From tiny seeds grow towering things.

I was walking through downtown San Diego this morning, on my way to catch the trolley for work, when I noticed that a store owner had written on their window: A giant sequoia tree is the result of one tiny seed.

As I looked about, the only gigantic things I could find were surrounding buildings.

Then a startling truth occurred to me.

Even the most towering skyscraper is the result of one tiny seed . . . in the human mind.

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!

Sand sculpture murals show San Diego history!

Two bas-relief sand sculpture panels by renowned artist Charles R. Faust in the lobby of 2550 Fifth Avenue in San Diego.
Two bas-relief sand sculpture panels by renowned artist Charles R. Faust in the lobby of 2550 Fifth Avenue in San Diego.

Two amazing works of art can be viewed inside an office building in Bankers Hill. The small murals–sculptures made of sand that appear as bas-relief panels–decorate a wall in the lobby of 5th & Laurel, the building best known as the home of Mister A’s restaurant.

Commissioned by the now defunct Great American First Savings Bank to celebrate their Centennial in 1985, the two panels depict important San Diego landmarks and aspects of local history.

The two sand cast panels were created by Charles R. Faust (1922 – 2000), a prolific artist who for many years worked as the director of architectural design at the San Diego Zoo. His invention of moated animal enclosures in the mid-1950’s revolutionized how the world famous zoo and their Wild Animal Park near Escondido exhibited animals. He also designed the San Diego Zoo’s huge walk-in aviary–the first of its kind in the world.

After retiring from that job, Charles opened Faust Sand Casting in Ocean Beach with his son. Over his creative lifetime the art of Charles Faust would also include fine drawings, watercolors and oil paintings, many of which depicted life in the Old West, a theme he loved.

His sand sculpture murals have added beauty to many locations around San Diego. I photographed a couple of these murals in the past for Cool San Diego Sights, without realizing at the time they were created by Charles Faust. You can spot them here and here!

Yesterday morning I spoke to a security guard in the lobby of 5th & Laurel, and he said these two “sand art” panels were moved from a suite in the building where there used to be a bank. I believe they were in Suite 120, once the home of Pacific Premier Bank, and the future home of an upscale Italian restaurant. But I’m not sure about the exact history of these particular panels. If you know anything more about them, please leave a comment!

(Please note these photographs make the panels seem more yellowish than they are in reality, due to the indoor lighting and my modest camera.)

The left panel depicts early San Diego history, including Mission San Diego de Alcalá and the ranchos.
The panel on the left. It depicts early San Diego history, including Mission San Diego de Alcalá and the ranchos.
A friar outside the Spanish mission. The man on horseback might be a soldier from the old presidio.
A friar outside the Spanish mission. The man on horseback might be a soldier from the old presidio.
The bells of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, first Spanish mission in California.
The bells of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, first Spanish mission in Alta California.
Scenes from the Old West in San Diego.
Scenes from the Old West in San Diego, including an old wagon and a ride on a bucking horse.
A rancher or vaquero, and a herd of cattle.
A rancher or vaquero, and a herd of cattle.
The right panel depicts more San Diego landmarks. Images include Balboa Park, a streetcar, Coronado ferry, naval ship, farm and Victorian houses.
The panel on the right. It depicts many later San Diego landmarks. Images include Balboa Park, a streetcar, Coronado ferry, naval ship, farm and Victorian houses.
GREAT AMERICAN CENTENNIAL - 100 YEARS - 1885-1985
GREAT AMERICAN CENTENNIAL – 100 YEARS – 1885-1985
A sailboat and birds share San Diego Bay with a pre-bridge Coronado ferry and an old Navy warship.
A sailboat and birds share San Diego Bay with a pre-bridge Coronado ferry and an early 20th century Navy warship. In the upper right corner I spy a tiny Old Point Loma Lighthouse!
I recognize the Cabrillo Bridge and the California Building and Tower.
I recognize the Cabrillo Bridge and the California Building and Tower of Balboa Park.
I think I recognize the Long-Waterman House of Bankers Hill on the left. The house on the right might be a south view of the Britt-Scripps House, but I'm not certain.
I think I recognize the historic Long-Waterman House of Bankers Hill. The house to the right of it might be a south view of the Britt-Scripps House, but it appears a bit different.

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.

Lines, curves, contrasts and mysteries.

A mazelike X by artist Bob Matheny. His works of Almost Anonymous, mind-teasing art can now be absorbed at the San Diego History Museum.
A mazelike X by artist Bob Matheny. His works of Almost Anonymous, mind-teasing art can now be absorbed at the San Diego History Museum.

I took these unusual photographs yesterday during my afternoon walk through Balboa Park.

Each image seemed uniquely interesting to me for one reason or another. My eyes were drawn to lines, curves, contrasts and mysteries.

The passage of time glimpsed underfoot. Contrasted modes of decay.
The passage of time glimpsed underfoot. Contrasted modes of decay.
An elemental drama. Trees battle sky.
An elemental drama. Trees battle sky.
In one photo nature subdues architecture.
In one photo nature subdues architecture.
The iconic California Tower is swallowed by vertical distance.
The iconic California Tower is swallowed by vertical distance.
Looking through an arch of the California Quadrangle toward the original Administration Building, first building completed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Looking through an arch of the California Quadrangle toward the original Administration Building, the first building completed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Simple lines and curves, a small place in the park to rest.
Simple lines and curves: a small place in the park to rest.
Eyes are drawn in every direction in a nook beside the San Diego Museum of Art.
Eyes are pulled in every direction in a nook beside the San Diego Museum of Art.
Wild beauty is aesthetically arranged at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Wild beauty is aesthetically arranged at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
The Japanese Friendship Garden, where reflection becomes meditation.
The Japanese Friendship Garden, where reflection becomes meditation.

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!

More visual complexity downtown.

My camera was busy yesterday.

Not only did I take some magical photos of Balboa Park after work, but before work I snapped cool, complex images of downtown San Diego.

My eyes were searching everywhere as I walked from Eighth Avenue on Cortez Hill west down Ash and Beech Street.

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!

Late sunlight creates magic in Balboa Park.

Balboa Park is magical at any time, but as nightfall approaches, and the last rays of golden sunlight touch buildings and trees, the magic flames, becomes even more powerful.

I got off work early today and used the extra bit of daylight to walk about the park and take photographs.

These are the best…

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!

Do you love Balboa Park, too? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!

La Jolla Library and the Voyage of Discovery.

Visually stunning public art dominates the interior of the La Jolla Library.
Visually stunning public art dominates the interior of the La Jolla Library.

Enter the La Jolla Library, take a few steps into the central atrium, then look up.

In this public library, curious minds become part of an amazing Voyage of Discovery!

Voyage of Discovery, an abstract catamaran hull by artist Christopher Lee, reminds visitors to the La Jolla Library that they are on a journey of exploration.
Voyage of Discovery, an abstract catamaran hull by artist Christopher Lee, reminds visitors to the La Jolla Library that they are on a journey of exploration.
A sculpture of an abstract catamaran is suspended beneath a large skylight at the La Jolla Library.
A sculpture of an abstract catamaran is suspended beneath a large skylight at the La Jolla Library.
Photo from the ground floor atrium of the La Jolla Library of Voyage of Discovery.
Photo from the ground floor atrium in the La Jolla Library of Voyage of Discovery.
Looking up at the stunning skylight.
Looking up at the stunning skylight.
Someone reads near the sail-like cast glass panels of the north window inside the La Jolla Library.
Someone reads near the sail-like cast glass panels of the north window inside the La Jolla Library.
A wood and muslin chandelier is the keel of the abstract catamaran.
A wood and muslin chandelier is the keel of the abstract catamaran.
The inner face of each half of the hull is lined in gold leaf.
The inner face of each half of the hull is lined in gold leaf.

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!

An architectural landmark in University Heights.

Last weekend I enjoyed an easy walk through University Heights. My small adventure included a close look at an architectural landmark that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Teacher Training School Building–San Diego State Normal School. Today the monumental old building, located inside the San Diego Unified School District’s Education Center Complex, is officially designated Teachers Training Annex 1.

The 1910 building, built by engineer Nathan Ellery and architect George Sellon, is in the Italian Renaissance Revival Style. According to the Save Our Heritage Organisation website: “It is the only structure remaining from the 1897 San Diego State Normal School’s University Heights campus, the forerunner to present day San Diego State University. Originally functioning as a living laboratory for student teachers, it was transferred to the City of San Diego Schools in 1931 and served as the original Alice Birney Elementary School until 1951.”

Many in the community hope to see the historic building renovated and transformed into a new University Heights library, replacing the small branch library on Park Boulevard a couple blocks to the south.

Here are some exterior 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!