Photos of the Euclid Tower in City Heights.

One of the most colorful and fascinating landmarks in all of San Diego is the Euclid Tower in City Heights.

The 80‐foot tall Euclid Tower, located on University Avenue at Reno Drive, a block east of Euclid Avenue, was originally built in 1932. Today the extraordinary building is home to the Tower Bar and Tower Tattoo Parlor.

The Euclid Tower was originally a drive-in soda fountain, and its second floor served as an observation deck. Over the decades the building has been the unique home for a string of businesses, primarily restaurants. An example of the Zigzag Moderne Art Deco style, the Euclid Tower was designed by an unknown architect. You can learn more about its history and see old photographs of the building here.

By the 1980’s the old gray building had a look of neglect and decay. In 1995 a community art project painted it with colorful new designs. Third grade kids created pictures of the City Heights community, which ended up as the tiles you see in my photographs.

But structural degradation that occurred over the course of many years resulted in the tower tipping dangerously. In 1999 the tall spire of the building was removed.

In 2009 a somewhat shorter spire was erected and the building was restored using a design proposed by Cynthia Bechtel, Mark Messenger and Christina Montuouri. Their vision of the present-day Euclid Tower is what you see in my photographs.

You can read about the Euclid Tower’s restoration 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!

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Major projects in Balboa Park near completion!

To make room for pumpkin pie, today I took a brisk walk through Balboa Park. And I noticed some of the major projects that have been underway this year appear to be nearing completion!

In June I took photos of early construction throughout Balboa Park and posted them here. In August I took more photos documenting the progress of these projects and posted them here and here. (The three links will lead you to more information concerning various changes in the park.)

Now its already late November. What did I see during this walk?

First, the observation platform underneath the gigantic Moreton Bay Fig tree by the Natural History Museum is almost finished! It features some cool log benches. Take a look…

Next, I walked around the House of Charm, which is being renovated to accommodate a completely redesigned, enlarged Mingei International Museum.

The building’s iconic façade behind a fence and trees has a fresh coat of paint, but I failed to take a photograph of it from the Plaza de Panama. The scaffolding has been removed from both the front and back of the building. The House of Charm’s newly painted tower, which overlooks the Alcazar Garden, is more beautiful than ever.

The first photo coming up shows some of the museum’s expansion.

I can’t wait to visit the Mingei once everything is completed!

Next I walked completely around the International Cottages.

Nine member nations of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages will eventually move into five new structures that are being built.

And the new cottages look like they’re almost done!

Finally, I arrived at the South Palisades’ brand new plaza. The yellow tape around it is gone. Colorful umbrellas over tables are open! On a quiet Thanksgiving afternoon, a few people were already enjoying the spacious plaza!

You can see how the San Diego Automotive Museum also has a new paint job. Once amazing new murals appear over the front entrance, and cool vehicles are placed in the display areas in front, the museum will be more inviting than ever!

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!

Light, reflections on Lane Field hotels.

This morning I walked toward, between and around the hotels that now occupy the site of old Lane Field, where the Padres played baseball when they were a team in the Pacific Coast League.

Bright, clear light reflected from the two very different buildings: the InterContinental San Diego building and the Marriott SpringHill Suites and Residence Inn building across from it. Perfect for intriguing photos!

You might remember that I documented how the site of old Lane Field was transformed into a public park and prime waterfront location for these hotels here.

If you’re curious about the rippling façade you see above and in several other photographs, it covers the Marriott building’s parking garage and is titled California Rain. The sculptural artwork was created by artist David Franklin. I posted photos almost five years ago here. (Read that blog post’s comments to learn more about how the individual aluminum blades were assembled!)

Now on to this morning’s cool pics!

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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Unusual tower of the Quartermass-Wilde House.

The historic 1896 Quartermass-Wilde House, located in Golden Hill overlooking downtown San Diego, is one of the most fantastic, palatial old houses in our city.

Should you walk by Broadway and 24th Street, you might notice that this Queen Anne-style Victorian mansion, with a Classical Revival influence, has a very unusual tower. The top of the tower is shaped like a dome!

Why?

Because Louis J. Wilde, Mayor of San Diego from 1917–1921, loved architect Irving Gill’s elegant 1910 Broadway Fountain so much that he had the tower of his mansion altered to resemble it!

Louis J. Wilde was a controversial mayor, banker, oil tycoon, developer and part owner of the US Grant Hotel. His donation of $10,000 helped to build the Broadway Fountain in Horton Plaza Park, directly across Broadway from the US Grant. (He was also responsible for changing the name of D Street to Broadway!)

I’ve read the cupola under the tower’s dome provides an amazing panoramic view of downtown San Diego!

The 1910 Broadway Fountain at Horton Plaza Park. The fountain, with its unique watery dome supported by classic Corinthian columns, was designed by architect Irving Gill.
The top of the tower of the historic 1896 Quartermass-Wilde House in Golden Hill was altered by Mayor Wilde years later to resemble the Broadway Fountain that he loved in downtown 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!

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 YWCA building in downtown San Diego.

From a few blocks away, the old YWCA building in downtown San Diego appears unremarkable. But approach the corner of Tenth Avenue and C Street and you see why the 1926 YWCA Administrative Building, designed by architects Frank Stevenson and C.E. Decker, is one of our city’s more fascinating sights.

Sculpted stucco and beautiful metalwork decorate the building’s grand front entrance and many windows. The elaborate ornamentation was inspired by the Spanish Colonial Revival architecture that became popular in San Diego and Southern California after the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, held in nearby Balboa Park.

I took photographs of this unique old building during a recent walk.

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!

Fantastic architecture at Oceanside Civic Center.

Uniquely beautiful civic centers can be found all around San Diego County. I’ve photographed many of them. But the Oceanside Civic Center might be my favorite.

I walked randomly about the Oceanside Civic Center complex last weekend and was amazed by everything I saw.

As you can see from various plaques I photographed, the original Oceanside Fire Station (also called Oceanside Engine House and Police Station) was built in 1929/1930, and the original City Hall and Library were completed in 1934. They were designed by Irving Gill, a renowned San Diego architect who is now a recognized major figure in the modern movement. His welcoming simplicity, unadorned classic lines and graceful arches have appeared in various places on my blog. His style has been described as cubist. You can see that signature style in these photographs as well. Designing buildings for the City of Oceanside was the final monumental project of his career.

As you can see on another plaque, a City Hall renovation was completed in 1957, and as you can read in this article, a large new Oceanside Civic Center and Public Library were completed in 1990. The large complex “designed by Charles Moore emulated the styling of Irving Gill (with) the white arches and simple architecture…Moore remarked about Gill’s legacy: “We use his plain white walls, his unadorned concrete arcades, disciplined fenestration and flat roofs as our architectural vocabulary, and then allow ourselves the exuberance of bright colors with tiles in niches at the entrances, in the jambs and soffits of deep set openings, and through the contrast of palms and broad-leafed plants surrounding our structure.”

The Oceanside Museum of Art, with its exquisite 1972 Opus sculpture by James Hubbell situated near the entrance, is another beautiful part of the large civic center complex. It occupies the original City Hall.

In the same article, you can read that “After renovation of the interior of building, the Museum of Art opened to the public on October 6, 1997. In 2008, a new addition to the Oceanside Museum of Art was dedicated in 2008. The contemporary, three-level 15,000 square foot addition designed by architect Fredrick Fisher sits alongside the historic building designed by architect Irving Gill, who redefined the architectural landscape of Southern California.”

Should you ever visit Oceanside, California, look for the big colorful fountain at the corner of North Coast Highway and Pier View Way. Then take a stroll through one of the most fantastic civic centers you’re likely to ever see!

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A look at Our Lady of Angels in Sherman Heights.

Whenever I drive along California State Route 94, just east of downtown San Diego, I can’t help noticing a yellow church with a tall, old-fashioned steeple rising south of the highway. So I finally decided to take a walk through Sherman Heights to have a better look.

According to this, the Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church originated in 1905. A plaque by the front entrance reads: Church of Our Lady of Angels 1906. I suppose that’s the year of the building’s dedication. I tried to do a little online research, but I can’t find much about the building’s history.

As you can see, the church has a quaint but very distinctive appearance. It is said to be one of San Diego’s best examples of Gothic Revival architecture. (To me, seen from its front, the church appears like an angular yellow rocket!)

Our Lady of Angels stands in the historic old neighborhood of Sherman Heights, which today is filled with numerous picturesque Victorian houses, many of which exist in a state of semi-decay. Our Lady of Angels was San Diego’s second Catholic parish.

I didn’t venture beyond the angelic front doors of the church. The colorful building appeared to be closed the day I walked around it.

Enjoy some photos!

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!

The unique bridges of Torrey Pines State Beach.

If you’ve walked along or driven past Torrey Pines State Beach, your eyes have probably lingered on two very different, uniquely picturesque bridges.

The North Torrey Pines Road Bridge, which crosses the narrow ocean inlet to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, was completed in 2005, replacing a 1932 structure that was neither earthquake-proof nor environmentally friendly. The new 340 feet long bridge was designed with only four columns, which allows for better natural tidal flushing of the lagoon. The graceful design has won numerous engineering awards.

As you can see in my photographs, the bridge fits in beautifully with the nearby beach and eyes are drawn to the sand and bright water. Next to the bridge is a preserved concrete chunk of the old bridge it replaced, with the original date of 1932.

The second, more elaborate bridge whose arches have a uniquely Gothic appearance is 553 feet long and crosses the railroad tracks at the north end of Torrey Pines State Beach. It has been variously called High Bridge, the Sorrento Overhead, or North Torrey Pines Bridge. Built in 1933, it facilitated increasing car traffic along the coast highway just south of Del Mar–part of the main route that connected San Diego to Los Angeles.

High Bridge was built to replace a railroad underpass located a short distance to the south. The original road was winding, steep, and the railroad’s wooden trestle was susceptible to flooding.

The picturesque but aging High Bridge was retrofitted between 2011 and 2014, thereby avoiding a proposed replacement.

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!

A beautiful October day in Balboa Park!

Enjoy these photographs taken this afternoon in Balboa Park.

It’s a Wednesday in early October. The summer tourists are gone. The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 goes on. Not surprisingly, few people were about.

As always, the park was very beautiful.

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!

Photos of original, historic San Ysidro Library.

Front of the original San Ysidro Library, built in 1924.
Front of the original San Ysidro Library, built in 1924.

The first public library in San Ysidro was built in 1924. It still stands on San Ysidro Boulevard, between West and East Park Avenue.

I happened to walk by it last weekend.

The building is small compared to the modern, much larger San Ysidro Library on Beyer Boulevard that opened a year ago. But the smaller scale of this original library provides much of it’s charm. The modest architecture with its graceful curves is also welcoming. Had this little library been open, I would’ve stepped right inside.

Instead, I walked around the outside and took a few photos.

THE PEOPLE OF SAN YSIDRO RECORD BY THIS TABLET THEIR APPRECIATION OF THE GIFT OF THIS LIBRARY BY BLANCHE H. AND FRANK B. BEYER - AUGUST 31, 1924
THE PEOPLE OF SAN YSIDRO RECORD BY THIS TABLET THEIR APPRECIATION OF THE GIFT OF THIS LIBRARY BY BLANCHE H. AND FRANK B. BEYER – AUGUST 31, 1924

An iconic El Camino Real Bell stands near the historic San Ysidro Library on San Ysidro Boulevard.
An iconic El Camino Real Bell stands near the historic San Ysidro Library on San Ysidro Boulevard.

Plaque at base of El CAMINO REAL BELL - Dedicated October 1, 2010.
Plaque at base of El CAMINO REAL BELL – Dedicated October 1, 2010.

View of east side of the original San Ysidro Library.
View of east side of the original San Ysidro Library.

The graceful, welcoming front of the first San Ysidro Library.
The graceful, welcoming front of the first San Ysidro Library.

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!