Edit ModuleShow Tags

Vintage San Diego: Julian in the Winter

The quaint mountain town has been giving many San Diego kids their first exposure to snow for nearly 150 years


Published:

Main Street Julian circa 1925 | Photo courtesy of the San Diego History Center

The county’s favorite small-town mountain getaway, Julian has given many a SoCal kid their first exposure to snow for nearly 150 years. In January 1869 A. E. Coleman, a cook from a nearby ranch who’d escaped slavery in Missouri, discovered gold in a creek that would later bear his name. Though the California gold rush was long over by then, prospectors soon swarmed the mountains, many of them former Confederate soldiers who weren’t receiving the warmest welcome from San Diego’s chief landowner at the time, New Englander Alonzo Horton.

One of them staked a claim and named it after his cousin, Mike Julian, purportedly because he was the handsomest man in town. As the gloriously named Horace Fenton Wilcox remembered: “I reckon [Julian] wasn’t any tougher’n most minin’ camps of that time. Every other place of business was a saloon, a gamblin’ joint, or a dance hall; but on the whole things was pretty orderly.”

Gold production shut down in the 1890s, but Julian avoided becoming a ghost town because while its men were off in the mines, their wives had been busy planting apple orchards, which would become its lasting hallmark. In 1897 another former Missouri slave, Albert Robinson, built the Julian Hotel, which today is the oldest continuously operating hotel in Southern California.

Thanks to its designation as a historical district, all new buildings on Main Street, pictured here, must conform to 19th-century architectural styles, which secures Julian as San Diego’s best place to take a trip back in time, go for a romp in the snow, and cozy up with some hot apple pie.

 

By the Numbers:

1909 - Year of the first Apple Day celebration

$450 - Salary made by the town’s first schoolteacher, in 1870

13 - Number of active rare-metal mines in San Diego County

100 - Population in 1876 (1,502 in 2010)

4,222 - Feet elevation

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

Sustainable Fashion Has Officially Landed in Del Mar

Housed in the Flower Hill Promenade, Ineffably stocks only organic or ethically-made staples

The New Textile Shop in Normal Heights

Textile designer Erin Dollar dishes on bringing her brand Cotton + Flax, into a brick and mortar

13 Golden Ideas for Valentine's Day You Can Only Find in San Diego

Shop local and spoil your partner—or yourself!—with these gorgeously gilt accessories
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. San Diego Magazine's Travel Awards 2019
    Cast your vote now for your favorite hotels, travel companies, and attractions
  2. Best Restaurants in San Diego: 2018
    San Diego's top restaurant owners, chefs, and bartenders name their favorite San Diego restaurants of 2018.
  3. The Best Soup Dumplings in San Diego
    My hunt for the best xiao long bao in the city unearthed two surprising winners
  4. Behind the Brands 2019
  5. Puesto's Next Top Taco
    Submit your best taco recipe for the chance to win a grand prize
  6. First Look: Realm of 52 Remedies
    Wildly imaginative speakeasy cements the arrival of design to San Diego’s Asian food haven
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Puesto's Next Top Taco

Submit your best taco recipe for the chance to win a grand prize

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

Sony Consumer Electronics Innovator Builds a Future Where Robotics and Connected Devices Prevail

Robust music and pictures ecosystem bring bespoke experience to TV and audio

Live the Dream with the Dream House Raffle

A multimillion-dollar dream home, fabulous trips, luxury cars, and more could be yours
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags