The San Diego Union Museum is a historic structure in Old Town San Diego. It was built ca. 1851 with wood likely shipped from the East Coast, which was a common practice at the time (this was before the Panama Canal was built, so all ships had to sail around Cape Horn, the southern tip of South America). It was here, on October 10, 1868, that the first edition of the Union was printed. Visitors can view the original print room with a Washington press and the editor's office.
The newspaper contained four pages and, as was common in those days, the first and last pages were mostly literary efforts -- a short story, some dreary humor and a few ads. Colonel William Jefferson Gatewood, one of the paper's founders and an attorney, advertised his services. But the biggest ad on the page was from George Irvine, a meat packer in San Francisco.The building is believed to have been the first framed building in San Diego. Much of the original building is still intact. It went underwent remodeling and alteration but was restored in 1968 and preservationists were able to retain 70% of the original materials.