Tag Archives: casa de cota site san diego

San Diego Historical Landmarks—#14B: Casa de Cota 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 second one, San Diego Historical Landmark #14B, Casa de Cota site, remind me of the song by The Eagles where they paved over paradise and put up a parking lot. Here is what the Casa de Cota site looked like a couple of days ago:

Casa de Cote site

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sadly, that’s it, and I have proof:

Casa de Cote site

Casa de Cote site

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Lots of nagging questions….

The sign is a California Historical Landmark sign, indicating that the Casa de Cota site was historic enough to make it onto their list, too, at #75.

I walked around the parking lot but didn’t find a plaque to tell me more about the Casa de Cota site. So we’re left with research online, at the San Diego History Center, and at the library.

Here is what the San Diego History Center has:

“Built in the mid-1830’s by Juan or Ramón Cota, this house stood for over a century on the corner of Twiggs and Congress Streets, before being destroyed by United States Army bulldozers during World War II.”

The California Parks web site isn’t of any additional help:

“This adobe is said to have been built about 1835 by Juan or Ramon Cota.”

Hey! At least we have something to go on!

A book found online titled “San Diego in the 1930s” tells us that ca. 1937 the Casa de Cota was “a two-room fragment of an adobe house which is rapidly falling into ruin. Above an interior doorway is the date 1852, approximately the year of construction.”

I found three old pictures but, sadly, they are owned by the San Diego History Center, and since they want a minimum of $95 per picture to use them, well, that ain’t happening in this century or the next, so here are links to the three pictures:

Casa de Cota 1

Casa de Cota 2

Casa de Cota 3

I could not find any information on Juan or Ramón Cota so I don’t know if the adobe was historic because it was old or because of who Juan or Ramón Cota were.

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

San Diego Historical Landmarks—#14: Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

San Diego Historical Landmarks

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park was designated a San Diego Historical Landmark on November 6, 1970.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I will have to break #14 into parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10

(That was fun! Normally I would have written 1-10.)

because along with the State Historic Park itself, there are nine buildings in the park that are state historical landmarks.

Presidio in San DiegoThe first European settlement on the West Coast of the present-day United States was the San Diego Presidio (picture ►), a military outpost of Spanish California located on the hilltop overlooking what is now Old Town.

The hill, now known as Presidio Hill, was the primary settlement for several decades because it could be defended easily against attack by European enemies or hostile Indians. As settlers streamed into the area, they preferred to live at the base of the bluffs for safety and convenience, and in the 1820s the town of San Diego grew at the base of the bluff at the site commemorated by Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

The Old Town area was the center of government and commerce for the region, and in 1834 the Mexican government granted San Diego the status of a pueblo or chartered town, a status that was revoked in 1838 because of declining population. The main problem limiting San Diego’s growth was its location inland, far from navigable waters.

Old Town San Diego State Historic ParkWhen California was admitted to the United States in 1850, San Diego was made the county seat of San Diego County, even though its population was only 650. The Old Town area remained the heart of San Diego until the 1860s when Alonzo Horton, a newcomer to San Diego, began to promote development at the site of present-day downtown San Diego. Residents and businesses quickly abandoned “Old Town” for Horton’s “New Town” because of New Town’s proximity to shipping. Government records were moved in 1871 from Old Town to a new county courthouse in New Town. It was at that point that New Town permanently eclipsed Old Town as the focal point of San Diego.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park preserves and recreates Old Town as it existed during the Mexican and early American periods, from its settlement in 1821 through 1869.

Old Town San Diego State Historic ParkOld Town is a popular tourist destination known particularly for its Mexican restaurants. Throughout the Park, as well as the surrounding area, are museums, superb eating establishments, and your typical gift shops and other tourist traps.

As far back as 1992, and as recently as 2006, Old Town State Historic Park was the most visited California state park. Attendance dropped dramatically in the following years due to the State’s miscalculation in firing Diane Powers, a local designer and the major commercial contractor since 1969, and replacing her with Delaware North Companies. The intent was to create a more authentic and historically correct understanding and appreciation of life and commerce in San Diego as it was from 1821 to 1872. Didn’t work.

Delaware North withdrew from its management contract in early 2009 but the damage was done, and attendance was not recovered to the pre-Delaware North levels.

In the next nine blog posts in my San Diego Historical Landmarks series, we’ll explore more about the historical structures located within in Old Town State Historic Park:

  • Casa de Estudillo—an 1827 adobe house and a National Historic Land
  • Casa de Cota site—site of an adobe built in 1835 and destroyed by United States Army bulldozers during World War II.
  • Casa de Bandini—an 1829 adobe
  • Casa de Pedrorena—home built in 1869
  • Casa de Machada-Silvas (de la Bandera)—an 1840s adobe
  • Congress Hall site—Built in 1867 and destroyed in 1939, Congress Hall served at various times as a wild west saloon and gambling hall, a rooming house, a post office, a bakery, and a Pony Express office.
  • Casa de Machada-Stewart—a restored 1830s adobe
  • Mason Street School—the first public schoolhouse in San Diego, built in 1865
  • The Exchange Hotel site—no known pictures, drawings, or description of this hotel exist. It was first mentioned in a local newspaper advertisement of May 29, 1851, as a “hotel and billiard saloon.”

Of course, there is more history behind the adobes, and its fascinating history, too!

Mason Street schoohouse

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