Happy memories, and the decline of Seaport Village.

I have many happy memories of Seaport Village.

Back in the 1980’s, when I was a young and Seaport Village was new, my family would occasionally head downtown to enjoy the place. We’d stroll around the meandering pathways, poke our noses inside the specialty shops, browse the shelves of the cool bookstore, and enjoy lunch at one of several restaurants.

I was always intrigued by the big selection of magic tricks in the magic shop. At the candy store I’d shovel dozens of different sweets into a small bag, then eat them during the rest of our walk. We’d watch kites soaring in the blue San Diego sky at the nearby grassy park, and sailboats out on the bay. We always tried to catch Kazoo, the Seaport Village mime, performing.

On Sunday I walked through Seaport Village and was saddened to see many of the old shops are now vacant. The east half of Seaport Village almost resembles a ghost town.

Yes, there are plans to redevelop this valuable part of downtown’s bayfront, to make it more attractive and dynamic. Seaport San Diego will feature an observation tower, hotels, even an aquarium. But I’ve been told that future is somewhat uncertain and is still years away.

I’ve also been told that with this uncertain future and a recent change to the Seaport Village management, many shop owners have chosen not to renew their leases.

And yet today I saw hundreds of families happily walking about Seaport Village, visiting those shops and eateries that remain open. Such is the place’s reputation.

Over the decades Seaport Village has been the source of pleasure for millions of people.

But time and progress march on…

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 sights on a morning walk downtown.

A colorful canvas in the window of James Watts' studio on Seventh Avenue. I don't recall seeing this cool artwork before.
A colorful canvas in the window of James Watts’ studio on Seventh Avenue. I don’t recall seeing this artwork before.

This morning I walked south down Seventh Avenue, from the top of Cortez Hill to Petco Park.

I was happy to spot some new (and old) cool sights along this stretch of downtown San Diego. So I took photographs!

Some street art recently painted on a sidewalk utility box. I Love Downtown San Diego.
Some street art recently painted on a sidewalk utility box. I Love Downtown San Diego.
Complex reflection in the windows of the building at 701 B Street, which has undergone some upgrades.
Complex reflection in the windows of the building at 701 B Street, which has undergone some upgrades, including this west entrance.
Looking north up Seventh Avenue through San Diego's Financial District.
Looking north up Seventh Avenue through downtown San Diego’s Financial District.
Crane swings a load above the Bosa Tower construction site, with the old Hotel Churchill sign in the background.
Crane swings a load above the Bosa Tower construction site, with the old Hotel Churchill sign in the background.
Advertisements peeling from a construction site fence.
Advertisements peeling from another construction site fence.
A huge mural is now being painted on the rear of the Moxy San Diego Gaslamp Downtown! It appears to depict the Gaslamp Quarter.
A huge mural is now being painted on the rear of the Moxy San Diego Gaslamp Downtown! This cool new mural appears to depict part of the Gaslamp Quarter.
Reflections on the shiny Sempra Energy building, with the historic old 1887 Clermont Hotel in the foreground.
Morning reflections on the shiny Sempra Energy building, with the historic old 1887 Clermont Hotel in the foreground.
A new shirt with a West Coast State of Mind, in a window of the Padres Team Store in the old Western Metal Supply Building.
A new shirt with a West Coast State of Mind, in a window of the Padres Team Store, which is located in the Western Metal Supply Building.
Palm trees reflected in the glassy, very modern Omni San Diego Hotel.
Palm trees reflected in the glassy, very modern Omni San Diego Hotel.

UPDATE!

I took a photo of the Moxy mural days later when it was finished…

IMG_1180z

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!

Strange beauty of a brick wall downtown.

Stand at the corner of India Street and A Street in downtown San Diego, turn north, and you’ll probably notice an old brick wall on the other side of a parking lot. Approach the wall and you’ll see a complex mosaic of paint and mortar. Like the brushstrokes of a painting, they tell a unique story.

I’m under the impression this building was once a soda bottling plant. I posted a couple photographs of the Hires Root Beer graphics five years ago 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!

Another colorful walk around East Village!

The final words of the famous poem Invictus, outside the entrance to Invictus Fitness. I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.
The final words of the famous poem Invictus, painted near the entrance to Invictus Fitness. I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.

I enjoyed an aimless walk around East Village on Saturday. My camera found a variety of cool sights! Some old and some new!

As you can see, there are all sorts of new high-rises under construction in this dynamic part of downtown San Diego.

I walked past the Quartyard at its new corner on Market Street. It’s a couple blocks east of where it used to be. I’ll be posting those fun photos shortly!

Colorful banners along the side of Urban Discovery Academy in East Village.
Colorful banners along the side of Urban Discovery Academy in East Village.
Abstract cat on a sidewalk chalkboard.
Abstract cat on a sidewalk chalkboard.
A cool new mural by Michael Brooks Chandler on the side of a building at 13th Street and J Street.
A cool new mural by Michael Brooks Chandler on the side of a building at 13th Street and J Street.
The 23-story K1 San Diego luxury apartment building is currently under construction just east of the downtown Central Library.
The 23-story K1 San Diego luxury apartment building is currently under construction just east of the downtown Central Library.
Mission Brewery has been located in the old Wonder Bread Building for years now.
Mission Brewery has been located in the old Wonder Bread Building for years now.
This odd, rather memorable mural has also been on the north wall of the building at 1400 L Street for many years. I know nothing about it!
This unusual, humorous mural has been on the north wall of the building at 1400 L Street for many years, too. I know nothing about it!
Pinnacle on the Park rises above the south entrance to Fault Line Park.
The recently completed Pinnacle on the Park rises above the south entrance to Fault Line Park.
Colorful new residential high-rises beyond one of the two silvery spheres at Fault Line Park in East Village.
New residential buildings rise beyond reflections in one of the silvery spheres at Fault Line Park.
An artistic blonde peers out from a shop window in East Village!
A blonde peers out from a shop window in East Village!

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 art installed at InterContinental hotel.

This evening I was walking along Broadway past the new, almost completed InterContinental San Diego when I noticed a couple of guys installing artwork near the waterfront luxury hotel’s entrance.

I spoke briefly to one of the workers and learned they were following a general design that was provided to them. I’m not sure who the artist is, but I like what I see so far!

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!

Photos of restored rooms inside Casa de Estudillo.

Visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park look into a restored room of La Casa de Estudillo.
Visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park look into a restored room of La Casa de Estudillo.

Four years ago I posted photos of La Casa de Estudillo, a famous adobe house in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park that was originally built in 1827. That blog was called Ramona saved Casa de Estudillo in Old Town and concerned the fascinating history of this structure.

Over time various parts of the casa have undergone restoration and new rooms have opened up to public view. These rooms now appear furnished as they once might have been, in the very early days of San Diego.

I recently walked through La Casa de Estudillo and peered into a few of the rooms…

Sign describes the dining room of La Casa de Estudillo.
Sign describes the dining room of La Casa de Estudillo.
The eventual prosperity of the Estudillo family is reflected in their elegant dining room.
The eventual prosperity of the Estudillo family is reflected in their elegant dining room.
Expensive furniture and tableware imported by ship from distant places fill the otherwise simple room.
Expensive furniture and tableware imported by ship from distant places fill the otherwise simple room.
Sign describes commerce in the casa. Francisco de Paul Rodriguez rented space from the Estudillos for a store.
Sign describes commerce in the casa. Francisco de Paul Rodriguez rented space from the Estudillos for a store.
The store, or tienda, contained shelves of goods that might be purchased by the residents of Old Town San Diego. Much of the merchandise came by ship from the East Coast around Cape Horn.
The store, or tienda, contained shelves of goods that might be purchased by the residents of Old Town San Diego. Much of the merchandise came by ship from the East Coast around Cape Horn.
More shelves against one wall contain iron tools and basic furnishings like candlesticks for sale.
More shelves against one wall contain iron tools and basic furnishings like candlesticks for sale.
Sign describes how the Estudillos adapted to life on the frontier in the 1830's and 1840's.
Sign describes how the Estudillos adapted to life on the frontier in the 1830’s and 1840’s.
A bedroom inside La Casa de Estudillo contains a wealth of comfort, unusual in early San Diego, which was located far away from developed centers of commerce.
A bedroom inside La Casa de Estudillo contains a wealth of comfort, unusual in early San Diego, which was located far away from developed centers of commerce.
Several additional rooms at La Casa de Estudillo are undergoing restoration.
Several additional rooms at La Casa de Estudillo are undergoing restoration.
Sign describes how the casa started as a modest two-room structure and eventually grew into an expansive U-shaped building with a courtyard and outbuildings.
Sign describes how the casa started as a modest two-room structure and eventually grew into an expansive U-shaped building with a courtyard and outbuildings.
Photo of the Casa de Estudillo's tower from the central garden courtyard.
Photo of the Casa de Estudillo’s tower from the central garden courtyard.
Looking across the south end of the courtyard toward the outdoor oven and Seeley Stable beyond.
Looking across the south end of the courtyard toward the outdoor oven and Seeley Stable beyond.
Sign explains how the Estudillos cared for a growing family including many children.
Sign explains how the Estudillos cared for a growing family including many children.
Frozen Charlotte dolls, ca. 1850's. These china dolls were popular in the Victorian era.
Frozen Charlotte dolls, ca. 1850’s. These china dolls were popular in the Victorian era.
A look into the children's bedroom.
A look into the children’s bedroom.
Sign describes the Estudillo kitchen and pantry. The family's ranchos provided meat, game, vegetables and fruit.
Sign describes the Estudillo kitchen and pantry. The family’s ranchos provided meat, game, vegetables and fruit.
Jars, pots, sacks of flour and fruit are among the many items seen in the rather primitive kitchen.
Jars, pots, sacks of flour and fruit are among the many items seen in the rather primitive kitchen.
The kitchen inside La Casa de Estudillo provides an idea of what life might have been like in early San Diego.
The kitchen inside La Casa de Estudillo provides an idea of what life might have been like in early San Diego.

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A peek at Butcher Boy’s restoration at Spanish Landing.

All sorts of wood can be found under the North Harbor Drive Bridge, where the historic boat Butcher Boy is undergoing a thorough restoration.
All sorts of wood can be found under the North Harbor Drive Bridge, where the historic boat Butcher Boy is undergoing a thorough restoration.

This morning, as I drove up Harbor Drive toward Point Loma, I suddenly remembered that the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s turn-of-the-century racing sloop Butcher Boy is being restored at Spanish Landing, where the galleon San Salvador was built a few years back. Work on the much smaller Butcher Boy is being carried out in a sheltered place under the North Harbor Drive Bridge.

Even though I’m no expert when it comes to sloops–or nautical stuff in general–I do love to look at boats and ships that sail. There seems to be something about white sails, sunlight on water, and wind-lashed voyages across rolling expanses that appeals deeply to the human spirit.

So, anyway, I decided to pull into the nearby parking lot to see what progress has been made in restoring Butcher Boy to its former glory.

I was able to take a few photos.

Even though no museum volunteers were at work in the early morning, and the large ship saw was covered with a tarp, a nearby sign provided some interesting information about these unique saws used by shipwrights. The angle of a ship saw blade can be changed as a cut is being made, so that compound curves can be created with a single cut.

An internet wooden boat forum that I found has some fascinating info about the history of Butcher Boy, including:

“Butcher Boy, which had similarly named counterparts up and down the West Coast, was conceived by Charles S. Hardy, owner of the Bay City Market on Fifth and Broadway downtown.

‘Boss Hardy,’ as he was known, needed a boat sturdy enough to handle any weather and fast enough to beat competitors out to the big ships anchored offshore, off what was commonly known as Spanish Bight and Dutch Flats.

Hardy turned to boatyard owner Manuel Goularte, a native of the Portuguese Azores. The model was the double-ended salmon boat sailed so successfully on the Sacramento and Columbia rivers.

A boat-building style that originated in Italy and the Mediterranean can also be seen in Butcher Boy, said Ashley, a style then favored by first-generation Italian fishermen in San Francisco Bay.

‘The gaff rig originated with the 15th-century Dutch,’ Ashley said. ‘Even though she was built as a work boat, she was beautiful, really special even in her own time.’

‘Everybody around the bay stops to look at her now. It’s like she’s sailing out of a Winslow Homer painting.’

Framed in oak and planked in cedar, Butcher Boy is 29 feet, 11 inches long, with an 81/2-foot beam. The mainsail and jib carry 604 square feet of sail.”

If you are curious, and want to see historical photos of Butcher Boy under sail, and a detailed description of the restoration work now being done, please read the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s blog by clicking here.

A sign that describes a ship saw, recalling how this one was used to help build the Spanish galleon replica San Salvador.
A sign that describes a ship saw, recalling how this particular one was used to build the Spanish galleon replica San Salvador.
Lots of lumber!
Lots of lumber!
I took this photo of the unrestored Butcher Boy two and a half years ago for another blog post. At the time it was on display on the barge behind the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s steam ferry Berkeley.
Photo of the Butcher Boy's restoration in progress, taken one August 2018 morning at San Diego's Spanish Landing.
Photo of the Butcher Boy’s restoration in progress, taken one August 2018 morning at San Diego’s Spanish Landing.

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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