Request to URL: "" failed. Response code: 301

Vista Links

Vista Searches

Although Vista was originally deemed a city in 1963, the area in and around it has been occupied for hundreds of years. Originally occupied by the Lusieno Indians, Vista began to prosper with the growth of the San Luis Rey Mission in the early 1800’s. Today the city has grown to over 94,000 residents. With its wonderful climate just a few miles from the coast, growing business strength, award winning schools, it?s easy to understand why the population of Vista has more than doubled in the last 20 years.

Vista provides an incredible combination of a being rural enough that there are still many areas with large lots (many exceeding 4 or 5 acres because of strict zoning) and located close enough to freeways and shopping that a commute into downtown is extremely feasible. While it is located just over 30 miles from downtown San Diego, Vista has over six times the national average number of parks within its city limits.

Real Estate:
Did you know that the City of Vista will give you money to live in Vista?? I have represented clients who have been given a zero-interest loan for down payment that never has to be paid back unless they sell, refinance, or put renters into the property. Vista has recognized the issues of housing market and understands the value of home ownership. As the market has continued to change, there has been a tremendous opportunity to buy excellent Vista property in strong areas at a reduced price. I personally have represented multiple buyers through the Vista area that have purchased homes in the low to mid $300,000’s range and have come out with built-in equity. (Please see “Featured Properties” and click on the “Sold Properties” tab at the top to see some of these) The great thing about Vista is that for so long San Diego has never “penciled-out” from an investors point of view. That is to say that in years past a rental property never cash-flowed; a rental property never made more than it lost. In Vista, however the average rent for a two bedroom apartment is about $1100. As housing prices fall in most areas, the opportunity to make passive income increases throughout the Vista area.

Vista median sales prices

The Vista Unified School District (VUSD) is home to 18 elementary schools, 6 middle schools, and 6 high schools. In 2002, the City of Vista passed a $140 million construction bond to continue to service its award-winning schools. This bond will build 3 more elementary schools and will upgrade all schools with VUSD. Vista has made a strong commitment to both the arts and sciences with magnet schools specific to each. The average class ratio is 22 students per teacher. Several high schools in the Vista area offer the distinguished International Baccalaureate (IB) program designed to provide college credit classes in high school. The colleges nearby include: California State University at San Marcos (CSUSM), Palomar College, Miracosta College, National University, and the University of Phoneix.

There are no schools near by this property.

Solana Beach

Request to URL: "" failed. Response code: 301

Solana Beach Links

Solana Beach Searches

The charming, seaside community of Solana Beach is nestled along the northern coast of San Diego County, and is approximately a 30 minute drive from downtown San Diego. Its main access routes include Interstate 5, Highway 101, Lomas Santa Fe Drive, and Via de la Valle. Amtrak and Coaster trains stop at the station located at 105 N. Cedros Ave.

The City lives up to its name with temperatures that average 62 degrees in the wintertime and 77 degrees in the summertime. It offers 1.7 miles of coastline for swimming and surfing. Most days you will see locals drop by to watch the sun set at Fletcher Cove.

The City is a favorite destination for those looking for eclectic shops, great dining, golfing, nightlife, and nearby hiking.

The History of Solana Beach:
The first known residents of the Solana Beach area migrated here about 9000 BC from Nevada and eastern California. Known as the San Dieguitos, they were hunters of large animal such as mastodons, giant bison and camels. Apparently the San Dieguitos followed the herds when they migrated south into Mexico. Evidence of these early settlers can still be found on the bluffs and rolling hills east of the ocean.

The next wave of inhabitants, known as La Jollans, dwelled in small bands along the coast and around the lagoons, and were seafood collectors and seed gatherers.

In turn, the La Jollans were ousted, or absorbed, by a new group of immigrants from the Colorado River area known as the Kumeyaay. They fished and foraged along the coast, and gathered acorns, pi?on nuts and other edibles in the mountains. They were peaceful, healthy, attractive and good-natured.

The discovery of small metates off the Solana Beach reef has provided some archaeological history from the shell mounds in the area. When the Spanish first explored the area, Indians were living where the fresh water streams entered the lagoons from Del Mar to Oceanside.

The Spanish arrived in 1769 led by Don Gaspar de Portola. Portola?s charge was to press north from San Diego to Monterey Bay where he was to establish a mission and a colony. He was accompanied by Franciscan padres, whose job it was to convert the local Indians. In traveling between the San Diego and Monterey missions, the Portola party established a trail that was later known as ?El Camino Real?. In the Solana Beach area, the Spanish traveled inland to avoid the many marshes and inlets near the coast. The original road crossed at Conley?s corners on Via de la Valle which is now the east end of the Polo Field. Captain Juan Bautista Anza came within a stone?s throw of Solana Beach on his now famous trek from Sonora to San Gabriel in 1774.

Control of the area passed to Mexico when it gained independence from Spain in 1822. Many of the inhabitants were sons and grandsons of the original Spanish settlers who became influential in government and were owners of enormous ranchos. Many thousands of acres in what is now San Diego County became privately owned during the Mexican regime. The then current mayor of the City of San Diego, Juan Maria Osuna, claimed the land known as Rancho San Dieguito in 1840. His eldest son, Leandro, lived in a three-room adobe overlooking El Camino Real, and Osuna soon built his own adobe about a mile east. Restored in 1923, the house is located in Rancho Santa Fe.

Following the Mexican War with the United States, California became a U.S. territory, and on September 9, 1850, was admitted to the Union. Until the 1860s and the gradual influx of the Anglos, the Californios (early Mexican, large land owners) continued to dominate life in the Solana Beach area. The County of San Diego was established by the State Legislature on February 18, 1850. The population numbered 790. Records show that the first American homesteader in the vast San Luis Rey district, was William A. Ewing, who took up 180 acres in the San Dieguito River valley in 1862.

?Grandpa? Frank Knowles, who died more than 50 years ago, came to the San Dieguito area in 1885. He had memory of a few Indians living on the San Elijo Lagoon at that time. He lived to be 104 years of age. The main area known as Solana Beach was originally called Lockwood Mesa and was first settled by the George Jones family in 1886. Chief crops were grain and lima beans.

The oldest house in Solana Beach is the Stevens House, originally located on the Molly Glen Ranch in Solana Beach. Henry and Belle Sandford of Del Mar established the ten-acre ranch on the south slopes of Solana Beach. It was located on the current site of the Del Mar Downs development, and the house was built in late 1887 or early 1888. In 1891 the ranch was bought by Susan Stevens, daughter of James and Susannah Stevens for whom Stevens Street and Stevens Creek were later named. The Stevens were originally from New York, but later moved to Michigan and then North Dakota, where James West Stevens was a State Senator in the third legislature of that state (1892-1896). They came to California around early 1896, with their son Edwin following a year later. In 1898 Susan sold the ranch to her parents.

?Grandma Stevens?, as Susannah was known, was a celebrity when she reached her 105th birthday. By the time she had turned 100, she had been interviewed and photographed by newspapers from Los Angeles and San Diego. She and James celebrated their 60th anniversary with a big party on the Del Mar beach in 1906. James died in 1907 and Susannah died a few days short of her 106th birthday in June 1927. Grandma Stevens lived in the ranch house from 1892 until her death in 1927.

After Susannah?s death, Edwin and his wife Jennie lived in the house until Ed?s death in 1935. They speculated in real estate, at one time buying and developing the adjacent 120 acres now known as Eden Gardens, or La Colonia. The house itself changed hands at least twice after Jennie?s death in 1940. The final owners found old 1890-era newspapers in the walls when they lived there. The Stevens House today is in La Colonia Park and houses the Solana Beach Heritage Museum. It is currently open on the first and third Saturdays of each month from 1:00 to 4:00 pm or by calling the curator at 858-259-7657 for an appointment or any seasonal hours.

The area encompassing Solana Beach began to develop rapidly, when Lake Hodges Dam was built in 1917-18. The creation of the 12,000-acre Santa Fe Irrigation District in 1918 ensured that the area from Rancho Santa Fe through Solana Beach would prosper and expand. The coastline from Solana Beach to Oceanside began to boom in the early 1920s. In 1922 Colonel Ed Fletcher, an early community leader and developer, purchased 140 acres at $20 per acre from farmer George H. Jones to develop the town of Solana Beach, with the help of his brother-in-law Eugene Batchelder. The Solana Beach area was promoted as an avocado growing center. This growth paralleled the development of the entire county during the 1924-29 period.

To provide access to the beach for the development, hydraulic water pressure was used to erode away tons of earth and create the Fletcher Cove entry and beach. This took one man three months with a fire hose, using water that was coming over the spillway at Lake Hodges Dam. The beach was opened with great fanfare including horse races on the beach on July 4th, 1925. Fletcher also built the Bank of Solana Beach, which he subsequently sold to the Bank of America. He was later forced to sell half of Solana Beach when the depression hit in 1929. At this time Solana Beach had a business center, a Ford agency, a bank, grocery, drugstore, and other allied businesses.

The depression stifled growth in Solana Beach. The price of lots tumbled and land reverted to the Santa Fe Irrigation District for lack of tax payment. For almost a decade, progress was at a standstill. With the approach of World War II, the community began to stir. It was not until the early 1950s that the area reached the stage of development that had been predicted for the 1930s.

After World War II, the community began to grow. The Chamber of Commerce was formed. A sanitation district and a fire district were created. For a 10-year period between 1950 and 1960, the community underwent tremendous growth. The Bill Jack plant (1949) brought industry into the area and private contractors built a number of homes. Marview Heights, land originally owned by the Santa Fe Irrigation District and later sold as individual homes by Fred Howland Ford and his brother, gave impetus to local residential development. Eden Gardens, one of the oldest residential areas of Solana Beach, was a community formed by Mexican farmers who were hired by the owners of large ranches in Rancho Santa Fe. These farmers wanted their families nearby, hence the formation of La Colonia (the colony). The name Eden Gardens came later from a land developer who thought it would be a good marketing tool. Many residents still refer to the area as La Colonia.

The money market collapsed in 1959-60 and it was not until late 1967 that the trend reversed. Paul Tchang, a San Diego builder, had constructed almost 100 premium homes in Solana Beach by 1969. Thirty-three more were built in 1970, and 500 more from 1971 to 1977. Lomas Santa Fe completed their golf course and opened the sale of lots in Isla Verde in 1968. This signaled the beginning of a real estate boom which lasted well into the 80s and 90s. After a brief interval in the mid 90s, real estate sales were once again on the rise.

As the community progressed, additional attention was given to civic beautification. The Solana Beach Women?s Civic Club (reorganized as the Civic and Historical Society in 1989) gave the town a positive identity with the renovation of the central plaza and installation of the “Sun Burst Fountain”. They were instrumental in the removal of numerous billboards along Highway 101, replacing them with trees, and installing welcome signs at City entry-points. Recent years have seen the incorporation of Solana Beach in 1986, creation of the Cedros Design District, building of the Solana Beach train station, formation of the 101 Merchants Association, construction of a new joint-use library, and the influx of many new businesses.

Incorporation of the community in 1986 provided a Council-City Manager form of government, with the Mayor?s position rotating among the Council members.

Over 13,000 residents call this 4 square mile beach community their home. The Pacific Ocean is to the west; the City of Encinitas to the north, and the City of Del Mar to the south. The unincorporated village of Rancho Santa Fe is located on the east side. Property values in this upscale community have appreciated significantly since incorporation. The business community has equally enjoyed the prosperity of a healthy economy. Solana Beach is the home for many artisans, high-tech businesses, and professionals.

The elementary school district is composed of five elementary schools, two of which are within the City limits. The middle school is under the administration of the San Dieguito Union High School district. High school students in the area attend Torrey Pines High School located to the southeast of Solana Beach. Additionally, there are several private and parochial schools in Solana Beach.

There are no schools near by this property.

The City has two community centers, Fletcher Cove and La Colonia. The Community Center at La Colonia was dedicated on May 5, 1991. Program activities include adult education classes and a meeting place for numerous community groups. In November 1996, a community storefront office for the San Diego County Sheriff?s Department was instituted at the center in La Colonia Park.

In 1995 the Santa Fe train station was moved from Del Mar to the new station at Solana Beach. Also, in 1999 the North County Transit District, operator of the ?Coaster? commuter train, and the City of Solana Beach completed a multi-million project to lower the train tracks below grade level under Lomas Santa Fe Drive.

The South Cedros area of the City has been developed as an upscale design district that attracts many artisans, decorators, and antique dealers. The area continues to be a focal point for the City.

Information provided courtesy of the Solana Beach Civic & Historical Society

San Marcos

San Marcos Links

San Marcos Searches

From the summit of Double Peak Mountain, it’s possible to see all that San Marcos has become. At 1,644 feet above sea level, most of the city is visible, compressed into a manageable field of view. Looking northeast, the stately buildings of Cal State San Marcos stand on the side of a hill, windows gazing toward hundreds of acres of subdivisions to the north and west. Farther west is a solid clump of retail establishments —- Restaurant Row, Edwards Cinema, Fry’s Electronics, a new Lowe’s hardware store.

For the rest of the picture, a short hike west along the ridge line brings you to the second of the mountain’s two peaks. From there, you can see the unincorporated community of Lake San Marcos, a long, thin slash of water surrounded by hundreds of homes and a green golf course.

On the other side of Double Peak, the southwestern side, is the city’s newest planned community, the 3,398-unit San Elijo Hills development. Dug into the flanks of the Cerro de las Posas Mountains, steep streets lead to spacious homes. On the horizon is Batiquitos Lagoon and the Pacific Ocean.

There was a time, in the late 1980s, when the view from Double Peak would have looked down on a much more modest cluster of homes and businesses. Where the university now sits, a chicken ranch once thrived. The new Mission Hills High School on Mission Road was built on part of a former dairy.

Today, San Marcos is a city trying to catch up with itself.

Take Rancho Santa Fe Road, for example. As thousands of commuters, many who live in the San Elijo Hills development, sit bumper-to-bumper on the winding two-lane road, they can observe an assortment of heavy construction equipment slowly making progress on widening Rancho Santa Fe from two lanes to four.

Likewise, construction crews work to improve San Marcos Boulevard, even as cars sit in traffic, waiting for a chance to head east or west to Highway 78.

Watching infrastructure catch up after developments have gone up is frustrating for Beckie Garrett, an English teacher at San Marcos High School.

“What is the point of having a nice home in a nice neighborhood if you can’t ever leave it?” Garrett wondered.

When she started teaching in San Marcos 28 years ago, Garrett said some of her students rode horses to school. The drive from her home in West San Marcos on Questhaven Road was easy back then. But these days, she and her fellow teachers spend time trying to figure out alternate routes to avoid the most congested roads through town.

“You’ve got to be wily to get where you’re going,” she said.

As the city has grown, Garrett said she and other longtime residents have trouble accepting that San Marcos is no small village anymore.

“I think we’re a little schizophrenic, maybe,” she said. “Some of us may still picture ourselves as a small town, but that’s not the reality at all.”

Accelerating growth

Statistics show that the city’s growth has only accelerated in the last few years.

The San Diego Association of Goverments’ population estimates for 2003 underscore the city’s rapidly rising population. The city has added nearly 9,000 residents since the 2000 Census for a county-leading 16 percentage point population increase. By comparison, SANDAG estimates neighboring Escondido grew by only 3 percent from 2000 to 2003.

The value of all the property inside city limits has shown a similar explosion.

San Diego County Assessor’s records show a 17 percent growth in the city’s tax base over the last two fiscal years, reaching $5.2 billion in late 2003.

When ranked against each of the county’s 18 cities, San Marcos was first in terms of local tax base growth, not only recently, but when compared to five years ago. Since 1994, the city’s tax base has more than doubled. Only Carlsbad showed more tax base growth over the last decade.

The way Darrell Gentry sees it, the city’s present infrastructure problems are the last sign of a community’s maturation from suburb to college town.

Gentry served one term on the San Marcos City Council and directed the city’s planning department from 1979 through 1985.

He pointed to Cal State’s decision to build its new campus on Twin Oaks Valley Road in 1990 as the turning point that ushered in the city’s current state of fast-forward development.

“Before the university, there was a lot of debate about no growth and stopping growth,” Gentry said, noting that the city used to limit the number of building permits it issued each year. “Once the university came, we kind of lost that issue. It’s still there, but definitely not as much as it was.”

In addition to the thousands of students the Palomar Community College campus on Mission Road draws, the university has added another layer of student commuters to the city’s already strained infrastructure.

Fall 2003 enrollment at CSUSM totaled 7,777 students with a median age of 22. The university had 13,000 alumni as of summer 2002.

In a belated acknowledgement that the city’s infrastructure was not keeping pace with exploding development, the San Marcos City Council doubled developer fees last year, significantly increasing the amount of money that will be available for future public projects from roads to parks and schools. Major road improvements, such as the extension of Twin Oaks Valley Road to the San Elijo Hills development, are funded and in the works.

The waiting game

But the here and now is still frustrating for Mary Carruthers and her family. The Carruthers purchased their San Elijo Hills home in 2000, one of the first families to relocate to the new planned community where new homes sell from $300,000 to $700,000.

When the Carruthers moved into their new home three years ago, Carruthers said the understanding was that improvements to Rancho Santa Fe Road were to start immediately.

“We’ve lived here for three years now and it’s still not finished,” Carruthers said.

That’s not to say she doesn’t like where she lives —- far from it. The planned community offers a range of amenities she said she appreciates, including a grocery store, a 19-acre community park, elementary school, a cafe and eventually a library and other projects.

“In a few years, when they get all of the wrinkles ironed out, it’s going to be a great community,” Carruthers said.

Much of the city’s growth can be attributed to its successful retail district.

San Marcos has long been known countywide as a good place to go if you’re looking for a bite to eat or a new sofa. From Highway 78, it’s impossible to miss Furniture Row with its collection of store fronts selling everything from armoires to La-Z-Boys. And on San Marcos Boulevard, there is the Old California Restaurant Row, a collection of 20 eateries that offer everything from burgers and brew to Rockin Baja Lobster.

The late Jim Eubank was the first entrepreneur to see the city’s potential as a retail hub. Eubank died Monday, March 1, several weeks after he was interviewed for this story.

A quarter century ago, Eubank eyeballed a chicken ranch on San Marcos Boulevard, then known as Encinitas Boulevard, and figured it would be a good spot to open a restaurant.

“That first restaurant, you couldn’t eat outside because of the flies from all the chickens,” Eubank recalled.

Though he can’t remember exactly what that first restaurant served, he said he’s convinced that Restaurant Row played a significant role in the city’s economic development. After all, anyone who’s in the real estate business knows that restaurants are one of the most risky investments possible. So the way Eubank sees it, the success of restaurants in San Marcos helped convince other retail establishments, such as Edwards Cinema and Fry’s Electronics, to give the city a chance.

“They look at us and they say, ‘If restaurants can go, anything can go,’ ” Eubank said.

However, the city’s successful retail climate has also attracted the attention of Wal-Mart Inc. which just opened a new store on Nordahl Road. While the new Wal-Mart on the city’s eastern edge was built without much community angst, a second location planned for the city’s western edge, near San Elijo Hills, has garnered nothing but ill will.

There was so much ill will, in fact, that 60 percent of San Marcos residents voted on March 2 to block the behemoth retail chain from building the city’s second Wal-Mart at Melrose Drive and Rancho Santa Fe Road.

Carruthers was opposed to the new Wal-Mart as are many of her neighbors. She said the store would have aggravated traffic jams on Rancho Santa Fe Road. But her fear is not enough to convince her to flee San Marcos. In the end, it seems there are more important factors than traffic that keep the Carruthers where they are.

“My family lives in Olivenhain and my husband’s family lives a half hour north. We still live where we live because grandma’s 10 minutes away,” she said. San Marcos by the numbers:

Incorporated: 1963
Area: 24 sq miles (15,375acres)
1990 2003 2010 (projected)
Total population 39,307 63528 77,645
Hispanic 10,721 24,605 31,538
Black 499 1,193 1,727
White 28,586 32,954 36,796
Asian/Pac Islander 1,063 3,061 5,044
Other 249 1,715 2,540
Median age 31 33 35
Households 13,783 20,251 24,482
Median Household Income $32,183 $51,986 $54,940
Inflation adjusted (2003 CPI) $47,631 $51,986 $54,940
Median house price
2002 2003 % chg
92069 $307,000 $361,000 18%
Total assessed property value (tax base)
2000-2001 2003-2004
$3.4 billion $5.2 billion
Violent crimes per 1,000 residents (FBI Crime Index)
1999 2001 2002
San Marcos 29.2 26.5 24.2
San Diego County 36.1 35.7 35.6
Sources: San Diego Association of Governments, San Diego Association of Realtors, San Diego County Assessor
Contact staff writer Paul Sisson at (760) 901-4087 or

Rancho Santa Fe

Rancho Santa Fe Links

Rancho Santa Fe Searches

Known locally as “The Ranch”, Rancho Santa Fe is one of the most exclusive and expensive communities within Southern California.  It’s known for it’s beautifully designed homes and large, horse lots throughout.

Rancho Bernardo

Rancho Bernardo Links

Rancho Bernardo Searches


Rancho Bernardo is a sprawling community juxtaposed by Poway and Rancho Santa Fe and just east of Interstate 15.  Rancho Bernardo is well known for golf courses, shopping, and business communities (rare to much of North County).  Boasting some of the strongest schools within San Diego County and with good access to freeways both north and south, Rancho Bernardo has long been a desirable and expensive community to purchase within.

Being east of I-15, Rancho Bernardo tends to be much warmer than some of the more coastal areas of San Diego County and with very little development east of it, Rancho Bernardo is susceptible to fire.  Most recently, On October 22, 2007, the Witch Creek Fire burned through Rancho Bernardo and several other populous areas of San Diego County, destroying hundreds of houses, and completely destroying several entire neighborhoods, particularly ones that firefighters had trouble accessing due to rugged terrain and rapidly advancing flames pushed by strong Santa Ana winds.  The highly unpredictable flames pushed into the northeast section of Poway during the day, prompting evacuation of Palomar-Pomerado Hospital.  The neighborhoods of the Trails, Montelena and Westwood were the main areas hit in Rancho Bernardo.



Poway Links

Poway Searches

The City of Poway incorporated in December 1980 as a full-service, general law City and operates under the Council/Manager form of government.  Poway, with a population of approximately 50,542 residents, is a unique community in San Diego County.  Located in northeast San Diego County, Poway is known as “The City in the Country” and prides itself on the fact that over half of the City’s 39.4 square-mile area is preserved as dedicated open space.  The community offers a diverse range of housing options, an outstanding school district, a thriving business park with over 19,000 jobs, a broad range of dining and shopping opportunities, beautiful parks, over 82 miles of trails, 50 community events each year, and more.  Poway is a great place to live, work, and play!


Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach Links

Pacific Beach Searches

Pacific Beach is a neighborhood of San Diego, bounded by La Jolla to the north, Mission Beach and Mission Bay to the south, Interstate 5 to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. While largely populated by young people, surfers, and college students, the population is becoming older, more professional, and more affluent due to rising property and rental costs. “P.B.,” as it is known as by local residents, is home to one of San Diego’s larger nightlife scenes, with dozens of bars, eateries, and clothing stores.

Pacific Beach’s namesake stretches for miles from the Mission Bay jetty to the cliffs of La Jolla. The boardwalk, officially called Ocean Front Walk/Ocean Boulevard, is a pedestrian walkway that runs approximately 3.2 miles along the beach from the end of Law St. in the north down into Mission Beach, ending at the mouth of Mission Bay in the south. There are many local shops, bars, and restaurants along the boardwalk, and it is typically crowded with pedestrians, cyclists, rollerbladers, and shoppers. Also adjacent to the boardwalk is the Crystal Pier, a public pier and hotel at the west end of Garnet Avenue.

Pacific Beach was developed during the boom years of 1886-1888 by D. C. Reed, A. G. Gassen, Charles W. Pauley, R. A. Thomas, and O. S. Hubbell. It was Hubbell who “cleared away the grainfields, pitched a tent, mapped out the lots, hired an auctioneer and started to work”. To attract people, they built a Race Track and the San Diego College of Letters, neither of which survive today. A railway also connected Pacific Beach with downtown San Diego, and was later extended to La Jolla.

The United States Navy operated an anti-aircraft training center at Pacific Beach during World War II. During the 1960s, development continued to increase with the city’s investment in Mission Bay Park, including the developments of the Islandia, Vacation Village and Hilton Hotels. In 1964 Sea World opened, which is located only a few miles from Pacific Beach.

Today, Pacific Beach is home to a younger crowd, including college students, single professionals, and families. The restaurant and nightlife culture has grown extensively, with Garnet Avenue becoming the major hub for places to eat, drink, and shop, and includes a range of bars, restaurants, pubs, and coffee houses



Old Town San Diego

Old Town San Diego Links

Old Town San Diego Searches

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.

Historic buildings include La Casa de Estudillo, La Casa de Bandini, La Casa de Altamirno Pedrorena and the Mason Street School, San Diego’s first one room schoolhouse. Just up the hill from Old Town San Diego Historic State Park, you’ll find Heritage Park where several of San Diego’s most notable Victorian homes have been relocated and authentically restored to their original splendor. Just a short walk down San Diego Avenue is the Whaley House, an officially designated haunted house, the Little Adobe Chapel on Conde Street, the first Church in Old Town San Diego and El Campo Santo on San Diego Avenue, a 1850 Catholic Cemetery.