More history at the Golden Hill Fountain Grotto.

Last month the Friends of Balboa Park installed a new information sign at the Golden Hill Fountain Grotto. The sign provides a good description of the fountain grotto’s history in Golden Hill Park. The community park, with views of downtown and Florida Canyon, is located in the southeast corner of much larger Balboa Park.

Five years ago I posted photos of the grotto on my now dormant blog Beautiful Balboa Park. You can read what I wrote and see those photographs here. I walked to the grotto again last weekend to check out the newly installed sign.

The sign explains how Golden Hill Park, developed in 1889, was the site of San Diego’s first playground. The Golden Hill Fountain Grotto was a decorative park installation designed in 1907 by Henry Lord Gay. He was also responsible for downtown San Diego’s Western Metal Supply Co. building, which is now a part of Petco Park.

Henry Lord Gay “created a sunken garden grotto built of stone and concrete with twin cobblestone stairways curving down to a sheltered fountain and seating area in a rugged canyon…Stones evoke mystery, creativity and contemplation; flowing water signifies life, and pathways lead out to the open sky…”

You can see in my photos how the fountain was made to appear like a natural spring whose pool trickles down into a hollowed rock.

Sadly, I observed evidence of homelessness and drug use in the secluded grotto. These tragic problems have become widespread in San Diego. Trash, graffiti and a burnt out fountain is probably not what Henry Lord Gay and the early residents of our city envisioned.

The Golden Hill Fountain Grotto is over a century old and is, according to the information sign, Balboa Park’s oldest designed feature.

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 Alfred Haines House in Golden Hill.

Yesterday my long walk included a stretch through Golden Hill. As I headed back down E Street, I enjoyed viewing the handsome exterior of the historic Alfred Haines House.

This renowned Craftsman-style home, built in 1908 for San Diego Judge Alfred Haines, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Master Architects William, Charles and Edward Quayle designed the house.

The Quayle Brothers are responsible for many other notable structures in San Diego, including the Neo-Classical style Salt Lake and Union Pacific Building, which used to stand east of the Organ Pavilion during the 1915 Panama‐California Exposition. They designed the North Park Theatre in 1928 and the San Diego Police Department in 1939. They also designed San Diego’s historic Balboa Stadium (originally called City Stadium) for the Panama-California Exposition. It was the second concrete stadium built west of the Mississippi River.

If you want to see photos of the Alfred Haines House’s very elegant interior, click here!

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The times they are a-changin’ in Golden Hill!

Check out this fun, very colorful mural splashed on the west side of Influx Cafe in Golden Hill!

The mural, designed by Randall Christopher and painted by Grand Prestoz, was completed in August, 2019.

THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN’ . . . EVERYONE EVERYONE
LOST SOMEWHERE IN THE MENTAWAIS

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A look at the historic Hayward-Patterson House.

During my walk through Golden Hill last weekend I passed dozens of charming old Victorian homes.

Golden Hill and adjacent Sherman Heights seem to have the greatest concentration of Victorian houses in San Diego. In the late 1800’s and very early 1900’s, many of the city’s elite residents built houses in these then-fashionable neighborhoods just east of downtown. The hillside locations offered panoramic views of the city and San Diego Bay.

As I walked down Broadway, I noticed one beautifully restored structure had a plaque indicating it was the Hayward-Patterson House, City of San Diego Historical Landmark No. 85.

A little online research shows the Italianate-style house was built in 1887 by Albert Moses Hayward, an early president of the San Diego Yacht Club and captain of the yacht San Diego. The second owner was Francis Elliot Patterson, a notable photographer and camera store owner who lived in the house for over thirty years.

Various owners followed. It’s currently the office of Finest City Homes and Loans.

As I walked past the Hayward-Patterson House, I snapped a few photographs.

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!

Colorful artwork at Golden Hill fire station!

I love this colorful, very unique public artwork near the entrance of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Station 11 in Golden Hill!

The title of this piece is Signifire. It was created in 1997 by San Diego artist Nina Karavasiles. For outdoor art that’s nearly a quarter century old, it still looks shiny and new!

Signifire, which depicts a fire hose coiled around brilliant flames, is composed of bronze, chrome and glass mosaic. At night the water blue hose nozzle lights up!

Nina Karavasiles has created a variety of other works around San Diego and Southern California. Six years ago I took photographs of her very cool “Recipe for Friendship” at Amici Park in Little Italy. See those photos 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!

Yellow bison on Golden Hill rooftop!

Why is there a big yellow bison standing on the roof of an apartment building in Golden Hill?

You can see this very odd sight on the southeast corner of Broadway and 21st Street.

I spoke to some folks walking across the street. They’ve lived in the neighborhood for ten years. They told me the big yellow bison has been standing up on that rooftop for at least a decade. They guess the building owner must really like bison!

Seems as good an explanation as any!

Does anyone out there know anything about this peculiar sculpture? Leave a comment!

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!

Unusual tower of the Quartermass-Wilde House.

The historic 1896 Quartermass-Wilde House, located in Golden Hill overlooking downtown San Diego, is one of the most fantastic, palatial old houses in our city.

Should you walk by Broadway and 24th Street, you might notice that this Queen Anne-style Victorian mansion, with a Classical Revival influence, has a very unusual tower. The top of the tower is shaped like a dome!

Why?

Because Louis J. Wilde, Mayor of San Diego from 1917–1921, loved architect Irving Gill’s elegant 1910 Broadway Fountain so much that he had the tower of his mansion altered to resemble it!

Louis J. Wilde was a controversial mayor, banker, oil tycoon, developer and part owner of the US Grant Hotel. His donation of $10,000 helped to build the Broadway Fountain in Horton Plaza Park, directly across Broadway from the US Grant. (He was also responsible for changing the name of D Street to Broadway!)

I’ve read the cupola under the tower’s dome provides an amazing panoramic view of downtown San Diego!

The 1910 Broadway Fountain at Horton Plaza Park. The fountain, with its unique watery dome supported by classic Corinthian columns, was designed by architect Irving Gill.
The top of the tower of the historic 1896 Quartermass-Wilde House in Golden Hill was altered by Mayor Wilde years later to resemble the Broadway Fountain that he loved in downtown 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!

The Cosmic Flight of a world-famous muralist.

Cosmic Flight, a mural in Golden Hill by San Diego muralist Mario Torero.
Cosmic Flight, a mural in Golden Hill by San Diego muralist Mario Torero.

A mural titled Cosmic Flight decorates the east side of Golden Hill Liquor at the corner of 28th Street and B Street. The mural was painted in 1978 by Mario “Torero” Acevedo, whose work can be seen all around San Diego. Over the decades Cosmic Flight has been touched up, altered due to graffiti, then restored. As you can see in the above photo, it has been vandalized again.

Mario Torero is the son of renowned Peruvian artist Guillermo Acevedo who immigrated to San Diego in 1960. The life of a Bohemian was already in Mario’s blood as he and a few others local artists strove to develop a creative community in San Diego decades ago. In 1980 he opened the Sol Arts Gallery in Golden Hill across the street from the Cosmic Flight mural, the corner where Starbucks is today.

Mario Torero frequently uses cosmic imagery and expressive faces in his colorful compositions. His themes typically revolve around the civil rights movement and Chicano activism. He has been instrumental in the founding of important cultural centers in San Diego, including Chicano Park and the Centro Cultural de la Raza. A prolific and important creator of activist art, he has achieved international fame.

I walked past Cosmic Flight yesterday and was struck by the mural’s grouping of faces, which are filled with subtle emotion, including quiet pride and confidence. That’s the powerful element I like most in Mario Torero’s artwork. The humanity.

Over the years I’ve photographed a variety of other murals by Mario Torero around town.

Good examples include Cosmic Train of Wisdom in University Heights, a mural depicting civil rights leaders on Imperial Avenue, the Que Viva Barrio Logan mural, and a couple of murals I spotted during a long walk through Sherman Heights.

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!

Nicholas Danger paints a cool new mural!

Today I went on a super long, absolutely amazing walk. (Lots of blog posts are on the way!)

Look what I stumbled upon as I headed homeward through Golden Hill. Nicholas Danger, one of San Diego’s most prolific street artists and muralists, was painting a cool new mural on a patch of front lawn!

If you recognize his style, that might be because many photographs of his street art have appeared on my blog over the years. One of his recent murals that I photographed was created for Vespa Motorsports, which you can see here!

You can also see a photo of him painting a mural in North Park during the 23rd Annual San Diego County Credit Union Festival of Arts here!

Nicholas Danger is the name that Nicholas McPherson goes by, and how he signs his artwork. I met him only briefly this afternoon, but he was a really nice guy and let me take a photo of his latest creation.

If you want to learn more about his art, check out his website 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!

Inspiring street art in Golden Hill.

Many colorful butterflies seem to have landed atop an electrical box in Golden Hill, forming a heart.
Many colorful butterflies seem to have landed atop an electrical box in Golden Hill, forming a heart.

Walk down one particular sidewalk in Golden Hill and you might find this inspiring street art.

The messages painted on the electrical box are simple but powerful.

Inspiring street art reveals the sun's bright message . . . Still I rise.
Simple, inspiring street art reveals the sun’s bright message . . . Still I rise.

I am riding a rainbow with a bow and arrow. Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.
I am riding a rainbow with a bow and arrow. Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.

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!