Updated: Jan 26
Being a historic late 1800’s mining town, Julian and the surrounding area is crawling with history. With the Julian Architectural Review Board keeping a watchful eye on any new upgrades built within the historical district, the town looks as if it was still back in its pioneer days. As you walk through the five-block town, every building is original, a rebuild of a historic building, or made to look like it’s not the new kid on the block. That being said, I’ve put together a list of must-see historical locations so you don’t miss the highlights.
Santa Ysabel General Store
Nestled in the beautiful Santa Ysabel valley where Highways 78 and 79 meet, sits the historic 1884 Santa Ysabel General Store. This hidden gem is one of those places you don’t intend to come across, but once you do you are sure glad you did. Today, the non-profit Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO) owns the store and barn in the back. They have restored San Diego’s only remaining false-front adobe building back to its original beauty. The store is stocked with canned goods, home goods, and antiques. For more information see our blog post.
Santa Ysabel Mission
On September 20, 1818, the first Mass was held at the Santa Ysabel Indian Mission. The Mission served as a rest stop for those traveling between San Diego and the Warner's Ranch. Although the original structure is no longer standing, you can see the original floor tiles that were laid down 200 years ago. The present church was built in 1924. Mass is still said weekly. In addition to the Spanish-style chapel, you can explore the museum and maybe solve the mystery the lost bells.
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The list of things to do and see in Miner's Diner is endless. When you first walk in, you will immediately travel back in time. Throughout the diner, you can view the collection of original vintage decor including a Bob's Big Boy, vintage soda bottles, a U.S. license plate collection, old medicine bottles, and so much more. Don't forget to look up at the train as it chugs throughout the restaurant. You can take a seat at the 1929 original, old-fashioned soda fountain or at a table. With either choice of seating, you're sure to have a unique 1930's dining experience. Before you leave, don't forget to check out the Candy Mine and Miner's Diner souvenirs. For more information see our blog post.
Julian Historical Society
The Julian Historical Society has three fantastic historic locations open to the public: The Witch Creek School House, Julian Stage Line, and the Washington Mine.
The Julian Jail
At the Corner of C and Fourth street sits a 17 feet long, 14 feet wide and 10 feet high reinforced concrete building with an iron door, the Julian Jail. It was built in 1914 after the previous wooden jail built-in 1873 failed to keep inmates in. A local citizen ran the jail, and his wife cooked for the prisoners. In addition to temporarily housing inmates, the jail was home to the town's first indoor toilet.
Eagle Mine Tour
Ever wonder what it was like to work in an 1870 gold mine? Come tour the Old Hardrock Tunnels, The Eagle Mine, with their knowledgeable staff. Just 5 blocks up C Street from Main street will make you truly feel like you stepped back in time. Explore the mine and see the equipment required to mine for gold.
Julian's first winery, Menghini Winery, was established in 1982. This beautiful winery was once Bud Farmer's processing plant and apple orchard that occupied the majority of Volcan Valley. Bud had a very successful apple orchard and was one of the first pie makers in Julian, originally selling his pies in Wynola. Today, Menghini Winery is surrounded by Bud's original apple trees, now divided into smaller u-pick orchards. You can see everything from wildlife to vintage cars and equipment. It's unique location and size makes it the perfect spot for large festivals and weddings. Every year they host The Dance, Julian Grape Stomp, Julian Apple Days Festival, and the Julian Music Festival. For more information see our blog post on them.
If you’re thirsty for more history, stop by the Julian Town Hall to get the History Hunt answer card. Historic landmarks throughout the Julian historic district have plaques with a brief history of that building. Answer the questions about the buildings on your card. Before you leave town, drop your answer card back at the Town Hall to be entered for a chance to win $50. (Not too many people know about this opportunity so your chances are good.)