Who's Who in Escondido 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!

The Old Escondido Historic District

  This Web site is sponsored and maintained by the Old Escondido Historic District.  The Historic District, which encompasses Escondido's oldest neighborhood, 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 our 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.

Historic Preservation Commission

  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

Escondido History Center

  Previously known as the Escondido Historical Society, the Escondido History Center is an independent 501(c)3 charitable organization.  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.

Escondido Library, Pioneer Room

  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.

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