Building a cannon carriage and adobe walls in Old Town.

Saturday, on my way to TwainFest, I walked a little around Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to see what I might see.

At the blacksmith shop, wood shop and nearby grounds, I observed some interesting activity!

First, I learned from Todd in the blacksmith shop that a new carriage for Old Town plaza’s historic cannon will soon be built! I blogged about this project back in April here. I detail a little about the cannon’s history in that blog post.

Todd showed me how he had removed some of the original iron fittings from the wooden carriage. All of the iron will be saved, then refitted to a brand new carriage once it’s built. Welds will be hidden to preserve the original appearance.

The carriage will be constructed in the wood shop, a small work room attached to the blacksmith shop.

Here are a few photos of the wood shop…

Then I noticed two people working in the dirt area outside the blacksmith shop, behind Seeley Stable. This is the new spot in the State Park where adobe wall-making is demonstrated.

I’ve been told the old adobe demonstration area, which I blogged about here, will be used in the future for a Kumeyaay interpretive display.

As I watched slimy fingers jam mud mortar between large sun-dried adobe blocks, I took a look at information concerning which structures in Old Town are original adobes, and which ones are reconstructed.

Six original adobe buildings shown are: Casa de Machado y Silvas, c. 1843; Casa de Machado y Stewart, c. 1830; Casa de Estudillo, c. 1827; Casa de Bandini/Cosmopolitan Hotel, c. 1829; Altamirano-Perdrorena House, c. 1869; and the oldest structure in San Diego, Casa de Carrillo (between Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and the Presidio), c. 1817.

Reconstructed adobe buildings are: Robinson-Rose Building, c. 1853; Casa de Wrightington, c. 1804; San Diego House, c. 1841; Casa de Rodriguez, c. 1830; Colorado House (Adobe Annex), c. 1854; Casa de Alvarado, c. 1830; and Alvarado Saloon, c. 1830.

Typical adobe wall construction involved a foundation and a layer of small stones and shards topped by adobe bricks, which are cemented with lime and sand or mud plaster.

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 historic William Clayton House in Bankers Hill.

Those entering Balboa Park from Bankers Hill might notice this beautiful old house at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street. During my walks I’ve often wondered about it.

After doing a little research, I discovered it’s called the William Clayton House. It was designed in 1907 by San Diego’s first female architect, Hazel Wood Waterman.

Hazel Wood Waterman got her start as one of renowned architect Irving J. Gill’s two chief draftspeople. With a particular love for the Arts and Crafts style, she would eventually design a number of houses and buildings around San Diego. Her most famous work was the 1910 restoration of the Casa de Estudillo in Old Town, a commission that came from John D. Spreckels.

You can learn more about Hazel Wood Waterman here.

The William Clayton House barely avoided demolition almost thirty years ago. You can read about that here. Today it is San Diego Historic Landmark #270 and location of the Vista Balboa Crisis Center.

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History and beauty at Magee Park in Carlsbad.

Magee Park in Carlsbad is a special place where both history and beauty thrive.

I enjoyed a walk through the park recently, pausing frequently to admire its several historical structures.

Everywhere I walked, it seemed, beds of roses greeted me. Magee Park’s rose garden is so beautiful and extensive that the American Rose Society called Carlsbad “An American Rose City” in 2002.

The centerpiece of the park is the 1887 Magee House, a handsome Craftsman-style house built by Samuel Church Smith, one of the founders of Carlsbad Land and Water Company. Today it is home to the Carlsbad Historical Society and their museum. Unfortunately, the museum was closed when I walked past. Read more about the Magee House’s history here.

Other historic structures in Magee Park include the Shipley-Magee Barn, Heritage Hall, the Twin Inns Granary and the Twin Inns Gazebo.

During my meandering walk, I photographed many of the informative signs and plaques that I came upon.

During Carlsbad’s agricultural past a variety of barn styles were constructed.
The barn at Magee Historical Park is the oldest Carlsbad barn in existence. This sign on the barn’s side details its history, and tells a little about the life of Florence Shipley and her husband Hugh Magee.
Vast areas of present day Carlsbad were once used to raise cattle and horses.
Heritage Hall in Carlsbad, California.

HERITAGE HALL

HERITAGE HALL WAS BUILT IN 1926 AS THE ORIGINAL SANCTUARY OF ST. PATRICK’S CATHOLIC CHURCH. IN 1952 IT BECAME CARLSBAD’S FIRST CITY HALL AND POLICE STATION; IN THE 1960’S THE FIRST LIBRARY, THE FIRST CHILDREN’S LIBRARY AND LATER A BALLET STUDIO. IN 1979 THE HALL WAS MOVED TO ITS PRESENT SITE WITH THE HELP OF FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY, THE CARLSBAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY, AND VOLUNTEERS. IT IS NOW A COMMUNITY MEETING HALL.

The Twin Inns Granary.

THE TWIN INNS GRANARY

ORIGINALLY BUILT BY EDDIE KENTNER, PROPRIETOR OF THE WORLD FAMOUS CARLSBAD TWIN INNS, THIS GRANARY WAS DONATED TO THE CITY OF CARLSBAD BY NEIMAN’S VILLAGE FAIRE AND MOVED TO MAGEE PARK IN 1985. IT WAS RESTORED THROUGH THE GENEROUS ASSISTANCE OF THE CARLSBAD EVENING ROTARY CLUB.

Now I’ve begun to walk around the Magee House…

A time capsule in front of the Magee House placed by the Carlsbad Historical Society. It will be opened July 4, 2076, our nation’s Tricentennial.
Roses by the Magee House’s welcoming veranda.
Circular patio with birdbath beside the Magee House. More roses.
The old Twin Inns Gazebo nearby.
Continuing my walk around the Magee House.

As I walked through wide, grassy Magee Park, I noticed it has several trees with dedication plaques.

I found three of them…

25 years of friendship with sister city Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.
In loving memory of Doris A. Gordon.
Mary Jane Joseph. Proud resident of Carlsbad.

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 look at the Alfred Haines House in Golden Hill.

Yesterday my long walk included a stretch through Golden Hill. As I headed back down E Street, I enjoyed viewing the handsome exterior of the historic Alfred Haines House.

This renowned Craftsman-style home, built in 1908 for San Diego Judge Alfred Haines, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Master Architects William, Charles and Edward Quayle designed the house.

The Quayle Brothers are responsible for many other notable structures in San Diego, including the Neo-Classical style Salt Lake and Union Pacific Building, which used to stand east of the Organ Pavilion during the 1915 Panama‐California Exposition. They designed the North Park Theatre in 1928 and the San Diego Police Department in 1939. They also designed San Diego’s historic Balboa Stadium (originally called City Stadium) for the Panama-California Exposition. It was the second concrete stadium built west of the Mississippi River.

If you want to see photos of the Alfred Haines House’s very elegant interior, 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!

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A walk around the Rancho Guajome Adobe in Vista.

The Rancho Guajome Adobe is an architecturally and historically important 19th century ranch house located in Vista, California. I visited it a little over a week ago and walked around the grounds, learning about the fascinating history of the place while taking a few photographs.

I approached the Guajome Ranch House from the Santa Fe Trail to its south, then circled counterclockwise around the complex, viewing the beautiful arcaded veranda, several cisterns fed by wells, the chapel, and other outbuildings. I spotted various signs and plaques relating the history of the ranch, which was once the home of prominent early San Diego resident Cave Johnson Couts and his wife Maria Ysidora Barbara Bandini.

As you can see, I also stepped into a small museum. That’s where you can purchase tickets to guided and self-guided house tours.

According to Wikipedia: “The adobe was built in 1852 and served as the headquarters of Rancho Guajome, a Mexican land grant. Abel Stearns had given the rancho to Ysidora Bandini (sister of his wife Arcadia Bandini), as a wedding gift when she married Lieutenant Cave Johnson Couts in 1851. It was built with the profits from the cattle boom of the 1850s, when many California ranchos supplied the Gold Rush miners and associated new American immigrants with meat and leather. Couts was appointed sub-agent for the native Luiseño people (San Luis Rey Mission Indians) in 1853. He used their labor to improve his properties in the area, including this one and nearby Rancho Buena Vista and Rancho Vallecitos de San Marcos…”

I didn’t venture inside the 22-room hacienda, but I most likely will at some future time. The old ranch house is located in Rancho Guajome Adobe County Park. Check out the parks website here to learn more.

The following photos provide a taste of what you’ll see should you visit this historic place.

Peering from the veranda through an open door…

The sign reads:

The Carriage Courtyard.

Imagine the activity here where Couts quartered his many servants. The ranch foreman lived next to the gate. Horse and equipment stalls, blacksmith shop, tack room, winery, olive vats and a jail made up the ranch service yard. 300 Indian laborers made the thousands of adobe brick to build the walls, and other materials came from the abandoned San Luis Rey Mission with permission of the Diocesan Bishop.

Guajome Ranch House has been designated a National Historic Landmark

This site possesses national significance commemorating the history of the United States of America

1970

National Park Service

United States Department of the Interior

Rancho Guajome

Formerly attached to Mission San Luis Rey, the 2,219 acre ranch passed through brief ownership by two mission Indians, then Don Abel Stearns, and into possession of Ysidora Bandini upon marriage to Col. Cave Johnson Couts. The adobe ranch house built in 1852-53, is one of the finest extant examples of the traditional Spanish-Mexican one-story hacienda with an inner-outer courtyard plan. It was acquired by San Diego County in 1973 for the Guajome Regional Park.

California registered Historical Landmark No. 940

Plaque placed by the State Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the San Diego County Department of Parks and Recreation and Squibob Chapter, E Clampus Vitus, April 26, 1981.

This El Camino Real Bell commemorates the trail of California missions established by the padres and honors the bell’s designer: Harrie Rebbecca Piper Smith Forbes

Dedicated by the Woman’s Club of Vista

9/21/96

At its beginning, Rancho Guajome was a working cattle ranch. Because the West was dry, cattle owners like Cave Couts would turn their cattle out on unfenced pastures. However, during this “open range” period, sometimes cattle from different ranchos intermixed, making it difficult to determine which cattleman owned which cattle. The branding iron was invented as a solution…

Cave Johnson Couts was born in 1821 in Springfield, Tennessee, and died in 1874 in San Diego at the Horton House. His wife Maria Ysidora Barbara Bandini was born in 1828 in San Diego, was married in 1851 at the Casa de Bandini in Old Town (now the Cosmopolitan Hotel), and died in 1897 in Los Angeles.

Included in the museum display are Native work baskets, Southern California style, circa 19th century.

Rancho Guajome Adobe farm equipment included a farm wagon, breaking carts for training horses, a broadcast seeder, a sulky used for racing horses, and a four-bottom Stockton plow used to turn soil to prepare fields for planting.

In the past I blogged about the Colorado House, a two-story hotel that was built in Old Town San Diego in 1851 by the very same Cave Couts. Today it serves as the Wells Fargo History Museum. Read that here.

I’ve also blogged about the El Campo Santo cemetery grave of Juan Mendoza, who was shot in the back by Cave Couts. See that here. (During one walk I spotted another mysterious wooden tombstone with the name Juan Mendoza by a parking lot, across the San Diego River from Old Town. Read that 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!

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A walk around El Cajon’s Knox House Museum.

A few weeks ago, during my adventure in El Cajon, I walked around the Knox House Museum, which was closed at the time. I took a number of photographs of the historic structure, and the gazebo in small, grassy Judson Park to the north.

The Knox House Museum is operated by the El Cajon Historical Society. The building is a restoration of Amaziah Lord Knox’s original two-story, seven room El Cajon Hotel, which was built in 1876 near the present day corner of Main Street and Magnolia Avenue. The building also served as the Knox residence. In later years the hotel was altered in various ways and greatly enlarged. In 1972 the City of El Cajon purchased the original building and moved it to its present location, at the corner of Magnolia and Park Avenue.

To learn much, much more about the old hotel, the present day museum, and the history of El Cajon, which began in earnest with the discovery of gold in Julian in 1870, visit the El Cajon Historical Society’s website here! Among other things, you’ll learn why the Knox House Museum is painted in such unusual colors!

I spotted this old gazebo in Judson Park, across Park Avenue…

The plaque on the gazebo includes: In 1875 the bustling commerce of ore wagons, stage coaches and other traffic of the times passed this spot on route to and from San Diego and the gold mines of Julian. This land was later granted to the City of El Cajon by the C.S. Judson family…The gazebo was constructed by the El Cajon Historical Society…Dedicated July 26, 1992…This rose garden was presented to the people of El Cajon by the East County Rose Society…Dedicated November 2002…

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Famous house from movie Top Gun is restored!

The famous Top Gun House, where Maverick ate dinner with Charlie in the popular 1980’s movie Top Gun, has been restored!

I passed the iconic house today during a long walk through Oceanside, and the beachfront cottage appears completely changed from a few years ago. When I last took a look at the Top Gun House, back in 2018, the color scheme and porch were quite different, as you can see in today’s photos and my old blog post here.

The beautiful little 1887 Queen Anne Cottage has been restored to its original appearance. Learn about the Graves House’s historical importance in Oceanside and see a photo of how it looked when built over a century ago by clicking here.

The house has not only been restored, but it has been relocated a short distance up North Pacific Street, to a spot in front of the newly built Oceanside Beach Resort, which is scheduled to open later this year.

The following photo is one that I took in August of 2018…

UPDATE!

When I walked past on Labor Day, 2021, the famous Top Gun House had been painted once again! This time the color scheme is lighter, and much more attractive in my opinion…

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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The first camphor tree planted in North America!

What you’re looking at is an historic tree. It’s the very first camphor tree planted in North America!

The now immense old camphor tree grows in the yard of the Britt-Scripps House in San Diego’s Bankers Hill!

I blogged about the Britt-Scripps House years ago here. The mansion was built in 1887 by Eugene Britt, then purchased in 1896 by newspaper publisher E.W. Scripps. (Today it’s for a sale again. And the price was recently reduced to under five million dollars. A bargain! To see photos of this historic house’s elegant interior, check out this page.)

The beautiful camphor tree was planted in 1885 by none other than horticulturist Kate Sessions, who introduced many of the majestic trees visitors see in Balboa Park today!

By the way, did you know one of the rarest plants in the entire world can be found in nearby Balboa Park?

A tree that is now extinct in the wild has found a home in the Botanical Building. A few years ago I blogged about that 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!

A look at the historic Hayward-Patterson House.

During my walk through Golden Hill last weekend I passed dozens of charming old Victorian homes.

Golden Hill and adjacent Sherman Heights seem to have the greatest concentration of Victorian houses in San Diego. In the late 1800’s and very early 1900’s, many of the city’s elite residents built houses in these then-fashionable neighborhoods just east of downtown. The hillside locations offered panoramic views of the city and San Diego Bay.

As I walked down Broadway, I noticed one beautifully restored structure had a plaque indicating it was the Hayward-Patterson House, City of San Diego Historical Landmark No. 85.

A little online research shows the Italianate-style house was built in 1887 by Albert Moses Hayward, an early president of the San Diego Yacht Club and captain of the yacht San Diego. The second owner was Francis Elliot Patterson, a notable photographer and camera store owner who lived in the house for over thirty years.

Various owners followed. It’s currently the office of Finest City Homes and Loans.

As I walked past the Hayward-Patterson House, I snapped a few photographs.

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!

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!