Día de los Muertos at El Campo Santo.

At sundown this evening there will be a Día de los Muertos candlelight procession through Old Town. Those participating will end at San Diego’s old El Campo Santo cemetery, where many of our city’s earliest residents are buried.

This afternoon the small cemetery had already been decorated for Día de los Muertos.

A colorful altar stands near the entrance, just beyond the El Campo Santo historical marker. According to one sign I noticed, the Community Altar is by the Descendants of Old Town San Diego.

Marigolds and paper sugar skulls decorate gravesites, and the names of deceased loved ones have been scrawled in chalk on the cemetery wall along San Diego Avenue.

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Halloween fun from walks around San Diego!

Halloween is tomorrow!

In preparation, I’ve been taking Halloween-related photos in the past couple weeks during my walks around San Diego.

There are some really good displays out there!

Please enjoy the following spooky or perhaps not-so-spooky photographs…

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Evil clowns and ghouls arrive in Balboa Park!

Visitors to Balboa Park should be warned that an army of evil creatures is gathering in the southwest corner of the park, along what is known as The Haunted Trail.

Every October grisly ghouls, bloody demons and creepy clowns assemble under the trees to scare thrill-seekers in the dark of night.

Perhaps it all has something to do with the approach of Halloween.

Beware!

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!

Mass grave seen from San Diego trolley.

Ride the San Diego Trolley’s Orange Line through Mt. Hope Cemetery and you might observe something strange. A group of collected headstones is set in concrete just south of the tracks.

This very unusual memorial is the site of a mass grave–a “grave” filled with discarded gravestones!

Back in the 1980s when the trolley line was new, passengers noticed that many tombstones had been dumped in a ravine at Mt. Hope Cemetery.

Earlier, in the 1970s, the City of San Diego had removed about 800 tombstones from old Calvary Cemetery in Mission Hills and callously thrown them into this ravine. Unbelievable, right?

Today the peculiar memorial you see in the above photograph recalls an infamous moment in our city’s history.

You can learn more about how old Calvary Cemetery was converted into today’s Pioneer Park in Mission Hills 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!

Scary bites of Halloween at the Donut Bar!

One of my favorite haunts in downtown San Diego is the Donut Bar.

This morning I found Halloween treats that are deliciously scary!

Grave Digger! Skull Cake! Boo Boston Creme!

A Triple Chocolate Threat with tiny sprinkled Bat-o’-lanterns is what my ravenous fangs sank into!

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!

Gravestones at Pioneer Park in Mission Hills.

Pioneer Park is a city park in Mission Hills that’s popular with neighborhood families and children. It features a playground, green grass, many shady trees . . . and well over a thousand unseen graves. If you don’t wander into the southeast corner of the park, you might never know it’s also a cemetery.

Pioneer Park was originally Calvary Cemetery. The Catholic cemetery was established in the 1870s, then converted a century later into a Mission Hills community park. According to this article: “All the 800-odd memorial markers were taken away in the 1970s except for a line of tombstones left on the park’s edge. Left as a memorial, they’re still there…” Sadly, the gravestones that had been removed were callously dumped by those then living into a ravine at distant Mt. Hope Cemetery.

Many of San Diego’s earliest residents remain buried under the grass at Pioneer Park. Even after the passage of many years, surviving gravestones show historically important names like Cave Johnson Couts and Father Antonio Ubach. But all of the names are gradually fading away. Time does that.

Six nearby plaques list the names of those who are interred in the park, and it is said there might be many more.

On any given day, life goes on cheerfully above the grass. And beneath it lie the remains of those who once lived, dreamed, toiled and loved exactly like you and me.

Here are some photographs, to provoke thought, and to help preserve a little history…

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A spring walk through Hillcrest and Mission Hills.

Spring has arrived in the window of Mission Hills Automotive.

Yesterday I went for a long, very pleasant springtime walk. These photographs represent my journey through the west part of Hillcrest, then through an interesting slice of Mission Hills.

I started inside Hillcrest, headed west down Washington Street, took a momentary detour to Fort Stockton Drive, then headed back down Washington Place to historic (and some say haunted) Pioneer Park, which I will blog about in a day or two. I then hiked down sloping Mission Hills Canyon along the green, seemingly little known Robyn’s Egg Trail, which I also plan to blog about. Eventually I came out near San Diego Avenue, southeast of Old Town.

Come along and read the captions to get a taste…

A flying unicorn on a fence by Copper Top Coffee and Donuts in Hillcrest.
Lovers in a window at Urban Fusion Decor.
Springtime in a window at VCA Hillcrest Animal Hospital.
A cool mural on the side of Dame and Dapper Barber Shop.
One of the bird sculptures along Washington Avenue’s median. I believe the sculptures were a project of the Mission Hills Garden Club.
Mysterious tile artwork on the corner of a building.
Banner thanks cool teachers at St. Vincent de Paul School.
Interesting old building is home of the Ibis Market.
Mission Hills homeowners are hoping to have acorn-style street lamps installed, to create a more charming and historic look.
One of many beautiful old houses I passed in Mission Hills. I believe this one is a Craftsman.
Gravestones line a corner of Pioneer Park, which was built over a cemetery where many early residents of San Diego remain buried.
Heading down green Mission Hills Canyon on a sunny spring day. The Robyn’s Egg Trail is rough and requires careful navigation in spots. Along its approximately half mile length I encountered one walker with a dog and one homeless person.
Bright flowers along the path.
A happy kitty face greets me as I arrive at San Diego Avenue!

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 downtown burial site at Dead Men’s Point?

At the south end of Pacific Highway, a short distance from Seaport Village, an historical marker can be observed by the sidewalk. In 1954 it was placed adjacent to the old San Diego Police Headquarters, which today is home to the shops and eateries of The Headquarters.

The marker reads:

LA PUNTA
DE LOS MUERTOS
(DEAD MEN’S POINT)
BURIAL SITE OF SAILORS AND MARINES IN 1782
WHEN SAN DIEGO BAY WAS SURVEYED & CHARTED
BY DON JUAN PANTOJA Y ARRIAGA, PILOT, AND
DON JOSE TOVAR, MATE, OF THE ROYAL FRIGATES
“LA PRINCESA” AND “LA FAVORITA” UNDER
COMMAND OF DON AGUSTIN DE ECHEVERRIA.
STATE REGISTERED LANDMARK NO. 57
MARKER PLACED BY SAN DIEGO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
AND THE HISTORICAL MARKERS COMMITTEE
ERECTED 1954

But according to The Journal of San Diego History’s article A Monument to an Event that Never Happened, this marker is wildly inaccurate! There is no burial site and no one died on the Pantoja voyage. And “dead men” probably refers to pine logs! Huh?

To read the article, click 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!

Very scary, spooky photos for Halloween!

Two weeks ’til Halloween!

The deadly creatures are creeping closer, closer… Ghouls, vampires, zombies, demons… Before you know it they’ll be gathered at your door… The approaching horror is inescapable!

Most of these very scary, spooky photographs were taken in past years around Halloween. Ghosts, grim reapers, demons and bloodthirsty monsters were encountered in Balboa Park on the Haunted Trail. The deformed zombies? I took those photos during Comic-Con! An elegantly dressed skeleton couple materialized in front of my camera in Old Town on Dia de los Muertos. Other frightening faces appeared just before Halloween in shop windows!

Are some of the images vaguely familiar? I changed these color photographs to grayscale, then darkened many, blurred a few slightly. So that you might be properly terrified!

Trick or treat!

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!

Marigolds add meaning to El Campo Santo.

Most of the traditional Día de los Muertos decorations have been put away.

In the small El Campo Santo cemetery, marigolds are all that remain.

According to Mexican tradition, marigolds, with their color and scent, guide spirits back to the living.

El Campo Santo (The Holy Field) is where many of San Diego’s earliest residents were buried. Marigolds on graves remind the living that those who founded our city are still with us.

To learn more about some of the people laid to rest in Old Town’s historic El Campo Santo cemetery, click 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!