The Journal of San Diego History
SAN DIEGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY
Summer 1969, Volume 15, Number 3
Rita Larkin, Editor
PART IV – TREES AND SHRUBS
Route and Planting Map Keyed to Text; Drawn for California Garden by Alice M. Clark
The plant life of Presidio Park is as interesting in its way, and as rich in history, as the Serra Museum and its contents. I hope that this article will attract the attention not only of adults but of the many boys and girls who visit the museum. As they cavort and picnic on the grassy slopes and relive history on the walls and ramparts of these acres where California began, may they learn to recognize the scope and beauty of the plant collection in the Park. If those who read this article will pass the information on to friends and neighbors, and to visitors to San Diego, then, like a pebble cast into a pool of water, the circles will grow larger and larger until this beautiful Park is known from coast to coast and throughout the world. That is my hope as I write.
Park your car below the Museum, and with this article as your guide, follow a route roughly clockwise, beginning at the center walk. The low shrubs on each side of the steps are (1) Raphiolepis umbellata var. ovata, known as Yeddo Hawthorn. These members of the Rose family are native to Japan. Rounded in form with thick, leathery olive-green foilage, they are covered in spring with pinkish-white flowers, followed by small purple berries.
Now, go up the walk toward the Museum. To the left at the foot of the stairs is a (2) Chamaerops humilis, the Hair Palm, a Mediterranean native, and the only palm native to Europe. Although this particular specimen has been trained to a single trunk, this palm is most often seen with numerous offshoots, as you will notice later in the tour.
On the right of the stairs is (3) Heteromeles arbutifolia, the Toyon or Christmas Berry, native to California and Baja California. Another member of the Rose family, Toyon has dark leathery leaves with sawtooth edges. Flowers are white, borne in dense terminal panicles, and are followed by bright red berries.
The tree beyond is (4) Olea europaea, the wild or common olive from the warm, temperate regions of the Old World. This member of the family Olaceae is a bushy shrub or small tree with distinctive, dull green foliage, inconspicuous flowers and small fruit.
At the top of the stairs, turn left to the northern parapet, Here is a fine view that commands a sweep to the north and west and reminds one of the military significance of the terrain. Directly below, you will see (5) Rhus integrifolia and Rhus laurina, a Southern and Baja California native which belongs to the Cashew family. The gray-green conifers nearby are (6) Pinus torreyana, the famous Torrey Pine of Santa Rosa Island, Torrey Pines Park and the southern portion of Del Mar.
At the northeast corner of the parapet is (7) Pinus canariensis or Canary Island Pine. These pines are narrow and symmetrical, with foliage growing in dense tufts at the ends of the branchlets. You will notice many more of them throughout the Park.
On the east side of the Museum, the small, spreading tree with slender, graceful branches is (8) Parkinsonia aculeata. Known as Jerusalem Thorn, this member of the Leguminosae or Pea family is native from Texas and Arizona south to Argentina, In early summer it produces clouds of bright yellow blossoms followed by pea-like pods. The narrow, pyramidal trees nearby, with bluish foliage and flaking bark revealing smooth, red-brown patches, are (9) Cupressus arizonica, the Arizona cypress. They are natives of the mountains of central and southern Arizona.
Looking east across the canyon, you will see more olive trees (4). On the hillside and along the canyon bottom are numerous (10) Phoenix canariensis, Canary Island Palms, with massive trunks and gracefully arching pinnate leaves. These palms produce large bunches of creamy-white flowers followed by small orange fruit with large pits. Interspersed among them are (11) Washingtonia robusta palms (also called W. gracilis and W. sonorae ) from Baja California.
Beside the terrace at the south end of the Museum, you will recognize the sprawling shrubs as (12) Pyracantha, another member of the Rose family. Down the slope from the terrace, a single (13) Phoenix reclinata is planted in the lawn; others near the foot of the stairs. This is the Senegal Date Palm, native of tropical Africa south to Natal. The dark green arching fronds of this palm make it a popular subject for landscape use. In its native habitat it grows with multiple trunks, but is often seen under cultivation as a single trunk tree. The small edible fruits, date-like in flavor, are orange-brown when ripe.
On each side of the walk are two (14) Cordyline australis, known as Cabbage Tree or Lily Palm. These natives of New Zealand, Australia, and the islands of the Pacific are among the largest plants of the Liliaceae, or Lily family. Narrow trunked trees with single stems – or at times, many-branched above the eight foot level – these plants have rough, furrowed bark and narrow green leaves. To the left of the two cordylines is (15) Arbutus unedo, the Strawberry Tree, from Southern Europe and the Levant. This member of the Ericaceae, or Heath family, has thick, dark green leathery leaves and tiny, white, bellshaped flowers. The strawberry-like fruit is edible and highly decorative.
As you climb the stairs at the end of the terrace, notice the two (16) Eucalyptns citriodora near the end o£ the building. Called the lemon-scented gum, it comes from the northern and central coasts of Queensland.
Take the path to the left. The low shrubs bordering the path, with numerous long, thin branches are (17) Plumbago capensis, of the family Plumbaginaceae from South Africa. Of very dense growth, they are covered through most of the year with phlox-like, baby blue flowers, having short calyxes with sticky hairs. To the right on the knoll are twenty or more Canary Island Pines (7).
Below the walk are a number of young Torrey Pines (6). From the lookout you will see several (18) Harea suaveolens. Known as Pin cushion or Needle Bush, Hakea belongs to the Proteaceae and is native to Australia. It is a dense shrub with prickly, needle-like, compound leaves, and fluffy white flowers.
Taking the upper path, you enter the eucalyptus grove where you see first (19) Eucalyptus robusta, the swamp gum. These trees have large foliage, dark green and glossy, and rough, dark brown, persistent bark. To the left is a group of another eucalyptus which may possibly be E. angustifolia. The slender tree with weeping branches and gray, furrowed bark is (20) E. creba, or Narrowleaf Irontaark. Here also are a number of (21) E. cladocalyx, the Sugar Gum. It usually has a straight trunk, leaves dark green above and dull beneath, and flaking bark on the older trees. The tall tree with brownish-red bark, blue-green leaves and a profusion of light pink flowers is (22) E. sideroxylon, Ironbarlc. One of the largest trees in this group is (23) E. punctata, Leather-jacket. It has narrow, sickle-shaped leaves and smooth, dark bark which comes off in flakes. Another large tree is (24) E. rostrata, River Red Gum, with handsome narrow leaves and generally smooth, gray, deciduous bark. The spreading, generally lower-growing trees are (25) E. lehmanni, the Bushy Yate. It can tae recognized either by the handsome bunches of yellow-green flowers or the clusters of hard-wooded seed cases.
At the southwest edge of the Eucalyptus grove are several (26) Ceratonia siliqua, Carob or St. Johnsbread trees. Belonging to the Pea family and native to the Eastern Mediterranean, they have compound, dark green foliage, inconspicuous flowers, and fruit pods 4-10″ or more long.
As you return to the main road under the tunnel of E. lehmanni and turn slightly left, (27) Pittosporum crassifolium, or Karo, will be on your left. These large shrubs or small trees, members of the Pittosporaceae, have gray foliage and chocolate-colored flowers. In this same section are several (28) Acacia podalyriaefolia, , the Pearl Acacia from Queensland. The rich Pearl-gray foliage is set off with fluffy balls of yellow flowers from late fall into mid-winter. Grayish flat seed pods persist through the summer months.
On your right, between the path and the road, is a planting of another pittosporum, (29) Pittosporum tobira. This bushy shrub, with dark green, leathery leaves and dense, terminal clusters of creamy-white flowers, is a native of Japan.
As you turn left and move eastward across the lawn, you will notice one (30) Libocedrus decurrens, the California Incense Cedar. These trees of the cypress family are native of the mountains of southern Oregon, California, and the northern portion of Baja California, They grow symmetrically, with flattened fans of deep green, aromatic foliage, and cinnamon-brown bark.*
Along the wide, road-like path (to your left as you follow the marked route) is (31) Acacia melanoxylon, the Black Acacia. This is a large, vigorous tree which is sometimes called the tree without leaves; what seem to be leaves are actually phyllodes, or leaf-like extensions of the stems. True leaves are seen only in a young state. These Australian natives are valuable for timber.
Across the wide path from the Black Acacia is (32) Quercus agrifolia, Hollyleaf or Coast Live Oak. This native of San Diego County and northern Baja California belongs to the family Fagaceae. A spreading, round-topped tree, it has gray bark, and rich, deep green foliage. There are two small Cork Oaks to the right of the group of Live Oaks.
In the lawn, a group of four (33) Pinus sabiniana, Digger Pine, lies roughly at right angles to the route. This pine comes from the dry foothill country of Northern and Central California. Unlike other pines, it tends to develop multiple trunks. Sparse, gray needles, and numerous cones with edible seeds are other recognizable characteristics.
To the left, beyond another clump of E. lehmanni (25) is the rare (34) Acacia aneura, or Mulga. It has glaucous-gray, narrow foliage, yellow flowers, and numerous flat seed pods. To my knowledge, this is the only tree of its kind in San Diego.
On your left as you continue clockwise is a group of (35) Schinus terebinthifolia, Brazilian Pepper, of the Anacardiaceae or Cashew family. These popular evergreen trees, which generally grow fuller in the home garden, have aromatic foliage and clusters of small red berries.
At the edge of the lawn is a large (36) Taxodium distichum var. mucronatum, the Montezuma Bald Cypress of Mexico. Pyramidal in shape, with drooping branches and airy foliage, this tree bears small cones which resemble those of the Coast Redwood. Other members of the Taxodiaceae family, the two famous California Redwoods, rarely seen in the San Diego area, are on the hillside behind the Montezuma Bald Cypress. (37) Sequoiadendron gigantea, the Sierra Redwood or Big Tree, native to the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains, is said to tae the largest growing tree in the world. The one specimen here shows the typical straight trunks, and the blue-green foliage arranged in spirals on the branches. Scattered beyond are several Coast Redwoods, (38) Sequoia sempervirens, indigenous to a stretch of coast from southwestern Oregon to Monterey County in California, It is a symmetrical tree with dark green, fern-like foliage on graceful, pendulous branches and reddish, thick bark.
Side by side, and in line with the Montezuma Bald Cypress, are two noteworthy Cedars. The first is (39) Cedrus deodara var. robusta, of the Pine family, native to northern India and Afghanistan. It is a graceful tree with a pyramidal shape and a nodding leading-shoot. Bluish-green needles cover the taranches. The cones, which resemble fir cones, always disintegrate on the trees and fall in sections.
The other cedar is (40) Cedrus libani (libanotica). the famous Cedar of Lebanon, from Asia Minor and the Lebanon mountains of Syria and Palestine. This is a picturesque tree with horizontal branches, an erect leading-shoot, and dark green needles about an inch long. The barrel-shaped cones, errect on the branches, take two years to reach maturity.
To the right, as you follow the route westward, are two (41) Bauhinia variegata var. candida, White Orchid or Butterfly Tree. Members of the Pea family, they are natives of India. These medium-sized trees can be recognized by their deeply-notched leaves, and, in early spring, by the glistening white, orchid-like flowers, and the long, narrow seed pods which follow.
Crowding the bauhinias are two (42) Pinus coulteri, the Big Cone Pine, found in the mountains of Southern California. This pine bears the largest and heaviest cone of all the pines; each scale is tipped with a claw-like spur. It is a tree of medium size, with long, stineedles of a pale glaucous green.
Near the end of this path are several (43) Ceanothus arboreus, the Island or Tree Lilac. This native of the coastal islands of Southern California belongs to the Rhamnaceae, or Buckthorn family. It is a small tree with broad, dull green ovate leaves. Trusses of light blue flowers cover it in spring. To the left, among the shrubbery on the slope, is (44) C. cyaneus, Lakeside Lilac, a native of San Diego County. A shrub of space growth, with glossy green foliage and immense spikes of deep blue flowers, it is one of the loveliest of blue flowering plants.
Among the mixed shrubbery in the rear are several (45) Echium fastuosum, Pride-of-Madeira, a member of the Borage family, native of Europe and the Canary Islands. They are low-growing shrubs with hairy, gray foliage, which bear spectacular blue or purple flower spikes in late spring.
Here also is (46) Calliandra inaequilatera, Pink Powder Puff, another member of the Pea family, from Trinidad. It is a graceful, spreading shrub, with bipinnate leaves and balls of watermelon-pink flowers composed of numerous long, protruding stamens. Higher up is (47) Leptospermum laevigatum, the Tea Tree, of the Myrtle family from Australia, It is a large shrub with fine, gray-green foliage and in spring, masses of small white flowers. Also on this bank are four (48) Hymenosporum flavum, the Sweetshade, from Queensland and New South Wales. A slender, medium-sized tree of the Pittosporum family, it has dark green foliage and sweet-scented, yellow flowers.
Near the end of this crescent-shaped planting is a group of (49) Camellia sasanqua on the left, (50) Camellia japonica to the right. In behind the Camellias, along the fence are (51) Pachian china.
The large pines across the drive are (52) Pinus radiata, the Monterey Pine from northern California. These spreading trees with rich green needles, usually in bunches of threes, bear long-lasting cones.
Farther west along Cosoy Way, the many broad-headed trees with airy foliage are (53) Schinus molle, known as the California Pepper Tree, although it is a native of South America, The female trees produce an abundance of coral-red berries.
On the pergola at the intersection of Cosoy Way and Presidio Drive, the vigorous vine with the sturdy foliage is (54) Phaedranthus buccinatorius, Blood Trumpet Vine, one of the bignonias from Mexico. It produces large scarlet trumphet-shaped flowers with yellow tubes.
As you walk the length of the pergola, notice overhead the (55) Wisteria, two old-fashioned roses, (56) Belle of Portugal and (57) Cecile Brunner, and the handsome foliage of (58) Cissus capensis, an ornamental grape from South Africa. Planted at the left-hand corner of the small building at the end of the pergola is (59) Bougainvillea “Barbara Karst,” of the Four-O’ Clock family, noted for its showy bracts of bright crimson. To the left of the building is (60) Duranta repens, Golden Dewdrop or Skyflower. This large, arching shrub belongs to the Verbena family, and comes from the West Indies and Mexico. It bears attractive racemes of deep blue flowers and golden berries, often present at the same time.
As you turn to the right along the lawn, you will notice a magnificent large pine near the right-hand edge of Presidio Drive. This is (61) Pinus halepensis, the Aleppo Pine. Its range is the Mediterranean from Portugal to Palestine. No temple of ancient Greece was considered complete without an Aleppo Pine beside it. The gray-green needles appear in tufts at the ends of the branches.
Across the drive, the large mound is covered with dark, low, round-headed (62) Pinus pinea, commonly called Stone, Parasol, Umbrella, or Mophead Pine. It is native to southern Europe and Asia Minor. Turn half-left under these trees and follow the route southwest to the edge of the bank. Here is a massive tree with pale green, pendulous foliage, and bark hanging from its trunk. It is (63) Eucalyptus viminalis, the White, Manna, or Ribbon Gum.
Turning right and following the bank, you will come to a somewhat stunted-looking tree with attractive, fern-like leaves and reddish bark. This rare and tender tree is (64) Lyonothamnus floribundus var. aplenifolius, Catalina Ironwood, a member of the Rose family, and a native of the Southern California Coastal islands. Large flat-topped clusters of tiny white blossoms appear in summer.
Farther along the path is (65) Eucalyptus rudis, Flooded Gum, a medium-sized tree of drooping habit with thin, rounded, gray-green leaves. The huge tree nearby is (66) E. globulus, Blue or Fever Gum. It has large blue-green leaves and smooth bark, peeling in ritataons. White flowers are followed by large, flat-topped seed capsules.
Turn right and clamber up the steep bank to the flagpole as best you can. Along the original trenches of old Fort Stockton, you will notice a number of (67) Aloe arborescens, a handsome shrubby succulent with many branches. It belongs to the Lily family, and comes from South Africa.
At the front of the old cannon with its commanding view of the approaches to San Diego Bay, is (68) an Aloe ciliaris, Lily family from the Cape of Good Hope, a scrambling, succulent vine with orange-red, fire-cracker-like flowers. (If planted in good soil near the sea, the stems will grow to 20′ long.)
Beyond the granite monument, follow a path between the large eucalyptus and the olive onto the lawn. Near the pathway leading to the stone steps are several (69) Rosmarinus officinalis, Rosemary, of the Mint family from the Mediterranean region. These are small shrubs about three feet in height, with aromatic foliage and pale blue flowers.
About ten feet to the rear toward Presidio Drive are two (70) Osteomeles anthyllidifolia, sometimes called Uhi-Uhi, of the Rose family from the South Pacific and Hawaii. Delicate evergreen shrutas, with many pairs of dainty gray-green leaves, they bear tiny five-petal, whiteflowers.followed by small globose, bluish-talack fruit looking like miniature rose hips.
At the right hand side of the large concrete settee are a number of myrtus, and a group of conifers. The low, spreading conifers are (71) Juniperus chinensis var pfitzeriana, of the cypress family, from eastern Asia. The large, globular one is (72) Thuja orientalis var. Rosedalis, a sport of the oriental arborvitae having a juvenile-type foliage.
Down the grassy slope to the north is a beautiful Eucalyptus citriodora (16), and two (73) Lagunaria patersoni, the Primrose or Cow Iitch Tree, of the Mallow family from the South Pacific Islands and Australia. They are slender, shapely trees with olive-green foliage and small, hibiscus-like, lavender-pink flowers. The leaves cause itching on contact with the skin.
Continuing down the slope along the edge of the lawn, you will see a large planting of (74) Melaleuca armillaris, Bracelet Bottle Brush. Australian natives of the Myrtle family, they are large, bushy shrubs with slender, drooping branches, and white flowers in cylindrical spikes.
After passing more Eucalyptus rudis (65), you will come to two (75) E. ficifolia, the Scarlet-flowering Gum, more often called simply Flowering Eucalyptus. These medium-sized trees with dark green foliage are ablaze with fuzzy scarlet blossoms throughout the summer. From seed, they do not come true to color, but may be white, apple-blossom pink, or vermilion. The urnshaped fruit is thick and woody.
Across the lawn to the right, the bushy plants in the foreground are (76) Acacia armata, Kangaroo Thorn, from an island off the coast of southern Australia, The leaves are small, and the branches very thorny. Deep yellow flowers are followed by curly seed pods. In the same planting, the small trees with the light green, graceful, willowy foliage are (77) Pittosporum phillyraeoides, sometimes called Willow or Narrow-leaf Pittosporum. The yellow flowers, small and fragrant, are followed by quaint yellow berries.
Among the trees most frequently noticed by people driving through the Park are (78) Acacia pendula at the edge of this planting next to Presidio Drive. They are also called Weeping or True Myall, and come from Queensland and New South Wales. Reaching almost to the ground are pendulous branches, resembling those of a weeping willow. Leaves are narrow and light gray; flowers come in small clusters along the branches, followed by flat seed pods. These specimens are exceedingly beautiful the year round.
Turn left at the path along the south side of the parking lot. To the right is one flowering peach tree and some good specimens of Chamaerops humilis (2), growing naturally.
The planting along the west side of the parking lot is (79) Hibiscus rosasinensis “Crown of Bohemia.” The many varieties of hibiscus, widely cultivated throughout the tropics and sub-tropics, belong to the Mallow family, and come from Asia, “Crown of Bohemia” has beautiful, deep green foliage and double flowers of a rich gold.
On the downhill side of the small building is (80) Yucca elephantipes, from southeast Mexico and Guatemala, one of the largest plants of the Lily family. A bold, stiff-leaved plant, it bears flowers in large, dense panicles and clusters of date-like fruit. Beyond the yucca you will notice additional plantings of Phoenix reclinata (13) and P. canariensis (10).
To your right, as you follow the path along the length of the parking lot, are a number of (81) Salvia greggi of the Mint family, from Texas and Mexico. Near the wall is one (82) Solanum rantonetti, purple-flowering vines of the Nightshade family (the potato and the eggplant belong to the same group) from Paraguay and Argentina.
Turn left and walk over to the Serra Cross. The palm nearby is (83) Phoenix dactylifera, the common date palm of North Africa. Upright specimens with blue-green, stiff pinnate leaves, they produce many suckers and grow in clumps if left to themselves. Because of insufficient heat, they do not produce good fruit here, but in the Coachella Valley of Southern California, they yield some of the finest dates in the world. There are many references to this palm in the Bible.
Continue westward down the slope to the group of palms along the drive. Here are several Chamaerops humilis (2) and one (84) Erythea edulis, the Guadalupe Palm from Guadalupe Island off the coast of Baja California, One of the handsomest of the palmate palms, its large leaves, a rich, light green in color, are borne on long stalks. It produces heavy bunches of shiny, black-skinned seeds. The attractive ground cover plant between the palms and the road is prostrate Carissa grandiflora, Natal plum.
Cross the drive at the pedestrain cross walk, and go down the dirt path beyond the opening in the wall. On your right as you approach the bottom is a planting of (85) Bromelia balansae, Heart of Flame, members of the Pineapple family from Argentina and southcentral Brazil. These stemless, suckering plants have recurved leaves, 2-3′ long, which are prickly at the edges. The inner leaf, turning a fiery violet-red at the time of flowering, is more spectacular than the bloom.
Nearby are several agaves and the (86) Euphorbia tirucalli Milk Bush, from tropical Africa. This small shrub is a mass of cylindrical, pencil-like succulent branches.
In the middle of the lower lawn is (87) Ulmus parvifolia var. sempervirens, the Evergreen Elm, from China and Japan. An open-headed tree with small, firm leaves, it blooms in late summer or early fall.
To your left as you face the Grotto is another Carota tree (26), and beyond it, a group of (88) Grevillea robusta, the Silk Oak, belonging to the Proteaceae, from Queensland and Australia. Upright trees with spreading heads of fern-like foliage, Silk Oaks produce large trusses of orange-yellow flowers profusely in early spring.
Cross the lawn northwestward toward Taylor Street (you will recognize it by the heavy traffic). The large shrubby plant with nearly round leaves is (89) Dombeya wallichi. It is a member of the Chocolate family from Madagascar, and makes an attractive shrub or small tree, especially in spring when the showy balls of pink flowers are fresh.
To the right of the Dombeya is a tree with light-colored papery bark. It is (90) Melaleuca leucadendron, Broad-leaf Paperback or Cajeput Tree, which belongs to the Myrtle family and comes from Queensland and New South Wales. The tree is covered with small, pointed, rigid leaves. Its cream-colored flowers, shaped like bottle brushes, give way to woody seed capsules.
Nearby are two (91) Arecastrum romanzoffianum, the familiar Cocos plumosa or Queen palm which is so plentiful in San Diego.
Return up the hill by way of the left path at the edge of the bank, and continue back to the drive across the lawn toward the Indian statue. In the extensive cactus planting behind the statue is a large specimen of Yucca elephantipes (80), and to the right are two (92) Y. brevifolia. This is the famous Joshua tree, belonging to the Lily family, a native of the deserts of southern Utah, Nevada and California. The small, grotesque trunk sends off a few angular, clumsy branches with olive-green, daggar-like leaves. White flowers appear at the ends of the branches.
Farther up the hill is a group of sixteen (93) Eugenia uniflora, Surinam Cherry. A member of the Myrtle family, it is indigenous to Brazil. The small leaves are deep green in summer and bronzy during the cooler months. The edible fruit is scarlet, like a small tomato, taut with eight, deep longitudinal grooves. Clambering over the wall at the left is (94) Ficus pumila, Creeping Fig, of the Mulberry family, native to China, Japan and Australia, The leaves are creeping stems which cling to whatever they touch.
The last trees on your left as you return to the parking lot are Melaleuca leucadendron (90). If you are interested in the names of other plants in the Park, see one of the courteous Park employees. He will be glad to answer your questions.
Key to Route and Planting Map
Route and Planting Map
Keyed to Text;
Drawn for California Garden
by Alice M. Clark
Key to Points of Interest
The Cross was erected in 1913 on the approximate spot where Father Serra established his original mission on July 16, 1769. It was constructed by the Order of Panama from tile salvaged from the Presidio.
THE FATHER SERRA STATUTE AND THE INDIAN STATUE
These were commissioned by a wealthy newspaperman, E. W. Scripps, to an outstanding California sculptor named Arthur Putnam as part of a series of statues depicting the spirit of the history of California. They were placed in Presidio Park in 1933.
This fort dates from Mexican days when it was used for defense by the pueblo of San Diego against northern attack during a time of revolution in 1838.
In 1846, during the Mexican War San Diego was seized for the United States by sailors and marines from the sloop-of-war ” Cyane,” supported by John Charles Fremont’s California Battalion. The fort was rebuilt as a U.S. Army fortification and was renamed “Fort Dupont,” in honor of the captain of the ” Cyane.“
After the Cyane departed Mexican volunteers retook the town and forced the Americans to take refuge on a Yankee whaler named the ” Stoniington,” which was in San Diego Bay. A young man named Albert B. Smith sneaked ashore and spiked the guns in the fort, which enabled the Americans to retake the town.
Commodore Robert F. Stockton further strengthened the fort and renamed it for himself, It was a broad ditch backed by earth-filled barrels, between which the muzzles of twelve guns looked out.
Fort Stockton also contains a memorial to the Mormon Battalion which completed the longest infantry march in history in January 1847, from Iowa to San Diego, only to arrive after the Mexican war was ended. There is a marker to the women of the Mormon Battalion at Fort Stockton, in addition.
A bronze cannon named “El Jupiter,” cast in Manila in 1783, is mounted in the ruins. It was part of San Diego’s earliest harbor defenses. Fort Stockton is registered as California Historical Landmark #54.
THE PATTIE MEMORIAL
The Pattie Memorial sits on the spot where Sylvester Pattie, who came to San Diego on March 27, 1828, was imprisoned and died. Reputedly he was the first American to die in California. Pattie, his son, James, and six other men completed the trail over the southern route from St. Louis, Missouri to the Presidio of San Diego, where they were seized by the Mexican government. Unlike his son, the elder Pattie died before he could be freed.
THE ROYAL PRESIDIO EXCAVATIONS?THE “DIGS”*
Inside the fence sections of the Royal Presidio of San Diego have been excavated. These include a chapel, sections of cobble and mud walls, and several burials of early San Diegans. The San Diego History Center sponsors the excavation program. The work is done by students under the supervision of Dr. Paul Ezell, of the San Diego State College Anthropology Department. The site of the Royal Presidio is registered historical landmark #59 of the State of California. It also is a registered federal landmark.
*The term “Digs” is a popular name for an excavation site.)