San Diego

Calvary Cemetery

Pioneer Park Evolution

Pioneer Park
Today & Tomorrow

Oral Histories


Join us on our journey through the past and into the future of the historic landmark next to our school.

One of San Diego’s oldest cemeteries, Pioneer Park, is now a historical landmark where children play above the skeletons of some of San Diego’s early pioneers.

Pioneer Park is a Mission Hills treasure known by everyone in the neighborhood. Mission Hills is located in the heart of San Diego, California, the seventh largest city in the United States. Our research has shown that Pioneer Park has not always been the treasure it is now. We traced the history of the area from the Kumeyaay Village to a cemetery in use and ruin, to what it is now. We know that people learn and plan from experiences in the past so with this information we will create a vision for Pioneer Park’s future.

Why are we, 12 Ulysses S. Grant Elementary School 4th and 5th grade Seminar students, so interested and concerned about this park? We walk out of our school, step over the old adobe wall, and walk into the park. Ahead we see over 100 tombstones from the park’s days as a cemetery, the Pioneer Memorial, and a grassy field with giant eucalyptus trees. Our curiosity began with the tombstones and adobe brick wall and grew because we use and enjoy the park daily. We now feel the need to preserve it for future Ulysses S. Grant students and Mission Hills residents.

Sacred Space: The memorial
at Pioneer Park.

Soccer Field: Children play soccer
in the park.