Old Town San Diego is really a must stop if your travels take you to this beautiful southern California city. There are several historic attractions in Old Town. One of those is the Seeley Stables which tell a excellent story about the very early days of San Diego. The Seeley Stables Museum can be found at 2630 Calhoun Street in Old Town.
Seeley Stable was used to stable horses and house stagecoaches. Seeley’s Stable would repair and make ready carriages. It would store and board horses and mules and offer rentals. When horse drawn transportation was a necessity, the stable was one of the more important businesses in town.
Albert Seeley also happened to operate a stagecoach line between Old Town San Diego and Los Angeles.
Old Town San Diego is a California Historical Park. Most of the historic structures are arrayed around the town square or plaza. When you stroll around the plaza you’ll find the Seeley Stables located adjacent to the Cosmopolitan Hotel, the oldest surviving building in San Diego. The hotel opened in 1869.
Visiting the Seeley Stables Museum
The original Seeley Stable which was built circa 1869 was demolished in 1920.
The stables were reconstructed in 1974 using the same wood that was on the original stable.
The stables house a fine collection of 19th-century overland transportation gear and vehicles, including a carreta (an ox-drawn cart), mud wagon. The collection includes a Concord stage and a large two-wagon freighter. Most of these original wagons and carriages were given to California State parks by Roscoe E. Hazard, a former rancher and retired highway contractor. The story of the wagons and their uses is told with signs and stories of the past also exhibited in the stables.
One thing you’ll take back from this museum visit is a good understanding of how stables used to operate and the importance that they played in everyday lives. This is a free museum which covers two floors of what had been the old Seeley Stable.
The first floor is mainly a display of the types of wagons and coaches over various decades. The second floor exhibits items that would be found in the stables, on cowboys of the period, and Native American historical pieces.
The Seeley Stage Line
California’s first stage lines began at the time of the Gold Rush. They connected towns like Sacramento to San Francisco, San Francisco with San Jose and several others.
Although railroads certainly did take their toll on local stage lines, San Diego didn’t find itself immediately on a rail line and the stagecoach business there lasted some time after others had ceased or greatly curtailed operations.
As mentioned above, Albert Seeley operated a stage line between San Diego and Los Angeles. This line opened in 1871. At the start the stagecoach and freighting business was in demand. Albert Seeley expanded his services by contracting with Wells Fargo for a route between San Diego and the gold mines in Cuyamacas as well as a route between Julien and San Bernardino. The line was 130 miles in length. California is a big state and during this era travel time between communities could be measured in days, not minutes.
The photo above is of an original stagecoach from that line. It is on display in the Seeley Stable Museum in Old Town.
The Seeley Stage left San Diego at 5A and stopped for the night in San Juan Capistrano. The stagecoach would arrive in Los Angeles at 4P the following day.
The stage line eventually went out of business primarily due to the railroad. Seeley’s stage line ceased running the San Diego-Los Angeles route in 1887 but continued with a local San Diego-Ocean Beach route
The All Important Freight Line
If passengers were transported by stagecoaches then freight would be transported by freight wagons. Railroads would go on to take a lot of business from the freighters but the local freighters would still hang on for years.
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Visiting Old Town San Diego
A visit to Old Town San Diego is a must stop when touring this beautiful west coast city.
Old Town San Diego is located north of the downtown district of San Diego but was the site of the original settlement.
Touring Old Town is a lot of fun. Most of the shops and historic structures are located around a plaza. Some of these are original adobe structures. Along with the historic structures, some housing unique museums, there are several choices for dining whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner. Entertainment is also offered at some venues.
As mentioned earlier, Old Town San Diego is a State Historic Park. Current posted hours are daily 10A-5P and admission is free.
(Article and photos copyright Trips Into History)