The Community Plan Area of Julian is located between Volcan Mountain and the Cuyamaca Mountains. State Highway 78 serves as Julian's Main Street and a principle travel route to the desert from metropolitan San Diego which lies 60 miles to the west. The Kumeyaay, the first inhabitants, lived in small, seasonal villages scattered throughout the area to avoid the desert heat of summer. The discovery of gold in late 1860s brought gold-rush fame to these mountains and settlers to the newly-created town of Julian. In 1870, Julian's population was 300 with nearly 1500 people living in the Julian Mining District. However, the rush was short-lived and during the 1880s most of the mines closed. The population of Julian dropped to 100. Although several brief periods of mining revived interest in gold exploration, overall, mining had become too expensive to remain the mainstay of Julian's economy. Mining activities gave way to a variety of business efforts such as brick-making, lumbering, orchard agriculture and grazing. It was also at this time that visitors were drawn to the area by its beauty and Julian became known as a resort as well as a gold-rush town.
- Julian Community Plan, San Diego County General Plan