A magical new mural slowly comes to life!

The long new mural in City Heights’ Teralta Neighborhood Park is slowly coming to life! I got another look at it this morning!

Some of the faces along the 263-foot mural are gaining color, detail and character as San Diego graffiti artist Sake continues to apply his artistry!

I last visited the mural about a month ago, and took these photos. At the time most of the faces were mere sketches.

As you can see, this monumental new mural that celebrates City Heights’s diverse community is going to be amazing!

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!

Music, dance and circus festival coming to City Heights!

Oh, wow! Check out the big, free cultural event that’s coming to City Heights on Saturday, June 26!

From noon to 6 pm, Music en la Calle is going to feature a ton of music and dance, not to mention a fun circus performance!

I see there will be mariachis, Azteca dancers, flamenco dancers, taiko drummers (I’ve been to several Naruwan Taiko performances and they are absolutely incredible!), jazz musicians, and performers from everybody’s favorite Fern Street Circus!

Music en la Calle will take place at the intersection of University Avenue and 41st Street, in City Height’s new community performance venue by the outdoor “Characters” sculpture garden!

I’ll be there!

Climbing the Secret Stairs in La Mesa!

Have you ever climbed the Secret Stairs in La Mesa?

If you have, it’s an experience you definitely remember!

I had often heard about the Secret Stairs, so I decided to finally go check them out last weekend.

The photographs you’re about to see involve climbing the stairs on the west side of Mount Nebo, from Windsor Drive/Canterbury Drive to Summit Drive. Which amounts to 245 steps, covering three blocks!

At the top I turned around and took a couple photos. You can see how high I had ascended–an elevation of 830 feet!

Here’s a City of La Mesa web page that describes the Secret Stairs and links to a map. There are additional stairs in the neighborhood that you might like to explore. You can also see them on Google Maps should you perform a search.

If you decide to go for a climb, make sure to be quiet because many residents live nearby.

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Butterflies, art and inspiration in National City!

Yesterday, as I waited for the Memorial Day ceremony to begin in National City, I wandered a short distance down 12th Street from the Veteran’s Wall of Honor. I was surprised to encounter colorful butterflies along the median, and lots of art at a bright building on the north side of Kimball Park. The building, I learned, is home to ARTS, which stands for A Reason To Survive.

ARTS is a special community center where youth are inspired to live positive, hopeful, creative lives free from destructive influences and the violence that might attract their peers.

According to their website, the mission of ARTS is “to heal, inspire, and empower youth facing life challenges through therapeutic arts, formal arts education, and college and career preparation…In 2012, ARTS moved to National City and opened a 20,000-sq. ft. ARTS Center in one of San Diego County’s most health-challenged and economically depressed communities…”

I urge you to visit the above link and read about how the ARTS program has gained national fame, and how you might personally contribute, volunteer or become involved.

Here come photographs of murals and other artwork I happened to see outside the building. Painted words encourage non-violence and provide A Reason To Survive.

The nearby butterflies at intervals along 12th Street represent a transformation into something beautiful.

Each butterfly is unique.

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!

Faces appear in amazing new Teralta Park mural!

Dozens of faces have appeared in artwork that, when finished, will be one of San Diego’s most impressive murals. The 263-foot mural is being spray painted on a long wall at the south end of Teralta Neighborhood Park, directly over Interstate 15!

Unity in the Community is the name of the new, very colorful City Heights mural, and it’s being created by San Diego graffiti artist Sake.

In addition to important City Heights landmarks like the Euclid Tower, Silverado Ballroom, City Heights/Weingart Library and Central Elementary School, the mural depicts many faces from this diverse San Diego community.

As I walked along the mural from right to left, I saw images of children in playground swings and riding bikes, musicians playing instruments, kids playing volleyball, basketball and soccer in the park, happy dogs, smiling families, youth graduating from school, and proud neighborhood residents from all walks of life.

The mural, which is being painted in an area known for gang activity, is meant to inspire those who see it with its positive, hopeful, unifying imagery.

I took these photographs several days ago. I plan to post additional photos as the mural progresses.

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!

End hunger with the SD Fridge Project!

Here’s an idea to consider if you’d like to help neighbors who could use a little food assistance.

While out on a recent walk, I spotted a refrigerator and some shelves in front of the Normal Heights United Methodist Church. A sign on the fridge stated FREE FOOD. I had to check it out.

Members of the church are participating in the SD Fridge Project, and the canned food and fresh vegetables near the church entrance are free for the taking. If anyone in the community is in a difficult place and could use some food, they are more than welcome to help themselves.

I read the info on a sheet taped to the refrigerator and learned more about the SD Fridge Project (@sdfridgeprojects). I took a photo so you can read it and perhaps become involved, too!

You can find the enlarged email address in an upcoming photograph, if you’d like to participate!

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 colorful Cultural Fusion in City Heights!

City Heights is one of San Diego’s most culturally diverse communities.

Over the decades, immigrants have arrived in waves from different parts of the world, making this neighborhood in east San Diego their new home.

So it’s not surprising to find public art in City Heights that celebrates diversity and the dynamic interaction of people who have converged from different places.

Cultural Fusion is an abstract sculpture that stands near the entrance of the La Maestra Community Health Center in City Heights. The public art was created in 2015 by local artist Jim Bliesner, in collaboration with Victor Chavez Metal Works.

I took these photographs today!

To me, the colorful shapes that compose Cultural Fusion appear like symbols and ideas and fragments of life that continually collide and intermix, joining in places, producing new offshoots, creating endless combinations of complexity and beauty.

It sort of looks like music.

That’s what happens when many people with very different life stories come together in one place.

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 visit to the Encinitas Historical Society schoolhouse.

A one-room schoolhouse stands on a hilltop in San Diego’s North County, a very short distance from the beautiful Pacific Ocean. The old schoolhouse is the home of the Encinitas Historical Society, and I paid a visit last Saturday.

The historic schoolhouse, built in 1883, is the oldest building in Encinitas.

While its outward appearance is modest, step through a door and you’ll find the schoolhouse is roomy and welcoming. The wood floors are original. The bright walls are alive with photographs depicting the history of both the schoolhouse and early Encinitas–the residents, town buildings and few landmarks.

In 1883, with the arrival of a family from England, the population of Encinitas swelled to a whopping twenty two. The newly arrived father (a cabinetmaker) and his seventeen-year-old son built the schoolhouse primarily from redwood.

Today, the museum-like schoolhouse contains student desks from the period, but I learned the very first desks, due to lack of funds, were actually irregular things made of cut tree limbs. Slate boards were used for writing and arithmetic. Children who attended the school in those early days of Encinitas came from farms. Some walked as far as two miles.

The history of the schoolhouse is a bit complicated. Over the years changes and additions were made to the structure . . . it was moved in 1928 and became a private residence for half a century . . . it was saved in 1983 by the Encinitas Historical Society and moved back to its original location . . . and finally, it was restored and in 1995 opened to the public.

Visitors who peruse the many photographs and descriptions decorating the schoolhouse walls will feel they’ve travelled back in time. And perhaps to another world.

After looking at many of the displays, I joined a small group that had gathered for a once-every-two-month historical walking tour of Encinitas. I will be blogging about that great tour shortly!

The following photographs are a little of what I saw outside and inside the schoolhouse. To learn much more about this special place, and to perhaps plan your own visit, please check out the Encinitas Historical Society website by clicking here!

I also learned they’d appreciate any donations!

A plaque displayed near the chalkboard is dedicated to the Encinitas Boathouses. One block south of the schoolhouse, two unique cottages that appear like boats can be seen during a walking tour offered by the Encinitas Historical Society.
Encinitas Schoolhouse Grades One through Eight. 1883.
Concrete Highway 101. Two lane road to Los Angeles. 1913.
A craft fair was being held outside the old Encinitas schoolhouse the Saturday I visited. Beyond the parked cars you can see nearby Pacific View Elementary, closed since 2003.
Alone, at the very top of the hill stands the small one-room schoolhouse. A little beyond the hill stretches the Pacific Ocean.

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!

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!

San Diego hero beautifies our city.

An unselfish, unsung hero in San Diego has dedicated countless hours of hard work to making our city more beautiful.

I’m speaking of Joseph Ciavarella. For five years he spearheaded the improvement and beautification of Tweet Street Park, a neighborhood park atop Cortez Hill.

During my walks over the years I often saw Joe in the park spreading mulch, pruning, cleaning up debris, and planting flowers and other greenery. I would express my appreciation, and he was always modest.

Joseph Ciavarella’s quiet optimism, his effective community organizing and relentless hard work, along with the important contributions of Friends of Tweet Street volunteers and San Diego Parks and Recreation, have turned the Tweet Street linear park into the amazing lush garden that it is today.

Joe moved away from Cortez Hill not long ago. His last day at Tweet Street was Arbor Day. I noticed today that the Downtown San Diego Partnership planted a tree in his honor.

That tree will grow and become ever more beautiful over time, bringing a little joy to the lives of so many people.

That’s was Joe did.

Check out the “Friends of Tweet Street Park” Facebook page here.

Donate to the Friends of Tweet Street via a new web page provided by the Downtown San Diego Partnership here.

Thank you.

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!