Here’s a photo of an unrestored vintage trolley car. It belongs to the San Diego trolley and one day will run on downtown’s Silver Line loop!
One vintage car has already been beautifully restored and is running during special hours. I’ll try to get a good pic of it one of these days.
Five cars are scheduled for restoration. They are relatively elegant post-war Presidents Conference Committee (PCC) cars, which ran in the city until 1949. Some would like to see these revitalized cars run up a new trolley line from downtown along Park Boulevard to the San Diego Zoo and beyond. It makes sense to me. Balboa Park and the zoo would be more easily reached by out-of-town visitors.
Streetcars have been a part of San Diego history since the 1890’s. The first were open-air coaches pulled by mules and horses. Eventually, electric streetcars ran from downtown to Hillcrest and east through many local communities, including North Park, Kensington and East San Diego. With the rise of the motorcar, they vanished. That is, until the modern red trolleys began service in 1981.
This photograph was taken at the 12th and Imperial trolley station, right next to the train and MTS trolley yard. You can see the tall bayside Hilton hotel in the background.
Here’s another fun pic taken during a recent walk down B Street. A law enforcement teddy bear collection drive has filled several windows of the downtown Merrill Lynch building with warm fuzzy cuddly cuteness! I’m guessing that some less fortunate kids in San Diego are in for a bit of unexpected love!
While walking to the Fifth Avenue trolley station yesterday morning, I passed the window of the Donut Bar on B Street. They’d just filled it with the day’s freshly-baked yummy treats and were preparing to open for business. I almost began to drool right there on the sidewalk!
The Donut Bar is frequently listed as one of the top doughnut shops in the entire country! Wow!
Look at these folks enjoying a walk across the new Harbor Drive bridge, over trolley and train tracks, on the way from the San Diego Convention Center and waterfront Hilton toward Petco Park. It’s hard to believe this incredible sports stadium is already ten years old. It seems like it was built only yesterday!
Should you ever attend a Padres baseball game, you’ll be treated to views of glistening downtown skyscrapers beyond the outfield, not to mention beautiful weather and lots of friendly fans.
Here’s a cool pic I converted to grayscale:
Here are a couple more similar pics taken in April of 2015…
Just a few quick pics. In the above one you can get a glimpse of the underground entrance to the Lyceum Theater, home of the San Diego Repertory Theatre. In the photograph’s center are the main stairs that sweep upward into the Horton Plaza shopping center. The red building to the left has walkways on each level that provide fantastic views of the mall’s colorful, surprising interior.
During my walks I’ve taken many pics inside Horton Plaza. I’ll blog about that one day!
Here’s a bonus pic I happened to take many months later…
Here’s a much better look at the obelisk in question. (See my last blog post.) It thrusts out of the ground right in front of Horton Plaza, marking the underground entrance to the Lyceum Theater. Animals of the water, land and air, fashioned out of colorful tiles, frolic together in a mosaic beneath a smiling crescent moon!
This playful work of art and the beautiful architecture of the building behind it is just a small hint of the fun that awaits visitors inside the Horton Plaza shopping mall!
The lady in this ticket booth in front of Horton Plaza seems unconcerned that a dark silent person looms ominously beside her! That person, in the form of a statue, is Ernest Hahn. He’s a famous San Diego developer and the driving force behind the popular Horton Plaza shopping mall.
What you see in the first pic is a colorful scene near the entrance of Horton Plaza. An obelisk with a tile mosaic juts out of the underground entrance to the Lyceum Theater, which is home of the San Diego Repertory Theatre. The domed building in the upper left corner of the photograph belongs to the Balboa Theatre.
Across from the statue of Ernest Hahn is a bronze representation of Alonzo Erastus Horton, a gold miner, shop owner, and finally an influential real estate developer in the second half of the 19th century. He purchased cheap land for development adjacent to San Diego Bay where ships docked, well south of the established settlement below the old Spanish presidio. Alonzo Horton’s New Town had supplanted Old Town in importance by the beginning of the 20th century.
The third statue stands a bit to the west, on the other side of Horton Square. You can find it in the shade of a tree. The figure is Pete Wilson, who served as San Diego mayor from 1971 to 1983. He went on to serve as United States Senator and governor of California.
Many years later I took a photo of a plaque at the feet of Pete Wilson…
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The historic El Cortez Hotel, now converted into condominiums, has been an iconic landmark in San Diego since 1926. Decades before gleaming skyscrapers rose to shape our modern skyline, the El Cortez dominated Cortez Hill and was the city’s tallest building.
The large sign on top, illuminated at night, brightly flashes the sequenced letters of “El Cortez” like a beacon out of the past. The El Cortez years ago had the world’s very first outside glass elevator. Known as the Starlight Express, the elevator brought visitors to the hotel’s penthouse restaurant, which featured amazing views of the growing city and the bay below. The hotel also had the world’s first motorized moving sidewalk!
I live several blocks from this wonderful building and love to gaze at it whenever I walk or drive past!
In downtown San Diego, on Kettner and A Street not far from Little Italy and the Santa Fe Depot, you might spot this old advertisement painted on a building wall. It promotes Dr. Pepper and Hires Root Beer. According to some googling I’ve done, the colorful artwork was revealed when an adjacent building was demolished. Looks to me like this building was a soda bottling plant years ago.
This large mural on the Arte Building on Sixth Avenue has become iconic in downtown San Diego. It was painted in 1989 by artists Kathleen King and Paul Naton and conveys a strong pro-multicultural message. Time has somewhat faded the once bold mural, but it still catches the attention of those venturing through the heart of the city.