KPBS host to speak to historical society

By Katherine Hon | PastMatters

May is National Preservation Month and the North Park Historical Society will celebrate with a free lecture by award-winning journalist Elsa Sevilla.

The event will take place on Thursday, May 18, at Grace Lutheran Church in North Park.

Elsa Sevilla is creator, producer and host of “San Diego’s Historic Places” on KPBS. (Courtesy of Elsa Sevilla)

You may know this North Park resident as the host of “San Diego’s Historic Places” on KPBS-TV since 2008. The fascinating series created by Sevilla details the history of San Diego and surrounding areas.

The show is produced by Sevilla Productions, the company Elsa started in 1998 with her husband Guillermo, who is director of photography for their TV show.

Sevilla Productions also provides broadcast quality, start-to-finish video projects for small businesses, nonprofit organizations and large corporations.

In 2010, Elsa and Guillermo won an Excellence in Historic Preservation Award in Community History from the city of San Diego’s Historic Resources Board for “San Diego’s Historic Places.”

A three-time Emmy Award nominee, Elsa has also received the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Business of the Year Award for her business and production skills.

The Sevillas were featured in the Sept. 25, 2015 issue of San Diego Uptown News in an article by Margie M. Palmer (

Elsa told Palmer that she loves history and historic places, “anything old and the older the better. . . . we try to come up with stories that cover things that viewers will find interesting and that they might not know about . . . a lot of times people can’t go into a place that TV crews have access to so we wanted to take advantage of that.”

A recent series of “San Diego’s Historic Places” highlighted the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. This has been Elsa’s favorite series since the show’s inception.

She told Palmer, “It was the first time we did a whole series on one topic and what I didn’t know is that there was so much information about what happened. There were photos I’d never seen before, black and white film from that period, it was so cool to see it and share it with San Diego viewers. Our crew got to go into the archives and see where these historic items are stored, and heard stories that no one has ever heard before.”

Coming up on the KPBS show on May 1, viewers will learn about the origins and history of San Diego State University (SDSU).

Did you know that SDSU started in University Heights at Park and El Cajon boulevards in a building designed by the Hebbard and Gill architectural firm?

So set your DVRs or watch “San Diego’s Historic Places” on KPBS in real time, and save the date of May 18 for Elsa Sevilla’s lecture hosted by the North Park Historical Society.

She will talk about her show and what she has learned about San Diego’s history.

—Katherine Hon is the secretary of the North Park Historical Society. Reach her at or 619-294-8990.

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