Photos of the historic El Cuervo adobe ruins.

I first saw the El Cuervo adobe ruins years ago. That was during a guided nature hike at the west end of Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. But I haven’t been back down that trail in a very long time.

Yesterday the cool spring weather was perfect for a hike in the canyon, so I decided to once again visit the historic ruins.

In 1823 a large portion of Peñasquitos Canyon was granted to Francisco María Ruiz, the Commandante of San Diego’s presidio. It was the first Mexican land grant in this area. You can learn more of the history, and see photos of his original 1824 adobe ranch house and its later modifications by clicking here.

In 1834, Ruiz was granted additional land to the west for cattle grazing. This area of Peñasquitos Canyon was named El Cuervo. He built another adobe house near the place where Lopez Creek runs into Peñasquitos Creek.

That second house today is in ruins. The crumbled adobe walls are protected by a steel fence and sheltering roof. A broken down corral can still be observed in the field to the east, as you can see in a couple of my photographs.

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Learning about archaeology in San Diego!

Kids learn about archaeology at Arch In The Park, an annual educational event at the Historic Ranch House in Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.
Kids learn about archaeology at Arch In The Park, an annual educational event near the Historic Ranch House in Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.

Today I headed to the Historic Ranch House in Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve to enjoy the 20th Annual Arch In The Park!

Arch In The Park, hosted by the San Diego County Archaeological Society, is an educational event where curious people of all ages can learn about archaeology in San Diego and the surrounding Southern California region!

I enjoyed looking at many displays and learning about opportunities to intern and volunteer with different organizations. Students talked about what they were learning, and kids got a glimpse of what it’s like to work as an archaeologist. Other exhibits concerned anthropology, our natural environment, and enjoying our local State Parks and National Forests.

After I checked out the various booths near the old adobe Ranch House, I headed to a nearby field where actual excavations could be viewed. Archaeology students from Palomar College told me about what they were doing, how they were doing it, and what they’d discovered!

To read information on the following posters, click my images and they will enlarge.

If you’d like to learn more about the historic Los Peñasquitos Ranch House, click here!

Visitors check out displays by colleges, businesses and organizations concerning the region's archaeology, anthropology and natural environment.
Visitors check out displays by colleges, businesses and organizations concerning the region’s archaeology, anthropology and natural environment.
People learn to how to weave baskets, an essential skill of the region's Native American Kumeyaay people.
People learn to how to weave baskets, an essential skill of the region’s Native American Kumeyaay people.
A poster shows California State Parks Southern Service Center's various Archaeological Projects 2017-2018.
A poster shows California State Parks Southern Service Center’s various Archaeological Projects 2017-2018.
Another California State Parks display shows interns at work sorting and identifying material from excavations in Southern California.
Another California State Parks display shows interns at work sorting and identifying material from excavations in Southern California.
This curious dog was more interested in learning about archaeology than that nearby bobcat.
This curious dog was more interested in learning about archaeology than that nearby bobcat.
A display contains info regarding the Anza Borrego Foundation and the Colorado Desert Archaeology Society.
A display contains info regarding the Anza Borrego Foundation and the Colorado Desert Archaeology Society.
Members of the Colorado Desert Archaeology Society can volunteer and become citizen scientists at Anza Borrego, Palomar Mountain and Rancho Cuyamaca State Parks!
Members of the Colorado Desert Archaeology Society can volunteer and become citizen scientists at Anza Borrego, Palomar Mountain and Rancho Cuyamaca State Parks!
Rock samples from different geological formations in Penasquitos Canyon.
Rock samples from different geological formations in Penasquitos Canyon.
Guinevere, the Merlin Falcon, is an animal ambassador for the San Diego Humane Society. (She had a wing injury and can't fly properly.)
Guinevere, the Merlin Falcon, is an animal ambassador for the San Diego Humane Society. (She had a wing injury and can’t fly properly.)
At Red Tail Environmental's table, kids could create sand art based on a ground painting by Native Americans at Mesa Grande.
At Red Tail Environmental’s table, kids could create sand art based on a ground painting by Native Americans at Mesa Grande.
Chambers Group had an interesting poster concerning fossil mastodons and whales.
Chambers Group had an interesting poster concerning fossil mastodons and whales.
Kumeyaay artifacts were displayed at the SDSU Department of Anthropology's table. If you're a teacher, it might interest you they offer free classroom presentations.
Kumeyaay artifacts were displayed on the SDSU Department of Anthropology’s table. (If you’re a teacher, it might interest you that they offer free classroom presentations.)
Enjoying a sunny San Diego day at Arch In The Park, presented each year by the San Diego County Archaeology Society.
Enjoying a sunny San Diego day at Arch In The Park, presented each year by the San Diego County Archaeological Society.
The Forest Fire Lookout Association had a cool display of all the Lookouts of Southern California.
The Forest Fire Lookout Association had a cool display of all the Lookouts of Southern California.
When smoke is spotted from a fire lookout, this simple device is used. Visually lining up the sighting determines the fire's direction, or azimuth.
When smoke is spotted from a fire lookout, this simple device is used. Visually lining up the sighting determines the fire’s direction, or azimuth.
Cleveland National Forest had a big display, too. They also like volunteers.
Cleveland National Forest had a big display, too. They also love volunteers.
Some photos from the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area, one of my favorite places.
Some photos from the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area, one of my favorite places.
Some artifacts on display created by Native Americans from San Luis Rey. Two of the baskets (near the top of this photo) were made in the 1800s.
Some artifacts on display created by Native Americans from San Luis Rey. Two of the baskets (near the top of this photo) were made in the 1800s.
A friendly student at this table talked to visitors about the California State University San Marcos Anthropology Club.
A friendly student at this table talked to visitors about the California State University San Marcos Anthropology Club.
As I headed over to a field where real archaeological digs can be seen, I was passed by people on horseback, enjoying their day at Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.
As I headed over to a field where real archaeological digs can be seen, I was passed by people on horseback, enjoying their day at Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.
Excavations at Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve are carried out by students in the Archaeology Program at Palomar College.
Excavations at Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve are carried out by students in the Archaeology Program at Palomar College.
I learned the Kumeyaay in this region obtained obsidian for projectile points by trading with other native people who lived to the east, by the Salton Sea.
I learned the Kumeyaay in this region obtained obsidian for projectile points by trading with other native people who lived to the east, by the Salton Sea. Ancient arrowheads and other mysterious objects are sometimes unearthed in this area.
A field east of the Los Peñasquitos Ranch House where archaeology students search for clues about the historic and prehistoric past.
A field east of the Los Peñasquitos Ranch House where archaeology students search for clues about the historic and prehistoric past.
Walls and drainage structures poke out from the field. Their exact story is a puzzle that will eventually be pieced together.
Walls and drainage structures poke out from the field. Their exact story is a puzzle that will eventually be pieced together.
A part of a torn down barn's foundation has been discovered here.
A part of a torn down barn’s foundation has been discovered here. Small, interesting finds are collected by general type in a cupcake pan!
Tunneling gophers make reconstructing the past more difficult. They move materials about as they dig.
Tunneling gophers make reconstructing the past more difficult. They move materials about as they dig.
Nearby I saw several devices used for wet screening excavated soil, a process that follows dry screening.
Nearby I saw several devices used for wet screening excavated soil, a process that follows dry screening.
Smokey Bear checks out debris left on the ground in another corner of the field, the area used for dry screening.
Smokey Bear must also be an archaeology enthusiast! I spotted him checking out debris left on the ground in another corner of the field, the area used for dry screening excavated soil!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Local history excavated, displayed at Petco Park.

A cool exhibit in Petco Park shows the History of the Ballpark Neighborhood, San Diego, California.
An exhibit in Petco Park shows the History of the Ballpark Neighborhood, San Diego, California.

There’s a small but very cool exhibit at Petco Park that depicts the early history of East Village and nearby blocks in downtown San Diego. During the baseball stadium’s construction, a number of fascinating artifacts were recovered by archaeologists. Each object was carefully recorded in order to preserve aspects of our city’s diverse history.

Here are some of the old photographs and artifacts that are on public display. You can find this exhibit near the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame, just to the right of the north entrance to the Padres Team Store. I learned this exhibit used to be on the third floor of the Western Metal Supply building, at the top of the escalators. But the area was rather dark and so it was moved to its present location.

Please read the captions to learn more about what was unearthed during the grading of the ballpark, and what everyday life was like in San Diego over a century ago.

Photo taken during construction of Petco Park baseball stadium in East Village. Archaeologists excavate a feature discovered during grading activities at the ballpark.
Photo taken during construction of Petco Park baseball stadium in East Village. Archaeologists excavate a feature discovered during grading activities at the ballpark.
The grading of the future ballpark was researched and environmentally monitored. Artifacts recovered reveal everyday life in San Diego's past.
After researching the immediate area’s history, the grading of the future ballpark was environmentally monitored. Artifacts that were recovered reveal everyday life in San Diego’s past.
Excavated objects include jars, bottles, glass stoppers and a bone toothbrush handle. Names of medical remedies include Hamlin's Wizard Oil and Dr. J.H. McLean's Volcanic Oil.
Excavated objects include jars, bottles, glass stoppers and a bone toothbrush handle. Names of medical remedies on bottles include Hamlin’s Wizard Oil and Dr. J.H. McLean’s Volcanic Oil.
1906 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map depicting Blocks 136 and 137, part of the footprint of today's Petco Park.
1906 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map depicting Blocks 136 and 137, part of the footprint of today’s Petco Park, home of the baseball Padres.
From the late 1800s to the 1930s, most residents of East Village appear to have been of moderate to lower economic status, employed at blue collar jobs downtown.
From the late 1800s to the 1930s, most residents of East Village appear to have been of moderate to lower economic status, employed at blue collar jobs downtown.
Other artifacts recovered during Petco Park's construction include dolls, toys, marbles and keys.
Other artifacts recovered during Petco Park’s construction include dolls, toys, marbles and keys.
Old photo shows East Village as it was in 1914, looking west from the 10th Street terminal.
Old photograph shows East Village as it was in 1914, looking west from the 10th Street terminal.
Looking south down 5th Street (now Fifth Avenue) from the roof of the 1st National Bank, circa 1910. The area is heart of the Gaslamp Quarter.
Looking south down 5th Street (now Fifth Avenue) from the roof of the 1st National Bank, circa 1910. The area is heart of the Gaslamp Quarter.
Two historical photos. To the left, Pacific Coast Steamship warehouse, circa 1913. To the right, looking north up 5th Street circa 1910.
Two historical photos. To the left: Pacific Coast Steamship warehouse, circa 1913. To the right: looking north up 5th Street circa 1910.
Old photo of Western Metal Supply building and foundry sometime prior to 1919. The preserved brick building is now a unique part Petco Park's structure.
Old photo of Western Metal Supply building and foundry sometime prior to 1919. The preserved brick building is now a unique part Petco Park’s structure.
Fragments of earthenware jars and Chinese and Japanese ceramic tableware show Asian culture that thrived in the neighborhood's past.
Fragments of earthenware jars and Chinese and Japanese ceramic tableware show Asian culture thrived in the neighborhood’s past.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

The people and legacy of Old Town San Diego.

Visitor to the second floor of the McCoy House Museum learns about some notable early residents of Old Town San Diego.
Visitor to the second floor of the McCoy House Museum learns about some notable early residents of Old Town San Diego.

Should you visit the McCoy House Museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, be sure to venture up the stairs to the second floor. There you’ll discover several fascinating exhibits. In addition to old photographs of notable early residents of San Diego, you’ll find an explanation of Old Town’s gradual decline as competing New Town (the site of modern downtown San Diego) grew and became the center of government and commerce. You will also learn about Old Town’s continuing legacy, including the events that led to the creation of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park in 1968.

If you’d like to read the displays, click the images to enlarge them.

(You might recall that I recently blogged about the many interpretive displays on the first floor of the McCoy House Museum. They provide a great deal of detailed information about Old Town’s early history.)

From a window on the museum’s second floor one can also look down upon the scraggly native plant garden just northwest of the McCoy House. A map near the window shows the location of Sycamore, Toyon, Oak, Cottonwood, Elderberry and Willow trees. Other native plants include Yerba Mansa, Datura, Aster, Poppy, Deerweed, Sumac, Lemonadeberry, Manzanita, Monkeyflower, different Sages, Deergrass, Prickly Pear and Yucca. Many of these plants were used by the Native American Kumeyaay in their daily lives long before explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovered San Diego Bay in 1542.

Pio Pico settled in San Diego in 1819 after the death of his father, a soldier assigned to the Presidio. Merchant and rancher, he later lived in Los Angeles and became the last governor of Mexican Alta California.
Pio Pico settled in San Diego in 1819 after the death of his father, a soldier assigned to the Presidio. Merchant and rancher, he later lived in Los Angeles and became the last governor of Mexican Alta California.
In 1865, Mary Chase Walker became Old Town's first school teacher. She taught at the one room Mason Street schoolhouse and described early San Diego as a desolate place. She went on to join the suffragette movement.
In 1865, Mary Chase Walker became Old Town’s first school teacher. She taught at the one room Mason Street schoolhouse and described early San Diego as a desolate place. She went on to join the suffragette movement.
Agoston Haraszthy, born in Hungary, led a fascinating life. As an American pioneer, businessman and wine expert, he became San Diego's first town marshal and the first county sheriff.
Agoston Haraszthy, born in Hungary, led a fascinating life. As an American pioneer, businessman and wine expert, he became San Diego’s first town marshal and the first county sheriff.
Fire devastated Old Town in 1872. At the time only one water pump existed, and it was broken. Firefighters watched helplessly. The fire and many other factors helped to bring about the rise of competing New Town.
Fire devastated Old Town in 1872. At the time only one water pump existed, and it was broken. Firefighters watched helplessly. The fire and many other factors helped to bring about the rise of competing New Town.
Various fascinating historical exhibits can be explored on the second floor of the McCoy House Museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Various fascinating historical exhibits can be explored on the second floor of the McCoy House Museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
In the early 20th century, neglected, ruined buildings in Old Town were fixed up and converted into tourist attractions. Entrepreneur John D. Spreckels extended his streetcar line to Old Town.
In the early 20th century, neglected, ruined buildings in Old Town were fixed up and converted into tourist attractions. Entrepreneur John D. Spreckels extended his streetcar line to Old Town.
Artifacts found under the rebuilt McCoy House date from the 1830's to 1850's. They include fragments of daily life from that era
Artifacts found under the rebuilt McCoy House date from the 1830’s to 1850’s. They include fragments of daily life from that era
Archaelogists analyze each find, record every detail. These objects probably came from the time when Eugenia Silvas owned this site. Descendents still live in San Diego and are involved in Old Town's a
Archaeologists analyze each find, record every detail. These objects probably came from the time when Eugenia Silvas owned this site. Family descendants still live in San Diego and are involved in Old Town’s activities.
Archaeologist's tools on display in the McCoy House Museum.
Archaeologist’s tools on display in the McCoy House Museum.
Once again, Old Town became a tourist destination in the 1930's when San Diego Avenue became connected to the new Coast Highway.
Once again, Old Town became a tourist destination in the 1930’s when San Diego Avenue became connected to the new Coast Highway.
Old Town languished during World War II. After the war, some suggested setting aside Old Town as a historic community. In 1968, Old Town became a state historic park.
Old Town languished during World War II. After the war, some suggested setting aside Old Town as a historic community. In 1968, Old Town San Diego became a state historic park.
Photographs in the McCoy House Museum recall Old Town San Diego's colorful past.
Photographs in the McCoy House Museum recall Old Town San Diego’s colorful past.

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Machado-Smith adobe, gardens coming to Old Town!

This area at one popular entrance to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, near the McCoy House Museum, is the site of a newly begun historical reconstruction.
An area beside a popular entrance to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, near the McCoy House Museum, will be the site of an historical reconstruction.

Their are plans to bring more history to life in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park! A reconstruction of the Machado-Smith adobe and wood-framed house, including gardens and orchards, will greet future visitors to San Diego’s birthplace!

According to a sign that I read, after archaeological assessments (which appear to be underway right now), the Machado-Smith 1860s adobe casa and 1850s wood-framed house will be built near the main walkway that leads visitors from the Old Town Trolley Station into the California State Park. Also planned is a grapevine covered arbor and gardens and orchards with corn, grapes, figs, roses and fruit trees!

According to some research and a State Park employee that I spoke to, the house was built for American Albert Benjamin Smith and his Mexican wife María Guadalupe Yldefonsa Machado de Wilder who together raised nine children. The property remained with the family until 1929. Eventually the house fell into disrepair.

It is uncertain when the new construction will begin, but I’ll keep my eyes open!

Once completed, the Machado-Smith reconstruction will offer interpretive programs concerning Old Town San Diego’s unique mixture of Mexican Californio and American cultures! Very cool!

I was told by a California State Park employee that bits of pottery and other fascinating objects have been found at this site. It's believed a pottery or craft store was here at one time.
I was told by a California State Park employee that bits of pottery and other interesting objects have been found at this site.
An historically accurate reconstruction of the mid 1800's Machado-Smith property will soon be built in Old Town San Diego. Included will be an adobe casa, wood-framed house and gardens.
An historically accurate reconstruction of the mid 1800’s Machado-Smith property will be built in Old Town San Diego. Included will be an adobe casa, wood-framed house and gardens.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Casa de Aguirre Museum in Old Town San Diego.

Fascinating exhibits inside the Casa de Aguirre Museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Fascinating exhibits inside the Casa de Aguirre Museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

Many visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park might think the Casa de Aguirre is just a shop brimming with colorful crafts and wares. But a closer look reveals that a small museum is located inside.

Here are some photos which provide a glimpse of what you’ll discover should you step into the museum. Read the captions, and you’ll learn how Casa de Aguirre is one of the most important sites in Old Town, and how its occupants shaped San Diego’s early history.

Casa de Aguirre in Old Town was built around 1853. The adobe mansion was one of the first houses in San Diego, owned by Don Jose Antonio Aguirre, a prosperous merchant and rancher.
Casa de Aguirre in Old Town was originally built around 1853. The adobe mansion was one of the first houses in San Diego, owned by Don Jose Antonio Aguirre, a prosperous merchant and rancher. The present building is a reproduction.
Bronze bust of Don Jose Antonio Aguirre, near entrance to Casa de Aguirre. Born in Spain, he owned several ships and warehouses and imported goods from Peru and China to trade for cowhides and tallow.
Bronze bust of Don Jose Antonio Aguirre, near entrance to Casa de Aguirre. Born in Spain, he owned several ships and warehouses and imported goods from Peru and China to trade for cowhides and tallow.
Don Jose Antonio Aguirre was known for his charity and funded many projects in early San Diego. His wife and many children are considered to be one of the city's founding families.
Don Jose Antonio Aguirre was known for his charity and funded many projects in early San Diego. He, his wife and children are considered to be one of our city’s founding families.
Bust of Father Antonio Ubach, Last of the Padres, 1835-1907. Antonio Dominic Ubach ran St. Anthony's Indian School on this site from 1886 to 1891.
Bust of Father Antonio Ubach, Last of the Padres, 1835-1907. Antonio Dominic Ubach ran St. Anthony’s Indian School on this site from 1886 to 1891.
Plaque describes how Father Ubach advocated for California's Native Americans and lobbied government to protect the Indians and their lands. He was loved by many. His last words were: "Have charity."
Plaque describes how Father Ubach advocated for California’s Native Americans and lobbied government to protect the Indians and their lands. He was loved by many. His last words were: “Have charity.”
Casa de Aguirre in Old Town San Diego today contains a shop visited by many tourists and a small museum in back.
Casa de Aguirre in Old Town San Diego today contains a shop visited by many tourists and a small museum in back.
One side of El Museo Casa de Aguirre. Excavated artifacts are on display, recalling what life was like here in the mid to late 19th century.
One side of El Museo Casa de Aguirre. Excavated artifacts are on display, recalling what life was like here in the mid to late 19th century.
Visitor to the small museum watches a video which includes information about archaeological discoveries, the history of the casa and the lives of those who were sheltered here.
Visitor to the small museum watches a video which includes information about archaeological discoveries, the history of the casa and the lives of those who were sheltered here.
St. Anthony's Indian School Artifacts Tell a Story. Many objects on display include porcelain cups, goblets, bottles, a saltshaker and beer mug.
St. Anthony’s Indian School Artifacts Tell a Story. Many objects on display include porcelain cups, goblets, bottles, a saltshaker and beer mug.
Sign describes additional historical finds, including buttons, toys, harmonicas, slate board and pencils, lice combs, toothbrush handles, shoe parts, medal rosary and religious medallions.
Sign describes additional historical finds, including buttons, toys, harmonicas, slate board and pencils, lice combs, toothbrush handles, shoe parts, medal rosary and religious medallions.
Marbles, doll parts and tiny children's tea sets, recovered from San Diego's past.
Marbles, doll parts and tiny children’s tea sets, recovered from San Diego’s past.
Dozens of buttons on display. They were fastened by many fingers, now long gone.
Dozens of buttons on display. They were fastened by living fingers, now long gone.
Two old pipes.
Two old pipes.
Numerous bottles and jars are exhibited in the Casa de Aguirre Museum. They were used for medicine, mustard, chemicals, perfume, whiskey, beer, sarsaparilla...
Numerous bottles and jars are exhibited in the Casa de Aguirre Museum. They were used for medicine, mustard, chemicals, perfume, whiskey, beer, sarsaparilla…
People interested in collecting antique bottles would be mesmerized by the large assortment on display.
People interested in collecting antique bottles would be mesmerized by the large assortment on display.
Don Antonio and Rosario Aguirre in Old Town History. The museum is located in what was once the bedroom and servants quarters in the Casa de Aguirre. The present-day adobe is a reproduction.
Don Antonio and Rosario Aguirre in Old Town History. The museum is located in what was once the bedroom and servants quarters in the Casa de Aguirre. The present-day adobe is a reproduction.
Don Antonio Aguirre, 1799-1860, was one of San Diego's most important figures back when our burgeoning Southern California city was just a very small town.
Don Antonio Aguirre, 1799-1860, was one of San Diego’s most important figures back when our burgeoning Southern California city was just a very, very small town.
A model of how the Casa de Aguirre appeared a century and a half ago.
A model of how the Casa de Aguirre appeared a century and a half ago.

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San Diego’s early history at the Serra Museum.

The Junipero Serra Museum of the San Diego History Center was built in 1928 on Presidio Hill, where European civilization was established in Alta California.
The Junipero Serra Museum of the San Diego History Center was built in 1928 on Presidio Hill, where European civilization was established in Alta California.

I recently visited one of San Diego’s most fascinating museums. The Junipero Serra Museum is located atop Presidio Hill, in a distinctive Mission Revival architectural style building overlooking San Diego Bay and the San Diego River, just east of Old Town. It stands near the site of San Diego’s historic Spanish presidio, built in 1769. The presidio was the birthplace of European civilization in Alta California.

The Serra Museum is operated by the San Diego History Center, which is headquartered today in Balboa Park. Back in 1929, when the building was dedicated, it became home of what was then called the San Diego Historical Society. The important San Diego institution was established by civic leader George W. Marston.

Can you believe it? I’ve lived in San Diego for 15 years . . . and this was the very first time I ventured into the Serra Museum. (I can thank my blog for that!)

What I discovered was an absolutely amazing place that both residents and visitors to San Diego should definitely not miss.

Here’s a sample of what you’ll see…

People arrive at the Serra Museum, where San Diego's early Spanish history comes alive.
People arrive at the Serra Museum, where San Diego’s early Spanish history comes alive.
Junipero Serra Museum dedicated July 16, 1929 to the memory of the founder of the California missions. The original Mission San Diego de Alcalá was established nearby in 1769.
Junipero Serra Museum dedicated July 16, 1929 to the memory of the founder of the California missions. The original Mission San Diego de Alcalá was established nearby in 1769.
A quick look at the rear of the museum.
A quick look at the rear of the museum.
The Serra Museum building was designed by noted architect William Templeton Johnson. It reflects Spanish Revival architecture.
The Serra Museum building was designed by noted architect William Templeton Johnson. It reflects Mission Revival style architecture.
Large wine press in front of the museum was a gift from the Spanish island of Mallorca, Father Junipero Serra's birthplace.
Large wine press in front of the museum was a gift from the Spanish island of Mallorca, Father Junipero Serra’s birthplace.
Plaque near entrance reads George White Marston 1850-1946. FRIEND OF HIS FELLOW MEN - LOVER OF ALL GROWING THINGS. Piece by piece through many years he acquired these acres...
Plaque near entrance reads George White Marston 1850-1946. FRIEND OF HIS FELLOW MEN – LOVER OF ALL GROWING THINGS. Piece by piece through many years he acquired these acres…
Elegant interior of the Serra Museum contains many exhibits pertaining to San Diego's early Spanish history.
Elegant interior of the Serra Museum contains many exhibits pertaining to San Diego’s early Spanish history.
Researchers discovered this sketch of the Royal San Diego Presidio dated 1820. It shows the layout of the old buildings which no longer exist.
Researchers discovered this sketch of the Royal San Diego Presidio dated 1820. It shows the layout of the old buildings which no longer exist.
Modern graphic illustration of the fortified presidio, which was located a short distance below the Serra Museum's front entrance.
Modern graphic illustration of the fortified presidio, which was located a short distance below the Serra Museum’s front entrance.
Old Spanish cannon named El Jupiter, cast in Manila in the 18th century. El Jupiter stood in Fort Guijarros at Ballast Point, the first defensive fortifications for San Diego Bay
Old Spanish cannon named El Jupiter, cast in Manila in the 18th century. El Jupiter stood in Fort Guijarros at Ballast Point, the first defensive fortifications for San Diego Bay.
Leather armchair made in Catalan, Spain in the 17th century. This "friar's chair" was part of the original Serra Museum's furnishings.
Leather armchair made in Catalan, Spain in the 17th century. This “friar’s chair” was part of the original Serra Museum’s furnishings.
Old violin with bow, a branding iron used by rancheros to identify cattle, and iron spurs are among the many historical objects on display.
Old violin with bow, a branding iron used by rancheros to identify cattle, and iron spurs are among the many historical objects on display.
Another look at the beautiful interior of the Serra Museum in San Diego.
Another look at the beautiful interior of the Serra Museum in San Diego.
Large wooden beams in a truly amazing ceiling.
Large wooden beams in a truly amazing ceiling.
Stairs lead up to the Serra Museum's tower. Painted on the wall is a map showing the sea journey of the Spanish Expedition which founded San Diego in 1769.
Stairs lead up to the Serra Museum’s tower. Painted on the wall is a map showing the sea journey of the Spanish expedition which founded San Diego in 1769.
March 9-20, 1769. Desperate to replace drinking water which leaked from the ship's casks, Captain Vicente Vila commands the Spanish galleon San Carlos near Isla de Cedros.
March 9-20, 1769. Desperate to replace drinking water which leaked from the ship’s casks, Captain Vicente Vila commands the tacking Spanish galleon San Carlos near Isla de Cedros.
A room halfway up the tower. Numerous displays recall San Diego's history, most notably at the time when the Serra Museum was dedicated in 1929.
A room halfway up the tower. Numerous displays recall San Diego’s history, most notably around the time when the Serra Museum was dedicated in 1929.
Old photo of the crowd attending the Serra Museum's dedication ceremony on July 16, 1929.
Old photo of the crowd attending the Serra Museum’s dedication ceremony on July 16, 1929.
A fascinating look at Presidio Hill almost a century ago.
A fascinating look at Presidio Hill almost a century ago.
A lovely watercolor sketch of the Junipero Serra Museum atop Presidio Hill.
A lovely watercolor sketch of the Junipero Serra Museum atop Presidio Hill.
On the wall are many historical photos and artifacts, including an image from around 1930 of a cigar factory on 4th Street in San Diego.
On the wall are many historical photos and artifacts, including an image from around 1930 of a cigar factory on 4th Street in San Diego.
A reproduction of the west elevation drawing of the Serra Museum by architect William Templeton Johnson.
A reproduction of the west elevation drawing of the Serra Museum by architect William Templeton Johnson.
Now we're heading up to the very top of the tower.
Now we’re heading up to the very top of the tower.
Looking west from the Serra Museum tower along Interstate 8. Point Loma is on the left and Mission Bay is to the right.
Looking west from the Serra Museum tower along Interstate 8. Point Loma is on the left and Mission Bay is to the right.
Looking east into Mission Valley.
Looking east into Mission Valley.
Visitors at the Serra Museum head back down from the tower, after looking at old photos which show a less-developed surrounding landscape.
Visitors at the Serra Museum head back down from the tower, after looking at old photos which show a much less-developed surrounding landscape.
A small theater in the Serra Museum contains additional exhibits about life in and around the old Presidio.
A small theater in the Serra Museum contains additional exhibits about life in and around the old Presidio.
Examples of what life was like for the Native American Kumeyaay, who occupied this region long before it was discovered by the Spanish.
Examples of what life was like for the Native American Kumeyaay, who occupied this region long before it was discovered by the Spanish.
Stories of two people who lived on a local Rancho. Click the image to enlarge, if you'd like to read it.
Stories of two people who lived on a local Rancho. Click the image to enlarge, if you’d like to read it.
Map of the old Presidio's archaeological site. You can see where the fort was located in relation to the Serra Museum.
Map of the old Presidio’s archaeological site. You can see where the fort was located in relation to the Serra Museum.
Explanation of the excavation process utilized by researchers. Some artifacts that were unearthed are on display in the museum.
Explanation of the excavation process utilized by researchers. Some artifacts that were unearthed are on display in the museum.
Artistic rendition of a Mexican presidio soldier circa 1830, and a horse's bit.
Artistic rendition of a Mexican presidio soldier circa 1830, and a horse bit.
An olive press, granite mill stones, and an ox yoke.
An olive press, granite mill stones, and an ox yoke.
Small artifacts include this carved polychrome wood San Diego de Alcala Santo from 18th century Spain.
Small artifacts include this carved polychrome wood San Diego de Alcala Santo from 18th century Spain.
Sign describes the life of Franciscan missionary Father Junipero Serra, and his work to establish the California Missions under the flag of Spain. He was recently made a Catholic Saint.
Sign describes the life of Franciscan missionary Father Junipero Serra, and his work to establish the California Missions under the flag of Spain. He was recently made a Catholic Saint.
Painting. Oil on canvas. San Diego del Alcala de Henares. Mid 18th century, Spanish or Mexican.
Painting. Oil on canvas. San Diego del Alcala de Henares. Mid 18th century, Spanish or Mexican.
Olla and bowl. Kumeyaay or neighboring culture.
Olla and bowl. Kumeyaay or neighboring culture.
The Serra Museum in San Diego provides a fascinating look at our uniquely diverse city's very early history.
The Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego provides a fascinating look at our culturally diverse city’s very early history.

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