Help restore the 1898 steam ferry Berkeley!

Banner along entrance gangway explains the Historic National Landmark 1898 Steam Ferry Berkeley Preservation Project.
Banner along entrance gangway explains the Historic National Landmark 1898 Steam Ferry Berkeley Preservation Project.

The Maritime Museum of San Diego’s historic 1898 steam ferry Berkeley is undergoing much-needed restoration. The wooden superstructure, exposed for many years to direct sunlight and weather, is in need of repair, as you can see from a couple of my photographs. The south side of the ship, which receives the most sunlight, is in especially poor condition. Work has already begun there.

The museum has received funding for the restoration in the form of a $200,000 grant from the National Maritime Heritage Grant Program. This prestigious grant will match every dollar contributed by the public. Funds are being used to create a watertight, weatherproof, much more durable structure that will last for another generation.

Every contribution you make will be effectively doubled by the matching grant. To make your 100% tax-deductible donation, and learn much more, please visit this page.

To see more photos of this truly amazing vessel and learn about its special place in history, you might want to visit this past blog post. Berkeley was not only the first screw propeller driven steam ferry on the West Coast, but it assisted in the evacuation of a burning San Francisco after the devastating earthquake of 1906. Make sure to scroll down to the bottom of that blog post and read the extensive comment by the former museum librarian, who provides more fascinating information concerning the Berkeley!

The beautiful Berkeley is hub of the Maritime Museum of San Diego. The vessel houses many exhibits, and hosts special events and education programs.
The beautiful Berkeley is hub of the Maritime Museum of San Diego. The vessel houses many exhibits, and hosts special events and education programs.
Damage from the sun, salt, wind and weather is visible in this photo taken shortly before restoration began.
Damage from sun, salt, wind and weather is visible in this photo taken shortly before restoration began.
Guests to the museum are asked to be part of preserving local history. Contributions can be made online. Every dollar will be matched by a Maritime Heritage Grant.
Guests to the museum are asked to be part of preserving local history. Contributions can be made online. Every dollar will be matched by a Maritime Heritage Grant.
Scaffolding along a section of the steam ferryboat Berkeley's south-facing side. Restoration has begun.
Scaffolding along a section of the steam ferryboat Berkeley’s south-facing side. Restoration has begun.

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Murals in Little Italy show history of tuna fishing.

An early 1900's Italian fishing boat looking for tuna off the coast of San Diego.
An early 1900’s Italian fishing boat looking for tuna off the coast of San Diego.

Some new murals have appeared in Little Italy on a construction site fence along Kettner Boulevard, between Beech Street and Cedar Street. The artwork, created by Elisabeth Sullivan, depicts the history of tuna fishing in San Diego.

The series of images tell the story of an industry that once prospered in our city, and that shaped the colorful downtown neighborhood of Little Italy.

Italian and Portuguese fishermen bamboo pole fishing at the peak of the industry in the late 1920's.
Italian and Portuguese fishermen bamboo pole fishing at the peak of the industry in the late 1920’s.
After a lengthy fishing expedition these tuna clippers head home with their catch.
After a lengthy fishing expedition these tuna clippers head home with their catch.
Fishing boats docked for the night in San Diego Harbor after unloading their catch.
Fishing boats docked for the night in San Diego Harbor after unloading their catch.
Women of Little Italy fishing families work to remove hooks, stretch dry and mend the nets.
Women of Little Italy fishing families work to remove hooks, stretch dry and mend the nets.
The tuna is unloaded at the wharf and delivered to San Diego fish markets and canneries.
The tuna is unloaded at the wharf and delivered to San Diego fish markets and canneries.
During World War II many tuna clippers were converted to Yacht Patrols by the U.S. Navy.
During World War II many tuna clippers were converted to Yacht Patrols by the U.S. Navy.
In the late 1950's the efficient modern purse seiner began replacing most of the bait boats.
In the late 1950’s the efficient modern purse seiner began replacing most of the bait boats.
The history of tuna fishing in San Diego can be observed on a series of new murals in Little Italy!
The history of tuna fishing in San Diego can now be observed on a series of beautiful murals in Little Italy!

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!

Fun stage dioramas at Paper Theatre Festival!

An example of a elaborate paper toy theater, a source of family entertainment in the 19th century.
An example of an elaborate paper toy theater, a source of family entertainment in the 19th century.

Today, just for fun, I headed up to the Paper Theatre Festival, which is held every year at UC San Diego.

Upon entering the Seuss Room at the Geisel Library, I couldn’t help smiling. Scattered about the room was a large collection of Victorian stage dioramas, character cut-outs, books and ephemera from the 19th century when paper toy theatre was a popular family entertainment.

All of the colorful artwork exhibited at the festival is part of an immense paper theatre collection assembled over the course of eighteen years by Scott Paulson. I listened to him talk to visitors young and old about his collection, and tried to absorb a bit of this unique art form’s history. I learned how in that bygone age, families would construct these paper theaters from kits, then act out plays with the included scripts and paper doll actors. The entertaining hobby encouraged people to learn about the operation of a real theater, including set design and stage lighting effects.

Walking about the Seuss Room, I bent over to peer into many highly ornate 3-dimensional dioramas. Slots at intervals on the stages allow different paper backdrops–scenery sheets–to be inserted, as you can see from my photos. Paper characters, which are often mounted at the ends of sticks, can be moved about on a stage as a dramatic performance demands.

The festival is geared toward kids, who are encouraged to handle these fun paper playhouses, learn about their history and create their own small dramas. The event continues Sunday and Monday. Click here to learn more!

Paper Theater - It's the smallest show on Earth! Historical amusements are on display at the Paper Theatre Festival at the UC San Diego Library.
Paper Theater – It’s the smallest show on Earth! Historical amusements are on display at the Paper Theatre Festival at the UC San Diego Library.
Objects on display include books, posters and materials to craft paper theaters.
Objects on display include books, posters and materials to create paper theaters.
A mirthful dance of magical characters!
A mirthful dance of magical characters!
A variety of paper toy theaters and related items are on display at the festival.
A variety of paper toy theaters and related items are on display at the annual festival.
A scenery sheet depicting a London street to be used in a play of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations.
A scenery sheet depicting a London street to be used in a play of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations.
Detail from one highly ornate paper stage.
Detail from one ornate paper stage.
These cut-out paper actors include dragons, knights and other fantastic characters.
These cut-out paper actors include dragons, knights and other fantastic characters.
Mr. Jackson's Elizabethan Theatre includes the characters and text for Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Mr. Jackson’s Elizabethan Theatre includes the characters and text for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
An example of a French paper theatre kit.
An example of a French paper theatre kit.
The exhibition includes a crazy MOV-I-GRAFF card. The outline of the face is a fine chain. The face's shape can be altered with a jiggle.
The exhibition includes a crazy MOV-I-GRAFF card. The outline of the face is a fine chain. The face’s shape can be altered with a jiggle.
This stage features a troupe of ballet dancers!
This stage features a troupe of dancers!
Edward Gorey's Dracula, a toy theatre!
Edward Gorey’s Dracula. Classic horror and toy theatre!
Teatro de Mexico. A folk art toy theater.
Teatro de Mexico. A folk art toy theater.
Benjamin Pollock's Toyshop. Hansel and Gretel. A model to cut out and make.
Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop. Hansel and Gretel. A model to cut out and make.
A fun Hansel and Gretel scene made of paper!
A fun, very colorful Hansel and Gretel scene made of paper!

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!

Waterfront visions and the passage of time.

A mysterious, glittering reflection of the Port Pavilion on San Diego Bay.
A mysterious, glittering reflection of the Port Pavilion on San Diego Bay.

So many new buildings are rising around downtown my head spins whenever I’m out for a walk.

In the past few years a host of gleaming high-rises has materialized near the water, and the Embarcadero has been so dramatically improved I can barely recall the way our waterfront once appeared.

This morning during a walk I captured some dreamlike visions with my camera. And my mind began to ponder the stealthy passage of time. The past can be so difficult to remember…the future can be so difficult to envision…

A gull passes over smooth water one morning, as the Coast Guard station shines in early sunlight.
Another morning. A gull glides over smooth San Diego Bay. A short distance north of downtown, the Coast Guard station shines in the early sunlight.
Reflections of buildings along San Diego's waterfront. Like fragments of dancing light, these visions change as years pass.
Reflections of buildings along San Diego’s waterfront. Like dancing fragments of light, these visions change as the years pass quickly by.
The InterContinental Hotel rising beside San Diego's Embarcadero is beginning to appear complete.
The InterContinental Hotel, under construction at the location of old Lane Field, is beginning to appear complete.
Near the Broadway Pier, early morning light invites people into a new day. The remnants of past days are quietly swept up.
Near the Broadway Pier, morning light invites people into the brand new day. Remnants of past days are quietly swept up.
A crane on a barge. The demolition of Anthony's Fish Grotto on the Embarcadero has begun.
A crane on a barge. The demolition of Anthony’s Fish Grotto on the Embarcadero has begun.
A peek into the past, and into the future.
A peek into the past, and into the future.

If you’d like to time travel on this blog, here are some links concerning past construction along the Embarcadero, in chronological order.

I myself hadn’t visited some of these old posts for years. Memories were rekindled…

San Diego’s Embarcadero made more beautiful.

San Diego’s big new waterfront park opens!

Improvements on North Embarcadero celebrated!

Timeline shows history of San Diego’s Embarcadero.

Grass grows again at historic Lane Field!

Bay Cafe makes way for new observation platform.

Fun sculptures debut at San Diego waterfront park!

Workers install engraved name pavers at Broadway Pier.

Last chance to enjoy Anthony’s at the waterfront.

Buildings rise and fall along San Diego’s waterfront.

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!

Getting the Starlight Bowl ready for action!

Guys work on an interactive kiosk that will be at the entrance to the renovated Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park!
Guys work on an interactive kiosk that will be at the entrance to the renovated Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park!

I was pleasantly surprised during my walk through Balboa Park today to see progress is being made in renovating the Starlight Bowl!

A couple of super cool guys from Save Starlight were installing an interactive kiosk at the outdoor amphitheater’s entrance. I learned that some events for the outdoor venue are already planned for early this year! How awesome is that?

If you are like me, you might have watched musicals performed in the Starlight Bowl under twinkling stars, before the San Diego Civic Light Opera went bankrupt in 2011. My memories from years ago are still vivid in my mind’s eye. I remember laughing as a young man at the humor of Kiss Me, Kate and The Pirates of Penzance.

I’ve blogged about the effort to save the Starlight Bowl on several occasions, and took a couple of photographs after a new paint job and clean up early last year. I posted those photos on my Beautiful Balboa Park blog here.

If you want to learn more about the Starlight Bowl’s history, challenges, rehabilitation and eventual reopening, visit this website. You can make a donation to help with the effort, or perhaps volunteer!

A performance in the Ford Bowl (now the Starlight Bowl) during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park. No known copyright restrictions image from Flickr.
A performance in the Ford Bowl–now the Starlight Bowl–during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park. (This no known copyright restrictions image is from Flickr.)
Save Starlight is making great progress bringing the famous and beloved Starlight Bowl back to life!
Save Starlight is making great progress bringing the famous and beloved Starlight Bowl back to life!

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!

Butterfly Project teaches students about Holocaust.

Naomi was born in Prague in 1932. She and her parents were sent by the Nazis to the Theresienstadt ghetto and forced to work. The family was then sent to Auschwitz and at age 12, Naomi was murdered.
Naomi was born in Prague in 1932. She and her parents were sent by the Nazis to the Theresienstadt ghetto and forced to work. The family was then sent to Auschwitz and at age 12, Naomi was murdered.

Today I discovered an inspired project that helps school students learn about the Holocaust, and how to fight injustice and bullying.

The Butterfly Project had a special event this afternoon at the San Diego History Center. By pure chance I saw a sign for the event as I walked through Balboa Park.

Inside the San Diego History Center, I watched as compassionate visitors painted ceramic butterflies–one for each child who perished in the Holocaust.

Then I heard presentations by two speakers who had family members endure the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust. These powerful presentations, complete with photographs and touchable artifacts, are often made to students in school classrooms. The presentations encourage Hope, Optimism, Kindness, Dignity and the Power of One. I learned how there were amazing instances where the courage of one person against brutal Nazis saved many innocent lives in labor and concentration camps.

One person can speak out. One person can take risks for others. One positive person can change many lives.

That one positive person can be you. Please visit The Butterfly Project website.

According to their mission statement, The Butterfly Project is a call to action through the arts, using the lessons of the Holocaust to educate about the dangers of hatred and bigotry through the painting of ceramic butterflies, permanently displayed around the world to memorialize each of the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust.

The Butterfly Project seeks to partner with anyone that has or wants to build a connection to history, honoring those who died in the Holocaust. They want to get their beautiful, symbolic butterflies into schools, museums and community centers. They want to be included in classrooms across the country as an important part of Holocaust and anti-bullying education.

Can you help? Click this link to learn how to get involved.

Will you be that one person who steps forward?

An event to raise awareness about The Butterfly Project was held at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.
An event to raise awareness about The Butterfly Project was held at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.
Ceramic butterflies are painted. Each one symbolizes a young person who died as a result of the Holocaust.
Ceramic butterflies are painted. Each one symbolizes a young person who died as a result of the Holocaust.
Some hands add color to the butterflies.
Some hands add color to the butterflies.
Bronislaw almost escaped the Nazis hidden in a suitcase, then in a backpack. Seven year-old Bronislaw was discovered and shot.
Bronislaw almost escaped the Nazis hidden in a suitcase, then in a backpack. Seven year-old Bronislaw was discovered and shot.
Holding up a labor camp uniform worn during the Holocaust. Presentations made to students bring terrible realities to light, and encourage positive action.
Holding up a labor camp uniform worn during the Holocaust. Presentations to students make the Holocaust real, and encourage positive, compassionate action.
One presentation shows the tragic journey of one man who was sent to multiple concentration camps. He ran into a forest during a forced death march and escaped.
One presentation shows the tragic journey of one man who was sent to multiple concentration camps. He ran into a forest during a forced death march and escaped.
The yellow badge that Nazis forced Jewish people to wear during the Holocaust.
The yellow badge that Nazis forced Jewish people to wear during the Holocaust.
Painted butterflies recall innocent lives lost. With hope, purpose and courage, we can fight inhumanity and teach kindness.
Painted butterflies recall innocent lives lost. With hope, purpose and courage, we can fight inhumanity and teach kindness.

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Photos of The Padre sculpture in Presidio Park.

The Padre, by Arthur Putnam, 1908. The public artwork stands on a patch of grass among trees on Presidio Hill.
The Padre, by Arthur Putnam, 1908. The public artwork stands on a patch of grass among trees on Presidio Hill.

Walk up to the top of Presidio Park from Old Town and you’ll discover a variety of fascinating, historical sights. Possibly the most amazing, apart from the impressive Serra Museum building, are two extraordinary bronze sculptures, The Indian and The Padre, by renowned sculptor Arthur Putnam.

The Padre was cast in 1908. The figure of a Spanish friar stands in a small, quiet space among trees, not far from the spot where Junípero Serra founded Mission San Diego de Alcalá in 1769, which began as a temporary church at the Spanish presidio. Five years later the mission would be moved a few miles east up the San Diego River to its present location.

Here are photos of The Padre which show the sculpture’s quiet beauty.

The Padre stands alone in a green, gentle place.
The Padre stands alone in a green, gentle place.
A Spanish friar seems to walk out of San Diego's very early history.
A Spanish friar seems to walk out of San Diego’s very early history.
The Padre by Arthur Putnam. Given to San Diego Historical Society by the descendants of E.W. Scripps.
The Padre by Arthur Putnam. Given to San Diego Historical Society by the descendants of E.W. Scripps.
Markings at the sculpture's base indicated it was cast by Louis de Rome's bronze foundry in San Francisco, the city where Arthur Putnam lived for many years.
Markings at the sculpture’s base indicated it was cast by Louis de Rome’s bronze foundry in San Francisco, the city where Arthur Putnam lived for many years.
A quiet bronze statue among trees near San Diego's now ruined and vanished Presidio.
A quiet bronze statue among trees near San Diego’s now ruined and vanished Presidio.
A spider's web and small fallen leaves above folded hands.
A spider’s web and small fallen leaves above folded hands.
The Padre seems to be lost in prayer or silent contemplation.
The Padre seems to be lost in prayer or silent contemplation.
Close photo of bowed head of The Padre on Presidio Hill.
Close photo of bowed head of The Padre on Presidio Hill.

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!