Preserving the backcountry - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Preserving the backcountry

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - In Santa Ysabel, time doesn't stand still, but it does pause for a moment at the intersection of the 78 and 79 to catch a glimpse of San Diego history.

"We always thought it was one of the most important buildings in San Diego. It's the last adobe false frame store building in San Diego County," Bruce Coons of SOHO San Diego said.

Built in the 1880s, the Santa Ysabel Store has always been a center of commerce.

"It was a regular general merchandise store up until the 1970s. It was kind of a western wear store after that, and then an antique shop after that," Bruce said.

For the last three years, it's been vacant, but the property has recently been purchased by the Save Our Heritage Organization.

"It's been part of our mission to preserve the historic links of San Diego County," Bruce said.

The shell of a shop contains some dusty and rusted remnants of the way we were. Yet, the structure remains sound and SOHO has set its sights on restoration and revitalization of this priceless parcel.

"It's going to be a backcountry visitor's center. It will partially be a general store, but a visitor's center, a nature interpretive center," Bruce said. "We want this to be a place where everybody comes to find out what to do in the backcountry."

Former customers like Dorothy Knechtel remember the glory days of the Santa Ysabel Store.

"I'm 93 now," she said.

Dorothy knows a relic when she sees one.

The Santa Ysabel Store is slated to reopen in April to once again become the centerpiece of the banquet that is our backcountry.

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