Working on the trolley tracks at America Plaza.

For the past couple weeks, I’ve noticed that MTS is working on the trolley tracks in and near the America Plaza station. As you can see in the above photo, old wooden railroad ties are being replaced with new concrete ones.

I’ve always loved trains. I did as a kid. I still do today. That’s one reason I like riding the San Diego Trolley.

So it has been fascinating to watch this work whenever I walk through downtown past America Plaza.

It will also be interesting to watch another upcoming project by the Metropolitan Transit System: the America Plaza and Santa Fe Depot Pedestrian Enhancement Project. Navigating between these two adjacent stations will be made easier and more welcoming. I use both stations a lot, so I’m excited!

I took these photos over the last couple weeks. You can see progress is being made as the aging trolley tracks are improved…

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!

Comic-Con Museum’s historic Federal Building restored!

The exterior of the historic Federal Building in Balboa Park, future home of the Comic-Con Museum, is currently being restored!

During my walk today I noticed the unique building, built in 1935 for the California Pacific International Exposition, is being patched up and painted to match several principal buildings in the Palisades area of the Balboa Park.

The Federal Building was designed by architect Richard Requa, who gave this and other nearby buildings a pre-Columbian appearance. According to this article, the ornamental detailing on the main entrance was unquestionably derived from the Palace of the Governor in Uxmal, Yucatan.

In one photograph you can see how the Federal Building was once home of the San Diego Hall of Champions.

The Comic-Con Museum will be opening this Thanksgiving weekend, in conjunction with the 2021 Comic-Con Special Edition to be held at the San Diego Convention Center.

After taking these photos I peered through the front windows, and I could see some preliminary construction going on inside.

The Comic-Con Museum already has 15,000 members. And I’m one.

I can’t wait for it to open!

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Help build a new environmental field station!

Want to do something tangible to help the environment? Here’s an idea!

UC San Diego is working to fund a new Kendall-Frost Field Station on the north side of Mission Bay. They are raising funds for a much improved education, research and outreach center at the edge of the Kendall-Frost Marsh Reserve.

I passed their old trailer today during my long walk through Pacific Beach, and I happened to see the following information on the fence. It includes a rendering of the proposed field station…

Join our fundraising campaign to build a new field research and education building to replace the 55-year-old trailer. The new building will feature a large multi-purpose classroom and community room, roll-up windows and a large deck, bird-watching overlook, and reception area.

Five years ago I visited the old trailer and the working area adjacent to it during Love Your Wetlands Day.

If you want to see the wetland restoration that is done here, and fun photos of that educational event, check out my past blog post.

If you want to help build the new field station, or learn more about this project, visit the UC San Diego web page here!

The trailer is covered with colorful art, but is getting very old.
The environmentally important Kendall-Frost Marsh Reserve in Mission Bay.

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!

Building a cannon carriage and adobe walls in Old Town.

Saturday, on my way to TwainFest, I walked a little around Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to see what I might see.

At the blacksmith shop, wood shop and nearby grounds, I observed some interesting activity!

First, I learned from Todd in the blacksmith shop that a new carriage for Old Town plaza’s historic cannon will soon be built! I blogged about this project back in April here. I detail a little about the cannon’s history in that blog post.

Todd showed me how he had removed some of the original iron fittings from the wooden carriage. All of the iron will be saved, then refitted to a brand new carriage once it’s built. Welds will be hidden to preserve the original appearance.

The carriage will be constructed in the wood shop, a small work room attached to the blacksmith shop.

Here are a few photos of the wood shop…

Then I noticed two people working in the dirt area outside the blacksmith shop, behind Seeley Stable. This is the new spot in the State Park where adobe wall-making is demonstrated.

I’ve been told the old adobe demonstration area, which I blogged about here, will be used in the future for a Kumeyaay interpretive display.

As I watched slimy fingers jam mud mortar between large sun-dried adobe blocks, I took a look at information concerning which structures in Old Town are original adobes, and which ones are reconstructed.

Six original adobe buildings shown are: Casa de Machado y Silvas, c. 1843; Casa de Machado y Stewart, c. 1830; Casa de Estudillo, c. 1827; Casa de Bandini/Cosmopolitan Hotel, c. 1829; Altamirano-Perdrorena House, c. 1869; and the oldest structure in San Diego, Casa de Carrillo (between Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and the Presidio), c. 1817.

Reconstructed adobe buildings are: Robinson-Rose Building, c. 1853; Casa de Wrightington, c. 1804; San Diego House, c. 1841; Casa de Rodriguez, c. 1830; Colorado House (Adobe Annex), c. 1854; Casa de Alvarado, c. 1830; and Alvarado Saloon, c. 1830.

Typical adobe wall construction involved a foundation and a layer of small stones and shards topped by adobe bricks, which are cemented with lime and sand or mud plaster.

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!

Multi-colored street lights coming downtown!

You know those strings of small lights that have been installed along certain downtown San Diego streets in the past year? This morning I saw workers on B Street toiling by one segment of the new lights, and I learned they’re installing a wireless network.

Once their work is complete, these strings of festive lights can be changed to different colors remotely!

What a cool enhancement for downtown’s atmosphere!

I can’t wait to see all the colors!

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 new International Cottages in Balboa Park are completed!

The brand new International Cottages in Balboa Park are finally finished! The construction site fences are down and the House of Peru is already moving in!

Late today I walked though the two new sections of the now expanded House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. Five structures have been built for nine nations or cultural units. As you can see from my photographs, the new cottages are beautiful!

Two new structures on the northeast side of the International Cottages will showcase Mexico, Panama and the Philippines; three structures on the southwest side will showcase Korea, India, Peru, Palestine, Chamorro and Turkey.

After years and years of bureaucratic delays and financial struggle, this truly historic project is complete!

I peered through many new cottage windows as I walked around and saw mostly vacant space. But the House of Peru has begun to move in and they’ll have a “soft opening” for the public beginning tomorrow!

If you’d like to see photos of the big festive groundbreaking event almost five years ago, 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!

The new Aztec Stadium rises!

San Diego State University’s new Aztec Stadium in Mission Valley is rapidly rising!

I took some photos in late April and you could see back then how the construction had just begun. Now huge supporting steel beams for the stands and stadium lights can be easily seen from Friars Road!

I took these photographs from the southwest side of the stadium late this afternoon.

UPDATE!

A week and a half later I took the next series of photos. My walk continued along Friars Road on the north side of the new Aztec Stadium.

I encountered someone else gazing over the construction site fence. He remarked the stadium was going up quickly. I had to agree!

ANOTHER UPDATE!

Here’s a photo I took one early morning in mid-September, 2021…

AND…

A photo I took from the east side in early October…

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Renovation of Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries begins!

The exterior renovation of the Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries building in Balboa Park’s Palisades area has begun!

I noticed during my walk through Balboa Park this morning that the painting of the building is underway. The new color matches that of the recently painted San Diego Automotive Museum directly across Pan American Plaza.

If you’d like to learn more about the 1935 Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries building, which has long served as the Municipal Gymnasium, and to see how the historic building will appear after its renovation is complete, check out this post from early last month.

(Visit that old blog post and you’ll see an image of the fantastic bronze panel that will be installed directly above the entrance!)

UPDATE!

Here’s a photo I took a couple weeks 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!

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!

Old Town State Park expansion nears completion!

This morning I walked around the north end of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. I wanted to check out the progress that has been made with the State Park’s big expansion.

Old Town’s new outdoor interpretative area is beautiful and appears to be nearing completion!

I took photos of the area under construction four months ago and posted them here. You can definitely see the progress!

This large plot of land where the old Caltrans building used to be–at the corner of Juan Street and Taylor Street–is being converted into an inviting space that is alive with native vegetation and historical exhibits. Visitors walking along various pathways will have the opportunity to learn about the life and culture of the Native American Kumeyaay people. The Kumeyaay lived here by the San Diego River long before Europeans arrived.

The California State Parks website refers to this outdoor space as Land of the First People Exhibit Area—called Iipay ~ Tipai Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok.

As I circled the construction site fence, I noticed many plaques have been installed. I’ll be eager to read them once this area opens to the public.

This is what I saw…

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!

Restoring history at the Gymnasium in Balboa Park!

The Municipal Gymnasium in San Diego’s Balboa Park is a popular destination for local athletes playing basketball. I like to venture inside during a weekend to watch part of a game.

I often wonder if those playing hoops in the old gym know they’re inside a historically important building that was constructed for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park.

The Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries building–today’s gymnasium–still retains an indication of its unique origin. Look down as you approach the front door and you’ll see this artwork in the entry…

I learned yesterday from local architect Robert Thiele (whose many accomplishments include designing the beautiful rotunda fountain inside the San Diego Museum of Art) that big changes are coming to this historic building. Decorative elements of the 1935 Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries are being restored!

Later this summer a fantastic 12′ x 20′ cold cast bronze panel will be hung above the entrance with bands of ornament above and below. You can see the bronze panel in that very first photograph.

Several architectural visualizations show how Balboa Park’s Municipal Gymnasium will appear once the panel is installed. Grand ornamental flourishes will crown both the building’s entrance and panel. Compare the following images.

Quite an amazing difference!

I’ve asked people who might be knowledgeable if this historic building, located next to three important San Diego museums, will continue to be used as a gym in the future, but that seems uncertain at this point. If anyone has more information concerning the Municipal Gymnasium’s fate, 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!