Mystery art at the County Administration Building!

I’m sure somebody out there knows the story behind the above art. Even after extensive searches on the internet, it’s a mystery to me!

Two identical artworks are mounted on the north and south side of San Diego’s 1938 County Administration Building. Whenever I walk near the building, I look up at these medallion-like discs and try to figure out what is depicted.

This morning I finally took zoom photos. Now that I can scrutinize the design up close, I’m still baffled. The anchor suggests the design has a maritime theme.

If I had to guess, the art combines a 1930’s era flying boat splashing down on nearby San Diego Bay with the sail of a Chinese junk. The latter type of fishing boat was commonly seen on the bay in the early days of San Diego.

Or I might be completely wrong!

The best source I can find that describes the County Administration Building’s external ornamentation is a San Diego County government publication titled Bridging the Centuries: The Jewel on the Bay. Read it here. Check out page 20. Everything on the building’s exterior is described . . . all except this mystery artwork!

It appears to me this colorful disc might have some sort of mechanical action. Why is there a lever of some type projecting from the sun? Does the plane tilt upward as if taking off?

Please leave a comment if you are knowledgeable. I’m sure many are curious!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or 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.

One thought on “Mystery art at the County Administration Building!”

  1. Looks to be a tribute to the Navy and to Consolidated Aircraft which made (among many other things) PB2Y Coronado flying boats which this resemble.

    Liked by 1 person

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