National Register of Historic Places in San Diego County
Casa de Estudillo, as it exists today, is a mostly rebuilt example of a large Spanish-Mexican town house.
About 1824, the soldiers of the Presidio of San Diego began building their houses outside the adobe walls of the fort. In 1827, Don Jose Antonio Estudillo, an army captain, was granted a house lot. By 1829, he had completed the large adobe house which still occupies the entire east side of town plaza.
The house, which originally had thirteen rooms, is built around three sides of a courtyard. The center section is 116 feet long and the north and south wings are each almost one hundred feet long. The adobe walls are plastered and whitewashed inside and out and average three feet in thickness. The roof is supported by hand-hewn timbers and beams that are lashed together with rawhide thongs. A one-story veranda extends completely around the three inner sides of the house.
The structure was occupied by the Estudillo family until 1887, when it was abandoned and allowed to fall into ruin.
In 1905, John D. Spreckels purchase the building and financed its restoration in 1910.
In 1968, the building was deeded to the State of California and was restored once again.
The adobe was originally topped by a small round wooden cupola from which the family and guests could watch the bullfights and festivals staged on the adjacent town plaza. The cupola was not reconstructed in the 1910 restoration. It was added during the 1968 renovation.
Source: Adapted from the NRHP nomination submitted in 1970.
Casa de Estudillo is a National Historic Landmark and is also California Historical Landmark 53.