Sweet memories of Top Gun in Oceanside!

Fans of the original Top Gun movie would love visiting the recently restored Top Gun House near the foot of the Oceanside Pier.

The historic old Victorian beach house, an 1887 Queen Anne Cottage that was featured in the popular movie, has been turned into an ice cream shop filled with sweet Top Gun memories!

The first thing visitors to the Top Gun House might see is a motorcycle by the front porch steps. It’s a replica of the motorcycle ridden by Maverick when he visited his love interest Charlie at the house.

A plaque a few steps away describes the house’s history in Oceanside, its architectural importance, and its role in the movie.

Step inside the beautiful little cottage and you’ll discover movie posters, photographs and other memories from Top Gun. I thought you might enjoy a look…

The 1887 Top Gun House was built by Dr. Henry Graves as a vacation home. Scenes from Top Gun were filmed around the house in 1985. In 2022 the house was fully restored.

The Kawasaki Ninja ZX900 is a replica of the motorcycle made famous in the movie Top Gun. Actor Tom Cruise, playing lead character Maverick, rode it to this house.

It was cool to see the work of an artist I often encounter while walking. Paul Strahm has a painting inside the Top Gun House!

Memories of Goose, Maverick and Iceman.

A sweet smile!

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!

Carlsbad history at St. Michael’s By-the-Sea.

The fascinating history of Carlsbad includes its very first church, St. Michael’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, built in 1894.

St. Michael’s By-the-Sea is located on Carlsbad Boulevard at Christiansen Way, a block south of Magee Park.

During a recent adventure in San Diego’s North County, I walked around the church’s original structure, which stands by several other later buildings.

I paused to read this plaque…

The first church built in Carlsbad was St. Michael’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Church. Originally erected in 1894 overlooking the ocean on Oak Avenue, the quaint Gothic structure was moved to its current site in 1959 when Florence Shipley Magee donated an adjacent site for a new church.

Original redwood paneling, oak pews, and a Victorian pump organ are all still in good condition. The only alterations are a new entry, replacing one which led directly into the choir area at the front of the chapel, and a new heating and air conditioning system.

Far from being a relic of the past, the chapel is used for regular Sunday and weekday services as well as for weddings and funerals.

PLAQUE COURTESY OF THE CARLSBAD HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION

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’s Spreckels Mansion: then and now.

John D. Spreckels and his family owned the Hotel del Coronado during the first half of the 20th century.

In 1906 Spreckels began construction of a palatial home in Coronado. His mansion would stand at 1630 Glorietta Boulevard, across from his extraordinarily elegant Hotel del Coronado.

The Italian Renaissance style Spreckels Mansion, designed by renowned architect Harrison Albright (who also designed the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park), would be completed in 1908.

The above photograph was taken in 1915. The description of this public domain photo on Wikimedia Commons is: Promotional image of John D. Spreckels’ home on Coronado for marketing the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park, San Diego, California.

If the building appears familiar, that’s because much of it was incorporated into today’s Glorietta Bay Inn

Coronado Historical Landmark – J.D. Spreckels House – 1908. Dedicated 1977 Coronado Historical Association.

When I visited Coronado a couple months ago, the friendly Glorietta Bay Inn receptionists behind the front counter allowed me to take a few interior photos. What I found most interesting was one framed image on a wall.

The following is described as: a photograph of an original 1911 postcard of the Spreckels home, just after completion and before the addition of the music room in 1913…

Here are two more outside photos taken by my camera for comparison…

To learn more about John D. Spreckels, one of early San Diego’s most influential entrepreneurs, developers and philanthropists, read his Wikipedia article here.

You’ll learn his Coronado mansion included six bedrooms, three baths, a parlor, dining room and library at the cost of $35,000. At that time, Spreckels’ Mansion featured a brass cage elevator, a marble staircase with leather-padded handrails, skylights, marble floors and some of the Island’s most spectacular gardens. The home was built with reinforced steel and concrete, an earthquake precaution Spreckels insisted upon after living through the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Spreckels lived in the Glorietta Boulevard mansion until his death in 1926.

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!

History inside Carlsbad’s Shipley-Magee House.

The 1887 Shipley-Magee House, home of the Carlsbad Historical Society, contains a museum that history lovers must visit. I walked through its doors earlier this year to discover a treasure trove of artifacts, documents and old photographs from Carlsbad’s earliest days.

The rooms of this historical Craftsman-style house are not only filled with fascinating exhibits, but with furnishings that represent how life must have been like for many in the late 19th century.

Enjoy the following photographs. Better yet, go visit yourself!

The Carlsbad Historical Society’s website is here, with the hours and location of the Shipley-Magee House and its museum.

The society’s website contains pages and pages detailing Carlsbad’s history: from the first settlers, to the construction of the Magee House by Samuel Church Smith (one of the founders of the Carlsbad Land and Water Company), to the layout of downtown Carlsbad in 1925.

If you’d like to see photos of Magee Park, where the house is located, along with several other historic structures and a beautiful rose garden, you can check out an old blog post here.

You can also enjoy photographs of several historical buildings in Carlsbad here, and for more on Carlsbad’s famous Twin Inns, click here and 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!

Architecture delights eyes at Linda Vista library.

I took these photographs of the Linda Vista Library earlier this year. It’s about time I shared them!

Look at the fascinating architecture of this very unique building. Like many projects that were designed by local architect Rob Wellington Quigley, the geometry one encounters is unexpected and complex.

Eyes wandering over the varied exterior make delightful discoveries. Then you walk through the door into the light filled interior with its many angled beams and become even more amazed!

San Diego’s current Linda Vista Branch Library opened in 1987. When I took these photos, the green trees at the front entrance obscured some of the building. But the essential beauty of the design comes through.

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!

Celebrities, giant chickens, and history in Carlsbad!

Did you know the historic 1914 Twin Inns restaurant in Carlsbad hosted a variety of celebrities over the years? (Including Groucho Marx, who took the occasion to promote his latest movie Duck Soup.)

Did you know the restaurant’s big plaster chickens along Highway 101 were featured in National Geographic Magazine?

Did you know the first Carlsbad City Council meeting took place underneath the restaurant where a teen hot rod club met?

Did you know the Twin Inns provided take out chicken dinners that were packed inside a hollow loaf of bread?

I learned all this and more during a visit to the Carlsbad Historical Society‘s museum, which occupies the old Shipley-Magee House at 258 Beech Avenue.

Walking through rooms filled with fascinating exhibits, I discovered several displays that celebrate and remember Carlsbad’s famous Victorian restaurant.

Should you visit the museum, you’ll find a glass display case that contains an elegant Twin Inns guest register. And examples of the Blue Willow pattern china that diners might remember. And you’ll see old photos of the architecturally amazing building and some very beautiful artwork.

Photographs I’ve taken of Carlsbad’s landmark Twin Inns building can be found 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!

Tour of the Marston House Museum in Balboa Park.

An extraordinary house is located at the northwest corner of Balboa Park. It is one of the most architecturally and historically important structures in San Diego.

The George Marston House Museum and Gardens preserves the home that was built by San Diego civic leader George Marston in 1905. The 8,500 square foot house is one of the finest examples of Arts and Crafts style architecture in California, designed by internationally famous architects William Sterling Hebbard and Irving Gill.

Guided tours of the house are offered by the Save Our Heritage Organization. Learn more here. You can purchase tickets in the fine museum gift shop, which occupies the nearby carriage house. If you simply want to stroll about the beautiful garden, or walk around the perimeter of the house, that’s free.

I went on the tour recently and took a few photos, where the indoor lighting permitted.

The George Marston house is the sort of place that feels like a true home. The rooms are warm and functional and contain many windows, some of which were enlarged during the history of the house to bring in even more outdoor light. Book shelves and storage nooks are built into the walls, allowing an active family ample room to move about and entertain guests. Although the layout of the house is entirely practical, every room and hallway is tastefully designed and furnished.

George Marston, a very successful businessman of his day, employed numerous servants. During the tour, we saw various devices that would summon them, including a wooden box mounted on a wall with a bell and mechanical pointers, and a concealed button under the dining room rug that the family could touch without their guests noticing.

The tour explores nearly all of the historic home. At the tour’s end visitors can peer into glass display cases filled with artifacts and ephemera from George Marston’s famous department store, which was located in downtown San Diego.

I highly recommend going on this tour!

Because the Marston House Museum and Gardens is not located in the central, most popular part of Balboa Park, it’s likely your tour group will be small and relaxed, and you’ll be able to ask many questions.

View of the distinctive Marston House from its rose-filled formal garden, a popular wedding venue.
Photo from the Marston House driveway near the front entrance.
Sign describes George Marston. San Diego’s Renaissance Man. He was a successful merchant, civic leader, parks and neighborhoods builder, museum and institutions founder, historic preservationist and conservationist, a city statesman, creator of great schools, and an activist for arts, culture and social issues…

You can learn more about George White Marston here.

In the past I’ve photographed various things related to Marston, from his statue at Sefton Plaza in Balboa Park, to his gravestone at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Architectural drawing for the George W. Marston residence.
When first built in 1905, no landscaping could be seen around the George Marston house! Today the surrounding area is lush, with many nearby homes. Some neighboring houses were also designed by Irving Gill for Marston’s friends and extended family. SOHO offers a walking tour of the neighborhood.
Looking out at the formal garden from a second floor window.
George Marston’s stores in San Diego kept growing. Over the years, he operated at five different locations, and ended up building the large, famous 1912 department store on the north side of C Street between Fifth and Sixth Streets.
At the end of the tour we could look at artifacts and photographs recalling Marston’s elegant department store, where many fond memories were created.

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!

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.

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!

Balboa Park views from Mingei’s “secret” terrace!

The Mingei International Museum’s second floor outdoor terrace isn’t actually secret, but it sure seems that way!

The Conrad Prebys Terrace was empty today as I walked out into the sunshine and enjoyed amazing views of the California Tower, San Diego Museum of Art, House of Hospitality, and Plaza de Panama with its fountain, El Cid statue, and Nikigator below!

The spectacular new terrace is part of the recent House of Charm building redesign and renovation. The project was undertaken by the Mingei International Museum, which calls the historic building home.

I recall posting a photo of an architectural rendering showing the terrace might be used for outdoor dining with a view. I learned today that particular plan hasn’t materialized.

But what a perfect place to sit, take in the scenery and perhaps read a book or write! It’s a magnificent spot for photography, too, as you can see! You do have to purchase a museum ticket, as the two terrace doors are accessible from the second floor gallery space.

I have many more San Diego photographs coming up!

In the next few days I’ll be blogging even more about the Mingei International Museum, plus the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and some cool Top Gun stuff at the USS Midway Museum!

Meanwhile, have a great week!

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!

An enormous soap factory rises downtown!

A huge soap factory in downtown San Diego?

Yes!

Back in 1921, the Citrus/Pacific Soap Factory building was erected in San Diego’s small but growing downtown. Locally produced lemon juice would be a major ingredient in the manufacture of soap!

The architect responsible for this stately factory made of brick was William Wheeler. He also designed downtown’s Balboa Theater and other notable structures around the city.

You can see a cool historical photo of the old Citrus Soap Company of California factory standing near railroad tracks here.

According to this 1988 SOHO (Save Our Heritage Organisation) newsletter, the site at 301 West Market Street gained historical designation partly based on its association with three different soap companies dating back to 1892. Apparently, the factory also helped San Diego through a national soap crisis!

Today, the old factory building has been repurposed. It’s a unique part of the CityFront Terrace Condos.

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!