250th Commemoration of San Diego

Old Town Chamber

Old Town Chamber of Commerce’s 250th Commemoration of the birth of San Diego year of events will kick-off at Old Town State Historic Park on Saturday, January 26, 2019, where in 1847 the U.S. Army of the West Mormon Battalion arrived in San Diego.  The park will be alive with hands on activities reflecting this period in San Diego history.  The living history day includes a parade reenacting the march into San Diego, beginning at 10:00 am. Children can make bricks, ropes, and dolls; grind corn, cook biscuits-on-a-stick, and play other authentic games.  Families are invited to take a photo in period clothing. The Liberty Stand will be in the square to provide information about early history. Center stage will feature singing, dancing and storytelling throughout the day.  Don’t miss the annual Dutch oven cook-off!  The event is open to the community and is free.

Having been driven by mobs from their homes in Illinois, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as “Mormons” sought assistance from the government for their migration to the west.  The U. S. Government responded with President James Polk requesting they assemble an army to march as part of the Army of the West during the Mexican-American War from Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas to San Diego.  This march is one of the longest in the history of the U. S. Army, totaling over 2,000 miles, and arriving in San Diego on January 29, 1847.

At the war’s end, the members of the Mormon Battalion stayed on and performed garrison duties, making friends with the Californios and bringing a community together through their service.  They fired some of the first bricks in California and used the bricks to line deeper wells, providing healthy drinking water to the Pueblo of San Diego.  The Battalion also constructed our first U. S. Courthouse, where a replica stands in Old Town today.


1769 marks the year the first settlement of Alta California was established, which included a mission and presidio. The City of San Diego and Old Town Chamber of Commerce along with other community organizations have begun planning the 250th Commemoration of the birth of San Diego to take place in 2019. This commemoration will include a year of events marking various significant moments throughout the history of San Diego.

A main calendar of events will be hosted on the site oldtownsandiego.org/250th. Keep an eye open for monthly lectures and historical activities throughout the year. Be sure to visit Old Town San Diego September 14th and 15th to experience the Founders’ Day Festival and engage in family friendly activities that commemorate the history of San Diego.

If you are interested in participating in the Festival or would like to sponsor the event, please contact the Old Town Chamber of Commerce at 619-291-4903 or email [email protected].

Click HERE to become a sponsor

Click HERE to become a vendor

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