Taking flight at the Torrey Pines Gliderport!

Paraglider high above the Pacific Ocean catches a warm summer updraft created by sandstone cliffs at San Diego's famous Torrey Pines Gliderport.
Paraglider high above the Pacific Ocean catches a warm summer updraft created by sandstone cliffs at San Diego’s famous Torrey Pines Gliderport.

The world-famous Torrey Pines Gliderport is possibly the coolest, most awesome place in all of San Diego. Hang gliders and paragliders float silently in the sky above rugged sandstone cliffs and the blue Pacific Ocean, painting a rare scene that few will ever forget. Here are some photos that I took this morning.

I arrived too early–the wind necessary to sustain gliders, I learned, doesn’t usually kick in until about 11:30. No worries. There were so many interesting things to photograph, and the weather and scenery were so pleasant, I just moseyed around and sat here and there and let each moment unfold.

Please enjoy the following photos and make sure to read the captions for more detailed explanations!

The Torrey Pines Gliderport was established in 1928 and is an active aviation facility. It is also a favorite place to enjoy incredible natural scenery and perhaps get a bite to eat.
The Torrey Pines Gliderport was established in 1928 and is an active aviation facility. It’s also a favorite place to enjoy incredible natural scenery and perhaps get a bite to eat.
Looking north along the San Diego coast from a point above Black's Beach. A solitary figure looks out at the mighty ocean from atop a weathered sandstone cliff.
Looking north along the San Diego coast from a point above Black’s Beach. A solitary figure looks out at the mighty ocean from atop a weathered sandstone cliff.
A hang glider is moved on the grassy hill near the Gliderport. Students, instructors and experienced gliders alike must wait for a good, steady wind.
A hang glider is moved on the grassy hill near the Gliderport. Students, instructors and experienced gliders alike must wait for a good, steady wind.
While I wandered about I made a cool discovery! Atop the hill beside the Torrey Pines Gliderport, the folks of Sky Falconry were getting ready for a morning class.
While I wandered about I made a cool discovery! Atop the hill beside the Torrey Pines Gliderport, the experts of Sky Falconry were getting ready to teach a morning class. Anyone can fly a bird of prey!
Several hawks trained to fly and return on command have a chance to stretch their wings before the class of falconry students arrives.
Several hawks trained to fly and return on command have a chance to stretch their wings before the class of falconry students arrives.
Taking flight indeed! A beautiful raptor flies past its handler. Beyond, the blue Pacific Ocean stretches to the horizon.
Taking flight indeed! A beautiful raptor flies past its handler. Beyond, the blue Pacific Ocean stretches to the horizon.
The Sky Falconry class has begun and I take another photo, then leave these good people in peace. There is much else to see...
The Sky Falconry class has begun and I take another photo, then leave these good people in peace. There is much else to see…
A view looking south from the Torrey Pines Gliderport. Someone stands on the lifeguard perch that overlooks the beach below. La Jolla Cove and a bit of Scripps Pier can be seen in the background.
A view looking south from the Torrey Pines Gliderport. Someone stands on the lifeguard perch that overlooks the beach below. La Jolla Cove and the end of Scripps Pier can be seen in the background.
Some activity! Someone wearing a bulky but lightweight paragliding harness sets out across the grass from the patio area at the Torrey Pines Gliderport.
Some activity! Someone wearing a bulky but lightweight paragliding harness sets out across the grass from the patio area at the Torrey Pines Gliderport.
Students have begun to learn the basics of paragliding, including how to safely launch. Not enough wind to take to the air yet.
Students have begun to learn the basics of paragliding, including how to safely launch. Not enough wind to take to the air yet.
A quick photo through the Torrey Pines Gliderport's casual patio area, with picnic benches. I spotted an outdoor grill and pool table nearby!
A quick photo through the Torrey Pines Gliderport’s casual patio area, with picnic benches. I spotted an outdoor grill and pool table nearby!
The Giderport's well-stocked Cliffhanger Café has yummy hamburgers . . . and jaw-dropping views nearby!
The Giderport’s well-stocked Cliffhanger Café has yummy hamburgers . . . and jaw-dropping views just steps away!
A short hallway that leads into the Torrey Pines Gliderport store features many photos of past hang gliding and paragliding action.
A short hallway that leads into the Torrey Pines Gliderport store features many photos of past hang gliding and paragliding adventures.
Just south of the Gliderport's launch area, a bench makes a perfect place to experience sun, ocean and sea breeze.
Just south of the Gliderport’s launch area, a bench makes a perfect place to experience sun, ocean and sea breeze.
A forlorn concrete monument stands near the dirt parking lot, south of the Torrey Pines Gliderport. On one side a tile mosaic depicts a sailboat and gliders in the sky.
A forlorn concrete monument stands near the dirt parking lot, south of the Torrey Pines Gliderport. On one side a tile mosaic depicts a sailboat and gliders in the sky.
On the opposite side is a corroded historical marker. To honor the spirit, ingenuity, and enthusiasm of the pioneers who flew gliders in the 1930's at Torrey Pines.
On the opposite side is a corroded historical marker. To honor the spirit, ingenuity, and enthusiasm of the pioneers who flew gliders in the 1930’s at Torrey Pines.
Another look north at beautiful high cliffs of eroded sandstone. The coastline melts away into San Diego's North County.
Another look north at beautiful high cliffs of eroded sandstone. The coastline melts away into San Diego’s North County.  No gliders yet!
A couple of surfers prepare to descend the cliff to Black's Beach far below. For those who don't follow the established trail, it can be a very treacherous descent, and one occasionally sees rescues on the local news.
A couple of surfers prepare to descend the cliff to Black’s Beach far below. For those who don’t follow the established trail, it can be a very treacherous descent, and one occasionally sees rescues on the local news.
A raised outdoor eating area at the Torrey Pines Gliderport is the perfect place to watch all the aerial action. But still too early...
A raised outdoor eating area at the Torrey Pines Gliderport is the perfect place to watch all the aerial action. But still too early…not enough wind…
The Torrey Pines Gliderport bills itself as America's premier flight school. One can enjoy tandem paraglider and hang glider flights with an instructor.
The Torrey Pines Gliderport bills itself as America’s premier flight school. One can enjoy tandem paraglider and hang glider flights with an expert instructor.
The breeze has picked up a bit. More students are trying out their equipment on safe land. A happy dog is loving life.
The breeze has picked up a bit. More students are trying out their equipment on safe land. A happy dog is loving life.
A paragliding student learns the ropes. In the distance you can see the equally famous Torrey Pines Golf Course, which hosted the epic 2008 U.S. Open.
A paragliding student learns the ropes. In the distance you can see the equally famous Torrey Pines Golf Course, which hosted the epic 2008 U.S. Open.
More spectators have arrived and the nearby grassy hill has become more active. The falconry class is still underway.
More spectators have arrived and the nearby grassy hill has become more active. The falconry class is still underway.
Almost enough lift!
Almost enough lift!
Carrying all the paragliding gear back up the hill. When actually gliding, if too much elevation is lost, some gliders will land on the beach. Then the climb is much, much worse!
Carrying all the paragliding gear back up the hill. When actually gliding, if too much elevation is lost, some gliders will land on the beach. Then the climb is much, much worse!
Just a cool shot of a paraglider spreading her wings.
Just a cool shot of a paraglider spreading her wings.
Finally! The breeze is pretty good now! The first paraglider is ready to launch! Lift is provided by wind that rises along the long cliffside.
Finally! The breeze is pretty good now! The first paraglider is ready to launch! Lift is provided by wind that pushes up against the long cliffside.
And he's off, among the birds!
And he’s off, among the birds!
A tranquil ride above and through the beautiful blue. Paragliders wind their way back and forth along the cliffs, catching the updraft.
A tranquil ride above and through the beautiful blue. Paragliders wind their way back and forth along the cliffs, catching the updraft.
A photo that provides a hint of why the Torrey Pines Gliderport is such a special place.
A photo that provides a hint of why the Torrey Pines Gliderport is such a special place.
A fantastic ride through the sky!
A fantastic ride through the sky!
Another paraglider has joined the aerial dance. The lower part of his body is enclosed in a cool-looking pod harness.
Another paraglider has joined the slow aerial dance. The lower part of his body is enclosed in a cool-looking pod harness.
Paragliding above Black's Beach, a favorite destination for surfers and Southern California nudists!
Paragliding above Black’s Beach, a favorite destination for surfers and Southern California nudists!
Just gliding along.
Just gliding along.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego!  Are you curious?  There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Three achievements that have touched many people.

smiley-face-widened

I haven’t walked or blogged much in the past few weeks. I’m a bit under the weather. I’ll try to get out on Sunday to find something interesting!

I’ve been thinking differently about Cool San Diego Sights lately. So many hours have been spent–mostly pleasurable ones–in building my blog. But what does all this effort amount to? I enjoy walking and making cool discoveries. It feels good to preserve and share those discoveries. And to spread some sunshine. Happiness in this troubled old world is a good thing.

I enjoy the interaction with other bloggers and people on social media, even if I only sit at my computer for a short while each day.

I enjoy the occasional surprises, such as being contacted by artists and others whose work I’ve documented. That is really amazing!

I’ve also been fortunate in rare instances to do some significant good, or touch people in a way that can make a real difference. There are three achievements in particular that I thought might be worth sharing again.

The first was helping in a small way to uncover an important part of San Diego and United States Navy history. The Navy Bicentennial Commemorative Plaque is on public display on the Greatest Generation Walk, a few steps from the USS Midway Museum, and it is passed by thousands of people every day. But it seemed all knowledge of its origin had been lost. I merely posted a plea: help solve a mystery! And, mysteriously, thanks to the magic of the internet–and perhaps word of mouth–over time information trickled in. Finally I was sent several amazing old photographs of the plaque’s creators and its forging, and a typewritten article revealing the details of its origin. I titled that post Creating a plaque: Navy history in San Diego revealed!

A second achievement, the one that probably makes the biggest difference in the lives of people, was a post I wrote about how to help the homeless in San Diego. I am absolutely astonished at how almost every single day, people coming to my blog click the links to the charities and organizations that strive to assist the homeless. There have been hundreds of clicks. I seldom ask my readers to share anything on my blog, but if you are so inclined, I titled that post 20 Ways To Help the Homeless in San Diego.

And finally, I wrote a short story that seems to have touched many deeply. It has even gone a bit viral in surprising places all around the world. It’s about how to change the world. I titled that post A short story to make you smile and cry. Realizing short stories don’t really fit on a photo blog about San Diego, I created another blog for my short works of fiction. If you like to read, perhaps click Short Stories by Richard.

Thank you all for following Cool San Diego Sights. This blogging thing is a strange, mysterious undertaking. Hundreds of visitors each day, from everywhere around the planet, most coming from search engines, and I have no idea who those people are. The whole experience has changed my life in far too many ways to mention.  For the better!  When I first started the blog, I had no notion that I would arrive here.

Well, hopefully on to more adventures! Have a great rest of the weekend!

Even more random street art in North Park!

Part of a spray paint street mural in North Park by artists Maxx Moses and Glow.
Part of a spray paint street mural in North Park by artists Maxx Moses and Glow.

Here are even more photos of random street art that I’ve encountered during walks through North Park!

I’ve already covered many amazing street murals in the neighborhood. You can find those by surfing around my blog, clicking related articles, tags or performing a search in the sidebar. Cool San Diego Sights contains hundreds of San Diego street art photos that you might enjoy!

North Park utility box depicts meditating figure.
North Park utility box depicts meditating figure.
Many utility boxes in North Park (like other San Diego neighborhoods) have been enlivened with colorful street art. This box has the word SOAK and some tentacles.
Many utility boxes in North Park (like other San Diego neighborhoods) have been enlivened with colorful street art. This box has the word SOAK and some tentacles.
Lightning inside a deadhead skull separates night from day. Urban art on a shop located on North Park's University Avenue.
Lightning inside a deadhead skull separates night from day. Urban art on a shop located on North Park’s University Avenue.
Huge glowing crystals grow from a North Park sidewalk!
Huge glowing crystals grow from a North Park sidewalk!
More creatively decorated utility boxes along University Avenue in North Park.
More creatively decorated utility boxes along University Avenue in North Park.
Unusual artwork near a building's rooftop features alien-like creatures with three eyes.
Unusual artwork near a building’s rooftop features alien-like creatures with three eyes.
A cool sun with mustache above some prickly pear cacti.
A cool sun with mustache above some prickly pear cacti.
A young person holding binoculars seems to watch the people of North Park.
A young person holding binoculars seems to watch the people of North Park.
These artistic cubes are fun seats for people waiting for the bus.
These artistic cubes are fun seats for people waiting for the bus.
One unique utility box has four sides featuring subterranean slices. West shows where land meets Pacific Ocean.
One unique utility box has four sides featuring subterranean slices. West shows where land meets Pacific Ocean.
Bienvenidos! South shows the border with nearby Mexico.
Bienvenidos! South shows the border with nearby Mexico.
East shows the desert, which lies beyond our mountains.
East shows the desert, which lies beyond our mountains.
North depicts a small, happy home in North Park.
North depicts a small, happy home in North Park.
Just walking along the sidewalk, past a creatively decorated transformer box.
Just walking along the sidewalk, past a creatively decorated transformer box.
Turning a corner past pink and yellow cats.
Turning a corner past pink and yellow cats.
Utility box on 30th Street has tropical palm trees, flowers, fish and a skull.
Utility box on 30th Street has tropical palm trees, flowers, fish and a skull.
Newspaper box covered top to bottom with decals.
Newspaper box covered top to bottom with decals.
Graffiti near shop door includes a sexy lady.
Graffiti near shop door includes a sexy lady.
A typical scene on one sidewalk that stretches down 30th Street in North Park.
A typical scene on one sidewalk that stretches down 30th Street in North Park.
Street art in North Park shows a woman walking through the city.
Street art in North Park shows a woman walking through the city.
In hip, laid-back North Park, an appropriate slogan: r.i.p. bullshit
In easy-going, laid-back North Park, an appropriate slogan: r.i.p. bullshit

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

San Diego Padres Hall of Fame players at Petco Park.

The face of Dave Winfield, a past San Diego Padres superstar, now in the Baseball Hall of Fame, greets fans on the north side of Petco Park's historic Western Metal Supply Co. building.
The face of Dave Winfield, a past San Diego Padres superstar, now in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, greets fans on the north side of Petco Park’s historic Western Metal Supply Co. building.

Just before the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was played in San Diego, a special section at Petco Park was readied to showcase our baseball team’s greatest players. In addition to large iconic images of four Padres favorites which had been added to the north end of the Western Metal Supply Co. building, an impressive “Padres In Cooperstown” wall of plaques was installed near the Padres Hall of Fame, which itself opened on July 1, 2016.

The faces you see in my photos bring back many memories. My fond memories include the magical 1984 season, which I followed closely when I was a young man. I hope any Padres fans visiting my blog might enjoy their own special memories.

Randy Jones as a Padre starting pitcher won the Cy Young Award in 1976. Today he is in the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame.
Randy Jones as a starting pitcher won the Cy Young Award in 1976. Today he is in the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame.
The familiar face of Tony Gwynn, Mr. Padre, on the Western Metal Supply Co. building. One of the best Major League Baseball hitters of all time.
The familiar face of Tony Gwynn, Mr. Padre, on the Western Metal Supply Co. building. One of the best Major League Baseball hitters of all time.
The face of Trevor Hoffman, who pitched as a closer for over 15 years with the San Diego Padres. His 601 saves are the second most in MLB history.
The face of Trevor Hoffman, who pitched as a closer for over 15 years with the San Diego Padres. His 601 saves are presently the second most in MLB history.
Legends who played baseball with the San Diego Padres who are now in Cooperstown's National Baseball Hall of Fame include Ted Williams and Willie McCovey.
Legends who played baseball with the San Diego Padres who are now in Cooperstown’s National Baseball Hall of Fame include Ted Williams and Willie McCovey.
A wall at Petco Park is dedicated to Padres coaches and players who are now in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Names include Rollie Fingers, Ozzie Smith, Rickey Henderson, Goose Gossage.
A wall at Petco Park is dedicated to Padres coaches and players who are now in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Names include Rollie Fingers, Ozzie Smith, Rickey Henderson, Goose Gossage.
National Baseball Hall of Fame players who spent time with the Padres also include Roberto Alomar, Greg Maddux and Mike Piazza.
National Baseball Hall of Fame players who spent time with the Padres also include Roberto Alomar, Greg Maddux and Mike Piazza.
Dave Winfield played for the San Diego Padres from 1973 to 1980. A talented outfielder, he swung the bat with incredible power. A special plaque for him now stands in front of the "Padres In Cooperstown" wall at Petco Park.
Dave Winfield played for the San Diego Padres from 1973 to 1980. A talented outfielder, he swung the bat with power. A special plaque for him now stands separately in front of the “Padres In Cooperstown” wall at Petco Park.
Tony Gwynn was simply one of the best Major League Baseball players of all time. He spent his entire career as a San Diego Padre. He was a cheerful soul loved by everyone who knew him.
Tony Gwynn was simply one of the best Major League Baseball players of all time. He spent his entire career as a San Diego Padre. He was a cheerful soul loved by the fans and everyone who knew him.
The smiling face of Tony Gwynn on a very special plaque. It stands proudly in front of the "Padres In Cooperstown" wall at Petco Park.
The smiling face of Tony Gwynn on a very special plaque. It stands eternally in front of the “Padres In Cooperstown” wall at Petco Park.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A colorful morning walk through Little Italy.

Colorful art in the sidewalk in San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood. A fisherman sells his fresh catch to a family by the ocean.
Colorful art in the sidewalk in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood. A fisherman sells his fresh catch to a family by the ocean.

I walked through Little Italy yesterday morning on my way to catch the trolley. I was struck by the quiet beauty all around me. So I tried to capture a few moments with some photos.

In the interest of full disclosure, two or three of these photos are from walks on other mornings. It seems my every journey through Little Italy is magical.

It's still early morning in Little Italy, so perhaps everyone isn't quite ready to tackle the day.
It’s still early morning in Little Italy, so perhaps everyone isn’t quite ready to tackle the day.
Morning sunlight slants in to touch the side of a newly painted Victorian house near a modern hotel.
Morning sunlight slants in to touch the side of a newly painted Victorian house near a modern hotel.
Michelangelo watches--and so does a construction worker--as a new development rises in the heart of Little Italy.
Michelangelo watches–and so does a construction worker–as a new development rises in the heart of Little Italy.
This huge new development will include the public gathering space Piazza Famiglia.
This huge new development will include the public gathering space Piazza Famiglia.
Sweeping up some leaves, preparing for another day.
Sweeping up some leaves, preparing for another day.
A Little Italy Association maintenance truck has pulled up beside a wheelbarrow full of flowers.
A Little Italy Association maintenance truck has pulled up beside a wheelbarrow full of flowers.
Wisdom along the roof of one building. Do right. Fear nothing. Keep it simple. Find what you love.
Wisdom along the roof of one building. Do right. Fear nothing. Keep it simple. Find what you love.
A big red chair awaits on Little Italy's popular but now quiet India Street.
A big red chair awaits on Little Italy’s popular but now quiet India Street.
Mary and Christ Child welcome the faithful above the entrance to Our Lady of the Rosary church.
Mary and Christ Child welcome the faithful above the entrance to Our Lady of the Rosary church.
Classic bearded face provides a building wall with sculptural ornamentation.
Classic bearded face provides a building wall with sculptural ornamentation.
Little Italy San Diego street lamp banner celebrates entertainer Lady Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.
Little Italy San Diego street lamp banner celebrates entertainer Lady Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.
Fanciful birdhouses sit on a fence between homes in Little Italy.
Fanciful birdhouses sit on a fence between homes in Little Italy.
Be like a pineapple! Wear a crown. Stand tall and be sweet on the inside.
Be like a pineapple! Wear a crown. Stand tall and be sweet on the inside.
Greenery flows like cascading water from planters on the outside wall of the Sorrento Ristorante.
Greenery flows like cascading water from planters on the outside wall of the Sorrento Ristorante.
A quiet moment before the day's business begins.
A quiet moment before the day’s business begins.
Life and color fill the streets of the Little Italy neighborhood in downtown San Diego.
Life and color fill the streets of the Little Italy neighborhood in downtown San Diego.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A mighty Poetic Expeditionary Nation of Semanticists!

The five members of The Mightier P.E.N.S. perform poetry in Balboa Park's Zoro Garden during this summer's 2016 Garden Theatre Festival.
The five members of The Mightier P.E.N.S. perform poetry in Balboa Park’s Zoro Garden during this summer’s 2016 Garden Theatre Festival.

Look what I stumbled upon this afternoon during my stroll through Balboa Park! The Mightier P.E.N.S. (Poetic Expeditionary Nation of Semanticists) was performing poetry in the Zoro Garden. Balboa Park’s butterfly-filled stone grotto is the venue for a variety of poetic and theatrical performances during the Garden Theatre Festival, Saturdays and Sundays through August 21st.

I listened as the five members of The Mightier P.E.N.S. filled the air with mightily expressed emotion, striking deep chords with their words. As butterflies flitted about the garden, like beguiling not-quite-touchable-truths in the shimmering air, their spoken words conveyed an entire range of deep feeling, including human desire, elation, frustration and despair.

This energetic group of performance poets can be heard around San Diego from time to time; they appeared at the most recent San Diego Fringe Festival. They’ll be performing twice more this summer in Balboa Park. Interested? Swing by the Zoro Garden on August 14th and 21nd at 2pm. Their poetry is mightier than the sharpest sword! For further information, you can call (619) 569-4922.

While I innocently sit back and listen, I'm suddenly accosted by unabashed truths spoken during an innovative poetry performance!
While I innocently sit back and listen, I’m suddenly accosted by unabashed truths spoken during an innovative poetry performance!
Visitors to Balboa Park pause near the top of Zoro Garden and listen to The Mighty P.E.N.S. conquer . . . for a fleeting moment.
Visitors to Balboa Park pause near the top of Zoro Garden and listen to The Mightier P.E.N.S. conquer the world . . . for a fleeting moment.
One of the dynamic poets expresses innermost thoughts, desires and anguish with strong words and images pieced brilliantly together.
One of the dynamic poets expresses innermost thoughts, desires and anguish with strong words and images pieced brilliantly together.
A small crowd gathered where I was seated. As each poet completed a segment of the performance, applause erupted.
A small crowd gathered where I was seated. As each poet completed a segment of the performance, applause erupted.
The Mighty P.E.N.S. appear to be mighty friends. No words required.
The Mightier P.E.N.S. appear to be mighty friends. No words required.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you love Balboa Park? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

To read some philosophical short stories that I’ve written, please click Short Stories by Richard.

San Diego history in Old Town’s McCoy House.

The McCoy House Museum, in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, is a reconstruction of a home built in 1869 for Sheriff James McCoy.
The McCoy House Museum, in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, is a reconstruction of a home built in 1869 for Sheriff James McCoy.

While there are many small museums and historical attractions that visitors can enjoy in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, the McCoy House Museum is the best place to see an extensive series of interpretive displays that describe the complete history of early San Diego.

The McCoy House, standing on the north end of Old Town, is a reconstruction of a home built in 1869 for Sheriff James McCoy and his family. James McCoy, who lived from 1821 to 1895, like many early San Diego residents was an ambitious man, working diverse jobs, filling many roles. At the age of 21 he sailed from Ireland to America seeking opportunity. He became a soldier, then a stagehand, then San Diego county assessor, then county sheriff in 1861. He acquired substantial real estate holdings and finally won election to the state senate in 1871.

The interpretive displays in the McCoy House Museum provide a good look back at San Diego’s formative years. They detail the life of the Native American Kumeyaay who’ve lived in the region for thousands of years, the first Spanish explorers, the establishment of the Spanish mission, the Mexican period and the subsequent American period.

If you’d like to read the displays, click my photographs to enlarge them.

This blog post covers the first floor of the museum. I’ll cover the second floor exhibits in a later post. After heading up some stairs, one can find information about the more prominent residents of Old Town, plus the town’s later history as it competed with New Town, which eventually rose to become downtown San Diego as we know it today.

Anyone who is a history buff must visit the McCoy House Museum. You’ll be transported back in time and see how life was exciting, difficult, and altogether different many, many years ago in San Diego.

Sign lists important dates concerning the McCoy House. Today it's a museum containing exhibits that depict the fascinating history of Old Town San Diego.
Sign lists important dates concerning the McCoy House. Today it’s a museum containing exhibits that explain the fascinating history of Old Town San Diego.
Just inside the front door, this might have resembled the parlor of the original McCoy House, occupied by an upper middle class family in San Diego's Old Town.
Just inside the front door, this might have resembled the parlor of the original McCoy House, occupied by an upper middle class family in San Diego’s Old Town.
Framed photo on one wall from the San Diego Historical Society shows the original McCoy House.
Framed photo on one wall from the San Diego Historical Society shows the original McCoy House.
Interpretive exhibits inside the McCoy House Museum begin with the Spanish period of San Diego, from 1769 to 1821.
Interpretive exhibits inside the McCoy House Museum begin with the Spanish period of San Diego, from 1769 to 1821.
Quotes from the journeys of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, Sebastian Vizcaino and Gaspar de Portola.
Quotes from the journeys of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, Sebastian Vizcaino and Gaspar de Portola.
A string of missions was created by Spain in California to secure its claim to new territory. The first mission, in San Diego, was on Presidio Hill near the native Kumeyaay village of Cosoy.
A string of missions was created by Spain in California to secure its claim to new territory. The first mission, in San Diego, was originally established on Presidio Hill near the native Kumeyaay village of Cosoy.
An artistic representation of life among the Kumeyaay people. They often visited the nearby coast to hunt and gather food.
An artistic representation of life among the Kumeyaay people. They often visited the nearby coast to hunt and gather food.
For thousands of years, the Kumeyaay lived along the coast and interior valleys of what is now San Diego County. They moved with the seasons to take advantage of available resources.
For thousands of years, the Kumeyaay lived along the coast and interior valleys of what is now San Diego County. They moved with the seasons to take advantage of available resources.
The Kumeyaay built dome-shaped houses from oak, willow or sycamore branches. The simple structures were called ee-wahs.
The Kumeyaay built dome-shaped houses from oak, willow or sycamore branches. The simple structures were called ee-wahs.
The Kumeyaay saw the physical and spiritual world as one and the same.
The Kumeyaay saw the physical and spiritual world as one and the same.
Exhibit in the McCoy House Museum shows artifacts associated with the Kumeyaay, including a bark skirt, arrows, rabbit stick, child's sandals, gourd rattle and war club.
Exhibit in the McCoy House Museum shows artifacts associated with the Kumeyaay, including a bark skirt, arrows, rabbit stick, child’s sandals, gourd rattle and war club.
The Kumeyaay revolted against the Spanish missionaries in 1775, a year after the San Diego mission was relocated inland very close to a large Kumeyaay village.
The Kumeyaay revolted against the Spanish missionaries in 1775, a year after the San Diego mission was relocated inland very close to a large Kumeyaay village.
Once baptized, converted Kumeyaay followed a strict life. Mission bells signaled the day's activities, including the singing of hymns, Mass, meals and work assignments.
Once baptized, converted Kumeyaay followed a strict life. Mission bells signaled the day’s activities, including the singing of hymns, Mass, meals and work assignments.
Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821 after a decade of bloodshed. Changes included a decline in support for the presidio and freedom from Spain's trade regulations.
Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821 after a decade of bloodshed. Changes included a decline in support for the presidio and freedom from Spain’s trade regulations.
After the breakup of the Spanish missions, the era of the great ranchos began. Californios were often racially mixed descendants of soldier-settler families.
After the breakup of the Spanish missions, the era of the great ranchos began. Californios were often racially mixed descendants of soldier-settler families.
Vaqueros were the original cowboys. They worked on the extensive ranches and handled the large herds of stock.
Vaqueros were the original cowboys. They worked on the extensive ranches and handled the large herds of stock.
A fanciful picture of life on a rancho, with vaqueros at work and children at play.
A fanciful picture of life on a rancho, with vaqueros at work and children at play.
The Californios loved to celebrate feast days, weddings and religious festivals.
The Californios loved to celebrate feast days, weddings and religious festivals.
Cattle by the thousands roamed San Diego's hills. Their dried hides were used in trade and were sometimes referred to as California banknotes.
Cattle by the thousands roamed San Diego’s hills. Their dried hides were used in trade and were sometimes referred to as California banknotes.
Illustration of loading cow hides onto a carreta. Hides were gathered by ships along the coast to be transported around Cape Horn to the eastern United States.
Illustration of loading cow hides onto a carreta. Hides were gathered by ships along the coast to be transported around Cape Horn to the eastern United States.
Exhibit inside the McCoy House Museum recreates the small shop of a Boston trader. The brig Pilgrim of Two Years Before the Mast brought people aboard to buy wares and finished goods that weren't available in San Diego.
Exhibit inside the McCoy House Museum recreates the small shop of a Boston trader. The brig Pilgrim of Two Years Before the Mast brought people aboard to buy wares and finished goods that weren’t available in San Diego.
Illustrations of cow hides being cured. This activity took place at La Playa, a point on San Diego Bay near Ballast Point in Point Loma.
Illustrations of cow hides being cured. This activity took place at La Playa, a point on San Diego Bay near Ballast Point in Point Loma.
Diagram of the brig Pilgrim, made famous in Richard Henry Dana Jr.'s classic Two Years Before the Mast. Dana collected cattle hides up and down the California coast.
Diagram of the brig Pilgrim, made famous in Richard Henry Dana Jr.’s classic Two Years Before the Mast. As an ordinary seaman, Dana collected cattle hides up and down the California coast.
Exhibit in the McCoy House Museum details local history during the Mexican–American War from 1846 to 1848.
Exhibit in the McCoy House Museum details local history during the Mexican–American War from 1846 to 1848.
During the war, U.S. occupation of San Diego divided the loyalty of the Californios. The two sides fought briefly at the Battle of San Pasqual.
During the war, U.S. occupation of San Diego divided the loyalty of the Californios. The two sides fought briefly at the Battle of San Pasqual.
Around the time of the Gold Rush, San Diego saw an influx of emigrants from all over, including New England, the American South, Mexico, South America, Ireland, Great Britain and Germany.
Around the time of the Gold Rush, San Diego saw an influx of emigrants from all over, including New England, the American South, Mexico, South America, Ireland, Great Britain and Germany.
Old Town tales include the construction of the first jail in 1850. The walls were so poorly made, the first prisoner, Roy Bean, easily dug himself out, then celebrated at a nearby saloon!
Old Town tales include the construction of the first jail in 1850. The walls were so poorly made, the first prisoner, Roy Bean, easily dug himself out, then celebrated at a nearby saloon!
Grog shops became popular gathering places. They were a social hub of San Diego life, providing customers with news and provisions.
Grog shops became popular gathering places. They were a social hub of San Diego life, providing customers with news and provisions.
A recreated Old Town grog shop can be found inside the McCoy House Museum.
A recreated Old Town grog shop can be found inside the McCoy House Museum.
After the California Gold Rush of 1849, San Diego became more developed. A courthouse and newspaper were established. Transportation included clipper ships, stage lines and steamships.
After the California Gold Rush of 1849, San Diego became more developed. A courthouse and newspaper were established. Transportation included clipper ships, stage lines and steamships.
Poster advertises a new clipper ship route. A very quick trip may be relied upon!
Poster advertises a new clipper ship route. A very quick trip may be relied upon!
Between 1865 and 1872, Old Town San Diego continued to grow. The first public school opened, and the town welcomed its first theatrical company in the Whaley house.
Between 1865 and 1872, Old Town San Diego continued to grow. The first public school opened, and the town welcomed its first theatrical company in the Whaley house.
The first overland coach to San Diego began service in 1854. Additional stage lines came into existence, allowing for the delivery of mail, express packages and passengers.
The first overland coach to San Diego began service in 1854. Additional stage lines came into existence, allowing for the delivery of mail, express packages and passengers.
Visitors to the McCoy House Museum can step into a replica stage stop and see what life was like in Old Town during San Diego's early history.
Visitors to the McCoy House Museum can step into a replica stage stop and see what life was like in Old Town during San Diego’s rugged early history.

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