Mosaic at God’s Extended Hand building.

There’s an elaborate, quite beautiful tile mosaic mural outside the old God’s Extended Hand building in San Diego’s East Village. You can see it at the corner of 16th Street and Island Avenue.

The colorful mural is overflowing with compassionate messages and religious imagery, including Christ as a shepherd carrying a lamb.

The God’s Extended Hand ministry endured for 96 years, feeding the homeless and hungry, until it closed down a few months ago. Father Joe’s Villages will be redeveloping the site, creating more affordable housing and support for the homeless downtown. I don’t know whether these mosaics will be preserved.

I walked past part of the artwork this morning and took these photos. I only photographed the wall along 16th Street. Some people camped on the sidewalk were by the other wall on Island Avenue.

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!

Swarming gulls, Horton’s new skin, and a relic.

I observed a few interesting things in downtown San Diego during my morning walk.

First, a parking lot in East Village was swarming with hundreds of seagulls. Someone was tossing the gulls a large quantity of crumbs. It was quite a spectacle, as you can see in my photographs.

Of course, feeding birds downtown makes them more of a potential nuisance. And the people who’d parked nearby might have something to say…

Next, as I walked past old Horton Plaza, I noticed its redevelopment is progressing right along. The exterior of the now enlarged building at the corner of G Street and 1st Avenue, former home of a Nordstrom department store, has some new skin!

If you want to see how the project appeared about a year ago, with the once popular shopping mall stripped and gutted, click here!

If you want to see how the new mixed-use high-tech downtown campus will appear when finished, click here!

Finally, check out the following old relic.

How many pay phones remain in the city? I never see them anymore. I did find one here, at the Convention Center trolley station, next to a brand new high-tech PRONTO ticket machine!

Put that pay phone in a museum!

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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History and the Hearne Surgical Hospital Building.

I often walk past the old Hearne Surgical Hospital Building in downtown San Diego. It stands near the corner of Fourth Avenue and Ash Street.

A plaque by the door indicates the building is Historical Site No. 115, and that it was designed by the Quayle Brothers and built in 1906.

But until a few minutes ago that’s all I knew.

With the help of Google, I found some fascinating history concerning the building!

Part of a book titled Hearne History describes Dr. Joseph Carter Hearne’s medical practice in San Diego. The following information is transcribed here.

The doctor located in San Diego, Cal., Dec., 1891, where he soon took his place at the head of the medical fraternity. Indeed it is not too much to say that he is well recognized as one of the leading, if not the leading, surgeon of Southern California. Soon after his arrival at San Diego he was appointed local surgeon to the Southern California railway

On March 8, 1906, the doctor completed and opened for the use of his own patients a Private Surgical Hospital, which in appointment and equipment is acknowledged to be equaled by none. Surgeons connected with the foreign battle ships visiting the harbor of San Diego are loud in its praise and say that there is no hospital abroad, public or private, that equals it. It has accommodations for twenty-five patients and is fully equipped.

So, apparently, the building you see in my photographs was, in its day, one of the most impressive hospitals to be found anywhere!

It is now an apartment building.

The Quayle Brothers architects, who designed the Hearne Surgical Hospital Building, were responsible for other important structures in San Diego, including the 1928 North Park Theatre and the 1939 San Diego Police Department Headquarters. They are probably best remembered as the designers of San Diego’s original City Stadium, which was built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Standing beside San Diego High School, it was later renamed Balboa Stadium.

If you’d like to see photos of the very handsome Alfred Haines House in Golden Hill, which the Quayle Brothers also designed, check out a past blog post here!

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!

Unique architecture at the Solana Beach train station!

From any angle, the Solana Beach train station appears unusual and interesting. The architecture of this Coaster and Amtrak station makes it one of the most intriguing landmarks in San Diego’s North County.

The Solana Beach station opened in 1994. The building was designed by Rob Wellington Quigley, who is also known for the San Diego Central Library and its iconic dome, The New Children’s Museum, the Ocean Discovery Institute in City Heights, Bayside Fire Station No. 2, and the Beaumont Building in Little Italy. It seems all of his architectural work is just as surprising and visually stimulating.

The last time I rode the Coaster to Solana Beach I walked around the train station, taking these photographs. To my eye, there’s something undefinably attractive about the building’s sharp lines and simple curved shape, and its singular symmetry.

I particularly like the passenger waiting room. Those artfully arranged windows on either side are bright with outdoor sunlight, as if beckoning travelers to venture out into a magical, multi-faceted, welcoming big world.

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!

Balboa Park’s amazing, old Federal Building–like new!

Check out these amazing photographs!

For too many years, the exterior of Balboa Park’s historic Federal Building had languished neglected in a state of decay.

Not any more!

This is what I saw yesterday as I walked through the Palisades area of Balboa Park.

The Federal Building, built for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition, has suddenly returned to life. What visitors to Balboa Park will now see is something more like the building’s original appearance.

This uniquely beautiful building will be the home of the Comic-Con Museum, which is scheduled to open this coming Thanksgiving weekend.

The repair and painting of the Federal Building’s exterior was made possible in large part by the Balboa Park Committee of 100.

You can see photos of the historic restoration getting underway a few weeks ago and learn a little more by clicking here.

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!

New public art coming to Balboa Park previewed!

Monumental public art is now being created for the Palisades area of Balboa Park!

Once completed, a pair of life-size grizzly bear sculptures will be placed on the roof of the 1935 California State Building, home of the San Diego Automotive Museum. In addition, a large 12′ x 20′ cold cast bronze panel is destined to greet visitors approaching the front entrance of the 1935 Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries, which today serves as the Municipal Gymnasium.

The two buildings were constructed for the 1935-1936 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park.

In 2021, almost a century later, both building exteriors, with the help of local architect Robert Thiele, are undergoing a historic restoration.

Today I was privileged to have an amazing preview!

Take a look at these photographs of a model grizzly bear standing in an indoor work area at Bellagio Precast. The bear, symbol of California, was created by San Diego sculptor Michael Matson and his son Kevin.

As you can see, the huge golden grizzly is ready to be completely cast.

A rendering shows how completed bear sculptures will be positioned atop the two front corners of the San Diego Automotive Museum, overlooking Pan American Plaza, with its proposed Singing Color Fountains.

The large bronze panel to be placed above the front entrance of the Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries building will soon be created out in the yard of Bellagio Precast. Some blocks of ornamentation meant to surround the panel are already finished.

The panel’s design is based on the original 1935 bas-relief designed by Arturo Eneim that was carved out of layers of fragile wallboard.

Imagery in the panel includes an electrical power plant and the gears of industrial machinery. During the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition, crowds marveled at the latest technological inventions. Inside the Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries was the House of Magic, which showcased a “talking kitchen” and television!

The following images show how the building and its panel will appear when all is completed.

A wood framework for working on the very large cold cast bronze panel is ready outside.

I took a photograph of finished blocks of ornamentation that will be installed beneath the panel, along the edge of the building’s marquee.

It will be interesting to follow the progress of these projects, which are made possible by the Balboa Park Committee of 100. It will be really exciting to see the final result!

Is it possible for beautiful Balboa Park to become even more amazing?

Yes!

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!

Comic-Con Museum’s historic Federal Building restored!

The exterior of the historic Federal Building in Balboa Park, future home of the Comic-Con Museum, is currently being restored!

During my walk today I noticed the unique building, built in 1935 for the California Pacific International Exposition, is being patched up and painted to match several principal buildings in the Palisades area of the Balboa Park.

The Federal Building was designed by architect Richard Requa, who gave this and other nearby buildings a pre-Columbian appearance. According to this article, the ornamental detailing on the main entrance was unquestionably derived from the Palace of the Governor in Uxmal, Yucatan.

In one photograph you can see how the Federal Building was once home of the San Diego Hall of Champions.

The Comic-Con Museum will be opening this Thanksgiving weekend, in conjunction with the 2021 Comic-Con Special Edition to be held at the San Diego Convention Center.

After taking these photos I peered through the front windows, and I could see some preliminary construction going on inside.

The Comic-Con Museum already has 15,000 members. And I’m one.

I can’t wait for it to open!

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!

Sea creatures swim in Ocean Beach building!

Dozens of sea creatures make their home on the side of a building in Ocean Beach!

Should you walk down Cable Street a little north of Niagara Avenue, you might think you’re passing small specimens of sea life in a big aquarium!

Swimming in blue and white watery tiles you’ll find schools of fish, seahorses, octopi, eels, rays, sea turtles, whales, sharks and even sand dollars and nudibranchs!

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!

Eerie, mysterious night photos downtown!

The photographs that follow are mysterious. Many are eerie. All were taken at night in downtown San Diego.

About half of these images were captured this evening after nightfall, as I walked from the Gaslamp Quarter toward Cortez Hill. Other photos (such as the one with the moon) have been sitting in my computer for a long time. I was waiting for an appropriate theme.

I must say San Diego has come back to life after the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. This evening I saw crowds converging on the San Diego Symphony’s new Shell on the Embarcadero, conventioneers partying and enjoying a sunset view from atop the San Diego Convention Center, and large Friday night crowds walking through and dining in the beautifully lit Gaslamp Quarter.

But even when surrounded by a bright whirl of life, one can find strangeness lurking in the dark…

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!

Mural at Ramona’s old Pioneer Store recalls history.

The Verlaque Pioneer Store in Ramona might be long gone, but the building, which is the oldest in Ramona, remains. A mural on the building’s side depicts goods that might have been stocked in the Pioneer Store from the late 1800’s to 1911.

The mural, painted by San Diego artist Rik Erickson in 2017, is part of the Ramona H.E.A.R.T. Murals Project. It’s just one of many colorful murals that can be found up and down Main Street!

The Verlaque Store was built around 1883. This community gathering place in Ramona’s early history also served as a stage stop, general store and post office. It was frequented by gold miners traveling from San Diego to Julian during the short-lived gold rush. Today it’s a point of historical interest.

Eleven panels painted by the artist include an image of Jeff Verlaque, who succeeded his brother Amos as the Pioneer Store operator. Another panel depicts the store as it might have looked based on a photograph from the 1800’s. You can see the similarity to the building today, which at 629 Main Street is occupied by the wine bar Reds, Whites & Brews.

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