Del Mar history in a pocket park.

A pocket park near the corner of Camino Del Mar and 15th Street features a series of banners that illustrate local history.

Pedestrians coming down the sidewalk have the opportunity to rest and view photos from Del Mar’s past in this quiet nook near L’Auberge Del Mar, across 15th Street from Stratford Square’s distinctive Tudor style building.

Last weekend I enjoyed a look at these fascinating historical images and descriptions, which are provided by the Del Mar Historical Society. I took photographs of the banners, moving from left to right.

Then I spotted a friendly sea lion perched on a nearby bench!

To learn more about Del Mar’s history, including how the North County beach town got its name from a once-popular poem titled “The Fight for Paso Del Mar”, check out this website!

The history of Del Mar begins in 1885 with the new California Southern Railroad, connecting Los Angeles to San Diego. The first hotel, opened in 1886, was Casa Del Mar. The Natatorium at the end of 10th and 11th Street featured a dance pavilion on the beach and a large saltwater swimming pool.
A 1000 foot pier was built in 1912 near the end of 15th Street. When it became too damaged by the passage of time and many storms, it was demolished in 1959 by the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team!
The Hotel Del Mar (originally called the Stratford Inn) attracted the rich and famous after Bing Crosby built the Del Mar Racetrack in 1937. Parties featured entertainers such as Bob Hope, Al Jolson and Danny Thomas. Frequent guests included Buster Keaton, Mickey Rooney, Betty Grable, Lucille Ball, Jimmy Durante and many others.
Photos of celebrities at the Del Mar Racetrack, including Ava Gardner, Ronald Reagan, J. Edgar Hoover, Cary Grant and Red Skelton.
The Stratford Inn opened in 1909 and attracted Hollywood’s silent film stars. It was finally demolished in 1967. The posh L’Auberge Del Mar, which stands on the site now, was featured on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
This is Sally the Sea Lion!

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Padres baseball superstars appear in windows!

Enjoy these photos!

This morning, as I walked along Tony Gwynn Drive between Petco Park and downtown’s Omni San Diego Hotel, I observed Padres superstars in several windows!

Brand new promotional graphics for 2021 celebrate five great players on what is widely regarded the most exciting baseball team in America!

Four large graphics behind glass at the Omni Hotel across from Petco Park depict superstars Fernando Tatís Jr., Manny Machado, Yu Darvish and Blake Snell.

Another new graphic at the Padres Team Store in the Western Metal Supply Co. building celebrates Joe Musgrove’s no-hit game earlier this season–the first ever no-hitter in San Diego history!

Will the San Diego Padres finally return to the Major League Baseball World Series after so many years? We shall see!

Go Pads!

Fernando Tatís Jr.
Manny Machado
Yu Darvish
Blake Snell
On April 9, 2021, pitcher Joe Musgrove, who grew up in San Diego and rooted for the Padres as a kid, throws the first ever no-hitter in Padres history!

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!

Demolition of Navy Broadway Complex resumes.

The demolition of the immense, old Navy Broadway Complex on San Diego’s Embarcadero has resumed!

This morning I happened to notice a good chuck of the large remaining Navy building has vanished!

In 2017 demolition began on an adjacent section of the complex, to make room for the new 17-story U.S. Navy Region Southwest Headquarters, which was completed in September of 2020.

Four years ago I posted photographs of that phase of the demolition, and other construction activity along San Diego’s waterfront, here.

Once the last remnants of the Navy Broadway Complex are finally removed, construction can begin in earnest of the Manchester Pacific Gateway, which will feature a total of six new buildings.

According to the site plan, there will be a 1.9 acre plaza across Harbor Drive from the Broadway Pier and USS Midway Museum, a 34-floor Convention Center hotel with retail on Broadway by Pacific Highway, and office space in the five other, smaller buildings.

If you want to learn more about this project, which has evolved over its many years of planning, click here.

It appears the new bayfront hotel and its outdoor park will be called One Broadway Hotel & Plaza.

UPDATE!

One of my blog’s readers has informed me that I’m not quite up-to-date about this project. An article in the Union Tribune last September relates how “IQHQ real estate investment group…completed its acquisition of around two-thirds — or five city blocks — of the development site known as Manchester Pacific Gateway. The transaction paves the way for what IQHQ is calling the San Diego Research and Development District…”

So it seems the plans for this property have continued to evolve…

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!

A walk around El Cajon’s Knox House Museum.

A few weeks ago, during my adventure in El Cajon, I walked around the Knox House Museum, which was closed at the time. I took a number of photographs of the historic structure, and the gazebo in small, grassy Judson Park to the north.

The Knox House Museum is operated by the El Cajon Historical Society. The building is a restoration of Amaziah Lord Knox’s original two-story, seven room El Cajon Hotel, which was built in 1876 near the present day corner of Main Street and Magnolia Avenue. The building also served as the Knox residence. In later years the hotel was altered in various ways and greatly enlarged. In 1972 the City of El Cajon purchased the original building and moved it to its present location, at the corner of Magnolia and Park Avenue.

To learn much, much more about the old hotel, the present day museum, and the history of El Cajon, which began in earnest with the discovery of gold in Julian in 1870, visit the El Cajon Historical Society’s website here! Among other things, you’ll learn why the Knox House Museum is painted in such unusual colors!

I spotted this old gazebo in Judson Park, across Park Avenue…

The plaque on the gazebo includes: In 1875 the bustling commerce of ore wagons, stage coaches and other traffic of the times passed this spot on route to and from San Diego and the gold mines of Julian. This land was later granted to the City of El Cajon by the C.S. Judson family…The gazebo was constructed by the El Cajon Historical Society…Dedicated July 26, 1992…This rose garden was presented to the people of El Cajon by the East County Rose Society…Dedicated November 2002…

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Another walk in the Village of La Jolla.

On Saturday I enjoyed another meandering walk through the Village of La Jolla. I had only one destination in mind: the rear of a bench at the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial. You’ll see why in a coming blog post!

As I walked along I photographed whatever caught my fancy. The murals you see here I haven’t documented in the past.

The Bishop’s School tower. Designed by noted architect Carleton Monroe Winslow, the Bishop Johnson Tower was added to St. Mary’s Chapel in 1930.
Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial by the La Jolla Recreation Center. (Stay tuned for photos of beautiful public art on the other side of that bench!)
Looking out at the Pacific Ocean from the edge of Ellen Browning Scripps Park.
Many people stop to look at sea lions down on the rocks.
People walk along or buy treats on a Saturday by La Jolla Cove.
Gazing down at popular La Jolla Cove.
Mermaids drink free!
The Cave Store is where you can enter Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave through an old bootlegger’s tunnel.
Raymond Chandler at the Whaling Bar, 2018, Raul Guerrero. One of the Murals of La Jolla.
Unity in Diversity. Mural by Gennaro Garcia.
La Valencia Hotel seen from across Prospect Street. The Pink Lady of La Jolla has been a destination of the Hollywood elite, built in 1926.
St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church. The 1928 tower was designed by Louis Gill, based on images from Campo Florida in Mexico.
Front of La Jolla Woman’s Club. California’s first tilt-up concrete building, it was designed by pioneering architect Irving Gill in 1912.
A mural I spotted on Pearl Street.
Fresheria mural on Pearl Street, by @el_pekaso

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.

Nostalgic car mural at The Fin Hotel.

During my long walk through Oceanside yesterday, my very first cool discovery was this large nostalgic mural on the side of The Fin Hotel. It depicts a slice of Americana: a small town scene from the mid-20th century.

The Fin Hotel is a boutique hotel that began its life as the Keisker Hotel, built in 1927. Before it was The Fin it was The Dolphin. Today it’s an historic Oceanside landmark that has survived decades of change in the growing city.

The mural, painted by Southern California artist Lisa Kelly, incorporates the cool The Fin Hotel neon sign, as you can see in the coming photos! It also features many classic cars, the Oceanside Pier, and a woodie with a surfboard on top!

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 tradition of holiday lights at the Marriott!

For as long as I can remember, the Marriott Marquis hotel on San Diego’s bayfront has maintained a holiday tradition. Every year they string up a huge red “Christmas tree” made of lights between their two towers!

I took a long walk after work and found myself in front of the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina (the hotel’s official name) shortly after nightfall.

The beautiful tree of lights was shining in front of my camera!

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!

Light, reflections on Lane Field hotels.

This morning I walked toward, between and around the hotels that now occupy the site of old Lane Field, where the Padres played baseball when they were a team in the Pacific Coast League.

Bright, clear light reflected from the two very different buildings: the InterContinental San Diego building and the Marriott SpringHill Suites and Residence Inn building across from it. Perfect for intriguing photos!

You might remember that I documented how the site of old Lane Field was transformed into a public park and prime waterfront location for these hotels here.

If you’re curious about the rippling façade you see above and in several other photographs, it covers the Marriott building’s parking garage and is titled California Rain. The sculptural artwork was created by artist David Franklin. I posted photos almost five years ago here. (Read that blog post’s comments to learn more about how the individual aluminum blades were assembled!)

Now on to this morning’s cool pics!

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!

Riding the world’s first outdoor glass elevator!

If you’re familiar with the history of the El Cortez in downtown San Diego, you probably know it featured the world’s very first outdoor glass elevator. (Although I’ve also seen information that says it was the first such elevator in the United States, second in the world.)

Based on an idea suggested by a hotel bellboy, an outdoor glass elevator, called the Starlight Express, was installed in 1956 on the side of the El Cortez Hotel, then the highest building in San Diego. People from all around Southern California would converge on the elegant hotel to be swept dizzily skyward to the chic Starlight Room restaurant on the twelfth floor.

Today I came across a black and white 1956 newsreel that has been released by Universal City Studios into the public domain. It shows thrilled passengers going up and down what was then the brand new, incredible, jaw-dropping Starlight Express!

Check out the “futuristic” costume (uniform?) of the smiling elevator operator! And check out how downtown San Diego appeared in the 1950s. A bit different than today, right?

I snipped sequential images from the old newsreel so you can enjoy a fun look!

By the way, the El Cortez Hotel also featured the world’s first moving sidewalk! You know–the sort of thing you might stand on in an airport terminal or at an amusement park. It was called the Travolator. Both the Starlight Express and Travolator were removed many years ago.

Read much more about the El Cortez and its extraordinary history in this detailed Wikipedia article. Among other things, you’ll learn how this Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style landmark was built on property once owned by a son of President Ulysses S. Grant, how a third of San Diego’s population showed up for the hotel’s opening day, and how it had an anti-aircraft battery on its roof during World War II!

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!

First look at new Town and Country river park!

The beautiful new river park in Mission Valley between the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center and the Fashion Valley Transit Center will soon be completed. Today I noticed the construction fences were down and the park was wide open to the public, so of course I had to walk around and explore.

After checking out the corner of the park next to the trolley station, I walked east following the elevated trolley tracks, turned south, passed an unfinished information kiosk, and crossed the San Diego River via the pedestrian bridge. I then walked along the winding new path on the south side of the river.

You might notice some intriguing, very unique public artwork. What appear to be tree trunks have been wrapped with bands containing words that concern the natural and human history of the San Diego River.

As I walked along the grassy green linear park, I spotted something slender and white down near the water. It was a great egret. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a good photograph.

I think I might use those park benches in the future! Looks like a perfect place to sit and read.

If you want to see a few photos I took a couple weeks ago, when this new river park was less developed, click 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.