Diego History - San Diego’s history
is very distinct. Many events and even a greater number
of people have influenced San Diego’s progression.
From Junipero Serra, Alonzo Horton, and John Spreckels
many people have played major roles in shaping San
Diego into what is now “America’s Finest
With sights such as Old Town, Presidio
Park, and Balboa Park San
Diego’s history is interesting and fun to explore.
Below is a brief timeline of San Diego’s historic
1542 – Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo
sails into the bay and names his discovery San Miguel.
1602 – Sebastian Vizcaino arrives
in San Miguel and renames it San Diego de Alcala.
1769 - Gaspar de Portola and Junipero
Serra arrive in San Diego. Presidio Hill becomes the
site of California’s first mission – Mission
San Diego de Alcala.
1846 – U.S. forces seize San
Diego from Mexico. Captain Samuel F. Dupont orders
U.S. flag raised.
1850 – California admitted
to Union. With a population of 650 San Diego becomes
the state’s first county. William Heath Davis
attempts to build a new waterfront city – a
failure forever known as “Davis’ Folly.”
1867 – Alonzo Horton purchases
960 acres that will ultimately be developed into New
1886 – Construction begins
on the Hotel Del Coronado.
1906 –John D. Spreckels and
others form a corporation to build San Diego &
1915 – Balboa Park is built
as a temporary site to host the Panama-California
1927 – Charles Lindbergh completes
his flight from New York to Paris in Spirit of St.
Louis, which was built in San Diego. The following
year Lindbergh Field (San Diego’s municipal
airport) is dedicated in his honor.
1935 – Balboa Park hosts the
city’s 2nd exposition, the California-Pacific
1942 – U.S. Navy purchases
Camp Pendleton for use as a Marine base.
1962 – Salk Institute opens
in La Jolla.
1968 – The San Diego Padres
become a Major League Baseball team. They play their
first game in the new $27 million San Diego Stadium,
which opened the previous year.
1969 – The Coronado Bay Bridge
1970 – With a population of
697,471San Diego becomes California’s 2nd largest
1978 – Two separate arson fires
a week apart destroy Balboa Park’s Old Globe
Theatre and Aerospace Museum.
1980 – The San Diego Trolley
gives its first ride.
1996 – San Diego hosts the
Republican National Convention, the first political
convention in the city’s history.
2003 - Fires ravage San Diego County.
Three fires simultaneously burn over 380,000 acres,
destroyed 2,400 homes and left 16 people dead. President
Bush visits San Diego to access damage and visit with