Presidio Park is a city historic park in San Diego, California. It is the site where the San Diego Presidio and the San Diego Mission, the first European settlements in what is now the western United States, were founded in 1769.
In 1773 the mission moved a few miles upriver while the fort remained on Presidio Hill. The presidio had been established to protect against Indian attacks or foreign invasions. As the need for such protection disappeared, people preferred to live in Old Town at the foot of the hill, and the fort was gradually abandoned. It was in ruins by 1835.
In 1907 George Marston, a wealthy department store owner and civic leader, bought Presidio Hill with the aim of preserving the historic site. Unable to attract city funding, Marston built a private park (planned by architect John Nolan) including the Serra Museum (designed by architect William Templeton Johnson) in 1925. Marston donated the park to the city in 1929.
The park encompasses about 40 acres (16 ha). Visitors to Presidio Park enjoy sweeping views of the city, the San Diego River valley, and the Pacific Ocean. The grounds are open for picnics and play. The facilities can be used for weddings and other special events.
The spot in the park where Junípero Serra planted a palm tree when he first arrived in 1769 was declared a California Historical Landmark. Otherwise, no historical structures remain in Presidio Park today. The site is occasionally used for archaeological excavations. A fenced-off area encloses the foundations of the chapel, walls, and other historical sites.
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