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  • Historic Tours

    Take a walk with us through history. 

    As the second oldest city in San Diego County, National City has preserved key cultural and architectural landmarks that help explain its past. The city was named just after the Civil War by the Kimball brothers, developers from San Francisco.

    National City was ambitious and forward-looking from the beginning, embracing the growing national rail system. Brick Row, much-photographed and cherished, was constructed in 1887 as housing for railroad executives, and is a reminder of National City’s ingrained optimism. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

    The Santa Fe Railroad Depot preceded Brick Row by five years, beginning a rail spur that went eastward and linked to the transcontinental railroad near San Bernardino.  

    Granger Music Hall (1898), designed by the region’s most noted early 20th Century architect, Irving Gill, was built by mining magnate Ralph Granger. It boasts one of the era’s first “acoustically perfect” performance spaces, and is also listed on the National Register.

    Early Episcopalian settlers built St. Matthews Episcopal Church in 1887, and its English countryside style echoes the roots of Anglicanism.

    The National City Railcar Plaza displays historic train cars associated with the city’s history.

    National City also has more than 25 locally designation historic properties. They make a perfect family weekend take-in.

    Note: The South County Economic Development Council has developed a brochure containing a map of several historic sites in National City, Coronado, Chula Vista, San Ysidro and Imperial Beach.  Click here to see the brochure.


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