On arriving at San Diego on January 29, 1847, soldiers of the Mormon Battalion occupied Fort Stockton on this site. They promptly began to improve this community, digging the first wells, crating the first pumps to draw water, building the first kiln in California, and used the brick to surface sidewalks, face wells, and buildings. They taught irrigation and built the first blacksmith shop and bakery. When orders came for them to leave, the citizens drew up a petition signed by every adult resident requesting the Governor to use his influence to keep the Battalion in San Diego. Fairness and hard work earned the men of the Mormon Battalion the admiration and respect of all with whom they had contact.