Californio history celebrated again in Old Town!

Today, after I checked out the San Diego Cup racing at Mission Bay, I headed to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to see if anything interesting was going on. Somehow I’d forgotten that Stagecoach Days are celebrated in Old Town on summer Saturdays, and so I was surprised and happy to stumble upon Days of the Vaqueros!

I blogged about this exact same event last year, and took lots of photos and provided a fair amount of description and background. I saw many of the same participants again this year, and debated whether I should take more photos.

I love Old Town so much I couldn’t resist. If you want to learn more about life in San Diego when Southern California was a part of Spain, then Mexico, and large ranches employed the original cowboys, or vaqueros, then visit my blog from last summer’s event here.

You might also enjoy reading my blog post about Old Town’s McCoy House Museum, which includes many displays that concern San Diego’s fascinating early history.

Meanwhile, here are a few uncaptioned photographs of what I experienced 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!

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Cool art along Third Avenue in Chula Vista!

Mural in Chula Vista titled Lemon Capitol of the World, 1900-1945. By local artist Bob Teague, 2003.
People walk past mural in Chula Vista titled Lemon Capitol of the World, 1900-1945. By local artist Bob Teague, 2003.

As I walked about Chula Vista’s Lemon Festival yesterday, I was excited to discover some cool public art!

There are probably more examples of art to be found along the Third Avenue business district between E Street and G Street, but I photographed what I happened to stumble upon.

(Note: you will see two different sculptures. One represents sunrise, the other sunset.)

Enjoy!

Plaque by mural explains the role of lemons in the history of Chula Vista. Many grand old orchard houses can still be seen around the city.
Plaque by mural explains the role of lemons in the history of Chula Vista. Many grand old orchard houses can still be seen around the city.
Section of Lemon Capitol of the World mural that shows the historic orchard house that still stands at 210 Davidson Street.
Section of Lemon Capitol of the World mural that shows the historic orchard house that still stands at 210 Davidson Street.
ChromaSol (sunrise), an impressionistic interpretation of the sun's colors and intensities. Public art in Chula Vista by artist D. Alan Gjerston, 2006.
ChromaSol (sunrise), an impressionistic interpretation of the sun’s colors and intensities. Public art in Chula Vista by artist D. Alan Gjerston, 2006.
A photo of the "sunrise" sculpture from a different angle.
A photo of the translucent “sunrise” sculpture from a different angle.
ChromaSol (sunset), an impressionistic interpretation of the sun's colors and intensities. Public art in Chula Vista by artist D. Alan Gjerston, 2006.
ChromaSol (sunset), an impressionistic interpretation of the sun’s colors and intensities. Public art in Chula Vista by artist D. Alan Gjerston, 2006.
Sunlight shines through the "sunset" sculpture. I see the green flash!
Sunlight shines through the “sunset” sculpture. I see the green flash!
Mural on wall of Mangia Italiano on Third, by Danos Designs.
Mural on wall of Mangia Italiano on Third, by Danos Designs.
Lovers stand on a balcony, and eat Italian food by the ocean.
Lovers embrace on a balcony by the ocean; another couple holds hands over Italian food.
The Vogue Theater, an historic 1945 Chula Vista movie theater designed by architect Frank Hope Jr., awaits renovation.
The Vogue Theater, an historic 1945 Chula Vista movie theater designed by architect Frank Hope Jr., awaits renovation.
Street art on the front of The Vogue Theater in Chula Vista depicts a night out at the movies.
Artwork on the front of The Vogue Theater in Chula Vista appears to depict a night out at the movies.

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 taste of the Lemon Festival in Chula Vista!

A giant smiling lemon greets me at the 22nd Annual Lemon Festival in Chula Vista!
A giant smiling lemon greets me at the 22nd Annual Lemon Festival in Chula Vista!

I’ve never been to Chula Vista’s Lemon Festival before. So this year I thought I’d take the trolley down to the South Bay to experience this big annual event!

Not only is the Lemon Festival, which takes place along a stretch of Third Avenue, a whole lot of fun, but visitors have the opportunity to learn about the history of Chula Vista and how it once was a major center of the Southern California citrus industry.

With construction of the Sweetwater Dam completed in 1888, and the arrival of the railroad in the South Bay, Chula Vista became the perfect place to grow sun-loving lemons. At one point in the early 20th century there were nearly two thousand acres of lemon groves in the area. Chula Vista even called itself the Lemon Capital of the World.

Today lemon trees are chiefly found in backyards. After World War II, the large groves began to make way for houses. Some of the developers would leave one lemon tree in the backyard of new homes.

I did see loads of lemons during the 22nd Annual Lemon Festival: lemon art, lemon costumes, lemons in treats, lemonade . . . Lemon yellow everywhere!

See for yourself!

About 50,000 people would turn out for the yearly lemon-themed event.
About 50,000 people would turn out for the yearly lemon-themed event.
These ladies had all sorts of sweet lemon treats for sale.
These ladies had all sorts of sweet lemon treats for sale.
Some friendly people from the Restored Church posed so that a blogger could take a funny photo at their booth.
Some friendly people from the Restored Church posed so that a blogger could take a funny photo at their Lemon Festival booth.
Artists at the Lemon Festival had all sorts of colorful artwork for sale that contained bright yellow.
Artists at the Lemon Festival had all sorts of colorful artwork for sale that contained bright yellow.
This lady registering people to vote had a cool lemon slice umbrella hat and smile.
This lady registering people to vote had a cool lemon slice umbrella hat and smile.
More ice cold lemonade! Sounds good on a hot summer day in San Diego's South Bay.
More ice cold lemonade! Sounds good on a hot summer day in San Diego’s South Bay.
Even this funny pooch in a wagon was selling lemonade!
Even this funny pooch in a wagon was selling lemonade!
The Chula Vista Historical Society had a booth with books and fascinating information.
The Chula Vista Historical Society had a booth with books and fascinating information.
Their display showed Chula Vista's agricultural past. Many packing companies once exported lemons around the world.
Their display showed Chula Vista’s agricultural past. Many growers and packing companies once exported lemons around the world. Some of the beautiful old crate labels have become valuable collectibles.
The display explains different grades of lemons, including culls, which were blemished, and used to make juice, furniture polish, and other by-products.
The display explains different grades of lemons, including culls, which were blemished, and used to make juice, furniture polish, and other lemon by-products.
The festival had just started and these ladies with the Third Avenue Village Association, that puts on the popular event, were putting the finishing touches on their booth.
The festival had just started and these ladies with the Third Avenue Village Association, that puts on the popular event, were almost done decorating their booth.
Another booth at the Lemon Festival had lots of old historical photographs.
Another booth at the Chula Vista Lemon Festival featured lots of interesting historical photographs.
Someone points to a photo of workers in a lemon grove at the Higgins Ranch in Keen Valley, 1901.
Someone points to a photo of workers in a lemon grove at the Higgins Ranch in Keen Valley, 1901.
Aerial photo of the Boltz lemon ranch in the mid 1920's.
Aerial photo of the Boltz lemon ranch in the mid 1920’s.
Typical Chula Vista lemon packing plant, circa 1920's.
Typical Chula Vista lemon packing plant, circa 1920’s.
Old photos of Chula Vista streetcar and train at Third Avenue.
Old photos of Chula Vista streetcar and train at Third Avenue.
Bonita lemon pickers, 1913.
Bonita lemon pickers, 1913.
Meanwhile, people spin a lemon-themed prize wheel at the festival.
Meanwhile, people spin a lemon-themed prize wheel at the festival.
At the Lemonade Bandstand, entertainment included live music, a largest lemon and lemon peel contest, a lemon costume contest, and lemon pie eating contest.
At the Lemonade Bandstand, entertainment included live music, a largest lemon and lemon peel contest, a lemon costume contest, and lemon pie eating contest.
People watch the Lemon Squeezers play rock and roll music with a twist!
People watch the Lemon Squeezers play rock and roll music with a twist!
Cool local band, the Lemon Squeezers, at the Chula Vista Lemon Festival.
Cool local band, the Lemon Squeezers, at the Chula Vista Lemon Festival.
That great music has people dancing!
That great music has people smiling and dancing!
Batman and Wonder Woman dropped on by and posed for a photo by the Lemon Bar sign.
Batman and Wonder Woman dropped on by and posed for a photo by the Lemon Bar sign.
All that fun made me thirsty for some lemonade!
All that fun has made me thirsty for some lemonade!

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Model of Lane Field stadium at Petco Park.

Completed model of Lane Field stadium in the garage of baseball historian Bill Swank. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
Completed model of Lane Field stadium in the garage of baseball historian Bill Swank. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.

A fascinating scale model of the Lane Field stadium, home of the Pacific Coast League Padres from 1936 to 1957, is now located inside the front lobby of the San Diego Padres business office. The model was built by baseball historian Bill Swank, author of several books, including Echoes from Lane Field : A History of the San Diego Padres 1936-1957.

Fans of the early Padres used to head to Lane Field to see their favorite team in action. Many fond baseball memories were made in downtown San Diego near the waterfront, at the end of West Broadway between Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway. Today the area is occupied by two hotel buildings and Lane Field Park, which features a small baseball diamond, plaques that honor an era of local baseball history, and three colorful banners that celebrate former players at Lane Field, including legendary hitter Ted Williams.

Bill Swank created the detailed model of long-vanished Lane Field to preserve a bit of San Diego history for the enjoyment of Padres fans. The model is in 1:128 scale and made out of basswood. Care was taken during its construction to maintain a high degree of accuracy.

According to Bill Swank, the model is “so accurate to scale that it’s even 87’ from home to first base. It wasn’t until the 1950s that a groundskeeper measured the distance and discovered it was only 87 feet… and had been 87 feet since 1936! I believe the mistake was made by taking the measurement off the hastily drawn blueprint.”

Bill Swank has provided the following additional information concerning his model:

January 1997: Because I had blueprints for Lane Field, San Diego Hall of Champions Historian Don King asked if I would like to participate in building a scale model of the original home of the San Diego Padres to be displayed at the Hall of Champions.

May 1997: It took me longer to finish the model than it took the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to build the actual ballpark. Bill Lane signed an agreement to relocate his Pacific Coast League Hollywood Stars to San Diego on January 28, 1936. A ballpark had to be built at the northwest corner of Broadway and Pacific Highway in less than two months, because the renamed “Padres” first game was scheduled for March 31, 1936. The cost of construction was approximately $25,000. (San Diego beat the Seattle Indians, 6-2, on Opening Day.)

July 1997: My Lane Field model was unveiled at the San Diego Hall of Champions on the Prado.

September 2000: The model was transported to the remodeled Federal Building after the Hall of Champions moved from the Prado.

April 2017: When the Hall of Champions closed in 2017, a new home was found for the model at Petco Park.

February 2018: The Lane Field model went on display in the front lobby of the Padres business office.

I have enjoyed an up-close and personal look at this very cool model. Here are several historical photographs of Lane Field, followed by a few photos of the model beneath glass that my camera captured.

With a little imagination one can almost see fans in the stands, players in the field, and hear the crack of a batted home run…

Lane Field (1936) before the grandstand roof was added. Photo from the Bill Swank collection.
Lane Field (1936) before the grandstand roof was added. Photo from the Bill Swank collection.
Panoramic view of Lane Field includes long ticket line for 1954 PCL Championship game with Hollywood Stars (Padres won, 7-2). Photo by Ray Hacecky, Sr.
Panoramic view of Lane Field includes long ticket line for 1954 PCL Championship game with the Hollywood Stars (Padres won, 7-2). Photo by Ray Hacecky, Sr.
Opening Day, March 30, 1940. Southpaw Wally “Preacher” Hebert took the mound and beat the Los Angeles Angels, 5-1. Photo from the Hebert Family.
Opening Day, March 30, 1940. Southpaw Wally “Preacher” Hebert took the mound and beat the Los Angeles Angels, 5-1. Photo from the Hebert Family.
A new attendance record (13,466) was set on May 2, 1948 for a game with the San Francisco Seals. During the game, fans stood and sat in the outfield against the fence. A ball that went into the crowd was a ground rule double. Photo from the Bill Swank collection.
A new attendance record (13,466) was set on May 2, 1948 for a game with the San Francisco Seals. During the game, fans stood and sat in the outfield against the fence. A ball that went into the crowd was a ground rule double. Photo from the Bill Swank collection.
Model of Lane Field as it appears today.
Scale model of Lane Field stadium, displayed in lobby of the Padres business office.

This model was built to honor the men who played baseball at Lane Field and the fans who loved them.
This model was built to honor the men who played baseball at Lane Field and the fans who loved them.

Memories from San Diego's baseball past live on at Petco Park.
Memories from San Diego’s baseball past live on at Petco Park.

Many thanks to the San Diego Padres, the super friendly Petco Park Navigators and Bill Swank who made this fun post possible!

Go Pads!

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!

Fascinating photos of the Centre City Building.

The Centre City Building, which rises just north of Civic Center Plaza in San Diego, was built in 1927. The fourteen story office building was designed by noted architect Frank W. Stevenson, and once was the tallest building in all of downtown. Today the historical landmark can seem lost among dozens of more recent high-rises.

Whenever I walk pass this building to the east or north, I like to look up at the elegant decorative brick and granite facade. The much more plain and faded west and south sides of the building provide a fascinating visual contrast.

Light at different times of the day can either make the building seem golden and regal, or like a gradually vanishing page from San Diego’s history.

Here are a variety of photos that I’ve taken during several walks.

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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Trevor Time returns to Petco Park!

Padres fans enter Petco Park before a home game against the Diamondbacks to watch the induction of Trevor Hoffman into the baseball Hall of Fame live on the big video board.
Padres fans enter Petco Park before a home game against the Diamondbacks to watch the induction of Trevor Hoffman into the baseball Hall of Fame live on the big videoboard.

Trevor Hoffman was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame today. I headed down to Petco Park before the early afternoon game to watch the induction ceremony in Cooperstown live on the big Petco Park videoboard.

As game time approached, more and more fans filled the seats. All eyes were watching the live ceremony. Then Trevor took to the podium to accept the highest honor in all of baseball.

It was Trevor Time once again!

Trevor spoke many moving words during his speech. He remembered and thanked his family and his past teammates. He honored members of the Padres family who have passed into history, including Tony Gwynn and Jerry Coleman. He thanked the military, an important part of our city, and reminded all that freedom is not free. He closed by telling his sons that character is more important than reputation.

Thank you Trevor, not only for being a Padres baseball hero, but for being a hero for all of San Diego.

Another beautiful, sunny day in San Diego at Petco Park. Today is particularly special.
Another beautiful, sunny day in San Diego at Petco Park. Today is particularly special.
San Diego Padres legendary closer Trevor Hoffman is inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame on July 29, 2018.
San Diego Padres legendary closer Trevor Hoffman is inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame on July 29, 2018.
Six great MLB players form the Class of 2018 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Six great MLB players form the Class of 2018 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Cooperstown, New York is home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
Cooperstown, New York is home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
Trevor Hoffman, who spent his career as closing pitcher for the San Diego Padres, is part of the Class of 2018.
Trevor Hoffman, who spent his record-breaking career as closing pitcher for the San Diego Padres, is part of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018.
As Hoffman is introduced during the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, video is shown of Padres fans holding a banner proclaiming Trevor Time.
As Hoffman is introduced during the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, video is shown of Padres fans holding a banner proclaiming Trevor Time.
The MLB Network live feed on the Petco Park videoboard shows Trevor Hoffman shortly before he gives his speech at the Hall of Fame.
The MLB Network live feed on the Petco Park videoboard shows Trevor Hoffman shortly before he gives his speech at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
The determined eyes of the Major League Baseball pitcher who was first to achieve 500 and 600 saves.
The determined eyes of the Major League Baseball pitcher who was first to achieve 500 and 600 saves.
Footage shows Trevor during a game with his Padres teammates on the field.
Footage shows Trevor during a game with his Padres teammates on the field.
Trevor doffs his cap to his San Diego fans as he achieves a baseball pitching milestone.
Trevor doffs his cap to his San Diego fans as he achieves a baseball pitching milestone.
The face of Trevor William Hoffman immortalized in bronze at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The face of Trevor William Hoffman immortalized in bronze at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Trevor Hoffman, master of a mystifying change-up, became the first pitcher to reach the 500 and 600 save milestones.
Trevor Hoffman, master of a mystifying change-up, became the first pitcher to reach the 500 and 600 save milestones.
Trevor Hoffman poses during the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, with other legendary baseball players all around him.
Trevor Hoffman poses during the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, with other legendary baseball players all around him.
It's Trevor Time one more time at Petco Park.
It’s Trevor Time one more time at Petco Park!
Thanks for the memories Hoffy.
Thanks for the memories Hoffy.
Trevor begins his acceptance speech. He thanks his dad and mom.
Trevor begins his acceptance speech. He thanks his dad and mom.
He adresses his brothers, who are watching the ceremony at Cooperstown.
He addresses his brothers, who are watching the ceremony at Cooperstown.
Padres fans enter Petco Park as an historic event occurs on the other side of the country.
Padres fans enter Petco Park as an historic event occurs on the other side of the country.
Trevor Hoffman thanks Bruce Bochy, and his past teammates. Those teams had great chemistry--a special bond.
Trevor Hoffman thanks his old manager Bruce Bochy, and his past teammates. Those teams had great chemistry–a special bond.
Trevor thanks his wife.
Trevor thanks his wife.
Fans thank Trevor.
Fans applaud Trevor.
Another day, another game of wonderful baseball. Young and old fill the Park at the Park beyond the outfield.
Another day, another game of wonderful baseball. Young and old now fill the Park at the Park beyond the outfield.
Trevor is honored on the video board in the Park at the Park.
Trevor is honored on the video board in the Park at the Park.
Meanwhile, kids who might not know who Trevor is simply love playing baseball.
Meanwhile, kids who might not know who Trevor is simply love playing baseball.
My soda cup with Trevor Hoffman's impressive baseball achievements.
My soda cup with Trevor Hoffman’s impressive baseball achievements.
The game will soon start. Trevor's induction speech is repeated on video screens throughout Petco Park.
The game will soon start. Trevor’s induction speech is repeated on video screens throughout Petco Park.
I saw many Hoffman jerseys.
I saw many Hoffman jerseys.
Trevor Time has returned to Petco Park on a summer's day in 2018.
Trevor Time has returned to Petco Park on a summer’s day in 2018.
Fans were posing by some new Trevor Hoffman Hall of Fame graphics on a wall along the Petco Park concourse.
Fans were posing by some new Trevor Hoffman Hall of Fame graphics on a wall along the Petco Park concourse.
Trevor graphics ascend the side of an escalator.
Trevor graphics ascend the side of an escalator.
Hoffman jerseys were a hot item today.
Hoffman jerseys were a hot item today.
Trevor Hoffman's plaque in the Breitbard Hall of Fame. A sports legend in San Diego, among many others.
Trevor Hoffman’s plaque in the Breitbard Hall of Fame. A sports legend who made San Diego his home, among many other world-class athletes.
Photo of Trevor Hoffman achieving his 479th save, surpassing Lee Smith, in the Padres Hall of Fame in Petco Park.
Historic photos of Trevor Hoffman in the Padres Hall of Fame at Petco Park. When he achieved his 479th save, he surpassed Lee Smith as Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader.
A boy looks up at a Trevor Hoffman jersey in the Padres Hall of Fame.
A boy looks up at a Trevor Hoffman jersey in the Padres Hall of Fame.
The smile of Trevor Hoffman.
The smile of Trevor Hoffman.
The smile of a San Diego baseball hero.
The smile of a San Diego baseball hero.

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 visit to the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum.

Douglas F4D-1 (F-6A) Skyray.
Douglas F4D-1 (F-6A) Skyray.

I often drive down Miramar Road past the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum. When I do, I usually turn my head to see if any people are outside investigating the dozens of unique military aircraft that are on display. Few people seem to visit.

The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, located at MCAS Miramar, is open free to the general public. It features all sorts of airplanes and helicopters that have been used by the United State Marine Corps over the decades.

When I first visited the museum last year, I was floored by the extent of its collection. While many of the aircraft might not be restored to pristine condition, they each represent a fascinating era in U. S. military history. Visitors to the museum can also see other equipment that has been used by the Marines, including tanks and artillery pieces.

Most impressively, the museum owns the actual helicopter that was last to leave Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. That Sea Knight helicopter’s call sign was Lady Ace 09. If you’d like to see photographs of Lady Ace 09, and learn a bit more about that moment in history, click here.

The following photos depict just a fraction of what you’ll discover at the museum.

The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum seems to be a little known gem in San Diego. Those who are interested in 20th century history, aviation or the United States Marine Corps should definitely swing on by!

The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, open free to the public, is located at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, open free to the public, is located at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
Inside the museum, a variety of exhibits detail different modern aircraft that have been used by the United States Marine Corps.
Inside the museum, a variety of exhibits detail different aircraft that have been used by the United States Marine Corps.
Dozens of historical Marine aircraft can be viewed outdoors at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum in San Diego.
Dozens of historical Marine aircraft can be viewed outdoors at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum in San Diego.
Beechcraft T-34B Mentor.
Beechcraft T-34B Mentor.
General Motors FM-2 Wildcat.
General Motors FM-2 Wildcat.
Northrup F-5E Tiger II.
Northrup F-5E Tiger II.
Grumman F9F-2 Panther.
Grumman F9F-2 Panther.
Hawker-Siddeley AV-8A(C) Harrier.
Hawker-Siddeley AV-8A(C) Harrier.
Bell AH-1J SeaCobra.
Bell AH-1J SeaCobra.
Sikorsky HUS-1 (UH-34D) Seahorse.
Sikorsky HUS-1 (UH-34D) Seahorse.
Bell 214ST.
Bell 214ST.
McDonnell Douglas A-4M Skyhawk II.
McDonnell Douglas A-4M Skyhawk II.
Visitors to the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum learn about the history of one airplane in their large and fascinating collection.
Visitors to the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum learn about the history of one airplane in a very large and fascinating collection.

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!