Alta California became part of the United States in 1848 when the U.S. won in the Mexican-American War and signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The Californios became American Citizens with all the rights secured. In 1850, California was admitted to the Union as a state. At this point, San Diego had grown more and it was bigger than a village. In March of the same year, it was incorporated as a city and it was named the country seat of San Diego County. In 1860, the United States Census stated that the population was 731 people.
San Diego had a financial issue because they overspent on a jail that was poorly built. In 1852, the city was declared bankrupt. It was necessary to hire three member-board of trustees to manage and control the city.
Even though there was a big part of the city that didn’t believe in this city, there were few others that had hope and decided to stay. In fact, the city attracted investors that saw potential in San Diego. William Health Davis, for example, spent over $60,000 building a wharf near what today is Market Street. It failed when the steamer collided with the wharf, the reason why the Army destroyed it in 1862.
This failure was evidence that things weren’t going right and the city was going through a depression. Many enterprises established in 1850 had to close and some businesses suffered from water shortages. Despite this scenario, Davis never gave up. He constructed hotels and stores and when we ran out of money, Alonzo Horton took over. He had the control of the city, who was very enthusiastic and saw an opportunity here. He soon realized that the city had to be close to the water to improve its economy. He purchased more than 900 acres of the land that is today downtown San Diego. He developed the city that became the New Town and soon enough, the city became a boomtown.
In 1878, it was predicted that San Diego became a rival of San Francisco’s trading ports but to avoid this, Charles Crocker, the manager of Central Pacific Railroad, decided not to build an extension of San Diego. In 1885, a transcontinental railroad route came to San Diego, which led to over 16,159 people arriving in the city.
Information sourced from Wikipedia. Cover Picture courtesy of Scott Walsh on Unsplash.