Visiting the Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center in Poway.

Once a month, every third Saturday, the Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center in Poway opens to the public.

Today I enjoyed a tour of the archaeological site and its educational visitor center. I was surprised to find so much history preserved in this small island of natural beauty just off Poway Road.

Poway is derived from the Native American Kumeyaay word Pauwai, which means the shape of an arrowhead or the merging of two creeks. A short distance to the south is Poway Creek.

As you will see in the following photographs, a small Kumeyaay village of approximately 20 families once lived on the hill that I and my docent tour guide, Heidi, explored.

The Kumeyaay people have lived in this region for at least 10,000 years. These first people had their lives severely disrupted with the arrival of Europeans in 1769. Today, descendants of those who lived in Pauwai are members of the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians.

Please enjoy the following photos to get a taste of what you might discover when you visit. Read the captions for a few of the things I learned.

Are you a local history or anthropology enthusiast? Or a community-minded person who loves the outdoors? The Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center is always looking for volunteers!

Check out their Facebook page and learn about the special days and hours when you can visit here.

Sign at the end of Ipai Waaypuk Trail, south of Poway Road, where there is parking.
Kiosk welcomes visitors to an important historical site.
My tour guide Heidi starts up stairs that lead to short looping trails.
At the Replica Village in a clearing stand several recreated Kumeyaay ewaas. These are shelters made of sycamore or willow tree branches, covered with cattails or baccharis, and tied with yucca or agave fiber string. These replica ewaas are old and need to be refurbished. The Kumeyaay would refresh their watertight ewaas regularly. A grinding stone, or metate, lies nearby.
This nearest ewaa was recently reconstructed. Volunteers who’d like to maintain this special place are welcome!
Heading up to the top of the hill along a very short, moderately steep section of trail.
I’m shown Wild Cucumber. Like many native plants, it had various practical uses. Seeds ground into a powder by the Kumeyaay were added to pigments to create rock art. The crushed roots, when tossed into water, would paralyze fish!
In the distance we could see Mt. Woodson, Iron Mountain, and Cuyamaca Peak. Depending on the season, the Kumeyaay would migrate east to the mountains or west to the Pacific Ocean coast.
One of several outdoor ramadas built for visitors to the Interpretive Center. Historical ramadas erected by the Kumeyaay were shady places for village activities and ceremonies.
It was thought that rock art might be found on these monumental boulders crowning the hilltop, but a thorough study using modern technology detected no traces.
A wise Kumeyaay observer found in this rock formation a whale, a turtle, and the head of a dolphin. Do you see them?
A nearby fire pit once used by the Kumeyaay villagers.
Soot remains in this natural rocky oven. A crack in the rear conveniently served as a flue for smoke.
Cooking stones would be heated in the fire, then placed in baskets to prepare food.
Many small broken pottery sherds have been found near this primitive kitchen.
At the top of the hill are very deep grinding holes, or morteros, where acorns were ground for thousands of years. After being reduced to powder, the acorns would be leached of tannic acid and cooked into a mush called shawii.
A important cultural site representing thousands of years of indigenous history in Poway.
A Coast Live Oak beside the trail. One of several types of oak trees in the San Diego region. Acorns were a staple of the Kumeyaay diet.
As I and my tour guide walk back down the trail, another group heads up toward the hilltop.
A hollow Elderberry branch. Not surprisingly, these were used to make musical instruments such as flutes.
Some of the rugged natural beauty that we enjoyed.
At another ramada replica, we saw a series of genuine metates that Third Grade students can use during educational field trips! These metates were rescued during road construction many years ago and were donated to the Interpretive Center.
There is much to learn about Kumeyaay tools, food, basket weaving, pottery and more!
Third Grade students use these small stones to paint their own rock art!
We head into the building at the Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center to learn even more!
Look at all the smiling docents!
Dorothy M. Tavui was a Kumeyaay friend who helped to establish the Interpretive Center in Poway.
Shelves full of artifacts that kids can explore and handle to learn about Kumeyaay life.
A willow basket full of acorns. The long conical acorns are from Coast Live Oaks. The big acorns are from Black Oaks in the Cuyamaca Mountains. They were the largest and tastiest! The abalone shells you also see were obtained from the coast and often used as trade items.
Old photo of a 6 foot tall willow basket! Acorns would be gathered in season to last the entire year.
Sandals made of natural plant fibers.
I learned this is a seed beater! It’s being demonstrated on dried blooms of sage.
A beautiful mural inside the Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center in Poway shows what village life was like here for many thousands of years. By artist Brigitte Lopez, 2012.

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!

Faces of Excellence appear at City College.

A new mural has been painted downtown at San Diego City College. The artwork celebrates Excellence at Dr. Constance M. Carroll Plaza.

Dr. Constance M. Carroll has served as San Diego Community College District’s chancellor from 2004 to 2021.

Photographs from stages of the inspirational mural’s creation show how faces of excellence emerged after careful design.

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!

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!

Wings of Inspiration at the Ramona Library.

A very beautiful metal sculpture stands in front of the Ramona Library on Main Street. It’s called Wings of Inspiration.

The sculpture is dedicated to M. Elyse Kuhn, President of the Friends of Ramona Library, who passed away in 2015.

Literacy gives everyone the means to soar. That was the idea expressed by the local artist, Leslie Souza. You can read more about Wings of Inspiration, and the efforts of Marion Elyse Kuhn to see the Ramona Library built here.

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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!

Build an easy compost bin and grow worms!

Look what I learned yesterday! How to easily build a compost bin and grow worms!

Two super friendly ladies at the Ramona Country Fair showed me how its done. They were at the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation booth, displaying ways people can bring environmental sustainability to their homes.

The Solana Center has a great website with lots of informative resources. Check it out here. You can even become a Master Composter! They have a wide variety of educational programs and host sustainability events all around San Diego County. They also feature special programs for schools and businesses.

Okay. Are you ready? To compost in a small yard, apartment or condo, all you need is a couple of plastic storage bins with holes drilled a certain way. And some shredded paper. And some starter worms. Then begin adding food scraps to your vermicompost bin.

You’ll end up with excellent potting soil, plus lots of wiggly bait for fishing, if that’s your thing!

For the exact step-by-step details, check out the instructions I photographed below! (You might be able to read the words more easily by using a computer, rather than a phone. Open the images in a new tab and they’ll enlarge somewhat.)

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!

Historical uniforms inspire a Fashion Redux!

Anyone in San Diego who is interested in history, fashion, or the evolution of fashion should visit the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

A new exhibit opened on Sunday titled Fashion Redux 2021. Collaborating with the History Center, inspired by four plain-looking late 19th to mid 20th century woman’s uniforms, students from Mesa College’s Fashion Program have designed similar but more contemporary clothing!

The four articles of clothing in the museum’s collection that were considered by the students are: a WWII Uniform, Navy Nurse Corps, c. 1940s; a ZLAC Rowing Uniform, c. 1895; a Girl Scout Uniform, c. 1919; and a Knights of Columbus Uniform, c. late 19th or early 20th century.

Just seeing those old uniforms in the San Diego History Center is interesting in itself, but to see how fashion design students have chosen to alter century-old styles provides a glimpse into the creative human mind, and perhaps a sense of our culture’s present day aesthetic tastes.

The exhibit allows visitors to compare the different clothing in detail, and learn about the talented students who are participating in this Fashion Redux.

Here is some of what you’ll see…

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!

Read books this summer, win free prizes!

Do you love to read? This summer you can win all sorts of free prizes simply for reading!

The San Diego Public Library’s 2021 Virtual Summer Reading Program is underway! Children, teens and adults can sign up! By reading or completing a variety of fun activities, you earn badges, which can be redeemed for prizes!

Prizes include passes for the San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego Model Railroad Museum, and The New Children’s Museum. Or yummy food at Panda Express. Or a book full of crossword puzzles, sudokus and word finds. Or a bonus bundle of comic books!

You’ll also be entered into a Grand Prize raffle drawing! (I don’t know what the Grand Prize is, but I’m sure it’s awesome!)

I was walking through Chicano Park this morning, waiting for the big Danza event to begin, when I met these smiling ladies representing the library. They told me about the summer literacy program, which is called Reading Colors Your World.

If you or someone you know might like to participate, better sign up now, because the program ends on August 31, 2021.

Visit the City of San Diego web page concerning this Summer Reading Program by clicking here!

Bike Coalition and muralist show love in City Heights!

Have you noticed a super colorful shipping container in City Heights? In a corner of the lot east of I-15, north of University Avenue? I found out its purpose yesterday!

The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, working with Love City Heights, has created this cool little bike workshop, where they have a bicycle mechanic apprenticeship program. Donated bikes are repaired and given away to residents of the community!

I learned the shipping container was painted for free by muralist Erick Delarosa, who believes in showing love for others. That’s why he signs his work ShoLove! Learn more about him and his other work by clicking 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!

Lowriders gather for Chicano Park Vive!

Chicano Park Vive! is a series of festive events taking place this summer in Barrio Logan. Families and neighbors gather in Chicano Park for entertainment, cultural enrichment, food and fun. The community events promote “Healing, Educating and Leading.”

Today the theme was lowriders!

I arrived in the early afternoon and was wowed by all the cool vehicles displayed by several lowrider clubs. Dozens of amazing lowriders lined the street, well beyond Chicano Park.

Another simultaneous event, called the Viva La Frida celebration, was taking place along Logan Avenue, making the entire area feel like one huge party!

Chicano Park Vive! is brought to the community by the Turning Wheel Project, the Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center, the Chicano Park Steering Committee, and The San Diego Foundation.

I noticed the Turning Wheel Project was featuring their mobile classroom, which I visited a couple years ago in Chula Vista. You can see what I discovered back then by clicking here!

Today I learned that the Director of The Turning Wheel Project, Alberto López Pulido, PhD, Professor of Ethnic Studies at University of San Diego, wrote a book concerning our city’s lowriders! It’s titled San Diego Lowriders: A History of Cars and Cruising. You can find that book here!

I was told by the professor himself that next Sunday about a hundred dancers will be performing at Chicano Park Vive! The theme will be danza. You can bet I’ll be there!

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!