Enormous pipe laying ship docked in San Diego!

Take a look at this enormous ship! I saw it today docked at San Diego’s B Street Pier, across from the Cruise Ship Terminal. The vessel, with what appears to be a helicopter pad high above its bow, is so huge I spotted it several blocks from San Diego’s Embarcadero!

The Normand Energy is a Pipe Layer vessel built in 2007, sailing under the flag of Norway. I was curious why such an unusual ship is visiting San Diego, so I searched the news.

It turns out the Normand Energy was chartered by Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR) to test the Patania II, a deep-sea mining prototype. But on April 25 Patania II became detached from its 5 kilometer (over 3 miles!) cable and became stranded on the Pacific Ocean floor!

According to this article, the “25-tonne mining robot prototype was trialed in the Clarion Clipperton Zone in the Pacific since April 20. The machine was supposed to collect nodules rich in cobalt and other battery metals…such minerals would be used to supplement in-demand electronic products and energy storage such as smartphones, laptops, solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles…”

According to this article, a recovery mission successfully retrieved Patania II on April 29.

Environmentalists including Greenpeace oppose deep-sea mining and the damage to the ocean bottom that would result, but ironically the rare earth elements that could be extracted are required for various components in clean energy technology.

If you’re curious about the whereabouts of the Clarion Clipperton Zone and what this “geological submarine fracture zone” is exactly, here’s a fascinating Wikipedia article.

Check out additional photographs of the Normand Energy that I took from various angles. The next two are from the Broadway Pier…

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New park recalls East Village’s industrial history.

Back in 2014, I took photos of rusty old industrial machinery displayed on sidewalks around the Wheel Works and Broom Works buildings in East Village. I didn’t really know what I was looking at.

I now realize these were artifacts collected over many years by visionary local businessman Bob Sinclair.

A new park, located on 14th Street between G Street and Market Street, features some of these industrial artifacts, as well as historical photographs of San Diego’s East Village when the now mostly residential neighborhood was a center of industry.

This new linear park, which includes a walking path near downtown’s Albertsons grocery store, is part of a much larger 14th Street Promenade project that when completed will be eleven blocks long!

Four big steel artifacts from the Sinclair Collection are on display. See my photo captions.

Part of one sign I photographed reads: “…Entrepreneur and businessman Bob Sinclair valued the history and architecture of the East Village. During the 1970’s through the 1990’s he acquired historic buildings and collected industrial artifacts from the old workshops…His businesses were often located in historic buildings, and he filled the warehouses he bought with new industries. The Hazard, Gould, and Company Buildings at 7th Avenue and G Street, Wonder Bread Warehouse at 14th and L Streets, Rosario Hall at 13th and J Streets, and the Broom Works Factory and Wheelworks Building on J Street between Park Boulevard and 13th Street are examples of historic properties owned by Bob Sinclair…”

To learn much more about Bob Sinclair and how he worked to preserve East Village’s fascinating history, check out this great article!

Traction wheel.
Disc grinder.
Pulley wheel.
Historical photos include Fred C. Silverthorn and Sons at 15th and Market Streets, circa 1930; and Standard Iron Works.
From the time that Alonzo Horton purchased 800 acres of languishing downtown harbor front property for 30 cents an acre in the late 1800’s and laid out his “New Town,” the neighborhood now known as East Village became the economic engine for San Diego through the 1950s…
Bob Sinclair on the roof of the Wonder Bread building, 2010. (Petco Park can be seen behind him.)
Drill press.

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!

A fence comes down, a city grows.

Early yesterday morning, workers were pulling down the construction site fence that surrounds a brand new building in downtown San Diego. The adjacent 20-story 450 B Tower is adding additional office and retail space in the heart of the city.

While many of us were hunkered down indoors during the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, construction continued throughout San Diego. It seems nothing will stop the city from growing.

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!

Demolition of Navy Broadway Complex resumes.

The demolition of the immense, old Navy Broadway Complex on San Diego’s Embarcadero has resumed!

This morning I happened to notice a good chuck of the large remaining Navy building has vanished!

In 2017 demolition began on an adjacent section of the complex, to make room for the new 17-story U.S. Navy Region Southwest Headquarters, which was completed in September of 2020.

Four years ago I posted photographs of that phase of the demolition, and other construction activity along San Diego’s waterfront, here.

Once the last remnants of the Navy Broadway Complex are finally removed, construction can begin in earnest of the Manchester Pacific Gateway, which will feature a total of six new buildings.

According to the site plan, there will be a 1.9 acre plaza across Harbor Drive from the Broadway Pier and USS Midway Museum, a 34-floor Convention Center hotel with retail on Broadway by Pacific Highway, and office space in the five other, smaller buildings.

If you want to learn more about this project, which has evolved over its many years of planning, click here.

It appears the new bayfront hotel and its outdoor park will be called One Broadway Hotel & Plaza.

UPDATE!

One of my blog’s readers has informed me that I’m not quite up-to-date about this project. An article in the Union Tribune last September relates how “IQHQ real estate investment group…completed its acquisition of around two-thirds — or five city blocks — of the development site known as Manchester Pacific Gateway. The transaction paves the way for what IQHQ is calling the San Diego Research and Development District…”

So it seems the plans for this property have continued to evolve…

ANOTHER UPDATE!

I took more photographs a couple weeks later…

MORE PHOTOS!

And here are a four more pics that I took one morning in early June from Harbor Drive…

…and a couple days later…

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!

Stunning mosaic at North Island Credit Union.

A colorful, truly stunning mosaic greets visitors arriving at the North Island Credit Union building in Kearny Mesa!

The large circular mosaic in the entrance plaza was created in 2008 and is titled Icons of San Diego. It was designed by artist Wick Alexander and installed using the LithoMosaic process.

The artwork pays tribute to iconic sights in San Diego, including the Coronado Bay Bridge, Balboa Park’s California Tower, the Santa Fe Depot and the Hotel del Coronado. Kids make a sandcastle on the beach, a surfer rides a wave, and hot air balloons float overhead!

If you’d like to read about the making of this very fine public art, click 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!

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Huge boulder crushes car on L Street!

An enormous boulder dropped from the sky and crushed a car that was parked by the sidewalk on L Street!

I witnessed the strange, tragic aftermath with my own eyes, as I walked past Southwest Boulder & Stone in Chula Vista.

Because no one will believe me, I took several photographs!

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!

Old photos on AT&T building in El Cajon.

I saw these during my recent walk through El Cajon.

Decorating the AT&T building at the corner of Main Street and Lincoln Avenue are various historical photographs on tiles. The old photos show telephone company personnel at work or out in the community.

One photograph shows Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Co. employees or dignitaries on a parade float. That was the name of the Pacific Bell Telephone Company, now owned by AT&T, between the 1910’s and 1984.

I assume these photographs were taken around San Diego, but I don’t know. The one taken of a worker with his truck out in sagebrush covered hills does seem to show a Southern California landscape. The exact same photo can be found on an AT&T building in nearby La Mesa. You can see that here.

Do you know anything about these photos? If you do, 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!

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!

A walk up and down Mission Bay Boulevard.

My photos of the Nite Owl mural in the last blog post were taken during a very long walk around east Pacific Beach. One segment of my walk was up and down Mission Bay Boulevard, from Rosewood Street to Garnet Avenue and back.

These are the images I captured. I didn’t see much that was truly noteworthy–mostly car dealerships, motels, office buildings and businesses–but I did encounter the above cool sign and a couple other humorous signs. I also saw some very old faded street art, plus one instance of public art which is extremely important.

On the Chase Bank building at the intersection of Mission Bay Boulevard and Garnet Avenue there are eight extraordinary mosaics. I will blog those photos separately in an upcoming post!

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 Woolworth Building in the Gaslamp.

Many fascinating old buildings stand in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. Many were built in the late 1800’s during one of the city’s early booms.

I always enjoy looking at the 1886 Woolworth Building as I walk along Fifth Avenue south of Broadway. Not because its architecture is particularly unique or interesting. No, I see that word Woolworth near the rooftop and vague memories from my very early childhood flash inside my aged brain.

I recall how my parents would take me shopping at a Woolworth’s, and how I would always be treated to an ice cream at the store’s stainless steel lunch counter and soda fountain. Memories can be funny. Don’t ask me where this Woolworth store was. All I really remember is standing before all that ice cream, and always choosing Rocky Road.

So what happened to the F. W. Woolworth Company and their immense chain of retail stores? They morphed into Foot Locker! (Regrettably, I’m pretty sure most Foot Lockers don’t serve ice cream.)

Since you might have some difficulty reading the weathered plaque near the entrance to the Woolworth Building, I’ve tried to transcribe it correctly:

Woolworth Building, 1886. Originally Victorian in its architecture, this brick and wood frame building was used for retail stores on the first floor, offices on the second, and furnished rooms on the third. In 1922, Frank W. Woolworth, founder of the five-and-dime stores, had the building remodeled. The original Victorian bay windows were removed, and four Corinthian pilasters were added to a gray granite facade. Woolworth leased the structure for 50 years.

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San Diego’s historic Samuel I. Fox Building.

A very unique historic building stands at the southwest corner of Sixth Avenue and Broadway in downtown San Diego.

The Samuel I. Fox Building, built in 1929, always attracts my attention when I walk by. It’s earthy colors seem to change depending on the time of day, due to shifting sunlight and shadow.

The Samuel I. Fox Building was designed by renowned architect William Templeton Johnson, who also masterminded the San Diego Museum of Art and Natural History Museum buildings in Balboa Park, the Serra Museum in Presidio Park, and the La Jolla Athenaeum. He is one of several architects responsible for the San Diego County Administration Building.

He also designed the extraordinary San Diego Trust and Savings Bank Building, which stands directly to the north across Broadway. You can see photos of that building, where William Templeton Johnson kept his office, here.

A Gaslamp Quarter plaque near the Samuel I. Fox Building’s entrance describes its history:

Entrepreneur Samuel Fox built this four-story structure for a half of a million dollars. It was intended to accommodate his Lion Clothing Company, which was the sole tenant until 1984. It boasts 16-foot ceilings, antique oak wood paneling, heraldic lions in full relief, and an over-hanging tile roof. The building was recognized as an artistic masterpiece and a merchandising success.

A few days ago I took these exterior 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!