Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison in North Park!

What in the world are Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison doing in North Park?

They’re decorating the exterior of the very unique San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s Substation F!

I happened to look up and see the two historical figures as I walked along the El Cajon Boulevard sidewalk just east of Iowa Street.

These gentleman made groundbreaking discoveries and inventions that remain important in our electricity dependent world. Both esteemed men, in North Park, are busts made of cast stone!

Learn more about SDG&E’s beautifully restored Station F, originally built in 1926, at this web page.

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Vistacado Festival Parade mural celebrates Vista history!

A nostalgic mural in downtown Vista, California depicts an annual community parade held in the 1930’s to 1950’s.

The fun Vistacado Festival Parade mural, painted in 2005 by artist Clayton Parker, decorates the exterior of Barrel & Stave Pour House, near the corner of Main Street and Indiana Avenue.

The parade seems to proceed around the building. There are cool old cars, a marching band, cheerleaders, young baseball players, dignitaries, and even walking avocado mascots!

I smiled when I saw the mural includes an image of Pepper Tree Frosty, which I blogged about yesterday here!

This parade artwork is actually one small part of a much, much longer historical mural that runs 564 feet along Vistacado Lane between North Indiana and Michigan Avenue. The entire stretch of artwork has been recognized as Guinness World Record longest continuous mural!

I glimpsed the very long, somewhat faded artwork down Vistacado Lane during my walk yesterday, and in retrospect I should have photographed all of it. I’ll hopefully remember to do that on my next visit to Vista.

I learned all about the longer mural when I read this article. It explains how the original artist, Clayton Parker, restored the Vistacado Festival Parade portion in 2020.

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A hamburger and Vista’s old Wishing Well.

In Vista, California there’s a Wishing Well that is several generations old. It has gathered pennies in one spot for almost three quarters of a century.

Curious eyes can discover this small Wishing Well across the driveway of Pepper Tree Frosty, right next to their outdoor eating area.

I happened to see it today while waiting for my order of a hamburger at the walk-up window. I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen a wishing well. When’s the last time you’ve seen one?

I learned from Dan, the friendly owner of Pepper Tree Frosty, that the well was created in the 1950’s by the Lions Club.

Pepper Tree Frosty, a popular ice cream and fast food destination at 270 South Santa Fe Avenue, was originally a Tastee-Freez, built in 1953. When acquired by Dan’s family years later, it was renamed for the pepper trees lining the nearby creek.

Dan said that coins dropped into the shallow, ornamental Wishing Well go to the Boys and Girls Clubs, although donations came to a long pause during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By the way, my hamburger and fries were super good!

(There’s an image of Pepper Tree Frosty in a cool mural in downtown Vista! I’ll be posting those photos soon! As “well” as more interesting stuff I saw today in Vista!)

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!

Clock and flag Welcome to Allied Gardens.

There’s a street clock and flag in Allied Gardens at the corner of Waring Road and Zion Avenue.

According to this page, during our nation’s bicentennial in 1976, the Grantville-Allied Gardens Kiwanis Club sponsored a parade, and later installed a permanent flagpole in the small park-like space now called The Triangle. Today, those passing through the community are greeted with a friendly Welcome to Allied Gardens.

I walked past the clock and flag a few weekends ago and took these photographs. I also discovered a couple of plaques by the flag. Many of the engraved pavers around the clock’s base have more recent dates.

Welcome to Allied Gardens.
A community service project sponsored by Kiwanis.
Allied Gardens established 1954.
Our American flag dedicated to our community by the Kiwanis Club of Grantville-Allied Gardens in honor of our nations bi-centennial.

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!

Old Town home of Squibob, who inspired Mark Twain.

One of San Diego’s most famous houses stands in Old Town at 4015 Harney Street. It’s a modest little structure that you might easily pass by without a second glance.

For a couple of years, 1853-1854, the Derby-Pendleton House was the home of Lieutenant George Horatio Derby, an American humorist who wrote articles for California newspapers, including the San Diego Herald, under the pseudonyms Squibob and John Phoenix. It is said his style of writing, employing absurdity, exaggeration, irreverence and good fun, inspired Mark Twain, Artemus Ward, Bret Harte and others.

Derby’s Wikipedia page states: According to the newly (2010) published Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. One, Ulysses S. Grant was a classmate of “Squibob’s” and the General told Twain some stories of Squibob at West Point.

In 1856 Derby’s immensely popular book Phoenixiana was published. It contains many of his humorous pieces, including articles he wrote concerning San Diego. I like the gentle humor of his description of Old Town’s Fourth of July in 1854. It is found on page 123: At 9 A.M. precisely, the San Diego Light Infantry, in full uniform, consisting of Brown’s little boy, in his shirt-tail, fired a national salute with a large bunch of fire-crackers. This part of the celebration went off admirably; with the exception of the young gentleman having set fire to his shirt tail, which was fortunately immediately extinguished without incident.

Why was Lt. George H. Derby, a West Point graduate and engineer of the United States Topographical Corps, in San Diego? To survey the San Diego River and build a dike that would divert its water into False Bay–now Mission Bay.

While in San Diego, he and his wife rented a prefabricated house that was originally brought by ship around Cape Horn. Learn all about the Derby-Pendleton House’s complex history here. It has had many owners, including William Heath Davis and Don Juan Bandini, and has been moved repeatedly.

You can see an historical marker concerning Derby Dike here. You might note that the marker was placed by Squibob Chapter, E Clampus Vitus.

The San Diego chapter of E Clampus Vitus, “a fraternal organization dedicated to the preservation of the heritage of the American West,” is named after Derby’s pseudonym, Squibob. The motto of Clampers is Credo Quia Absurdum, which purportedly means “I believe it because it is absurd.”

In 1962 an historical plaque was placed on The Derby-Pendleton House by the San Diego chapters of the Sons of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution. I took a photo of it yesterday.

Public domain photo of Lieutenant George Horatio Derby.
From the book cover of Phoenixiana.

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Jack in the Box clown head at History Center!

These photos might stir up some nostalgic San Diego memories.

How many of you used to pull through Jack in the Box half a century ago, when happy clown heads decorated the fast food restaurant’s roofs and served as the drive-thru speaker box? I remember it from my own childhood.

Last weekend, when I saw this Jack in the Box Clown Head (circa 1950’s to 1970’s) in a display case at the San Diego History Center, I had to smile.

What memories do you have?

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!

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Ramona Country Fair’s gateway to adventure!

Today I headed to the annual Ramona Country Fair and stepped through their gateway to adventure!

In addition to lots of friendly people and a fun slice of Americana, what did I find?

At the Ramona Country Fair, which is held each summer in rural San Diego County, there is plenty of adventure! And it’s free!
Young and old were trying to shoot bows and arrows, just as folks did once upon a time.
I was greeted by a smiling medieval archer! I declined to pick up a bow. I’m bound to shoot myself in the foot.
Members of The Sovereign Kingdom of Terre Neuve, a subdivision of The Adrian Empire, had gathered at the Ramona Country Fair. Perhaps they arrived by time machine. But seriously, this friendly group recreates Western European culture between the First Viking Raid on Lindisfarne in 793 to the death of King James I of England in 1625.
Chain mail, steel helmets, swords and other instruments from the Age of Chivalry displayed on one table.
A demonstration of medieval combat fascinates those watching.
Getting a bit more intense…
That was a close call!
Meanwhile, adventurous shoppers had much to explore on the grounds of the Ramona Country Fair.
These super friendly folks from the California Avian Health Education Network were informing the community about prevention, early detection, and rapid containment of foreign animal diseases. They also had to endure a couple of my awful chicken jokes.
Artists had their work for sale at the fair. I spotted a cool Yoda created by Boyd’s Crafts!
These two cool guys represented Triple B Adventures, an organization that takes Veterans, including wounded warriors, on hikes, campouts and other adventures around San Diego County.
It’s the 50th Annual Ramona Country Fair as you can see from their poster! Entries into the fair’s art show were displayed nearby.
Some tape prevented my closer approach, but you can see these are winning art entries!
Talk about a gastronomical adventure! Super Burritos. Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs. Decisions, decisions…
The Ramona Chamber of Commerce, who puts the annual fair together, greeted me!
Love Ramona is a bunch of friends and neighbors who do good deeds in the community. They began as a local church group.
And, of course, what is a country fair without a huge Fun Zone! I couldn’t believe all the carnival rides. I was told it really gets active later in the day, and in the evening when the outdoor temperature cools. (It was in the 90’s during my late morning visit!)
Look at all the fun prizes!
This four-legged fair-goer was having more fun than some of the two-legged types.
Folks were bringing in horses for the noontime Cowboy Challenge. I’m afraid I didn’t stay for that. Places to go. Things to do.
A good photo caught by sheer chance.
Folks get the arena ready for cowboy action!

Not only did I miss the Cowboy Challenge, but I was disappointed that the Irish Dancing in the fairground’s pavilion had been cancelled for Sunday. Oh, well. I guess that means a future adventure awaits!

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!

Coronado 4th of July parade honors American heroes.

Coronado’s huge Independence Day parade returned this year! The parade’s theme for 2021 was A Salute To America’s Heroes.

Late this morning I walked along Orange Avenue and took photographs of the patriotic spectacle.

The 4th of July Parade was cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The heroes honored in this year’s parade included healthcare workers, essential workers and ordinary Americans–all those who sacrificed to help our nation through a very difficult period.

I’ve blogged about this epic annual parade several times in the past, with photo captions that provide detailed information. Today I’ll simply offer a glimpse of what I experienced.

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Cool marquee of the Star in Oceanside!

The next cool thing I came upon during my Oceanside walk yesterday was the historic Star theater building with its incredible marquee!

As I was taking photos, I noticed someone testing different paint colors on the building’s exterior. I subsequently learned from two friendly people of the Star Theatre Company, which now occupies the old movie house, that a new paint job is coming both inside and outside, to make this historic Oceanside landmark even more amazing!

I also learned the Star Theatre, during the COVID-19 pandemic, is hosting an after school Acting Camp for youth with safety precautions, is offering professional audition taping and workshops, and will be offering live streamed performances. To read more check out their website here.

More about the building’s unique history can be read here, including: “The Star Theatre opened the 18th of August 1956 with the movie “Moby Dick” starring Gregory Peck…Designed by architect William Glenn Balch, the Star was from an era when neon was king and every city was building a drive-in or walk-in theater. The Star Theatre is the largest of Balch’s 17 theaters that were located in the state of California and the last one that is still open. The marquee boasted being the largest in San Diego County and has been noted for its spectacular animation. It is one of the few remaining examples from its era…”

In this difficult period of an extended coronavirus lockdown, the Star Theatre would really appreciate donations, to help keep their important mission moving forward. Please help them here.

Finally, if you’re wondering about the big, colorful mural on the side of the building in the following photograph, check out one of my old blog posts here!

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!

Nostalgic car mural at The Fin Hotel.

During my long walk through Oceanside yesterday, my very first cool discovery was this large nostalgic mural on the side of The Fin Hotel. It depicts a slice of Americana: a small town scene from the mid-20th century.

The Fin Hotel is a boutique hotel that began its life as the Keisker Hotel, built in 1927. Before it was The Fin it was The Dolphin. Today it’s an historic Oceanside landmark that has survived decades of change in the growing city.

The mural, painted by Southern California artist Lisa Kelly, incorporates the cool The Fin Hotel neon sign, as you can see in the coming photos! It also features many classic cars, the Oceanside Pier, and a woodie with a surfboard on top!

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!