I was surprised to discover this polished bit of street art in a place where few venture in Mission Valley: in the darkness under Highway 163, along Camino de la Reina, among graffiti and windblown litter. Joggers and the homeless pass through here, but not very often. Who was the artist? Why did they paint a stylish image in this location? It’s a mystery!
This morning, February 5th, exactly one day after the first photo was taken, I walked to work again and the street art and graffiti were painted over! I don’t know if this is pure coincidence, or the result of my blog yesterday…
The Greatest Generation Walk, roughly between the USS Midway Museum and the Fish Market Restaurant, is always a hub of activity during the weekend. There’s a huge load of stuff to do and see! Lots of people were out and about yesterday!
Artists abound along the Embarcadero near Seaport Village. They’ll paint a quick portrait for a modest donation. Today during my walk, I stopped for a bit to chat with Steve Mac.
Steve uses his talent to capture the essence of his subjects. He has a philosophical outlook on life, shunning the material and the ego for the beautiful essence found everywhere around, and within us. About a year and a half ago he had a profound spiritual experience not far from where we spoke, and he woke up from a state of worry and confusion to a spirit-filled life in the now.
Here are a few of his works he had out on display:
Perhaps my favorite part of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is the Seeley Stable Museum.
The huge old barn and surrounding area were once owned by Albert Seeley, who ran the San Diego-Los Angeles Stage Line from 1868 to 1877. His Concord stagecoaches left San Diego at 5 am, stopped overnight at San Juan Capistrano, and arrived in Los Angeles at 4 pm the next day. Eventually competition with the railroad put him out of business.
Behind the Seeley Stable is a cool blacksmith shop, where tourists can watch skilled hobbyists demonstrate the shaping of red hot iron. The hammers ring loudly and the sparks fly! Unfortunately it wasn’t open the day I took these photos.
Across from the blacksmith you’ll find this. Very cool!
On the south side of the stable you’ll find a couple of donkeys, which are used by park rangers to teach children about life in the Old West.
Finally, we’re inside the museum! You can see many different wagons and stagecoaches inside the dark old barn, plus other artifacts from life one and a half centuries ago.
The Seeley Stable Museum is free!
Here are a few more interesting and informative photos that I took inside the museum in August 2017…
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Please join me as I walk from San Diego’s Old Town up a short but very steep trail to Presidio Park. We’ll see all sorts of interesting monuments, views, and of course, the location of the old Spanish presidio, whose ruins are no longer visible. The top of Presidio Hill is now home to the Junipero Serra Museum. Follow me!
We begin near the trailhead, beside the small Presidio Hills Golf Course, on the east edge of historic Old Town.
The first interesting thing we see is this sculpture, titled The Indian. It was created by famous American artist Arthur Putnam in 1905 and placed at the site of an ancient Indian village. The small village was discovered and named San Miguel by the explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542.
Up the hill from The Indian stands the Padre Cross. It was raised in 1913 by the Order of Panama and is made up of tiles from the Presidio ruins. The cross marks the strategic location overlooking San Diego Bay where Franciscan friar Junipero Serra chose to establish a Spanish Catholic mission in 1769. (The mission was moved several miles up the San Diego River 5 years later.)
Nearby among some trees we find a memorial to the mission’s friars. It’s a bronze statue titled The Padre, completed in 1908 by renowned sculptor Arthur Putnam.
Our legs are starting to feel the climb as we reach three flagpoles overlooking Mission Valley.
Turning north for a moment, we see the trolley!
Now we’re getting close to the Serra Museum, which was built in 1928 on this historically very important hill. The museum was built, and the land containing Presidio Park was purchased and preserved for posterity, by philanthropist George Marston.
San Diego was born in 1769 at the old Presidio, a Spanish fort in a desert-like wilderness very far from European civilization. It was located just below the Serra Museum.
Not many people are about at the moment. Most tourists never venture up this way.
The Serra Museum is packed with numerous historical exhibits. You can climb the tower for views of San Diego Bay, the San Diego River and Mission Valley.
Now we’ll wander along the hilltop to nearby Fort Stockton, the short-lived camp of the famous Mormon Battalion.
Decades ago, when I was a young man, I remember seeing a cannon set in this concrete overlooking Old Town. I believe that same cannon is now on display in the nearby Serra Museum. Given the name El Jupiter, it was one of ten cannons that originally protected the old Spanish Fort Guijarros on San Diego Bay at Ballast Point.
(A second surviving cannon from the fort is named El Capitan. Today it can be found near the center of Old Town San Diego’s Plaza de las Armas.)
In 1846, President James K. Polk asked Brigham Young of the Mormons to send a few hundred men to San Diego to help in the Mexican-American war effort. On January 29, 1847 five hundred men and about eighty women and children arrived at Fort Stockton after a very difficult 2,000-mile march from Council Bluffs, Iowa.