Del Mar history in a pocket park.

A pocket park near the corner of Camino Del Mar and 15th Street features a series of banners that illustrate local history.

Pedestrians coming down the sidewalk have the opportunity to rest and view photos from Del Mar’s past in this quiet nook near L’Auberge Del Mar, across 15th Street from Stratford Square’s distinctive Tudor style building.

Last weekend I enjoyed a look at these fascinating historical images and descriptions, which are provided by the Del Mar Historical Society. I took photographs of the banners, moving from left to right.

Then I spotted a friendly sea lion perched on a nearby bench!

To learn more about Del Mar’s history, including how the North County beach town got its name from a once-popular poem titled “The Fight for Paso Del Mar”, check out this website!

The history of Del Mar begins in 1885 with the new California Southern Railroad, connecting Los Angeles to San Diego. The first hotel, opened in 1886, was Casa Del Mar. The Natatorium at the end of 10th and 11th Street featured a dance pavilion on the beach and a large saltwater swimming pool.
A 1000 foot pier was built in 1912 near the end of 15th Street. When it became too damaged by the passage of time and many storms, it was demolished in 1959 by the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team!
The Hotel Del Mar (originally called the Stratford Inn) attracted the rich and famous after Bing Crosby built the Del Mar Racetrack in 1937. Parties featured entertainers such as Bob Hope, Al Jolson and Danny Thomas. Frequent guests included Buster Keaton, Mickey Rooney, Betty Grable, Lucille Ball, Jimmy Durante and many others.
Photos of celebrities at the Del Mar Racetrack, including Ava Gardner, Ronald Reagan, J. Edgar Hoover, Cary Grant and Red Skelton.
The Stratford Inn opened in 1909 and attracted Hollywood’s silent film stars. It was finally demolished in 1967. The posh L’Auberge Del Mar, which stands on the site now, was featured on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
This is Sally the Sea Lion!

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Ready to make history at Petco Park.

At Petco Park, everything appears ready.

Padres street lamp banners have been hung around the ballpark. Bunting decorates the stands. The playing field is immaculate. Tomorrow the home team starts a new baseball season undefeated.

Many baseball experts say 2021 might be the beginning of a Golden Age for the San Diego Padres. All of the pieces are in place. Finally.

I walked around Petco Park this evening and felt the quiet anticipation.

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!

Tributes to Jimmie Johnson in El Cajon.

As many car racing fans know, seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson grew up in El Cajon, in San Diego’s East County.

Born in El Cajon, Jimmie Johnson began to race motorcycles when he was only four years old, and he won his first racing championship four years later. He attended Crest Elementary School, then Granite Hills High School. After he graduated, he competed in off-road motocross racing, with an extraordinary degree of success. To read a good bio of Jimmie, who in his youth also loved dirt biking in the desert during family camping trips and surfing, check out this website.

As one might expect, tributes to the now legendary Jimmie Johnson can be found around the city of El Cajon.

During my walk yesterday, I photographed a sign in the median of 2nd Street, a short distance south of Interstate 8. The sign was placed here in 2014. 2nd Street is playfully renamed Jimmie Johnson Drive – Home of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion.

The above photograph shows the sign’s north side. The following two photos are of the opposite side. The sign on its south side is lighter in color, probably due to fading from years of direct sunlight.

Banners celebrating Jimmie Johnson can also be found near the El Cajon Civic Center. In each banner, a cool graphic shows him standing next to his No. 48 Chevrolet, racing during his NASCAR career with Hendrick Motorsports.

The following photos show a banner on the north side of Main Street near The Magnolia performing arts theater. I noticed an identical banner hangs in the nearby Prescott Promenade park.

Starting this year, Jimmie Johnson is competing in the IndyCar Series, driving the No. 48 Honda over road and street courses for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Will the El Cajon native also excel at open-wheel racing? I wouldn’t be surprised!

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!

Cool old cars, planes spotted in El Cajon!

During my walk through El Cajon yesterday, I spotted a some cool old cars and airplanes!

The cars were on a couple of electrical boxes! This fading street art, on Main Street just west of Sunshine Plaza, is filled with all sorts of colorful hot rods and custom cars, racing imagery and even a tribute to Route 66.

I suppose this art was painted to celebrate the Cajon Classic Cruise weekly car show on Main Street at Magnolia, near the El Cajon landmark archway. It might also refer to the Cajon Speedway, a race track that used to exist north of here, near the Gillespie Field airport.

You can see the El Cajon landmark sign a couple blocks to the east…

A couple blocks farther east, at the Prescott Promenade park near El Cajon’s Civic Center, I spotted a couple of banners that celebrate old Cajon Speedway…

Finally, check out what I first heard, then spotted high in the sky as I was walking along Main Street!

Six restored World War II-era planes belonging to Air Group One, which is the San Diego Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, were flying in a tight formation!

Air Group One flies out of El Cajon’s Gillespie Field. (I often spot their vintage planes flying over the USS Midway Museum 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!

Valentine’s Day love in Balboa Park!

Love could be seen everywhere in Balboa Park today!

On signs, on banners, on balloons, on surprising canvases, even on hands! But mostly on the faces of those passing through the park on a sunny Sunday in February.

Perhaps that’s because today is Valentine’s Day…

Many vendors set up in the Plaza de Balboa near the Bea Evenson Fountain had love-themed crafts and goodies for sale.
Two love birds on a banner, beside the Balboa Park Visitors Center front door.
A heart-shaped balloon in colorful Spanish Village.
Artist Susan Mae Hull of Studio 23 was creating beautiful Valentine’s Day cards in Spanish Village Art Center. I noticed her delicately brushed images include animals from the Chinese Zodiac.
A henna tattoo artist on El Prado could put your heart on your hand. (Or maybe you can wear your heart on your sleeve.)
Artist Jean Pierre made all sorts of colorful hearts and had them for sale near the International Cottages.
One of Jean Pierre’s many bright hearts.
Love balloons could be found everywhere!

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!

Art museum to use new antiviral technology!

I learned of another improvement to Balboa Park this afternoon!

I was walking through the Plaza de Panama when I noticed several banners on a construction fence in front of the Timken Museum of Art.

One banner states the Timken will be the first museum in the world to install revolutionary antiviral and dehumidification technology. According to a museum web page, here, this new technology “originally engineered in conjunction with the United States Department of Defense” is considerably more effective at eliminating airborne pathogens than systems presently used in hospital operating rooms!

They hope to demonstrate this technology can be used in other museums, and for common everyday use. (Air that’s much safer than a hospital operating room? Sign me up!)

Other banners on the fence direct interested people to the Timken Museum of Art’s website, where they will find online educational experiences, including virtual tours and art tutorials, plus lots of other activities.

The museum, presently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is scheduled to reopen in Summer 2021 with this revolutionary antiviral system installed and ready to go!

If you’d like to learn a more about the Timken Museum of Art, you might enjoy viewing an old blog post here. It includes photographs and notes that I took during a special architectural tour of the Timken’s uniquely beautiful building.

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!

Thanksgiving is almost here!

Thanksgiving is almost here!

During my recent walks I’ve noticed turkeys peering from shop windows, scarecrows loitering on sidewalks, and pumpkins all over the place!

In a little over a week many will sit before feasts, celebrate the harvest season, count blessings and express their gratitude!

Enjoy some random photos!

Looks like some people I know started their Thanksgiving gobbling early!

Yum!

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!

Ride the bus or trolley free to vote!

This coming Tuesday, November 3 is MTS Free Ride Day!

The annual day when anyone can ride the San Diego Trolley or any transit bus for free coincides with Election Day in 2020. Even though most polling places aren’t far, and many will be voting by mail this year due to the unusual COVID-19 pandemic circumstance, having Free Ride Day on Election Day seems a great idea!

If you try riding the bus or trolley for the first time on Tuesday, make sure to bring your face covering.

I happened to see the above banner as I waited yesterday at the City Heights Transit Plaza for the 215 Rapid bus. Because I live and work near convenient transit centers, I always purchase a 30 day regional pass, which allows me to ride trolleys and most buses each month wherever and however I choose.

If, like me, you have things to do during your commute, or simply want to rest or look out the window, going by bus or trolley is a great option. Being a photo blogger and writer of fiction, I can be on the lookout for new “Cool San Diego Sights” or people watch!

Yesterday I rode transit from downtown San Diego to Normal Heights to City Heights to Lakeside and back to Balboa Park! Yes, way out east to Lakeside! I even got a photograph of a cowboy!

Stay tuned for many, many more blogs!

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!

Downtown readies for the Padres’ playoffs!

It’s been an unusual year in Major League Baseball. A shortened season and unusual rules because of the COVID-19 pandemic . . . and the San Diego Padres are in the playoffs! For the first time since 2006! And the Friars are widely considered one of the favorite, most exciting teams, too!

Restaurants, bars and shops in downtown San Diego have begun to put out signs, banners and merchandise in anticipation of the first playoff series against the St. Louis Cardinals, which begins at Petco Park with Game 1 tomorrow afternoon. And I noticed Padres employees and team players are getting ready at the ballpark, too!

I walked around Petco Park and the Gaslamp Quarter this afternoon to see what I might see. Check it out!

Big video screens have been erected in the Lexus Premier Lot next to Petco Park. Fans who've purchased special tickets will be able to watch playoff games together from the safety of their cars.
Big video screens have been erected in the Lexus Premier Lot next to Petco Park. Fans who’ve purchased special Padres Postseason Watch Party tickets will be able to enjoy playoff games together from the safety of their cars.

I noticed a couple of buses were parked by Petco Park. Did they drive all the way from St. Louis?
I noticed a couple of buses were parked next to Petco Park where visiting teams arrive.

Padres employees round a corner of Petco Park getting everything ready for the start of the MLB postseason.
Padres employees round a corner of Petco Park in San Diego’s East Village getting everything ready for the start of the MLB postseason.

Fans were enjoying a nice afternoon at Gallagher Square, watching Padres batting practice from a distance.
Fans were enjoying a nice afternoon at Gallagher Square, watching Padres batting practice from a distance.

National League Wild Card graphic splashed on the video screen that faces Gallagher Square.
National League Wild Card graphic splashed on the video screen that faces Gallagher Square.

A photographer captures images of the Padres during batting practice.
A photographer captures images of the Padres during batting practice.

My small camera caught a pitch on the way, player ready to swing!
My small camera caught a pitch on the way, with the batter ready to swing!

Banner on high balcony overlooking Petco Park's outfield proclaims: Let's Go Padres.
Banner on high balcony overlooking Petco Park’s outfield proclaims: Let’s Go Padres.

Bub's At The Ballpark has several banners out. Go Padres!
Bub’s At The Ballpark has several banners out. Go Padres!

UNION Kitchen & Tap Gaslamp has a SLAMDIEGO Special: The Padre Burger with a pint of Ballast Point Friar Ale!
UNION Kitchen & Tap Gaslamp has a SLAMDIEGO Special: The Padre Burger with a pint of Ballast Point Friar Ale!

Several shops in the Gaslamp have Padres apparel out on display.
Several shops in the Gaslamp have Padres apparel out on display.

Another example!
Another example!

Okay, here’s something really cool. I’d left the Gaslamp and was walking up Sixth Avenue toward home when I noticed the door of Centre City Sports Collectibles was open. So I stepped inside.

Wow! My eyes almost popped out of my head! If you’re a sports collector or enthusiast and you haven’t checked this place out, you need to pay a visit! The place is jammed floor to ceiling with so many collectibles that I don’t know how Henry, the proprietor, keeps track of it all. And by the way, he’s a really nice guy!

He called the stacks and stacks of stuff in every direction a mess, but I’m not sure why. The place is like sports fan heaven!

He let me take a few 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!