Point Loma – Where California Began

Set within the city of San Diego, Point Loma is both a neighborhood and a peninsula—an area notable for its starring role in California history. A hilly promontory, Point Loma forms part of the barrier that separates and defines San Diego Bay.

Today home to a population of about 47,981 (2010), the Point Loma peninsula was visited by dinosaurs in the late Cretaceous period. It had no established indigenous settlements, although the Kumeyaay people harvested abalone, clams, lobsters and mussels along the shore. 

Often called the place “where California began,” Point Loma was the site of the first European landing, when Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo sailed his flagship into San Diego Bay and docked on Point Loma’s east shore. It was some 200 years later, in 1769, that European settlers finally established permanent residence in what would be San Diego. 

The West Coast’s oldest European trail, La Playa Trail, traced a path from the Mission San Diego to the beach (la playa). The seaside scene was described in detail by Richard Henry Dana, Jr., in Two Years Before the Mast. As early as 1852, the southern section of Point Loma was set aside for military purposes and continues to house two major military bases as well as a national cemetery. 

Point Loma Nazarene University stands at the top of Point Loma hill, once “Lomaland,” the headquarters of the Theosophical Society and a music and cultural hub in the early 20th century. Charles Lindbergh tested “The Spirit of St. Louis” at the Dutch Flats airstrip and the area is recognized as a National Landmark of Soaring for the milestone flights that were made there. The iconic Old Point Loma lighthouse is one of five Point Loma landmarks listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Point Loma Village is the heart of the commercial area, its streets lined with jacaranda trees. The surrounding residential neighborhoods consist primarily of single-family homes in five distinct districts ranging from modest beach bungalows to impressive estates.

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