Ornate facade of haunted Horton Grand Hotel.

ornate facade of horton grand hotel

A registered National Historic Place, the Horton Grand Hotel in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter is a true architectural treasure. It’s ornate Italianate Victorian facade is based on the famous Innsbruck Inn in Vienna, Austria.

Today’s boutique hotel is a modern restoration of two historic buildings, the Grand Horton, built in 1887, and the Brooklyn Kahle Saddlery. The latter was the residence of Wyatt Earp during the years he lived in San Diego.

The Horton Grand has another interesting distinction. Room 309 is said to be haunted by the ghost of Roger Whitaker, a gambler who was shot dead by a man he cheated in a game of poker. Many guests who’ve stayed in this room have reported objects changing position when they are asleep!

Is that strange, glaring, long-bearded figure in the corner of this photo a vengeful ghost? I hope he didn’t follow me home!

Entrance to elegant Horton Grand hotel in the Gaslamp.
Entrance to elegant Horton Grand hotel in the Gaslamp.
Another wing of the historic hotel.
Another wing of the historic hotel.
The inside courtyard used to be outside!
The inside courtyard used to be outside!
A closer examination of architectural detail.
A closer examination of architectural detail.
The Horton Grand Hotel stands in downtown San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.
The Horton Grand Hotel stands in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.

Historic John Ginty House with holiday bunting.

john ginty house on cortez hill

I live very close to the historic Ginty House on Cortez Hill. I noticed today they’ve put holiday red, white and blue bunting on their porch rails, to celebrate Labor Day.

The beautiful old Victorian house, in the Stick Eastlake style, was built in 1886 by businessman John Ginty at the very highest point on affluent Cortez Hill.  In 1999 the house was saved from demolition and moved to its present location.  Registered as an official Historical Landmark, it was recently named one of the top ten “Dream Homes” by San Diego Magazine.

Cool features include the “Fairhead Stone” horse carriage step jutting up beside the sidewalk, a four-way fireplace, and a two-car garage with a hydraulic lift!

UPDATE! I took this pic on Memorial Day 2014…

Flag appears instead of bunting on Memorial Day.
Flag appears instead of bunting on Memorial Day.
The historic house as seen from the north on a typical day.
The historic house as seen from the north on a typical day.

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Classic figurehead of historic ship Star of India.

Female figure at the bow of San Diego's historic Star of India.
The Greek muse Euterpe graces the bow of San Diego’s historic Star of India.

Here’s the oft-photographed figurehead of San Diego’s famous tall ship Star of India. I learned from a Maritime Museum of San Diego docent that the figurehead represents Euterpe, one of the Muses from Greek mythology. Euterpe was the muse of music. Euterpe was also the original name of the Star of India, when it was built at Ramsey in the Isle of Man in 1863. Her name was changed from Euterpe to Star of India in 1906 by the Alaska Packers’ Association, which had purchased the ship in 1901.

Closer look at Star of India’s classic figurehead.
Closer look at Star of India’s classic figurehead.

Here’s a cool pic with high contrast applied…

Figurehead of tall ship Star of India.
Figurehead of tall ship Star of India.

San Diego loves the beautiful Star of India.

star of india 01

During today’s morning walk I took a couple other photographs which I will share. Here’s a pic of San Diego’s beloved tall ship Star of India! Many visitors don’t realize that this iron-hulled three-masted bark is the oldest active sailing ship in the entire world! If you ever swing by America’s Finest City, you can go onboard and enjoy a memorable glimpse of maritime history.

With clouds of white sails fluttering in the breeze, she remains the queen of The Big Bay! She’s 150 years old and still appears to be in great condition!

Star of India’s California Historical Landmark plaque.
Star of India’s California Historical Landmark plaque.

Bonus pics taken at various later times:

A familiar sight along Harbor Drive on San Diego's Embarcadero.
A familiar sight along Harbor Drive on San Diego’s Embarcadero.
Bow of Star of India includes the classic female figurehead.
Bow of Star of India includes a classic female figurehead representing Euterpe. That was this ship’s original name.
Early morning photo of San Diego's Star of India.
Early morning photo of San Diego’s Star of India.
Star of India captain's wheel and tangled Maritime Museum rigging.
Star of India steering wheel.
Beautiful sails and clouds.
Beautiful sails and clouds.
Ticket booth and entrance ramp next to the Star of India.
Maritime Museum of San Diego ticket booth next to the Star of India.
American flag flutters in the breeze at stern of the historic old ship.
American flag flutters in the breeze at stern of the historic old ship.
People out for a stroll by the Star of India.
People out for a stroll on San Diego’s Embarcadero by the Star of India.

Masts of tall ships docked on San Diego Bay.

festival of sail early morning 02

Here’s another pic taken in downtown San Diego this morning while I strolled along the Embarcadero. The intricate masts, yards and rigging projecting into the early morning sky belong to tall ships that will be participating in the 2013 Festival of Sail. I like how mysterious these ships can appear just after sunrise, as if they’re nautical ghosts visiting from the past! I wouldn’t have been surprised to glimpse Captain Ahab or The Ancient Mariner striding toward me along the bayside sidewalk!

UPDATE!

It’s a year later, and visiting tall ships have begun to arrive a couple days before the 2014 Festival of Sail. Here’s a pic I took early in the morning! This year I’ll make it a point to attend the big Labor Day weekend event and take loads of photos!

Two tall ships have arrived a couple days early for the 2014 Festival of Sail.
Two tall ships have arrived a couple days early for the 2014 Festival of Sail.

Early morning at San Diego Festival of Sail.

festival of sail early morning 01

This photograph was taken early this morning when I walked through downtown to catch the trolley for work. I strolled a short distance along the Embarcadero near the County Administration Building and was pleased to see many tall ships had already arrived to take part in the 2013 Festival of Sail this Labor Day weekend.

In addition to the San Diego Maritime Museum’s venerable Star of India, HMS Surprise and Californian, numerous high-masted sailing vessels will participate in the historic event. And simulated cannon battles will take place on San Diego Bay! Lots of excited people will be touring these beautiful ships!

Here’s a bonus pic from the following morning:

dark masts in a colorful sky
Masts of many tall ships in a colorful morning sky.

UPDATE!

It’s a year later! I checked out the 2014 Festival of Sail early Friday morning before the event began and took a few pics from behind the fence! Here they are! (I will be attending the event on Sunday, so look for many more detailed ship photos on the Cool San Diego Sights blog!)

HMS Surprise of San Diego Maritime Museum and masts of visiting tall ships beyond.
HMS Surprise of San Diego Maritime Museum and masts of visiting tall ships beyond.
Navy sailors run along Harbor Drive before the Labor Day weekend event begins.
Navy sailors run along Harbor Drive before the Labor Day weekend event begins.

The runner with the flag led a bunch of lustily singing Navy personnel on a run right next to the festival venue!

A view of tall ships participating in 2014 Festival of Sail on the Embarcadero.
A view of tall ships participating in 2014 Festival of Sail on the Embarcadero.