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.

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Art Deco car, train, ship and plane on Post Office.

Art Deco relief work shows female above propellers of airplane.
Art Deco relief work shows female flying above propellers of airplane.

“Through science and the toil of patient men, the nation’s thought traverses land and air and sea.” Those are the words inscribed along the top of downtown San Diego’s Post Office, on E Street between 8th and 9th Avenue. Beneath the words are nine terra-cotta panels created by Archibald Garner in 1937. The Art Deco images include a car, train, ship and airplane, the means by which mail has been delivered over many decades, transmitting the written word across the nation and around the world.

Titled “Transportation of the Mail,” Garner’s handsome panels were the result of a Department of Treasury competition. Like most Post Office public art created during the New Deal, the work was funded through the Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture, also known as The Section of Fine Arts. The post office itself was built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and stands across the street from the now closed old Central Library. You can see a few interesting photos of the library here.

View of San Diego's downtown Post Office from Ninth Avenue.
View of San Diego’s downtown Post Office from Ninth Avenue.

Ship cuts through ocean waves on its way to deliver the mail.
Steamship cuts through ocean waves on its way to deliver the mail.

Distinctive Art Deco train can be seen near roof of San Diego's old Post Office.
Distinctive Art Deco train can be seen near roof of San Diego’s old Post Office.

Historically interesting panels, which appear at the top of high windows.
Historically interesting panels, which appear at the top of high windows.

Classic automobile in Art Deco artwork in downtown San Diego.
Classic automobile in Art Deco public artwork in downtown San Diego.

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