“Fortress of Cobblestones”

“Castillo de Guijarros” literally means castle or fortress of cobblestones in Spanish. That’s the name the Spaniards gave to a rocky point overlooking the entrance to San Diego Bay when they took possession of the area in the late 1700s. When they erected a fortification to protect the harbor from invaders in 1797 they named it after the boulders strewn about it. During ensuing decades American sailing ship captains took to using some of those cobblestones to serve as ballast for their ships on voyages around Cape Horn. So in time the site took on a new name: Ballast Point.

The site has seen archaeological excavations as well as other research by military historians and the whaling industry. This summer that research and its results will be the subject of an exhibit at the San Diego Archaeological Center, “Ft. Guijarros: Soldiers, Yankee Whalers, and Fisherfolk.” To find out more, you can email the center’s Collections Manager, Dr. Adolfo Muniz, at admuniz@sandiegoarchaeology.org .

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