Chapter 5: San Diego's Mexican Community, 1850-1910
5. What was Old Town like during the American era?
As Americans moved into Old Town in the 1850s and 1860s they built new wooden structures in the New England style and remodeled some of the older adobes. But in the 1870s many Americans began moving south into the New Town area, closer to the bay, leaving behind abandoned homes. The Mexicans, however stayed behind.
In 1871 the County Board of Supervisors moved the municipal government and its archives to New Town and the next year, in 1872, a fire ravaged many of the wooden structures in Old Town. This signaled the decline of the old pueblo as a social and political center for San Diego. Henceforth Old Town would be synonymous with the Mexican barrio of San Diego, until the coming of Mexican immigrants to Logan Heights area during the early years of the next century.
A description of Mexican Old Town appeared in The San Diego Union in the 1870s:
There are 73 houses in Old Town. .. population of about 250.
We have the finest school house in the Pueblo, with an average attendance of 75 pupils when school is kept. The residences of our citizens are generally comfortable, even if not of the highest style of architecture.