San Diego Trolley and Santa Fe Depot.

red san diego trolley and santa fe depot

This red trolley belongs to the blue line. Makes sense, right? It’s waiting for passengers at the America Plaza station, across the street from the Santa Fe Depot. The blue line stretches from downtown San Diego all the way down to the Mexican border.

In this photo you can see both domes of the historic train station.

Old black-and-white photos of the Santa Fe Depot pretty much show nothing around it. It just sits there in the middle of nowhere, seemingly. Today the city rises and surges all about it, and it can almost seem lost among the many bright tall buildings.

San Diego Trolley pulls into Santa Fe Depot from the south.
San Diego Trolley pulls into Santa Fe Depot from the south.

Domes of San Diego’s Santa Fe Depot.

dome of san diego's santa fe depot

The Santa Fe Depot is downtown San Diego’s train station. Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, the Coaster, and the San Diego Trolley’s orange and green lines all stop at the historic building.

The Santa Fe Depot, built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, was opened in 1915 to serve thousands of visitors to Balboa Park’s Panama-California Exposition.

This photo shows one of the Santa Fe Depot’s two colorful domes and some palm trees against a backdrop of high-rise condos. The architects a hundred years ago probably didn’t imagine that glassy skyscrapers would tower nearby!

Birds fly over one of the distinctive domes.
Birds fly over one of the distinctive tiled domes.
Looking up through palm trees toward the dome.
Looking up through palm trees toward one dome.

Here are some more photos taken at a later time. Black material now covers up part of the two domes. I learned that the terracotta columns are cracking.

The Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego.
The east side of the Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego.
Buildings rise behind the domes of the Santa Fe Depot.
Buildings rise behind the domes of the Santa Fe Depot.
The two domes of San Diego's Santa Fe Depot.
The two domes of San Diego’s Santa Fe Depot.
Amtrak train parked by historic Santa Fe Depot.
Amtrak train parked by historic Santa Fe Depot.

Sailboats pass Manchester Grand Hyatt.

sailboats in front of the manchester grand hyatt

This photo shows sailboats on San Diego Bay passing the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel, those two tall, sandy tan buildings.

Tour guides and pedicab drivers often joke that the downtown skyline resembles a set of tools. The Hyatt buildings resemble straight-edge screwdrivers; America Plaza, which you can see, resembles a phillips screwdriver; and another skyscraper, Emerald Plaza (not visible in this pic) resembles a set of socket wrenches!

Here’s a pic of a non-sailboat taken on a later occasion…

Lord Hornblower passes Hyatt hotel buildings on San Diego Bay.
Lord Hornblower passes Hyatt hotel buildings on San Diego Bay.

Keating Building in downtown San Diego.

keating building in downtown san diego

Here are some photographs of the historic Keating Building, which over a century ago was the most prominent high-rise building in downtown San Diego!

The five-story Romanesque Revival style office building, located in the Gaslamp, was built in 1890. Back in those days, its wire cage elevator and steam heating were amazing new modern conveniences. The elevator was the very first in San Diego, and remains the longest running elevator downtown!

This visually pleasing landmark was designed by the Reid Brothers, the architects responsible for the incredible Hotel Del Coronado.

For several decades the Keating Building has been home to Croce’s Restaurant and Jazz Bar, established by singer Jim Croce’s surviving wife, Ingrid. At year’s end, Croce’s will be moving to a new, more intimate location on Banker’s Hill.

Keating Building seen from across Fifth Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter.
Keating Building seen from across Fifth Avenue, after Croce’s moved to a new location.

A plaque on the historic building provides a little more description…

This office building in the 1890’s contained San Diego Savings Bank, the Public Library and the Humane Society!
This office building in the 1890’s contained the San Diego Savings Bank, the Public Library and the Humane Society!
Keating Building is an important landmark in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.
Keating Building is an important landmark in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.

UPDATE!

I revisited the Keating Building during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s OPEN HOUSE 2017. Here are some photos I took just outside and inside the building’s front entrance.

432 F Street is the address of the Gaslamp Quarter's historic Keating Building, today the location of a 35-room luxury hotel.
432 F Street is the address of the Gaslamp Quarter’s beautiful Keating Building, today the location of a 35-room luxury hotel.
Elevator in the small lobby to what is now a boutique hotel.
Elevator in the small lobby to what is now a boutique hotel.
The original wooden banister leads up from the entrance of the Keating Building.
The original wooden banister leads up from the entrance of the Keating Building.
Historical photos on wall beside the lobby's staircase.
Historical photos on wall beside the lobby’s stairs.
A segment of a timeline that shows San Diego history around the time of the Keating Building's construction.
A segment of a timeline that shows San Diego history around the time of the Keating Building’s construction.
Entrance to The Keating hotel.
Entrance to The Keating hotel, seen from F Street.

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Cool pics of San Diego’s new downtown library!

The new central library as seen from the intersection of K Street and 11th Avenue.
The new central library has become a dazzling landmark in San Diego’s East Village.

Here are a few more cool pics of San Diego’s brand new Central Library! I took these photographs today after the ceremony celebrating the grand opening. Check out the modern, inventive architecture of this truly eye-popping downtown landmark!

The first photo is from 11th Avenue and K Street, in the heart of East Village, facing roughly northeast. This is the way you’d likely go if walking from Petco Park. What you see is just a fraction of the cool sight to come…

view of new san diego library from south

Here’s a photograph from almost due south. Wow! Beautiful landscaping and palm trees complement the distinctive building, which features a metal lattice dome and a gigantic, airy reading room. Other features include an auditorium, community meeting rooms, a sculpture garden . . . even a downtown high school occupying two floors!

photo of new san diego library and trolley

Now we’re looking toward the northwest. Here comes a red San Diego trolley! Views from the trolley are very cool. You can peer up and into the lower windows of the new library. During the past couple months, riding the trolley, I watched as shelves of books slowly appeared as if by magic throughout the spacious building. Our old downtown library was less than half the size, ugly, and lacked many amenities.

wise words on exterior of san diego library

From the trolley and nearby sidewalk you can also see a handful of wise quotes engraved in the library’s concrete exterior. Here’s a pic of the following inscription: WE WILL BE KNOWN FOREVER BY THE TRACKS WE LEAVE.

UPDATE!

I walked around the now “relatively new” library in early November 2014 and took more pics…

Looking up into the modern library from the southwest corner.
Looking up into the very large library from the southwest corner.
Reflection in west side windows shows colorful building across the street.
Reflection in west side windows shows colorful building across the street.
Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat walks along a north window.
Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat walks along a north window.
Angled glass windows along passage on Park Boulevard side of complex building.
Angled glass windows along passage on Park Boulevard side of complex building.
Closer exterior look at intricate dome around library's huge reading room.
Closer exterior look at intricate dome around library’s huge reading room.
New San Diego Public Library in East Village shines in sunlight.
The distinctive San Diego Public Library in East Village shines in the sunlight.

Beautiful hotels along the San Diego bayfront.

Beautiful hotels along San Diego Bay.
Beautiful hotels along San Diego Bay.

Visible in this photo, taken from the walking path at the south end of the Marriott Marina, are two prominent hotels on San Diego’s picturesque waterfront. To the left is the elegant Manchester Grand Hyatt, and in the center are the two curved, shining, sail-like buildings of the Marriott Marquis. On the far right you can see the north end of the long San Diego Convention Center.

After gazing awhile at the hundreds of sailboats and small yachts docked in the marina, you might head a short distance west to enjoy views of the grassy Embarcadero Marina Park South and its fishing pier on San Diego Bay.

San Diego bayfront hotels seen through trees.
Two San Diego bayfront hotels seen through trees.
View of Hilton Hotel behind tall masts and trees.
View of Hilton San Diego Bayfront behind tall masts and trees.

You’ll find the Hilton on the other side of the San Diego Convention Center.

Hilton Hotel seen beyond Harbor Excursion ticket booth.
Hilton hotel seen beyond San Diego Harbor Excursion ticket booth.
Marriott Hotel as seen from the bayside walkway.
Marriott Hotel as seen from the bayside walkway.
Looking north from the silvery Marriott toward the sandy Hyatt.
Looking north from the silvery Marriott toward the sandy Hyatt.
The two Manchester Grand Hyatt towers.
One more look at the two Manchester Grand Hyatt towers.

Stairs up and down: Horton Plaza, Lyceum Theater.

Stairs head up into Horton Plaza. Lyceum entrance is below.
Stairs head up into Horton Plaza.  Lyceum entrance is below.

Just a few quick pics.  In the above one you can get a glimpse of the underground entrance to the Lyceum Theater, home of the San Diego Repertory Theatre. In the photograph’s center are the main stairs that sweep upward into the Horton Plaza shopping center. The red building to the left has walkways on each level that provide fantastic views of the mall’s colorful, surprising interior.

During my walks I’ve taken many pics inside Horton Plaza. I’ll blog about that one day!

Near the north entrance of Horton Plaza.
Near the colorful main entrance of Horton Plaza.
Broad stairs ascend into San Diego's Horton Plaza.
Broad stairs ascend into San Diego’s unique Horton Plaza shopping mall.
Gazing down at unique entrance of the Lyceum Theatres.
Gazing down into the unique underground entrance of the Lyceum Theater.

Here’s a bonus pic I happened to take many months later…

Musician heads down stairs toward entrance of the Lyceum Theater.
Musician heads down stairs for a rehearsal.