Photos outside the historic Stein Family Farm.

The other day I walked down a National City sidewalk past the historic Stein Family Farm. It was closed at the time, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, so I took these outside photographs!

I spoke over the fence briefly to a couple of nice ladies near the farmhouse and a gentleman volunteer. I vowed that one day I’d return and take a tour!

The Stein Family Farm was once home to Charles Stein, an immigrant German farmer, his wife Bertha and five children. The construction of the Otay Dam in 1897 caused flooding to the Stein’s original property near Mexico, so the family moved to this National City location in 1900.

The 2-acre Stein Family Farm Museum includes their house, barn containing many antique farm implements and vehicles, and other structures, as well as farm animals (from around the world!) and an orchard containing a variety of fruit trees, which you can see in the last two photos.

I learned that second house you see in my photos, a 19th century Queen Anne Victorian, was recently relocated to the museum grounds. It awaits restoration.

Check out the Stein Family Farm’s website for more information 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!

Christmas lights brighten historic house in Bankers Hill!

The historic Forward House in Bankers Hill is brightly lit with Christmas decorations once again! This amazing holiday display has become a tradition in San Diego!

The Forward House, located at the intersection of 1st Avenue and Ivy Street, was built in 1905 for John F. Forward Sr., who would become San Diego’s mayor from 1907 to 1909. The historic house is now home to American Security Mortgage.

I walked through Bankers Hill as night fell to see these fantastic Christmas lights. I wasn’t the only one snapping photos!

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!

A walk down the Bessemer Path in Point Loma.

A surfer begins southwest down Point Loma’s Bessemer Path beside San Diego Bay.
A surfer begins southwest down Point Loma’s Bessemer Path beside San Diego Bay.

Yesterday I enjoyed a leisurely walk down the scenic Bessemer Path in Point Loma. The dirt trail follows the edge of San Diego Bay between Talbot Street and Qualtrough Street.

As other walkers and bicyclists passed me, I looked out at boats in the La Playa Anchorage behind Shelter Island, at people and dogs enjoying several small beaches, and the yards of handsome houses with a view of the water.

I took photos as I walked. I began at the northeast end of Bessemer Path near the San Diego Yacht Club and a bench with an historical marker, which I blogged about yesterday. If you want to see the marker and its plaque, which concerns an old Chinese village that was located here over a century ago, click this link.

When my feet finally reached the short pier of the La Playa Yacht Club, which extends into San Diego Bay at the southwest end of the Bessemer Path, I lowered my camera and enjoyed an easy return walk.

Someone rides along the path one beautiful summer day.
Someone rides along the path one beautiful summer day.

Looking out at boats in the La Playa Anchorage near the San Diego Yacht Club.
Looking out at boats in the La Playa Anchorage near the San Diego Yacht Club.

One of several small beaches along the Bessemer Path.
One of several small beaches along the Bessemer Path. I saw sailboats moving across the water.

I saw many bicyclists.
I saw many bicyclists.

The Conard-Arrington House built in 1949. This ranch style home, designed by Roy Drew, is City of San Diego Historical Landmark No. 460.
The Conard-Arrington House built in 1949. This ranch style home, designed by Roy Drew, is City of San Diego Historical Landmark No. 460.

Trees ahead.
Trees ahead.

Some shade near the end of the path.
Some shade near the end of the path.

A swing in a tree.
A swing in one tree.

A girl sits in a window in the tree.
A girl sits in a window in the tree.

A heron watches for small fish in the nearby water.
Beyond the trees, a heron watches for small fish in the water.

A fisherman in a yellow slicker sits on a rock in the ice plant.
And a fisherman in a yellow slicker sits on a rock in the ice plant.

The short pier of the modest La Playa Yacht Club. Beyond lie boats of the much larger Southwestern Yacht Club.
I’ve reached the short pier of the modest La Playa Yacht Club. Beyond lie boats of the much larger Southwestern Yacht Club.

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!

Interesting sights as I walked to the trolley.

The old Anton Mayrhofer Residence, located at 2nd Avenue and Cedar Street. The small Victorian house has been designated City of San Diego Historical Landmark no. 299. Anton Mayrhofer was born in Austria in 1856.
The old Anton Mayrhofer Residence, located at 2nd Avenue and Cedar Street. The small Victorian house has been designated City of San Diego Historical Landmark No. 299. Anton Mayrhofer was born in Austria in 1856.

Early this morning I photographed a variety of interesting things as I walked west from Cortez Hill to the Little Italy trolley station.

An unexpected religious encounter as I cross an intersection heading toward the trolley station.
An unexpected religious encounter as I cross an intersection heading toward the trolley station.

Bougainvillea against a wall.
Bougainvillea against a wall.

Another person on another journey.
Another person on another journey.

We Stand Together in the Wildflower Salon window.
We Stand Together in the Wildflower Salon window.

The Circus Girl in another window.
The Circus Girl in another window.

The architecturally interesting new The Continental Lofts building in Little Italy.
The architecturally interesting new The Continental Lofts building in Little Italy.

Tiny potted plants inside hive-like hexagons in front of Queenstown Public House.
Tiny potted plants inside hive-like hexagons in front of Queenstown Public House.

Half-covered smiles.
Half-covered smiles.

Those huge wooden doors at the now permanently closed Indigo Grill.
Those huge wooden doors at the now permanently closed Indigo Grill.

A mysterious paper collage on top of a sidewalk electrical box.
A mysterious paper collage on top of a sidewalk electrical box.

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!

The history of downtown’s Victoria Square.

Have you ever wondered about those Victorian houses that stand together behind a fence near the corner of 2nd Avenue and Ash Street in downtown San Diego?

I walk by these colorful old houses frequently, but apart from seeing “Victoria Square” on a sign in front of one, for years I’ve known absolutely nothing about them. So I finally did a little research on the internet.

Victoria Square Vacation Homes is what they’re called now, but originally the houses together were known as Kiessig Corner. The handsome blue corner house, in the Italian Renaissance style, was built by Charles Keissig in 1894. Keissig was a Gold Rush-era immigrant from Germany who supposedly buried $20 gold pieces under the house in glass jars. The house directly adjacent to it on Ash Street was built in 1904-1906. A third, one-story house on Second Avenue (the yellow one you can see on the left in the next photo) was moved to the site from another location at about the same time. A fourth smaller building, which is difficult to see from the street, was originally a carriage house.

In 1976, the site was declared an historic property by the San Diego Historic Site Board, and the run-down romantic turn-of-the-century buildings were purchased by real estate development attorney Sandor Shapery. The houses were rehabilitated by Del Mar architect Paul Thoryk to be used commercially. Apparently years ago there was a restaurant in addition to offices, but my poor old brain cannot remember it. After 2008 the buildings were converted back to residential use.

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!

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A walk around the Escondido History Center.

People in Grape Day Park head toward buildings that are part of the Escondido History Center's Heritage Walk.
People in Grape Day Park head toward buildings that are part of the Escondido History Center’s unique Heritage Walk.

Last weekend I enjoyed a fascinating walk around the Escondido History Center!

Several original and reconstructed buildings operated by the Escondido History Center form the Heritage Walk at the north end of Grape Day Park. Anyone who is curious can freely visit the Bandy Blacksmith & Wheelwright Shop, the Penner Barn, the Victorian House, the City’s First Library, and an excellent museum inside Escondido’s old Santa Fe Depot. A very cool Pullman railroad car parked nearby contains a large model train layout!

While I really enjoyed my visit, I still don’t know much about the history of Escondido, so please visit the Escondido History Center’s informative website here.

Come along with me as we head down the Heritage Walk. We’ll make several interesting discoveries!

(Click the photos of signs and they will enlarge for easier reading.)

The functioning Bandy Blacksmith and Wheelwright Shop beckons.
The functioning Bandy Blacksmith and Wheelwright Shop beckons. (It was closed the day I visited.)

The 1947 Bandy Blacksmith Shop was reconstructed in Grape Day Park in 1993. The building is used today for education and blacksmithing demonstrations.
The 1947 Bandy Blacksmith Shop was reconstructed in Grape Day Park in 1993. The building is used today for education and blacksmith demonstrations.

As we continue down the Heritage Walk, the Penner Barn and nearby windmill come into view.
As we continue down the Heritage Walk, the Penner Barn and nearby windmill come into view.

The Penner Barn at Escondido's Heritage Walk.
The Penner Barn at Escondido’s Heritage Walk.

The 1907 Penner Barn was reconstructed here in 1976 using the original exterior siding and doors. It's now used by the Escondido History Center for special events.
The 1907 Penner Barn was reconstructed here in 1976 using the original exterior siding and doors. It’s now used by the Escondido History Center for special events.

Looking backward through the windmill, we see an old tractor parked in front of the Penner Barn.
Looking backward through the windmill, we see a vintage Caterpillar tractor parked in front of the Penner Barn.

The Victorian House is furnished authentically and open to the public for tours. (I didn't go inside the day I visited.)
The Victorian House is furnished as it might have been a century ago. It is open to the public for tours. (I didn’t go inside the day I visited.)

The Victorian Country House is an 1890 Queen Anne style farmhouse that was moved to this location by the Escondido Historical Society.
The Victorian Country House is an 1890 Queen Anne style farmhouse that was moved to this location by the Escondido Historical Society.

A small tour group assembles on the front porch.
A small tour group assembles on the front porch of the transplanted farmhouse.

This small building was the very first library in Escondido.
This modest building was the very first library in Escondido.

Escondido's First Library opened in 1895. In 1971 the Escondido Historical Society saved it from demolition and moved it to Grape Day Park.
Escondido’s First Library opened in 1895. In 1971 the Escondido Historical Society saved it from demolition and moved it to Grape Day Park.

Escondido's original public library is now headquarters for the Escondido History Center.
Escondido’s original public library is now headquarters for the Escondido History Center.

Sign details the mission and work of the Escondido History Center, formerly the Escondido Historical Society, which was founded in 1956.
Sign details the mission and work of the Escondido History Center, formerly the Escondido Historical Society, which was founded in 1956.

A time capsule buried under the Heritage Walk is to be opened in 2076.
A time capsule buried under the Heritage Walk is to be opened in 2076.

The handsome old Santa Fe Depot was moved to Grape Day Park in 1984. It houses the main museum of the Escondido History Center.
The handsome old Santa Fe Depot was moved to Grape Day Park in 1984. It houses the main museum of the Escondido History Center.

The platform side of the historic train depot, complete with Western Union sign and vintage luggage cart.
The platform side of the historic train depot, complete with Western Union sign and vintage baggage cart.

Exhibits inside the old train depot concern local history, from the Native American Kumeyaay who lived off the land, through Escondido's development as a town.
Exhibits inside the old train depot concern local history, from the Native American Kumeyaay who lived off the land, through Escondido’s development as a town.

A vintage photograph on one wall shows Escondido's Santa Fe Depot.
A black-and-white photograph on one wall shows Escondido’s Santa Fe Depot.

Parked next to the depot's passenger platform is railroad car number 92, built by the Pullman Company in the 1920s.
Parked next to the depot’s passenger platform is railroad car number 92, built by the Pullman Company in the 1920s.

Inside the railroad car is a huge model train layout that kids love!
Inside the railroad car is a huge, detailed model train layout that kids love!

Sacks of mail were transported at one end of the railroad car.
Sacks of mail were transported at one end of the railroad car.

Visitors to the old railroad car hang out and enjoy another facet of Escondido's fascinating history!
Visitors inside the old railroad car relax and enjoy another facet of Escondido’s fascinating history!

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!

Little Italy’s history, culture at Amici House.

Arriving at the historic Amici House, a cultural center in San Diego's downtown Little Italy neighborhood.
Approaching the historic Amici House, a cultural center in San Diego’s downtown Little Italy neighborhood.

In downtown San Diego’s beautiful Little Italy neighborhood, tucked among trees between Amici Park and the popular Little Italy Dog Park, one can find a small house that is named for friendship. It’s called Amici House.

A century ago the Amici House was home to the Giacalone family, who lived in Sicily before their arrival in San Diego in 1916. Antonio Giacalone and his wife, Josephine, became an integral part of the local Italian fishing community. Their modest Craftsman style house was originally located a few blocks to the west, near India Street. Last year the structure was moved to its present location at 250 W. Date Street, in order to make room for the new Piazza della Famiglia.

The historic home, now called the Amici House, has become a gathering place for the present-day community. Sheltered by graceful trees, its shady patio is the perfect place to relax, have a drink and chat with friends. Inside the house one can observe museum-like displays and learn about life in Little Italy, which was home to many immigrant fishermen back when San Diego was considered the tuna fishing capital of the world.

The Amici House is operated by The Convivio Society for Italian Humanities, a nonprofit organization that promotes Italian arts, culture and heritage in San Diego. The house with its intimate patio provides a unique venue for concerts and other entertainment. A variety of community activities such as outdoor movie screenings are often enjoyed in nearby Amici Park. The house can also be rented for private events.

I paid a visit on Saturday afternoon and took a few photos.

This grassy area in front of Amici House will soon be a venue for outdoor entertainment, with its own small stage.
This grassy area in front of Amici House will soon be a venue for outdoor entertainment, with its own small stage.

A group of people exits Amici House. I will be able to explore the place during a quiet moment on a Saturday afternoon.
A group of people exits Amici House. I will be able to explore the place during a quiet moment on a Saturday afternoon.

Steps lead up into the beautifully renovated Craftsman style Amici House.
Steps lead up into the small, renovated Craftsman style Amici House.

At the bottom of the front steps is a table with gifts. Caffè Convivio offers snacks and a few refreshing things to drink.
At the bottom of the front steps is a table with books and other gifts. Caffè Convivio offers snacks and a few refreshing things to drink.

Chairs and tables in front of Amici House provide a pleasant, shady place to relax on a sunny day.
Chairs and tables in front of Amici House provide a pleasant, shady place to relax on a sunny day.

This kinetic fish sculpture is popular with kids.
This kinetic fish sculpture is popular with kids.

After stepping into the small Amici House, I turned around and took a photo of old fishing artifacts above the door.
After stepping into the Amici House, I turned around and took a photo of old fishing artifacts above the door.

Photo into a large mirror on one wall provides a glimpse of the small museum-like interior.
Photo into a large mirror on one wall provides a glimpse of the small museum-like interior.

The walls inside the Amici House are full of historical photos and information concerning Little Italy, once center of a thriving tuna fishing industry.
The walls inside the Amici House are full of historical photos and information concerning Little Italy, once center of a thriving tuna fishing industry.

Posters, old photos and works of art with an Italian theme appear on all sides. I see Frank Sinatra.
Posters, old photos and works of art with an Italian theme appear on all sides. I see Frank Sinatra.

This small exhibition of art features work by sports fan and artist Christopher Paluso.
This small exhibition of art features work by sports fan and artist Christopher Paluso.

Examples of work by accomplished Italian American artist Christopher Paluso.
Examples of work by accomplished Italian American artist Christopher Paluso.

In a wooden cabinet I spied colorful gifts and crafts imported from Italy.
In a wooden cabinet I saw colorful glassware and crafts imported from Italy.

Painting of John D'Acquisto, Italian American baseball player who played four years with the San Diego Padres.
Painting of John D’Acquisto, Italian American baseball pitcher who played four years with the San Diego Padres.

Little Italy has a rich history, including many generations of families that still thrive in the community today.
Little Italy has a rich history, including many generations of families that still thrive in the community today.

I'm shown a rendering of a proposed, much larger cultural center that might be built by The Convivio Society elsewhere in Little Italy.
I’m shown a rendering of a proposed, much larger cultural center that might be built by The Convivio Society in the future.

Meanwhile, the Amici House is a repository of cherished memories for a lively and welcoming San Diego neighborhood.
Meanwhile, the Amici House holds (and produces) cherished memories for a lively San Diego neighborhood.

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!

Magical light transforms Old Town backyards.

After work I got off the trolley at Old Town, crossed Congress Street, and headed into the State Historic Park. With the recent return to Daylight Saving Time, there’s an extra hour of light for a leisurely walk.

At first I wasn’t sure what I would photograph. Then, minutes before the sun might disappear behind the horizon, I found myself lingering near the backyards of several very early San Diego houses.

It was the golden, almost dreamlike light that caught my eyes.

I walked along a quiet pathway that passes behind a row of historic structures, including Colorado House, La Casa de Machado y Silvas, U.S. House and San Diego House.

These backyards, back porches and gardens always appear a bit timeworn and scraggly, but the late light magically turned them into something wholly new.

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!

Photos of restored rooms inside Casa de Estudillo.

Visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park look into a restored room of La Casa de Estudillo.
Visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park look into a restored room of La Casa de Estudillo.

Four years ago I posted photos of La Casa de Estudillo, a famous adobe house in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park that was originally built in 1827. That blog was called Ramona saved Casa de Estudillo in Old Town and concerned the fascinating history of this structure.

Over time various parts of the casa have undergone restoration and new rooms have opened up to public view. These rooms now appear furnished as they once might have been, in the very early days of San Diego.

I recently walked through La Casa de Estudillo and peered into a few of the rooms…

Sign describes the dining room of La Casa de Estudillo.
Sign describes the dining room of La Casa de Estudillo.

The eventual prosperity of the Estudillo family is reflected in their elegant dining room.
The eventual prosperity of the Estudillo family is reflected in their elegant dining room.

Expensive furniture and tableware imported by ship from distant places fill the otherwise simple room.
Expensive furniture and tableware imported by ship from distant places fill the otherwise simple room.

Sign describes commerce in the casa. Francisco de Paul Rodriguez rented space from the Estudillos for a store.
Sign describes commerce in the casa. Francisco de Paul Rodriguez rented space from the Estudillos for a store.

The store, or tienda, contained shelves of goods that might be purchased by the residents of Old Town San Diego. Much of the merchandise came by ship from the East Coast around Cape Horn.
The store, or tienda, contained shelves of goods that might be purchased by the residents of Old Town San Diego. Much of the merchandise came by ship from the East Coast around Cape Horn.

More shelves against one wall contain iron tools and basic furnishings like candlesticks for sale.
More shelves against one wall contain iron tools and basic furnishings like candlesticks for sale.

Sign describes how the Estudillos adapted to life on the frontier in the 1830's and 1840's.
Sign describes how the Estudillos adapted to life on the frontier in the 1830’s and 1840’s.

A bedroom inside La Casa de Estudillo contains a wealth of comfort, unusual in early San Diego, which was located far away from developed centers of commerce.
A bedroom inside La Casa de Estudillo contains a wealth of comfort, unusual in early San Diego, which was located far away from developed centers of commerce.

Several additional rooms at La Casa de Estudillo are undergoing restoration.
Several additional rooms at La Casa de Estudillo are undergoing restoration.

Sign describes how the casa started as a modest two-room structure and eventually grew into an expansive U-shaped building with a courtyard and outbuildings.
Sign describes how the casa started as a modest two-room structure and eventually grew into an expansive U-shaped building with a courtyard and outbuildings.

Photo of the Casa de Estudillo's tower from the central garden courtyard.
Photo of the Casa de Estudillo’s tower from the central garden courtyard.

Looking across the south end of the courtyard toward the outdoor oven and Seeley Stable beyond.
Looking across the south end of the courtyard toward the outdoor oven and Seeley Stable beyond.

Sign explains how the Estudillos cared for a growing family including many children.
Sign explains how the Estudillos cared for a growing family including many children.

Frozen Charlotte dolls, ca. 1850's. These china dolls were popular in the Victorian era.
Frozen Charlotte dolls, ca. 1850’s. These china dolls were popular in the Victorian era.

A look into the children's bedroom.
A look into the children’s bedroom.

Sign describes the Estudillo kitchen and pantry. The family's ranchos provided meat, game, vegetables and fruit.
Sign describes the Estudillo kitchen and pantry. The family’s ranchos provided meat, game, vegetables and fruit.

Jars, pots, sacks of flour and fruit are among the many items seen in the rather primitive kitchen.
Jars, pots, sacks of flour and fruit are among the many items seen in the rather primitive kitchen.

The kitchen inside La Casa de Estudillo provides an idea of what life might have been like in early San Diego.
The kitchen inside La Casa de Estudillo provides an idea of what life might have been like in early San Diego.

UPDATE!

Here are additional photos of information signs that I took in June 2019…

Sign showing architect Hazel Wood Waterman's design for the Casa de Estudillo includes photo of the Casa under construction.
Sign showing architect Hazel Wood Waterman’s design for the Casa de Estudillo includes a photo of the Casa under construction.

Four generations of the Estudillo family lived here between 1827 and 1887. Don José Maria Estudillo was former Comandante of the Presidio.
Four generations of the Estudillo family lived here between 1827 and 1887. Don José Maria Estudillo was former Comandante of the Presidio.

An Estudillo tradition of public service.
An Estudillo tradition of public service.

People living in San Diego in the 1800s struggled with natural disasters like torrential rains, floods, droughts, earthquakes and disease.
People living in San Diego in the 1800s struggled with natural disasters like torrential rains, floods, droughts, earthquakes and disease.

A display in the courtyard of the Casa de Estudillo.
A display in the courtyard of the Casa de Estudillo.

A place to grind wheat and corn. Members of the Mormon Battalion built a large adobe horse-mill near the Casa.
A place to grind wheat and corn. Members of the Mormon Battalion built a large adobe horse-mill near the Casa.

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