Weathered yellow arches and a bold blue door.

Photo of shuttered windows taken through dark, weathered archway.
Photo of old, shuttered windows taken through dark, weathered archway.

During my recent ramble around NTC Liberty Station, I did some nosing around. I took a few interesting photos of a lonely portion of the old Naval Training Center San Diego that has yet to be renovated. A row of old, weathered barracks along the North Promenade are vacant and locked shut. But if you listen closely, and use a little imagination, it might be possible to hear the echoing footsteps of naval recruits from decades ago.

The old Naval Training Center in Point Loma is a fascinating place with a significant place in United States history. The idea of training sailors in San Diego was first explored in 1915 by Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt. When the complex was finally built in 1921, it was a modest affair, with several barracks, a mess hall, dispensary, and a few other buildings. It expanded over the years, and during World War II accommodated as many as 25,000 naval recruits. The center remained a vital resource of the United States Navy until 1997, when it was finally closed. Today around 50 original buildings along the beautiful promenade (which also includes the old base’s command center and parade ground) have been restored. Liberty Station has become a popular destination for shopping, recreation and a variety of cultural attractions.

In the following photos, you might note the architecture is mostly based on the Spanish Colonial Revival style, particularly the long arcades. The design of the Naval Training Center was directly influenced by buildings constructed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego’s Balboa Park.

Looking along the length of long-abandoned Barracks 5 at NTC Liberty Station.
Looking along the length of long-abandoned Barracks 5 at NTC Liberty Station.
Some old base signs still can be seen at the historic Naval Training Center San Diego.
Some old military base signs still can be seen at the historic Naval Training Center San Diego.
Buildings 18 and 25 remain empty. Most structures in the complex are renovated and have commercial or nonprofit tenants.
Buildings 18 and 25 remain empty. Most structures in the complex are renovated and have commercial or nonprofit tenants.
Simple geometry of functional architecture influenced by the Spanish Colonial Revival style.
Simple geometry of functional architecture influenced by the Spanish Colonial Revival style.
Peeling yellow paint on buildings where new United States Navy recruits used to train.
Peeling yellow paint on buildings where new United States Navy recruits used to train.
There's something strangely picturesque in this image of lonely decay.
There’s something strangely picturesque in this image of lonely decay.
With a bit of imagination, one can picture newly recruited sailors moving and marching through the Naval Training Center years ago.
With a bit of imagination, one can picture newly recruited sailors moving and marching through the Naval Training Center years ago.
This boldly painted blue door really catches the eye!
This boldly painted blue door really catches the eye!
Walking around NTC Liberty Station is like taking a small voyage back into history.
Walking around NTC Liberty Station is like taking a small voyage back into history.

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

Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

7 thoughts on “Weathered yellow arches and a bold blue door.”

  1. That base holds such a huge place in my heart. My hubby was stationed there and I can remember driving to pick him up from work and seeing those young men marching in formation and saluting the sticker on the car, not knowing if I was the one they were supposed to be saluting. I also served on a board of ombudsman while we set up a family service center for the base. It is incredible and full of memories. My most recent being the place where I taught my youngest to drive on Sunday afternoons. It was after the base closed, but you still needed a sticker to get into the grounds. Perfect place to teach someone to drive, a tiny bit of traffic, parking lots and stop signs… Great memories, thanks for the post and the pictures.

    And there were always commissary carts past that sign… a minor rebellion of sorts.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.