Photos outside the historic Stein Family Farm.

The other day I walked down a National City sidewalk past the historic Stein Family Farm. It was closed at the time, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, so I took these outside photographs!

I spoke over the fence briefly to a couple of nice ladies near the farmhouse and a gentleman volunteer. I vowed that one day I’d return and take a tour!

The Stein Family Farm was once home to Charles Stein, an immigrant German farmer, his wife Bertha and five children. The construction of the Otay Dam in 1897 caused flooding to the Stein’s original property near Mexico, so the family moved to this National City location in 1900.

The 2-acre Stein Family Farm Museum includes their house, barn containing many antique farm implements and vehicles, and other structures, as well as farm animals (from around the world!) and an orchard containing a variety of fruit trees, which you can see in the last two photos.

I learned that second house you see in my photos, a 19th century Queen Anne Victorian, was recently relocated to the museum grounds. It awaits restoration.

Check out the Stein Family Farm’s website for more information here!

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Meet Don and Dulce, Old Town’s donkeys.

I took another walk today…

Walking through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park we see a sign near Seeley Stable Museum. Let's go see the donkeys!
Walking through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park we see a sign beside Seeley Stable Museum. Let’s go see the donkeys!

Is this one of the donkeys. Nope. Visitors and kids from local schools can sit on this wooden critter, because touching the live donkeys is not allowed.
Is this one of the donkeys? Nope. Visitors and kids from local schools can ride this docile wooden critter, because touching the live donkeys is not allowed.

Look! We found some horned cattle corralled in a corner! Nope. Wrong again.
Look! We found some horned cattle corralled in a corner! Nope. Wrong again.

California State Park rangers ahead! I think something cool is up this way!
California State Park Rangers ahead! I think something cool is up this way!

It's 30 year old donkey Don. This guy can be grumpy, I'm told. I saw some evidence of that!
It’s 30 year old donkey Don. This guy can be grumpy, I’m told. I saw some evidence of that!

Over here we meet 28 year old Dulce, which in Spanish means sweet, or candy. She (I think it's a she--I didn't ask) is the friendlier donkey.
Over here we meet 28 year old Dulce, which in Spanish means sweet, or candy. She (I think it’s a she–I didn’t ask) is the friendlier donkey.

But the rangers here seem the friendliest of all!
But the rangers here seem the friendliest of all!

Visiting school kids, with the help of Don and Dulce, can learn what life was like (particularly for a donkey) in the very early days of San Diego.

Four things I learned during my brief visit:

Donkeys were a preferred draft and pack animal because of their spine, which pound for pound is much stronger than a horse. A donkey can pull half its weight.

Donkeys are closely related to the zebra.

Don and Dulce are rescue animals.

Old Town has fun surprises around every corner!

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Seeley Stable’s stagecoaches and freight wagons.

Front of the Seeley Stable Museum in Old Town.
Front of the Seeley Stable Museum in Old Town San Diego.

Perhaps my favorite part of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is the Seeley Stable Museum.

The huge old barn and surrounding area were once owned by Albert Seeley, who ran the San Diego-Los Angeles Stage Line from 1868 to 1877.  His Concord stagecoaches left San Diego at 5 am, stopped overnight at San Juan Capistrano, and arrived in Los Angeles at 4 pm the next day.  Eventually competition with the railroad put him out of business.

Sign on the Blacksmith Shop behind Seeley Stable.
Sign on the Blacksmith Shop behind Seeley Stable.

Behind the Seeley Stable is a cool blacksmith shop, where tourists can watch skilled hobbyists demonstrate the shaping of red hot iron.   The hammers ring loudly and the sparks fly!  Unfortunately it wasn’t open the day I took these photos.

Covered wagon, anvils and relics of the Old West behind Seeley Stable.
Covered wagon, anvils and relics of the Old West behind Seeley Stable.

Across from the blacksmith you’ll find this.  Very cool!

Several unrestored wagons.
Several unrestored wagons.

Peering through old wagon wheels.
Peering through old wagon wheels.

Donkey awaits young visitors to historic Seeley Stable.
Donkey awaits young visitors to historic Seeley Stable.

On the south side of the stable you’ll find a couple of donkeys, which are used by park rangers to teach children about life in the Old West.

Stagecoach from the Los Angeles and San Diego route.
Concord stagecoach from the Los Angeles to San Diego route.

Finally, we’re inside the museum!  You can see many different wagons and stagecoaches inside the dark old barn, plus other artifacts from life one and a half centuries ago.

Museum display with horse and saddles recreates the old stable.
Museum display with horse and saddles recreates the old stable.

Huge freight wagon on display at Seeley Stable.
Huge freight wagon on display at Seeley Stable.

Old Wells Fargo wagon once used to transport the mail.
Old Wells Fargo wagon once used to transport the mail.

Old Town San Diego park ranger chats with ticket window lady.
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park ranger chats with friendly lady at the ticket window.

The Seeley Stable Museum is free!

UPDATE!

Here are a few more interesting and informative photos that I took inside the museum in August 2017…

Roscoe E. "Pappy" Hazard was a developer and rancher who collected stagecoaches, carriages and wagons from the Old West. Many are displayed in Seeley Stable.
Roscoe E. “Pappy” Hazard was a developer and rancher who collected stagecoaches, carriages and wagons from the Old West. Many are displayed today in Old Town’s Seeley Stable Museum.

In 1869, Albert L. Seeley transformed the nearby Bandini adobe into the two-story Cosmopolitan Hotel, which became Old Town's stage depot and social center.
In 1869, Albert L. Seeley transformed the nearby Bandini adobe into the two-story Cosmopolitan Hotel, which became Old Town’s stage depot and social center.

Photo of Seeley Stable's barn and yard taken from Presidio Hill in 1872. The Cosmopolitan Hotel can be seen on the right.
Photo of Seeley Stable’s barn and yard taken from Presidio Hill in 1872. The Cosmopolitan Hotel can be seen on the right.

Map shows important stagecoach routes, including the Butterfield Overland, and the Birch's Line from San Antonio to San Diego.
Map shows important stagecoach routes, including the Butterfield Overland, and the Birch’s Line from San Antonio to San Diego.

Signs and old photos concerning freight wagons in the Old West, which often employed large teams of mules.
Signs and old photos concerning freight wagons in the Old West, which often employed large teams of mules.

Spaniards introduced mules to America along with the horse. Hardy pack mules were used by trappers to haul furs, and by gold miners to move supplies and equipment.
Spaniards introduced mules to America along with the horse. Hardy pack mules were used by trappers to haul furs, and by gold miners to move supplies and equipment.

This delivery wagon was brought to San Diego by Frank Kimball in 1868. It was used to show passengers land that he had for sale in National City.
This delivery wagon was brought to San Diego by Frank Kimball in 1868. It was used to show passengers land that he had for sale in National City.

This old Park Wagon was used by rancher Walter Vail. He owned land in Arizona, Santa Rosa island off the coast of California, and Warner's Ranch northeast of San Diego.
This old Park Wagon was used by cattle rancher Walter Vail. He owned a land in Arizona, Santa Rosa island off the coast of California, and Warner’s Ranch northeast of San Diego.

How part of the stable might have once appeared. Stable hands had many chores, including feeding, watering and grooming animals, and cleaning stalls.
How a corner of the stable might have once appeared. Stable hands had many chores, including feeding, watering and grooming animals, and cleaning stalls.

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The barn-like Farm House on Bankers Hill.

the red farm house on bankers hill

This big red barn-like house can be found on Bankers Hill, near Laurel Street and First Avenue, just north of downtown San Diego. A small sign in front indicates that this fun structure is the “Farm House”. Many other interesting Victorian homes abound in the neighborhood, but this cool sight always hogs my attention!

Another pic of the barn-like Farm House on Bankers Hill.
Another pic of the barn-like Farm House on Bankers Hill.

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