It seems most of the tourists who visit Old Town San Diego State Historic Park enjoy the large central grassy plaza and the many interesting buildings immediately around its perimeter. Few, however, go slightly off the beaten track to investigate the several restored old structures that are scattered a few easy steps farther away.
In addition to a very cool one room schoolhouse dating from 1865 (which I remember visiting during a field trip as a child), there is a restored adobe house called Casa de Machado y Stewart which stands as an open museum to any passersby who are curious.
The Casa de Machado y Stewart dates from 1835. It was built by José Manuel Machado, a Spanish (then later Mexican) officer who served at the nearby presidio. Jack Stewart, an American shipmate of famous author Richard Henry Dana Jr., and a pilot on San Diego Bay, married Machado’s youngest daughter Rosa in 1845 and the two moved into the house. Over their many years of residence they made many improvements, including a clay tile roof and wood-paned windows. What today seems a very simple and almost primitive existence was back in those days living in the lap of luxury.
In 1932, the house became an official California Historic Landmark.