Time, memory, and the history of Old Town.

Photographs of Old Town's history slowly fade with the passage of time.
Photographs of Old Town’s history slowly fade with the passage of time.

I recently walked down a few streets in Old Town that are seldom visited by tourists. After taking photographs of the Old Adobe Chapel, I noticed that across Conde Street there was some sort of structure containing glass display cases.

Upon closer inspection, I saw this was an outdoor exhibit concerning San Diego’s early history. And that its contents were in a sad state of decay.

No one seemed to know who’d created this exhibit until I spoke to a cashier in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s visitor center, inside the Robinson Rose House. She told me the structure had been built decades ago for the Old Town Mexican Cafe and that the displays had been designed by a woman who loved history. But she had gone blind.

Time moves incessantly forward.

You can find this fascinating but faded exhibit on Conde Street, behind Cafe Coyote.

Displays behind glass windows include old photos and historical artifacts. This was created many years ago, I was told, for the nearby Old Town Mexican Cafe.
Displays behind glass windows include old photos and historical artifacts. This was created many years ago, I was told, for the nearby Old Town Mexican Cafe.
It is silks, satin and fancy soaps, blue jackets, denims and bear grease... It is Richard Henry Dana visiting the pulperia...rowdy sailors, soldiers; gambling and vigilantes...
It is silks, satin and fancy soaps, blue jackets, denims and bear grease… It is Richard Henry Dana visiting the pulperia…rowdy sailors, soldiers; gambling and vigilantes…
Early residents of Old Town, slowly fading.
Early residents of Old Town, fading away.
A collection of photos show life as it was in Old Town San Diego.
A collection of photos show life as it was in Old Town San Diego.
It is chocolate cups, gunpowder, Louis Rose's seaweed mattresses... Spinning wool, Juanita's cactus garden...a game of basketball behind Seeley Stable...
It is chocolate cups, gunpowder, Louis Rose’s seaweed mattresses… Spinning wool, Juanita’s cactus garden…a game of basketball behind Seeley Stable…
More old photos. Life remembered here as it once was...
More old photos. Life remembered here as it once was…
A few household objects in one display case. Perhaps life those many years ago wasn't so very different...
A few household objects in one display case. Perhaps life those many years ago wasn’t so very different…
Youthful faces, now fading.
Youthful faces.
Faded by time, now ghostlike.
Faded by time, now ghostlike.
Memories of days gone by can be traced now only by adobe hummocks that the yearly rains are slowly beating down.
Memories of days gone by can be traced now only by adobe hummocks that the yearly rains are slowly beating down.
History captured, for those who might pass down the sidewalk.
History captured, for those who might pass down the sidewalk.
Palms grow. Some words fade.
Palms grow. Some words fade.
Wooden boxes were sunk in the center of Fitch Street from the river bank to the post office for sewage.
Wooden boxes were sunk in the center of Fitch Street from the river bank to the post office for sewage.
Photo of the Old Adobe Chapel. In November when it was complete, the little church could be seen for miles around...
Photo of the Old Adobe Chapel. In November when it was complete, the little church could be seen for miles around…
By 1866, the little adobe chapel was enclosed in clapboard and a new roof was installed. It served the community of Old Town for decades...
By 1866, the little adobe chapel was enclosed in clapboard and a new roof was installed. It served the community of Old Town for decades…
The Old Adobe Chapel has been preserved. Now a historical landmark, it stands across Conde Street.
The Old Adobe Chapel has been preserved. Now a historical landmark, it stands across Conde Street.
Decayed flag and old photos of tall flagpole at center of La Plaza de Las Armas.
Decayed flag, and old photos of flagpole at center of La Plaza de Las Armas.
Old photos of the Campo Santo Cemetery. Words describe: A mingling of men, women, and children from places and lives so different...
Old photos of the Campo Santo Cemetery. Words describe: A mingling of men, women, and children from places and lives so different…
One empty display case, graffiti and a place for the homeless.
One empty display case, graffiti and a hard place for the homeless.
A monument to the human desire to remember.
A monument to the human desire to remember.
Many years, many faces.
Many years, many faces.

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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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