Julian is an official California Historical Landmark No. 412. Also, the Julian townsite and surrounding area is defined by the San Diego County Zoning Ordinance Section 5749 as the Julian Historic District. This designation requires that development adhere to certain guidelines that are administered by the Architectural Review Board of the Julian Historic District, which is appointed by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. (The "Design Guidelines Manual" is available in portable document format at San Diego County's office web site.)
The town was named by Drue Bailey after his cousin Mike Julian, whom later was elected San Diego County Assessor.
The area was originally occupied by the Kumeyaay people.
According to a bronze historical plaque appearing in the town, in the early days of Julian, the majority of San Diego County's African-American population resided in or near the town, including the founders of the Robinson Hotel as well as a noted resident, America Newton. Of the 55 blacks living in San Diego County during the 1880 census, 33 lived in the Julian area. Although this information appears on the plaque, it has been the subject of some controversy.
In recent decades Julian has become a quaint mountain resort. The town narrowly escaped destruction in the 2003 Cedar Fire that burned much of the surrounding area.
Julian is located in a mixed pine-oak woodland at 4,235 feet (1,219 m) above sea level. Precipitation averages 26 inches (66 cm) per year, notably higher than rainfall totals in coastal and desert areas of San Diego County, due to the orographic effect.(33.070930, -116.585601),
Soils in and around Julian are mostly dark brown, slightly to moderately acidic sandy loams which are well drained and of variable stoniness. Less stony areas, which underlie most of the townsite, are in the Holland series. The hills around town have rocky soils of the Crouch series. Somewhat poorly drained alluvial loam occurs along Coleman Creek.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,621 people, 658 households, and 459 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 79.0/km² (204.8/mi²). There were 902 housing units at an average density of 44.0/km² (114.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 91.05% White, 0.74% African American, 1.17% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 3.95% from other races, and 2.47% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.08% of the population.
There were 658 households out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.2% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.2% were non-families. 24.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 25.8% under the age of 18, 5.2% from 18 to 24, 22.6% from 25 to 44, 32.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 99.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.3 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $44,681, and the median income for a family was $49,143. Males had a median income of $32,105 versus $26,509 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $18,132. About 4.3% of families and 6.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.9% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.
Although Julian's picturesque setting attracts tourists, recreationalists and antique lovers, the town is most famous for its apple crop. The apple variety grown locally is considered less sweet than most traditional types, but pies and cider made from the fruit have garnered great popularity for nearly 100 years. The town is often very busy on holiday weekends and during the apple harvest season (approximately the month of October).
Local shops feature handtooled jewelry, Western artwork, souvenirs, and apple-related foods and candy. In homage to Julian's minor "gold rush," an inactive gold mine is open daily for tours, and recreational gold panning continues today in Banner Creek east of town. Three AAA approved places of lodging are available (including the historic Julian Hotel) several bed and breakfast type establishments, and many private cabins.
Winter days in Julian usually are sunny and cool; however, the area experiences several light snowfalls most years, allowing for snowplay and surfing within the same county only an hour apart. In March 2006, a snowfall that exceeded two feet surprised the residents and blocked private roads, unmaintained by the County, for more than a week.
A number of wineries located in and around Julian offer complimentary wine tasting. These wineries are: Orfila Vineyards, Witch Creek Winery, J. Jenkins Winery, Menghini Winery, and Shadow Mountain Vineyards. Many of these are located along SR 78/SR 79 to the northwest of the town center.
Access to Julian is limited to three major roads. The northern access is via State Route 76/State Route 79, which ultimately links to various other roads and highways serving northern San Diego and southwestern Riverside counties, including at least three different access routes to Interstate 15. State Route 78 comes to Julian from the west, providing access to Ramona and Escondido. The eastern access is State Route 78, which descends the eastern slope of the mountains to intersect with State Route 86 in Imperial County; this is the least commonly used of the three routes. The southern access is State Route 79 through Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, which provides a link to Interstate 8.
In the state legislature Julian is located in the 36th Senate District, represented by Republican Dennis Hollingsworth, and in the 66th Assembly District, represented by Republican Kevin Jeffries. Federally, Julian is located in California's 49th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +10 and is represented by Republican Darrell Issa.