Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ramona Epic #21: La Casa de Estudillo (Part 1)

(GPS: N32 45.265 W117 11.810)
(AKA The Marriage Place of Ramona and Alessandro)

"Alessandro had explained to her his plan, which
was to go by way of Temecula to San Diego, to be married there
by Father Gaspara, the priest of that parish, and then go to the
village or pueblo of San Pasquale, about fifteen miles northwest of
San Diego."

In chapter 18 of Ramona, as Alessandro and Ramona are traveling, there is a lot of talk about the California Missions. The talk of it is not always good about the priests and some of the Indians that inhabited them. One of the persons spoken of is Father Gaspara, one of the good ones, in San Diego. That is where they go after Temecula in order to be married.

This will be the first of three blogs on this site in Old Town San Diego. The Estudillo home (La Casa de Estudillo) became known as the marriage place of Ramona. I will cover some of the real history in the next blog, but for this one will focus on the fictional history involved.

In the Ramona book, Helen Hunt Jackson has her main characters go to San Diego to be married. There are a few brief descriptions of the place where they were married, but nothing to the extent of some of the other places mentioned in the book. However, this site had been a major Ramona tourist destination from the late 1880's as pointed out in the chapter dedicated to it in Dydia Delyser's Ramona Memories book.

From the very beginning, the site became a major point for Ramona merchandising. All sorts of trinkets could be found to be sold here. These days you probably will not find Ramona goods at this place, but if you go on e-bay you still might find old postcards like the following:
From somewhere very close I got this:
Another postcard one can find shows the entrance from the other side.The little bell tower you see was added later.The entrance. The adobe originally started out as L-shaped, but then was developed into a U-shape as many of these old adobe homes tend to be..So, this is one of those places that, although had a history of its own, was developed into a Ramona tourist site for the public as a money making venture. No one knows if Helen Hunt Jackson visited this place, and there really is nothing in the book to indicate that this was where Ramona and Alessandro were married.

With that said, it was not a total stretch for one to come to the conclusion from reading the book that this was close to where the event took place. I will mention a few items in the next two blogs about this.

Ramona Epic #21: The Marriage Place of Ramona (Youtube Version)

Ramona Epic #21: The Marriage Place of Ramona (Vimeo Version)