Last week, I went out on a photo safari to visit a handful of California Historical Landmarks in the northern half of San Diego’s mountainous back country. With my friend Sandy, we visited seven CHLs, as well as a few other sites, some of which were sought after for photos by Wiki Loves Monuments.
Here’s where we visited:
- No. 533: San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park – Outside Escondido is the battlefield where Californios fought against American troops during the Mexican War.
- San Diego Archaeological Center, where they both curate different archaeological artifacts and also help display them to educate the public.
- 3 National Register of Historical Landmark buildings in the Ramona area: Mt. Woodson Castle, Ramona Town Hall, and the Verlaque House (now a museum)
- Santa Ysabel General Store – now restored as a store, and operated by SOHO.
- No. 412: Julian: After visiting the plaque in front of the Julian Town Hall, we found lunch and pie nearby!
- No. 369: Site of the Chapel at Santa Ysabel: We visited the new chapel at Santa Ysabel, along with the site of the first chapel, their one-room museum, and their cemetery.
- No. 311: Warner’s Ranch, south of Warner Springs. The ranch house has been recently renovated by SOHO for visiting, while the barn is still needing restoration.
- No. 482: Camp Wright, in Oak Grove. Camp Wright was a Union camp set up to protect the stagecoach route (and thus communications between California and the rest of the country) during the Civil War.
- No. 502: Oak Grove Stage Station. One of the few remaining stations of the Butterfield Overland Mail route. Only 500 feet north of the Camp Wright site.
- No. 243: Asistencia San Antonio de Pala. This mission stills serves the native peoples of the Pala reservation. Interestingly enough, the plaque is located several blocks away from the church, back on the main highway.
Cabrillo National Monument celebrates its centennial as a National Park Service unit with a three-day extravaganza October 12-14, 2013. I’m so bummed that I will be out of town and won’t be able to make it to this big event, including a gala event on the evening of the 13th, and a big public party on the 14th for the actual anniversary. Get more information at CabrilloCentennial.org.
While the original intent of the National Monument was to provide space for a statue of the Portuguese explorer Juan Cabrillo, the National Monument also houses the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, which can be toured – though the top of the lighthouse tower is only open two days a year: August 25 (National Park Service anniversary) and November 15 (the lighthouse’s anniversary). There’s also great tidepooling and hiking to be found on the site, and of course, great views of both the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay.
The annual Cabrillo Festival is coming at the end of September! The festival celebrates the anniversary of the landing of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in San Diego Harbor. In 2013, the Festival will be held September 28 and 29, with the re-enactment of Cabrillo’s landing at Ballast Point (inside Naval Base Point Loma) to be held on the 29th. There’s a whole free festival celebrating the cultures of Native Americans, Portugal, Spain, and Mexico from 11 am to 4 pm, with the re-enactment at 1 pm. Get more details at CabrilloFestival.org.
Ballast Point at the Point Loma Naval Base has several California Historical Landmark markers commemorating several historic sites that are now all located within the Navy’s property. Public access to the military base and these historical landmarks is pretty limited – but there is one day a year when this historical landmark plaza is readily available: during the Cabrillo festival.
Plaques for No. 50 (Ballast Point Whaling Station), No. 56 (Cabrillo Landing Site), No. 62 (Fort Rosecrans), and No. 69 (Site of Fort Guijarros) are all located in a semi-circle at the southern end of the naval base, where Fort Rosecrans Boulevard loops back to become Guijarros Road at Ballast Point. Don’t forget that there’s also a historical landmark at the entrance gate to Naval Base Point Loma: No. 61 (Old La Playa) – there’s also a La Playa Trail marker at this spot as well.