Tattered, ghostly sails of the haunted Star!

tattered sails of the haunted star of india

As Halloween approaches, I’ve noticed some changes during my walks about San Diego. A few scary decorations have begun to appear here and there among houses, shops and offices. One change in particular is difficult to miss.

The Star of India has put on her tattered sails!

A spooky Star of India makes a very cool October sight on San Diego Bay. This year, visitors who experience Haunting Tales from our Seafaring Past, in addition to touring the venerable old ship, will hear ghost stories and scary legends about life at sea. Kids attending are encouraged to dress in costume. In the days ahead, I’ll probably see a lot of pint-sized pirates shuffling along the Embarcadero!

The Star of India, owned by the San Diego Maritime Museum, recently turned 150 years old. The world’s oldest active sailing ship, she was originally named Euterpe, after the Greek muse of music and poetry. During her lifetime she’s made 21 circumnavigations of the globe, and has hauled cargo, emigrants and even fish in Alaska. Various people have died on board, including her first captain, and there have been reports of ghostly sightings. Some visitors say they feel the touch of a cold hand when they stand near the mast where a young sailor, a stowaway, fell from the rigging to his death in 1884. Step aboard if you dare!

UPDATE!

Here come a few more pics from October 2014…

Morning pic of a sail in tatters for Halloween's spooky Star of India.
Morning pic of a sail in shreds for Halloween-themed Star of India.
Torn sails befit the spooky Halloween spirit.
Torn sails befit the spooky Halloween spirit.
October sign on historic tall ship reads Haunted Tales on the Star of India.
October sign on historic tall ship reads Haunted Tales on the Star of India.

Photos of San Diego County Administration Building.

san diego county administration building

This unmistakable landmark has been photographed a million times. Now make it a million and one.

Yes, it’s the San Diego County Administration Center.

Finished in 1938, designed by several renowned local architects including William Templeton Johnson, Richard Requa and Louis John Gill, the historic building is Spanish Revival/Streamline Moderne in style with Beaux-Arts classical touches.

It stands overlooking the Embarcadero, just across Harbor Drive, not far from the Star of India.

For several decades it also served as the Civic Center of San Diego. Today, a large public park is being developed on either side of the building, where parking lots recently existed. I considered posting a photo of the construction, but all you’d see is dirt and bulldozers.

County Administration Building seen from Pacific Highway.
County Administration Building seen from Pacific Highway.

The first two pics are of the building’s east side, which faces downtown’s Little Italy. The other pics from the very similar west side I took during a walk along the Embarcadero on a later day…

Looking up at the west entrance of San Diego County Administration Building.
Looking up at the west entrance of San Diego County Administration Building.
Tiles depict fish, Navy ships on the bay, Mission San Diego, Balboa Park and an airplane.
Tiles depict fish, Navy ships on the bay, Mission San Diego, Balboa Park and an airplane.
Ornamental column near entrance with eagle on top.
Ornamental column near entrance with eagle on top.
View from the west, across Harbor Drive.
View from the west, across Harbor Drive.

UPDATE!

Here are a couple more pics. I took these with a newer camera many years later. These are on the east side of the building, where there is a plaza, shady benches and two fountains. Domes featuring a beautiful tile mosaic in the American Southwest style attract the eye at either end of the building. I’m looking north in the next photo…

Breaking the Chains on MLK Promenade.

breaking the chains on mlk promenade

This enormous steel sculpture, created by renowned artist Melvin Edwards, is called Breaking the Chains. It stands near the middle of the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade, right next to the Convention Center trolley station.

The MLK Promenade is a pedestrian and bike path that stretches along Harbor Drive, from a point near Seaport Village down to the Gaslamp. It’s an excellent place to enjoy the sunshine and take in various sights, including the fun Children’s Museum, fountains, public art, and showy waterfront hotels. Along the walk are tributes to the famous civil rights leader and his cause of human equality. Many of his most inspirational quotes are engraved within and beside the walkway.

Every year, during Martin Luther King Day weekend, the promenade comes alive with the annual Multicultural Festival!

Huge chain links emerges from ground on the MLK Promenade in San Diego.
Huge chain links emerges from ground on the MLK Promenade in San Diego.

Someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate.
Someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate.

Breaking the Chains sculpture in San Diego.
Breaking the Chains sculpture in San Diego.

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Faded sign on abandoned San Diego building.

faded sign on old san diego building

Another interesting photograph taken during a walk. The sign on the north side of this old building is extremely faded. It informs the observer of an earlier time. Years ago this location was San Diego’s In Spot!

The nine story building stands right next to San Diego’s City Hall and is sadly abandoned.  It has been that way since 1990.  In 1927 this was the center of an historic grand opening.  The California Theater, which was a movie palace, was so elegant and elaborate that it came to be called the “cathedral” of the motion picture.

The now dilapidated old building also has a large weathered advertisement for Tijuana’s Agua Caliente race track painted in the 1960s on its west side. I took photos of that here.

California Theatre marquee used to be seen on this old, abandoned building.
California Theatre marquee used to be seen on this old, abandoned building.
California Theatre's old marquee is long gone.
The cool marquee that simply read California is long gone.

UPDATE!

I took a closer, better photo on a much later date…

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!

Cabrillo’s galleon sails in Civic Center Plaza.

cabrillo's galleon san salvador sails in civic center plaza

Walking recently through San Diego’s Civic Center Plaza, I enjoyed a variety of historical images and colorful designs inlaid in the central courtyard.

Check out Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s galleon the San Salvador. In 1542, the Portuguese explorer discovered San Diego Bay on behalf of Spain while searching for a mythical water route across North America.

An actual working replica of the San Salvador is being built by the San Diego Maritime Museum. One of these days I’ll walk north along the bay to Spanish Landing in order to take some pics!

Wider view of Civic Center Plaza.
Wider view of Civic Center Plaza.

San Diego Trolley and Santa Fe Depot.

red san diego trolley and santa fe depot

This red trolley belongs to the blue line. Makes sense, right? It’s waiting for passengers at the America Plaza station, across the street from the Santa Fe Depot. The blue line stretches from downtown San Diego all the way down to the Mexican border.

In this photo you can see both domes of the historic train station.

Old black-and-white photos of the Santa Fe Depot pretty much show nothing around it. It just sits there in the middle of nowhere, seemingly. Today the city rises and surges all about it, and it can almost seem lost among the many bright tall buildings.

San Diego Trolley pulls into Santa Fe Depot from the south.
San Diego Trolley pulls into Santa Fe Depot from the south.

Domes of San Diego’s Santa Fe Depot.

dome of san diego's santa fe depot

The Santa Fe Depot is downtown San Diego’s train station. Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, the Coaster, and the San Diego Trolley’s orange and green lines all stop at the historic building.

The Santa Fe Depot, built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, was opened in 1915 to serve thousands of visitors to Balboa Park’s Panama-California Exposition.

This photo shows one of the Santa Fe Depot’s two colorful domes and some palm trees against a backdrop of high-rise condos. The architects a hundred years ago probably didn’t imagine that glassy skyscrapers would tower nearby!

Birds fly over one of the distinctive domes.
Birds fly over one of the distinctive tiled domes.

Looking up through palm trees toward the dome.
Looking up through palm trees toward one dome.

Here are some more photos taken at a later time. Black material now covers up part of the two domes. I learned that the terracotta columns are cracking.

The Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego.
The east side of the Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego.

Buildings rise behind the domes of the Santa Fe Depot.
Buildings rise behind the domes of the Santa Fe Depot.

The two domes of San Diego's Santa Fe Depot.
The two domes of San Diego’s Santa Fe Depot.

Amtrak train parked by historic Santa Fe Depot.
Amtrak train parked by historic Santa Fe Depot.

Plaque remembers Pearl Harbor victims.

plaque memorializes victims of pearl harbor

This plaque, embedded in a large old slab, is located on the Embarcadero. You’ll find it right next to the USS Midway Museum, at the north end of the Greatest Generation Walk. It remembers the victims of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

It reads:

IN MEMORY OF THE 2335 MEN WHO PERISHED IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY ON THE ISLAND OF OAHU.

It looks like the memorial was unveiled by a local chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association in 1984. I’m not sure where the plaque was located originally. I searched the internet briefly, but found nothing.

UPDATE!

I’ve learned that this plaque was originally located on the Broadway Pier, prior to its renovation a few years ago.  This post contains more info I received from the Port of San Diego.

Pedicab drivers wait near Pearl Harbor plaque.
Pedicab drivers wait near Pearl Harbor plaque.

Jet fighter on elevator of USS Midway Museum.

fighter jet on uss midway elevator

Usually the huge elevator on the south side of the USS Midway Museum contains a few tables and chairs. When I walked by and took the above photo, it featured an F-4 Phantom II jet fighter that flew during the Vietnam War!

The historic USS Midway, a modern aircraft carrier converted into a museum, has become one of the most popular attractions in San Diego. It’s docked on the old Navy Pier right next to downtown. Over a million people visit the Midway each year!

Over time the museum continues to add refurbished military aircraft exhibits. The flight deck is now crowded with them, and the hangar below is filling up. The old airplanes are fixed up and painted by volunteers at Naval Air Station North Island across San Diego Bay, then brought over to the Midway on a barge and lifted onto the flight deck with a big crane. I saw this happen once years ago and it was a very cool sight!

UPDATE!  I took the next photo on a sunny day the following summer…

This A-4 Skyhawk of the Black Knights attack squadron was once based on USS Oriskany.
This A-4 Skyhawk of the Black Knights attack squadron was once based on USS Oriskany.

ANOTHER UPDATE!  Here come two more pics that I took in late 2014.  It seems the A-4 Skyhawk is now a permanent feature on the elevator…

Small boat passes near USS Midway aircraft carrier on San Diego Bay.
Small boat passes near USS Midway aircraft carrier on San Diego Bay.

USS Ronald Reagan seen docked at Naval Air Station North Island across San Diego Bay.
USS Ronald Reagan seen docked at Naval Air Station North Island across San Diego Bay.

ANOTHER! Why not add another pic? This one was taken in early 2016…

Birds large and small in a photo taken from the edge of San Diego Bay.
Birds large and small in a photo taken from the edge of San Diego Bay.

Iconic “Unconditional Surrender” kiss statue!

Unconditional Surrender statue on San Diego's Embarcadero near the USS Midway Museum.
Unconditional Surrender statue on San Diego’s Embarcadero near the USS Midway Museum.

This large statue is amazingly popular with tourists visiting San Diego’s Embarcadero. Tour buses park in the nearby parking lot and throngs of people stand beneath the kissing sailor and nurse, snapping photos. Many couples joyfully imitate the dramatic pose. Critics say the statue is too kitsch, but I disagree! It perfectly represents a moment in time: the end of the Second World War.

Referred to by many as The Kiss, this huge sculpture was created by the artist Seward Johnson. Its proper name is Unconditional Surrender. It’s based on a photograph taken during V-J day in New York’s Times Square. An American sailor, overjoyed at the news of the war’s end, grabbed a random nurse nearby and gave her a spontaneous kiss. The photograph became world famous.

A temporary Unconditional Surrender statue was originally placed at this site, but it was replaced with a permanent bronze version in 2012. Unlike most other monuments and memorials located on the Greatest Generation Walk, just south of the USS Midway, this statue is so enormous it can be glimpsed from several points on San Diego Bay.

Sailor overjoyed that war is over plants a big kiss!
Sailor overjoyed that war is over plants a big kiss!

Sailor applies The Kiss to a nurse at the end of World War II.
Sailor applies The Kiss to a nurse at the end of World War II.

Sitting on nearby bench on a cloudy day.
Sitting on nearby bench on a cloudy day.

People gather about Seward Johnson's Unconditional Surrender.
People gather about Seward Johnson’s Unconditional Surrender.