Barona Indian Charter School student Heritage Project!

Students from the 8th Grade Culture Class at Barona Indian Charter School have created a Heritage Project concerning Kumeyaay culture and history. Their work will be displayed in an upcoming exhibition at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park!

The exhibition is titled Kum ‘Enyaawapch Ewuupch which is in the northern dialect of the Kumeyaay language. Translated to English, it means The Way We See It.

The exhibition has its big opening celebration on May 26, 2022. See all the details here!

I learned about this exhibition as I walked past the entrance of the Mingei International Museum last weekend. Photos of students filled one window, near an informative sign.

You can hear introductions by the participating students on the Barona Cultural Center & Museum website 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!

Botanical Building’s deconstruction continues!

Out with the old first. Later in with the new!

The iconic 1915 Botanical Building in Balboa Park is in the process of being rebuilt. Three months ago I took a few photographs of some early “deconstruction” activity. Since then more of the lath structure near the ground has been removed, and the building looks increasingly skeletal!

I walked around the Botanical Building’s construction fence today and took these photos. You can contrast them with the photos I took in February here. That older blog post also provides some interesting details concerning this very important, historic project!

You can see how the Lily Pond directly adjacent to the structure has been drained.

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Evel Knievel’s Stratocycle at Automotive Museum!

The San Diego Automotive Museum is an incredible place every auto enthusiast must visit. In addition to unique and rare cars they have lots of great motorcycles, too!

One motorcycle now on display is Evel Knievel’s “Stratocycle” from the 1977 movie Viva Knievel!

The uniquely modified motorcycle–a Harley Davidson XLCH Custom Sportster–has wings and a rocket-shaped exhaust. The Stratocycle is so cool it was adapted for a popular toy!

It had been several years since I last experienced the San Diego Automotive Museum. The current displays are more awesome than ever. Walking around, your eyes will pop out of your head!

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster.

You might notice I’ve been visiting many local museums the last couple of weeks. I’m taking advantage of the San Diego Museum Council’s “The Big Exchange” reciprocal free admission program. It lasts through May 18, 2022. Learn more 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!

An enormous soap factory rises downtown!

A huge soap factory in downtown San Diego?

Yes!

Back in 1921, the Citrus/Pacific Soap Factory building was erected in San Diego’s small but growing downtown. Locally produced lemon juice would be a major ingredient in the manufacture of soap!

The architect responsible for this stately factory made of brick was William Wheeler. He also designed downtown’s Balboa Theater and other notable structures around the city.

You can see a cool historical photo of the old Citrus Soap Company of California factory standing near railroad tracks here.

According to this 1988 SOHO (Save Our Heritage Organisation) newsletter, the site at 301 West Market Street gained historical designation partly based on its association with three different soap companies dating back to 1892. Apparently, the factory also helped San Diego through a national soap crisis!

Today, the old factory building has been repurposed. It’s a unique part of the CityFront Terrace Condos.

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!

Honorary Tom Hom Avenue in downtown San Diego.

At the intersection of Market Street and Third Avenue in downtown San Diego, you might spot an unusual street sign.

Third Avenue where it runs through the Asian Pacific Historic District is now also called Honorary Tom Hom Avenue.

I noticed the sign the other day while driving down Market Street, so I walked through the neighborhood this evening in order to take a few photographs.

I’ve learned the street sign made its first appearance this February during a public ceremony with many dignitaries.

Tom Hom was a civic leader who worked hard to achieve his successes. In 1963, he was the first person of color to be elected to the San Diego City Council. He later would be elected the city’s deputy mayor, and then only the second Asian American elected to the California State Legislature!

As a politician, Tom Hom used his influence to help get San Diego Stadium built. He also supported the gentrification of the run-down but historic Gaslamp Quarter.

This Wikipedia article details his rich life, including how his family came to California in 1909 on the steam liner SS Manchuria, and how his father named him after Thomas Edison!

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!

Star III submersible outside Birch Aquarium.

Should you walk from the parking lot by Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography to the popular attraction’s entrance, you’ll see what looks like a small submarine. On its side is written Star III.

Star III is actually a submersible that was used for undersea studies back in the mid-20th century.

I looked at the cool little marvel of technology and wondered about its history.

A nearby sign provides interesting information concerning the submersible, which was built by General Dynamics.

When I got home, I found a book published in 1968 by the Naval Oceanographic Office titled Undersea Studies With the Deep Research Vehicle Star III which you can preview here. It concerns a series of 21 dives off Key West Florida in March 1967…to evaluate the Star III system as a platform from which to conduct underwater photogrammetric and various surveying tasks.

I also found the following old public domain photograph of Star III suspended above the water from a seagoing vessel.

Launched in 1966, Star III was capable of carrying a two-person crew and as much as 1,000 pounds of scientific equipment to a depth of 2,000 feet. The sub and its occupants could remain underwater for up to 120 hours…

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!

Donal Hord’s Summer Rain at San Diego History Center.

Several wonderful pieces of Donal Hord art are now on display at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park. I noticed them last weekend.

Most prominent is the extraordinary sculpture Summer Rain, Donal Hord’s final commission. Originally sculpted in 1946 from the dense wood lignum vitae, Summer Rain was cast in bronze in 1968 by Homer Dana, his assistant, two years after Hord’s death.

Donal Hord is considered San Diego’s greatest sculptor. He achieved international fame by bringing a variety of materials, including very hard stone, to life. Many of his spiritual, symbol-filled sculptures were inspired from a year he spent in Mexico, where he studied traditional Olmec and Zapotec art. Some of his public sculptures have become iconic landmarks or representations of our city.

Summer Rain stands near the center of the History Center’s fine art exhibition Be Here Now. The work of artists who lived or spent a great deal of time in San Diego fill a large gallery, and visitors are asked to consider what the collected artwork might say about our region.

…Hord’s figure dances on a cloud pushing out the rain, with hair swept up like a thundercloud, and a rattlesnake on top to symbolize lightning…The San Diego History Center collections include examples of Hord’s work in bronze, wood, stone, and plaster along with maquettes (or scale models), preliminary drawings, tools and extensive archival material.

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Impressionist masterpieces exhibited in San Diego!

Tired of living much of your life virtually for the last couple of years? Would you like an awe-inspiring, exhilarating first-hand experience of fine art?

At the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park, numerous Impressionist masterpieces now await your eyes!

Monet to Matisse: Impressionist Masterpieces from the Bemberg Foundation showcases pieces from one of the finest art collections in Europe. And it’s right here in San Diego for much of the summer.

All I know is that I visited the museum yesterday and found myself drifting into dreamlike worlds through frames hung on gallery walls. Scenes composed with mere glimpses of light, color and form somehow became real–more than real.

It isn’t often eyes are privileged to absorb artwork this historically important, and excellent.

Artists I noticed include Monet, Pissarro, Cezanne, Matisse, Gauguin, Degas and Picasso. If you’ve never had the opportunity to view original artwork by some of the world’s greatest artists, now is your chance!

Just a few different examples…

Boats on the Beach at Etretat, Claude Monet, 1883. Oil on canvas.
The Jockey, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1899. Gouache and lithograph.
Almond Trees in Flower, Paul Signac, 1902-1904. Oil on canvas.
Portrait of Angel Fernandez del Soto, Pablo Picasso, 1903. Pastel.
View of Antibes, Henri Matisse, 1925. Oil on canvas.

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!

Doing the laundry in early San Diego.

You think doing the laundry is a pain?

Well, back in the mid-19th century, in early San Diego, doing the laundry was a very big pain!

Last weekend I enjoyed listening to a Hidden History talk in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park about the difficulty of cleaning clothes before the advent of handy-dandy push-button washing machines.

Wash day was actually a three day project that began with walking down to the San Diego River multiple times while carrying a bucket. About 50 gallons would be required.

In dusty Old Town, with livestock running around, clothes would get really filthy. The sorting process included the consideration of material–often cotton or wool–and filthiness. After sorting came spot cleaning with lye soap (made by boiling wood ash) and borax (brought in from the desert).

Then clothes and under garments would be generally cleaned with boiling hot water in a big tub using a wooden paddle (for stirring) and washboard (possibly imported to the isolated, undeveloped town by ship) for scrubbing. (My arms are sore just thinking about it!)

Yes, then the hanging out to dry–fortunately San Diego has a warm, dry climate.

And then the ironing.

You had to prep the iron by scraping the bottom, put it on a stove and heat it to just the right temperature so you don’t burn yourself or the clothes, then more arm work. Later irons were more fancy–you could put coals in them. Just don’t get the ash from the coals on the clothes!

In those days, doing the laundry was a job designated for women. The process was so long and involved, they usually wouldn’t cook on wash days. Food for the family would be prepared in advance.

In 1860 San Diego had 4 dedicated laundresses–indigenous and Irish women. In 1870, when San Diego’s population had grown to 2300, there were 32, including Chinese immigrants who were then arriving in California.

That’s a hasty summary of the Hidden History talk, which everyone enjoyed as we sat on a pleasant Saturday in front of the State Park’s historic Colorado House.

On Sunday I threw my dirty clothes into a washing machine, added detergent from a plastic bottle and pressed a button. Transferring my clothes to the drier was oh-so difficult!

I tried to take good notes, but don’t rely on what I’ve written here as 100% accurate. If you’re doing research and came upon this blog post, make sure to read other sources!

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!

Vistacado Festival Parade mural celebrates Vista history!

A nostalgic mural in downtown Vista, California depicts an annual community parade held in the 1930’s to 1950’s.

The fun Vistacado Festival Parade mural, painted in 2005 by artist Clayton Parker, decorates the exterior of Barrel & Stave Pour House, near the corner of Main Street and Indiana Avenue.

The parade seems to proceed around the building. There are cool old cars, a marching band, cheerleaders, young baseball players, dignitaries, and even walking avocado mascots!

I smiled when I saw the mural includes an image of Pepper Tree Frosty, which I blogged about yesterday here!

This parade artwork is actually one small part of a much, much longer historical mural that runs 564 feet along Vistacado Lane between North Indiana and Michigan Avenue. The entire stretch of artwork has been recognized as Guinness World Record longest continuous mural!

I glimpsed the very long, somewhat faded artwork down Vistacado Lane during my walk yesterday, and in retrospect I should have photographed all of it. I’ll hopefully remember to do that on my next visit to Vista.

I learned all about the longer mural when I read this article. It explains how the original artist, Clayton Parker, restored the Vistacado Festival Parade portion in 2020.

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!