During the ups and downs of this long COVID-19 pandemic, Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s indoor museums have been mostly closed. But I learned today that outdoor “Hidden History Talks” are now being held free to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm.
There are several interesting locations in the State Park where the talks might be held, including the courtyard of the Casa de Estudillo and the donkey pen behind Seeley Stable. Visitors to the park should watch for signs indicating where that day’s free history talk will be.
Today I sat on a bench in the beautiful Casa de Estudillo garden and listened to a California State Parks employee talk about the remarkable biodiversity in San Diego, which is partly attributed to the importation of plants and trees by Spanish missionaries, settlers, traders, and early civic visionaries like Kate Sessions.
The garden at the Casa de Estudillo is a sort of microcosm of this biodiversity.
Trees and shrubs were pointed out on all sides, and explanations were made of why they had been planted here–many a century and a half ago. Curious eyes turned this way and that at the mention of pepper and olive trees, pomegranates, and loquat, mulberry, pecan and walnut trees. And many others!
Among the things we learned was that small pepper trees from Spain, newly planted around Old Town’s plaza, had to be protected from roaming cattle. A century and a half later those pepper trees are huge and beautiful!
Everything we learned was fascinating.
I was told that eventually the normal walking tours should return to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, but it all depends on the COVID-19 pandemic’s trajectory and public health orders.
If you’d like an idea of what the regular one hour walking tours are like, click here!