Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison in North Park!

What in the world are Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison doing in North Park?

They’re decorating the exterior of the very unique San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s Substation F!

I happened to look up and see the two historical figures as I walked along the El Cajon Boulevard sidewalk just east of Iowa Street.

These gentleman made groundbreaking discoveries and inventions that remain important in our electricity dependent world. Both esteemed men, in North Park, are busts made of cast stone!

Learn more about SDG&E’s beautifully restored Station F, originally built in 1926, at this web page.

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Botanical Building’s deconstruction continues!

Out with the old first. Later in with the new!

The iconic 1915 Botanical Building in Balboa Park is in the process of being rebuilt. Three months ago I took a few photographs of some early “deconstruction” activity. Since then more of the lath structure near the ground has been removed, and the building looks increasingly skeletal!

I walked around the Botanical Building’s construction fence today and took these photos. You can contrast them with the photos I took in February here. That older blog post also provides some interesting details concerning this very important, historic project!

You can see how the Lily Pond directly adjacent to the structure has been drained.

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!

Huge mural by Joram Roukes in Vista!

Have you seen the 60 foot tall mural at the new Found Lofts apartments in Vista’s Arts and Culture District? Joram Roukes, an internationally famous artist and muralist from The Netherlands, painted it a couple months ago!

The collage-like, multi-wall mural contains many elements, including a mountain climber, and images that represent the culture of the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians. The frog and the coyote in the mural come from a traditional animal story of The First People: How Coyote Killed Frog. The Luiseño people inhabited this area long before Spaniards established nearby Mission San Luis Rey in 1798.

The very cool mural is located at 516 S. Santa Fe Avenue. You can’t miss it!

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!

An enormous soap factory rises downtown!

A huge soap factory in downtown San Diego?

Yes!

Back in 1921, the Citrus/Pacific Soap Factory building was erected in San Diego’s small but growing downtown. Locally produced lemon juice would be a major ingredient in the manufacture of soap!

The architect responsible for this stately factory made of brick was William Wheeler. He also designed downtown’s Balboa Theater and other notable structures around the city.

You can see a cool historical photo of the old Citrus Soap Company of California factory standing near railroad tracks here.

According to this 1988 SOHO (Save Our Heritage Organisation) newsletter, the site at 301 West Market Street gained historical designation partly based on its association with three different soap companies dating back to 1892. Apparently, the factory also helped San Diego through a national soap crisis!

Today, the old factory building has been repurposed. It’s a unique part of the CityFront Terrace Condos.

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!

The many colors of a living city.

The life of any city is endlessly complex and interesting. The colors one encounters reflect this truth.

Early in the morning I walked around downtown San Diego–primarily through Little Italy and the Columbia District. Then in the evening I walked down Broadway.

My camera found these colors…

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!

A mysterious bell in Old Town San Diego!

Help solve a rather strange historical mystery!

There’s a large bell mounted above the entrance of the Five & Dime General Store in Old Town, at 2501 San Diego Avenue, and nobody I’ve spoken to knows why it’s there!

I’ve spoken to friendly people who work at the store, and employees at nearby Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, and the bell remains a complete mystery! I’ve also performed searches on the internet, to no avail.

Written on the bell are the words STEEL ALLOY CHURCH BELL and the number 40, which means it’s a 40 inch bell. On the internet I’ve observed identical bells manufactured by the The C. S. Bell Company, which was in operation from 1875 to the 1970’s. The bell itself looks pretty old.

Another possible clue: this building was once the home of the Studio Gallery, which featured original artwork by famous artists, including Chuck Jones and Dr. Seuss.

Who out there knows anything about this large rooftop bell?

Why is it there? Where did it come from? Who mounted this old bell atop the building and when?

If you know or suspect anything, please leave a comment!

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!

Get a Free Tree in front of your home or building!

Looking back west toward downtown. Many jacaranda trees line San Diego's streets. A man waits at a bus stop.

Would you like to have a beautiful, shady “street tree” planted in front of your home or building in San Diego?

There’s a city program called Free Tree SD that will plant a tree in the public right-of-way between your sidewalk and street, if arborists determine its a good spot with plenty of soil, and you promise to water the new tree for several years.

I just learned about this green program and thought some of you might be interested. Learn all the details on the City of San Diego website 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!

Big new Rafael López mural in East Village!

Wow! Look at this!

I saw that a huge new mural is now being painted in San Diego’s East Village neighborhood. Drivers coming into downtown via F Street can’t miss it! The colorful mural can be seen on the new high-rise building west of 14th Street adjacent to the Urban Discovery Academy.

And the mural’s designer is unmistakably internationally renowned San Diego artist and illustrator Rafael López!

I should’ve wandered around a bit more to explore further, but I had a specific destination this morning. If I do learn more, I’ll provide an update. If you happen to know more about this amazing mural, please leave a comment!

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!

Beautiful geometry at South Chula Vista Library.

In the quiet of a public library, the world’s infinite pages readily open and curious minds flourish.

Certain libraries offer even more. They are designed for the spirit. The South Branch of the Chula Vista Library is such a place. It’s an urban retreat where eyes hungry for beauty can feast!

I walked around the South Chula Vista Library last weekend. I had never visited it before.

The building’s unusual architecture became apparent as I approached from the street.

Wandering about, I was struck by the many basic geometric shapes that, joined together, help produce the library’s unique beauty. Colorful forms are contrasted with green plant life, and the many indoor and outdoor windows make the library feel like a fluid three-dimensional space that’s both intimate and part of a larger sunny world. Anyway, that’s what I felt. I felt inspired.

The South Chula Vista Branch Library was built under the direction of renowned Mexican architect Ricardo Legorretta in 1995. Learn more about the architect and his other work here.

I took these random 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!

Photos of the historic Old Scripps Building.

Enjoy a few photographs of the historic Old Scripps Building, at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla.

Today the building is referred to as the George H. Scripps Memorial Marine Biological Laboratory. Located on the oceanfront campus a short distance south of the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier, it stands next to a grassy area called Pawka Green.

Built 1909-1910, the Old Scripps Building was the original home of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which back then was called the Marine Biological Laboratory. The rather modest building (in which founder and director William Emerson Ritter and his wife also lived) contained research laboratories, offices, and even a public aquarium.

Today, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography has grown into a world-famous campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and is part of the University of California, San Diego.

The two-story Old Scripps Building might appear plain at first glance, but look again. The simple, elegant building was designed by none other than renowned architect Irving Gill. His pioneering Modernist designs often integrated simple lines and pure forms. In Southern California’s brilliant sunshine, his spaces are light-filled and welcoming. He also pioneered the use of reinforced concrete. This building is one such example.

In 1982 the Old Scripps Building, due to its historical importance, was designated a National Historic Landmark.

The adjacent Pawka green is dedicated to Steven Sitter Pawka, Ph.D., Scripps Institution of Oceanography coastal oceanographer and waterman. His sophisticated observations and numerical models improved prediction of coastal waves throughout the 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!