 6, 1848 when Juan Maria Marron deeded part of his lot over to Machado. By 1853, the Machado Estate held a bakery, a storehouse and two stores.
Juan Machado and the Machado family were well-known citizens of Old Town San Diego. Juan's father, Jose Manuel Machado, Jr. first arrived in San Diego in 1813. He brought along his wife. Maria Serafina and the first three of their thirteen children including Juan, born in 1809. Juan was Jose's oldest son. Juan married Maria Serrano and together they had nineteen children. Before moving into town, Juan owned a small farm in Mission Valley. In 1840, Juan purchased the remnants of the Fort at Ballast Point for $40. Juan was granted a tract of land south of the border, known as Rancho Rosario. Here he entertained and often held horse races. The large amount of time he spent at the Rancho helped earn Juan the nickname "King of the Frontier."
By 1855, the Juan Machado Estate contained one hundred five feet of valuable Plaza front property and was worth an estimated $3,600. On September 28, 1855, Juan and his wife Maria Serrano de Machado deeded forty-four feet of their Plaza front property to Eugene B. Pendleton and Matilda Kerren for $2,300. Pendleton operated a store for $1,250 on August 14, 1857 and leased the store to merchants Thomas Whaley and Walter Ringgold. They operated a grocery store there until it was destroyed by a fire on August 17, 1858.
Around 1869, it is believed the Magnolia Billiard Saloon was built on what remained of the Juan Machado property. The Saloon Building was purchased in 1870, the name changed to Congress Hall and the building quickly moved to the west side of the Plaza next to the Rose-Robinson House. Today this spot is occupied by the Hamburgersa Restaurant. This easy movement was likely accomplished due to the probability that the building was a prefabricated frame structure shipped in from the East Coast. These frame houses were common in timberless Southern California during the early American Period. In the early 1870s, two wooded structures were build on the vacated Juan Machado lot, one housing a "French Bakery." The western part of the lot was used by American Hotel owner Pat O'Neill as a stable during this period. This part of the property is now home to the east wing of the Bazaar Del Mundo.
The demise of Old Town after the fire in 1872 coupled with the growth of New Town left the property virtually worthless. In 1890, Matilda Kerren and her second husband James Anderson sold their property for only $200. The two wooden frame houses were the only structures left by the turn of the century on the lot once known as the Machado Estate. By 1903, these structures were also gone.
SDOTHP_070724_680.JPG: On this spot the
United States flag
was first raised in
Southern California by
Lt. Stephen C. Rowan, USN
Commanding sailors and Marines
July 29, 1846
SDOTHP_070724_718.JPG: Robinson-Rose House
AAA "Gem": AAA considers this location to be a "must see" point of interest. To see pictures of other areas that AAA considers to be Gems, click here.
Wikipedia Description: Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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.
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.
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.
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.
Delaware North, which operates concessions at a number of other state and national parks, has faced a local backlash for the way in which it used its political influence to supplant Powers as the concessionaire at the park, and for the unpopular changes made to the park's scenery and restaurants. The company reported a 60% loss in revenues during its first year operating the concession.
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. As a result, much of the floral landscaping and colorful decoration which had been a hallmark of Old Town have been removed.
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