Cool mural at Stoody in Logan Heights!

Early this morning I walked in Logan Heights to see a super cool Batman mural I’d heard about by San Diego street artists Fizix.

But first I found more of his art in the neighborhood!

Let me share this mural painted by Fizix on one side of Stoody Industrial & Welding Supply, located at 33rd Street and National Avenue.

The image of hardworking welders and workers is awesome!

If the mural has something of a comic book look, that’s because San Diego illustrator, digital artist and muralist Alex Julian aka Fizix (@alexfizix) has a distinctive pop style that can also be found in his graphic novel art.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Repairing the historic Old Adobe Chapel.

I recently learned that the historic Old Adobe Chapel in Old Town is being repaired and restored by the City of San Diego. I was told the roof leaks and a long, very serious crack was discovered along one wall. (I believe you can see it in one upcoming photo.)

I happened to be walking through Old Town yesterday when I remembered being told this. So I walked to 3963 Conde Street to see for myself.

The Adobe Chapel (also known as the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception) is designated California Historical Landmark No. 49. It was originally built in 1850. Initially the structure served as a home, then in 1858 it was turned into a church that would become a center for activity in early San Diego.

The old chapel has a rich history. It was said to be the wedding place of the character Ramona in Helen Hunt Jackson’s wildly popular 1884 novel of the same name. The Adobe Chapel would later be bulldozed and rebuilt in the 1930’s. To learn more about its history, visit the Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) website here and here. To enjoy a fascinating gallery of images, click here.

The Adobe Chapel is presently operated by SOHO. It is both a museum and special event venue. According to their website, it should be reopening, after repairs, sometime in 2022.

I see a long crack!
Photo of historical plaques and sign taken from a nearby parking lot.

ADOBE CHAPEL OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

ORIGINALLY BUILT AS THE HOME OF SAN DIEGO’S JOHN BROWN IN 1850, THE HOUSE WAS CONVERTED TO A CHURCH BY DON JOSE AGUIRRE IN 1858. FATHER ANTONIO D. UBACH, FORMERLY A MISSIONARY AMONG THE INDIANS, WAS PARISH PRIEST HERE FROM 1866 TO 1907. IT IS SAID THAT HE WAS THE MODEL FOR “FATHER GASPARA” IN HELEN HUNT JACKSON’S RAMONA. IN 1937 THE WPA REBUILT THE ADOBE CHAPEL CLOSE TO ITS ORIGINAL SITE.

Old Adobe Chapel

BUILT IN 1850 AS A PRIVATE RESIDENCE. DEDICATED A PARISH CHURCH NOVEMBER 21, 1858 by FATHER JOHN MOLINER.

IN 1866, FATHER ANTONIO UBACH, THE PARISH PRIEST, WAS “FATHER GASPARA” OF HELEN HUNT JACKSON’S FAMOUS NOVEL “Ramona”

REBUILT BY UNITED STATES WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION 1937

A view of the Old Adobe Chapel from Conde Street in Old Town San Diego.

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San Diego’s downtown skyline changes again!

San Diego continues to grow. Over the years, our city’s downtown skyline keeps changing, becoming wider, denser, more varied. Some of the new construction has been along the waterfront.

I was out on a slow Embarcadero walk today when my eyes did a double take. I couldn’t believe how quickly IQHQ’s five building RaDD (Research and Development District) project is rising!

The future technology campus, a combination of lab, office and retail space, is being built on part of the property where the demolished Navy Broadway Complex stood.

I know developments like these are hotly debated. Among other considerations, certain bay views will become obstructed, while new views will open. Whatever your position is, the growth of downtown San Diego continues apace, and the changed skyline will probably feel more “ordinary” as memories fade.

UPDATE!

I took another photo from a different direction some time later. Here I’m standing near the corner of Broadway and Pacific Highway. The recently completed 17-story high-rise is Navy Building One.

And a few days later…

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Huge fun coming to downtown’s Children’s Park!

Whoa! Check it out!

Look at the huge multi-level playground structure that’s being built for Children’s Park in downtown San Diego! The park is undergoing a major redesign, which will make it more . . . children friendly!

Children’s Park is located north of Harbor Drive, adjacent to Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade. That circular pool with its unique fountain between Front Street and 1st Avenue is part of it. The two-acre city park, with its many shady trees, is a very short walk from both The New Children’s Museum and the San Diego Convention Center.

The park has often been used as a convenient offsite location during Comic-Con. Evidently not this year!

You might remember how, years ago, Children’s Park was filled with numerous large rounded mounds that unfortunately concealed drug and other illegal activity. Those mounds were removed in phases.

Now this important downtown open space is being completely revitalized, with the addition of a playground, an interactive water feature, and a new vendor building.

If you’d like to learn more about the project, you can visit this web page.

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!

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.

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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!

Open House tour of San Diego’s Waterfront Park.

Last Sunday I enjoyed a fascinating tour of Waterfront Park in San Diego. The special public tour was part of the 2022 San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Open House event.

Our small group was guided by Glen and Jeff of Schmidt Design Group, landscape architects who worked on the Waterfront Park project almost ten years ago. The park opened to the public in 2014. (I was there for the big grand opening! You can see many photographs taken during that historic day by clicking here!)

As we walked around the beautiful park, where two large parking lots originally existed, we learned so many facts I failed to jot many down!

I did note that the two stretches of fountains on either side of the County Administration Building together are 830 feet long. The fountain design was tricky, because the water in the basin where children jump and play could be only one inch deep, due to safety concerns. The fountains utilize an 80,000 gallon water tank, and the 31 jets spray water 12 to 14 feet high.

The fountains were to be set in marble, but to save tens of millions of dollars, specially applied concrete made to look like marble was utilized instead.

The parking garage under the south end of Waterfront Park is below the water table (San Diego Bay is a block to the west), and consequently various innovative measures were taken to keep water from seeping in. I was surprised that, like the nearby County Administration Building, piles were driven 100 feet deep into bedrock to support and stabilize the structure!

The “hill” with a slide in the wonderful, very popular playground was built up with high density foams blocks. (The same hill referred to as Tony Gwynn’s opposing “pitching mound” when the park’s sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle debuted back in 2015. See those fun photos here!)

One bit of information really surprised me. There had initially been plans to install Dr. Seuss sculptures around the playground! The Grinch and his dog Max were to stand atop the hill. The Cat in the Hat would welcome kids near the fountain area. Our group didn’t hear why that plan fell through.

We did learn how, during Waterfront Park’s construction, large old palm trees and the San Diego County Law Enforcement Memorial were moved. We saw the bits of shining, sparkling mica that were placed in the concrete around the memorial.

We learned how the large garden at the north end of the park was designed to be a beautiful, contemplative area. And, indeed, it is.

The garden is divided into three sections. The north “grass” or “meadow” garden with 15 varieties of grass; the middle Mediterranean garden with sages, rosemary, lavender and Torrey pines; and the south “tropical” or “diversity” garden, with plumeria, bird of paradise and many other lush plants.

Irrigation for the park requires 8 million gallons per year! But this free, very popular “water park” serves hundreds of thousands of San Diego residents every year, many arriving by trolley from less affluent neighborhoods.

Lastly, we learned how the County of San Diego will soon be removing the garden, and replacing it with a dog park, basketball and pickleball courts, and other recreational amenities. I suppose the change is both sad and exciting. As they say, there are two sides to every coin.

I’ll be watching the progress of that project and will probably be taking photos in the future!

This is where the proposed Cat in the Hat sculpture would have stood!
Donal Hord’s iconic Guardian of Water sculpture stands in the background. Learn a little more about it here.
The present location of the San Diego County Law Enforcement Memorial.
Part of the Waterfront Park garden. The large garden will be removed to make way for sports facilities.

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!

Huge hole in Balboa Park’s Botanical Building!

Walk around the Balboa Park’s historic Botanical Building and you might do a double take. Because a huge hole is now open at the east end, allowing people to look into the monumental building’s interior!

I paused for a moment and took these photos over the construction fence. You can see how the old garden walkways have vanished, leaving the trees and plants rising from bare soil.

If you’d like to read about the Botanical Building and Gardens Restoration and Enhancement Project, and see artist renderings and historical photographs, click here.

Much of the work will repair damage “due to termite damage, rust and deferred maintenance.” The iconic Botanical Building will be restored to its original 1915 appearance. Amenities will also be added, like new restrooms, and a historically recreated pergola near its west end.

The Botanical Building is one of four structures built for the 1915 Panama California Exposition that were meant to be permanent. But after more than a century, a little tender loving care for one of the largest wood lath structures in the world is required!

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 renovation at MCASD La Jolla!

The major renovation and expansion of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla is approaching completion! And it’s looking amazing!

During my long walk yesterday, I photographed the front of the museum and its new outdoor Art Park, which will be open to the public once the construction fence comes down.

To read more about MCASD La Jolla’s major reconstruction project and what visitors can expect when the museum finally reopens this spring, click here.

Meanwhile, enjoy these photos!

The clean, elegant exterior, to me, has been very tastefully handled. Ellen Browning Scripps, newspaper chain founder and philanthropist, commissioned renowned modernist architect Irving Gill to design her La Jolla home. Today it is home of the museum. With some significant changes!

Almost four years ago, I took the following photograph of a rendering that visualized the finished museum. You can revisit that old blog post, which includes images of pieces in the museum’s collection, here!

The upcoming photographs were taken while walking along Prospect Street from the south end of the greatly expanded museum to its new outdoor Art Park.

The limestone egg-like sculpture near the museum’s sleek new entrance is part of Three Cairns. This “West Coast” Cairn is by artist Andy Goldsworthy. The other cairns are in Iowa and New York.

In the Art Park, the motorized black sculpture with wrapping still on its feet is titled Hammering Man at 3,110,527, by artist Jonathan Borofsky.

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!

Building a beautiful waterfall in San Diego!

A couple months ago I blogged about a big new waterfall that is coming to the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego’s beautiful Balboa Park.

Yesterday I swung by again and noticed huge progress has been made creating the waterfall!

The step-like watercourse is being readied. Large boulders have been placed where the water will descend through the Lower Garden to the existing bridge, waterfall and koi pond by the Inamori Pavilion. Many smaller rocks will surely follow.

If you’d like to compare photos, click here for what I saw in late November.

UPDATE!

During a later visit, I noticed stairs are being built in the canyon’s side. They climb beside the waterfall. It appears there will be a viewing area up above!

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!

Sparks, scrapes and chisels at the Maritime Museum!

Lots of fascinating activity today at the Maritime Museum of San Diego!

As I walked about, I noticed volunteers and sail crew members were working on several very different vessels in the museum’s world-famous collection.

Sparks were flying from the black sail of the B-39 Soviet-era Russian submarine. Its life, sadly, has come to an end. Preparations are underway to tow the badly rusted Foxtrot-class diesel electric submarine to Mexico where it will be scrapped.

After watching guys using a torch on the sub’s outer hull, I walked to the far end of the Maritime Museum’s barge where the Robert Sharp’s stern was being restored. A friendly worker with a heat gun was crackling old varnish, which was then scraped off.

When I stepped onto the deck of the historic steam yacht Medea, I noticed a woodworker carefully repairing the boat’s wooden rail where it had split.

The elegant Medea has a fascinating history.

Did you know that, in addition to Medea being a pleasure yacht that cruised the isles and lochs of Scotland, it was used by France during World War I, and by the British Royal Navy and Norwegian Navy during World War II?

Learn much more 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!