Beautiful tile murals at Vons in Coronado.

I love these three tile mosaic murals decorating the front of Vons in Coronado! You can spot them as you head down Orange Avenue.

I believe this artwork appeared in conjunction with the recent Vons remodel. The grocery store expanded into the old Cora Mart building space next door.

Several colorful scenes include an abstract Hotel del Coronado and kites in the blue sky, presumably pulling unseen kiteboarders across the ocean.

Who out there knows more about these murals?

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Dragon Tree recalls movie at Hotel del Coronado.

Not far from the front entrance to the Hotel del Coronado grows a tree you might have seen in a classic movie.

It’s the Dragon Tree, which appears briefly in the 1958 comedy Some Like it Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon.

Here’s a page on the Hotel Del’s website about the filming of Some Like it Hot. In the movie the world-famous Victorian beach resort is called the Seminole Ritz.

When I was walking around the Hotel del Coronado late last month, I noticed the unusual Dragon Tree and then a nearby plaque…

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Penelope awaits Odysseus at Coronado Tidelands Park.

In 2019, this sculpture of Penelope, from Greek mythology, was placed beside the boardwalk in Coronado Tidelands Park.

The bronze head of Penelope gazes across the water toward the Coronado Bridge and South Bay, as if awaiting the return of her husband Odysseus. Odysseus (the Romans called him Ulysses) was fated to wander from adventure to adventure after the Trojan War.

I guess I hadn’t walked this way for over three years, because I didn’t notice Penelope here before. But I did see this same sculpture many years ago. It stood for a while just north of Seaport Village, where Ruocco Park was eventually developed.

The amazing work of public art was created by artist Michael Stutz in 2009. (Looking at his website, I note he also created the Flame Flower in front of the Westin Gaslamp, which you can see here.)

I love the artist’s representation of Penelope. The mask-like face, gazing out over San Diego Bay, appears windblown but firm. The sculpture evokes human patience, anticipation, nobility…

Weaving by day, Penelope would be forced to choose a…

…new husband when her tapestry was complete. But all…

…the while she waited, unraveling her work by night…

…steadfastly sure of Ulysses’ return.

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The Knot is tied beautifully in Coronado.

Have you seen this interesting public art in Coronado? It was installed earlier this year. You can find it north of the Coronado Community Center, on the walkway beside the Glorietta Bay Marina.

The simple but beautiful bronze sculpture is titled The Knot. It’s by James Albert Wood. Created in 2004, The Knot is described as an artistic portrayal of life’s transitions.

That makes me think. The tying of a knot is a transition, as is the untying of a knot.

The sculpture entices eyes to follow its short length through space. The bending curve is sort of like a journey in life. We are continuously moving and turning, in transition, forming ties with the world around us and with others we meet.

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Pelicans made of sand take flight in Coronado!

Pelicans made of sand live inside the Coronado Community Center!

This extraordinary art is found on a wall near the community center’s front desk. The bas-relief sandcast sculpture of pelicans taking flight was created by artist Charles R. Faust, whose incredible work can be seen all around San Diego.

A short biography of Charles Faust is on a nearby plaque. Not only did he cast many beautiful, highly detailed sand sculptures like this at his Ocean Beach studio, but he worked as Architectural Design Director for the Zoological Society of San Diego. He came up with the idea for open air animal enclosures at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Wild Animal Park.

There are some great Faust panels inside the lobby of the “Mister A’s building” in Bankers Hill. They tell the history of San Diego. You can see those here.

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Art by the Numbers in beautiful Coronado!

When I stepped into the Coronado Community Center yesterday, I was pleased to encounter beautiful works of art. The first that I’ll share is titled 92118 – Art by the Numbers.

The community’s five digit zip code is painted on five wood boards in classic postcard fashion, with iconic Coronado sights inside each number, and the words: Somewhere over the Rainbow…Dreams really do come true!

Why over the rainbow? During many winters The Wonderful Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum rented a Coronado house where he wrote several Oz novels. His Emerald City, it is said, was inspired by the architecture of the Hotel del Coronado.

As the artwork’s plaque explains, 92118 – Art by the Numbers was a project involving the Coronado High School Visual Arts Department. The colorful panels were completed by members of the public during Coronado’s big 92118 Day Celebration.

The iconic Hotel del Coronado.

Sailboats on the water, and the long, curving Coronado Bridge across San Diego Bay.

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The Naked Warrior stands in Coronado park.

In Coronado, at the water’s edge in Glorietta Bay Park, just south of the boat ramp, stands The Naked Warrior. South of the sculpture and its nearby park benches one can see Naval Amphibious Base Coronado stretching into San Diego Bay.

Beneath the feet of the bronze sculpture is a plaque and the words FIRST ASHORE.

THE NAKED WARRIOR

Artist: John Seward Johnson II

THIS WORLD WAR II COMBAT SWIMMER COMMEMORATES THE U.S. NAVY’S UNDERWATER DEMOLITION (UDT) AND SEA, AIR AND LAND (SEAL) TEAMS. THEY HAVE TRAINED AND HAVE BEEN BASED IN CORONADO SINCE 1946. THESE “NAKED WARRIORS” SWAM UNARMED ONTO HEAVILY DEFENDED ENEMY BEACHES WITH EXPLOSIVES TO CLEAR THE WAY FOR AMPHIBIOUS LANDINGS, HENCE THEIR MOTTO “FIRST ASHORE.” THE CONCRETE “SCULLY” ON WHICH THIS FROGMAN STANDS IS TYPICAL OF THE UNDERWATER OBSTACLES THEY RISKED THEIR LIVES TO DESTROY. THEIR LEGACY OF “NEVER QUIT,” WHILE EXECUTING THE MOST DIFFICULT MILITARY MISSIONS FOR OUR COUNTRY, IS STILL IMBUED IN EVERY NAVY SEAL WHOSE UNIFORM BEARS THE NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE TRIDENT INSIGNIA. ON THE BEACHES JUST SOUTH OF THIS SITE, BASIC UNDERWATER DEMOLITION/SEAL TRAINING (BUD/S) GOES ON YEAR ROUND. THE SAILORS WHO COMPLETE BUD/S GO ON TO ADVANCED TRAINING AND ARE THEN ASSIGNED TO U.S. NAVY SEAL TEAMS, BECOMING THE ELITE WARRIORS OUR COUNTRY RELIES UPON FOR COMPLEX AND NO-FAIL SPECIAL OPERATIONS MISSIONS WORLDWIDE.

DONATED TO THE CITY OF CORONADO BY
THE NATIONAL NAVY UDT-SEAL MUSEUM
THE NAVY SEAL FOUNDATION

DEDICATED NOVEMBER 11, 2016

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Holiday decorations outside Hotel del Coronado.

As one might expect, beautiful holiday decorations surround the elegant Hotel del Coronado this year. The world-famous Victorian beach resort always seems to go all out to make guests and more casual visitors like me feel special.

Let’s walk around the Hotel Del and look at Christmas trees, wreaths, festive lights, the seasonal ice rink, and even two sand sculptures on the nearby beach!

(The only imperfection I observed is a few of the poinsettias in the next photo had been knocked or blown over.)

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Coronado’s surprising role in submarine history.

It’s widely known that Coronado’s North Island is the birthplace of naval aviation. But did you know that shortly before World War I, Coronado was also home to a training school for submariners?

Camp Richardson, which was located on a block of First Street just north of the Ferry Landing, served as the homeport of the United States’ very first Pacific Submarine Fleet. This is one of many interesting facts you’ll learn should you enjoy A View from the Periscope, which is the current exhibit at the Coronado Historical Association‘s museum.

A View from the Periscope focuses primarily on twenty-eight works of art. The Coronado Historical Association’s website explains how these pieces of artwork from the Naval History & Heritage Command’s Navy Art Collection are on loan for the exhibition. Throughout the museum gallery visitors can view paintings of submarines in different settings and their working crews. The website further explains that many of the artists featured are affiliated with the Navy’s Combat Art Program, which places artists on board navy ships on duty and in combat.

But there’s much more to discover in this exhibition! When I walked through it a few days ago, what interested me most were displays that concern local history.

Not only did I learn about short-lived Camp Richardson, but I was surprised to read how the submariners in training, as they practiced diving and firing torpedoes, would put on pre-announced shows in San Diego Bay for tourists staying at Coronado’s Tent City!

I was also surprised to learn that a Coronado artist, a member of the San Diego Fine Arts Guild, was instrumental in successfully camouflaging naval vessels during World War II.

His name was Dayton Brown. His novel approach to camouflage involved mimicking the natural environment, eventually utilizing only two color shades like Haze Grey or Ocean Gray.

Until I visited this exhibition, I had no idea!

A View from the Periscope continues through January 2023.

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Memories preserved at Coronado’s history museum.

A wall inside the Coronado Historical Association’s fascinating museum features the stories of many Island Icons. Natives and long-time residents of Coronado have been interviewed by volunteers of the historical association, to preserve important oral histories for posterity.

I discovered this wall during my recent visit to the Coronado Historical Association’s museum on Orange Avenue. If you’d like to see it, too, venture into their auditorium, where an hour-long documentary film regarding the history of Coronado is shown on a continuous loop. (The film is outstanding and well worth viewing.)

The Island Icons archival project began in 2020. Every month, a new addition to these recorded memories is featured in the Coronado Eagle & Journal’s Coronado Magazine, and added to this wall in the museum.

Reading these words, you’ll be magically transported back in time. You’ll visit the Hotel Del Coronado and ride the ferry many decades ago, when the town was smaller and more intimate.

You’ll ride the old Coronado Beach Railroad streetcars, have fun at one of the two long-vanished bowling alleys, or perhaps at the long-vanished miniature golf course. You’ll walk and ride bikes and play on streets with no traffic lights, before the bridge to San Diego opened in 1969, changing everything.

You’ll read stories about life during the Great Depression and World War II.

If you know someone who has interesting stories about their life in Coronado, you can nominate them for an interview here!

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