A Walking Tour of San Diego, California-Downtown
by Doug Gelbert
published by Cruden Bay Books at Smashwords
Copyright 2012 by Cruden Bay Books
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the Publisher.
The San Diego Presidio was the first European settlement on the Pacific Coast of present-day America, founded as a military post by Gaspar de Portola in 1769. Situated on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the location provided a fine defensive position but the town that grew up around the bluff was four miles away from one of the finest natural harbors on the coast. During the California Gold Rush of the late 1840s thousands of potential settlers stopped in San Diego but few stayed.
In 1850, months before California would be admitted to the Union, William Heath Davis was one of the first to move out of the developed part of town and attempt to take advantage of that harbor. Despite spending an estimated $60,000 on the project his wharf was crudely built and in 1853 the steamer Los Angeles barreled into it and the damage was never repaired. Davis was long gone by 1862 when the United States Army dismantled his wharf and used the timber for firewood.