The annual Mormon Battalion Commemoration will bring the past alive at the 175th Anniversary Celebration at Old Town State Historic Park where in 1847 the U.S. Army of the West Mormon Battalion arrived in San Diego. A reenactment of their arrival featuring the full 335-member march into Old Town will kick off the event at 10:00 AM. The park will come alive with hands on activities reflecting this period in San Diego history. The community will learn to make bricks, ropes, and dolls; grind corn, cook biscuits-on-a-stick, and play other authentic games. They are also invited to take a photo in period clothing. The Liberty Stand will be in the square to provide information about early history. Center stage will feature singing, dancing and storytelling throughout the day. Don’t miss the annual Dutch oven cook-off!
When: Saturday, January 29, 2022
Parade and Living History Activities, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Where: Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
Why: Having been driven by mobs from their homes in Illinois, the Mormons sought assistance from the government for their migration to the west. The U. S. Government responded with President James Polk requesting they assemble an army to march as part of the Army of the West from Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas to San Diego during the Mexican-American War. This march is one of the longest in the history of the U. S. Army, totaling over 2,000 miles, and arriving in San Diego on January 29, 1847.
At the war’s end, the members of the Mormon Battalion stayed on and performed garrison duties, making friends with the Californios and Kumeyaay people. They taught them to dig deep wells, fire bricks and use the bricks to line the wells, providing healthy drinking water to the Pueblo of San Diego. The Battalion also constructed our first U. S. Courthouse, where a replica stands in Old Town today.
In conjunction with the 175th Anniversary Mormon Battalion Commemoration, the Mormon Battalion Association is offering two presentations free to the public on Saturday, Jan 29, 2022, at the Temple Beth Israel Synagogue, Heritage County Park, 2454 Heritage Park Row, San Diego (across the street from Mormon Battalion Center at San Diego) Current California Covid-19 guidelines will be followed. The two presentations are:
The Women's Stories, Presenters: Laura Anderson (Exec Director/Researcher), Mary Ann Kirk (Secretary/Researcher), Mormon Battalion Association
Learn about the five women who arrived with the Mormon Battalion and local women who became part of the story including Juana Machado Wrightington and Magell Mancheeta.
The Mormon Battalion Story in San Diego, Presenter: Greg Christofferson, Mormon Battalion Association, Incoming President
Listen to first-hand accounts of the Battalion soldiers from their journals and autobiographies including their assignment at Fort Stockton, local work projects (wells, brickmaking, etc), trips to the beach and military ships, and involvement in local events such as funerals and holidays.
Plan on parking at the Cal Trans Parking off of Sunset and Taylor Street. A great alternative would be to take the Trolley or Coaster into Old Town.
Coaster arrival times San Diego-Old Town: ↓ 8:31a 10:11a 11:31a 1:11p 2:31p 4:11p 5:31p 7:11p 8:31p 10:11p