Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Last year, at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s annual Fourth of July celebration, diverse people from our community joined together on stage to read parts of the Declaration of Independence.

People from all walks of life, converging from different places, each with their own unique struggles, ambitions and experiences, remembered some of the enduring principles that underlie a free society.

During the event, anyone in the crowd was invited to come up onto the stage to read, and many did.

Of all the photos I took at the event, the above photograph to me is the most powerful.

Even with all of our human differences–the millions of unique personal beliefs and desires that frequently conflict–there are high ideals that are cherished by one and all.

We all want to live. We all want to be free. We all seek happiness.

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Sculpture and mural at San Diego stadium.

Those who’ve attended events at SDCCU/Qualcomm/Jack Murphy/San Diego Stadium might have noticed two works of public art outside. One, situated between the trolley station and stadium, is a sculpture of Jack Murphy and his dog. The other is an enormous, very colorful mural on the back of the scoreboard.

According to a plaque at its base, the Jack Murphy Sculpture, created by San Diego artist A. Wasil, debuted during the rededication of Jack Murphy Field on January 21, 2003.

A. Wasil was a sculptor who became known internationally for his work in cast bronze. He created several major pieces. Many of his sculptures have religious themes, such as the installations at Mission San Luis Rey and Notre Dame University. His bronze bust of Christ was accepted by The Vatican.

His 16 feet tall Jack Murphy Sculpture depicts the San Diego Union sports editor and columnist who advocated for a new San Diego stadium. Jack Murphy influenced Barron Hilton, who would move his Chargers football team from Los Angeles to San Diego. In 1965, a 50,000-seat stadium in Mission Valley was resoundingly approved by San Diego voters. Jack Murphy also helped convince baseball owners to bring the minor league San Diego Padres into the National League. The Padres would play at renamed Jack Murphy Stadium until 2004, when they moved to the new downtown Petco Park.

Given current plans to redevelop land under the old stadium and its enormous parking lot into SDSU West, this historic sculpture might not remain here for long. But who knows?

The sculpted Jack Murphy is accompanied by his Labrador Retriever, Abe.

That huge colorful mural on the back of the stadium’s scoreboard is titled The Fan Game. It was created in 1989-1990 by artist Mario Uribe.

The 13 panel mural measures 45 feet by 150 feet, and depicts excited fans cheering in the stands. The mural is so huge it can be seen from both Interstate 15 and Interstate 8!

Mario Uribe’s fine art has been collected by many museums, and he has created other notable works of public art. Learn more at his website here.

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

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Colorful mural celebrates El Cajon Boulevard.

Gaze up toward the east side of a tall building in City Heights and you’ll see a colorful mural that celebrates El Cajon Boulevard. The building is home to the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association.

In the late 19th century, long before San Diego became a thriving metropolis, El Cajon Avenue was a dirt road into East County that eventually developed a small business district. In 1937 the road was improved and renamed El Cajon Boulevard.

Old U.S. Highway 80 ran east from San Diego where much of El Cajon Boulevard is today–all the way to the East Coast! When Interstate 8 was built, the new freeway replaced a segment of U.S. Highway 80 through La Mesa.

Today El Cajon Boulevard is a very busy east-west route through many of San Diego’s oldest and most diverse neighborhoods. Generations of San Diegans have traveled along The Boulevard.

Every block echoes with history.

Eventually I’ll blog about the grand Lafayette Hotel, where Hollywood celebrities once flocked, and where Bob Hope was the first guest. Or the original Jack in the Box where modern drive-thru fast food service was invented. Or the nearly century-old Chicken Pie Shop, where legendary boxer Archie Moore, longest reigning World Light Heavyweight Champion, liked to hang out. Or…

Mural in City Heights depicts vintage cars heading down El Cajon Boulevard.
Mural in City Heights depicts vintage cars heading down El Cajon Boulevard.

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!

Cool photo memories from June 2015.

To say the least, the year 2020 has been eventful. The coronavirus pandemic, economic disruption, an election year, widespread protests and even riots. During such times, it’s easy to understand we are all living inside history.

The events of five years ago are also part of human history, even if those days in retrospect seem less troubled, less chaotic.

Well, the world continues to turn and it’s time once again to revisit a few Cool San Diego Sights memories. These are from June 2015.

The big centennial of Balboa Park was underway, of course, and Comic-Con was fast approaching . . . plus there were many other happy celebrations of life in San Diego.

To revisit memories from five years ago, click the following links:

Philippine American Celebration in Balboa Park!

Young and old dream at Centennial Railway Garden.

Photos of San Diego library’s Art of Comic-Con exhibit!

Artists paint live Flamenco dancing in Spanish Village!

Painting the 1915 Centennial Mural in Balboa Park.

Fun photos of Make Music Day San Diego!

Cool photos of fun, funky Ocean Beach Street Fair!

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

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Fossils exposed in Hillcrest on University Avenue!

Perceptive people who walk along University Avenue in Hillcrest, between First Avenue and Park Boulevard, might see dozens of fossils “exposed” in the sidewalk.

These small, stone-sculpted plant and animal fossils are part of San Diego’s largest public art installation, which stretches about a mile long!

Fossils Exposed, created by San Diego artist Doron Rosenthal in 1998, consists of 150 granite markers set in the sidewalks along either side of University Avenue.

Doron Rosenthal has always been inspired by the unique beauty of desert landscapes. After spending some time in Pietra Santa, Italy, working with and learning from some of the world’s greatest sculptors, Doron Rosenthal returned to Southern California and taught stone cutting at the San Diego Art Institute. He continues to produce art today.

According to the artist’s website, “FOSSILS EXPOSED involves the creation and installation of 150 circular 4.5 inch granite markers. Each represent the artist’s interpretive carvings of local and regional fossilized plant and animal life, which are sandblasted into granite…. The imagery is inspired by the fossil collections from the San Diego Museum of Natural History. Each marker is different, representing various plant and animal species covered over by modern day urban development. The project would encourage awareness of the levels of life that struggled to exist within the area–some in the past, some in the present…”

To learn more, visit Doron Rosenthal’s website here.

I walked along University Avenue this morning and photographed just a fraction of the many Fossils Exposed.

To my eyes, it appears that over the years these man-made fossils have become even more fossil-like. They’ve aged along with the slowly weathering sidewalks and surroundings.

Unfortunately, it also appears much of the fossil artwork is now missing. Sections of sidewalk have been replaced over time, and I could locate no markers along a few stretches of University Avenue. I suspect that when old sections of concrete sidewalk were removed, certain fossils vanished, and ended up buried under layers of rubble and Earth. Where most true fossils are found.

If that’s the case, what a shame.

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!

Bust of a San Diego Air Force hero.

The beautifully sculpted commemorative bust of San Diego resident, retired Brigadier General Robert L. Cardenas, USAF occupies a place of honor in Balboa Park. The bust can be found in the Veterans Memorial Garden, a short walk from the entrance to the The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park.

I was on hand to observe the sculpture’s unveiling almost six years ago. The ceremony was held during a Spirit of ’45 event that honored heroes of World War II. To see that inspirational blog post, click here.

I’ve decided to post photographs of the Cardenas bust today because it’s Memorial Day–one of those days when we express our gratitude to all military service members. And because I posted photos of another sculpture by the same artist a couple days ago.

San Diego sculptor Richard Becker also created Liberation, a statue at Miramar National Cemetery. That bronze sculpture remembers and honors Prisoners of War. You can see the emotionally powerful Liberation here.

Brigadier General Robert L. Cardenas, USAF has a list of achievements and awards a mile long. Please read his Wikipedia page here. You’ll learn that in World War II, after he was shot down during a mission over Germany, he swam across a lake into Switzerland to escape capture, then rejoined the fight. You’ll also learn that years later, from a B-29 Superfortress that he piloted, he dropped the experimental supersonic X-1 aircraft flown by Chuck Yeager, who broke the sound barrier.

Behind the bust of Robert Cardenas you can see a sculpture of a B-24 Liberator bomber from World War II. It’s the plane that Robert Cardenas flew during the Second World War.

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!

Mystery disappearance of historical tombstone?

Armchair detectives and San Diego history buffs, here’s a possible mystery to solve!

In January of 2017 I was walking by the west side of a long parking lot along Anna Avenue near the old location of the San Diego Humane Society, when I spotted a wooden tombstone. On it were the words: “Juan Mendoza. Feb. 6, 1865. Shot in the back while running away.”

Here’s my photo from back then…

Mysterious wooden tombstone with name of Juan Mendoza, who was shot by Cave Couts in the back with a double-barreled shotgun in Old Town San Diego, February 6, 1865.
Mysterious wooden tombstone with name of Juan Mendoza, who was shot by Cave Couts in the back with a double-barreled shotgun in Old Town San Diego, February 6, 1865.

Juan Mendoza was a person who figured in the early history of Old Town, which is located just south of this spot across the San Diego River.

At the time I couldn’t help but wonder about the mysterious wooden grave marker. Was it real? A prop? A prank? You can read about my strange discovery several years ago by checking out my old blog post here.

As I wrote in that original post: “Cave Couts built the wood-frame hotel called the Colorado House in 1851 and became an influential resident of early San Diego. But by some accounts he was a sketchy character. On February 6, 1865 he shot a disgruntled former employee (who worked on one of Cave Couts’ ranches) in the back with a shotgun. This violated the unspoken “Code of the West”. The unfortunate victim who died was Juan Mendoza.”

Well, look what I saw today. The wooden tombstone is gone. There’s some sort of covering and efforts at erosion control around the place where it stood. Was there a grave? Nearby I also observed objects that might be related to the Mid-Coast Trolley extension construction over Friars Road, and possible homeless activity.

Okay, maybe it’s nothing. I see nothing on the internet. I don’t claim to be an expert when it comes to our city’s history. But I do know there are readers following this blog who are far more informed than me.

Is there an explanation?

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!

Sometimes I make seemingly mysterious discoveries!

Memories of summers, the Padres, Petco Park.

Padres fans enter the stands before Tony Gwynn memorial begins.

What would Memorial Day weekend be without baseball? Unfortunately, it would be this Memorial Day weekend.

The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has put a temporary hold on sports in San Diego.

For those of you who miss heading down to East Village for baseball games, I thought now would be a good time to relive some memories of baseball in San Diego, the Padres and Petco Park.

I’ve looked through my blog and found posts that might interest Padres fans and rekindle strong memories. Over the past half dozen years there have been many emotional moments, including the passing of beloved Padres players and broadcasters.

I haven’t included posts concerning past FanFests, Opening Day block parties, the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, and various other events at Petco Park like the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering, but more stuff can be found by surfing about Cool San Diego Sights or performing a search.

Click the following links to see lots of photographs!

A very cool tour of Petco Park in San Diego!

Padres military heroes honored at Petco Park.

San Diego Padres Hall of Fame players at Petco Park.

Baseball history at San Diego Padres Hall of Fame.

Trevor Time returns to Petco Park!

Petco’s “San Diego Section” honors local teams!

The San Diego Padres happy mascot, the Swinging Friar, greets visitors to the big local sports teams event.

Fans celebrate local sports teams in San Diego!

Fun pics from World Baseball Classic in San Diego!

USS Midway model in Petco Park’s Power Alley.

Model of Lane Field stadium at Petco Park.

Local history excavated, displayed at Petco Park.

Biggest baseball library west of Cooperstown in San Diego!

Padres fans check out lots of photos and cool artifacts which recall the history of baseball in San Diego. On the left are photos of the first Padres team in 1936, and Lane Field.

Baseball flags debut at historic Lane Field Park!

Celebrating Dick Enberg at his final Padres home game.

Photos of Jerry Coleman public memorial service.

Photos of Tony Gwynn statue at Lake Poway.

Tony Gwynn’s Memorial Tribute at Petco Park.

Quotes from the Tony Gwynn public memorial.

Tony Gwynn is remembered as a great player and great man.

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 mystery of an old San Diego history mural.

An amazing mural depicting two hundred years of San Diego history can be found on a building in Point Loma. The long mural, which is located on the side of Zino’s Hair Designers at 2168 Chatsworth Boulevard, has a plaque that reads: “SAN DIEGO from 1769 to 1969 Painted by JORGE IMANA Commissioned by David G. Fleet.”

I’ve performed a variety of searches on the internet to learn more about the mural and the artist, but find little that seems reliable…

UPDATE!

I’ve edited out my previous surmises because the truth has been learned and a few assumptions I made while searching the internet were misguided. Jorge Imana is, in fact, a famous Bolivian artist, who has lived for many years now in La Jolla! You can visit his website here.

I believe Gil is his brother–I found this Wikipedia page.

Thanks to a comment from Joseph M, I was steered in the correct direction!

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!

Historical marker near Midway and Rosecrans.

Historical marker recalls early San Diego's La Playa Trail. This plaque can be found on Rosecrans Street near Midway Drive.
Historical marker recalls early San Diego’s La Playa Trail. This plaque can be found on Rosecrans Street near Midway Drive.

While walking around Point Loma this weekend, I came upon another historical marker with a plaque that commemorates San Diego’s famous old La Playa Trail. This marker stands in front of a shopping center near the corner of Midway Drive and Rosecrans Street. It features one of six similar plaques created back in the 1930s.

You can see a photo of another such plaque at the east end of the La Playa Trail, near Mission San Diego de Alcala, by clicking here. You can see a third plaque at the base of Presidio Hill and learn about the remaining three plaques (which I have yet to photograph) here.

According to Wikipedia: “The La Playa Trail was a historic bayside trail in San Diego, connecting the settled inland areas to the commercial anchorage at Old La Playa on San Diego Bay…The trail was used during the Pre-Hispanic (Native American), Spanish, Mexican and American periods of San Diego history. Much of the length of the original trail corresponds to the current Rosecrans Street in the San Diego neighborhood of Point Loma…The trail was already established by the time the Spanish settlers arrived in 1769; the first inhabitants of the area, including the Kumeyaay tribe, used it to access the beaches of San Diego Bay. It was improved and extended during the Spanish colonization of the region, reaching Old Town San Diego and Mission San Diego de Alcalá in Mission Valley by the 1770s. Cargo which had been unloaded by ship at Ballast Point in Old La Playa was transported along the trail several miles inland to Old Town…”

US Boundary Survey of 1850 shows the La Playa Trail along San Diego Bay and the San Diego River. Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.
US Boundary Survey of 1850 shows the La Playa Trail along San Diego Bay and the San Diego River. (New San Diego is where downtown is today.) Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

Have you read the classic of American Literature, Two Years Before the Mast? It’s one of my all-time favorite books. Richard Henry Dana Jr. wrote an account of a sailor’s life on the coast of California in the mid-1830s, and a good portion of his fascinating narrative describes San Diego.

La Playa (then a beach on Point Loma just inside San Diego Bay) is where merchant ship Pilgrim unloaded cattle hides that had been gathered by Dana and his shipmates up and down the California coast. When Dana rode on horseback from the hide houses on the beach to Old Town, or farther east to Mission San Diego, he followed the La Playa Trail!

La Playa Trail. Oldest commercial trail in western United States. Erected by San Diego Historical Society. 1938.
La Playa Trail. Oldest commercial trail in western United States. Erected by San Diego Historical Society. 1938.

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!