History is made–and remembered–at Horton Plaza Park!

The new Horton Plaza Park in downtown San Diego makes history in 2016, just over a century after this important civic gathering place originated.
The new Horton Plaza Park in downtown San Diego makes history in 2016, just over a century after this important civic gathering place originated.

Early this morning I enjoyed a bit of history. During my walk, I paused to check out downtown San Diego’s brand new Horton Plaza Park!

The new park, located in the heart of our city, is just as fantastic as I anticipated. It contains cool public artwork, garden-like beauty, and loads of great modern features. But what I appreciated most, as I strolled through the park this morning, was its tangible sense of history.

Horton Plaza Park not only highlights the iconic Broadway Fountain, a true San Diego landmark, but preserves a number of fascinating historical markers and plaques that remember aspects of our city’s unique history.

Please read the photo captions, where I provide more information. I’ve also included three photographs taken about a week before the park opened, as last-minute preparations were being made.

People walk near west entrance of a greatly enlarged Horton Plaza Park the morning after its grand opening celebration. Historically the small city park was simply called Horton Plaza.
People walk near west entrance of a greatly enlarged Horton Plaza Park the morning after its grand opening celebration. Historically the small city park was simply called Horton Plaza. (When people say “Horton Plaza” today, they are usually referring to the popular shopping mall located directly to the south.)
About a week before the grand opening of the new Horton Plaza Park, many workers were applying the final touches.
About a week before the grand opening of the new Horton Plaza Park, many workers were applying the final touches.
The historic 1910 Broadway Fountain, designed by Irving Gill, is prepared for the amazing new Horton Plaza Park's grand opening.
The historic 1910 Broadway Fountain, designed by Irving Gill, is being renovated about a week before the amazing new Horton Plaza Park’s grand opening.
The modern, expansive Horton Plaza Park is a fantastic addition to downtown San Diego, but its creation took many years of planning and hard work. Another photo about a week prior to the grand opening.
The modern, expansive Horton Plaza Park is a fantastic addition to downtown San Diego, but its creation took many years of planning and hard work. One last photo that was taken about a week prior to the grand opening.
A tile walkway along the north edge of Horton Plaza Park preserves a century of history in San Diego.
The morning after the park’s grand opening.  A tile walkway along the north edge of Horton Plaza Park preserves a century of history in San Diego.
One plaque at the north entrance to the park dated 1985. It was laid down to mark the constantly evolving Horton Plaza's 75th anniversary.
One plaque, dated 1985, in the walkway at the north entrance to the park. It was laid down to mark Horton Plaza’s 75th anniversary.
San Diego's iconic Broadway Fountain, with the equally famous U.S. Grant Hotel in the background. The hotel was built by the son of Ulysses S. Grant and opened in 1910.
San Diego’s iconic Broadway Fountain, with the equally famous U.S. Grant Hotel in the background. The hotel was built by the son of President Ulysses S. Grant and opened in 1910.
One of four plaques near base of the Broadway Fountain. It reads Presented to The City of San Diego by Louis J. Wilde, 1909 A.D. Wilde was a banker, businessman and San Diego mayor.
One of four plaques near base of the Broadway Fountain. It reads Presented to The City of San Diego by Louis J. Wilde, 1909 A.D. Wilde was a banker, businessman and San Diego mayor.
Plaque near base of Broadway Fountain depicts Father Junipero Serra, founder of the first Spanish missions in California, including Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá.
Plaque near base of Broadway Fountain depicts Father Junipero Serra, founder of the first Spanish missions in California, including Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá.
Plaque near base of Broadway Fountain depicts Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who discovered San Diego Bay during an expedition for Spain in 1542.
Plaque near base of Broadway Fountain depicts Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who discovered San Diego Bay during an expedition for Spain in 1542.
Plaque near base of Broadway Fountain depicts Alonzo E. Horton. He created and promoted New Town, where downtown San Diego exists today. Before being sold to the city in 1895, Horton Plaza was originally used by guests staying at his Horton House Hotel.
Plaque near base of Broadway Fountain depicts Alonzo E. Horton. He created and promoted New Town, where downtown San Diego exists today. Before being sold to the city in 1895, the Horton Plaza park was originally used by guests staying at his Horton House Hotel.
A proud eagle perched within the elegant columns of San Diego's Broadway Fountain.
A proud eagle perched within the elegant columns of San Diego’s Broadway Fountain.
Looking east from the Broadway Fountain toward an historical marker: The Pacific Milestone.
Looking east from the Broadway Fountain toward an historical marker: The Pacific Milestone.
The citizens of San Diego in dedicating this Pacific Milestone, November 17, 1923, hereby gratefully acknowledge the untiring efforts of Col. Ed Fletcher in the construction of a Southern Transcontinental Highway.
The citizens of San Diego in dedicating this Pacific Milestone, November 17, 1923, hereby gratefully acknowledge the untiring efforts of Col. Ed Fletcher in the construction of a Southern Transcontinental Highway.
The points of the compass cap the Pacific Milestone.
Points of the compass cap the Pacific Milestone.
Pacific Milestone dedicated by our beloved President Calvin Coolidge November 17, 1923.
Pacific Milestone dedicated by our beloved President Calvin Coolidge November 17, 1923.
The Pacific Milestone in today's Horton Plaza Park marks the western terminus of The Old Spanish Trail, which traversed the American continent to St. Augustine, Florida.
The Pacific Milestone in today’s Horton Plaza Park marks the western terminus of The Old Spanish Trail, which traversed the American continent and ended in St. Augustine, Florida.
Old Spanish Trail. St. Augustine, Florida to San Diego, California.
Old Spanish Trail. St. Augustine, Florida to San Diego, California.
A familiar El Camino Real bell in Horton Plaza Park. It was donated by the San Diego Woman's Club.
A familiar El Camino Real bell in Horton Plaza Park. It was donated by the San Diego Woman’s Club.
Small plaque beneath the El Camino Real bell in Horton Plaza Park.
Small plaque beneath the El Camino Real bell in Horton Plaza Park.
Another historical plaque in the tile walkway. First Pacific Terminal Jefferson Davis Highway. Presented to the City of San Diego May 12, 1926...
Another historical plaque in the tile walkway. First Pacific Terminal Jefferson Davis Highway. Presented to the City of San Diego May 12, 1926…
Starbucks occupies one of three food pavilions at the new Horton Plaza Park. The morning after the park's grand opening, this Starbucks is already busy.
Starbucks occupies one of three food pavilions at the new Horton Plaza Park. The morning after the park’s grand opening, this Starbucks is already busy.
People enjoying a morning Starbucks sit at tables above Horton Plaza Park's outdoor amphitheater. A cool new mural serves as a distinctive backdrop.
People who enjoy a morning coffee can sit at tables above Horton Plaza Park’s outdoor amphitheater. A cool new mural serves as a distinctive urban backdrop.
A better look at the central part of the park. This broad, shallow amphitheater will be the site of many concerts and civic events in downtown San Diego. It also contains an interactive fountain (off at the moment).
A better look at the central part of the park. This broad, shallow amphitheater will be the site of many concerts and civic events in downtown San Diego. It also contains an interactive fountain (off at the moment).
Walking along Fourth Avenue, viewing the new park through several 23-foot high sculptures. These luminaries have lights that change colors at night.
Walking along Fourth Avenue, viewing the new park through several 23-foot high metal sculptures. These luminaries have lights that change colors at night.
Rounding a corner, I see some workers are removing fencing and tables that were used for the grand opening yesterday evening.
Rounding a corner, I see some workers are removing fencing and tables that were used for the park’s big grand opening yesterday evening.
South side of the huge new public art mural in Horton Plaza Park.
South side of the huge public art mural in Horton Plaza Park.
A cool public space that is sure to become one of San Diego's most popular gathering places.
A cool public space that is sure to become one of San Diego’s most popular gathering places.
The morning after the new Horton Plaza Park has opened. History is being made in San Diego, and one gentleman takes it all in.
The morning after San Diego’s amazing new Horton Plaza Park has opened. History is being made, and one gentleman takes it all in.

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Published by

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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