A visit to the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center.

The San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center in Cardiff-by-the-Sea is a very special place.

Inside the Nature Center visitors can learn all about the nearby wetland and its wildlife. Outside, the building’s organic, curving lines seem to flow through the natural environment around it.

At every chance, I’ll poke my nose into any nature center. When I walked through San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve and saw this beautiful structure, I was eager to walk all around it and explore inside.

The 5,600 square foot, multi-award winning building, completed in 2009, was designed by Zagrodnic + Thomas Architects. It is light-filled, spacious and visually stimulating.

The construction is environmentally friendly. The building is made out of recycled materials and has irrigated roof plants, solar panels and recycled water.

A big observation deck allows visitors to look out over the lagoon. Excited kids were exploring easy trails winding near its front entrance.

Approaching the Nature Center from the parking lot.

Board near front door announces Arrivals and Landings of resident and visiting birds.

Many informative exhibits greet visitors inside the Nature Center.

Coyote stands atop map of the watershed. Pollutants including trash threaten wildlife that depends on this habitat.

An explanation of San Elijo Lagoon’s biodiversity. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Silvery Legless Lizard.

Piece of sandstone from Annie’s Canyon Trail in San Elijo Lagoon.

Outside light from the sunlit world touches the light of learning.

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

Three buildings in the Gaslamp: then and now.

I came across historical photographs of three buildings in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter that were taken in 1960. These photos, resulting from the Historic American Buildings Survey, were taken by an employee of the U.S. National Park Service, and are consequently in the public domain.

I thought it would fascinating to post a “then and now” blog, comparing the 1960 photographs of these buildings with how they appear at the beginning of 2023. That’s a span of almost 63 years. By looking carefully, you can notice changes that were made.

The first building is located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Market Street. It’s called the Backesto Building. When built in 1873, it stood at the center of New Town’s original business district.

According to a historical plaque, the grocer and general merchandise firm Klauber and Levi occupied the ground floor from 1878 to 1886. San Diego Hardware would occupy the building from 1892 to 1922. Its exterior reflects the turn-of-the-century style.

The Backesto Building, photographed in 1960.

The Backesto Building, photographed in 2023.

The second building is also at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Market Street. It’s called the McGurck Block and was built in 1887.

The Ferris and Ferris Drug Store occupied this building from 1903 to 1984. I once blogged how the father of actor Gregory Peck worked there as the night druggist.

The building was also a post office and ticket booth for the Coronado Ferry. The upper floors of the three-story Italianate building were known as the Hotel Monroe in 1929.

The McGurck Block, photographed in 1960.

The McGurck Block, photographed in 2023.

Finally, there’s the adjacent I.O.O.F. Building at Market Street and Sixth Avenue.

I.O.O.F. stands for Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

The 1882 building was a joint effort of the Masonic and Odd Fellows Lodges.

The Classical Revival building took almost a decade to complete. The cornerstone contains valuable coins, historic documents, and a stone from Soloman’s Temple!

I.O.O.F. Building, photographed in 1960.

I.O.O.F. Building, photographed in 2023.

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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 look at the old Logan Heights Library.

I came upon this great article concerning the old Logan Heights Library and decided I’d walk past it to have a look.

The old library, built in 1927, is in a state of decay these days, but you can easily see how handsome it appeared in its heyday. The building was a popular community destination before it was replaced a short distance up 28th Street by the new Logan Heights Library in 2009.

According to this article from several months ago, there are plans to restore the building.

Here’s the City of San Diego web page that concerns the Old Logan Heights Library Renovation.

I took these photos yesterday.

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

Morning light transforms Balboa Park.

This morning, as the sun rose above the eastern horizon, Balboa Park underwent a transformation.

The early light, touching leaves, water and the sides of buildings, turned San Diego’s most amazing park into a world of pure magic…

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

Stumbling upon the North Pole in Vista!

Enjoy a few fun photos!

I was walking through downtown Vista today when I stumbled upon the North Pole!

The stately First National Bank Building at Main Street and Citrus Avenue is now encircled by merry holiday decorations! Nearby, a sign points to the North Pole!

I suppose Santa was greeting kids among those candy canes a couple weekends ago. This year I missed the Vista Christmas Parade.

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

Firefighters public art in Point Loma!

If you ever driven down Catalina Boulevard in Point Loma, and wondered about some colorful public art on the façade of City of San Diego Fire Station No. 22, here are a few photos that you might enjoy!

These four vertical murals, together titled Firefighters, were created in 2018 by Roberto Delgado. Silkscreen and airbrushed porcelain tiles form abstract, layered images of Point Loma firefighters fighting fires in the community, at different times in history.

The artwork is based on historical and contemporary photographs. On the left, eyes can’t possibly miss the Old Point Loma Lighthouse! I also see a tall ship down in San Diego Bay, and what appears to be a tuna fishing boat. If you can discern more than me, leave a comment!

The fire station was dedicated in 2018, replacing an old station built back in 1942.

Just for fun, I also took a couple of photos with the electrical box directly in front of very cool Fire Station No. 22!

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Altar de Muertos at County Administration Building.

Día de los Muertos is again being celebrated with an altar at the San Diego County Administration Building.

For 2022, the altar has greatly expanded. Composed of many sections, the altar now fills almost half the outdoor plaza on the east side of the building.

Numerous loved ones who’ve passed on are being remembered this year.

I happened to photograph the altars the past two years. Though equally moving, in size they were small compared to the 3rd Annual Altar de Muertos that I observed today.

It appears the Día de los Muertos tradition at the San Diego County Administration Center is strong and growing.

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Lots of activity on San Diego’s waterfront!

Right now there is a whole lot of construction activity along downtown San Diego’s waterfront.

Today, during a walk along the Embarcadero, anyone could observe new buildings rising, an aircraft carrier’s hull being inspected, a cruise ship pier being reinforced, and an iconic San Diego landmark being painted!

First up, check out how quickly the buildings of the Research and Development District (RaDD) are rising!

The five new bayfront buildings will be grouped around the U.S. Navy Region Southwest Headquarters building, which itself was completed two years ago.

I learned from a USS Midway Museum volunteer that the Midway’s hull is inspected and cleaned every year.

The extensive operation consumes a substantial part of the aircraft carrier museum’s budget.

There are numerous sealed inlets in the enormous ship’s hull where saltwater from San Diego Bay might invade. There is also algae and other marine growth to be removed below the waterline. It’s part of a vital hull preservation program.

As I approached the B Street Pier today, home of the Cruise Ship Terminal, I observed a huge drill and other ponderous machinery.

I’ve learned the structural stability of the pier is being improved.

The Port of San Diego project is technically described as curtain wall repairs and backfilling. Don’t ask me exactly what that means!

Lastly, the landmark 1938 County Administration Building’s new paint job continues.

The sections that have been finished look great!

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Torrey Pines Lodge prepares for its centennial!

The Torrey Pines Lodge has been welcoming visitors for nearly 100 years. In 2023 the historic adobe building, nestled in the beauty of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, will celebrate its centennial!

When I visited the Torrey Pines Lodge this weekend, several docents told me that plans are now being made for observing its centennial. I hope to attend public celebrations next year!

As I walked through the old building, which today serves as a Visitor Center, I viewed a few displays concerning its history.

I’ve taken photographs for you to enjoy. (If you’d like to see more of the Lodge’s interior, and several of it’s museum-like exhibits, check out an old blog post here.)

The San Diego Union newspaper article, dated January 1, 1923, describes the new Beautiful Adobe Lodge.

Tableware from the days when the Torrey Pines Lodge served as restaurant.

Dinner was one dollar! Motorists on their way through to San Diego or Los Angeles could also purchase Mexican and Indian rugs, blankets, pottery, baskets, etc. at the Lodge.

The Torrey Pines Lodge was dedicated on April 7, 1923.

In the summer of 1922 when construction began on the Torrey Pines Lodge, this area consisted of a treeless and windswept sandstone bluff.

Miss Ellen Browning Scripps, a noted San Diego Philanthropist and the sole contributor to the acquisition of what was called at the time, “The Torrey Pines City Reserve,” donated the funds to build the Torrey Pines Lodge…

…Architect Richard Requa was noted for his pueblo and Mayan style of architecture, and designed many buildings in San Diego’s Balboa Park…

The Lodge was built from sun baked adobe bricks, made on the construction site from local clays. Miss Scripps also brought Hopi Indians from the Southwest to aid in the making of authentic adobe bricks…

The Lodge and its restaurant opened to the public in February of 1923 and was an immediate success, perhaps due to its stunning scenery and location adjacent to the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Highway…the main road between Los Angeles and San Diego until the mid-1930’s…

…the Lodge was a favorite day trip…as well as being a popular stop for tour buses of the era. The Model T Fords of the 1920’s found the highway’s steep grade a challenge…

Old photographs shows dining tables on the Lodge’s front terrace.

The beautiful Torrey Pines Lodge in 2022. Some restoration work is visible.

A wooden plaque inside the Lodge.

The Torrey Pines Lodge is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

The faded Serra Museum mural at Hazard Center.

If these photos appear strangely dark, that’s because I’ve increased contrast to bring out the details of a badly faded mural.

This large old mural was painted on the south side of the Hazard Center shopping center in 1996 by an artist whose signature is Duff. The artwork faces the San Diego River and is exposed all day long to the sun.

That building you see in the mural is the Junípero Serra Museum. It stands across the river several miles to the west. The museum’s tower (which is often mistakenly thought to be the San Diego Presidio) can be seen rising above trees from various spots in Mission Valley.

Do any of you know who the artist Duff is? I can find nothing by searching the internet. I documented another Duff mural in Mission Valley, which was painted beneath Friars Road, here.

Please leave a comment if you know anything more!

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!