Beautiful sanctuary of historic San Diego church.

Today I visited six truly amazing buildings in Bankers Hill and Balboa Park. All six are featured locations in the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2018 OPEN HOUSE event.

I enjoyed fascinating looks inside architectural gems–special looks the public seldom experiences. I took lots of photos and intend to tour a few more iconic locations tomorrow. So I have a lot of blogging to do the next week or two!

My very first stop this morning was the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego, located in Bankers Hill on Date Street, between Third and Fourth Avenue. The friendly church manager greeted visitors at the front door, and he was very nice to give me a short tour inside the building.

The first thing I learned was that this is actually the First Presbyterian Church’s third structure in San Diego. The initial congregation came together in 1869 in what was then called New Town–now downtown San Diego. The first church structure was built at Eighth and D Streets on land donated by Alonzo Horton. As the membership grew, a second church building was begun in 1887, on property adjacent to the first. Unfortunately the land boom of that time soon came to an end. Somehow that building was completed in spite of financial difficulties.

The present building, the focus of this tour, had its first service in 1913 in the Assembly Room, about a year before the amazing sanctuary was finally completed and this third church was dedicated. Located near the base of Bankers Hill overlooking downtown, the imposing cathedral-like structure incorporates huge stained glass windows that were preserved from the previous building, including the exquisite central panels Christ the Sower.

Sowing seeds of compassion in our community, the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego makes it a point to feed many of the homeless downtown–almost 250 souls every Sunday. These good folks practice what they preach.

Like many grand old churches, the exterior of the present-day building might appear a bit worn by time and weather, but the interior, with its warm wood and glowing stained glass at every turn, seems like a tiny glimpse of heaven.

I must say I was really impressed by the grace, grandeur and beauty of the sanctuary. And the kind smile of my tour guide.

View of the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego from Fourth Avenue. The stained glass window shines its light into a very beautiful sanctuary.
View of the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego from Fourth Avenue. A large, historic stained glass window shines its light into a very beautiful sanctuary.
View of the church's south side along Date Street.
Partial view of the church’s south side along Date Street.
Plaque on building indicates the First Presbyterian Church was erected in 1913.
Plaque on building indicates the First Presbyterian Church was erected in 1913.
An historical photo near the church office shows the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego about a hundred years ago, in what was then considered the outskirts of town.
Historical photo near the church office shows the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego about a hundred years ago, in what was then considered the outskirts of town.
Entering doors that lead to the magnificent sanctuary.
Entering doors that lead to the magnificent sanctuary.

The church's nearly 6,000 pipe Casavant organ rises like rays of silvery light crowning the chancel.
The church’s nearly 6,000 pipe Casavant organ rises like rays of silvery light crowning the chancel.
Heading up some handsome stairs near colorful stained glass. We will emerge on the sanctuary's balcony.
Heading up some stairs near colorful stained glass. We will emerge on the sanctuary’s balcony.

One of the finest examples of stained glass in San Diego shines light into the historic church.
One of the finest examples of stained glass in San Diego shines light into the historic church.
A scene from the Bible, to the glory of God.
A scene from the Bible, to the glory of God.
The likeness of Christ, created in memory of one of the faithful.
The likeness of Christ, in memory of one of the faithful.
A place for religious faith and worship. Amazing beauty inside the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego.
A place for religious faith and worship. Amazing beauty inside the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego.

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!

Play and work, sadness and time.

Youth play soccer in San Diego's Waterfront Park. They are competing today in the Neymar Fives Soccer Tournament. World champs get to meet the Brazilian superstar.
Youth play soccer in San Diego’s Waterfront Park. They are competing today in the Neymar Fives Soccer Tournament. World champs get to meet the Brazilian superstar.

As usual, my walk today provoked a whole range of feelings. The four simple words: Play, Work, Sadness, Time . . . they describe a few photos that I took.

Those basic words we all understand.

Scrambling for the ball. Joy in movement, camaraderie, friendly competition. Youthful ambitions.
Scrambling for the ball. Joy in movement, camaraderie, friendly competition. Youthful ambitions.
Neymar Jr.'s Five soccer competition includes amateur teams from more than 35 countries.
Neymar Jr.’s Five soccer competition includes amateur teams from more than 35 countries.
Recreation on the green grass one promising San Diego morning.
Recreation on the green grass, one promising San Diego morning.
Strolling down the Embarcadero. Pirate Days is coming to the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Let the invasion begin!
Strolling down the Embarcadero. Pirate Days is coming to the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Let the invasion begin!
Containing many pleasures, the Disney Wonder cruise ship is docked in San Diego. Seen from the deck of the Star of India.
Containing many pleasures, the gleaming Disney Wonder cruise ship is docked in San Diego. Seen from the deck of the very old Star of India, where countless lives have been tossed by difficult seas.
Volunteer on Star of India is preparing to hoist this plastic cap up to the top of the foremast, which is open and exposed to the elements.
Volunteer on Star of India is preparing to hoist this plastic cap up to the top of the foremast, which is open and exposed to the eternal elements.
Other volunteers are working hard atop the forecastle. Ships require constant work, constant attention and care.
Other volunteers are working hard atop the forecastle. Ships require constant work, constant attention and care.
Climbing carefully up to the very top of the foremast to apply a protective cap, to prevent exposed iron from rusting, decaying.
Climbing carefully up to the very top of the foremast to apply a protective cap, to prevent exposed iron from rusting, decaying.
A writer sat here. Words purposefully put down . . . or discarded . . . or forgotten. Many thoughts lie alone by a bench near the water.
A writer sat here. Words purposefully put down . . . or discarded . . . or forgotten. Many thoughts lie alone by a bench near the water.
The weathered old hands of a sleeping homeless man.
The hands of a sleeping homeless man.
Time-faded monkeys still cling to the wall of a parking garage on Laurel Street.
Time-faded monkeys still cling to the wall of a parking garage on Laurel Street.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you like to read short pieces of thought-provoking fiction? You might enjoy checking out Short Stories by Richard.

Priest on steps of historic Old Town church.

priest on steps of historic old town church

I was fortunate to get this great photograph while walking past the Immaculate Conception Church last Sunday morning. (Yes, I did a lot of walking last weekend!) It’s located directly across the street from the colorful shop in the previous blog post.

This historic church in Old Town was built in 1917, and its bell tower contains one of two original bells from the centuries old San Diego Mission. The other bell can be found at Mission San Diego de Alcala in Mission Valley.

I believe that’s a Catholic priest by the front steps with his hand on an elderly gentleman. It’s a warm gesture and a beautiful photo!

Here are more pics taken on later dates…

Man looks up at entrance to church.
Man looks up at entrance to Old Town church.
One of the original mission bells.
One of the original San Diego Mission bells can be seen in tower above.

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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!