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Best of 2001: Best Place To Contemplate San Diego History

Old Mission Dam, Mission Trails Regional Park
1 Father Junipero Serra Trail,
Mission Gorge, San Diego
619-668-3275
www.mtrp.org

With its rocky landscape and varied wildlife, Mission Trails Regional Park offers city dwellers an escape from the city. Suburban sprawl, industrial warehouses, and mobile homes nearby attest to community leaders' foresight in preserving these 5800 acres of wilderness. Yet within Mission Trails lies a vestige of human progress. For centuries, Kumeyaay Indians lived near San Diego River, whether its level was high or low, whether its banks were lush or arid. In 1774, Spanish settlers grew thirsty to divert the river's flow and establish a reliable water supply. After consulting with Mexican engineers, Franciscan Friars directed the Indians to build a dam. They mixed a mortar of lime and shells to hold together rocks and boulders. They also built a canal more than three miles long to reach the farmlands of Mission San Diego de Alcalá. Completed in 1816, Old Mission Dam is one of the western United States' first European-style water projects. The wall -- measuring 250 feet long, 10 feet thick, and 12 feet high -- formed a lake the size of three football fields. By 1831 floods damaged the structure, enabling nature to reclaim the river. The Old Mission Dam became a registered national historic landmark in 1977.

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Old Mission Dam, Mission Trails Regional Park
1 Father Junipero Serra Trail,
Mission Gorge, San Diego
619-668-3275
www.mtrp.org

With its rocky landscape and varied wildlife, Mission Trails Regional Park offers city dwellers an escape from the city. Suburban sprawl, industrial warehouses, and mobile homes nearby attest to community leaders' foresight in preserving these 5800 acres of wilderness. Yet within Mission Trails lies a vestige of human progress. For centuries, Kumeyaay Indians lived near San Diego River, whether its level was high or low, whether its banks were lush or arid. In 1774, Spanish settlers grew thirsty to divert the river's flow and establish a reliable water supply. After consulting with Mexican engineers, Franciscan Friars directed the Indians to build a dam. They mixed a mortar of lime and shells to hold together rocks and boulders. They also built a canal more than three miles long to reach the farmlands of Mission San Diego de Alcalá. Completed in 1816, Old Mission Dam is one of the western United States' first European-style water projects. The wall -- measuring 250 feet long, 10 feet thick, and 12 feet high -- formed a lake the size of three football fields. By 1831 floods damaged the structure, enabling nature to reclaim the river. The Old Mission Dam became a registered national historic landmark in 1977.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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