Town State Park is known as the birthplace of California.
In 1821, when Mexico gained independence from Spain, a
small group of Mexican settlers began building homes at
the foot of the hillside below the first mission and Presidio.
Because wood was scarce at the time, sun-dried adobe bricks
were used. Thus, the buildings had a different look, a
brownish-red color and rough exterior. The first five buildings
of Old Town were homes belonging to the Carrillo, Ruiz,
Ybanes, Serrano and Marron families and it was these buildings
that were considered to be the center of the community.
Today, five of these original adobe structures still stand:
La Casa de Estudillo, La Casa de Bandini, La Casa de Altamirano
Pedrorena and the Mason Street School, San Diego’s
first one room schoolhouse. Visitors to Old Town State
Park can tour these original buildings which now house
restaurants, shops and a museum and offer a taste for the
customs, traditions and cuisine of San Diego’s first
In 1868, the San Diego Union, the first newspaper, began its publication in Old Town. The first office of the newspaper is restored as it was when the Union printed its first edition on October 10 of that year. Visitors can see the original print-room and the editor's office.
Between fires, droughts, earthquakes
and illnesses, Old Town San Diego was declining throughout
the remainder of the 1800’s. Soon all government
offices moved to New Town which was established by Alonzo
Horton from San Francisco. In 1907, efforts began to
restore Old Town, when a sugar plantation owner purchased
Casa de Estudillo. During the rest of the early 1900’s
buildings were restored and new ones were built to bring
back its Spanish influence. In 1968, Old Town San Diego
became a State Historic Park and since then, millions
of visitors have enjoyed the adventure back to witness
the daily lives of its Mexican and early American citizens.