Saturday, April 30, 2016

San Diego, California

When I was a tiny child, my dad was stationed in San Diego; I only have a smattering of memories from those days, but my mom recalls it as a wonderful place to live.  

This first photo shows a fellow posing on Mission Boulevard, right where Nantasket Court crosses (thanks, handy street sign!). Presumably he and his wife lived right around there? If they stayed for a while, they would be within walking distance of Sea World. This neighborhood feels almost small-towny; no building is over two stories, and there is a definite post-war California vibe. 

Here's a screen grab from Google's street view; there are more structures, including one three-story place. But the house near the center with the red tile roof and the arched window (visible in the first image) is still there!

This photo was taken at Casa de Estudillo, a historic adobe home constructed in 1827; it is a National and California Historic Landmark. Why? It became associated Helen Hunt Jackson's famous (and extremely popular 1884 novel, "Ramona" - the story of a mixed race Indian girl who is met with discrimination in Old California. While the novel does not specify Casa de Estudillo as Ramona's marriage place, a local newpaper declared it so, and it stuck. 

The house was donated to the State in 1968; it was restored, and this painted sign was removed sometime in the early 1970's. But I kind of like seeing it this way!


Nanook said...


It's always interesting to see the number of 'older' structures which have seemed to defy time and remain as they once were. Gotta love Ramona's Marriage Place - with its original signage.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Not only is that neighborhood close to Sea World, but it's even closer to Belmont Park with it's 1925 rollercoaster, the Giant Dipper! They could ride it everyday!

Patrick Devlin said...

Wonderful pics. I grew up less than a mile from Ramona's Marriage Place. I miss the look of old Old Town. I'll bet that sign got painted over for the San Diego Bicentennial in 1969. Or maybe not...


Helen Hunt Jackson used the adobe chapel on Conde Street a few blocks south of the Casa De Estudillo as the the actual location of Romona and Alessandro's marriage location. However, by the time the book Romona's Marriage Place became popular, the 1840's Adobe Chapel (originally built as a residence) had been stripped of it's plaster and covered in clapboard siding and wooden shingles when it was "modernized" in the 1890's. This didn't match the early Spanish California romanticized look portrayed in Hunt's story and greatly disappointed the book's fans. So to keep tourists coming to Old Town, the Estudillio house - one of California's oldest homes- was selected as Ramona's marriage place. The structure had been restored around 1910 and it was done in the fictional Romantic Spanish style that was authentic to a point, but in no way historically accurate. But it greatly pleased the visiting fans of Helen Hunt's love story.

The Casa De Estudillo has has gone thru many restorations and they were always products of their time. the 1910 restoration done in a romanticized Spanish Colonial look. More authentic restorations done in 1967 and again in 1975 used new excavation information as well as other newly found historical documentation. Today the Estudillo house is undergoing it's most historically accurate restoration ever and will feature current more accurate period construction methods. The real "Marriage Place" was also restored to its 1850 adobe look.


K. Martinez said...

The things I learn on Gorillas Don't Blog. Nice detail you provided there, Cozart. Thanks!

I love the diminishing perspective shot of the power/telephone poles. Very nice. Thanks, Major.

Steve DeGaetano said...

Looks like the photographer in the first photo is shortly to be run over by a model (Fill-in-the-blank, Nanook), made in 19__ .

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the signage for Ramona’s Marriage Place is so “billboardy”, and yet I kind of love it.

TokyoMagic!, they could have actually taken the rollercoaster to work!

Patrick Devlin, I wish I remembered San Diego more vividly - there are only flashes of places (like the Navy shipyard) that have stuck.

Mike Cozart, thanks for all of that information! It’s funny how much is sacrificed in the name of tourism. Historical accuracy be damned. The important thing is that people were *near* the marriage place, I guess.

K. Martinez, don’t forget that most of San Diego was built at 5/8 scale for some of that sweet, sweet forced perspective.

Steve DeGaetano, a great photojournalist will do whatever it takes to get the best shot!

Nanook said...

@ Steve DeGaetano-

Ya know, the resolution coupled with a diminishing knowledge of 1940's and earlier autos, precluded me from venturing a guess. Perhaps I'm just slipping.

Patrick Devlin said...

Nice info, Mike. The topic of changes over the course of time comes up from time to time here (no, really!?) and Old Town is a case of the changes being for the better.