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Guide to the Presidio Park Collection MS 71
MS 71  
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Collection Details
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  • Arrangement
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Processing Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biographical / Historical Notes
  • Scope and Content

  • Title: Presidio Park Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 71
    Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 0.5 Linear feet (1 box)
    Date (inclusive): 1781-1982
    Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English and Spanish.
    Abstract: The collection consists of materials on the San Diego Presidio and its development into Presidio Park, including narratives, visitor information, and documents on the Presidio Park Excavation Project.
    creator: San Diego Historical Society.


    Items in collection are arranged by subject.

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Sean Flores on July 7, 2011.
    Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

    Preferred Citation

    Presidio Park Collection, MS 71, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

    Biographical / Historical Notes

    Presidio Park is the historical landmark of the birth of the mission system and first European settlement on the west coast of the United States. On July 16, 1769, Father Junipero Serra erected a cross and held the first mass on Presidio Hill establishing the site of Mission San Diego de Alcala. By the late 1830s, the site was abandoned and left in ruin. In 1907, George W. Marston, a pioneer San Diego civic leader and philanthropist, and a group of friends recognized the need to preserve Presidio Hill and purchased the site. Marston oversaw construction at Presidio Hill, creating Presidio Park and the Serra Museum. On July 16, 1929, Marston presented Presidio Park as a gift to the City of San Diego and the Serra Museum as a gift to the San Diego Historical Society.
    In 1965, the San Diego Historical Society initiated the Presidio Park Excavation Project. This project was designed for the purpose of developing a comprehensive profile of San Diego’s earliest settlement. Test excavations at the southwest edge of Presidio Hill unearthed ruins that belonged to the presidio’s chapel. The excavations of the chapel complex were under the direction of Paul Ezell of San Diego State University and Diane Barbolla of San Diego Mesa College. After excavations of the chapel complex were completed in June 1976, excavations on the western portion of Presidio Hill began in order to identify the original entranceway of the presidio. Ezell has estimated that it would take about fifty years to examine the entire excavatable area of the Presidio.

    Scope and Content

    This collection contains materials on the San Diego Presidio and Presidio Park. Included in the collection are copies of documents from the Presidio area during Spanish rule in the late 18th century, and copies and transcriptions of publications on the Presidio’s history and the development of Presidio Park. It also includes programs and a magazine commemorating the inaugural opening of Presidio Park in 1929, Presidio Park brochures and horticulture guides, as well as narratives and maps on the Presidio Park Excavation Project which began in 1965.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Ezell, Paul H. (Paul Howard), 1913-1988
    Marston, George White, 1850-1946
    Presidio Park Excavation Project.
    Serra, Junipero, 1713-1784
    Presidio Hill
    Presidio Park
    San Diego (Calif.)