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

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

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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19 thoughts on “San Diego Historical Landmarks—#14F: Congress Hall Site

  1. philipfontana

    Russel, I picked a great day to visit your site with Old Town San Diego State Historic Park including Congress Hall!!! Any day is good with your posts! So glad you are still doing your thing!!!! Phil from “Excuse Us…”

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Other people are finding them so I know that Zoey the Cool Cat did her job. Sometimes the WordPress server acts up, as do various browsers. From January 1 to March 28, 2013, I couldn’t get LIKE buttons to show up on any blog that ended with “wordpress.com.” I thought WordPress was at fault. Turns out that it was the IE version that I had upgraded to on January 1. All problems were solved when I discovered that and un-upgraded back to the previous version.

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Gallivanta

        Would you do me a favour and see if you can see any like button on my blog? I can’t see them there and I am not finding like buttons on anyone’s blogs. I use Firefox.

        Like

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        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          No problems on this end. I don’t use Firefox because it has some interesting keyboard shortcuts in it that do things that they shouldn’t so you might check your settings. If there’s a Firefox support forum somewhere you might explain the situation there and see what help you get. The WordPress forums might also have something; that’s where I found my information about IE’s bug with WordPress.

          Liked by 1 person

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          1. Gallivanta

            Thanks for that. There may be something wrong with my settings as my usual workhorse, the laptop, died on Saturday and I am using a netbook as a temporary solution. The like problem only became obvious when I started to use the netbook.

            Liked by 1 person

            Reply

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