Julian was founded in 1869 by two former Confederate
soldiers from Georgia
, Drury Bailey and his cousin, Mike Julian. For some reason, Bailey is considered the official 'founder', but he named the town "Julian" because he thought it sounded better than "Bailey".
When gold was discovered in the area, Julian soon became a boomtown, and supposedly boasted 40 saloons in its heyday. Local legend has it that the county had an election to decide whether Julian or San Diego should be the county seat. Apparently Julian was the front-runner, being quite a bit larger than San Diego at the time, but some clever SD supporters got all the miners drunk the night before the elections, and they all slept too late to vote, putting San Diego on track to be "America's Finest City" (as they call it).
When the gold ran out, as it often does, some of the miners became farmers, and discovered that the cooler climate (Julian is 4000' above sea level) made it a perfect place to grow apples.
Today, Julian has about 3,000 residents and is a popular tourist destination for San Diego county residents. Many of the historic buildings still survive, and instead of the 40 saloons we have 5 different apple pie shops.
Some fun things to do in Julian:
- Go hiking on Volcan Mountain
- Have a cherry phosphate at the Julian Drugstore's vintage soda fountain
- During October (Apple Days), go see the Melodrama. You can boo and hiss the villain, and say 'awww' when the heroine comes onstage.
- Eat dinner at Romano's. If you go on Friday, they have calamari in a Marsala wine sauce that is especially lovely.
- Visit the Menghini Winery. They have wine tasting, and a big fluffy dog. (I used to work there, pasting the labels on the wine bottles)
- You might as well have some pie. The shop called Mom's is the best. I recommend the strawberry-rhubarb.