Light, water and beauty at Escondido City Hall.

Escondido City Hall was built in 1988. Its design remains remarkable today. Walk around the stately but welcoming building, and you’ll be greeted by light, water and beauty.

I enjoyed a look at City Hall’s award-winning architecture during my visit to Escondido last weekend. In the past I’ve been able to venture inside, and I can tell you the functional interior is just as spacious and friendly.

You can learn more about the history of the Escondido Civic Center here.

My photos include the large fountain by Grape Day Park and the fantastic open dome at the building’s entrance.

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!

Behind the scenes look at the City Archives!

Old books contain important records in the cold vault of the San Diego City Clerk's Archives Center.
Stacks of old books contain important records in the cold vault of the San Diego City Clerk’s Archives Center.

Yesterday I stepped into City Hall to enjoy an educational event open to the public during the City Clerk’s 3rd Annual Archives Month. When I entered the Archives Center in the basement of the San Diego City Administration Building, I didn’t really know what I might experience.

I saw and learned more from this behind the scenes tour than I expected!

I and a few others were led into a small lecture room and introduced to City of San Diego Archivist Jerry Handfield. He’s an energetic historian and professional archivist who in the past has served as State Archivist for both Indiana and Washington.

Jerry Handfield presented an overview of his job and explained the critical importance of maintaining genuine, reliable, trustworthy public records.

We learned that good governance depends on maintaining accurate records. Trustworthy public records protect the rights of citizens and promotes public trust in government. A healthy democracy relies on trust in its institutions.

Archives play such an important role that in 1850, when San Diego was a tiny town with very limited resources, the city’s newly created common council directed that a very expensive iron safe be appropriated to the clerk for the safekeeping of city records.

As an archivist, Jerry Handfield provided a list of reasons why records matter: they protect life (medical records), protect the public from disasters (maps and floor plans), protect property rights (deeds), and include all sorts of other critical information. He mentioned insurance and bank records, marriage licenses, work licenses and business records.

We learned that for an archivist preservation is a constant war. It’s a war against time, negligence, disasters like floods and mold, decay caused by acids in paper, and other often unpredictable factors. Some media that store records, such as floppy disks and magnetic tape, degrade over time, become corrupted or technologically obsolete.

Some of the City Archive’s older paper documents are given a special chemical treatment to help preserve them. Many are placed in acid-free sleeves or boxes and placed in a temperature and humidity controlled cold vault.

The City Clerk Archives is continuously working to digitize its many hard copy records–to preserve them for all time and make them readily available to the public via the internet. But there remain thousands upon thousands of documents and photos to be scanned and classified.

After the lecture we stepped into the cold vault and saw shelves stacked high with archival material. Then we stepped into a room where photos and negatives are scanned and digitized.

Ranged all around the main room of the Archives Center are additional interesting displays. I saw many Mayoral Artifacts that were presented as gifts to the city from all over the globe. Among these are an assortment of beautiful decorative plates.

Enough of my inadequate written description. Let’s look at a few photos and you’ll get a better idea of what I experienced!

San Diego City Archivist Jerry Handfield describes the importance of accurately recording and carefully preserving critical information.
San Diego City Archivist Jerry Handfield describes the importance of accurately recording and carefully preserving critical information.
Stacks of special boxes containing official records fill the temperature and humidity controlled cold vault at the City Archives.
Stacks of boxes containing official records fill the temperature and humidity controlled cold vault at the City Archives.
Archivist Jerry Handfield shows visitors shelves of old canvas and leather-bound books, including some that contain City Council Resolutions.
Archivist Jerry Handfield shows visitors shelves of old canvas and leather-bound books, including many that contain past City Council Resolutions.
In one room at the Archives Center, old photographs are scanned and categorized in order to be digitized for easy public access.
In one room at the Archives Center, old photographs are scanned and categorized by trained volunteers, in order to be digitized for easy public access.
Many cool historical photos of San Diego cover the walls!
Many cool historical photos of San Diego cover the walls of this room!
Man and Children in Halloween costumes, circa 1960.
Man and Children in Halloween costumes, circa 1960.
First Official Map of San Diego, June 1867.
First Official Map of San Diego, June 1867.
A treasure trove of San Diego history at one's fingertips!
A treasure trove of San Diego history at one’s fingertips!
Mayoral artifacts displayed at the San Diego City Clerk's Archives Center include many gifts from around the world.
Mayoral artifacts displayed in the main room of the San Diego City Clerk’s Archives Center include gifts from other cities and people around the world.
Armetale plate with Seal of City of San Diego.
Armetale plate with Seal of City of San Diego.
Paper mache oni mask from Mizusawa, Japan.
Paper mache oni mask from Mizusawa, Japan.
Filner Mayoral Artifact RF-4. Ballast Point Whaling Station, San Diego, California (1820's).
Filner Mayoral Artifact RF-4. Ballast Point Whaling Station, San Diego, California (1820’s).
While walking about the City Archives I spied the cover of an Official Views San Diego Panama-California Exposition souvenir book.
While walking about the main room of the City Archives I spied this cover of an Official Views San Diego Panama-California Exposition souvenir book.
Boxes upon boxes hold tons of paper records in the basement of City Hall!
Boxes upon boxes hold tons of paper records in the basement of City Hall!

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 might say this blog is a sort of digital archive. 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!

City Clerk’s Archives Month: Hidden Treasures!

Original concrete figure from San Diego Museum of Art, 1915-1916.
Original concrete figure from San Diego Museum of Art, 1915-1916.

Today I walked to the City Administration Building in downtown San Diego to view a unique historical exhibit. During City Clerk’s Archives Month, from September 30th to October 31st, the public can step inside the lobby of City Hall and discover Hidden Treasures!

The San Diego City Clerk has partnered with the San Diego History Center to display a variety of documents and artifacts from our city’s past. In addition to this exhibit, Archives Month features many free educational events including lectures, movies and workshops.

(I attended one of the lectures today, and took a tour behind the scenes in the City Administration Building’s basement, where the City Archives are safely preserved. I’ll be blogging about that awesome experience shortly!)

2019 Archives Month Lecture and Tour Schedule. (Click image to enlarge.)
Sign shows 2019 Archives Month Lecture and Tour Schedule. (Click photo to enlarge for easy reading.)
City Clerk Archives Month in 2019 features an exhibit of Hidden Treasures in the lobby of the City Administration Building.
City Clerk Archives Month in 2019 features an exhibit of Hidden Treasures in the lobby of the City Administration Building.
Many historical documents in the exhibit provide fascinating glimpses into San Diego's past.
Many historical documents in the exhibit provide fascinating glimpses into San Diego’s past. (I was pleased to see a Dog Tax Receipt featuring San Diego’s famous town dog, Bum.)
Historical documents on display includes an announcement for the Presidio Hill Park dedication in 1929.
Documents on display include an announcement for the Presidio Hill Park dedication in 1929. Pictured is the Junípero Serra Museum, original home of the San Diego Historical Society.
A collection of old City Clerk seal embossers.
A collection of old City Clerk seal embossers.
Posters describe 18th century San Diego and Presidio Excavation Artifacts from 1965.
Posters describe life in 18th century San Diego. Nearby are Presidio Excavation Artifacts from 1965.
These fragments from an olive jar might date as far back as 1769.
These fragments from an olive jar might date as far back as 1769.
The exhibit includes fragments of bottles, jars, bowls and plates from early San Diego.
The exhibit includes fragments of bottles, jars, bowls and plates from early San Diego.
Roof Tile, Presidio, 1869.
Roof tile from the Presidio.
Presidio artifacts include cannon and musket balls.
Presidio artifacts include cannon and musket balls.
Artifacts on display include the New Town Excavation Collection from the 1980s.
Other artifacts on display include the New Town Excavation Collection from the 1980s.
New Town artifacts include pistol fragments, 1850-1870.
New Town artifacts include pistol fragments, 1850-1870.
Other early artifacts from New Town include a broken bottle, ceramic wire insulators and a clay effigy.
Other artifacts from 19th century New Town include a broken bottle, ceramic wire insulators and a clay effigy.

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!

Student posters celebrate Freedom of Speech.

Free Speech, Press and Society.
Free Speech, Press and Society.

I was making my way through downtown this morning when I spotted something important that I’d like to blog.

As I walked past the Edward J. Schwartz United States Courthouse, I noticed a new crop of student posters has appeared in the building’s windows. These posters were submitted by local kids for the San Diego County Bar Association’s 2019 Law Week Poster and Video Contest.

The theme this year is Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society.

We the People...
We the People…
Natural Rights. First Amendment.
Natural Rights. First Amendment.
Free As a Bird. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.
Free As a Bird. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Freedom. Rights. Responsibility.
Freedom. Rights. Responsibility. May all our voices be heard!
Express your opinion. Peacefully protest or assemble.
Express your opinion. Peacefully protest or assemble.
Liberty requires freedom of expression for everybody.
Liberty requires freedom of expression for everybody.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution is vitally important to me. I’m a writer.

If you value individual liberty and a free and open society, its protections are fundamental.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Student art recognized by the Congressional Institute.

Lady of the Garden, Veronica McFarland, acrylic. San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts.
Lady of the Garden, Veronica McFarland, acrylic. San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts.

High school students from the San Diego area have been recognized for outstanding achievement. Their artwork has been displayed inside the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC!

Some of that excellent art can now be seen at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

The exhibition is titled An Artistic Discovery. These expressive pieces were created by students who attend schools throughout the 53rd Congressional District, which is represented by Congresswoman Susan Davis.

Check out a few examples that caught my eye during my visit yesterday to the San Diego History Center!

A wall inside the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park features art created by students in local high schools.
A wall inside the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park features art created by students in local high schools.
An Artistic Discovery is an exhibition that showcases the artwork of students in the 53rd Congressional District. Winning works are displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building.
An Artistic Discovery is an exhibition that showcases the artwork of students in the 53rd Congressional District. Winning works are displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building.
Our Future, Chivone Brittney-Dawn Cervantes, oil paint. Diego Hills Central Charter School.
Our Future, Chivone Brittney-Dawn Cervantes, oil paint. Diego Hills Central Charter School.
Deliberate Red, Maryann Lee, watercolor and colored pencils. Bonita Vista High School.
Deliberate Red, Maryann Lee, watercolor and colored pencils. Bonita Vista High School.
Black Woman, Danielle Simone Grimes, acrylic. Morse High School.
Black Woman, Danielle Simone Grimes, acrylic. Morse High School.
Pure Joy, Julianna Pantoja, colored pencil. Otay Ranch High School.
Pure Joy, Julianna Pantoja, colored pencil. Otay Ranch High School.

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!

Great ideas at South Bay Earth Day!

People have gathered in Chula Vista's Memorial Park for South Bay Earth Day!
People have gathered in Chula Vista’s Memorial Park for South Bay Earth Day!

Today I headed to Memorial Park in Chula Vista to check out South Bay Earth Day!

This cool annual event inspires community members to save water and energy, protect the environment, and keep our corner of the planet beautiful and clean.

I walked about and learned all sorts of useful information at many booths. I read about environmental projects that are being undertaken by the City of Chula Vista and various nonprofit organizations. I saw how community members are working to improve their neighborhoods.

These photos contain many great ideas. Click the images of signs to enlarge them for easy reading. Much of the information is of special interest to residents in San Diego’s South Bay. If you live elsewhere, perhaps you will be inspired, too!

Chula Vista's beautiful Memorial Park provides a bit of green in an urban setting.
Chula Vista’s beautiful Memorial Park provides an oasis of green in an urban setting.
The City of Chula Vista has various programs that help to protect the environment and improve quality of life.
The City of Chula Vista has various programs that help to protect the environment and improve quality of life.
Earth Month Calendar of Events for the City of Chula Vista, which includes volunteer opportunities like the Creek to Bay Cleanup.
Earth Month Calendar of Events for the City of Chula Vista, which includes volunteer opportunities like the Creek to Bay Cleanup.
City of Chula Vista, Leaders in Innovation. Programs include smart irrigation, traffic signals, sustainable buildings and drones.
City of Chula Vista, Leaders in Innovation. Programs include smart irrigation, traffic signals, sustainable buildings and drones.
Activities at South Bay Earth Day include making art. I enjoyed seeing neighbors creating colorful tie-dye!
Activities at South Bay Earth Day include making art. I enjoyed seeing neighbors creating colorful tie-dye!
This work of art created from a gourd was one of many amazing pieces from Dream Job Craftworks by Kathy Page.
Some great artists had booths. A horse etched and painted on a gourd from Dream Job Craftworks by Kathy Page.
Southwestern College had an assortment of native succulents at its Sustainable Landscape Practice table. They can provide water saving ground cover for one's yard.
Southwestern College had an assortment of succulents at its Sustainable Landscape Practice table. These native plants can provide water saving ground cover for your yard.
Mel Clarkston of LetsGetTrashed.Art shows her mosaics made of mostly plastic trash found on beaches!
Mel Clarkston of LetsGetTrashed.Art shows her mosaics made mostly of plastic trash found on beaches!
An amazing Golden State mosaic made from small bits of litter!
An amazing Golden State mosaic made from small bits of litter!
The San Diego Fixit Clinic had a table at the event. No need to throw certain things away. They repair many broken items for free!
The San Diego Fix-it Clinic had a table at the event. No need to throw certain things away. They repair many broken items for free!
Every month, the San Diego Fixit Clinic will repair broken things like electronics, appliances, and even clothes!
Every month, the San Diego Fix-it Clinic will repair broken things like electronics, appliances, and even clothes!
The City of Chula Vista Sustainability Commission had a table and interested visitors.
The City of Chula Vista Sustainability Commission had a table and interested visitors.
One of their displays compared the biodegradability of paper, different plastics and styrofoam.
One of their displays compared the biodegradability of paper, different plastics and Styrofoam.
A perfect, sunny spring day at South Bay Earth Day!
A perfect, sunny spring day at South Bay Earth Day!
Sign explains how the City of Chula Vista is developing an Active Transportation Plan to help guide future pedestrian and bicycle improvements.
Sign explains how the City of Chula Vista is developing an Active Transportation Plan to help guide future pedestrian and bicycle improvements.
This table explained a very cool Seed Library concept.
This table explained a very cool Seed Library concept.
The Otay Ranch branch of the Chula Vista Public Library has a Seed Library. Community members can take seeds to plant, or donate harvested seeds back to the library!
The Otay Ranch branch of the Chula Vista Public Library has a Seed Library. Community members can take seeds to plant, or donate harvested seeds back to the library!
Of course, recycling stations could be found all around the South Bay Earth Day event!
Of course, recycling stations could be found all around the South Bay Earth Day event.
I learned at the Surfrider Foundation booth that the 3rd Annual March For Clean Water is next weekend in Imperial Beach!
I learned at the Surfrider Foundation booth that the 3rd Annual March For Clean Water is next weekend in Imperial Beach!
I learned from some Girl Scouts that chemicals in certain sunscreens harm coral reefs. Safe active ingredients are Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.
I learned from some Girl Scouts that certain chemicals in sunscreens harm coral reefs. Safe active ingredients are Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.
Community members learn how to protect the environment at South Bay Earth Day!
Community members learn how to protect the environment at South Bay Earth Day!

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!

Marine Corps Recruit Depot brass plaque at City Hall.

A large plaque presented by Marine Corps Recruit Depot to the City of San Diego commemorates the 200th Anniversary of the United States Marines.
A large plaque presented by the Marine Corps Recruit Depot to the City of San Diego commemorates the 200th Anniversary of the United States Marines.

A couple mornings ago, when I visited the San Diego City Administration Building’s lobby, I noticed a large brass plaque in a glass display case against the east wall. The shining badge-like plaque is several feet in length.

Upon closer inspection, I read the words:

Marine Corps Recruit Depot
San Diego, California
Department of the Navy
United States Marine Corps
Presented to City of San Diego
by the
Officers and Enlisted Personnel
Marine Corps Recruit Depot
on 10 November 1975
The 200th Anniversary of the Corps

A smaller descriptive plaque on top of the display case reads: “This plaque is made from brass shell cases of ammunition fired by Marines in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.”

I’ve searched the internet for information regarding this fantastic Marine Corps Recruit Depot plaque, but have found nothing.

Does anyone know its history?

Where was it made? Was it presented to the City of San Diego back in 1975 during a special ceremony? Has it always been on display inside City Hall?

Please leave a comment if you have any additional information!

A closer photo of the shining brass plaque, which is on display inside the lobby of the San Diego City Administration Building.
A closer photo of the shining brass plaque, which is on display inside the lobby of the San Diego City Administration Building.

(Another amazing Bicentennial Plaque–one presented to San Diego by the United States Navy–can be seen on the Embarcadero near the USS Midway Museum. To read a fascinating article about the origin of that historic bronze plaque, and see photos of its forging, click here!)