Like many of you, I’ve enjoyed hiking and camping in San Diego County’s parks. But I also enjoy them as a history seeker. There’s a lot of history to be found in the county park system, which covers 55,000 acres and more than 100 parks and preserves.
I’ve been enjoying a great new book on this history which I highly recommend: San Diego County Parks: Over 100 Years. Authors Ellen Sweet and Jennifer Grahlman are local researchers and historians who work at the San Diego County Parks History Center, part of the San Diego County Department of Parks and Recreation.
Drawing on the archives at the County Parks History Center as well as other historical archives across the county, Sweet and Grahlman have created a book that reveals newly discovered history, corrects some popular misconceptions, and offers new insights. Their passion for researching history and sharing it with others shows, and we the public are the better for it.
There are great stories about Mexican-era ranchos, an overland stage station, remnants of an early gristmill, Victorian mansions, traces of flume systems, and Depression-era construction projects among other subjects. And you’ll meet the people behind these stories, like Kate Sessions, Elisha Babcock, Felicita la Chappa, Alonza Horton and William Heise, to name just a few. And it’s loaded with historic photographs.
San Diego County Parks: Over 100 Years is available on Amazon. It’s also on sale at a number of County Parks facilities. A portion of the proceeds from sales will go to County Parks to promote ongoing park preservation efforts.
Here’s a link to the County’s website with more info, including how to order copies: