Photos of Mormon Battalion Commemoration in Old Town.

Lots of music was being played during today's Mormon Battalion Commemoration event in Old Town San Diego.
Lots of music was being played during today’s Mormon Battalion Commemoration event in Old Town San Diego.

I love history. So I was thrilled to stumble upon a special event today in Old Town San Diego!

The Mormon Battalion Commemoration is an annual celebration that recalls a part of San Diego’s diverse, often surprising history. The battalion was formed in 1846. Composed of members of the Latter Day Saints and led by regular U.S. Army officers, over 500 men and several dozen women and children set out from Council Bluffs, Iowa and endured an almost 2,000 mile march to San Diego. Their presence in San Diego and several other locations in Southern California helped to support the eventual cession of much of the American Southwest from Mexico to the United States. Many members of the Mormon Battalion went on to play leading roles in the settlement of the West.

Of course, history–like life itself–is a complex thing that can be told and interpreted from many differing viewpoints. Happy reenactments don’t tell the entire story. But among so many costumes and demonstrations, one can start to imagine what life appeared like in San Diego over a century and a half ago.

I ambled around Old Town’s central plaza, spoke to some very friendly folks and took a few photos.

When I saw this rider on horseback as I entered Old Town this afternoon, I knew something special was going on!
When I saw this rider on horseback as I entered Old Town this afternoon, I knew something special was going on!
The public was welcome to this celebration of the Mormon Battalion. It included a parade, which I unfortunately missed.
The public was welcome to this celebration of the Mormon Battalion. It included a parade, which I unfortunately missed.
I saw kids in covered wagons, folks on horseback, and just a big whirl of activity all around Old Town today!
I saw kids in covered wagons, folks on horseback, and just a big whirl of activity all around Old Town today!
We are commemorating the end of one of the longest military marches in U.S. Military History. Five hundred soldiers known as the Mormon Battalion marched from Council Bluffs, Iowa to San Diego, CA. In addition...there were 35 women and 45 children.
We are commemorating the end of one of the longest military marches in U.S. Military History. Five hundred soldiers known as the Mormon Battalion marched from Council Bluffs, Iowa to San Diego, CA. In addition…there were 35 women and 45 children.
Various exhibits recreated aspects of camp life, and life in San Diego during the mid-19th century.
Various exhibits recreated aspects of camp life, and life in San Diego during the mid-19th century.
Marshmallow treats on a stick. Lots of families were present for the very popular history-based event.
Treats on a stick. Lots of families were present for the very popular history-based event.
One tent explained the hardships of women settling the West, and what life was like as a laundress.
One tent explained the hardships of women settling the West, and what life was like as a laundress.
Lots of folks were about Old Town San Diego State Historic Park in period costume. Many people participating in the event were themselves Mormons.
Lots of folks were about Old Town San Diego State Historic Park in period costume. Many people participating in the event were themselves Mormons.
More unique and colorful costumes worn to help reenact a fascinating period of local history.
More unique and colorful costumes worn to help reenact a fascinating period of local history.
Traditional folklorico dancing on a stage in Old Town. A strong Mexican heritage is a vibrant part of San Diego history.
Traditional folklorico dancing on a stage in Old Town. A strong Mexican heritage is a vibrant part of San Diego history.
During the festivities, a large crowd enjoyed music, dance, food and all sorts of interesting sights.
During the festivities, a large crowd enjoyed music, dance, food and all sorts of interesting sights.
Contestants in a Dutch Oven Bake Off prepare their tasty concoctions for the judges.
Contestants in a Dutch Oven Bake Off prepare their tasty concoctions for the judges.
Young people were shown how clay bricks were made in the early days of San Diego.
Young people were shown how clay bricks were made in the early days of San Diego.
I was told this fabric would be used in the making of dolls.
I was told this fabric would be used in the making of dolls.
These ladies on horseback and in a fancy miniature donkey-driven cart were being photographed right and left. Wearing elegant frilly dresses and holding parasols, they delighted everybody!
These ladies on horseback and in a fancy miniature donkey-driven cart were being photographed right and left. Wearing elegant frilly dresses and holding parasols, they delighted everybody!
One booth in Old Town's central plaza had a quilt-making demonstration, where kids could learn about the craft.
One booth in Old Town’s central plaza had a quilt-making demonstration, where kids could learn about the craft.
Of course, there were many historical exhibits that told the Mormon Battalion's story and described their contributions to San Diego's early life and culture.
Of course, there were many historical exhibits that told the Mormon Battalion’s story and described their contributions to San Diego’s early life and culture.
The Liberty Stand explained how Mormons believe in the vision of America's founding fathers, and their belief in values delineated by the U.S. Constitution.
The Liberty Stand explained how Mormons believe in the vision of America’s founding fathers, and their belief in values delineated by the U.S. Constitution.
Another demonstration had folks grinding nuts and seeds, a skill adapted from Native American Kumeyaay who lived in this region long before Europeans.
Another demonstration had folks grinding nuts and seeds, a skill adapted from Native American Kumeyaay who lived in this region long before Europeans.
A guitar and a banjo create upbeat frontier-style music
A guitar and a banjo create upbeat frontier-style music.
This nice lady at an information stand gave the thumbs up for my camera!
This nice lady at an information stand gave the thumbs up for my camera!
I wandered behind Seeley Stable because I noticed their famous blacksmith demonstration was open today!
I wandered behind Seeley Stable because I noticed their famous blacksmith demonstration was open today!
This lady was hammering glowing red hot iron while kids watched.
This lady was hammering glowing red hot iron while kids watched.
A miniature donkey pulls an elegant cart!
A miniature donkey pulls an elegant cart!

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Do you like to read original, thought-provoking fiction? Please visit Short Stories by Richard.

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Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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