Next we drove on further south about fifteen miles to Old Town San Diego so we could see again the Presidio of San Diego. "Presidio" means "Garrison Place," and originally was the first location a mission was placed on the west coast, in 1749 by Spanish Missionaries led by Father Junipero Serra. It was built as a fort at that time, to protect the citizens when San Diego was later established. The name "San Diego" in literal translation means "Saint James." Serra was responsible for twenty-one missions being established along the California coastline from Mexico to Oregon.
Today's Presidio Park stands nobly above Old Town San Diego, high on a hill where it can be seen from the ocean and the harbor. However, today's representative was built long after the original settlement was in ruins, by a philanthropic man by the name of Marston, who, over time, purchased the properties surrounding the site. He established trees and shrubs, grasses and ponds before turning it over to the city of San Diego in 1929. The building he built to commemorate the hallowed location now houses a museum dedicated to the preservation of history.
Where California got its name.
Note: In the 1500's a Spaniard named de Montalvo wrote exciting adventure stories about an island inhabited by Amazon warrior maidens. His fictional island was named "California" because its queen was named "Califia." When the Spanish explorers arrived in the 1600's, they used the fictional name from de Montalvo's story as a reference point, thinking Baja was an island. They wrote "California" on their maps after the name supplied by Montalvo. In actuality, the location was Baja California, a peninsula that runs south into Mexico below the mainland we now know as the state of California, USA.