Photos of historic centennial U.S. Air Mail flight!

A vintage biplane is almost ready to embark on an historic flight.
A vintage biplane is almost ready to embark on an historic flight.

Today I witnessed a bit of history. I headed to the Allen Airways Flying Museum at Gillespie Field to watch three vintage Stearman Speedmail biplanes take off on the first leg of the old Contract Air Mail 8 (CAM 8) route.

The very special six-day event marks the centennial of United States Air Mail service, which began on May 15,1918 with a flight from Washington D.C. to New York. Today’s flight, endorsed by the U.S. Postal Service, was the beginning of a 1200 mile journey up the West Coast that will include 12 stops, finally ending at Paine Field in Everett, Washington.

Many hobbyists, pilots and history enthusiasts were on hand to see the trio of vintage biplanes begin their commemorative flight. I read that only seven Stearman Speedmail airplanes survive today; 41 were originally built to transport the U.S. Mail by air.

As the planes taxied down the runway for takeoff, a friendly gentleman provided me with a little more history. I learned the original CAM 8 route up the West Coast took about two days, depending on the weather and the wind. He explained how the highly dependable Stearman Speedmail planes have a powerful 450-horsepower engine, and we observed how they took to the air very quickly. In the early days of aviation, before modern airports with lengthy runways, this was a requirement.

I also learned that many other owners of vintage aircraft flew in for today’s event, parking their colorful planes outside the Allen Airways Flying Museum. The museum itself is home to a variety of cool, historical aircraft, and welcomes visitors by appointment.

Here come some photos!

One of three Stearman Speedmail biplanes which will fly from San Diego to Seattle to commemorate the centennial of U.S. Air Mail service.
One of three Stearman Speedmail biplanes which will fly from San Diego to Seattle to commemorate the centennial of U.S. Air Mail service.
Mail collected at a USPS table is put into a canvas airmail bag. Each piece will be postmarked at the 12 stops along the 1200 mile flight.
Special mail collected at a USPS table is put into a canvas airmail bag. Each piece will be postmarked at the 12 stops along the 1200 mile flight.
The City of El Cajon issued a proclamation to mark the 100th Anniversary of U.S. Airmail Service.
The City of El Cajon issued a proclamation to mark the 100th Anniversary of U.S. Airmail Service.
A Ford U.S. Air Mail truck was on display during the event, courtesy of the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
A vintage Ford U.S. Air Mail truck was on display during the event, courtesy of the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
Loading a sack of official U.S. Mail into a cockpit of one Stearman Speedmail biplane.
Loading a sack of official U.S. Mail into the front of one Stearman Speedmail biplane.
Another plane participating in the event awaits nearby.
Another plane participating in the event waits nearby.
People roll the biplane off the grass so that it can taxi away from the Allen Airways Flying Museum.
People roll the biplane off the grass so that it can taxi away from the Allen Airways Flying Museum.
These two planes are ready to safely head out onto the Gillespie Field runway.
These two planes are ready to safely head out onto the Gillespie Field runway.
It's almost 11:45, the time the three planes will start their U.S. Air Mail centennial celebration flight.
It’s almost 11:45, the time the three planes will start their U.S. Air Mail centennial celebration flight.
The first Stearman Speedmail biplane taxis out onto the runway.
The first Stearman Speedmail biplane taxis out onto the runway.
It slowly heads down the runway to prepare for takeoff.
It slowly heads down the runway to prepare for takeoff.
The second Stearman Speedmail aircraft follows.
The second Stearman Speedmail aircraft follows.
And here comes the third. An historic flight will soon begin!
And here comes the third. An historic flight will soon begin!
The trio of vintage biplanes heads down to the end of the airport's runway.
The trio of vintage biplanes heads down to the end of the airport’s runway.
People watch as the Air Mail centennial celebration flight begins in San Diego!
People watch as the Air Mail centennial celebration flight begins in San Diego!
A vintage biplane plane flies north, beginning a 12-stop 1200-mile flight that retraces the Contract Mail 8 (CAM 8) air mail route.
A vintage biplane flies north, beginning a 12-stop 1200-mile flight that retraces the Contract Mail 8 (CAM 8) air mail route.
A wonderful day in El Cajon, and a bit of history, too!
Today many enjoyed a fun celebration of American history at Gillespie Field in El Cajon!

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Classic baseball publications anticipate new season!

Official baseball Yearbooks on display include one featuring the National League pennant winning 1984 Padres!
Official baseball Yearbooks on display include one featuring the National League pennant winning 1984 San Diego Padres!

There’s a new exhibition on the first floor of San Diego’s Central Library that anticipates the 2018 Major League Baseball season–now just days away! Examples of classic baseball publications remind visitors to the public library why this popular sport is considered America’s Pastime.

These notable publications are selected from the Bill Weiss Archive, of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Collection. The huge collection is housed within the Sullivan Family Baseball Research Center, located in San Diego’s downtown Central Library. The people of San Diego have easy access to the largest baseball research collection outside of Cooperstown, New York’s incredible National Baseball Hall of Fame!

If you love sports history, Americana or baseball collectibles, you might enjoy this small but very cool exhibit!

Notable Publications from the Sullivan Family Baseball Research Collection are now on display on the first floor of the San Diego Central Library.
Notable Publications from the Sullivan Family Baseball Research Collection are now on display on the first floor of the San Diego Central Library.
Issues of Who's Who in Baseball on display at the San Diego Central Library.
Various old issues of Who’s Who in Baseball on display at the San Diego Central Library.
Who's Who in Baseball was first published in 1912. It was a popular reference for professional baseball stats for over a century.
Who’s Who in Baseball was first published in 1912. It was a popular reference for professional baseball stats for over a century.
Examples of Reach's Official Base Ball Guides and Spalding's Official Base Ball Guides, dating as far back as 1876!
Examples of Reach’s Official Base Ball Guides and Spalding’s Official Base Ball Guides, dating as far back as 1876!
Some classic examples of Baseball Magazine, which was published from 1908 to 1957.
Illustrated covers of Baseball Magazine, which was published from 1908 to 1957.

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!

GO PADRES!

Bells ring in San Diego for Constitution Day!

Fred Grand, President of the Old Town Chamber of Commerce, reads a proclamation during a special Constitution Day ceremony.
Fred Grand, President of the Old Town Chamber of Commerce, reads a proclamation during a special Constitution Day ceremony.

Bells rang in San Diego at exactly one o’clock this Sunday afternoon to celebrate Constitution Day. A special ceremony took place on the steps of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Old Town, where a gathering of people rang bells they had brought for the occasion.

The patriotic ceremony was organized by the San Diego Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and featured a proclamation by Fred Grand, President of the Old Town Chamber of Commerce. Attendees also sang the Star-Spangled Banner, America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee), America the Beautiful, and God Bless America.

To celebrate the United States Constitution and the freedoms the document guarantees all citizens, many bells rang today simultaneously all across America. Bells pealed in Pennsylvania, where the United States Constitution was signed by delegates to the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787.

The Daughters of the American Revolution supports Old Town and have for almost 100 years. You can see their historical markers on the big rock in the southeast corner of the grassy Plaza de las Armas, at the Casa de Estudillo, the Cosmopolitan Hotel, the San Diego Union print shop, the Rockin Baja restaurant (over their front doorway), and another on Taylor Street near Presidio Drive. The DAR will soon be placing another marker at the site of the First San Diego Courthouse.

Priest of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Old Town talks to people in front of the historic church after Sunday Mass.
Priest of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Old Town talks to people in front of the historic church after Sunday Mass.
At one'o'clock, people of many backgrounds and beliefs gather on the church steps to celebrate the United States Constitution, which enshrines human liberty.
At one o’clock, people of many backgrounds and beliefs gather on the church steps to celebrate the United States Constitution, which enshrines individual human liberty.
This old bell of the Daughters of the American Revolution features an inscription from the United States Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
This old bell of the Daughters of the American Revolution features an inscription from the United States Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
One historical plaque, which marks the end of the Kearney Trail in Old Town San Diego, was placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1920.
One historical plaque, which marks the end of the Kearney Trail in Old Town San Diego, was placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1920.
Another historical marker placed by the DAR can be found in Old Town's Casa de Estudillo.
Another historical marker placed by the DAR can be found inside Old Town’s Casa de Estudillo.
Kathleen Winchester, historian of the San Diego Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, is presented with an official proclamation on Constitution Day.
Kathleen Winchester, historian of the San Diego Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, is presented with an official proclamation on Constitution Day.
The patriotic gathering sings The Star-Spangled Banner.
The patriotic gathering sings The Star-Spangled Banner.

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

See the motorcycle used by The Fonz on Happy Days!

Fonzie's motorcycle and leather jacket from Happy Days is on display at the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park!
Fonzie’s motorcycle and leather jacket from Happy Days is on display at the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park!

There are lots of good reasons to visit the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park. They’ve got all sorts of one-of-a-kind cars that you won’t find anywhere else. They also have a very cool motorcycle that you might have seen on television. That is, if you’re an old-timer like me.

Remember the classic show Happy Days? Remember how The Fonz would appear on his motorcycle, wearing his 50s-style leather jacket? During the 1970s and early 1980s, Fonzie became one of America’s greatest cultural icons. Today, by visiting the San Diego Automotive Museum, you can see a motorcycle and leather jacket that actor Henry Winkler used while portraying The Fonz!

I visited the museum last weekend and took a few photos. Check it out!

One of three 1949 Triumph Trophy TR5 Scrambler motorcycles used by Fonzie in the filming of the television show Happy Days can be seen at the San Diego Automotive Museum.
This 1949 Triumph Trophy TR5 Scrambler is one of three motorcycles used by The Fonz in the classic television show Happy Days. You can see the motorcycle up close at the San Diego Automotive Museum.
Photo of the 1949 Triumph Trophy TR5 Scrambler from a different angle.
Photo of Fonzie’s cool 1949 Triumph Trophy TR5 Scrambler from a different angle.
A leather jacket worn by Henry Winkler, who played cultural icon Arthur Fonzarelli--The Fonz--on the very popular American television show Happy Days.
Leather jacket worn by Henry Winkler, who played cultural icon Arthur Fonzarelli–The Fonz–on the very popular American television show Happy Days!

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!

A walk through history in The Village of La Mesa.

Photo taken from the intersection of La Mesa Boulevard and Spring Street shows a small stretch of The Village.
Photo taken from the intersection of La Mesa Boulevard and Spring Street shows a small stretch of The Village.

On Sunday morning I took a short walk in the heart of La Mesa. The most fascinating stretch was through the historic area of the city known as The Village. I walked up La Mesa Boulevard from Spring Street to Legacy Park, then back down along the opposite sidewalk.

Not only is this stretch full of local history, but it’s home to the La Mesa Walk of Fame, which honors individual contributions to the city by accomplished and generous residents. In my photos I’ve included a few notable plaques.

The Village on a Sunday morning was very quiet, with a smattering of locals eating breakfast or an early lunch in the small eateries that I passed. The Village, with its plain, practical buildings from a bygone era, feels very modest. It doesn’t strike me as a place that attracts hipsters–more a cherished place for families and ordinary folk and people like me who enjoy a slow Sunday stroll.

I took photos. Please read the captions for a few explanations of what I saw.

The City of La Mesa Walk of Fame can be experienced on both sidewalks along La Mesa Boulevard, between Spring Street and 4th Street.
The City of La Mesa Walk of Fame can be experienced on both sidewalks along La Mesa Boulevard, between Spring Street and 4th Street.
Bill Walton graduated from La Mesa's Helix High School. He was inducted into the NBA basketball Hall of Fame as one of the greatest players of all time.
Bill Walton graduated from La Mesa’s Helix High School. He was inducted into the NBA basketball Hall of Fame as one of the greatest players of all time.
Walking through the Village up La Mesa Boulevard. The buildings are modest but retain local history and many memories.
Walking through the Village up La Mesa Boulevard. The buildings are modest but retain local history and many memories.
The La Mesa Craft Corner on a quiet Sunday morning.
The La Mesa Craft Corner on a quiet Sunday morning.
A nice lady with some Fourth of July crafts smiles for my blog about San Diego.
A nice lady with some Fourth of July crafts smiles for my blog about San Diego.
The Lookout is public art project in Legacy Park, the small triangle where La Mesa Boulevard, 4th Street and Allison Avenue meet.
The Lookout is public art project in Legacy Park, the small triangle where La Mesa Boulevard, 4th Street and Allison Avenue meet.
The Lookout was created by a family of artists--Jesus Dominguez, Mary Lynn Dominguez and Amy Dominguez. It depicts the colorful history of La Mesa.
The Lookout was created by a family of artists–Jesus Dominguez, Mary Lynn Dominguez and Amy Dominguez. It depicts the colorful history of La Mesa.
Closer photo of The Lookout at Legacy Park. Eight mosaic panels made of tile show historical events in La Mesa from 1912 to 2012.
Closer photo of The Lookout at Legacy Park. Eight mosaic panels made of tile show historical events in La Mesa from 1912 to 2012.
At the center of The Lookout is the John B. Reed Centennial Time Capsule, to be opened in 2062.
At the center of The Lookout is the John B. Reed Centennial Time Capsule, to be opened in 2062.
Legacy Park also includes a memorial clock and a bronze sculpture of the Helix snail.
Legacy Park also includes a memorial clock and a bronze sculpture of the Helix snail. The 1939 U.S. Post Office Building is seen in the background.
Children are encouraged to ride this fun bronze snail!
Children are encouraged to ride this fun bronze snail!
Felix the Helix. The story goes that Rufus King Porter named Mount Helix after the Helix aspersa, a European garden snail that was discovered locally.
Felix the Helix. The story goes that Rufus King Porter named Mount Helix after the Helix aspersa, a European garden snail that was discovered locally.
Now I'm walking back down La Mesa Boulevard on the other side of the street. A small slice of Americana. The modest shops and buildings recall a simpler time.
Now I’m walking back down La Mesa Boulevard on the other side of the street. A small slice of Americana. The modest shops and buildings recall a simpler time.
La Mesa Historical Society plaque shows a prosperous Lookout Avenue circa 1929. The street was renamed La Mesa Boulevard in 1940.
La Mesa Historical Society plaque shows a prosperous Lookout Avenue circa 1929. The street was renamed La Mesa Boulevard in 1940.
Family and a flag bench in front of Amethyst Moon, a unique gift store in The Village of La Mesa.
Family and a flag bench in front of Amethyst Moon, a specialty gift shop in The Village of La Mesa.
The are many plaques in the City of La Mesa Walk of Fame. This one celebrates James Culbert, inductee into the National Sprint Car Racing Hall of Fame.
The are many plaques in the City of La Mesa Walk of Fame. This one celebrates James Culbert, inductee into the National Sprint Car Racing Hall of Fame.
Another plaque celebrates Dr. Ellen Ochoa, graduate of Grossmont High School and the first Hispanic woman astronaut.
Another plaque celebrates Dr. Ellen Ochoa, graduate of La Mesa’s Grossmont High School and the first Hispanic woman astronaut.
A photo of the Heller Building, now home of an escrow company.
A photo of the Heller Building, now home of an escrow company.
La Mesa Historical Society photo of the Heller Building in the 1940s. It has housed many businesses including Gilbert's five and dime and Culver's drugstore.
La Mesa Historical Society photo of the Heller Building in the 1940s. It has housed many businesses including Gilbert’s five and dime and Culver’s drugstore.
Maxwell's House of Books adds life to The Village.
Maxwell’s House of Books adds life to The Village.
It is a tie between men to have read the same book. Ralph Waldo Emerson
It is a tie between men to have read the same book. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Old photo on ATT building shows telephone company worker in the undeveloped hills of La Mesa many years ago.
Old photo on ATT building shows telephone company worker in the undeveloped hills of La Mesa many years ago.
The Village is a modest few blocks in the city. Full of history and memory, it provides a taste of days when La Mesa was a small American town.
The Village is a modest few blocks in the city. Full of history and memory, it provides a taste of days when La Mesa was a small American town.

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Mormon Battalion celebrates Flag Day in Old Town.

Mormon Battalion flag flies during a special event in Old Town San Diego.
Mormon Battalion flag flies during a special event in Old Town San Diego.

I was invited to a unique event that took place yesterday. A special Flag Day Ceremony was held at the Mormon Battalion Historic Site in San Diego’s Old Town. The event remembered World War I and saluted all American veterans.

During the ceremony five veterans from different military services were made honorary members of the Mormon Battalion. A cake was cut with a military saber and an American flag that has been flown over the U.S. Capital and over Fort Leavenworth (where the historic Mormon Battalion originated) was raised.

The patriotic ceremony was organized by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members composed the Mormon Battalion, the only religiously based unit in United States military history. Commanded by regular U.S. Army officers, members of the battalion marched almost 2,000 miles from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to San Diego, California to help secure the region during the Mexican–American War. Much of the difficult march was over mountains and through desert. They saw no fighting.

I have noticed that Mormons treasure liberty–religious freedom in particular. I’m not a Mormon–very far from it–but I do happen to be a strong believer in personal liberty. That’s because I’m a writer. Also, as a child I traveled with my family behind the Iron Curtain twice. I have briefly seen how dark life is without liberty.

A friendly Mormon lady in pioneer dress welcomes guests to the Flag Day Celebration.
A friendly Mormon lady in pioneer dress welcomes guests to the Flag Day Celebration.
This 2017 celebration of Flag Day honored veterans who served with distinction.
This 2017 celebration of Flag Day honored veterans who served with distinction.
Guests are welcomed by Director of the San Diego Mormon Battalion Historic Site, Elder Michael Hemingway.
Guests are welcomed by Director of the San Diego Mormon Battalion Historic Site, Elder Michael Hemingway.
The United States flag is posted after the National Anthem.
The United States flag is posted after the National Anthem.
Folding of the flag. Each of the thirteen folds is invested with a special meaning.
Folding of the flag. Each of the thirteen folds is invested with a special meaning.
Four American veterans on stage are honored and made honorary members of the Mormon Battalion.
Four American veterans on stage are applauded and made honorary members of the Mormon Battalion.
Keynote speaker General Bruce Carlson, USAF, Ret. talks about liberty. He is also made an honorary member of the Mormon Battalion.
Keynote speaker General Bruce Carlson, USAF, Ret. talks about liberty. He is also made an honorary member of the Mormon Battalion.
Many voices sing God Bless America.
Many voices sing God Bless America.
Young members of Marine Band San Diego after the ceremony.
Young members of Marine Band San Diego after the ceremony.
The United States Marine Corps bus contains an image of the flag being raised during the Battle of Iwo Jima.
The United States Marine Corps bus contains an image of the flag being raised during the Battle of Iwo Jima.
Pageantry and remembrance at a Flag Day Ceremony in Old Town San Diego.
Pageantry and remembrance at a Flag Day Ceremony in Old Town San Diego.

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!

Italian American baseball players on India Street.

Mike Napoli
Mike Napoli

Dozens of Major League Baseball players are hanging out on Little Italy’s India Street! I saw them yesterday! I took their pictures!

One great thing about Little Italy is there are always lots of colorful street banners.  They celebrate the neighborhood’s Italian culture and rich history. As baseball season gets underway, a bunch of banners have been hung along India Street that feature Italian American baseball players, past and present.

Joe Garagiola
Joe Garagiola
Tony Conigliaro
Tony Conigliaro
Bart Giamatti
Bart Giamatti
Phil Rizutto
Phil Rizutto
Tommy Lasorda
Tommy Lasorda
Joe Torre
Joe Torre
Anthony Rizzo
Anthony Rizzo
Joe DiMaggio
Joe DiMaggio
San Diego Little Italy's neighborhood boys who played baseball, circa 1938.
San Diego Little Italy’s neighborhood boys who played baseball, circa 1938.
Jason Grilli
Jason Grilli
Sal Maglie
Sal Maglie
Christopher Denorfia
Christopher Denorfia
Frank Torre
Frank Torre
Christopher Colabello
Christopher Colabello
John Montefusco
John Montefusco
Alessandro Liddi
Alessandro Liddi
Joey Votto
Joey Votto
Nick Punto
Nick Punto
Frank Crosetti
Frank Crosetti
Dave Giusti
Dave Giusti
Gus Mancuso
Gus Mancuso
Frank Viola
Frank Viola
Mike Piazza
Mike Piazza
Dom DiMaggio
Dom DiMaggio
Paul (Li Mandri) Lattman
Paul (Li Mandri) Lattman
Barry Zito
Barry Zito
Jason Giambi
Jason Giambi
Devin Mescoraco
Devin Mescoraco

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fun photos for you to share and enjoy!