Article by Danielle Berkeley:
This section on our website is dedicated to local neighborhoods—from rural to ethnic to cul-de-sacs, historic, and pedestrian. These are the hot spots that until you actually live here, you would never know about them. We are taking these feet from the hidden spots in the wide, wild wilderness to the streets of America’s Finest city. On our explorations we aim to find unique attributes, fun places to shop, dine, or wander. And of course, unique homes and architecture, gardens, and GALORE! Oh, Joy there’s Just so much MORE.
Now, some of you MUST be saying, ‘I have done and seen it all in San Diego and I want something new and refreshing’. Well, so did we and we are doing something about it. If you too are looking to explore new or old areas, up and coming neighborhoods, places where the word CROWD doesn’t exist, and get to know this city thoroughly then read on friends.
A little more about these neighborhoods scattered about---what makes an ethnic neighborhood, or a rural one? There are so many wonderful pocket areas and gems throughout San Diego and we are going to check them out and share our finds with you so don’t you go anywhere now, ya hear?
We like to GET LOST at Hidden San Diego, for this is how you stumble upon something new!
Take a turn down a different street, go to the store a completely new way, or just drive around and explore. Or, simply keep on enjoying our lead, we will put in the legwork, you relax and visit the website.
Knowing our distinct craving for the road less travelled, off the beaten path finds, architecture, history, art and SO much MORE takes us to our first unhidden San Diego neighborhood walkabout: Mission Hills or The Mish-- as we like to call it, but you may know it better as Mission Hills.
Mission Hills is truly one of our favs, day or night, and a standard daily go-to, for if there is any doubt about where to go, stop and say out LOUD, ‘when in doubt mish it out’. If you have ever taken a stroll through The Mish then most likely you stopped every couple of houses just to admire the meticulous beauty in design and detail.
Furthermore, the pride in preservation and landscape design of practically every resident is astounding, leaving your jaw agape with each house more beautiful than the last.
You may think it is small and have covered every street but undoubtedly, we discover something new each time. With over 350 historically-registered landmark homes, I have no doubt one trip just won’t make the cut--no wonder the MHH organization (https://www.missionhillsheritage.org/) hosts an annual house tour.
Although, Mission hills is primarily known as a residential neighborhood, there are a handful of boutiques, restaurants, a nursery, parks, a few canyon trails, and above all, a tight knit community of people who care. The Mish puts a priority on the preservation of its history and nature, refreshing isn’t it?
My personal experience is one I will never forget. I had just moved to the Hillcrest area in San Diego and I was riding my bike and just got lost and meandered these beautiful streets, admiring homes and nature alike. One after another-- just so beautiful with lush landscapes, vibrant colors, and details of ornamental architecture that simply does not exist today like it did in the 1920-30’s.
I suppose you could say The Mish had me at my first bike ride. Since then, I have been going there almost daily. What I love is that perfect blend of historic architecture and nature; people who care about their homes like beautiful works of art—just like I do. I just love the cute little alleys, canyon views, dead end streets with endless views, parks scattered throughout where friends and family can have F-U-N FUN, great little free libraries, coffee shops, sandwich shops, and ice cream galore, who wants more?
Although technically founded in 1908 to get away from the hustle and bustle of Old Town, architectural masters and their world class designs did not make their lasting statements until around the 1920’s. Today, it is renowned for specific architectural styles including: The Craftsman, The Bungalow, Spanish Architecture from the 1920’s-30’s., Spanish Colonial Revival (early 20thcentury), and The Prairie School Style (hailing from the world-famous Frank Lloyd Wright and Chi-town).
For those who are interested in the architecture of Mission Hills I have complied a brief bullet point outline according to the specific styles represented in the lovely Mish, as well as, some notable architects. William Hebbard, William Templeton Johnson, Richard Requa, John Lloyd Wright, and Lloyd Ruocco. Ironically, San Diego’s most famous architect, Irving Gill, never built in Mission Hills, close but not Mission Hills Proper.
PRAIRIE SCHOOL (late 19thcentury-early 20th) pioneered by Frank Lloyd Wright:
·Marked by strong horizontal lines
·Flat roofs, broad eaves, windows
·Overall integration with the natural landscape
·Usually one story with a prominent central chimney
·Open floor plan
·Ribbons of stylized windows
·Wide use of natural materials.
BUNGALOW (last years of the 19th century-1930’s):
·Open floor plans
·Low pitched roofs
·Large front porch
·Windows double hung
·Simple wainscot fireplace
·Deep eaves with exposed rafters
·Built in cabinets
SPANISH COLONIAL REVIVAL (Requa):
·Ornate, stylistic, detail apparent, often extremely eclectic.
·Asymmetrical low flat gable or hip roof, sans an overhang,
·Half round arches, doors, or windows
·PRODIGIOUS USE OF Stucco and adobe brick and wrought iron
SPANISH COLONIAL/ART DECO:
·Dentil moldings under eaves
·Stucco, cay tile, terracotta, cast concrete ornaments
The neighborhood is small enough that you can get a feel for it in one day if you are not interested in ogling at stunning architectural masterpieces—me I am always going back for seconds, thirds….
We stumbled upon a couple "Swag Trees" along our stroll:
Keep on the lookout for Little Free Libraries!