A look at the historic Tom Ah Quin Building.

The Tom Ah Quin Building stands at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Island Avenue in San Diego’s Asian Pacific Thematic Historic District. It was built in 1930 by Thomas A. Quin, the son of Ah Quin, Chinatown’s founder and unofficial mayor.

The Quin Building is in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, an architectural style that became popular in San Diego and Southern California after the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park. According to the Historic Building plaque by its entrance, the top part of the Quin Building had two apartments, and the street level contained a storefront and storage space.

A larger structure directly attached to the north side of the building, which was also built in 1930 by Thomas Quin, is called the Casa de Thomas Addition. It has been used by various businesses over the years, including the Empire Garage and Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Company (Convair). I’ve included a photo of that plaque for you to read as well.

Today both the Quin Building and the Casa de Thomas Addition are home to downtown San Diego’s popular FLUXX Nightclub.

You can see a portrait of the Ah Quin family and learn more about San Diego’s old Chinatown by clicking here!

(If you’re curious about that very fancy looking building to the left in the above photo, that’s the Horton Grand Hotel. I blogged about it over seven years ago, when Cool San Diego Sights was just getting started. Learn about how the Horton Grand Hotel is supposedly haunted here!)

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House of Charm’s bell tower restored!

I couldn’t believe my eyes this afternoon!

I had just entered Balboa Park’s Alcazar Garden when I noticed something unusually colorful up in the sky. It was the bell tower of the House of Charm–appearing brand new!

Look at these photos! The restoration of the bell tower’s exterior has been so remarkable, my photos almost look like perfect, flawless paintings!

The Mingei International Museum, which occupies most of the House of Charm, is currently undergoing their big expansion and renovation, which, among other improvements, will provide visitors access to the bell tower.

The original building and its tower, created for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, were designed by architect Carleton Winslow. During the exposition the building was called the Indian Arts Building. The colorful bell tower was modeled after the tower on the Church of Santa Catarina in Puebla, Mexico. It was meant to complement Balboa Park’s iconic California Tower that rises across from what was then called the Montezuma Gardens.

Once the Mingei International Museum’s renovation is complete, the bell tower will feature a new inside staircase and skylight. It will also contain a hanging glass sculpture by acclaimed artist Dale Chihuly.

I’ve included an old black-and-white photograph from 1915 so you can see the original tower and building. The photo below was taken from the Plaza de Panama. Although the building was completely reconstructed in 1996, you’ll notice the bell tower today appears much as it did back during the Panama-California Exposition, over a century ago.

Front of Indian Arts Building during the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park. (Public domain photo from Wikimedia Commons.)
The beautifully restored House of Charm tower, seen from the Alcazar Garden.
Photo of restored House of Charm bell tower taken at a distance, from the rear of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. (As you can see, work is also being done on the Mingei International Museum’s roof.)

UPDATE!

Here are some pics that I took a couple days later…

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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!

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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!

Hidden historical marker near Mission San Diego.

There’s an important historical marker near Mission San Diego de Alcalá that very few people know about or see. It’s located on private property along San Diego Mission Road, just inside the grounds of a condo complex. You can find it a short distance east of the mission, on some grass behind a fence, very close to the San Diego River.

I was able to take zoom photos of the “hidden” marker and its bronze plaque from the sidewalk.

The words read:

Padre Luis Jayme, Pastor of the Mission San Diego de Alcalá, was martyred near this site November 5, 1775. Father Jayme had asked that the Mission be moved to its present site from Presidio Hill in order to better grow foods for the Mission.

In this area the Mission padres produced grapes, olives and other farm products for the Indian and Spanish communities.

Also near this site a small structure housed the guard from the Royal Presidio, which served as escort and guard for the Mission padres.

The historical marker was placed where Father Jayme’s body was found. He was killed by a large force of native people, said to be Yuman Indians from distant villages, in an uprising in 1775, about a year after the nearby mission was built. The mission was pillaged and set on fire. Survivors of the attack fled to the Presidio, six miles away down the river.

Over the centuries Mission San Diego de Alcalá, the first Spanish mission in California, has been rebuilt several times. The remains of Father Luis Jayme are entombed under the floor next to the altar in the present church.

Looking west down San Diego Mission Road. The mission is located on the hillside beyond those trees..

The nearby San Diego River, where it is crossed by San Diego Mission Road…

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 up Maine Avenue in historic Lakeside.

Last weekend I enjoyed a leisurely walk up Maine Avenue in Lakeside, California.

I started at Woodside Avenue and proceeded north to Mapleview Street (just south of the Lakeside Rodeo Arena). This part of town is referred to as the Lakeside Historic District.

Apart from a few articles I’ve read, I really don’t know much about the history of Lakeside. This community in San Diego’s East County is best known for its annual rodeo, but over a century ago it was famous for it’s large, opulent Lakeside Inn (originally called the Lakeside Hotel) which was built in 1887 near the edge of Lindo Lake.

(I posted photos of a nostalgic mural at the corner of Maine and Woodside which depicts the old hotel and an early auto racetrack that circled Lindo Lake. See that wonderful mural by clicking here.)

It appears to me little remains from Lakeside’s very earliest days. Apart from a few houses that are scattered along Maine Avenue and adjacent River Street, the one notable building that still stands is the Olde Community Church. When it was completed in 1896, the First Presbyterian Church of Lakeside became the prominent center of the scarcely populated town.

The beautiful old church now houses the Lakeside History Center and Museum of the Lakeside Historical Society. The museum was closed when I happened to walk by it. I’ll have to visit at some future time.

These photographs represent my walk north up Maine from Woodside to Mapleview. I’ve included captions with a little information I’ve found.

The three old black and white photos are from an interesting San Diego County publication that details the history of Lakeside, which you can read here.

Lakeside, California,1904.
Lakeside, California, 1910.
Photo of old Lakeside Inn, originally called Lakeside Hotel, often referred to as the Coronado of the Hills. Its splendid Victorian architecture was similar to that of the Hotel del Coronado.
The Lakeside Post Office and an adjacent strip mall at Maine and Woodson, where the famous old Lakeside Inn used to stand.
Looking north up Maine Avenue from Woodside Avenue.
I’ve arrived at Parkside Street.
The picturesque Olde Community Church.
Sign near entrance to the Lakeside History Center’s museum at the Olde Community Church.
Looking to the left.
Words engraved in a boulder. El Capitan Dam Site discovered and purchased by Ed Fletcher in 1911.
Continuing north up Maine, passing the front of Olde Community Church.

The above plaque in front of the Olde Community Church recalls the Lakeside Auto Speedway that was built around Lindo Lake by John H. Gay, owner of the Lakeside Inn.

It was considered the first purpose-built auto racing facility in the United States. On its opening day in 1907, famed racecar driver Barney Oldfield set a world automotive speed record of 69.49 miles per hour. The feat was performed in his Peerless Green Dragon car as he accelerated down the 2 mile long packed clay oval track.

Sculpture of cowboy on bucking horse on grounds of Lakeside Historical Society’s old church. In Memory of Mr. Lakeside Rodeo, Ben Bruton. (As you can see, I walked by around Halloween!)
Looking back as I continue north up Maine Avenue.
Western cattle drive mural on a parking lot wall in Lakeside. By artist David Ybarra, 2016.
Cool shop owner in cowboy garb poses with his guitar in front of Hazel’s Music.
Rodeo celebrated in Lakeside Historic District mural on side of Lakeside Liquor store.
A happy autumn scarecrow on the street corner. To the right is the 1912 Rocchio Rexal Drug Store building, restored in 2015.
Colorful public art mosaic on the old drug store building’s wall depicts people on horseback.
What became the facade of Kursave’s Lakeside Theatre was originally the front of Lakeside Town Hall, built in 1911. It has housed various businesses more recently.
A classic Western scene in front of a small office building.
Lakeside landmark sign seen beyond Mary’s Donuts.
Lakeside landmark sign rises above Maine Avenue.
Sign rising from patch of cacti welcomes motorists to the Lakeside Historic District.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

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The doors, gates and windows of Old Town.

This afternoon I walked through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, wondering if I might find any Fourth of July decorations. There were only a few. All of the museums and perhaps half of the shops are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But I did find lots of picturesque doors, gates and windows! Which gave me a unique photographic opportunity. On a typical weekend afternoon, some of these colorful wooden doors and rustic gates would be wide open, and taking such photographs would be impossible.

But not today!

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!

Major construction projects underway in Balboa Park!

Numerous major construction projects are now underway in Balboa Park!

It appears workers were very busy while the park was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Today the center of Balboa Park reopened to the public, and as I walked around I was surprised to see all the construction activity!

The above photo and the one that follows shows the long-planned public viewing platform being built around the park’s landmark Moreton Bay Fig tree!

I once blogged more information concerning this project here.

The next three photos show how the Mingei International Museum’s major transformation is well underway! I believe the construction you see on one side of the building is going to be the Mingei’s new theater.

If you want an idea of how things will look when finished, you can visit my blog post concerning the Mingei’s transformation here.

I was really surprised to see that the Palisades area of Balboa Park has begun it’s historic transformation!

Half the old parking lot–the side nearest the San Diego Air and Space Museum–will be turned into a pedestrian plaza featuring lawns and a monumental fountain that will recall the Firestone Singing Color Fountains of the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition!

Finally, I saw a great deal of progress has been made building the five new structures at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages! The new cottages will be the future home of nine nations.

I’ve blogged about this long delayed project on several occasions. You can see a map of the project here, and see photos I took of the groundbreaking ceremony in 2016 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!

The art of Lomaland at San Diego History Center.

The Bard, Reginald Willoughby Machell, c. 1895. Oil on canvas. One of the Theosophical Society artist's allegorical works.
The Bard, Reginald Willoughby Machell, c. 1895. Oil on canvas. One of the Theosophical Society artist’s allegorical works concerning spirituality.

Until yesterday, I didn’t know very much about Lomaland. I knew it was a Theosophical community in Point Loma with several exotic buildings that were located where Point Loma Nazarene University stands today, but that’s about all.

After viewing the San Diego History Center’s current exhibition The Path of the Mystic: Art & Theosophy at Lomaland, and doing a little online research, I now know more about this unique utopian community that made important cultural contributions to San Diego in the first half of the 20th century.

Lomaland was established by Katherine Tingley in 1897. The home of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society, the community became a haven for learning, culture and social reform. Artists and like-minded individuals from around the world came to Lomaland to lead spiritual, contemplative, idealistic lives.

According to the San Diego History Center website: “Tingley’s progressive Theosophical vision, which placed strong emphasis on cultural pursuits including music, dance, drama, literature and visual art, attracted artists from the United States and abroad. As the community developed, many artists came to live and work at Lomaland, including Marguerite Lemke Barton, Grace “Gay” Betts, Maurice Braun, Benjamin Gordon, Leonard Lester, Marian Plummer Lester, Reginald Willoughby Machell, and Edith White.”

I learned from Wikipedia: “Led by Katherine Tingley, the group came to Point Loma to establish a community that would model the philosophical and humanitarian goals of Theosophy. The “White City” envisioned by Tingley was to be located on the extreme western edge of the North American continent but oriented toward India, the spiritual center of Theosophical beliefs. The blend of new world confidence, Victorian morality, a love of antiquity, and Indian spirituality created a unique community …”

The buildings of Lomaland were completed in 1900, and the Theosophical community flourished in Point Loma until 1942, when it relocated to Covina. The main building and Temple of Peace, which often appear in Theosophical Society artwork, had domes of aquamarine and amethyst colored glass. They could be seen far out to sea, and as far east as Mt. Cuyamaca. They were destroyed by fire in 1952. The Spaulding house today serves as the administration building at Point Loma Nazarene University.

I took a few photos of the exhibition in subdued lighting, but my poor old camera doesn’t capture the full detail and beauty of this artwork.

Many more paintings, historical photographs and other works of unique art in The Path of the Mystic: Art & Theosophy at Lomaland will be on display through April 19, 2020 at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

Katherine Tingley, founder of Lomaland, in her office.
Katherine Tingley, founder of Lomaland, in her office.

Roman Gate, entrance to Lomaland in Point Loma.
Roman Gate, entrance to Lomaland in Point Loma.

Marian Plummer Lester, Untitled drawing, c. 1908. Ink on paper. Small drawing of the Temple of Peace and Raja-Yoga Academy buildings at Lomaland when the artist was fifteen years old.
Marian Plummer Lester, Untitled, c. 1908. Ink on paper. Small drawing of the Temple of Peace and Raja-Yoga Academy buildings at Lomaland when the artist was fifteen years old.

Edith White, Landscape, 1917. Oil on canvas. Painting of foxglove from Lomaland's International Garden.
Edith White, Landscape, 1917. Oil on canvas. Painting of foxglove inspired by Lomaland’s International Garden.

Edith Whilte, Roses on a Fence, c. 1915. Oil on canvas. Close-up photo of a beautiful painting created in Lomaland.
Edith Whilte, Roses on a Fence, c. 1915. Oil on canvas. Close-up photo of a beautiful painting created in Lomaland.

The Prodigal or The Kingdom of Heaven is Within You, Reginald Willoughby Machell, c. 1895. Oil on canvas. Painted in England before artist moved to Point Loma in 1900.
The Prodigal or The Kingdom of Heaven is Within You, Reginald Willoughby Machell, c. 1895. Oil on canvas. Painted in England before artist moved to Point Loma in 1900.

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!

Beauty and history in Carlsbad Village.

Photo of the beautiful old Santa Fe Depot in Carlsbad Village. Built in 1887, it is one of the few pre-1900 stations left in the country.
Photo of the beautiful old Santa Fe Depot in Carlsbad Village. Built in 1887, it is one of the few pre-1900 stations left in the country.

Last weekend I walked around Carlsbad Village. After taking photos of several historic buildings, I strolled for a bit along the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Did you know Carlsbad is named after Karlsbad in Bohemia? That’s because Carlsbad was founded after mineral springs were discovered not far from the beach in the late 19th century. The water was said to be identical in taste and chemical content to the famous healing waters in Karlsbad.

Because my walk was meandering and random, I didn’t see or photograph all of the historic buildings in Carlsbad Village. But I did learn quite a bit about this beautiful coastal community!

To learn more about Carlsbad Village, which is the downtown part of Carlsbad in north San Diego County, please read my photo captions.

Train tracks pass the Santa Fe Depot. The modern Carlsbad Village Station is located one block to the north.
Active train tracks pass the historic Santa Fe Depot. (The modern Carlsbad Village Station is located one block to the north.)

The restored Santa Fe Depot is now the home of Carlsbad's Convention and Visitors Bureau, where tourists can obtain local information.
The restored Santa Fe Depot is now the home of Carlsbad’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, where tourists can obtain local information.

The Santa Fe Depot in Carlsbad also served as telegraph, Wells Fargo, Post Office and general store. It has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Santa Fe Depot in Carlsbad also served as telegraph station, Wells Fargo, Post Office and General Store. It has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

A look inside Carlsbad's historic Santa Fe Depot, now a tourist information center. (Photo taken shortly before Christmas.)
A look inside Carlsbad’s historic Santa Fe Depot, now a tourist information center. (Photo taken shortly before Christmas.)

A vintage wood stove in the depot.
A vintage wood stove in the depot.

A board on the wall shows arrival times for Amtrak and the Coaster. The active Carlsbad Village train station is one block north.
A board on the wall shows arrival times for Amtrak and the Coaster. The modern Carlsbad Village train station is located one block north.

Photo of the grand Twin Inns building beyond the landmark Carlsbad sign on Carlsbad Boulevard, which is a segment of Historic Route 101.
Photo of the grand Twin Inns building beyond the landmark Carlsbad sign on Carlsbad Boulevard, which is a segment of Historic Route 101.

Twin Inns is a Victorian structure built in 1887 by Gerhard Schutte, the Father of Carlsbad, co-founder of the Carlsbad Land and Mineral Water Company.
Twin Inns is a Victorian structure built in 1887 by Gerhard Schutte, the Father of Carlsbad, co-founder of the Carlsbad Land and Mineral Water Company.

Alt Karlsbad, built in 1964, recreating a 12th century structure. Today it is a spa and bottling plant for its famous mineral water.
Alt Karlsbad, built in 1964, recreating a 12th century structure. Today it is a spa and bottling plant for its famous mineral water.

Statue of Captain John A. Frazier, created by sculptor Vaclav Lokvenc, of Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad) in the Czech Republic, sister city of Carlsbad.
Statue of Captain John A. Frazier, created by sculptor Vaclav Lokvenc, of Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad) in the Czech Republic, sister city of Carlsbad.

Captain John A. Frazier discovered artesian springs with mineral water on his farm in 1882. He built a hotel and spa and was co-founder of the city of Carlsbad.
Captain John A. Frazier discovered artesian springs with mineral water on his farm in 1882. He built a hotel and spa and was co-founder of the city of Carlsbad.

Someone performs a handstand in a grassy park that overlooks the beach in Carlsbad Village.
Someone performs a handstand in a grassy park that overlooks the beach at Carlsbad Village.

A view of nearby coastal scenery.
A view of nearby coastal scenery.

Sign above Carlsbad's beach bluff, describing its animals and plants, unique habitat and the cycle of life.
Sign above Carlsbad’s beach bluff, describing its animals and plants, unique habitat and the cycle of life.

A beautiful photo of Carlsbad State Beach near Carlsbad Village.
A beautiful photo of Carlsbad State Beach near Carlsbad Village.

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!