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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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 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!

Walking down a dark, spooky Haunted Trail!

Today I felt brave enough to walk through a very dark, very spooky corner of Balboa Park.

Night had fallen, the crooked branches of black trees surrounded me, and my eyes were on a swivel as I approached The Haunted Trail!

Did I manage to photograph anything that was remotely scary?

You be the judge!

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 glimpse of history at Mount Hope Cemetery.

I happened upon a few notable names during a walk through Mount Hope Cemetery. I had over an hour before the Memorial Day ceremony would begin, so I just wandered down winding roads through fields of headstones.

Many early residents of San Diego are buried at Mount Hope. Among the jumble of names engraved in stone, one can find some of the city’s most influential citizens. Like Alonzo Horton, Kate Sessions, George Marston, Thomas Whaley, Ah Quin, E. S. Babcock, and Robert Waterman. (Not to mention the famous author Raymond Chandler!) But I didn’t have a map. So I just meandered through the hilly cemetery and gazed.

Thousands of gravestones.

Every life different. Every life important in its own way.

Some of the dates indicate long lives, others short. But isn’t it true that all of our lives are short?

Someone asked about my visit–if the cemetery felt spooky. No. The best word that comes to mind is bittersweet. A feeling of both joy and sadness.

Every single name has become a part of San Diego history.

(I did a bit of research for this blog post. Hopefully I got the following information right. If not, leave a comment!)

George James Keating
George James Keating

George James Keating was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1840. He and his wife Fannie, owners of a farming company, eventually moved to San Diego in 1886. Keating made large investments in the city’s booming real estate market. After his death, Fannie oversaw the construction of the five-story Keating Building, which I blogged about several years ago here.

Graves of the Marston family.
Graves of the Marston family.

George White Marston
George White Marston

George W. Marston was often referred to as “San Diego’s First Citizen.”

A successful department store owner, he founded the San Diego Historical Society and was a prominent advocate for and planner of Balboa Park. He was a critical force in the establishment of the San Diego Public Library System and Presidio Park.

You can see a sculpture of George Marston on my blog here, and the garden of his beautiful, historic house, which is located in the northwest corner of Balboa Park, here.

George F. Stockton
George F. Stockton

Lt. George F. Stockton’s tragic drowning on August 21, 1921 prompted the creation of the City of Oceanside Lifeguard Service. He was pulled out to sea by a rip current. He had served on the World War I ship USS San Diego.

Edward McGurck
Edward McGurck

Col. Edward McGurck was born in Ireland. He purchased property on the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Market Street in 1876 for $50. In 1887 he developed the McGurck Block Building at that location.

Monument to the Kurtz family.
Monument to the Kurtz family.

Daniel Brower Kurtz
Daniel Brower Kurtz

Daniel Brower Kurtz has an important San Diego street named after him. He arrived in San Diego in 1850 and was elected second city mayor in 1851. He also served as a state senator, county judge, and assemblyman.

James Edward Friend
James Edward Friend

James Edward Friend was an enterprising reporter and newspaper publisher in the early days of San Diego.

Seeing his name brought a smile to my face. He was a good friend of Bum, San Diego’s Town Dog, and figured prominently in the wonderful book titled The Dog That Belonged to No One. Any young person living in San Diego should read this short book. It’s quite enjoyable, full of history and good humor.

Captain James Friend was also known as a friend and benefactor to San Diego’s newsboys.

You can read about Bum, San Diego’s lovable Town Dog, and see his sculpture in my blog post 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 share and enjoy!