Tag Archives: presidio san diego

You can see their fort from our fort

Out & About

Since we finished exploring San Diego Historical Landmarks #1 and #2, I had to go out and about to get pictures of #3.

Landmark #3 is right next to #4, so I was able to get two sets of pictures in just one trip. Yahoo for saving gas!

As I wandered around #3 and #4, which have awesome views from up on high, I saw across the way this structure:

University of San Diego

That is part of the campus of the University of San Diego, a private Catholic-affiliated university of about 5,500 students founded in 1949.

Looks kind of like a fort. Imagine a fort manned by men and women who are mostly 18-22 years old. Hmmm. Sounds just like the United States military….

To take that picture, I was standing at the site of the Presidio:

Presidio in San Diego

The Presidio was built in 1769 and was the first permanent European settlement on the Pacific Coast of the present-day United States. It was the base of operations for the Spanish colonization of California. It was a fort.

There are no structures left from the original Presidio. What often is referred to as the Presidio, shown above, is actually the Serra Museum, built in 1928-29 on the site of the original Presidio. It is named after Father Junipero Serra (1713-1784), founder of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, the first mission in California, and eight other missions.

The Serra Museum was built by George Marston (1850-1946), a wealthy department store owner. He had bought Presidio Hill with an intent to preserve the site. The building was designed by noted San Diego architect William Templeton Johnson (1877-1957) in Spanish Revival style to house the collection of the San Diego Historical Society. (For more about William Johnson, see San Diego Historical Landmarks #1, part 6, part 8, and part 10.)

Marston donated the museum and surrounding park land to the city of San Diego in 1929.

Sadly, city budget cuts during the Great Recession caused the Serra Museum to be unstaffed and closed. Those cuts have not been fully restored, so the Museum is open only on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.. That’s where I will be in a few of days in order to get more pictures of San Diego Historical Landmark #4.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Temple Beth Israel in Heritage Park in San Diego California

Temple Beth Israel in San Diego’s Heritage Park

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego has a population of 1,322,553 (2012 estimate), making it the eighth largest city in the United States and the second largest in California. The area was the site of the first visit by Europeans, specifically Juan Cabrillo of Spain in 1542, on what now comprises the west coast of the United States. Presidio San Diego and Mission San Diego were founded in 1769, making it the birthplace of California. San Diego became part of Mexico in 1821 and, in 1850, part of the United States.

So where are all the old buildings? One would think that there might be a few buildings that are at least 200 years old. Not. Perhaps they were destroyed by earthquakes or washed out to sea in the winter rains.

The few really really old buildings that are left can be found in Heritage Park’s Victorian Village.

IMG_8612 framed

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Heritage Park location map

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Heritage Park comprises almost eight acres dedicated to the preservation of Victorian architecture in San Diego. Most of the buildings in the park were marked for demolition after World War II during a San Diego building boom. Fortunately, some people, including some government officials, with vision and a sense of history paid for the acquisition, relocation to Heritage Park, and restoration.  The buildings in the Park include Italianate, Stick-Eastlake, Queen Anne, and Classic Revival architecture styles.

One of the most beautiful buildings in the park (in my opinion, of course), is Temple Beth Israel.

Temple Beth Israel in Heritage Park in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Temple Beth Israel in Heritage Park in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It was built by Congregation Beth Israel and opened in 1889; first services were held on September 25, 1889. Reflecting church styles of the late 1800s, it was San Diego’s first synagogue and quite often served as the temporary home for other religious congregations before constructing churches of their own.

Temple Beth Israel is open to the public daily from 9:00 a.m. to
5:00 p.m. unless there is a private event since it is also available for bar mitzvahs, weddings, and public meetings.

Temple Beth Israel in Heritage Park in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Temple Beth Israel in Heritage Park in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Temple Beth Israel in Heritage Park in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos