Colorful animal obelisk in front of Horton Plaza!

colorful obelisk by horton plaza

Here’s a much better look at the obelisk in question. (See my last blog post.) It thrusts out of the ground right in front of Horton Plaza, marking the underground entrance to the Lyceum Theater. Animals of the water, land and air, fashioned out of colorful tiles, frolic together in a mosaic beneath a smiling crescent moon!

This playful work of art and the beautiful architecture of the building behind it is just a small hint of the fun that awaits visitors inside the Horton Plaza shopping mall!

Looking down at the obelisk and Lyceum Theatre.
Looking down at the obelisk and underground entrance to Lyceum Theater.
A closer view of colorful tile fish on the Horton Plaza obelisk.
A closer view of artistic fish on the Horton Plaza obelisk.

Statues of historical figures in front of Horton Plaza.

horton plaza statue beside ticket lady

The lady in this ticket booth in front of Horton Plaza seems unconcerned that a dark silent person looms ominously beside her! That person, in the form of a statue, is Ernest Hahn.  He’s a famous San Diego developer and the driving force behind the popular Horton Plaza shopping mall.

What you see in the first pic is a colorful scene near the entrance of Horton Plaza. An obelisk with a tile mosaic juts out of the underground entrance to the Lyceum Theater, which is home of the San Diego Repertory Theatre. The domed building in the upper left corner of the photograph belongs to the Balboa Theatre.

Ernest Hahn statue by Horton Plaza.
Ernest Hahn statue by Horton Plaza.

Across from the statue of Ernest Hahn is a bronze representation of Alonzo Erastus Horton, a gold miner, shop owner, and finally an influential real estate developer in the second half of the 19th century. He purchased cheap land for development adjacent to San Diego Bay where ships docked, well south of the established settlement below the old Spanish presidio.  Alonzo Horton’s New Town had supplanted Old Town in importance by the beginning of the 20th century.

Statue of Alonzo Horton, who helped steer the course of San Diego's history.
Statue of Alonzo Horton, whose ambitious business plans helped to steer the course of San Diego’s history.
Alonzo E. Horton established New Town where downtown San Diego exists today.
Alonzo E. Horton established his New Town where downtown San Diego exists today.

The third statue stands a bit to the west, on the other side of Horton Square. You can find it in the shade of a tree. The figure is Pete Wilson, who served as San Diego mayor from 1971 to 1983. He went on to serve as United States Senator and governor of California.

Statue of Pete Wilson, a popular San Diego mayor and prominent political figure.
Statue of Pete Wilson, a popular San Diego mayor and prominent political figure.

San Diego’s landmark El Cortez Hotel.

san diego's landmark el cortez hotel

The historic El Cortez Hotel, now converted into condominiums, has been an iconic landmark in San Diego since 1926. Decades before gleaming skyscrapers rose to shape our modern skyline, the El Cortez dominated Cortez Hill and was the city’s tallest building.

The large sign on top, illuminated at night, brightly flashes the sequenced letters of “El Cortez” like a beacon out of the past. The El Cortez years ago had the world’s very first outside glass elevator. Known as the Starlight Express, the elevator brought visitors to the hotel’s penthouse restaurant, which featured amazing views of the growing city and the bay below. The hotel also had the world’s first motorized moving sidewalk!

I live several blocks from this wonderful building and love to gaze at it whenever I walk or drive past!

Looking up at the famous El Cortez sign.
Here’s the famous El Cortez sign.
The elegant front entrance of the El Cortez.
The elegant front entrance of the El Cortez.
Looking up at the stately old building.
Looking up at the stately old building.

A beautiful photo of reflection in Balboa Park.

A beautiful photo of reflection in Balboa Park.
A beautiful photo of reflection in Balboa Park.

I like this photo…even though an optical illusion makes it appear a bit tilted!

This was taken in the early morning from the short walkway that passes over Balboa Park’s shimmering reflecting pool. You are looking toward the splendid Spanish Colonial Revival buildings on El Prado.

Later in the morning, when the world has yawned, stretched and put on its shoes, people will be sitting on the white benches. Children will be standing at the pond’s edge, gazing down at Japanese Koi and myriad other critters in the water. An older gentleman will probably be heard nearby, playing Mariachi music with his guitar. And dozens of photographs will be taken. Each as beautiful as this one!

Here are some additional pics taken at various times…

View of the entire reflecting pool from the Botanical Building.
View of the entire reflecting pool from the Botanical Building.
Side view of the Balboa Park reflecting pool.
Side view of the Balboa Park’s reflecting pool.
Photographer at work beside Balboa Park's reflecting pool.
Photographer at work beside the beautiful water.

The beautiful California Building and Quadrangle.

Elaborate facade of the beautiful Museum of Man in Balboa Park.
Elaborate facade of the beautiful California Building in Balboa Park.

Here’s one iconic sight in Balboa Park I always lift my eyes to enjoy. The elaborate facade of the California Building, home of the San Diego Museum of Man, contains sculpted historical figures molded from clay and plaster. These figures include Junipero Serra, father of California’s Spanish missions, and Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who discovered San Diego Bay nearly five centuries ago in 1542.

This fantastic building, inspired by the church of San Diego in Guanajuato, Mexico, was erected for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, an event that celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal and promoted San Diego as a destination. Like other similar buildings to the east along El Prado, it is in the Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style, which was largely developed by Bertram Goodhue.

The California Building and adjacent California Tower, and the more simple structure to the south across El Prado–housing Evernham Hall and the St. Francis Chapel–form the California Quadrangle. The courtyard-like area at the quadrangle’s center, where visitors can sit at tables and through which cars today travel, is called the Plaza de California.

Every few years I venture into The Museum of Man just to refresh my memory. There are a number of interesting anthropological exhibits, including a whole room full of spooky Egyptian mummies!

Here are some more pics…

Gazing up at the colorful dome and the California Tower.
Gazing up at the colorful dome of the California Building, and the California Tower.
People on the street in front of the Museum of Man.
People on the street in front of the Museum of Man. El Prado runs through the Plaza de California.
Plaster figures from local history adorn the ornate facade.
Plaster figures from local history adorn the ornate facade.
Three exhibits running at the Museum of Art.
Banners near the entrance show current exhibits at the Museum of Man.
Plaque by Museum of Man commemorates Cabrillo's discovery of California.
Plaque a bit west of the Museum of Man, beside the archway into Balboa Park’s California Quadrangle, commemorates Cabrillo’s discovery of California.
Sitting at table under an umbrella near Museum of Man.
Sitting at a table under an umbrella near the beautiful Museum of Man.

Here are even more photos from a later date…

Sign in the California Quadrangle. Built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the Plaza de California and surrounding buildings served as the grand west entrance for the exposition.
Sign in the California Quadrangle. Built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the Plaza de California and surrounding buildings served as the grand west entrance for the exposition.
Photo toward the southeast corner of the California Quadrangle shows Mission Revival style arches.
Photo toward the southeast corner of the California Quadrangle shows Mission Revival style arches.
Photo of the iconic California Tower from a point east on El Prado.
Photo of the iconic California Tower from a point east on El Prado.
The ornate upper levels of the California Bell Tower.
The ornate upper levels of the California Bell Tower. Tours up the tower’s stairs provide amazing views of Balboa Park and San Diego.
Photo of the beautiful California Building from the east, near the Old Globe Theatre.
Photo of the beautiful California Building from the east, near the Old Globe Theatre.
Elaborate ornamentation around the archway outside the east side of the California Quadrangle.
Elaborate ornamentation around the archway outside the east side of the California Quadrangle.
Colorful dome tiles, part of the Spanish Colonial Revival masterpiece of exposition architect Bertram Goodhue.
Colorful dome tiles, part of the Spanish Colonial Revival masterpiece of exposition architect Bertram Goodhue.

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San Diego skyline and Tuna Harbor boats.

Fishing boats in Tuna Harbor and downtown skyscrapers.
Fishing boats in Tuna Harbor and downtown skyscrapers.

The above photograph was taken near the public pier that stretches into San Diego Bay from the G Street Mole. It can be found next to the top rated Fish Market restaurant, a bit south of the USS Midway. The picturesque skyline rises behind a number of inactive fishing boats in the always interesting Tuna Harbor this fine sunny summer day.

San Diego’s Tuna Harbor decades ago was home to the largest tuna fishing fleet in the world. That was before fishing regulations and tuna populations shifted, sending most of the boats away. The American Tuna-Boat Association office is still located near the foot of the pier.

Here are a variety of pics taken at different times…

Fisherman heads to a boat in Tuna Harbor.
Fisherman heads to a boat in Tuna Harbor.
Ramp down to docks in San Diego's Tuna Harbor.
Ramp down to docks in San Diego’s Tuna Harbor.
Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton rise behind Tuna Harbor fishing boats.
Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton rise behind Tuna Harbor fishing boats.
A number of fishing vessels docked inside San Diego's Tuna Harbor.
A number of fishing vessels docked inside San Diego’s Tuna Harbor.
This typical small boat is part of the large local fishing fleet.
This typical small boat is part of the large local fishing fleet.
Colorful floats of different sizes tangled over the railing at edge of Tuna Harbor Pier.
Colorful floats of different sizes tangled over the railing along edge of the G Street Pier.
Fishing boats docked in Tuna Harbor next to downtown San Diego.
Fishing boats docked in Tuna Harbor next to downtown San Diego.
Lobster traps lined up on a Tuna Harbor dock.
Turning a bit to the right.  Lobster traps are lined up on a Tuna Harbor dock.
Fishermen sort sea urchins from large tank, to be sold at nearby public fish market.
Fishermen sort sea urchins from large tank, to be sold at nearby public fish market.
Gazing down one dock at a line of fishing vessels in San Diego.
Gazing down one dock at a line of fishing vessels in San Diego.
Small boat painted with various names, including Rambo!
Small boat painted with various names, including Rambo!
A clutter of work gear all along the wooden dock.
A clutter of work gear all along the wooden dock.
Downtown highrises in the blue sky behind a Tuna Harbor boat.
Downtown high-rises in the blue sky behind a Tuna Harbor boat.
USS Midway aircraft carrier museum can be seen beyond the fleet of fishing vessels.
USS Midway aircraft carrier museum can be seen beyond the fleet of fishing vessels.
Sun, wind, salt water and frequent use take a toll on these hard-working boats.
Sun, wind, salt water and frequent use take a toll on these hard-working boats.
Old navy boat has been converted for civilian purpose.
I believe this is an old Navy boat which has been converted for civilian purpose.
A couple more fishing boats tied up in beautiful San Diego Bay.
A couple more fishing boats tied up in beautiful San Diego Bay.
Many boats are out on Friday afternoon, seeking fresh fish for Saturday morning market.
Many boats are out on a Friday afternoon, seeking fresh fish for Saturday morning market.

That shiny cylinder-like drum will be mounted on the rear of a fishing boat, and used to unspool then haul in a very large net!

Ornate facade of haunted Horton Grand Hotel.

ornate facade of horton grand hotel

A registered National Historic Place, the Horton Grand Hotel in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter is a true architectural treasure. It’s ornate Italianate Victorian facade is based on the famous Innsbruck Inn in Vienna, Austria.

Today’s boutique hotel is a modern restoration of two historic buildings, the Grand Horton, built in 1887, and the Brooklyn Kahle Saddlery. The latter was the residence of Wyatt Earp during the years he lived in San Diego.

The Horton Grand has another interesting distinction. Room 309 is said to be haunted by the ghost of Roger Whitaker, a gambler who was shot dead by a man he cheated in a game of poker. Many guests who’ve stayed in this room have reported objects changing position when they are asleep!

Is that strange, glaring, long-bearded figure in the corner of this photo a vengeful ghost? I hope he didn’t follow me home!

Entrance to elegant Horton Grand hotel in the Gaslamp.
Entrance to elegant Horton Grand hotel in the Gaslamp.
Another wing of the historic hotel.
Another wing of the historic hotel.
The inside courtyard used to be outside!
The inside courtyard used to be outside!
A closer examination of architectural detail.
A closer examination of architectural detail.
The Horton Grand Hotel stands in downtown San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.
The Horton Grand Hotel stands in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.