Time Line of Spanish influance on San Diegos Architecture
July 16, 1769
Mission San Diego de Alcala is officially founded on Presidio Hill, the first of a chain of twenty-one missions to be established along the California coast.
The Mission is relocated six miles east of the presidio complex to the present site of Mission San Diego de Alcala, near the Diegueno village of Nipaguay.
The Presidio is designated a military outpost separate from the direct administration of the Presidio of Monterey. Work continues on a larger stockade and the garrison is increased to about twenty five men.
September 26, 1774
The first colonists arrive in San Diego, escorted from the Baja California Mission San Fernando Velicata by Sergeant Jose Ortega of the Presidio.
November 4-5, 1775
Indians surround Mission San Diego de Alcala, set fire to its fragile wooden structures and attack a small contingent of stunned Spaniards. Father Luis Jayme and two other Spaniards are slain and the survivors withdraw to the presidio six miles west. Journal of San Diego History article about the mission revolt.
January 4, 1776
Juan Bautista de Anza arrives at San Gabriel Mission with colonists destined for Monterey and San Francisco. Within a week, de Anza comes to San Diego, where he is joined by Lt. Governor Rivera y Moncada in an investigation of the recent Indian attack upon the Mission.
July to October, 1776
Father Serra returns to San Diego aboard the San Antonio on July 11. Mission buildings are rebuilt with the help of Indians and sailors from the San Antonio who make adobe, dig trenches and gather stone.
Mexico wins independence from Spain and San Diego comes under Mexican rule for about 25 years. First known home (today's Presidio Hills Golf Course golf shop) is built in Old Town.
April 20, 1822
Mexican flag is raised over the Presidio. California swears allegiance to Mexico.
Los Peñasquitos, the first private rancho, is granted by the Mexican government - 8,486 acres to Captain Francisco María Ruíz; eventually 33 land grants covering 948 square miles are recognized.
San Diego becomes the unofficial capital of Upper and Lower California, because of the preference of new Governor Jose Maria Echeandia. The Presidio, with its dwindling garrison, goes into significant decline.
September 1, 1834
Juan Bandini and Jose Hijar arrive on the brig Natalie with 140 colonists.
December 21, 1834
13 votes are cast in San Diego's first pueblo election. Juan Osuna is elected first alcalde (mayor) over Pio Pico.
January 1, 1835
Recently elected officials take office when San Diego becomes a pueblo.
October 31, 1846
Admiral Robert F. Stockton arrives aboard Congress. Fort Stockton is established on the top of Presidio Hill in November 1846 to defend the city during the Mexican War.
Feb 15, 1868
Ephraim Morse presents a resolution to the Board of Trustees of San Diego that land be set aside for a city park. Morse, Thomas Bush and Alonzo Horton select the land now known as Balboa Park.
Helen Hunt Jackson's romanticized novel Ramona is published, describing the tragic fate of a half-breed senorita and her Indian husband at the hands of prejudiced whites in northern San Diego County. The romantic work sells 600,000 copies in 60 years as the first novel about Southern California. Jackson may have been influenced by her visit to Ysidora Couts at Rancho Guajome (near present-day Vista) in the early 1880s, where the two had a falling out.
Kate Sessions arrives from San Francisco bay area to teach at Russ School. She founds her nursery business in 1885.
Coronado secedes from San Diego and incorporates.
Kate Sessions, now known as the "Mother of Balboa Park", leases thirty-six acres in the northwest corner of what is then called "City Park", on which she puts a 10-acre nursery. For this privilege, she is to plant one hundred trees a year in the park and furnish three hundred more trees and plants yearly for planting throughout the city. She moves her nursery to Mission Hills in 1903. Read more about Kate Sessions.
Irving Gill arrives in San Diego. Read Journal of San Diego History articles about Irving Gill, architect.
At his own expense, George Marston travels East to hire a worthy landscape architect for the commission of designing San Diego's 1400 acre park, known then as City Park. Two months later, at Marston's invitation, Samuel Parsons, Jr., arrives in San Diego to study the park lands. Read more about Samuel Parsons, Jr., landscape architect.
Development of Presidio Park begins; Marston, Spreckels, Scripps and other investors begin buying Presidio property to preserve as a park.
July 9, 1909
G. Aubrey Davidson, founder of the Southern Trust and Commerce Bank and president of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, proposes that San Diego should stage an exposition in 1915 to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal.
November 1, 1910
Park Commissioners give "City Park" the new name "Balboa Park". California State Legislature ratifies their decision, March 24, 1911, in the same piece of legislation which authorizes the use of the park for an exposition.
July 19, 1911
Panama-California Exposition groundbreaking ceremonies begin with a military mass in a Balboa Park canyon. Read more about the Exposition groundbreaking ceremonies.
Construction begins in Balboa Park for the Panama-California Exposition. The Administration Building is the first to go up—begun on November 6, 1911 and completed in March 1912.
During the "Carnival Cabrillo", held from September 24 to September 27, a cross made of tiles from an abandoned Spanish fort, is placed on Presidio Hill where it remains today. Photo of the ceremony.
Cabrillo Bridge opens on April 12, 1914. The first car is driven across with Franklin D. Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, G. Aubrey Davidson, and Mayor Charles F. O'Neall as passengers. Photo of Cabrillo Bridge under construction (note roller coaster in background.)
Santa Fe Depot construction begins June 15, replacing the earlier Grand Union Depot. It did not open until March 18, 1915 due to a dispute over the closure of B Street. Photo of Depot demolition.
John D. Spreckels presents the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park to the people of San Diego. Spreckels also hires Dr. Humphrey J. Stewart, a distinguished organist and composer, to give daily concerts throughout 1915. These concerts continued, at the expense of the Spreckels interests, until September 1, 1929. Photo of an early concert at Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
December 31, 1914
At midnight, President Woodrow Wilson presses a Western Union telegraph key in Washington, D.C. which turns on lights and touches off a display of fireworks to open the Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park. Photo of crowd on Cabrillo Bridge, opening day at the Panama-California Exposition .
Panama-California Exposition opens Jan 1st. Photo of crowd on Cabrillo Bridge opening day. Bertram Goodhue's Spanish Colonial architecture forever defines Balboa Park. Read all about the Exposition and take a "Postcard Tour".
Lilian Rice, graduate of U.C. (Berkeley) School of Architecture, begins planning Rancho Santa Fe for the architectural firm of Richard Requa and Herbert Jackson.
George W. Marston purchases land on Presidio hill to preserve the historic site of California's birthplace. Photo of Presidio hill in 1872.
February 27, 1927
The Fine Arts Gallery in Balboa Park, designed by William Templeton Johnson and funded by Appleton Bridges, is dedicated & opens to the public. It is now the San Diego Museum of Art.
December 13, 1928
San Diego Historical Society is incorporated, with George White Marston as its founder and first president.
Presidio Park opens, through the generosity of George W. Marston. On July 16th, the park is expanded to 40 acres, and the Serra museum is dedicated and given as a gift to the city. Photo of Serra Museum from Old Town. Journal of San Diego History.
San Diego's State Teachers' College moves into the seven mission-style buildings of the present SDSU campus. In 1935, the Legislature removes the word "Teachers" from the name of the institution and, in 1960, the College becomes part of the newly created California State College system. It is renamed San Diego State University in 1971.
May 28, 1935
California-Pacific International Exposition opens in Balboa Park. Chief architect Richard Requa has put Palisades buildings up in just a few months and completely remodeled the House of Hospitality.
Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) launches preservation drive for old Victorian buildings.
San Diego hosts year-long festival to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of California on Presidio Hill. Old Town becomes a state park. Hear State Senator Mills tell about the creation of Old Town State Park. from our Oral History Archives.
Rebuilt Casa del Prado opens in Balboa Park. Read SDHS history of the Casa del Prado. Photo of Bea Evenson during construction.
San Diego is chosen as the site of Republican National Convention; in a last-minute about-face, Republicans announce plans to move convention site to Miami Beach. See Dick run. The loss of the convention prompted Mayor Pete Wilson to declare San Diego "America's Finest City".
San Diego Presidio ruins are covered up once again to preserve them for posterity and future archaeological digs.