Old Poway Park is not just a cute park to have a family picnic at. It actually is packed with a lot of history! In 1948 a retired army colonel John S. Porter moved to Poway and put in great efforts to revive Old Poway. His dream was to make it a place that felt like the old west. Over the years, Porter purchased what is now Old Poway park and began his dream project.
His first main purchases were a 1907 Baldwin No. 3 Steam Engine and a half-mile track. He later created The Poway Village & Rattlesnake Creek Railroad which would host special events such as during the 4th of July and Powwow Days. When he passed away in 1979, his dream was not finished. Thankfully the city of Poway purchased the property and continued the work needed. It was then that Old Poway Park was established.
Historic buildings from around Poway were brought to the site and restored. Included are Poway’s first assembly hall, the International Order of Good Templars Hall and the Nelson House. A train barn was built to house the steam engine, a 1938 Fairmont Speeder and ore cars, and an 1894 L.A. Yellow Trolley. The Overshiner’s Blacksmith Shop and the Gazebo were built to enhance the ambiance of the “turn-of-the-twentieth-century” setting. A two-acre green park for picnics was styled after the Teddy Roosevelt National Park system. The park officially opened in July 1993.
The Poway-Midland Railroad, located in Old Poway Park is a railroad operated by volunteers (and owned by the city). There is a 1907 Baldwin Steam Locomotive and other equipment that run around the park.Closed 2nd Sun of every month.
The park is open throughout the day, but the Railroad only runs on limited hours. You can also call and set up a special tour for a cost.
Personal Experience: I have really warmed up to this park over the years. It is a great family-friendly park, with a historical railroad and where Poway’s historical society is located. There is a group that creates regular crochet tree “warmers” that change with the holiday. It’s truly adorable. I enjoy taking my dog here and just relaxing.