Friday, December 2, 2011

San Diego's Glorious Old Town

By Lacey Christensen

Almost all cities have an area, such as a quarter or section, where time seems to have stood still, and things have been left unchanged. And the bright cosmopolitan of San Diego, with its perfect weather, cutting-edge commercial centers, and trendy nature areas including its pristine beaches and parks, is no exception. For San Diego, the history-rich area where tourists can get a full historical experience is called Old Town.

Old Town is commonly known as the birthplace of the state of California, for it is in the area where the first Spanish settlement was founded. In addition to this, in 1769, 21 missions, led by Father Junipero Serra, were founded in the area. His missions were also actually built on the hillside overlooking the area recognized as Old Town San Diego today, effectively turning it into the center of the rest of the colonization of California on Downtown San Diego real estate.

The region was also designated as San Diego County's seat in 1850, the year when California state joined the rest of the country, though in 1860 this all changed when Alonzo Horton began promoting the area we will know as Downtown San Diego. Eventually, the locals, their businesses and homes, and even the local government, moved to Downtown, leaving Old Town's population dwindling. But in 1868, Old Town was given new life when the Department of Parks and Recreation of California deemed the area a state historic park, saving its rich culture and history.

These days, Old Town is the perfect choice to go to for people looking to experience San Diego's rich culture and history, for in the area lies many attractions and old buildings to visit and enjoy. Heritage Park is one such place, which is the home of authentically restored and relocated houses, which includes the officially "designated haunted house" open to visitors, the Whaley House. And then there's the Little Adobe Chapel, the first church in Old Town, and Mason Street School, the first one room schoolhouse in San Diego.

Tourists and locals alike can choose to visit and pass by, or stay for a while in the many inns and hotels found in the city, which range from the small and simple, to the large and chic. If you love history and culture, Old Town is the place to be. Visit it the next time you make your way to San Diego!

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