Altar de Muertos at County Administration Building.

Día de los Muertos is again being celebrated with an altar at the San Diego County Administration Building.

For 2022, the altar has greatly expanded. Composed of many sections, the altar now fills almost half the outdoor plaza on the east side of the building.

Numerous loved ones who’ve passed on are being remembered this year.

I happened to photograph the altars the past two years. Though equally moving, in size they were small compared to the 3rd Annual Altar de Muertos that I observed today.

It appears the Día de los Muertos tradition at the San Diego County Administration Center is strong and growing.

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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!

Looking to the future at SANDAG Community Fair!

What will the San Diego region look like in the future?

Glimpses were provided today of future possibilities during a free family event at Ruocco Park. The SANDAG (The San Diego Association of Governments) Community Fair brought together a variety of public and private entities who are advocating and working for change–primarily when it comes to mass transit.

The projects previewed include a future Central Mobility Hub, which will connect regional transit to San Diego International Airport; a solution to relocate train tracks that run near eroding bluffs in Del Mar; and the upcoming Otay Mesa East Port of Entry. I also saw intriguing plans for a trolley station in Tijuana, Mexico.

Other SANDAG initiatives include advancing digital equity in neighborhoods, the Youth Opportunity Pass Pilot Program of MTS, and the creation of affordable housing.

I saw lots of charts, maps, infographics and smiles. I asked some questions and learned a few things.

I also walked by the kid activity stations, picked up a new bike map, learned about the trails of San Elijo Lagoon, and learned about butterflies, birds and replenishing beach sand.

Then I got some free popcorn and flavored ice, and watched Hanna paint a cool mural, which would eventually depict a scene of San Diego’s beautiful environment.

The SANDAG Community Fair was a great way for the public to interact with those making plans to shape our shared future. Public input, including concerns, were welcome.

And it all was fun, too!

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!

Roaring San Diego opens with historical exhibits!

Roaring San Diego officially opened today in the lobby of the City Administration Building!

Throughout the month of October, the Office of the City Clerk is presenting the 4th Annual Archives Month. In 2022 the event focuses on the history of San Diego a century ago during the Roaring 1920s. The educational event includes an exhibit, lectures at the Central Library, and a very special tour of the City Archives!

I listened this morning as the City Clerk and other notable speakers introduced Roaring San Diego in front of the exhibit inside the City Administration Building.

The archive photographs in the exhibit provide a fascinating window to our shared past. I paused to gaze at notable moments in history, wondering what life might have been like during the 1920s. It was a very different era–and yet people remain people, and you can see the humanity in their faces.

To learn more about Roaring San Diego, and how you can attend a lecture or take a tour of the City Archives, click here!

The City Clerk Archives has been preserving public records in San Diego since 1850.

San Diego City Clerk Elizabeth Maland introduces Roaring San Diego.

San Diego Mission Beach, Opening Day. August 4th, 1925. The historic old wooden roller coaster looks much the same today!

Early Black Firefighters in Logan Heights, circa 1927.

Several dresses in the Roaring San Diego exhibit represent American fashion in the 1920s.

Morena Bridge during the Great Flood in 1927.

People in pose front of Charles Lindbergh’s plane, the Spirit of St. Louis, which was custom built by Ryan Airlines in 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!

Roaring San Diego for Annual Archives Month!

The 4th Annual Archives Month, presented by San Diego’s Office of the City Clerk, is returning in October!

The theme for 2022 is Roaring San Diego. The public will be invited to view exhibits in the lobby of the City Administration Building (202 C Street) that focus on our city’s history during the Roaring 1920s.

In addition, historical lectures by distinguished speakers will be presented at the San Diego Central Library, and there will be very special tours inside the archives!

If you’ve never stepped foot into the City Clerk Archives, in the basement of City Hall, where documents are carefully preserved for posterity, you really should sign up. The archives folks are super friendly and enthusiastic. I went on the tour three years ago and blogged about it here.

I’ve also blogged about two previous Archives Month exhibits that should interest history buffs. You can revisit those old posts here and here.

If you’d like to participate in this year’s Archives Month activities, please check out the City of San Diego webpage by clicking here. Make sure to sign up for the educational lectures that interest you and, of course, the very cool archives tour!

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!

Honorary Tom Hom Avenue in downtown San Diego.

At the intersection of Market Street and Third Avenue in downtown San Diego, you might spot an unusual street sign.

Third Avenue where it runs through the Asian Pacific Historic District is now also called Honorary Tom Hom Avenue.

I noticed the sign the other day while driving down Market Street, so I walked through the neighborhood this evening in order to take a few photographs.

I’ve learned the street sign made its first appearance this February during a public ceremony with many dignitaries.

Tom Hom was a civic leader who worked hard to achieve his successes. In 1963, he was the first person of color to be elected to the San Diego City Council. He later would be elected the city’s deputy mayor, and then only the second Asian American elected to the California State Legislature!

As a politician, Tom Hom used his influence to help get San Diego Stadium built. He also supported the gentrification of the run-down but historic Gaslamp Quarter.

This Wikipedia article details his rich life, including how his family came to California in 1909 on the steam liner SS Manchuria, and how his father named him after Thomas Edison!

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!

Get a Free Tree in front of your home or building!

Looking back west toward downtown. Many jacaranda trees line San Diego's streets. A man waits at a bus stop.

Would you like to have a beautiful, shady “street tree” planted in front of your home or building in San Diego?

There’s a city program called Free Tree SD that will plant a tree in the public right-of-way between your sidewalk and street, if arborists determine its a good spot with plenty of soil, and you promise to water the new tree for several years.

I just learned about this green program and thought some of you might be interested. Learn all the details on the City of San Diego website by clicking 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!

Amazing “hidden” history exhibit about Balboa Park!

There’s an extremely important exhibit in Balboa Park that very few people see. The San Diego City Clerk Archives and Parks and Recreation Department have created a fascinating display of original historical documents concerning the creation and development of San Diego’s world-famous park.

Last weekend, I was poking my nose into the Balboa Park Club building to see if there might be folk dancing in the ballroom, when I spied old letters, maps, petitions, resolutions and photographs on a wall of the grand foyer. I almost missed them in the dimly lit corner!

The exhibit is titled 1,400 Acre City Park – The Journey to Balboa Park.

There are seven parts to the exhibit: Park Idea, 1868; Founding of City Park, 1868; Uses of City Park, 1868-1900; Plantings, 1893-1904; Park Designs, 1891-1905; 1400-Acre City Park Name Change, 1910-1913; and Park Activities Since 1915.

Among the many historical documents, I observed the original 1868 citizens petition for a public park; correspondence to Balboa Park visionaries George Marston and Kate Sessions; a letter from mayor Douglas Gunn to the Common Council; and the Board of Park Commissioners’ 1913 petition to give City Park the name of Balboa Park.

If you’re a San Diego history buff, this extraordinary “hidden” exhibit is a positively must see!

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Perhaps, a sculpture at County Operations Center!

A very creative sculpture rises between government buildings at the County of San Diego Operations Center in Kearny Mesa. It’s titled Perhaps.

Perhaps you’d enjoy some fun photos of Perhaps!

The sculpture was created by award-winning London-based artist Zadok Ben-David in 2012. The giant human form, made of hand plasma cut Corten steel, is composed of tiny joined figures in countless different poses.

So many potential activities in life. The complex story of every life is written by moment to moment choices.

Hmm. Perhaps…

If you’re wondering about the white fenced area near the metal legs of Perhaps, according to a sign it will be a small County of San Diego demonstration garden.

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 surprising old Ramona Town Hall.

During my recent visit to Ramona, I walked down Main Street past the old Town Hall building and took a few photos.

Several plaques on the stately building provide a glimpse of its rich history. I was completely surprised to learn that Ramona Town Hall isn’t made of brick, but of adobe made to appear like red bricks!

As you can see for yourself, the appearance is convincing!

According to the Ramona Chamber of Commerce website, which includes a couple of historical photographs: “The Town Hall has served as the town’s first library, first movie theater, first high school, first bank, dance hall, justice court, and the birthplace of several of the communities’ service groups, including the Masonic Lodge, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Volunteer Fire department. Additionally, the Town Hall has hosted a wide variety of events, including Temperance Meetings, Turkey Days, Voting Polls, 4-H Youth Meetings, Miss Ramona Contests, Political Meetings, Community Theater; Silent Film Festivals, Town Hall Days, etc..”

A description on the above plaque begins:

Dedicated on Washington’s birthday, February 22, 1894, this building was given to the townspeople of Nuevo (as Ramona was then known) by rancher and financier Augustus Barnett and his wife Martha. Feeling that the local schoolhouse was not a proper place to hold dances and other social events, Barnett donated $17,000 in gold coin to erect a building that could serve as the social center for the community as well as host a library.

Ramona Town Hall was designed by noted San Diego architect William S. Hebbard. Built of adobe with brick veneer in the Romanesque/Mission Revival style, it is considered one of the largest freestanding adobe structures in the southwest…

Another surprising discovery during an ordinary walk!

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!

Art purchased by the city from artists during COVID-19.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, local artists were supported through a special initiative undertaken by the City of San Diego. The city purchased almost 100 works of art for the Civic Art Collection. The initiative was funded by a generous art lover and philanthropist.

An exhibition of this acquired artwork, titled SD PRACTICE, can now be viewed at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park, and at Bread & Salt in Logan Heights.

I visited the San Diego Art Institute on Sunday to view their pieces. I noticed some of the artists are widely known, including Hugo Crosthwaite and Mario Torero.

Contemporary art is often provocative: subversive, angry, skeptical, iconoclastic. But many of the pieces I saw conveyed mostly a feeling of loneliness. Which I suppose isn’t surprising. They were created during a pandemic–a time of forced social isolation.

One canvas shows an elderly woman alone at a table set with dinner and cold smartphones. Other works–often with political messages–show people trapped alone behind borders or squares or lattices of drawn lines, or wearing masks, or concealed beneath sheets, or in shadow.

One artist’s tintypes were created with random people on the street. The artist and strangers pose together as if they are family. But the tintypes are very dim like faded dreams. And the momentary “families” weren’t real.

In one piece, an isolating smartphone has been dropped to one side, and two people lean into each other for simple human warmth.

As I walked through the gallery, one plastic chair made to appear gleaming and precious seemed inviting. But it was only one chair.

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!