New tile murals at Automotive Museum debut!

Today was an historic day! Four long-anticipated murals have debuted above the entrance of the San Diego Automotive Museum!

Yesterday’s scaffolding has been removed, revealing beautiful tile artwork that will be enjoyed by visitors to Balboa Park for many decades–perhaps even centuries–into the future!

I first blogged about the project back in late 2017. You can read what I wrote here.

As I explained, these permanent tile murals “…are based on murals that decorated the (California State Building) during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition….Much of the California State Building’s original ornamentation no longer exists, including the four original murals. They were created for the exposition by Hollywood set designer Juan Larrinaga. Painted on fiberboard to appear like tilework, they depicted California’s commerce, scenic beauty, agriculture and industry.”

The exquisite tiles were created by RTK Studios in Ojai, California.

Those who enjoy at visit to the San Diego Automotive Museum, or the newly opened Pan American Plaza in front of the museum, will now be able feast their eyes on these four truly remarkable works of public art!

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Installing beautiful new murals in Balboa Park!

Four beautiful new murals above the entrance of the San Diego Automotive Museum are presently being installed!

As I walked through Balboa Park’s new Pan American Plaza this afternoon, I noticed workers were carefully cementing finished ceramic tiles to the Automotive Museum’s historic 1935 California State Building.

If you’re curious about these colorful tile murals, and wonder how they’ll appear when finished, click here. You’ll see photos of identical, but temporary printed murals that appeared above the museum entrance several years ago.

You’ll also learn how these new ceramic murals are based on past artwork created for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park!

UPDATE!

A couple weeks later I peered through the scaffolding and saw this…

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Permanent murals coming to Automotive Museum!

Today, during my walk through Balboa Park’s new Pan American Plaza, I saw that four long-anticipated permanent murals are now being installed above the entrance of the San Diego Automotive Museum!

Over three years ago I posted photographs of temporary murals above the museum entrance. But now the real deal is coming! Once finished, beautiful ceramic tile artwork will replicate murals created in 1935 for the California Pacific International Exposition.

If you’d like to learn more about this historic project, and see photographs of each individual mural, check out my old blog post here.

Here’s a bit of the sign on the construction fence that provides more information…

And here’s an image of those four temporary murals, which anticipate what the permanent ceramic tile murals will look like!

(The building’s color appears different in this older photo. That’s because it recently received a brand new paint job.)

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Holiday scenes in Balboa Park before the lockdown.

Tomorrow another “stay at home” order goes into effect in Southern California. It’s late 2020, the year of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Today many people were enjoying Balboa Park one last time before the lockdown. As I walked through the park this afternoon, I saw a few holiday decorations, but nothing like you’d see during an ordinary year.

A few visitors were dressed for the occasion–I even saw Santa Grinch skating about in the Plaza de Panama! I also saw good old Santa wearing a face mask driving his sleigh between the plaza and Organ Pavilion; a big Santa Bear at the Japanese Friendship Garden; and lights, Christmas trees and ornaments in the Spanish Village Art Center.

I also walked past the Taste of December Nights event in the large Inspiration Point parking lots. All I saw were lines of cars pulled up to a couple dozen food trucks.

Speaking of trucks, see those two photos of a red vehicle parked in front of the San Diego Automotive Museum? That very cool old 1922 Mack Water Truck has returned to its old spot after a long restoration. I wrote a little about this antique water truck on my now dormant blog Beautiful Balboa Park. Read more about it here!

Even though everyone in San Diego is encouraged to exercise outdoors, now that we’re entering a stay-at-home period, my walking adventures might become less frequent for the time being. Fortunately, I have lots of interesting photos still in my computer, so stay tuned for many more surprising blog posts!

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!

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 Pan American 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!

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Summer of Love’s Art Car in Balboa Park!

What’s did I see today in Balboa Park? There’s a car parked in the middle of Spanish Village Art Center’s patio and it’s decorated with all sorts of fun, colorful artwork!

According to a sign on the windshield, the Art Car was donated for this project by the San Diego Automotive Museum. It appears to be a cool work in progress during this Summer of Love!

Nobody was painting the car when I walked by, but I saw plenty of space for more creativity!

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!

Steampunk vehicles exhibited in Balboa Park!

One of many cool vehicles you'll see at the San Diego Automotive Museum during their show Steampunk: The Exhibit.
One of many cool vehicles you’ll see at the San Diego Automotive Museum during their show Steampunk: The Exhibit.

There’s an amazing show that just opened yesterday at the San Diego Automotive Museum. It’s called Steampunk: The Exhibit. About half of the museum’s large floor is now occupied by mind-blowing steampunk vehicles and fantastic works of art!

Before I show you some cool photographs, let me introduce you to a friendly artist who I happened to meet as I walked about the museum. His name is Jeff Steorts. He creates all sort of Medieval-like artwork using wood, metal and a variety of found objects. As a young man, he attempted to create a suit of armor out of aluminum. Today he writes poetry and produces sculptural objects that take one back to the Age of Chivalry. He showed me his many gleaming works that are on display. Most of his pieces are symbolic. Some have keys that unlock a deeper meaning. Each piece contains a bit of himself.

Jeff has had his fantastic creations displayed in many places–even at San Diego International Airport! Check out his Facebook page here!

Now on to the exhibition! Once you see these photos, I think you’ll want to head over to the San Diego Automotive Museum in beautiful Balboa Park. Do so before September 30th when Steampunk: The Exhibit comes to an end!

The museum floor is filled with every sort of cool steampunk and unusual, retro-looking vehicle you might imagine!
The museum floor is filled with every sort of cool steampunk and unusual, retro-looking vehicle you might imagine!

The Cyclops, a steampunk trike with a 3-cylinder Triumph Daytona engine, by artists Baron Margo and Jaime Martinez.
The Cyclops, a steampunk trike with a 3-cylinder Triumph Daytona engine, by artists Baron Margo and Jaime Martinez.

Time Machine, by artist Richard P. Ingalls. This was commissioned in 2014 by the Salk Institute of Biological Studies for its annual staff service awards program!
Time Machine, by artist Richard P. Ingalls. This was commissioned in 2014 by the Salk Institute of Biological Studies for its annual staff service awards program!

Assemblage artist Dan Jones created this cool little robot sculpture. He exhibits his work at San Diego Comic-Con, as well as many galleries, steampunk and sci-fi conventions.
Assemblage artist Dan Jones created this cool little robot sculpture. He exhibits his work at San Diego Comic-Con, as well as many galleries, steampunk and sci-fi conventions.

Another cool work of art by Dan Jones.
Another cool work of art by Dan Jones.

Artist Ken Whitney created these body-like Hardware Sculptures out of metal washers, gears and other stuff.
Artist Ken Whitney created these body-like Hardware Sculptures out of metal washers, gears and other similar material.

Jeff Steorts poses for a photo. Some of his created objects are clocks or resemble them. He explores many themes including Time and Space.
Jeff Steorts poses for a photo. Some of his symbolic objects are clocks or resemble them. He explores many themes, including Time and Space.

Jeff shows me some of his fantastic art.
Jeff shows me some of his fantastic art.

Many of Jeff's creations resemble lockets, or golden hearts with keys. Others resemble shining religious relics.
Many of Jeff’s creations resemble lockets, or golden hearts with keys. Others resemble shining boxes or religious relics.

One of many super cool vehicles you'll see when you visit the San Diego Automotive Museum during Steampunk: The Exhibit.
One of the many super cool vehicles you’ll see when you visit the San Diego Automotive Museum during Steampunk: The Exhibit.

I apologize for failing to note what this is. But it's definitely awesome!
I failed to note what this is exactly. But it’s definitely awesome!

Loki, a custom 1981 Harley Davidson Ironhead Sportster, by metal artisan Marko Djoric.
Loki, a custom 1981 Harley Davidson Ironhead Sportster, by metal artisan Marko Djoric.

1929 Dodge Brothers Copper Rat, by Jeff Jones. The car has been on the cover of Ol' Skool Rods.
1929 Dodge Brothers Copper Rat, by Jeff Jones. This amazing car has been on the cover of Ol’ Skool Rods.

The car's interior is all hand-built copper and aluminum. 10,000 rivets were hammered into place.
The car’s interior is all hand-built copper and aluminum. 10,000 rivets were hammered into place!

The Rocket Roadster, a driveway build by Baron Margo.
The Rocket Roadster, a driveway build by Baron Margo.

The Metamorphosis, a Moderne Nautilus co-created by Baron Margo and Jaime Martinez. A Jules Verne inspired cross between an airplane and submarine!
The Metamorphosis, a Moderne Nautilus co-created by Baron Margo and Jaime Martinez. A Jules Verne inspired cross between an airplane and submarine!

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!

Amazing new murals at San Diego Automotive Museum.

Visitors to the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park walk under four large temporary murals recently installed above the California State Building's entrance.
Visitors to the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park walk under four large temporary murals recently installed above the 1935 California State Building’s entrance.

The 1935 California State Building in Balboa Park, home to the San Diego Automotive Museum, is slowly being restored to its former glory. Four temporary murals were installed above the entrance several weeks ago. They are based on murals that decorated the building during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.

Much of the California State Building’s original ornamentation no longer exists, including the four original murals. They were created for the exposition by Hollywood set designer Juan Larrinaga. Painted on fiberboard to appear like tilework, they depicted California’s commerce, scenic beauty, agriculture and industry.

Balboa Park’s Committee of 100 will be raising funds to recreate the historic murals with beautiful ceramic tiles. Meanwhile, these four amazing temporary murals will welcome visitors to Balboa Park’s San Diego Automotive Museum.

To learn more about this project, and other work being undertaken by the Committee of 100 to restore and enhance Balboa Park, including the Palisades area where the 1935 California State Building is located, visit their website here.

A depiction of California's commerce originally created for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
A depiction of California’s commerce originally created for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.

California's abundant natural beauty is depicted.
California’s abundant natural beauty is depicted.

A depiction of California's agriculture, which feeds many around the world.
A depiction of California’s agriculture, which feeds many around the world.

The fourth mural from 1935 depicts California's industrial activity.
The fourth mural from 1935 depicts California’s industrial activity.

UPDATE!

On a later walk I noticed a new sign on the building. It provides a detailed explanation of these four murals…

Sign near entrance to the San Diego Automotive Museum explains the murals.
Sign near entrance to the San Diego Automotive Museum explains the murals.

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See the motorcycle used by The Fonz on Happy Days!

Fonzie's motorcycle and leather jacket from Happy Days is on display at the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park!
Fonzie’s motorcycle and leather jacket from Happy Days is on display at the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park!

There are lots of good reasons to visit the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park. They’ve got all sorts of one-of-a-kind cars that you won’t find anywhere else. They also have a very cool motorcycle that you might have seen on television. That is, if you’re an old-timer like me.

Remember the classic show Happy Days? Remember how The Fonz would appear on his motorcycle, wearing his 50s-style leather jacket? During the 1970s and early 1980s, Fonzie became one of America’s greatest cultural icons. Today, by visiting the San Diego Automotive Museum, you can see a motorcycle and leather jacket that actor Henry Winkler used while portraying The Fonz!

I visited the museum last weekend and took a few photos. Check it out!

One of three 1949 Triumph Trophy TR5 Scrambler motorcycles used by Fonzie in the filming of the television show Happy Days can be seen at the San Diego Automotive Museum.
This 1949 Triumph Trophy TR5 Scrambler is one of three motorcycles used by The Fonz in the classic television show Happy Days. You can see the motorcycle up close at the San Diego Automotive Museum.

Photo of the 1949 Triumph Trophy TR5 Scrambler from a different angle.
Photo of Fonzie’s cool 1949 Triumph Trophy TR5 Scrambler from a different angle.

A leather jacket worn by Henry Winkler, who played cultural icon Arthur Fonzarelli--The Fonz--on the very popular American television show Happy Days.
Leather jacket worn by Henry Winkler, who played cultural icon Arthur Fonzarelli–The Fonz–on the very popular American television show Happy Days!

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!

World’s most amazing car, displayed in San Diego!

This 1947 Cadillac was transformed into an amazing cross-country contraption! This unusual car drove from San Diego to New York . . . and back . . . without stopping!
This 1947 Cadillac was transformed into an amazing cross-country contraption! The unusual car drove from San Diego to New York and back–without stopping!

Have you heard of the amazing car that features a toilet, washing machine, ironing board, shower, and even a kitchen sink?

Did you know this amazing car also has an electric stove, refrigerator, medicine cabinet, and drinking fountain?

And that this particular car holds the cross-country driving endurance record? In 1952, three men drove the car 6,320 miles nonstop–literally without stopping–from San Diego to New York and back, accompanied by a police escort the entire way! They refueled from a moving gas truck!

What else can this amazing car do?

The car automatically changes oil and refills the radiator. Movable platforms and hydraulic jacks allow any tire to be changed without stopping the car. And repairs to the engine can be made while driving. The hood, when open, has transparent panels that allow the driver to see the road!

A shower and drinking fountain! Why not? The shower is on the right running board and the drinking fountain can be accessed at a rear taillight! The back seat conveniently contains several household necessities, including a refrigerator, stove, small washing machine, chemical toilet, and, of course . . . that kitchen sink!

Never heard of this crazy car? It once was quite famous, widely appearing on television, in magazines and newspapers. But that was decades ago.

Today you can see Louie Mattar’s extensively modified 1947 Cadillac for yourself.  It’s on display at the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park!

Here’s to the dreamers. And here’s to the actual doers. It took Louie Mattar five years to transform his amazing dream into reality!

Louie Mattar's car was driven 6320 miles without ever stopping. Refueling, tire changes and repairs are done on the run.
Louie Mattar’s car was driven 6320 miles without ever stopping. Refueling, tire changes and even engine repairs are done on the run!

You can see Louie Mattar's fabulous car at the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park.
You can see the most amazing car in the world at the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park!

The car tows a trailer, which stores gasoline, water and oil. At the rear is an outdoor dining area!
The car tows a trailer, which stores gasoline, water and oil. At the rear is an outdoor dining area complete with dial telephone!

When the car was in motion, a passenger in swim trunks could stand on a narrow platform and take a shower outside!
When the car was in motion, a passenger in swim trunks could stand on a narrow platform outside and take a shower!

A look at the complicated dashboard. I'm reminded of an airplane's cockpit.
A look at the complicated dashboard. I’m reminded of an airplane’s cockpit.

Diagram shows the many gauges and switches available to the driver. A bar and hookah are within easy reach of the front seat passenger!
Diagram shows the many gauges and switches available to the driver. A bar and hookah are within easy reach of the front seat passenger!

A look inside the amazing car through the front passenger side door.
Another look inside the amazing car through the front passenger side door.

A crazy tangle under the hood. It looks like dish of spaghetti!
A crazy tangle under the hood. It looks like a dish of spaghetti!

Diagram shows numerous modifications and additions to the 1947 Cadillac's original stock engine.
Diagram shows numerous modifications and additions to the 1947 Cadillac’s original stock engine.

A passenger on the moving car could stand on this projecting platform to change a tire! The axles are drilled, so tires can be inflated while turning!
A passenger in the moving car could stand on this projecting platform to change a tire! The axles are drilled, so tires can be inflated while they are turning!

A video in the San Diego Automotive Museum shows the amazing car in action!
A video in the San Diego Automotive Museum shows the amazing car in action!

Not many cars feature an electric stove and ironing board!
How many cars in the world are equipped with an electric stove and ironing board?

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!