Presidio Park Still on SOHO’s Most Endangered List

by on October 6, 2023 · 0 comments

in History, San Diego


Now in its 36th year, SOHO’s Most Endangered List continues to serve as a rallying cry to raise awareness and focus attention on sites threatened by deterioration, lack of maintenance, insufficient funds, or inappropriate development, and to bolster local advocacy efforts and build support for each property or site’s eventual protection and/or preservation.

The Most Endangered List of historic resources serves as a comprehensive compilation of historic sites and locations that currently face imminent risk of permanent loss. Its primary objective is to generate public awareness regarding the vulnerable state of these sites within our community and to motivate individuals to take proactive measures for their preservation. The selection process involves assessing the level of threat faced by each site, while considering their cultural and historical significance.

SOHO’s list is a call to collective responsibility. Historic landmarks speak volumes about our region’s character, echoing our narratives across generations. Yet, these treasures stand threatened year after year, vulnerable to being erased entirely. The list serves as a compass, guiding our community toward preservation-minded action. It waves a red flag of urgency, drawing the attention to all who hold a stake in and value our shared heritage.

When evaluating a potential site for inclusion on the list, SOHO considers a range of factors, including significance, local support for preservation, the urgency of the threat, and potential solutions to that threat. Sites do not need to be nationally significant or famous to make the list. They need only be places that matter to a community.

Given the vast expanse of San Diego County, there may be endangered sites that remain unknown to many of us. The community’s active involvement becomes crucial in identifying at-risk locations. To facilitate this, SOHO provides this submission form that allows anyone to report endangered buildings and sites year round.

It is important to note that the annual list might not encompass the entire spectrum of cultural diversity present in our region. The list focuses on sites that face the most severe threats at the time of the listing and that we are aware of, which are often unpredictable and unforeseen.

Presently, one of San Diego’s most culturally diverse historic sites, Presidio Park, remains under threat and has been on the list since 2016 for a variety of issues. This nationally significant settlement holds immense historical and cultural value, as it marks not only the Spanish entry into California but also the presence of San Diego’s first Black residents.

Its inclusion on the Most Endangered List for eight consecutive years highlights the urgent need for collective action to safeguard its legacy and its very land formation. You can find more information about Presidio Park and its importance to the diverse communities whose history it holds. (Here’s an excerpt:)

San Diego Presidio: A Vanished Military Community of Upper California

Popular views of San Diego Presidio portray it as a fortified community, inhabited largely by Spanish soldiers, who followed customs that were predominantly European. Ongoing documentary and archaeological research suggest that these views represent an inaccurate picture of the settlement and its people.

For more than a third of its years of existence (1769-1835), the presidio was not protected by any fortifications. Throughout its history, the population of the base
included large numbers of civilians. The people of the presidio represented a racially mixed community. The way of life that they pursued included elements that drew heavily on local Native American, and Mesoamerican, cultural roots.

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