The corner lit by San Diego’s first gaslamp!

The very first gaslamp that lit downtown San Diego was located in today’s Gaslamp Quarter. But where?

Stand at the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and F Street, and you’ve found the location!

You’ll be standing next to the historic Marston Building. A plaque on this interesting old building reads:

Marston Block, 1881

In 1881, George Marston located his third department store in this two-story Victorian Italian-style building. It remained here until 1896 when it was relocated to a larger building. Until the 1970s, Marston’s was the largest and most successful San Diego-based department store and was purchased by Broadway Stores. The building suffered severe fire damage in 1903, and had to undergo extensive remodeling. The first gaslamp was placed on this corner in 1885, and on March 16, 1886, the first electric arc lamp was illuminated outside this building.

If any of you remember visiting the Marston Department Store as a young child, it was most likely Marston’s final location, in a large four-story, neo-Renaissance building on C Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue. That building was demolished years ago. To learn more about George Marston’s various stores in San Diego, click here.

To view a historical black-and-white photo of Marston’s 1881 store–the location of San Diego’s very first gaslamp–click here.

As you can see, things have changed quite a bit in nearly a century and a half!

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!

Comic-Con Shrine returning for 2021!

The San Diego Comic-Con Shrine is returning for 2021!

Just like last year, when Comic-Con was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a fun, free, semi-spontaneous, fan-centric celebration of the popular arts will be taking place during Comic-Con week just outside the Tin Fish restaurant. You know, in Gaslamp Square, the public plaza across from the convention center, next to the trolley station. There will be cosplay, chalk art, a blood drive . . . even nightly dance parties!

I saw a couple of banners at the Tin Fish this morning and took the next photo. It looks like Dude Vader and the Science Fiction Coalition will once again be a big part of the Shrine experience.

While San Diego Comic-Con was cancelled again for health reasons in 2021, a Special Edition of Comic-Con will be coming to the convention center this November.

If you live in San Diego, make sure to check out the Comic-Con Shrine this summer from July 23-25. I see they have a website here!

Meanwhile, enjoy a sample of the photographs that I took last year at and near the Shrine…

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!

A few quirky photos in the Gaslamp.

I took these few odd photographs in the Gaslamp Quarter last Sunday. They had absolutely nothing to do with Mother’s Day. But they were too good to toss into the Recycle Bin.

I’m not sure what theme might connect these photos, except for general quirkiness. (Is that a word?)

I apologize if the Newsbreak or Opera News App is showing this silly little blog post and you’re expecting hard hitting news. I have yet to cover any crimes or political scandals. None that I can recall.

I’m just a guy who walks around San Diego photographing various things I see. It’s all mostly for fun.

Enjoy a laugh!

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 morning walk downtown on Mother’s Day.

This morning I took a quiet walk around downtown San Diego.

As I got started, it seemed an ordinary Sunday morning. A bit of May gray . . . very light traffic . . . city dwellers gathering on sidewalks for coffee . . . families lining up for a special weekend treat at the Donut Bar . . .

Passing through the Gaslamp Quarter, I saw that many friends and families were already enjoying a Mother’s Day breakfast at outdoor tables. Others were perusing Gaslamp Artisan Market booths along Fifth Avenue.

During my modest journey, I paused to aim my camera at the old Hard Rock Cafe’s fading mural, a forlorn Saturday night drink, and a mysterious fire escape.

Then I noticed a colorful little pop-up flower cart with a smiling person beside it!

Mother’s Day flowers!

To all the Moms out there: Happy Mother’s Day!

To those with loving Moms, cherish them.

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!

Gaslamp gets ready for St. Patrick’s Day.

I walked through the Gaslamp Quarter this afternoon and noticed several bars, eateries and shops are ready for St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow! All sorts of Irish green could be seen as I walked down the sidewalk.

(Unfortunately, I also noticed numerous places appear to have closed permanently, most likely due to the prolonged COVID-19 lockdowns.)

Lucky’s shamrock isn’t green, but apparently it’s lucky anyway!
I’m not sure if that’s a case of green beer, but it seems worth a video, anyway!

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 look at the historic Tom Ah Quin Building.

The Tom Ah Quin Building stands at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Island Avenue in San Diego’s Asian Pacific Thematic Historic District. It was built in 1930 by Thomas A. Quin, the son of Ah Quin, Chinatown’s founder and unofficial mayor.

The Quin Building is in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, an architectural style that became popular in San Diego and Southern California after the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park. According to the Historic Building plaque by its entrance, the top part of the Quin Building had two apartments, and the street level contained a storefront and storage space.

A larger structure directly attached to the north side of the building, which was also built in 1930 by Thomas Quin, is called the Casa de Thomas Addition. It has been used by various businesses over the years, including the Empire Garage and Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Company (Convair). I’ve included a photo of that plaque for you to read as well.

Today both the Quin Building and the Casa de Thomas Addition are home to downtown San Diego’s popular FLUXX Nightclub.

You can see a portrait of the Ah Quin family and learn more about San Diego’s old Chinatown by clicking here!

(If you’re curious about that very fancy looking building to the left in the above photo, that’s the Horton Grand Hotel. I blogged about it over seven years ago, when Cool San Diego Sights was just getting started. Learn about how the Horton Grand Hotel is supposedly haunted 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!

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!

Walking downtown on an ordinary day.

If you wonder why so many Cool San Diego Sights photographs are taken downtown, it’s because that’s where I live! And where I do most of my walking.

Even on an ordinary day, there’s so much activity and so many interesting things to see downtown that my small camera is constantly aiming this way or that.

The first three photos you see here were taken on ordinary days in the past few months. The images have been sitting idle in my computer.

The remaining photos were taken this morning as I walked from Cortez Hill down Seventh Avenue, then meandered a bit through the Gaslamp Quarter.

Looks like the above photo was taken around the holidays–I see a red ribbon. While I love City Pizzeria, I believe I captured this image in front of Valentine’s Mexican Food as I waited for combo number one.

Okay, here come the photos from this morning…

A second photograph that includes pizza in neon! Apparently it’s a word that grabs my attention.

The interesting combination above also caught my eye!

Every walk is different.

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!

Amusing sayings outside Rockin’ Baja!

Worrying works! 90% of the things I worry about never happen.

Here’s are a few photographs that might amuse you!

I was walking through the Gaslamp Quarter past Rockin’ Baja Lobster this morning when I noticed a number of funny sayings posted around their outdoor street dining area.

Some of these sayings almost seem wise. Others–not so much…

If it weren’t for the last minute nothing would get done.
Two wrongs…are only the beginning.
It’s bad luck to be superstitious.
I can resist everything but temptation.
Laws of gravity strictly enforced.
Friends may come and go but enemies accumulate.

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 look at the Woolworth Building in the Gaslamp.

Many fascinating old buildings stand in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. Many were built in the late 1800’s during one of the city’s early booms.

I always enjoy looking at the 1886 Woolworth Building as I walk along Fifth Avenue south of Broadway. Not because its architecture is particularly unique or interesting. No, I see that word Woolworth near the rooftop and vague memories from my very early childhood flash inside my aged brain.

I recall how my parents would take me shopping at a Woolworth’s, and how I would always be treated to an ice cream at the store’s stainless steel lunch counter and soda fountain. Memories can be funny. Don’t ask me where this Woolworth store was. All I really remember is standing before all that ice cream, and always choosing Rocky Road.

So what happened to the F. W. Woolworth Company and their immense chain of retail stores? They morphed into Foot Locker! (Regrettably, I’m pretty sure most Foot Lockers don’t serve ice cream.)

Since you might have some difficulty reading the weathered plaque near the entrance to the Woolworth Building, I’ve tried to transcribe it correctly:

Woolworth Building, 1886. Originally Victorian in its architecture, this brick and wood frame building was used for retail stores on the first floor, offices on the second, and furnished rooms on the third. In 1922, Frank W. Woolworth, founder of the five-and-dime stores, had the building remodeled. The original Victorian bay windows were removed, and four Corinthian pilasters were added to a gray granite facade. Woolworth leased the structure for 50 years.

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!

More historical photos on Gaslamp sidewalks!

It’s hard to believe, but today is New Year’s Eve. 2020 has been a year for the history books, to say the least!

What better time to share interesting photos from San Diego’s history?

A year ago I blogged about downtown electrical boxes along Fifth Avenue that feature old photographs from the Gaslamp Quarter. See them here.

During subsequent walks I’ve observed that more boxes on nearby streets have been decorated with similar photographs.

These examples were discovered on sidewalks throughout the Gaslamp!

Horton Plaza Park features the iconic 1910 Broadway Fountain, designed by Irving Gill. The unique fountain incorporated the first successful use of colored lighting and water.

If you’d like to see photos of Horton Plaza Park’s redevelopment in 2015, including the fountain and the park’s many historical monuments, click here.

Bum was San Diego’s beloved town dog in the 1880’s. He was a great friend to everyone in the city.

If you’d like to see a sculpture of Bum, San Diego’s famous town dog, and learn more about his history, click here!

In 1887, the people of San Diego were thrilled to see circus elephants parading down city streets!
San Diego’s first meter maids began to enforce parking violations in 1953.
The 1894 Mercantile Building was typical of Victorian commercial business of the era. It housed the Ingersoll Ice Cream and Confectionary, and a Japanese art goods emporium.
Ah Quin was the unofficial mayor of Chinatown. He arrived in San Diego in 1881.

To learn more about Chinatown’s history, see my blog post concerning the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum here.

The Downtown Celebrates electrical box in the Gaslamp Quarter includes a photo from the 1941 Soap Box Derby in San Diego. The 1946 winner, local boy Gil Klecan, was featured on the cover of Life Magazine. Another photo is of Joan Embery, world-famous spokesperson for the San Diego Zoo.

To see photos of the 2014 All-American Soap Box Derby, which was held in nearby Sherman Heights, click here!

To see photos of a 2016 Bonita Museum exhibit titled My Animal World concerning Joan Embery, which highlights her many guest appearances with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show, click here!

Happy New Year!

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