California Started in my Backyard - Presidio Park, Old Town

When driving west of the Kumeyaay Highway Interstate 8 (I-8), the Presidio Park sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s tucked away behind the hotels of Mission Valley and the windy streets to Old Town. I didn’t really know much about Presidio Park other than that it was nice to watch during the sunset from the tennis courts of my home in Mission Valley. 

The Indian (1905), by Arthur Putnam juxtaposed with Padre Cross (1913), made of Presidio ruins.

The Indian (1905), by Arthur Putnam juxtaposed with Padre Cross (1913), made of Presidio ruins.

I drove around the windy side road of Taylor Street towards Old Town, and there’s a street that leads you uphill to the Presidio Park. Immediately to your left and right before you reach the building, there are 2 monuments. One is the Padre Cross, erected in 1913 by the Order of Panama. The Cross is made up of presidio ruins. This area was the site of the original Indian village of Cosoy. To the left was a bronze sculpture of an Indian with a defeated mountain lion. This was called, “The Indian,” sculpted by Arthur Putnam, an American Sculptor, in 1905. Arthur Putnam was commissioned by EW Scripps, there’s plenty of his art sculptors around San Diego and plenty in San Francisco. He actually won a Gold Medal in the San Francico World’s Fair in 1915.

This area was founded by Fray Juniperro Serra as the first town of San Diego, July 16, 1769. It was named and discovered by San Miguel by Cabrillo in 1542, christened San Diego de Alcala by Vizcaino in 1602. The Padre Statue, also sculpted by Putnam in 1908 is positioned right in front of Padre Cross.


Aside of the sculptors and the museum, this park is home to a lot of different kinds of plants and trees. Plenty of shaded areas under eucalyptus trees, perfect for a picnic. Acacia trees and Dombeya trees are a few of the plethora of fauna around.

The cost of admission to the Juniperro Serra Museum is $6, but $5 if you're a student. It was a fair price so I went inside. After going inside and seeing/reading the museum collection, it was worth more than $5. They have a good amount of historic items that date back to when this ruin was still inhabited by the Indians. There was even a depiction of the hut that they used. There were also hands-on activities for the kids. I think I would take my nephews and niece here when they come visit me again.

At the top of the museum tower, there was a collection of photos of San Diego in the 1920's. I snapped a couple of the photos I found. I thought they were interesting, because some of these buildings are still around today. One of them is the US Grant, which is now the US Grant hotel. There's also pictures of the people, like the one I snapped below. It's a photo of people in Del Mar in 1929.

So if you're around Old Town or Mission Valley and you're looking for a quiet place with epic views of San Diego, and a little bit of history. Don't hesitate to stop by and visit the Presidio Park. There was probably 10-15 people around the entire park. I think I'm gonna come back and set-up an afternoon picnic.  


Just another way to #experiencesd.  


Jerabek, Chauncy I. "A Plant Tour of Presidio Park." San Diego History Center. San Diego Historical Society Quarterly, Apr. 1962. Web. 04 Aug. 2013.

 Simondi, Tom. "Original San Diego Mission Site." Original San Diego Mission Site. A Virtual Tour of the California Missions, 2002. Web. 04 Aug. 2013.

"Park & Recreation." Presidio Park Facilities and Permit Sites Map. City of San Diego, n.d. Web. 04 Aug. 2013.

"The Junípero Serra Museum." San Diego History Center. Balboa Park Online Collaborative, n.d. Web. 04 Aug. 2013.