Grass grows again at historic Lane Field!

Lanefield Park under construction at corner of Broadway and Harbor Drive.
Lanefield Park under construction at corner of Broadway and Harbor Drive.

This morning I walked past a huge project under construction at the corner of Broadway and Harbor Drive. I’m a tall guy, so I could easily peer over the surrounding fence.

The site of historic Lane Field is green with beautiful new grass!

It’s been many years since this hallowed spot in downtown San Diego needed a periodic mowing. I don’t recall ever seeing anything here but a large ugly asphalt parking lot. But once upon a time, half a century ago, this corner on San Diego’s waterfront featured a ballpark where the Pacific Coast League Padres played to large, enthusiastic crowds.

In 1925 the site was established as a Navy athletic field; it was also used for motorcycle and auto races. In 1936 the Works Progress Administration rebuilt the field to accommodate baseball. On March 31 of that year the first game was played, and the Padres beat Seattle 6-2. Lane Field would remain open for 22 exciting seasons.

Today, the old location of Lane Field is undergoing another transformation. It soon will feature a new hotel and public park. The 2-acre Lanefield Park includes a small grassy area shaped like a baseball diamond. As I gazed and took photos over the fence, I also noted a monument at home plate and a nearby plaque. Check out the above pic!

Here are two more pics I snapped early this morning…

New grassy park at site of Lane Field, where Pacific Coast League baseball Padres played.
New grassy park at site of Lane Field, where Pacific Coast League baseball Padres played.
New hotel being built next to Lanefield Park on San Diego's Embarcadero.
Hotel being built next to Lanefield Park on San Diego’s Embarcadero.

Lastly, here’s a pic of a cool mural on 11th Avenue not far from Petco Park, the present home of the Padres.  The photo mural shows the construction of Lane Field in 1936. As you can see, the ballfield was located right next to the bay!

East Village street mural shows photo of Lane Field under construction in 1936.
East Village street mural shows photo of Lane Field under construction in 1936.

UPDATE! The park, which now seems to be officially called Lane Field Park, is open! Here are some pics…

Lane Field Park is now open on San Diego's Embarcadero.
Lane Field Park is now open on San Diego’s Embarcadero.
A small part of the park resembles a baseball diamond with flat pitcher's mound.
A small part of the park resembles a baseball diamond with flat pitcher’s mound.
A monument and plaque commemorate original Lane Field in downtown San Diego.
Monument and plaque commemorate original Lane Field in downtown San Diego.
Legendary player Ted Williams of the Padres advises hitters to get mad.
Legendary player Ted Williams of the Padres advises hitters to get mad.
Lane Field Ballpark Site 1936-1957. First home of the PCL San Diego Padres.
Lane Field Ballpark Site 1936-1957. First home of the PCL San Diego Padres.

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Timeline shows history of San Diego’s Embarcadero.

Images around a new pavilion near Broadway Pier show history of the Embarcadero.
Images around a new pavilion near Broadway Pier show history of the Embarcadero.

San Diego’s Embarcadero has undergone some major renovations. One of the new pavilions still under construction near the Broadway Pier features a large display that provides a timeline of the area’s history. Notable developments along the waterfront through the passing years are documented with historical photographs.

While many of these images concern more recent events, it still makes a fascinating visual time capsule. Here are some pics that I took!

1542: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo claims San Diego Bay for Spain. He named it San Miguel Bay.
1542: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo claims San Diego Bay for Spain. He named it San Miguel Bay.
1913: San Diego's Broadway Pier makes its debut. It certainly looks different today!
1913: San Diego’s Broadway Pier makes its debut. It certainly looks different today!
1930s: Baseball played across street. Lane Field was home of Pacific Coast League Padres.
1930s: Baseball played across street. Lane Field was home of Pacific Coast League Padres.
1962: San Diego Unified Port District is established.
1962: San Diego Unified Port District is established.
1970: Broadway Pier gets a makeover. A cruise ship terminal is added.
1970: Broadway Pier gets a makeover. A cruise ship terminal is added.
1976: North and South Embarcadero Marina Parks are dedicated.
1976: North and South Embarcadero Marina Parks are dedicated.
1980: Seaport Village becomes the newest San Diego attraction.
1980: Seaport Village becomes the newest San Diego attraction.
1985: North Embarcadero's Crescent area between Coast Guard station and Grape Street renovated.
1985: North Embarcadero’s Crescent area renovated.
1985: Princess Cruises bases its "Love Boat" in San Diego.
1985: Princess Cruises bases its “Love Boat” in San Diego.
1988: San Diego Yacht Club successfully defends America's Cup.
1988: San Diego Yacht Club successfully defends America’s Cup.
1989: San Diego Convention Center opens.
1989: San Diego Convention Center opens.
2003: First of six Urban Trees art exhibits along the Embarcadero.
2003: First of six Urban Trees art exhibits along the Embarcadero.
2007: Seward Johnson's Unconditional Surrender statue goes on display near USS Midway.
2007: Seward Johnson’s Unconditional Surrender statue goes on display near USS Midway.
2009: A record-breaking cruise ship season!
2009: A record-breaking cruise ship season!
2010: Port Pavilion opens on Broadway Pier. It's been over four years already! Time flies!
2010: Port Pavilion opens on Broadway Pier. It’s been over four years already? Time flies!
2011: America's Cup World Series regatta takes place on San Diego Bay.
2011: America’s Cup World Series regatta takes place on San Diego Bay.
2011: North Embarcadero Project (Phase 1) passes.
2011: North Embarcadero Project (Phase 1) passes.
2012: North Embarcadero Visionary Plan breaks ground nearby.
2012: North Embarcadero Visionary Plan breaks ground nearby.
2012: Ruocco Park immediately north of Seaport Village is dedicated.
2012: Ruocco Park immediately north of Seaport Village is dedicated.
2012: Port of San Diego turns 50 years old.
2012: Port of San Diego is 50 years old.
2013: San Diego's historic Star of India tall ship turns 150 years old.
2013: San Diego’s historic Star of India tall ship turns 150 years old.
2014: Lots of cool waterfront improvements opened, including this pavilion!
2014: Lots of cool waterfront improvements opened, including this pavilion!

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Founders of Balboa Park linger in Sefton Plaza.

Kate Sessions, the Mother of Balboa Park, holds a pine cone by the grass.
Kate Sessions, the Mother of Balboa Park, holds a pine cone by the grass.

Balboa Park is bursting with cool sights wherever you go. If you’ve ever driven or walked along El Prado a short distance west of the Cabrillo Bridge, you’ve probably seen some slightly larger than life sculptures of people standing on either side of the street. Sefton Plaza, located at the intersection of El Prado and Balboa Drive, is the location of these four bronze sculptures.

On the south side stands a representation of horticulturist Kate Sessions holding a trowel and pine cone. Often called the Mother of Balboa Park, she was instrumental in creating the park’s many lush gardens and groves of trees. The sculpture stands among a variety of beautiful plants including species she introduced in the early years of the park.

The three lifelike sculptures on the north side of Sefton Plaza, an area called Founder’s Plaza, represent Ephraim Morse, Alonzo Horton and George Marston. These three were the visionaries who orginally conceived Balboa Park, then worked tirelessly to create it.

Ephraim Morse, an early settler and promoter of San Diego, and Alonzo Horton, a land speculator responsible for downtown San Diego’s current location, proposed in 1868 that the new city park occupy 1,400 acres. The sheer size of the park was simply amazing, considering San Diego at the time had a mere 2,300 residents! George Marston, often called the Father of Balboa Park, was a prominent department store owner who personally funded the park’s design. To turn the grand vision into reality, he hired the former superintendent of New York City’s Central Park, Samuel B. Parsons Jr. The park’s construction began in 1903 at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Date Street. (Just a three minute walk from where I live! I love it!)

The four wonderfully realistic bronze sculptures were created by local artist Ruth Hayward. She intentionally made them about 10% larger than life, so they’d appear slightly imposing.

Balboa Park, which began as a grand idea in the minds of just a few people, today is the nation’s largest urban cultural park!

During her life, Kate Sessions created gardens and landscapes for all to enjoy.
During her life, Kate Sessions created gardens and landscapes for all to enjoy.
Bronze sculpture stands on footpath between Cabrillo Bridge and Sixth Avenue.
Kate Sessions lingers on footpath between Cabrillo Bridge and Sixth Avenue.
More pine cones fill a shallow box at Kate Sessions' booted feet.
More pine cones fill a shallow box at Kate Sessions’ booted feet.
Lifelike sculptures of Ephraim Morse and Alonzo Horton in Founder's Plaza.
Lifelike sculptures of Ephraim Morse and Alonzo Horton in Founder’s Plaza.
Two of Balboa Park's early advocates survey their awesome creation.
Two of Balboa Park’s early advocates survey their awesome creation.
Founders Plaza gifted to the James Dayton North Family 1868.
Founders Plaza gifted to the James Dayton North Family 1868.
Near Morse and Horton, George Marston sits on a wall, enjoying the surrounding beauty.
Near Morse and Horton, George Marston sits on a wall, enjoying the surrounding beauty.
George Marston is remembered today as the Father of Balboa Park.
George Marston is remembered today as the Father of Balboa Park.
Bronze sculpture sits comfortably next to its hat by a small pool of water.
Bronze sculpture sits comfortably next to its hat by a small pool of water.

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Improvements on North Embarcadero celebrated!

Roving lady stilt walker with parasol welcomes people to Broadway Pier celebration.
Roving lady stilt walker with parasol welcomes people to Broadway Pier celebration.

I really enjoyed checking out a special event around the Broadway Pier today. San Diego’s bayfront is in the middle of a very large-scale multi-year renovation, and the completion of the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan Phase I was marked this afternoon with a public celebration!

The big Port Pavilion on the pier itself and various improvements and new structures around the foot of the pier have added color, new life and functionality to an area popular with both tourists and locals. A once narrow sidewalk is now a broad promenade, with lots of fun and exciting new features. There are new benches, shady pavilions, beautiful landscaping and other welcome amenities.

I’ll post some of my better photos, and you can enjoy a bit of what I saw…

San Diegans check out a revamped part of the North Embarcadero.
San Diegans check out the newly revamped section of the North Embarcadero.
Benches along Harbor Drive are festive today for the celebration
New benches along Harbor Drive are festive today for the celebration
Musicians at foot of Broadway Pier entertain folks for the Port of San Diego.
Musicians near entrance to Broadway Pier entertain folks for the Port of San Diego.
A crazy magician wowed young and old on the action-packed pier today.
A crazy magician wowed young and old on the action-packed pier today.
Exactly who are you pointing at!
Exactly who are you pointing at?
New tables and chairs provide great view of the bay at end of Broadway Pier.
New tables and chairs provide great view of the bay at end of Broadway Pier.
Brave souls soar down a zip-line with a docked cruise ship in background.
Brave souls soar down a zip-line with a docked cruise ship in background.
A kids fun zone featured a very cool Seal Tours amphibious vehicle.
A kids fun zone near the pier featured a very cool Seal Tours amphibious vehicle.
Chalk art created on the pier celebrates San Diego sights and tourism.
Chalk art created on the pier beneath the zip-line celebrates San Diego sights and tourism.
Artist of Mexikota Art works on a canvas south of the pier near Harbor Drive.
Artist of Mexikota Art works on a canvas south of the pier near Harbor Drive.
Folks check out a new sign which features nearby places on the Embarcadero.
Folks check out a new sign which features nearby places on the Embarcadero.
The unique design on this restroom was created by renowned artist Pae White.
The unique design on this restroom was created by renowned artist Pae White. This artwork is titled Birds’ Words.
Art for the North Embarcadero improvement was created by Pae White.
Art for the North Embarcadero improvement was created by Pae White. The pavilion buildings’ glass colors were selected based on how sunlight affects the bay.
Mariachis take a break between performances near one new colorful pavilion.
Mariachis take a break between performances near one new colorful pavilion.
Mural around walls of a pavilion shows timeline of this bustling stretch of San Diego Bay.
Mural around walls of a pavilion shows timeline of this bustling stretch of San Diego Bay.
Both North and South Embarcadero have seen dramatic changes over the decades.
Both North and South Embarcadero have seen dramatic changes over the decades.
More colorful glass artwork incorporated into a new pavilion.
More colorful glass artwork incorporated into a new pavilion along Harbor Drive.
San Diego's waterfront has become more beautiful, user-friendly and interesting!
San Diego’s waterfront has become more beautiful, user-friendly and interesting!

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A shiny new skyscraper. A little old firehouse.

New Cisterra building rises behind Tony Gwynn statue at Petco Park in East Village.
New Cisterra building rises behind Tony Gwynn statue at Petco Park in East Village.

As the local economy has improved, I’ve noticed a spate of new construction underway in downtown San Diego. Several skyscrapers are on the rise!

Last weekend I walked past the rapidly progressing Cisterra building which will overlook East Village. It stands just a block north of Petco’s Park at the Park. The future home of gigantic Sempra Energy, the high-rise is being built directly next to one of San Diego’s most interesting old buildings: Fire Station 4. The beautiful little firehouse is San Diego’s oldest, dating from the 1930’s. Once the shiny new skyscraper is completed, the two buildings side-by-side will create quite a contrast!

New skyscraper in San Diego to be headquarters of Sempra Energy.
New skyscraper in San Diego to be headquarters of Sempra Energy.
Steel, glass and reflections make for interesting photos.
Steel lattice, glass grid and odd reflections make for an interesting photo.
Construction of this gleaming high-rise can be observed in downtown San Diego.
Construction of this gleaming high-rise can be observed in downtown San Diego.
Stately little Fire Station No. 4 beside new modern skyscraper.
Stately little Fire Station No. 4 beside new modern skyscraper.
This is the oldest firehouse in San Diego, in service since 1938.
This is the oldest firehouse in San Diego, in service since 1938.
Fire Station 4, built as a New Deal WPA project, is a designated historical landmark.
Fire Station 4, built as a New Deal WPA project, is a designated historical landmark.
Beautiful old San Diego firehouse at the foot of a shiny new skyscraper.
Beautiful old San Diego firehouse at the foot of what will be a shiny new skyscraper.

Here’s a bonus pic which I took on a morning in early February…

A rising skyscraper shines brightly in the early morning.
A rising skyscraper shines brightly in the early morning.

…and another I took in March…

Fire Station Number 4 at base of silvery, shiny new skyscraper.
Fire Station Number 4 at base of silvery, shiny new skyscraper.

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New public art along downtown trolley tracks.

New public art being applied to building on San Diego's waterfront.
New public art being applied to building on San Diego’s waterfront.

Early yesterday morning, I strolled for a few minutes along San Diego’s beautiful Embarcadero. I wanted to get some photographs to update last year’s blog post about the Star of India’s tattered sails.

While heading back east on Beech Street, I noticed some gigantic public art is being applied to the west side of the relatively new Ariel Luxury Apartments building. This high-rise stands between Santa Fe Depot and the Little Italy trolley station.

I’ve found no info on the internet about this new artwork. Here are some pics!

A red San Diego trolley passes fishermen catching a huge fish!
A red San Diego trolley passes fishermen catching a huge fish!
This new artwork is on the side of the Ariel Luxury Apartments in downtown.
This new artwork is on the side of the Ariel Luxury Apartments in downtown San Diego.

Half a century ago, San Diego was home to the world’s largest tuna fishing fleet! This image of fishermen working together is very similar to a sculpture on Shelter Island, which I have yet to blog about!

Workers on platform busy mounting a gigantic trophy fish to a high-rise building!
Workers on platform mount a gigantic trophy fish to a high-rise building!

I’m not sure what the white stuff is running down the building’s side. I suppose that will be removed when all is done!

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Trees removed from Jungle Trail Canyon.

Canyon in Balboa Park to be site of San Diego Zoo employee parking structure.
Canyon in Balboa Park to be site of San Diego Zoo employee parking structure.

When I recently went on a special tour at the San Diego Museum of Art, my new docent friend expressed concern about an upcoming construction project. We were standing at a window that overlooks Old Globe Way, a short, winding access road that follows the edge of Jungle Trail Canyon directly behind the museum. The road starts behind the San Diego Junior Theatre, passes the rear of the Botanical Building, and finally leads to the back of the Old Globe Theatre. We gazed out the window at many colorful hummingbird feeders dangling from a nearby tree, at trees by the road that were marked with green paint, then beyond the narrow canyon to the back of the famous San Diego Zoo. The small canyon, I learned, was to be converted to parking!

After doing a bit of research for news on the internet, I learned the canyon would be the location of a six level parking garage for zoo employees. The idea is to free up a large amount of space from the zoo’s main parking lot on Park Boulevard. Employees arriving by car usually start their shifts in the early morning, and depart at different times, so traffic problems in the park would be kept to a minimum.  The new structure has been in the planning stage for a long time.

Yesterday my journey through Balboa Park included a stroll down Old Globe Way. I saw that the work had already been started. Fortunately, those green markings on larger trees indicated they were to be saved.

A tree at canyon's edge is mercifully saved.
A tree at canyon’s edge is mercifully saved.
Canyon between Old Globe, art museum and zoo has been mostly unused.
Canyon between Old Globe, art museum and zoo has been mostly unused.
San Diego Zoo amphitheater where squawking birds and other animals perform.
San Diego Zoo amphitheater where exotic birds and other animals perform.
Trees cut down, making way for new road to a long-planned parking area.
Trees cut down, making way for new road to a long-planned parking area.
Hummingbird feeders in a tree directly behind the San Diego Museum of Art.
Hummingbird feeders in a tree directly behind the San Diego Museum of Art.

Here’s one of several identical signs that appeared nearby in November…

Sign posted in Balboa Park explains the Old Globe Way Renovation.
Sign posted in Balboa Park explains the Old Globe Way Renovation.

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