Interesting Facts about San Diego
San Diego by the Numbers:
Population: 1.25 million Average Winter Temperature: 60 degrees F/15.5 degrees C Average Summer Temperature: 71 degrees F/22 degrees C
Electricity: 110 volts, 60Hz, standard two pin plugs Time Zone: GMT-8 Country Dialing Code: 1 Area Codes: 619, 760, 858
Things to See in San Diego
San Diego Airport
Old Town & Trolley Station
San Diego Zoo
San Diego Wild Animal Park
San Diego Convention Center
Mission Bay Park
Cruise Ship Terminal
San Diego History
While today San Diego is recognized for its picturesque beaches, family friendly activities and historical landmarks, during 20,000 BC the area was home to some of the richest herds of Caribou, bison and more. Eventually the natives most commonly referred to as the San Dieguito people began culturing the area just east of Rancho Santa Fe
; descendants from the area moved to La Jolla
(commonly referred to as La Jollan peoples) and established themselves around San Diego's modern day La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club
. Named after the Catholic Saint Didacus, more often referred by his nickname San Diego, by Sebastian Vizcaino in 1602, the area was actually originally "San Miguel" by Spain's explorer Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo. With Cabrillo's death just a few months later, San Miguel (today's Point Loma) was no longer under Spain's flagship and Vizcaino took over.
The area, Point Loma and Mission Bay, had been inhabited by Kumeyaay Indians for 10,000 years. Plans to Christianize the area started immediately, as threats from "alta California" begin to loom. Father Junipero Serra – the infamous leader and founder of "El Camino Real" – began establishing the Mission San Diego de Alcala
, which marked the end of his famous California mission trail. The missionary crew got help by several European ships and two land groups, all of whom established camp in today's Old Town
. The colonization was completed by 1797 when San Diego's Mission welcomed California's largest number of occupants. When Mexico won its independence from Spain, San Diego ("baja California") fell under the rule of the reigning country; the Presidio Hills
welcomed some of the first residents to the area while California followed command under Mexico.
By 1825 San Diego is named the unofficial capital of both lower and upper California and just ten years later the first mayor was elected. That same year seaman Richard Henry Dana stepped onto San Diego's land following detailed accounts of his time at sea. The Mexican-American War ensues, finishing up in a bloody battle in today's Escondido. By 1850, just three years after California's brutal win against Mexico, San Diego is named one of 27 original California counties – spanning as far east as the Colorado River into modern-day's Imperial County and the cities San Bernardino and Riverside. The city's first mayor is elected that year, while Cabrillo Monument's
iconic image is captured for the first time on paper.
San Diego, now with a little more than 700 in its city, establishes the Weekly Union, which in just a few short years will become the San Diego Union-Tribune following mergers of the Union and Evening Tribune. John D. Spreckels is the paper's sole owner, who manages the business until 1928. Prominent businessman Alonzo Horton
begins building the first wharf in the area in 1869 and later goes on to become one of the wealthiest men in the area – owning several blocks in today's downtown San Diego, among other establishments.
Gold rush hits San Diego in 1870, where mines produce $2 million in gold (though the industry only lasts for another six years). The city continues to grow in population, nearly doubling in size as the city directory is published and the San Diego Society of Natural History
is established. Typical city institutions finally begin to fashion a growing commerce with the establishment of several organizations like the Russ School, which will eventually be taught by Kate Sessions
. When the transcontinental railroad reaches San Diego in 1885 the area begins promoting one of its most feasible resources – itself (today tourism makes up one of San Diego's biggest money-makers). The first tourists come just as construction for the Hotel del Coronado
begins, welcoming guests in 1886 following the peninsula's acquisition by Elisha S. Babcock and H.L. Story.
Sessions, who began establishing a nursery upon her arrival to San Diego, purchases 36 acres of "City Park" which before long becomes known as Balboa Park. Eventually buildings are constructed in Balboa Park
as San Diego hosts the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, while a large Organ Pavilion donated by resident Spreckles
is also added to the venue. San Diego's now world famous San Diego Zoo
is created only after Dr. Harry Wegeforth, who hoped to quarantine animals for the 1915 Expo, petitioned for a permanent park.
Today's San Diego State University
opened up as the State Normal School in 1899 in Normal Heights as a two year training college. Just four years later the Scripps
Institution of Oceanography is established by University of California Zoology Professor William E. Ritter and Ellen Browning Scripps. Not before too long the University of San Diego
is founded in Linda Vista (1954), followed merely a decade later by the University of California, San Diego
in La Jolla.
San Diego becomes a Mecca for entertainment, with the 1929 establishment of the Fox Theatre, a prominent movie house and current home to the San Diego Symphony (Copley Symphony Hall
) along with Balboa Park's Fine Arts Gallery. These mark just one of many that improve San Diego's artistic endeavors, with Del Mar Fairgrounds
construction through a Work Progress Authority project and the San Diego's Civic Center debut.
The San Diego Padres moved from minor-league to Major League in 1968, opening up their season at the new San Diego Stadium (which would eventually become Petco Park
. Sports become more prominent in the area beyond baseball with Escondido's Olympic training venue opening and the Super Bowl held in Qualcomm Stadium.