Marker recalls Chinese fishing village on Point Loma.

Historical plaque and artwork at east end of Point Loma's Bessemer Path mark Chinese Fishing and Shipbuilding Site.
Historical plaque and artwork at east end of Point Loma’s Bessemer Path mark an old Chinese Fishing and Shipbuilding Site.

Today I went on a walk along Point Loma’s Bessemer Path, which stretches a short distance along San Diego Bay northwest of Shelter Island. The bayside path offers scenic views of the La Playa Anchorage. I’ll share pictures from this beautiful walk in a little bit.

At the east end of the Bessemer Path, near the intersection of Talbot Street and Anchorage Lane, there’s a bench and historical marker with a plaque, and some artwork in the sidewalk. Together they recall the Chinese village that once was located at this site, on the old La Playa Trail. (You can learn more about the La Playa Trail, the oldest commercial trail in the western United States, here.)

I photographed the plaque which you can read if you’re interested. Click the image and it will enlarge.

I learned that a shipbuilding facility was located at this old Chinese village, where fishing junks were constructed. According to the plaque: “The Sun Yun Lee, shown here, was the finest junk built in all of California. Launched in 1884 on this site, the vessel had three masts and measured 52 feet in length, and 18 feet wide. It was build of redwood with masts and rudders made of ironwood from China…”

You can a little learn more about the Sun Yun Lee and see an historical photo of the Chinese junk in San Diego Bay here.

Plaque describes Point Loma's Chinese Fishing and Shipbuilding Site beside the La Playa Trail. Around 1860 to the early 1890's, the Chinese had a fishing village here.
Plaque describes Point Loma’s Chinese Fishing and Shipbuilding Site, located on the La Playa Trail. Around 1860 to the early 1890’s, the Chinese had a fishing village here.
Artwork in the sidewalk depicts the three-masted Chinese junk Sun Yun Lee, that was built on Point Loma in 1884.
Artwork in the sidewalk depicts the three-masted Chinese junk Sun Yun Lee, which was built on Point Loma in 1884.

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Life returns to Shelter Island!

A busy Sunday at the Shelter Island Launch Ramp.
A busy Sunday at the Shelter Island Launch Ramp.

Life has returned to Shelter Island! How quickly circumstances change!

For several months, during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, San Diego Bay was an inactive blank–virtually no boats, almost no people along its shoreline. But now that society is well along in the process of reopening, appearances have radically changed!

I took a walk around the Shelter Island today. It looked like a typical Sunday in June. People picnicked on the grass, fished from the pier, and launched their boats into the bay.

The playground was closed and some people wore facial protection, but otherwise it felt like just another summer day…

As life returns to Shelter Island, a line forms at the boat ramp.
As life returns to Shelter Island, a line forms at the boat ramp.
Various types of boats are gathered inside the recently renovated launching basin.
Various types of boats are gathered in the recently renovated launching basin.
This boat is heading out into San Diego Bay.
This boat is heading out into San Diego Bay.
These guys are coming in. Pelicans stand on the rail across the water.
These guys are coming in. Pelicans stand on the rail across the water.
A cool little wooden sailboat sets out into the bay.
A cool little wooden sailboat sets out into the bay.
Still working to get that sail up!
Still working to get that sail up!
A sea lion goes from boat to boat hoping for fishing bait leftovers.
A sea lion goes from boat to boat hoping for fishing bait leftovers.
I believe this might be Wally the sociable sea lion. I blogged about him a couple times before. He hangs out here.
I believe this might be Wally the sociable sea lion. I blogged about him a couple times before. He hangs out here.
Today is Flag Day, so this sign works perfectly.
Today is Flag Day, so this sign works perfectly.
The huge Stars and Stripes racing yacht is passing the Shelter Island Pier. I haven't seen it on the bay for a very long time.
The huge Stars and Stripes racing yacht is passing the Shelter Island Pier. I haven’t seen it out on the bay for what seems a very long time.
The pier is filled almost end to end with people.
The pier is filled almost end to end with people.
This gull has landed atop a box at the foot of the pier. It would probably like some leftovers from Fathom Bistro, Bait and Tackle.
This gull has landed atop a box at the foot of the pier. It would probably like some scraps from Fathom Bistro, Bait and Tackle.
A perfect sunny day on the Shelter Island Pier. Across the bay you can see North Island Naval Air Station.
A perfect sunny day on the Shelter Island Pier. Across the bay you can see North Island Naval Air Station.
Somebody caught a little mackerel!
Somebody caught a little mackerel!
Lots of sails in the distance. Beyond them rises downtown San Diego's skyline.
Lots of sails in the distance. Beyond them rises downtown San Diego’s skyline.
Another sail seen from one of the lath shelters along Shelter Island’s Shoreline Park.
Another sail seen from one of the lath shelters along Shelter Island’s Shoreline Park.
Walking, bicycling, sailing... What could be better?
Walking, bicycling, sailing… What could be better?
A bright sailboat about to pass Scripps Institution of Oceanography research vessel Sally Ride. You might remember I took a tour of her when she debuted and blogged about it!
A sailboat about to pass Scripps Institution of Oceanography research vessel Sally Ride. I took a tour of her when she debuted and I blogged about it!

If you want to see what it’s like inside the oceanographic research vessel R/V Sally Ride, which is in the above photo, click 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!

Sportfishing mural seen from Interstate 5.

Drive along Interstate 5 between Mission Bay and Bay Park and you’ll see a huge sportfishing mural. It’s just north of Tecolote Road. Across the west side of the Kleege Industries building, a pair of enormous marlins chase leaping dorados!

I walked up West Morena Boulevard over the weekend to get close-up photos of the mural over a fence.

The artist is Chuck Byron, and the somewhat faded mural was painted in 2003. Sadly, according to my research, that is also the year he passed away.

He painted several large murals in California, Nevada and Mexico.

Chuck Byron was the captain of a fishing boat out of San Diego and a highly regarded fish and wildlife artist. He painted in a style referred to as exaggerated realism. In his San Diego studio he created some really great drawings and paintings, some of which you can see at the Chuck Byron website here.

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Sunlit floats on Grape Street Pier.

This morning, as I walked past the Grape Street Pier in downtown San Diego, a strange bright something caught my eye.

At first I thought I saw gigantic billiard balls!

No, it was early morning light on a cluster of brand new floats.

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!

A huge catch of fish arrives at Tuna Harbor!

This morning, during my walk along the Embarcadero, I paused at Tuna Harbor to watch commercial fishermen unloading a huge catch!

Dozens of what appeared to be bigeye tuna were lifted from the fishing boat by crane and immediately placed in ice-filled containers. A forklift transported the fresh fish to nearby Chesapeake Fish Company, where locally caught seafood is processed, then express shipped to restaurants and stores near and far.

I took a cool photo through Chesapeake Fish Company’s foggy processing viewing window!

If you ate fish today, it’s possible you’re looking at your meal!

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!

A walk in fog along Torrey Pines State Beach.

This morning I arrived at Torrey Pines State Beach very early. About 7:30. A deep, thick fog blanketed the shore and nearby bluffs.

I began my walk around the North Torrey Pines Road bridge that spans the entrance to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. I headed south toward the towering sandstone cliffs.

When I moved from the noisy roadway down to the sand, it became very quiet. Just the sound of distant surf. A couple of stand up paddle boarders were visible through the fog. People were fishing from the sand. People were walking along the beach. Moving through the dreamlike fog. Where minds and hearts, made quiet, can focus.

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A holiday morning in Ocean Beach.

It’s Labor Day. The unofficial last day of summer.

Early this morning I headed to Ocean Beach. There’s no better place in San Diego to people watch.

As the warm sun climbed higher and broke through the morning haze, humanity trickled down Newport Avenue to find breakfast, to surf, or to stake out a spot on the beach or OB pier.

Many shops were closed. Nobody I saw seemed to be in a very big hurry. Even in laid-back Ocean Beach, the day had an easy holiday vibe.

As I walked I took these photos…

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!

Little Italy’s history, culture at Amici House.

Arriving at the historic Amici House, a cultural center in San Diego's downtown Little Italy neighborhood.
Approaching the historic Amici House, a cultural center in San Diego’s downtown Little Italy neighborhood.

In downtown San Diego’s beautiful Little Italy neighborhood, tucked among trees between Amici Park and the popular Little Italy Dog Park, one can find a small house that is named for friendship. It’s called Amici House.

A century ago the Amici House was home to the Giacalone family, who lived in Sicily before their arrival in San Diego in 1916. Antonio Giacalone and his wife, Josephine, became an integral part of the local Italian fishing community. Their modest Craftsman style house was originally located a few blocks to the west, near India Street. Last year the structure was moved to its present location at 250 W. Date Street, in order to make room for the new Piazza della Famiglia.

The historic home, now called the Amici House, has become a gathering place for the present-day community. Sheltered by graceful trees, its shady patio is the perfect place to relax, have a drink and chat with friends. Inside the house one can observe museum-like displays and learn about life in Little Italy, which was home to many immigrant fishermen back when San Diego was considered the tuna fishing capital of the world.

The Amici House is operated by The Convivio Society for Italian Humanities, a nonprofit organization that promotes Italian arts, culture and heritage in San Diego. The house with its intimate patio provides a unique venue for concerts and other entertainment. A variety of community activities such as outdoor movie screenings are often enjoyed in nearby Amici Park. The house can also be rented for private events.

I paid a visit on Saturday afternoon and took a few photos.

This grassy area in front of Amici House will soon be a venue for outdoor entertainment, with its own small stage.
This grassy area in front of Amici House will soon be a venue for outdoor entertainment, with its own small stage.
A group of people exits Amici House. I will be able to explore the place during a quiet moment on a Saturday afternoon.
A group of people exits Amici House. I will be able to explore the place during a quiet moment on a Saturday afternoon.
Steps lead up into the beautifully renovated Craftsman style Amici House.
Steps lead up into the small, renovated Craftsman style Amici House.
At the bottom of the front steps is a table with gifts. Caffè Convivio offers snacks and a few refreshing things to drink.
At the bottom of the front steps is a table with books and other gifts. Caffè Convivio offers snacks and a few refreshing things to drink.
Chairs and tables in front of Amici House provide a pleasant, shady place to relax on a sunny day.
Chairs and tables in front of Amici House provide a pleasant, shady place to relax on a sunny day.
This kinetic fish sculpture is popular with kids.
This kinetic fish sculpture is popular with kids.
After stepping into the small Amici House, I turned around and took a photo of old fishing artifacts above the door.
After stepping into the Amici House, I turned around and took a photo of old fishing artifacts above the door.
Photo into a large mirror on one wall provides a glimpse of the small museum-like interior.
Photo into a large mirror on one wall provides a glimpse of the small museum-like interior.
The walls inside the Amici House are full of historical photos and information concerning Little Italy, once center of a thriving tuna fishing industry.
The walls inside the Amici House are full of historical photos and information concerning Little Italy, once center of a thriving tuna fishing industry.
Posters, old photos and works of art with an Italian theme appear on all sides. I see Frank Sinatra.
Posters, old photos and works of art with an Italian theme appear on all sides. I see Frank Sinatra.
This small exhibition of art features work by sports fan and artist Christopher Paluso.
This small exhibition of art features work by sports fan and artist Christopher Paluso.
Examples of work by accomplished Italian American artist Christopher Paluso.
Examples of work by accomplished Italian American artist Christopher Paluso.
In a wooden cabinet I spied colorful gifts and crafts imported from Italy.
In a wooden cabinet I saw colorful glassware and crafts imported from Italy.
Painting of John D'Acquisto, Italian American baseball player who played four years with the San Diego Padres.
Painting of John D’Acquisto, Italian American baseball pitcher who played four years with the San Diego Padres.
Little Italy has a rich history, including many generations of families that still thrive in the community today.
Little Italy has a rich history, including many generations of families that still thrive in the community today.
I'm shown a rendering of a proposed, much larger cultural center that might be built by The Convivio Society elsewhere in Little Italy.
I’m shown a rendering of a proposed, much larger cultural center that might be built by The Convivio Society in the future.
Meanwhile, the Amici House is a repository of cherished memories for a lively and welcoming San Diego neighborhood.
Meanwhile, the Amici House holds (and produces) cherished memories for a lively San Diego neighborhood.

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A look inside the Portuguese Historical Center.

Anyone interested in the rich history of the Portuguese community in San Diego should visit the Portuguese Historical Center in Point Loma. It’s located at 2831 Avenida de Portugal, in a neighborhood that was home to many immigrant fishermen who came from the Azores, Madeira, and the mainland of Portugal, back in the days when tuna fishing was a major industry in our city.

I took a look inside the center yesterday during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2019 OPEN HOUSE SAN DIEGO.

Every corner of the small museum is jam-packed with history. Shelves are brimming with Portuguese cultural artifacts, and there are photos of notable people, places and events. I saw many references to Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, the Portuguese explorer who discovered San Diego Bay in 1542 on behalf of Spain.

A recently opened exhibit in the Portuguese Historical Center remembers those in the local Portuguese community who have served their country. During World War II, San Diego’s many Tuna Clippers were converted into patrol and supply boats that served the United States military throughout the Pacific Ocean theater. You can learn much more about that fascinating aspect of San Diego history here.

When I visited yesterday, the centerpiece of the museum was a stunning dress worn by the 2018 Festa Queen. The traditional Festa do Espírito Santo is celebrated each year by the community at the nearby U.P.S.E.S. Chapel and community hall. Festa is a Catholic celebration of Pentecost Sunday. During the colorful event a religious procession makes its way several blocks up Avenida de Portugal to St. Agnes Catholic Church.

In front of the Portuguese Historical Center, a shining Tuna Fishing Industry Monument is inscribed with the names of loved ones who’ve become a part of local history. Members of the Portuguese Historical Center also maintain the Tunaman’s Memorial on Shelter Island. You can see photos of that iconic memorial here.

Please enjoy this quick look . . .

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!

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Inside the historic Portuguese U.P.S.E.S. Chapel.

Today I enjoyed a look inside a beautiful Catholic chapel in Point Loma. The historic U.P.S.E.S. Chapel, located on Avenida de Portugal, was open to curious visitors for the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2019 OPEN HOUSE SAN DIEGO.

The small, nearly one hundred year old chapel stands in a neighborhood that once was the home to many Portuguese tuna fishermen. Many families that have descended from these seafaring fishermen still call this part of San Diego their home.

U.P.S.E.S. comes from União Portuguesa Açoreana Sociedade do Espírito Santo, which in English means the United Portuguese Azorean Society of the Holy Spirit.

According to the U.P.S.E.S. website, this building “was completed and inaugurated in 1922. The design of the Chapel is a facsimile of those that exist on the island of Terceira, Azores and follows the design of the chapels of that era. The interior reflects the design of the chapels that were found in the tuna vessels of that era. Today, as it was intended in 1922, the Chapel is used to house the Crown of the Holy Spirit during the Festa do Espirito Santo celebrations. On Pentecost Sunday, devotees of the Holy Spirit visit the Chapel to pray and offer a donation of money or Portuguese sweetbread to assure the continuation of this time honored ethnic religious celebration.”

The chapel stands adjacent to the United Portuguese SES Hall, directly across the street from the Portuguese Historical Center.

After walking up some steps and looking at memory-filled commemorative pavers, I stepped inside the chapel and took photos of its modest, elegantly beautiful interior.

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!