Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
One of California’s most-visted state parks is right here in San Diego:
Old Town San Diego actually was the most-visited State Park in 2005 and 2006. Regretfully that wasn’t good enough for the State, so they fired Diane Powers, the woman who had run the commercial side of the park for thirty years, making it a great place to visit, stroll, eat, enjoy….
Control of the commercial enterprises was handed over to Delaware North, located in — you guessed it — Delaware. How a company in Delaware was going to manage a southwestern park 2,800 miles away was beyond the comprehension of most of us. Indeed, Delaware North failed. The number of visitors and revenue both plunged, eventually causing Delaware North to quit. Sadly, the damage was done, and Old Town San Diego is a mere shell of its former self. I used to go monthly. Now I go maybe once a year simply to see if it’s still there.
Located in the Park are many historic structures saved from the wrecking ball, two of the most significant of which are:
Whaley House — Over the years the Whaley House served not only as the home of Thomas Whaley but also as San Diego’s second county courthouse and the first commercial theater. It was built in 1857 in the Greek Revival style. It also is haunted, designated as an official Haunted House by the United States Commerce Department in the 1960s. The Travel Channel show, America’s Most Haunted, named it the number one most haunted. The site was a gallows before Thomas Whaley purchased it, and the first ghost to be reported was the ghost of James “Yankee Jim” Robinson who was hanged in 1852.
Additional structures include the first San Diego courthouse; the first public school house; and a general store, newspaper office and print shop, and stables, all from the mid-19th century. There are several other historic buildings, gift shorts, restaurants, and local events. Give Old Town San Diego a try if you’ve never been there.
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Posted on August 25, 2012, in Halls of History, History, Manmade, Out & About, Photos and tagged casa de estudillo san diego, cosmopolitan hotel san diego, fiesta de reyes san diego, first san diego courthouse, first san diego schoolhouse, mccoy house san diego, old town san diego pictures, whaley house san diego, ye olde soap shoppe. Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.