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Old Town – early and later stories

Early Old Town general store, Bazaar del Mundo, New Town, Presidio Hills Golf Course, crumbling Presidio

Presidio and park – ready by this weekend?
Presidio and park – ready by this weekend?
  • General store ledgers tell how people lived in Old Town

  • Finding which store the ledger came from involved detective work. In 1864, there were only two general merchandise stores, one in Old Town, the other in La Playa — “four hide houses, four stores, one custom house ‘ramshackle,’ one ‘hotel of sorts,’ and a few scattered dwellings” — west of Old Town. Since a majority of the customers on the ledger listed Old Town as their home, that must have been the location.
  • By Jeff Smith, Aug. 12, 1999
Old Town from Presidio Hill, c. 1867
  • Early Old Town Vices and Diversions

  • San Diegans created excuses to celebrate: fiestas, gala balls, horse races, bullfights, the christening of a child, even funerals, “since music and firecrackers accompanied the body as the cortege went to the cemetery." And they danced at each occasion. The waltz was most popular, though if you didn't know how to fandango — “to cascarones and California music” — your dance card would have empty slots.
  • By Jeff Smith, June 1, 2000
Casa de Estudillo. The Estudillo family hosted all wedding receptions in the largest room of their house in Old Town.
  • Will Bazaar del Mundo Become Squibob Square?

  • The State of California wants to jettison its most remunerative concessionaire, Old Town's Bazaar del Mundo, and gamble on a company from Buffalo, New York. Old Town restaurants and retailers are nervous because the state's Department of Parks and Recreation is batting .000 in granting Old Town concessions to large companies. Beginning in 1990, it destroyed Squibob Square.
  • By Don Bauder, May 27, 2004
  • Do Not Go Gentle Into That New Town

  • San Diego may be unique in American history as the only city that changed locations. In 1871, the county seat moved three-and-a-half miles south, from Old to New Town. For 100 years, Old Town was San Diego. It began as a presidio on a hill in 1769. By 1830 people had moved down to the flatlands, and an adobe village grew up around a plaza.
  • By Jeff Smith, Feb. 2, 2011
  • Head for the Hills

  • The first time he stood on the sixth tee at Presidio Hills Golf Course, Tiger Woods stopped, turned to his father Earl, and said, “It’s wrong.” The green on the 72-yard par three slants hard from left to right. The grass is thick right up to the putting surface. “Bad design,” said Woods. “You should be able to run it up”
  • By Jeff Smith, Oct. 31, 2012
Al Abrego helping young golfers with their grip.
  • Destination Lindbergh; destruction Old Town

  • "It would transform the way travelers use our airport, reduce traffic congestion around [Lindbergh Field] and take advantage of the airport’s close proximity to Interstate 5 by providing access right into the airport.” That was former mayor Jerry Sanders during a March 2009 city council hearing, describing “Destination Lindbergh.”
  • By Dorian Hargrove, July 24, 2013
Construction on east side of runway
  • "Are you kidding me? It's a cow pasture."

  • In March, the city rejected all proposals vying to operate the Presidio Hills Golf Course. This was a harsh blow to the Friends of Presidio Hills Golf who spent a lot of time and money crafting a $6-million-dollar community-funded plan to restore the course to its 1932 glory, including revival of junior golf programs that thrived when the Abrego family operated the course (1932 to 2003).
  • By Julie Stalmer, April 9, 2018
Presidio golf course today
  • Less parking for San Diego's Old Town

  • ‘It’s been vacant as long as I can recall” was the consensus I got when asking about the vacant lot on the corner of Congress and Harney streets in Old Town. An empty lot is so rare in Old Town that it was no surprise that two months after a “For Sale” sign went up that a local architect and developer, Jonathan Segal, had already applied for permitting to develop the lot.
  • By Julie Stalmer, Feb. 11, 2019
Of about 80 adobe houses built in the 1800s, only four have survived in Old Town, including this one which serves as the pro shop at Presidio Hills golf course.
  • San Diego's Presidio is crumbling

  • At least one of the most serious defects the report notes, “a damaged balcony on the north wall of the tower,” is judged to be “hazardous.” “Damaged balcony balustrades on the upper tower,” and “areas of cracked and spalling concrete on the exterior tower walls” are labeled “potentially hazardous.”
  • By Joe Deegan, July 10, 2019
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Presidio and park – ready by this weekend?
Presidio and park – ready by this weekend?
  • General store ledgers tell how people lived in Old Town

  • Finding which store the ledger came from involved detective work. In 1864, there were only two general merchandise stores, one in Old Town, the other in La Playa — “four hide houses, four stores, one custom house ‘ramshackle,’ one ‘hotel of sorts,’ and a few scattered dwellings” — west of Old Town. Since a majority of the customers on the ledger listed Old Town as their home, that must have been the location.
  • By Jeff Smith, Aug. 12, 1999
Old Town from Presidio Hill, c. 1867
  • Early Old Town Vices and Diversions

  • San Diegans created excuses to celebrate: fiestas, gala balls, horse races, bullfights, the christening of a child, even funerals, “since music and firecrackers accompanied the body as the cortege went to the cemetery." And they danced at each occasion. The waltz was most popular, though if you didn't know how to fandango — “to cascarones and California music” — your dance card would have empty slots.
  • By Jeff Smith, June 1, 2000
Casa de Estudillo. The Estudillo family hosted all wedding receptions in the largest room of their house in Old Town.
  • Will Bazaar del Mundo Become Squibob Square?

  • The State of California wants to jettison its most remunerative concessionaire, Old Town's Bazaar del Mundo, and gamble on a company from Buffalo, New York. Old Town restaurants and retailers are nervous because the state's Department of Parks and Recreation is batting .000 in granting Old Town concessions to large companies. Beginning in 1990, it destroyed Squibob Square.
  • By Don Bauder, May 27, 2004
  • Do Not Go Gentle Into That New Town

  • San Diego may be unique in American history as the only city that changed locations. In 1871, the county seat moved three-and-a-half miles south, from Old to New Town. For 100 years, Old Town was San Diego. It began as a presidio on a hill in 1769. By 1830 people had moved down to the flatlands, and an adobe village grew up around a plaza.
  • By Jeff Smith, Feb. 2, 2011
  • Head for the Hills

  • The first time he stood on the sixth tee at Presidio Hills Golf Course, Tiger Woods stopped, turned to his father Earl, and said, “It’s wrong.” The green on the 72-yard par three slants hard from left to right. The grass is thick right up to the putting surface. “Bad design,” said Woods. “You should be able to run it up”
  • By Jeff Smith, Oct. 31, 2012
Al Abrego helping young golfers with their grip.
  • Destination Lindbergh; destruction Old Town

  • "It would transform the way travelers use our airport, reduce traffic congestion around [Lindbergh Field] and take advantage of the airport’s close proximity to Interstate 5 by providing access right into the airport.” That was former mayor Jerry Sanders during a March 2009 city council hearing, describing “Destination Lindbergh.”
  • By Dorian Hargrove, July 24, 2013
Construction on east side of runway
  • "Are you kidding me? It's a cow pasture."

  • In March, the city rejected all proposals vying to operate the Presidio Hills Golf Course. This was a harsh blow to the Friends of Presidio Hills Golf who spent a lot of time and money crafting a $6-million-dollar community-funded plan to restore the course to its 1932 glory, including revival of junior golf programs that thrived when the Abrego family operated the course (1932 to 2003).
  • By Julie Stalmer, April 9, 2018
Presidio golf course today
  • Less parking for San Diego's Old Town

  • ‘It’s been vacant as long as I can recall” was the consensus I got when asking about the vacant lot on the corner of Congress and Harney streets in Old Town. An empty lot is so rare in Old Town that it was no surprise that two months after a “For Sale” sign went up that a local architect and developer, Jonathan Segal, had already applied for permitting to develop the lot.
  • By Julie Stalmer, Feb. 11, 2019
Of about 80 adobe houses built in the 1800s, only four have survived in Old Town, including this one which serves as the pro shop at Presidio Hills golf course.
  • San Diego's Presidio is crumbling

  • At least one of the most serious defects the report notes, “a damaged balcony on the north wall of the tower,” is judged to be “hazardous.” “Damaged balcony balustrades on the upper tower,” and “areas of cracked and spalling concrete on the exterior tower walls” are labeled “potentially hazardous.”
  • By Joe Deegan, July 10, 2019
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