Who's Who in Historic Preservation
It's easy and common to confuse the different entities that are involved with preserving Escondido's history. We hope that this information will clarify who's who and who does what!
Previously known as the Escondido Historical Society, the Escondido History Center is an independent 501(c)3 charitable organization and this is our website. The mission of the Escondido History Center is "to collect, preserve, and exhibit the history of our community, by offering admission-free exhibits and tours throughout the year. In addition, the History Center operates weekly tours and annual events that serve our entire community from school-aged children to seniors. Furthermore, the Center aims to provide facilities for research and exploration of our collection for a broad audience by offering online accessibility to portions of our collection." The Escondido History Center is located in the historic buildings on the north side of Grape Day Park.
The Old Escondido Neighborhood Historic District encompasses Escondido's oldest neighborhood and includes the physical area extending roughly from 5th Avenue to 13th and Escondido Blvd. to Chestnut Street. It was designated as a historic district by the City of Escondido in 1992. Click here for a map. Old Escondido is incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization recognized by the State of California. The members are residents and property owners and most of the business is conducted by an elected Board of Directors. The organization has no authority over properties or ability to enforce city laws, however; the objectives of the OEHD, as stated in their bylaws are:
1. To protect, preserve and promote the Historic Early Residential Area of Escondido, California.
2. To foster community improvement and property maintenance within the OEHD
3. To encourage the restoration of properties in the area
4. To support the community by fostering civic pride, promoting communications between and among residents, and promoting the spirit of neighborliness and goodwill
5. To encourage and support, but not sponsor, political activity and legislation for the preservation, restoration, and improvement of the area.
6. To increase the safety of the area for the residents and their property as well as visitors to the neighborhood by discouraging crime and encouraging traffic safety.
7. To protect and enhance the value of properties located in the OEHD by supporting strict enforcement of building and zoning codes.
The City of Escondido, Planning Department
The City's Planning Department oversees Escondido's historic preservation program. Planning Department staff members accept Certificate of Appropriateness applications from owners of homes in Old Escondido homes and outside Old Escondido that are on the Local Historic Register. In some cases, staff reviews modifications to historic property exteriors and in others, they are referred to the Historic Preservation Commission. Planning Staff also accepts and processes Mills Act Contracts, which are submitted for approval to the Historic Preservation Commission and the City Council. If a property in Old Escondido or on the Local Historic Register makes modifications without a Certificate of Appropriateness or the historic structure is deteriorating due to lack of maintenance, a request for investigation may be submitted to the City's Code Enforcement Department.
The Historic Preservation Commission is a volunteer panel appointed by the Mayor and City Council. The members are specifically qualified to develop and implement the City Historic Preservation Program in an advisory capacity regarding the responsibilities of being a Certified Local Government and other matters relating to Historic Preservation. The Commission usually meets every other month and agendas can be viewed in advance on the City's Web site. Areas of jurisdiction include:
Reviewing and commenting on applications for local register or landmark designations, Mills Act contracts, major projects involving historic resources or historic districts, and for the demolition of significant historic resources
Conducting public information, educational, and interpretive programs pertaining to historic resources
Maintaining and updating the Escondido Historical Sites Survey
The Pioneer Room was established in 1992, with a bequest from local historian Frances Beven Ryan (1901-1990). Part of and located next to the Escondido Public Library at Kalmia and 3rd Ave., the research room and archives provide the community with non-circulating reference material related to the City and area's history. The local history collections include books, journals, photographs, and archival material. Home histories and family genealogy can be researched in the Pioneer Room through newspaper archives, Sanborn Maps, clipping files, and more.
Since 1969, nonprofit Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO), has led the community as a powerful catalyst for preservation by raising awareness and appreciation of the region's architectural and cultural heritage. Through education, advocacy, and stewardship SOHO's mission is to preserve, promote and support preservation of the architectural, cultural and historical links and landmarks that contribute to the community identity, depth and character of our region.
Established within the offices of the Director of California State Parks in 1975, the California Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) administers federally and state mandated historic preservation programs to further the identification, evaluation, registration, and protection of California's irreplaceable resources.
The Cultural Resources, Partnerships, and Science Directorate's archeologists, architects, curators, historians, and other cultural resource professionals implement the National Park Service's role in the national preservation partnership, working with American Indian Tribes, states, local governments, nonprofit organizations, historic property owners, and others who believe in the importance of our shared heritage and its preservation.
For 70 years, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has led the movement to save America’s historic places. A privately funded nonprofit organization, we work to save America's historic sites; tell the full American story; build stronger communities; and invest in preservation's future.