Visiting the Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center in Poway.

Once a month, every third Saturday, the Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center in Poway opens to the public.

Today I enjoyed a tour of the archaeological site and its educational visitor center. I was surprised to find so much history preserved in this small island of natural beauty just off Poway Road.

Poway is derived from the Native American Kumeyaay word Pauwai, which means the shape of an arrowhead or the merging of two creeks. A short distance to the south is Poway Creek.

As you will see in the following photographs, a small Kumeyaay village of approximately 20 families once lived on the hill that I and my docent tour guide, Heidi, explored.

The Kumeyaay people have lived in this region for at least 10,000 years. These first people had their lives severely disrupted with the arrival of Europeans in 1769. Today, descendants of those who lived in Pauwai are members of the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians.

Please enjoy the following photos to get a taste of what you might discover when you visit. Read the captions for a few of the things I learned.

Are you a local history or anthropology enthusiast? Or a community-minded person who loves the outdoors? The Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center is always looking for volunteers!

Check out their Facebook page and learn about the special days and hours when you can visit here.

Sign at the end of Ipai Waaypuk Trail, south of Poway Road, where there is parking.
Kiosk welcomes visitors to an important historical site.
My tour guide Heidi starts up stairs that lead to short looping trails.
At the Replica Village in a clearing stand several recreated Kumeyaay ewaas. These are shelters made of sycamore or willow tree branches, covered with cattails or baccharis, and tied with yucca or agave fiber string. These replica ewaas are old and need to be refurbished. The Kumeyaay would refresh their watertight ewaas regularly. A grinding stone, or metate, lies nearby.
This nearest ewaa was recently reconstructed. Volunteers who’d like to maintain this special place are welcome!
Heading up to the top of the hill along a very short, moderately steep section of trail.
I’m shown Wild Cucumber. Like many native plants, it had various practical uses. Seeds ground into a powder by the Kumeyaay were added to pigments to create rock art. The crushed roots, when tossed into water, would paralyze fish!
In the distance we could see Mt. Woodson, Iron Mountain, and Cuyamaca Peak. Depending on the season, the Kumeyaay would migrate east to the mountains or west to the Pacific Ocean coast.
One of several outdoor ramadas built for visitors to the Interpretive Center. Historical ramadas erected by the Kumeyaay were shady places for village activities and ceremonies.
It was thought that rock art might be found on these monumental boulders crowning the hilltop, but a thorough study using modern technology detected no traces.
A wise Kumeyaay observer found in this rock formation a whale, a turtle, and the head of a dolphin. Do you see them?
A nearby fire pit once used by the Kumeyaay villagers.
Soot remains in this natural rocky oven. A crack in the rear conveniently served as a flue for smoke.
Cooking stones would be heated in the fire, then placed in baskets to prepare food.
Many small broken pottery sherds have been found near this primitive kitchen.
At the top of the hill are very deep grinding holes, or morteros, where acorns were ground for thousands of years. After being reduced to powder, the acorns would be leached of tannic acid and cooked into a mush called shawii.
A important cultural site representing thousands of years of indigenous history in Poway.
A Coast Live Oak beside the trail. One of several types of oak trees in the San Diego region. Acorns were a staple of the Kumeyaay diet.
As I and my tour guide walk back down the trail, another group heads up toward the hilltop.
A hollow Elderberry branch. Not surprisingly, these were used to make musical instruments such as flutes.
Some of the rugged natural beauty that we enjoyed.
At another ramada replica, we saw a series of genuine metates that Third Grade students can use during educational field trips! These metates were rescued during road construction many years ago and were donated to the Interpretive Center.
There is much to learn about Kumeyaay tools, food, basket weaving, pottery and more!
Third Grade students use these small stones to paint their own rock art!
We head into the building at the Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center to learn even more!
Look at all the smiling docents!
Dorothy M. Tavui was a Kumeyaay friend who helped to establish the Interpretive Center in Poway.
Shelves full of artifacts that kids can explore and handle to learn about Kumeyaay life.
A willow basket full of acorns. The long conical acorns are from Coast Live Oaks. The big acorns are from Black Oaks in the Cuyamaca Mountains. They were the largest and tastiest! The abalone shells you also see were obtained from the coast and often used as trade items.
Old photo of a 6 foot tall willow basket! Acorns would be gathered in season to last the entire year.
Sandals made of natural plant fibers.
I learned this is a seed beater! It’s being demonstrated on dried blooms of sage.
A beautiful mural inside the Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center in Poway shows what village life was like here for many thousands of years. By artist Brigitte Lopez, 2012.

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!

The mysterious standing stones of Nestor!

Mysterious standing stones rise in Nestor, a community located in San Diego’s South Bay. You can find them in a quiet residential area, just north of Nestor Park, on Grove Avenue east of Hollister Street.

Few people ever see this unique public art. Why is it here?

The standing stone sculptures together are titled Plaza Piedras. They were created in 2001 by internationally renowned artist Roberto Salas. Plaza Piedras was commissioned through the City of San Diego Metropolitan Wastewater Department and the Commission for Arts and Culture. The public art was created to enhance the nearby Grove Avenue Pump Station.

Roberto Salas created these large, mysterious stelae to pay tribute to indigenous cultures. According to this website: “Salas chose a variety of monumental forms to evoke associations with ancient sites such as the Pre-Colombian pyramids, mysterious ruins of Stonehenge, and the massive figures of East Island…”

At the bottom of the central sandbox, kids digging down can discover various relief shapes. I poked around the sand with my foot like a lazy archaeologist, without success.

As you can see from my photos, this quiet park-like place sees gang activity and is frequented by the homeless. Vandalism on the standing stones appears to be regularly painted over.

I took these photographs while moving north through Plaza Piedras.

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!

History Center visits San Diego legend Nathan Harrison.

Most of the museums in Balboa Park have reopened now that the COVID-19 pandemic is subsiding. Yesterday I visited the San Diego History Center and enjoyed viewing one of their current exhibits.

Born a Slave, Died a San Diego Legend concerns freed slave Nathan Harrison, who lived in a small cabin on Palomar Mountain in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Perhaps you’ve driven up to Palomar Mountain State Park and the world-famous Palomar Observatory via Nate Harrison Road. The road is named in honor of this legendary homesteader who provided water and stories to tourists who made the precipitous trek to the mountain top. Nathan Harrison was once the most photographed person in San Diego!

Born a Slave, Died a San Diego Legend shows what it would have been like to journey up to Harrison’s cabin on Palomar Mountain. It also examines what San Diego State University archaeologists have discovered about his life and interactions with his visitors, who offered him gifts of all types. To learn more about the Department of Anthropology’s fascinating Nathan “Nate” Harrison Historical Archaeology Project, click here.

One interesting thing I learned was that Harrison had a sister-in-law named Ramona Wolf. She was the namesake for Helen Hunt Jackson’s novel Ramona, one of the most popular American novels ever written. (You might recall that, to draw tourists and increase the number of riders on his San Diego Electric Railway, entrepreneur and philanthropist John D. Spreckels once claimed the dilapidated Casa de Estudillo in Old Town was the marriage place of the novel’s character Ramona, and thereby preserved an historic building.)

Nathan Harrison’s life is an integral part of San Diego history. His story spans the Antebellum South, the California Gold Rush and Wild West, and the early part of the 20th century.

His many personal adventures, his independent life on a mountain, and his friendship inspired countless San Diegans. When you visit the exhibit at the San Diego History Center, you will also be inspired at how, in his own unique way, a freed slave achieved the American Dream.

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!

Cultural diversity in San Diego’s history.

The 250th Anniversary of San Diego is being celebrated this year.

In 1769 a Spanish expedition established El Presidio Reál de San Diego atop a hill near the San Diego River, along with the original Mission San Diego de Alcalá.

San Diego, however, didn’t become a city of any real significance until the late 19th century.

For a city that is relatively young, San Diego today enjoys remarkable cultural diversity. Much of this diversity is due to our close ties and overlapping history with Mexico. Much also comes from the variety of immigrants who have settled in and helped to build our growing city.

In the past, Cool San Diego Sights has featured many posts about cultural diversity in San Diego’s history.

Here are some links that you can explore…

A new flag is raised for San Diego’s 250th Anniversary!

Exhibit shows Kumeyaay history in the South Bay.

Festival recreates landing of explorer Cabrillo.

San Diego’s early history at the Serra Museum.

San Diego history in Old Town’s McCoy House.

History at the Los Peñasquitos adobe ranch house.

Days of the Vaqueros in Old Town San Diego!

Gravestones tell stories of early San Diego history.

Photos inside the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum.

Local history excavated, displayed at Petco Park.

Historical exhibit at Women’s Museum of California.

African-Americans helped to build San Diego.

Culture and history celebrated at Festa in San Diego!

Mural in Cesar Chavez Park depicts local history.

A look inside the Portuguese Historical Center.

San Diego history: World War II and the Tuna Fleet.

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!

City Clerk’s Archives Month: Hidden Treasures!

Original concrete figure from San Diego Museum of Art, 1915-1916.
Original concrete figure from San Diego Museum of Art, 1915-1916.

Today I walked to the City Administration Building in downtown San Diego to view a unique historical exhibit. During City Clerk’s Archives Month, from September 30th to October 31st, the public can step inside the lobby of City Hall and discover Hidden Treasures!

The San Diego City Clerk has partnered with the San Diego History Center to display a variety of documents and artifacts from our city’s past. In addition to this exhibit, Archives Month features many free educational events including lectures, movies and workshops.

(I attended one of the lectures today, and took a tour behind the scenes in the City Administration Building’s basement, where the City Archives are safely preserved. I’ll be blogging about that awesome experience shortly!)

2019 Archives Month Lecture and Tour Schedule. (Click image to enlarge.)
Sign shows 2019 Archives Month Lecture and Tour Schedule. (Click photo to enlarge for easy reading.)

City Clerk Archives Month in 2019 features an exhibit of Hidden Treasures in the lobby of the City Administration Building.
City Clerk Archives Month in 2019 features an exhibit of Hidden Treasures in the lobby of the City Administration Building.

Many historical documents in the exhibit provide fascinating glimpses into San Diego's past.
Many historical documents in the exhibit provide fascinating glimpses into San Diego’s past. (I was pleased to see a Dog Tax Receipt featuring San Diego’s famous town dog, Bum.)

Historical documents on display includes an announcement for the Presidio Hill Park dedication in 1929.
Documents on display include an announcement for the Presidio Hill Park dedication in 1929. Pictured is the Junípero Serra Museum, original home of the San Diego Historical Society.

A collection of old City Clerk seal embossers.
A collection of old City Clerk seal embossers.

Posters describe 18th century San Diego and Presidio Excavation Artifacts from 1965.
Posters describe life in 18th century San Diego. Nearby are Presidio Excavation Artifacts from 1965.

These fragments from an olive jar might date as far back as 1769.
These fragments from an olive jar might date as far back as 1769.

The exhibit includes fragments of bottles, jars, bowls and plates from early San Diego.
The exhibit includes fragments of bottles, jars, bowls and plates from early San Diego.

Roof Tile, Presidio, 1869.
Roof tile from the Presidio.

Presidio artifacts include cannon and musket balls.
Presidio artifacts include cannon and musket balls.

Artifacts on display include the New Town Excavation Collection from the 1980s.
Other artifacts on display include the New Town Excavation Collection from the 1980s.

New Town artifacts include pistol fragments, 1850-1870.
New Town artifacts include pistol fragments, 1850-1870.

Other early artifacts from New Town include a broken bottle, ceramic wire insulators and a clay effigy.
Other artifacts from 19th century New Town include a broken bottle, ceramic wire insulators and a clay effigy.

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!

Colorful photos of Founders Day in Old Town.

Representatives of many communities come together during Old Town San Diego's Founders Day to celebrate our city's diverse history.
Representatives of many communities come together during Old Town San Diego’s Founders Day to celebrate our city’s diverse history.

Founders Day is being celebrated in Old Town this weekend. The unique Old Town San Diego Chamber of Commerce event, which is inspired by our city’s 250th anniversary, is being held along San Diego Avenue, just south of the State Park.

I walked around at noontime today and took photos!

The colorful Founders Day festival will continue tomorrow. There will be street vendors and music and dancing and a whole lot of history to experience. If you can, head to Old Town San Diego and check it out!

San Diego Avenue was full of color and activity during my walk on the Saturday of Founders Day weekend.
San Diego Avenue was full of color and activity during my walk on the Saturday of Founders Day weekend.

A banner on an Old Town lamp post remembers the year 1769, when Junípero Serra founded a Spanish mission in San Diego.
A banner on an Old Town lamp post remembers the year 1769, when Junípero Serra founded a Spanish mission in San Diego.

This musician smiled for a blogger who happened to walk by.
This musician smiled for a blogger who happened to walk by.

The San Diego Model A Ford Club had lots of vintage cars on display during the event.
The San Diego Model A Ford Club had lots of vintage cars on display during the event.

Root beer floats could be enjoyed at this outdoor Western saloon!
Root beer floats could be enjoyed at this outdoor Western saloon!

The San Diego History Center had a display detailing important moments in San Diego's 250 year history.
The San Diego History Center had a display detailing important moments in San Diego’s 250 year history.

Early people, events and developments in San Diego's history include the native Kumeyaay, the Spanish arrival, and the establishment of Mission San Diego de Alcalá in 1769.
Early people, events and developments in San Diego’s history include the native Kumeyaay, the Spanish arrival, and the establishment of Mission San Diego de Alcalá in 1769.

Frontier musicians play banjo, guitar and washboard.
Frontier musicians play banjo, guitar and washboard.

Historical reenactors from Old Town's African Latin Museum participated in Founders Day.
Historical reenactors from Old Town’s African Latin Museum participated in Founders Day.

SDSU Archaeology had a table near the Whaley House Museum.
SDSU Archaeology had a table near the Whaley House Museum.

San Diego State University Archaeology students once excavated behind the Whaley House, and found many interesting artifacts.
San Diego State University Archaeology students once excavated behind the Whaley House, and found many interesting artifacts.

Uncovered artifacts included bottles and various household items common in early San Diego.
Uncovered artifacts included bottles and various household items common in early San Diego.

Write Out Loud had their Poe and Twain puppets roaming about during the cool event!
Write Out Loud had their Poe and Twain puppets roaming about during the cool event!

Many people come together during Founders Day to celebrate our city's complex and fascinating 250 years of history.
Diverse people come together during Founders Day to celebrate our city’s complex and uniquely fascinating 250 years of history. During the opening ceremony, words of optimism were expressed for the future!

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!

Photos of the historic El Cuervo adobe ruins.

I first saw the El Cuervo adobe ruins years ago. That was during a guided nature hike at the west end of Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. But I haven’t been back down that trail in a very long time.

Yesterday the cool spring weather was perfect for a hike in the canyon, so I decided to once again visit the historic ruins.

In 1823 a large portion of Peñasquitos Canyon was granted to Francisco María Ruiz, the Commandante of San Diego’s presidio. It was the first Mexican land grant in this area. You can learn more of the history, and see photos of his original 1824 adobe ranch house and its later modifications by clicking here.

In 1834, Ruiz was granted additional land to the west for cattle grazing. This area of Peñasquitos Canyon was named El Cuervo. He built another adobe house near the place where Lopez Creek runs into Peñasquitos Creek.

That second house today is in ruins. The crumbled adobe walls are protected by a steel fence and sheltering roof. A broken down corral can still be observed in the field to the east, as you can see in a couple of my photographs.

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!

Learning about archaeology in San Diego!

Kids learn about archaeology at Arch In The Park, an annual educational event at the Historic Ranch House in Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.
Kids learn about archaeology at Arch In The Park, an annual educational event near the Historic Ranch House in Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.

Today I headed to the Historic Ranch House in Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve to enjoy the 20th Annual Arch In The Park!

Arch In The Park, hosted by the San Diego County Archaeological Society, is an educational event where curious people of all ages can learn about archaeology in San Diego and the surrounding Southern California region!

I enjoyed looking at many displays and learning about opportunities to intern and volunteer with different organizations. Students talked about what they were learning, and kids got a glimpse of what it’s like to work as an archaeologist. Other exhibits concerned anthropology, our natural environment, and enjoying our local State Parks and National Forests.

After I checked out the various booths near the old adobe Ranch House, I headed to a nearby field where actual excavations could be viewed. Archaeology students from Palomar College told me about what they were doing, how they were doing it, and what they’d discovered!

To read information on the following posters, click my images and they will enlarge.

If you’d like to learn more about the historic Los Peñasquitos Ranch House, click here!

Visitors check out displays by colleges, businesses and organizations concerning the region's archaeology, anthropology and natural environment.
Visitors check out displays by colleges, businesses and organizations concerning the region’s archaeology, anthropology and natural environment.

People learn to how to weave baskets, an essential skill of the region's Native American Kumeyaay people.
People learn to how to weave baskets, an essential skill of the region’s Native American Kumeyaay people.

A poster shows California State Parks Southern Service Center's various Archaeological Projects 2017-2018.
A poster shows California State Parks Southern Service Center’s various Archaeological Projects 2017-2018.

Another California State Parks display shows interns at work sorting and identifying material from excavations in Southern California.
Another California State Parks display shows interns at work sorting and identifying material from excavations in Southern California.

This curious dog was more interested in learning about archaeology than that nearby bobcat.
This curious dog was more interested in learning about archaeology than that nearby bobcat.

A display contains info regarding the Anza Borrego Foundation and the Colorado Desert Archaeology Society.
A display contains info regarding the Anza Borrego Foundation and the Colorado Desert Archaeology Society.

Members of the Colorado Desert Archaeology Society can volunteer and become citizen scientists at Anza Borrego, Palomar Mountain and Rancho Cuyamaca State Parks!
Members of the Colorado Desert Archaeology Society can volunteer and become citizen scientists at Anza Borrego, Palomar Mountain and Rancho Cuyamaca State Parks!

Rock samples from different geological formations in Penasquitos Canyon.
Rock samples from different geological formations in Penasquitos Canyon.

Guinevere, the Merlin Falcon, is an animal ambassador for the San Diego Humane Society. (She had a wing injury and can't fly properly.)
Guinevere, the Merlin Falcon, is an animal ambassador for the San Diego Humane Society. (She had a wing injury and can’t fly properly.)

At Red Tail Environmental's table, kids could create sand art based on a ground painting by Native Americans at Mesa Grande.
At Red Tail Environmental’s table, kids could create sand art based on a ground painting by Native Americans at Mesa Grande.

Chambers Group had an interesting poster concerning fossil mastodons and whales.
Chambers Group had an interesting poster concerning fossil mastodons and whales.

Kumeyaay artifacts were displayed at the SDSU Department of Anthropology's table. If you're a teacher, it might interest you they offer free classroom presentations.
Kumeyaay artifacts were displayed on the SDSU Department of Anthropology’s table. (If you’re a teacher, it might interest you that they offer free classroom presentations.)

Enjoying a sunny San Diego day at Arch In The Park, presented each year by the San Diego County Archaeology Society.
Enjoying a sunny San Diego day at Arch In The Park, presented each year by the San Diego County Archaeological Society.

The Forest Fire Lookout Association had a cool display of all the Lookouts of Southern California.
The Forest Fire Lookout Association had a cool display of all the Lookouts of Southern California.

When smoke is spotted from a fire lookout, this simple device is used. Visually lining up the sighting determines the fire's direction, or azimuth.
When smoke is spotted from a fire lookout, this simple device is used. Visually lining up the sighting determines the fire’s direction, or azimuth.

Cleveland National Forest had a big display, too. They also like volunteers.
Cleveland National Forest had a big display, too. They also love volunteers.

Some photos from the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area, one of my favorite places.
Some photos from the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area, one of my favorite places.

Some artifacts on display created by Native Americans from San Luis Rey. Two of the baskets (near the top of this photo) were made in the 1800s.
Some artifacts on display created by Native Americans from San Luis Rey. Two of the baskets (near the top of this photo) were made in the 1800s.

A friendly student at this table talked to visitors about the California State University San Marcos Anthropology Club.
A friendly student at this table talked to visitors about the California State University San Marcos Anthropology Club.

As I headed over to a field where real archaeological digs can be seen, I was passed by people on horseback, enjoying their day at Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.
As I headed over to a field where real archaeological digs can be seen, I was passed by people on horseback, enjoying their day at Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.

Excavations at Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve are carried out by students in the Archaeology Program at Palomar College.
Excavations at Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve are carried out by students in the Archaeology Program at Palomar College.

I learned the Kumeyaay in this region obtained obsidian for projectile points by trading with other native people who lived to the east, by the Salton Sea.
I learned the Kumeyaay in this region obtained obsidian for projectile points by trading with other native people who lived to the east, by the Salton Sea. Ancient arrowheads and other mysterious objects are sometimes unearthed in this area.

A field east of the Los Peñasquitos Ranch House where archaeology students search for clues about the historic and prehistoric past.
A field east of the Los Peñasquitos Ranch House where archaeology students search for clues about the historic and prehistoric past.

Walls and drainage structures poke out from the field. Their exact story is a puzzle that will eventually be pieced together.
Walls and drainage structures poke out from the field. Their exact story is a puzzle that will eventually be pieced together.

A part of a torn down barn's foundation has been discovered here.
A part of a torn down barn’s foundation has been discovered here. Small, interesting finds are collected by general type in a cupcake pan!

Tunneling gophers make reconstructing the past more difficult. They move materials about as they dig.
Tunneling gophers make reconstructing the past more difficult. They move materials about as they dig.

Nearby I saw several devices used for wet screening excavated soil, a process that follows dry screening.
Nearby I saw several devices used for wet screening excavated soil, a process that follows dry screening.

Smokey Bear checks out debris left on the ground in another corner of the field, the area used for dry screening.
Smokey Bear must also be an archaeology enthusiast! I spotted him checking out debris left on the ground in another corner of the field, the area used for dry screening excavated soil!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

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

Local history excavated, displayed at Petco Park.

A cool exhibit in Petco Park shows the History of the Ballpark Neighborhood, San Diego, California.
An exhibit in Petco Park shows the History of the Ballpark Neighborhood, San Diego, California.

There’s a small but very cool exhibit at Petco Park that depicts the early history of East Village and nearby blocks in downtown San Diego. During the baseball stadium’s construction, a number of fascinating artifacts were recovered by archaeologists. Each object was carefully recorded in order to preserve aspects of our city’s diverse history.

Here are some of the old photographs and artifacts that are on public display. You can find this exhibit near the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame, just to the right of the north entrance to the Padres Team Store. I learned this exhibit used to be on the third floor of the Western Metal Supply building, at the top of the escalators. But the area was rather dark and so it was moved to its present location.

Please read the captions to learn more about what was unearthed during the grading of the ballpark, and what everyday life was like in San Diego over a century ago.

Photo taken during construction of Petco Park baseball stadium in East Village. Archaeologists excavate a feature discovered during grading activities at the ballpark.
Photo taken during construction of Petco Park baseball stadium in East Village. Archaeologists excavate a feature discovered during grading activities at the ballpark.

The grading of the future ballpark was researched and environmentally monitored. Artifacts recovered reveal everyday life in San Diego's past.
After researching the immediate area’s history, the grading of the future ballpark was environmentally monitored. Artifacts that were recovered reveal everyday life in San Diego’s past.

Excavated objects include jars, bottles, glass stoppers and a bone toothbrush handle. Names of medical remedies include Hamlin's Wizard Oil and Dr. J.H. McLean's Volcanic Oil.
Excavated objects include jars, bottles, glass stoppers and a bone toothbrush handle. Names of medical remedies on bottles include Hamlin’s Wizard Oil and Dr. J.H. McLean’s Volcanic Oil.

1906 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map depicting Blocks 136 and 137, part of the footprint of today's Petco Park.
1906 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map depicting Blocks 136 and 137, part of the footprint of today’s Petco Park, home of the baseball Padres.

From the late 1800s to the 1930s, most residents of East Village appear to have been of moderate to lower economic status, employed at blue collar jobs downtown.
From the late 1800s to the 1930s, most residents of East Village appear to have been of moderate to lower economic status, employed at blue collar jobs downtown.

Other artifacts recovered during Petco Park's construction include dolls, toys, marbles and keys.
Other artifacts recovered during Petco Park’s construction include dolls, toys, marbles and keys.

Old photo shows East Village as it was in 1914, looking west from the 10th Street terminal.
Old photograph shows East Village as it was in 1914, looking west from the 10th Street terminal.

Looking south down 5th Street (now Fifth Avenue) from the roof of the 1st National Bank, circa 1910. The area is heart of the Gaslamp Quarter.
Looking south down 5th Street (now Fifth Avenue) from the roof of the 1st National Bank, circa 1910. The area is heart of the Gaslamp Quarter.

Two historical photos. To the left, Pacific Coast Steamship warehouse, circa 1913. To the right, looking north up 5th Street circa 1910.
Two historical photos. To the left: Pacific Coast Steamship warehouse, circa 1913. To the right: looking north up 5th Street circa 1910.

Old photo of Western Metal Supply building and foundry sometime prior to 1919. The preserved brick building is now a unique part Petco Park's structure.
Old photo of Western Metal Supply building and foundry sometime prior to 1919. The preserved brick building is now a unique part Petco Park’s structure.

Fragments of earthenware jars and Chinese and Japanese ceramic tableware show Asian culture that thrived in the neighborhood's past.
Fragments of earthenware jars and Chinese and Japanese ceramic tableware show Asian culture thrived in the neighborhood’s past.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

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

The people and legacy of Old Town San Diego.

Visitor to the second floor of the McCoy House Museum learns about some notable early residents of Old Town San Diego.
Visitor to the second floor of the McCoy House Museum learns about some notable early residents of Old Town San Diego.

Should you visit the McCoy House Museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, be sure to venture up the stairs to the second floor. There you’ll discover several fascinating exhibits. In addition to old photographs of notable early residents of San Diego, you’ll find an explanation of Old Town’s gradual decline as competing New Town (the site of modern downtown San Diego) grew and became the center of government and commerce. You will also learn about Old Town’s continuing legacy, including the events that led to the creation of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park in 1968.

If you’d like to read the displays, click the images to enlarge them.

(You might recall that I recently blogged about the many interpretive displays on the first floor of the McCoy House Museum. They provide a great deal of detailed information about Old Town’s early history.)

From a window on the museum’s second floor one can also look down upon the scraggly native plant garden just northwest of the McCoy House. A map near the window shows the location of Sycamore, Toyon, Oak, Cottonwood, Elderberry and Willow trees. Other native plants include Yerba Mansa, Datura, Aster, Poppy, Deerweed, Sumac, Lemonadeberry, Manzanita, Monkeyflower, different Sages, Deergrass, Prickly Pear and Yucca. Many of these plants were used by the Native American Kumeyaay in their daily lives long before explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovered San Diego Bay in 1542.

Pio Pico settled in San Diego in 1819 after the death of his father, a soldier assigned to the Presidio. Merchant and rancher, he later lived in Los Angeles and became the last governor of Mexican Alta California.
Pio Pico settled in San Diego in 1819 after the death of his father, a soldier assigned to the Presidio. Merchant and rancher, he later lived in Los Angeles and became the last governor of Mexican Alta California.

In 1865, Mary Chase Walker became Old Town's first school teacher. She taught at the one room Mason Street schoolhouse and described early San Diego as a desolate place. She went on to join the suffragette movement.
In 1865, Mary Chase Walker became Old Town’s first school teacher. She taught at the one room Mason Street schoolhouse and described early San Diego as a desolate place. She went on to join the suffragette movement.

Agoston Haraszthy, born in Hungary, led a fascinating life. As an American pioneer, businessman and wine expert, he became San Diego's first town marshal and the first county sheriff.
Agoston Haraszthy, born in Hungary, led a fascinating life. As an American pioneer, businessman and wine expert, he became San Diego’s first town marshal and the first county sheriff.

Fire devastated Old Town in 1872. At the time only one water pump existed, and it was broken. Firefighters watched helplessly. The fire and many other factors helped to bring about the rise of competing New Town.
Fire devastated Old Town in 1872. At the time only one water pump existed, and it was broken. Firefighters watched helplessly. The fire and many other factors helped to bring about the rise of competing New Town.

Various fascinating historical exhibits can be explored on the second floor of the McCoy House Museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Various fascinating historical exhibits can be explored on the second floor of the McCoy House Museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

In the early 20th century, neglected, ruined buildings in Old Town were fixed up and converted into tourist attractions. Entrepreneur John D. Spreckels extended his streetcar line to Old Town.
In the early 20th century, neglected, ruined buildings in Old Town were fixed up and converted into tourist attractions. Entrepreneur John D. Spreckels extended his streetcar line to Old Town.

Artifacts found under the rebuilt McCoy House date from the 1830's to 1850's. They include fragments of daily life from that era
Artifacts found under the rebuilt McCoy House date from the 1830’s to 1850’s. They include fragments of daily life from that era

Archaelogists analyze each find, record every detail. These objects probably came from the time when Eugenia Silvas owned this site. Descendents still live in San Diego and are involved in Old Town's a
Archaeologists analyze each find, record every detail. These objects probably came from the time when Eugenia Silvas owned this site. Family descendants still live in San Diego and are involved in Old Town’s activities.

Archaeologist's tools on display in the McCoy House Museum.
Archaeologist’s tools on display in the McCoy House Museum.

Once again, Old Town became a tourist destination in the 1930's when San Diego Avenue became connected to the new Coast Highway.
Once again, Old Town became a tourist destination in the 1930’s when San Diego Avenue became connected to the new Coast Highway.

Old Town languished during World War II. After the war, some suggested setting aside Old Town as a historic community. In 1968, Old Town became a state historic park.
Old Town languished during World War II. After the war, some suggested setting aside Old Town as a historic community. In 1968, Old Town San Diego became a state historic park.

Photographs in the McCoy House Museum recall Old Town San Diego's colorful past.
Photographs in the McCoy House Museum recall Old Town San Diego’s colorful past.

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