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The Gaslamp Quarter is a district of San Diego, California. It is a 16½ block historical neighborhood in Downtown San Diego, and is the site of several entertainment and night life venues, as well as scheduled events and festivals, including Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp, Street Scene Music Festival, Taste of Gaslamp and ShamROCK, a St. Patrick's Day event. Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres is located one block away in downtown San Diego's East Village.
Gaslamp Quarter Historic District
San Diego Historic Landmark No. 127
|Location||Bounded by RR tracks, Broadway, 4th, and 6th Aves., San Diego, California|
|Area||38 acres (15 ha)|
|Architectural style||Late Victorian, Art Deco|
|NRHP reference No.||80000841|
|Added to NRHP||May 23, 1980|
|Designated SDHL||June 2, 1978|
The area is listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places as Gaslamp Quarter Historic District. Its main period of development began in 1867, when Alonzo Horton bought the land in hopes of creating a new city center closer to the bay, and chose 5th Avenue as its main street. After a period of urban decay, the neighborhood underwent urban renewal in the 1980s and 1990s.
The Gaslamp Quarter extends from Broadway to Harbor Drive, and from 4th to 6th Avenue, covering 16½ blocks. It includes 94 historic buildings, most of which were constructed in the Victorian Era, and are still in use with active tenants including restaurants, shops and nightclubs.
Local San Diegans generally refer to the area simply as "the Gaslamp", while "Gaslamp Quarter", despite being on the entryway arch and all official city signage and banners, is rarely used by locals.
When development of the area began in the 1860s, the area currently known as the Gaslamp Quarter was known as New Town, in contrast to Old Town, which was the original Spanish colonial settlement of San Diego. Though Gaslamps were not the main source of lighting in the district, it was chosen as the symbol for the "Gaslamp Quarter" during the redevelopment and preservation efforts that occurred during the 1980s. In actuality, the main source of lighting was arc lighting. Four new gaslamps have been installed at the intersection of Market Street and 5th Avenue.[when?]
- 1850: William Heath Davis bought 160 acres (0.65 km2) in what would eventually become the Gaslamp Quarter. Despite heavy investment from Davis, little development happened in this period.
- 1867: Real estate developer Alonzo Horton arrived in San Diego and purchased 800 acres (3.2 km2) of land in New Town for $265. Major development began in the Gaslamp Quarter.
- 1880s to 1916: Known as the Stingaree, the area was a working class area, home to San Diego's first Chinatown, "Soapbox Row" and many saloons, gambling halls, and bordellos.
- 1912: Stingaree was the site of a free speech fight between socialists and city politicians which led to riots and the abduction by vigilantes of Emma Goldman's husband.
- 1916: the entire neighborhood of Stingaree was demolished and renamed by anti-vice campaigners.
- 1950s-1970s: The decaying Gaslamp Quarter became known as a "Sailor's Entertainment" district, with a high concentration of pornographic theaters, bookshops and massage parlors.
- 1970: Public interest in preserving buildings downtown started, especially in Gaslamp Quarter.
- 1976: The city adopted the Gaslamp Quarter Urban Design and Development Manual, aimed at preserving buildings in the area, and the redevelopment of Gaslamp Quarter as a national historic district.
- 1982: Gaslamp Quarter became the major focus of the redevelopments in downtown by the city of San Diego.
- 1992: Gaslamp Quarter Archway is installed and dedicated.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
- "Historical Landmarks Designated by the San Diego Historical Resources Board" (PDF). City of San Diego.
- "10 Fun Facts About San Diego's Historic Gaslamp Quarter". www.sandiego.org. Retrieved 2021-07-09.
- "Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation". www.gaslampfoundation.org. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
- "Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation".
- "San Diego Historical Society".
- "When San Diego Had Its Own Big Labor Clash". Voice of San Diego. 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2021-07-09.
- "Shady Ladies in the "Stingaree District" When The Red Lights Went Out in San Diego". San Diego History Center. Archived from the original on 2005-09-05. Retrieved March 8, 2011.
- Sanford, Jay Allen (2008-07-23). "Before It Was the Gaslamp: Downtown's Grindhouse Row (updated 8-22-09) | San Diego Reader". www.sandiegoreader.com. Retrieved 2021-07-09.
- "Gaslamp Quarter Planned District Design Guidelines 2009" (PDF). SanDiego.gov.
- "Gaslamp Quarter History | Downtown San Diego, California". San Diego Gaslamp Quarter. Retrieved 2021-07-09.
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