Category Archives: Halls of History

San Diego Historical Landmarks—#14F: Congress Hall Site

San Diego Historical Landmarks

Old Town San Diego State Historic ParkWithin Old Town San Diego State Historic Park (San Diego Historical Landmark #14) are many historic buildings and rebuilds. We’ll explore nine of them since they also have been designated San Diego Historical Landmarks.

The sixth landmark, San Diego Historical Landmark #14F, is the Congress Hall Site.

Congress Hall was a one-story frame building built by, quoting the San Diego History Center, “George De Witt, Clinton, Washington, Robertson.” Note the punctuation. What does that mean? Are Clinton, Washington, and Robertson people? Why don’t they have first names if they are people? I believe they are names because the San Diego History Center tells us that “Robertson ran a saloon, billiard parlor and gambling house.”

A conflicting article, also at the San Diego History Center, states that Congress Hall “was a two-story board-and-batten hotel, erected in 1867 by George Dewitt Clinton Washington Robinson.”

I’m so confused.

Originally Congress Hall was located on the north side of the plaza (conflicting source says “northeast side”) in what is now Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

Vincent Llucia bought the building around 1870 and had it moved to the northwest corner of the plaza. In 1884 the post office was located in the building, possibly because Vincent Llucia and his son, Vincent P. D. Llucia, both were postmasters.

One of the building’s claim to fame is that it served as a Pony Express office. One of the last Pony Express rode north from Congress Hall.

At various times, Congress Hall was also a wild west saloon, a gambling hall, a rooming house, a post office, and a bakery. A balcony over the porch provided a vantage point for bands and public speakers on occasion.

Congress Hall was destroyed in 1939.

I could find no free pictures on the Internet but the San Diego History Center has some that one can purchase, the cost of which is beyond my lowly blog…. Here are a couple of links to pictures:

Congress Hall remains, ca. 1930—Obviously a one-story building

Congress Hall, no date but obviously a two-story building

Currently, the Congress Hall site is occupied by the Barra Barra Saloon in Fiesta de Reyes.

Barra Barra Saloon in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Fiesta de Reyes comprises 19 locally owned specialty shops, three restaurants and, a 10-room boutique hotel.

Barra Barra Saloon is a period saloon representing the merging of Mexico with American traditions after the Mexican-American War. Barra Barra bills itself as an “Old World Mexican dining experience with traditional Mexican fare made from recipes that span generations.”

Barra Barra’s furniture and décor includes authentic Mexican artifacts as well as reproduction collectibles, providing the ambiance of a ranch home in Old Mexico. Along with the saloon there are two indoor dining rooms and a large patio dining area with two fire pits.

Barra Barra Saloon in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Barra Barra Saloon in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Barra Barra Saloon in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Barra Barra Saloon in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For the introductory blog post to San Diego’s historical landmarks, click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

For previous posts in the San Diego Historical Landmarks series, go here.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (3-9-15)—A hundred and eighty were challenged

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

I was born and raised in the small ranching and farming community of Kingsville, Texas. I graduated from Texas A&M University, the first public institution of higher education in the State of Texas. I’m pretty much a Texas boy except for their weird politics that seem to have gripped the state within the past twenty years. Coincidentally, I left in April 1993. Maybe if I had stayed, the State would have joined the 21st Century….

When my wise old grandmother took me to HemisFair ’68 in San Antonio, I was overjoyed. Not because I was going to get to go to HemisFair but because the Alamo was close by, and that’s where I really wanted to go. I was more into history than carnival rides….

Scott #1043, The AlamoThe Alamo, a mission in 1843, is now the most visited tourist attraction in the State of Texas. I was familiar with the Alamo only through my hobby as a stamp collector because it was featured on a postage stamp issued on June 14, 1956.

The Alamo is most famous as the site of the Battle of the Alamo, a 13-day siege of the Alamo by Mexican forces under General Santa Ana. The Mexican forces won that battle and it looked like the end of the road for Texas forces. The fall of the Alamo, though, seemed to embolden Texas forces, ultimately resulting in the victory at San Jacinto that won Texas its independence from Mexico.

The Alamo has also been featured in books, in movies, on television, and in song. Here is my favorite song about the Alamo, Marty Robbins’ 1960 hit, “Ballad of the Alamo, from the movie “The Alamo” starring John Wayne:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Alamo in music is more interesting if we start in 1955 with “Remember The Alamo” written by Texas singer/songwriter Jane Bowers. Tex Ritter released the song in 1955 as the B side of his “Gunsmoke” single.

“Remember The Alamo” didn’t make much impact at the time, but through the years it has been covered by the Kingston Trio, Johnny Cash, Donovan, and Asleep at the Wheel, as well as many others.

I’m a big fan of Donovan but I was unfamiliar with his version of “Remember The Alamo” so I went to find it. Here it is:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Donovan would have been at the bottom of my list of people to sing about The Alamo. He’s a British singer, songwriter, and guitarist! I tried to find out why a British singer would record a very non-British song, but nothing special is showing up anywhere. I guess he just liked the song….

“Remember The Alamo” is listed by the Western Writers of America as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.

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Out & About—Mission San Antonio de Pala

Out & About

Father Antonio Peyri of Mission San Antonio de PalaI always thought that a Mission was a Mission was a Mission. Not so!

Mission San Antonio de Pala was founded in 1810 by Fr. Antonio Peyri (picture ►) as an “assistant mission” to Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, 23 miles west.

Peyri was born in 1769 in the Villa de Porrera in the Archdiocese of Catalonia, Spain. Interestingly, I could not find an actual birth date for Peyri but every source knows that he was baptized on January 8, 1769, and confirmed on October 30, 1772.

Peyri was ordained to the priesthood on March 16, 1793, and embarked for Vera Cruz, Mexico, on May 8. After three years with the Franciscans at San Fernando Collage [sic?], he left for Alto California on March 1, 1796, arriving in San Francisco on June 18. He was called in 1798 to establish Mission San Luis Rey de Francia—the main mission 23 miles west of Mission San Antonio de Pala—where he served for 34 years.

The church was dedicated on June 13, 1816. The campanario is the only free-standing one of its kind in Alta California mission chain.

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The campanario was restored in 1998 and is a copy of one in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. The two bells were cast in Mexico by Cervantes. The bottom bell is dedicated to St. Francisc, St. Luis the King, St. Clare, and St. Eulalia, and the top bell is dedicated to Jesus and Mary.

The bells are rung only on Sundays and for funerals, weddings, deaths, and for emergencies, such as wildfires approaching. Sadly, the Mission found it necessary to install a large sign telling tourists NOT to ring the bells out of respect for local customs.

The mission was very successful and prosperous, converting over 1,300 Indians to Catholicism. Most of the Alta California missions started to decline in 1846 due to secularization by the Mexican government.

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There is a plaque placed in 1996 by the Order of Alhambra stating,

“THIS MISSION HAS BECOME THE
MOTHER CHURCH OF CATHOLICISM
AT
CAHUILLA, LA JOLLA, PAUMA, PICHANGA,
RINCON, SANTA ROSA, AND TEMECULA
IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.”

The names are Native American Indian tribes, not cities.

The mission was severely damaged in the Christmas Day 1899 earthquake. Restoration in 1902-03 resulted in archetypal paintings being whitewashed, although they eventually were restored as well.

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Restoration of the quadrangle began in 1954 and was completed in 1959. Thousands of adobe bricks were made from the mission ruins, and cedar logs were, once again, brought from Palomar Mountain. The quadrangle is a very peaceful place, unlike most quadrangles that I have visited throughout the United States.

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

According to one source, the mission was destroyed by the historic Southern California floods of 1916, heaviest and most disastrous in San Diego County, but was rebuilt the same year using the original adobe. Another source says only that the foundations of the chapel and campanario were undermined and caused the buildings to crumble. The story of the 1916 flood will eventually be a blog post of its own; quite interesting.

The chapel and museum wing are original (but what does that mean in light of the paragraph immediately above?), the chapel undergoing extensive restoration in 1992 due to termite damage that threatened to collapse the roof.

I found the museum quite interesting in light of me finding the original “The Peace of the Resurrection” (see my previous post and first picture ▼).

The Peace of the Resurrection by Raul Anguiano at the Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Many of the quadrangle buildings are home to the Vivian Banks Charter Elementary School where I taught chess on Thursday afternoons.

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mission San Antonio de Pala is the only original Alta California mission still ministering to Native American people.

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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“The Cemetery” at Mission San Antonio de Pala

Out & About

Cemeteries have always fascinated me. Nonetheless, I have only been to two funerals in my life, that of my granddad who died in 1978 when I was 23, and that of my best friend who died in 1989. I didn’t even get to go to my wise old grandmother’s funeral in 2003 because my three uncles threatened me with violence, one stating that he “didn’t know what might happen” if I went. Since he had more weapons than the United States Army, I decided to stay away.

San Diego is the only place that has two national cemeteries—Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery (picture ▼) and Miramar National Cemetery—and Southern California is the only region that has three of them, with Riverside National Cemetery about 60 miles from me. My husband’s dad is interred at Riverside National Cemetery.

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I find national cemeteries to be kind of dull, boring, and uninteresting due to their monotonous conformity.

However, they always seem to be located in beautiful places.

I think the most interesting cemeteries I ever visited were in New Orleans; those are what I call cemeteries.

We don’t seem to have a lot of cemeteries here in San Diego, but while out and about a couple of weeks ago I discovered “The Cemetery”:

The Cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala, Pala California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Located at the Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California, founded in 1816 to convert the native Indians to Catholicism, The Cemetery is the original Mission cemetery and claims to hold the remains of hundreds of Native American converts to Catholicism, as well as other early California pioneers.

If The Cemetery holds hundreds of remains, they are not well marked after all these years, or they were buried in a mass grave.

Actually, while researching this post, I discovered that the cemetery is also known as the “Old Luiseño Cemetery,” named after the tribe of Indians the Mission had served. Graves typically were marked by wooden crosses, a great supermajority of which have fallen, deteriorated, or been misplaced.

Over at Interment.net, I found a partial list of those interred in the cemetery.

There might have been about twenty grave markers in The Cemetery. Here are some that I found interesting:

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I don’t think this last one is a grave marker unless it’s a place holder for all those grave markers that aren’t there anymore.

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Imagine my surprise 49 years later

My wise old grandmother

I came to San Diego in April 1993 via a circuitous route that started in College Station, Texas, took me north to Fargo, North Dakota, west to Seattle, Washington, and then south to San Diego. I wasn’t really looking for a place to live. Rather, I was looking for a place to kill myself. All because of my sexual orientation and how being gay was perceived in Texas and in the Mormon and Catholic religions in which I had been raised.

I don’t know into which religion I was born, but my mom’s side of the family were Mormons and dad’s side were Catholics. For many years I wondered how they ever got together. Then I put two and two together and got four, realizing that my oldest brother was born a couple months shy of nine months after my parents had married. The old Texas-style shotgun wedding….

When my dad killed himself in 1961, my mom moved us to Brigham City, Utah, to be closer to her side of the family. Four years later, and I was back in Kingsville, Texas, living with my wise old grandmother. She had adopted me out of the Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital in Ogden, Utah, where I had been placed because I was such a juvenile delinquent.

St Gertrude Catholic Church in Kingsville TexasShortly after being adopted, I was baptized and confirmed in St. Gertrude Catholic Church (picture ►). After my confirmation in 1966, my wise old grandmother bought me a remembrance gift from the church gift store. It was a picture of the face of Jesus Christ on cloth. I now know that my picture was of a monotype on cloth called “The Peace of the Resurrection” and was done in 1955 (my birth year!) by Raul Anguiano, a famous Mexican artist.

Inquiring minds might want to know how I know that. Well, a couple of weeks ago I was at the Pala Indian Reservation teaching chess to students at their elementary school, the Vivian Banks Charter School. The school happens to be located in the historic Mission San Antonio de Pala, a Catholic mission founded in 1816.

Mission San Antonio de Pala

Vivian Banks Charter School in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Since I was unfamiliar with the territory, I got there very early. My intent, though, was actually to explore the historic mission grounds, take pictures, and visit the museum.

Imagine my surprise when I walked into one of the museum rooms and found my picture of Jesus Christ hanging on the wall. Not just any picture, though. It was the original picture on cloth! Looked like this:

The Peace of the Resurrection by Raul Anguiano at the Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The paper attached to the frame informs us that it is the

“Original monotype by Anguiano,
a famous Mexican artist, in 1955.”

It is titled “The Peace of the Resurrection”

José Raúl Anguiano Valadez (February 26, 1915 – January 13, 2006) was part of the “second generation” of Mexican muralists continuing in the tradition of Diego Rivera and José Orozco, two names with which I am familiar. Anguiano was born during the height of the Mexican Revolution, which inspired a lot of his murals and paintings.

I always liked that picture because even though the face’s eyelids are closed, there appear to be eyeballs staring out at you from behind the eyelids, and they seem to follow you around the room as you move about.

I took my picture with me when I went off to college at Texas A&M University. It got left behind in Texas in April 1993 and I never recovered it after deciding to spend my life in San Diego.

It was pretty neat to find the original so close to where I live now but 49 years later.

The Peace of the Resurrection by Raul Anguiano at the Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#14D: Casa de Pedrorena

San Diego Historical Landmarks

Old Town San Diego State Historic ParkWithin Old Town San Diego State Historic Park (San Diego Historical Landmark #14) are many historic buildings and rebuilds. We’ll explore nine of them since they also have been designated San Diego Historical Landmarks.

The fourth one, San Diego Historical Landmark #14C, is Casa de Pedrorena.

Casa de Pedrorena

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Miguel de Pedrorena JrCasa de Pedrorena was built in 1869 by Miguel de Pedrorena Jr (picture ►), a wealthy stockman. His dad, a native of Madrid, Spain, living in Peru had come to San Diego as a ship’s agent, marrying into the prominent Estudillo family in 1842. Although he claimed the lot adjacent to the Estudillo home in Old Town, the historic Casa de Estudillo, he died in 1850 before he could build a home.

One online source states that the structure was built in 1850 by Miguel Sr. Since he died on March 21, 1850, I’m going to go with it being built in 1869 by Miguel Jr. I just don’t believe an adobe or framed home could be built in San Diego at that time in a mere 2½ months.

A plaque on the grounds (lower right corner of picture above) states that Casa de Pedrorena was the final adobe built in Old Town, and one online source states that its thick adobe and mud-plastered, whitewashed walls were typical of Mexican adobes in the area. However, the shingled roof, as well as the mill-sawn, wood-columned front porch, reflected American building practices.

Other online sources state categorically that Casa de Pedrorena was “one of” the first frame houses in Old Town.” Several sources state that it was “the first frame house” built in Old Town. Here is a picture taken around 1920:

Casa de Pedrorena

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I looked closely at the building exterior but could not determine whether it was a wood-frame building or an adobe. I guess I’ll just leave it at that. As my wise old grandmother said, “It is what it is.”

Miguel Sr. came from one of the best families in Madrid, being educated there and at Oxford University. He served as a captain in the United States Cavalry during the Mexican-American War. He was in the forefront of the attack against Fort Stockton when it was finally captured.

El Jupiter cannon in the Junipero Serra Museum in San DiegoDuring the early part of the war, he had buried under his house (or the patio behind it, one source says) El Jupiter (picture ►), the old bronze cannon now on display at the Junipero Serra Museum (see my post here) in order to prevent its being used against the Americans.

Miguel Sr. was a member of the California Constitutional Convention which met in Monterey, California, in 1849. He was a member of the group headed by William Heath Davis which attempted to found New Town in 1850, an attempt that failed because of the lack of fresh water.

Miguel Jr. gave Casa de Pedrorena to his sister, Isabel de Altamirano, in January 1871, a gift that joined together two pioneer California families. Isabel and her husband, José Antonio Altamirano, raised their family in the home.

Although some sources call the home “Casa de Pedrorena y Altamirano,” Altamirano also owned the little frame house next door where the San Diego Union newspaper was first published in 1868. The newspaper building is more traditionally connected with Altamirano’s name rather than Casa de Pedrorena.

Casa de Pedrorena remained a family residence until 1907, although one source says “until the 1890s.” It was restored in 1996 by California State Parks and is said to be one of five historic 19th century adobes in Old Town State Historic Park. Currently it is a gem, jewelry, and rock shop, open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. There are two old railroad mining cars located on the property:

Railroad mining car at Casa de Pedrorena in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Railroad mining car at Casa de Pedrorena in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For the introductory blog post
to San Diego’s historical landmarks,
click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

For previous posts in the
San Diego Historical Landmarks series,
go here.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift?
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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#14C: Casa de Bandini

San Diego Historical Landmarks

Old Town San Diego State Historic ParkWithin Old Town San Diego State Historic Park (San Diego Historical Landmark #14) are many historic buildings and rebuilds. We’ll explore nine of them since they also have been designated San Diego Historical Landmarks.

The third one, San Diego Historical Landmark #14C, Casa de Bandini, was one of San Diego’s great Mexican restaurants when I came to San Diego in April 1993. It had been for about thirty years, but that all came to a crashing end around 2006 when the State of California did not renew the lease of the restaurant, now located about 30 miles north of San Diego, in Carlsbad. I have not been to it because I don’t frequent Carlsbad often enough or long enough to eat at a fine dining establishment. I do remember that they had the biggest margaritas in the world, the 32-oz “Bird Bath” margarita. Sadly, I lost all of my pre-2006 pictures in The Great Hard Drive Crash of August 2005.

Here is the Cosmopolitan Hotel in June 2012:

Cosmopolitan Hotel

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

And here it is a century ago, ca. 1913:

Cosmopolitan Hotel

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In addition to being a historic structure, Casa de Bandini also has to be explored in terms of the Bandini family itself. First, let’s explore the history of Casa de Bandini.

Juan BandiniDon Juan Bandini (1800-1859; picture ►) built Casa de Bandini from 1827 to 1829, originally a one-story structure with a thatched roof (probably palm fronds!), seven rooms, an entrance way, enclosed courtyard, corral, and several sheds. The house included Spanish Colonial features usually found only in the California missions. Enhancements to the home were done in the 1840s, including pane-glass windows, a brick-lined patio with well, and a small bathhouse to encourage his daughters to visit more frequently.

Financial losses forced Bandini to sell his house in 1859, and he died in November 1859. Part of the building was converted at that time into a store.

In 1869, Albert Seeley, a stage master, acquired the building and converted it into a Greek Revival hotel, the Cosmopolitan. The first story was renovated, and a wood framed second story and balconies were added.

Albert Seeley sold the Cosmopolitan in 1888, and in the years that followed, it was used first as a rooming house and then converted for use as an olive packing factory.

Cosmopolitan HotelIn 1928, Cave J. Couts Jr., Don Juan Bandini’s grandson, bought the property and restored it as a memorial to his mother, Ysidora Bandini de Couts. Couts remodeled the residence in Steamboat Revival architecture style, and by 1930 it had been wired for electricity and plumbed gas. Couts renamed the building The Miramar Hotel and Restaurant.

James and Nora Cardwell bought the Bandini property in 1945. Their son, Frank, renovated the building in the 1950s into an upscale tourist motel. The Cardwells sold the property to the State of California in 1968, the same year Old Town became a state historic park.

Cosmopolitan Hotel

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Now let’s look at Don Juan Bandini and who he was. He was born into a revolutionary Italian family dating back to at least 1478 when an ancestor assassinated the brother of Lorenzo Medici, the ruler of Florence.

Juan had been born in 1800 in San Marcos de Arica, Peru. Juan’s father, a native of Spain and a lieutenant on the Spanish ship “Nymphia” at the Battle of Trafalgar, found his way in 1818 to Monterey, then the capital of Mexican California, to defend the city against pirates.

In 1831, Juan denounced his allegiance to Victoria, the Mexican governor of California, his pronunciamiento stating:

“Let the rights of the citizens be born anew; let liberty spring up from the ashes of oppression, and perish the despotism that has suffocated our security.”

With that, Bandini and fourteen other San Diegans seized the Presidio of San Diego and arrested the Mexican authorities. Governor Victoria tried to end the uprising (the “Revolt of 1831”), but when Victoria’s army and the Bandini-led rebels met near the Cahuenga Pass on December 6, 1831, Victoria was wounded and his forces defeated. Following the battle, Victoria resigned as governor and, on January 17, 1832, sailed back to Mexico.

Mission San Diego de AlcalaJuan Bandini was a significant influence behind the secularization of the California missions, eventually earning the title “Destroyer of the California Missions.”

Juan Bandini supported the Americans during the Mexican-American War. His three daughters are credited with making the first American flag that was raised in the Old Town Plaza on July 29, 1846.

Following the war, Juan entered the business world, but all he did there was bring his family to the brink of bankruptcy with his wild and crazy ventures. The fact that he and his wife were early socialites, often spending as much as $1,000 on galas and fiestas, didn’t help. Bandini is credited with introducing the waltz to California in 1820.

Juan and his first wife, Dolores, had two sons, Alejandro Felix, who died at the age of 14, and Jose Maria, and three daughters, Josefa, Arcadia, and Isidora. When Josefa married Pedro Carrillo, the Mexican governor, Pio Pico, gave the new bride the Peninsula de San Diego Rancho, which included Coronado and North Island, as his personal wedding present.

Pedro and Josefa had one son, Juan José, who had two sons, Leo and Jack, who became quite famous in modern America. One source says that Jack became a world famous engineer, the builder of Idlewild Airport in New York City, now known as JFK International Airport. However, I could find no other corroborating sources.

Leo CarrilloLeo Carrillo (1881-1961; picture ►) was a film star from 1929 to 1950. In 1950, he took the television role of Pancho in “The Cisco Kid,” arguably the role that made him most famous.

Right here in San Diego County is the Leo Carrillo Ranch, a fascinating place to visit and where I saw my first white peacock!

For more on the Leo Carrillo Ranch, see my post here: Where are the colors, mommy?

White peacock at Leo Carrillo Historic Ranch in Carlsbad, California

White peacock at Leo Carrillo Historic Ranch in Carlsbad, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For the introductory blog post
to San Diego’s historical landmarks,
click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

For previous posts in the
San Diego Historical Landmarks series,
go here.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift?
Anniversary? Birthday? Graduation? Marriage?
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

Photographic Art logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post