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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More fascinating doors around San Diego!

Here’s another batch of fascinating door photographs!

I have a little extra time indoors this wintry morning, so I’m going through some old photos in my computer. These images were collected in the past month or so during walks all around San Diego.

You might notice many of the ornate wooden doors are in a Mexican style that is popular in Southern California.

The unmistakable front doors of the iconic California Building in Balboa Park, home of the Museum of Us.
Huge door to the downtown power substation that was designed by famed architect Richard Requa.

If you want to learn more about the above building, which sort of resembles a castle, click here.

Strange service door on curved side of the Portside Pier restaurants on the Embarcadero.
Unique door to El Chingon in the Gaslamp Quarter.
Unusual door I spotted during a walk somewhere.

The next four doors were all observed on Congress Street in Old Town. I really like these…

Finally, the last two doors can be found among the International Cottages in Balboa Park…

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!

Images of the pandemic tragedy downtown.

As I walk around San Diego, I try to find what is uplifting and keep a positive attitude. But these photographs from the past few days aren’t happy. They show tragic aspects of the long COVID-19 pandemic nightmare.

Throughout downtown San Diego it seems time has stopped. It seems the life of my city keeps draining away.

It’s now December and I still see posters for events scheduled last March or April. I see hundreds of boarded windows and a steadily increasing number of For Lease signs. I see people avoiding people. I see more and more who are homeless. And now we’re told a second lockdown in San Diego is imminent.

They tell us this terrible pandemic will finally end in the coming months as vaccines are distributed. But for the time being the tragic scene downtown seems to only worsen.

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!

Chalk art supports Rady Children’s Hospital.

Look at the beautiful chalk art that I spotted this morning! It was created a day or two ago on Fifth Avenue in the Gaslamp by local artist Cecelia Linayao, whose work you’ve seen in many posts on my blog.

I learned upon reading words at my feet that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and that the artwork’s purpose is to support Rady Children’s Hospital. Rady is where children throughout San Diego go to be treated by world-class doctors with the most advanced medicine.

If you are inspired by the story of two young brothers told by this chalk art, then please visit the Rady Children’s Hospital donation page by clicking here. You can also volunteer!

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!

New mural painted at Vin de Syrah.

Yesterday I stumbled upon something very cool!

I was heading through the Gaslamp Quarter up Fifth Avenue when I noticed a new mural was being painted. An artist was working in the outside stairwell entrance of Vin de Syrah, a “hidden” subterranean wine parlor. Over the years, I’ve noticed that new murals appear in this stairwell every so often, but until I performed a little research today I hadn’t known where these steps led.

In the past, fantastic murals that I’ve seen at the entrance to Vin de Syrah have often included elements from Alice in Wonderland.

When I noticed the muralist at work below, I looked down and said hello, but it didn’t appear that she heard me. Her style seems familiar, but I can’t identify the artist. I have a hunch I’ve photographed the work of this artist elsewhere in San Diego!

Today I walked past this new Vin de Syrah mural and took the following photograph:

UPDATE!

I’ve learned the artist is Delilah Strukel. Check out her Instagram page 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!

Downtown readies for the Padres’ playoffs!

It’s been an unusual year in Major League Baseball. A shortened season and unusual rules because of the COVID-19 pandemic . . . and the San Diego Padres are in the playoffs! For the first time since 2006! And the Friars are widely considered one of the favorite, most exciting teams, too!

Restaurants, bars and shops in downtown San Diego have begun to put out signs, banners and merchandise in anticipation of the first playoff series against the St. Louis Cardinals, which begins at Petco Park with Game 1 tomorrow afternoon. And I noticed Padres employees and team players are getting ready at the ballpark, too!

I walked around Petco Park and the Gaslamp Quarter this afternoon to see what I might see. Check it out!

Big video screens have been erected in the Lexus Premier Lot next to Petco Park. Fans who've purchased special tickets will be able to watch playoff games together from the safety of their cars.
Big video screens have been erected in the Lexus Premier Lot next to Petco Park. Fans who’ve purchased special Padres Postseason Watch Party tickets will be able to enjoy playoff games together from the safety of their cars.

I noticed a couple of buses were parked by Petco Park. Did they drive all the way from St. Louis?
I noticed a couple of buses were parked next to Petco Park where visiting teams arrive.

Padres employees round a corner of Petco Park getting everything ready for the start of the MLB postseason.
Padres employees round a corner of Petco Park in San Diego’s East Village getting everything ready for the start of the MLB postseason.

Fans were enjoying a nice afternoon at Gallagher Square, watching Padres batting practice from a distance.
Fans were enjoying a nice afternoon at Gallagher Square, watching Padres batting practice from a distance.

National League Wild Card graphic splashed on the video screen that faces Gallagher Square.
National League Wild Card graphic splashed on the video screen that faces Gallagher Square.

A photographer captures images of the Padres during batting practice.
A photographer captures images of the Padres during batting practice.

My small camera caught a pitch on the way, player ready to swing!
My small camera caught a pitch on the way, with the batter ready to swing!

Banner on high balcony overlooking Petco Park's outfield proclaims: Let's Go Padres.
Banner on high balcony overlooking Petco Park’s outfield proclaims: Let’s Go Padres.

Bub's At The Ballpark has several banners out. Go Padres!
Bub’s At The Ballpark has several banners out. Go Padres!

UNION Kitchen & Tap Gaslamp has a SLAMDIEGO Special: The Padre Burger with a pint of Ballast Point Friar Ale!
UNION Kitchen & Tap Gaslamp has a SLAMDIEGO Special: The Padre Burger with a pint of Ballast Point Friar Ale!

Several shops in the Gaslamp have Padres apparel out on display.
Several shops in the Gaslamp have Padres apparel out on display.

Another example!
Another example!

Okay, here’s something really cool. I’d left the Gaslamp and was walking up Sixth Avenue toward home when I noticed the door of Centre City Sports Collectibles was open. So I stepped inside.

Wow! My eyes almost popped out of my head! If you’re a sports collector or enthusiast and you haven’t checked this place out, you need to pay a visit! The place is jammed floor to ceiling with so many collectibles that I don’t know how Henry, the proprietor, keeps track of it all. And by the way, he’s a really nice guy!

He called the stacks and stacks of stuff in every direction a mess, but I’m not sure why. The place is like sports fan heaven!

He let me take a few 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!

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 colorful walk from Tuna Harbor to East Village.

People walk and jog along San Diego's Embarcadero near Tuna Harbor.
People walk and jog along San Diego’s Embarcadero near Tuna Harbor.

I did a lot of walking last Saturday! Downtown, Barrio Logan, San Ysidro… If I’m a little less active this weekend, it’s because my poor old legs are still sore!

Please enjoy some photos I took Saturday morning as I headed from Tuna Harbor on San Diego’s Embarcadero to 13th Street in East Village. I passed through Ruocco Park, walked a short stretch down Harbor Drive past Kansas City Barbeque, then turned east on Market Street.

Many of these sights you might have seen in the past on my blog. I did photograph a few new things, however, including the whale street art by Nicholas Danger, some Gaslamp Quarter historical artwork, and a very colorful mural by Pandr Design Co. Read the captions!

The photos you will see are the last I’ve taken with the old Canon Powershot that launched Cool San Diego Sights. Over the course of seven years my trusty friend must have recorded hundreds of thousands of images. But alas, its shutter began to stick and there have been other problems (which you might have already noticed), so I finally bought a shiny, much newer version Powershot, which I already love!

I hope my new camera successfully documents many more walks!

A couple hangs out by the Fish Tree, by artists Zbigniew Pingot and Toby Flores.
A couple hangs out by the Fish Tree, by artists Zbigniew Pingot and Toby Flores.

A vendor was selling lots of colorfully decorated Día de los Muertos skulls.
A vendor on the boardwalk was selling lots of colorfully decorated Día de los Muertos skulls.

Whenever I hear this friendly street musician playing beautiful music, I pause for a bit to listen.
Whenever I hear this friendly street musician playing beautiful music, I rest for a bit on a nearby bench to listen.

Ruocco Park on a late summer's day is very green and inviting.
Ruocco Park on a late summer’s day is very green and inviting.

I'm about to walk through some unique public art titled The Riparium, by artist Roman de Salvo.
I’m about to walk through some unique public art titled The Riparium, by artist Roman de Salvo.

Historical marker indicates the location of the San Diego Barracks from 1850 to 1921.
Historical marker indicates the location of the San Diego Barracks from 1850 to 1921.

Kansas City Barbeque is where a couple of great scenes from Top Gun were filmed.
Kansas City Barbeque is where a couple of great scenes from Top Gun were filmed.

Street art by Mindful Murals, cool people I once met. I saw how they painted positive messages at Edison Elementary School's playground.
Street art by Mindful Murals, cool people I once met. I saw how they painted positive messages on handball backboards at Edison Elementary School’s playground.

Looks like some leaves are turning along Market Street.
Looks like these sunlit leaves along Market Street are turning, anticipating autumn.

Geometric street art near scooters parked in a neat line.
Geometric street art near scooters parked in a straight line.

Someone walks past this fun street art by Nicholas Danger, another cool local artist!
Someone walks past this fun street art by Nicholas Danger, another cool local artist!

Plaque in the sidewalk on Market Street recalls major renovations that were made in the once-seedy Gaslamp Quarter in 1981.
Plaque in the sidewalk on Market Street recalls major renovations that were made in the once-seedy Gaslamp Quarter in 1981.

A mixture of Gaslamp history and present day entertainment in one photo.
A mixture of Gaslamp history and present day entertainment in one photo.

As I passed Fifth Avenue, the hub of San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter, I turned my camera south to take a picture.
As I passed Fifth Avenue, the hub of San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter, I turned my old camera south to take a picture.

The I.O.O.F. Building was built by the Masonic and Odd Fellows Lodges in 1882. Its cornerstone contains a stone recovered from Solomon's Temple!
The I.O.O.F. Building was built by the Masonic and Odd Fellows Lodges in 1882. Its cornerstone contains a stone recovered from Solomon’s Temple!

Eating on the street during the coronavirus pandemic.
Eating on the street during the coronavirus pandemic.

Artwork on a Gaslamp Quarter utility box shows historical photo of the San Diego Mercantile Co.
Artwork on a Gaslamp Quarter utility box shows historical photo of the San Diego Mercantile Co.

Here's a relatively new mural on Market Street that I noticed before but failed to photograph.
Here’s a relatively new mural on Market Street that I noticed before but failed to photograph.

This colorful WOW mural is by Pandr Design Co., who've done work all over San Diego. Their artwork can also be found at various Major League Baseball stadiums!
This colorful WOW mural is by the artists of Pandr Design Co., who’ve done work all over San Diego. Their artwork can also be found at various Major League Baseball stadiums!

Sculpted dog holds open a shop door.
Sculpted dog holds open a shop door.

There's some construction along Market Street as I approach 13th Street.
There’s some construction along Market Street as I approach 13th Street.

I'm greeted by this face on the construction site fence!
I’m greeted by this face on the construction site fence!

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 golden sunrise walk through downtown.

The sun was newly risen this morning as I walked through downtown. I meandered through East Village and the Gaslamp Quarter, and eventually ended up at the Convention Center trolley station.

Slanting rays of early sunlight reflected from the windows of surrounding buildings. Warm light slipped down sleepy streets and alleys, painting a golden morning.

Early morning golden light touches a face inside a window of the Sparks Gallery.
Early morning light illuminates face inside a window of the Sparks Gallery.

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!