Saturday, November 6, 2010

Colorful Historic Old Town

Our first trips into San Diego have focused on the history of the city, and it is in Old Town that much of the city's history has been preserved.

Old Town San Diego is considered the "birthplace" of California. San Diego is the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement in California. It was here in 1769, that Father Junipero Serra came to establish the very first mission in a chain of 21 missions that were to be the cornerstone of California’s colonization. Father Serra’s mission and Presidio were built on a hillside overlooking what is currently known as Old Town San Diego. At the base of the hill in 1820’s, a small Mexican community of adobe buildings was formed and by 1835 had attained the status of El Pueblo de San Diego. In 1846, a U.S. Navy Lieutenant and a Marine Lieutenant, raised the American flag in the Old Town San Diego Plaza.

In 1968, the State of California Department of Parks and Recreation established Old Town State Historic Park to preserve the rich heritage that characterized San Diego during the 1821 to 1872 period. The park includes a main plaza, exhibits, museums and living history demonstrations.

And while the buildings present reminders of the living and working settings of the earliest settlers, it is the influence of the Spanish culture that we have found most interesting and appealing.

Old Town presented an opportunity to simply walk around and photograph images--not the buildings or the landscape, but the many small colorful components that make up the larger portrait of this Spanish influence.

So, without attempting to present the big picture of the size and structure of Old Town, we would like to share some glimpses of the vibrancy that is still present today.

The great majority of these photos were taken in the collection of shops in the Fiesta de Reyes section (see the first photo above).

This team of grandmother (left)

and grandaughter (I presume) provided a colorful example of how to deal with the brilliant sun.

Clearly, from table place mats to rooftop tiles, we have been captivated by the brilliant colors of Old Town San Diego.

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