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Presidio Park

Once one of San Diego's most visited parks, Presidio Park is now a decaying and unkempt embarrassment with few tourists to be found. As San Diego approaches the 250th anniversary of its founding in 2019 and embraces its rightful place as the Plymouth Rock of the West Coast, the City of San Diego must restore this nationally significant cultural landscape. The 1769 Spanish expedition founded not only the first mission in Alta California here, but also the presidio, port, and town of San Diego. George Marston, a civic visionary and preservationist, commemorated this inspiring feat by purchasing this historic site almost a century ago. He also commissioned the prominent architect William Templeton Johnson to design the Serra Museum on the park's hilltop. Marston then donated the land and museum to the City. Although it is a National Historic Landmark, Presidio Park does not receive the public attention or maintenance it deserves. The museum building and Serra Cross are severely deteriorated, the magnificent park sculptures are often littered with food and broken bottles, and important elements of the historic John Nolen-designed landscape have died or are nearly dead. Along with restoration, a comprehensive landscape management plan using the U.S. Secretary of the Interior's standards must be adopted. Presidio Park is nationally and locally significant and warrants immediate attention. For a city whose economy has been fueled by tourism since the 1880s, it is incomprehensible that this and other historic places that reliably attracted millions of visitors for decades are tossed aside and left to decay. We urge the Mayor to form a committee to raise funds, and, under strict historic preservation guidance, to restore the city's place of origin in time for its 250th commemoration. In 2019, the eyes of the world will be on San Diego. What will they see?

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C. 1970s, thriving and filled with visitors.

Current photos by Sandé Lollis


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2476 San Diego Avenue · San Diego CA 92110 · Phone (619) 297-9327
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