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The Gaslamp District

By Mike in Downtown San Diego Urban Lifestyle|July 2008 with 0 Comments



The Gaslamp Quarter is the center of much of the citys activity, playing host to such annual events as Mardi Gras, ShamROCK, a Saint Patricks Day event, Taste of Gaslamp, and more. The Gaslamp District comprises a 16 1/2 block section in downtown San Diego and is packed with great restaurants, bars, nightclubs, live music, and a constant buzz of liveliness. Right on the edge of the East Village, the Gaslamp is only steps away from Petco Park, and is also neighboring the Marina District. The Gaslamp District is filled with history and that fact is highly visible from all of the historically protected buildings lining the streets.

San Diegos predominant period of development started in 1867 when Mr. Alonzo Horton, then at the age of 54, arrived in sunny San Diego from San Francisco and planned to begin constructing the city down by the waterfront (so we can all thank Mr. Horton for that). In 1869 Horton had a wharf built at the end of 5th Avenue (todays main bar and restaurant strip), making all the adjacent streets the high-light of this now rapidly developing city.thus are the beginnings of The Gaslamp Quarter.

By the 1870s Alonzo Horton premiers Horton Hall, on 6th and F Street, that would be San Diego’s first public theatre and first bank. Now with entertainment and a bank.the Gaslamp Quarter is on its way to becoming what it is today.

In the 1880s San Diego enters into a period of prosperity that brings prostitution and gamblers, including the famous Wyatt Earp, who ends up running three gambling halls, most famous, his Oyster Bar located in the Louis Bank of Commerce on Fifth Avenue. As
San Diegos commerce began to move north of Market Street, the area to the south turns the opposite corner and becomes the red-light district known as the Stingaree. It is said that this district got its name due to the enormous stingray population in the San Diego Bay, and the saying went that you could be stung as badly in the Stingaree as in the bay. Ouch.

In 1888 San Diegos real estate boom comes to a screeching hault, and by the end of the decade the population dropped from 40,000 to 16,000. After this, Alonzo Horton dies in 1909 after having lost most of his properties through foreclosures and sale taxes.

The Gaslamp Quarter then began to experience a clean-up, so to say. A huge wave of citizen morality influenced police to swarm the Stingaree arresting about 138 prostitutes and forced them to leave the city. The Purity League, a group of “proper ladies” of society were highly responsible for this raid.

After this San Diego experienced a period of urban decay. The Gaslamp District underwent major renewal in the 1980s and 1990s, and today is an energetic business as well as an entertainment district. The Gaslamp Quarter is the hub for Padre Fans, Pedicabbers, Conventioners, Military, and San Diego residents and tourists looking for good times. It also houses residential buildings such as the new Alta, Trellis and Gaslamp City Square. Some other popular sites are The Hard Rock Hotel, The House of Blues, The Ivy, and numerous other bars, clubs and restaurants.

*Information gathered from www.gaslamp.org and www.sandiegohistory.org* ')}