Gaslamp Quarter San Diego
Located downtown San Diego, California, the Gaslamp Quarter is a 16 1/2 block district listed on the US National Register of Historic Places since 1980. The neighborhood is named after the gas lamps that used to line the streets. Four such new gas lamps revive the spirit of the past at the intersection of Market Street and 5th Avenue. This beautiful area includes 94 historic buildings, many of which are from the Victorian Era, all built between 1873 and 1930. The majority of them are still in use, featuring some 100 restaurants, 100 shops and over 30 nightclubs, offering a truly eclectic mix of culture, food and fun. The Quarter has emerged in the early 1900s, as the town's red light, especially due to the busy military port. Along the years it has had different names, including Rabbitville, Davis' Folly, Flea Town, Chinatown, Stingaree, New Town San Diego and many others, depending on its main residents.
After the decline of the industry, the neighborhood becomes concentrated with pornographic venues, bookshops, theaters and massage parlors from the 50s until the 70s. The bad reputation of the district is maintained until the 1980s, when public interest is shown towards the preservation of the buildings in the historic downtown. The Quarter starts to benefit from the redevelopments and slowly becomes a charming national historic district that attracts thousands of visitors.
Among the many changes, the Gaslamp Quarter starts to be lit only with mercury vapor lamps instead of those with flickering gas for a better preservation of the historic area. Some of the buildings of San Diego's Chinatown can still be admired, along with a beautifully adorned double-towered edifice which once served as a brothel, the famous Wyatt Earp museum and shop, and dozens of bars and underground clubs. Today the Quarter hosts various popular events such as Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp, Taste of Gaslamp and ShamROCK, organized on St. Patrick's Day.
Tourists may find convenient accommodation that gives easy access to all the attractions of the area. One of them is the Horton Plaza Park, which features the first water fountain in the US which had electric lights, dedicated to the memory of Alonzo Horton, commonly referred to as "the father of San Diego". Guided tours in the Gaslamp Quarter always include the William Heath Davis Historic House Museum, the district's oldest preserved structure.