My walks through downtown often take me past a large, dilapidated building with a giant faded castle painted on its side. This now sad sight was once the splendid Hotel Churchill, the destination of tourists visiting San Diego a hundred years ago.
The Hotel Churchill was built to accommodate visitors to the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in nearby Balboa Park. The Arthurian theme made visitors feel like they’d entered Camelot, much like the Excalibur Hotel does in Las Vegas today. The building has been abandoned for many years. I remember watching the San Diego Fire Department using the tall edifice for practice, breaking through one window from the top of a firetruck’s ladder.
In 2003 the city designated the Hotel Churchill a local historical landmark. There are plans afoot to restore the old building and convert it into affordable housing.
Here’s a pic I took in February 2015. The old hotel has been fenced off, awaiting restoration…
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Greetings to the folks at Mission Valley Resort! Thanks for following my blog! My walk to work takes me down Bachman Place, so today I decided to take a small detour and pass by the resort to check it out! Great location! I took several quick pics and the one above turned out best!
This photo shows sailboats on San Diego Bay passing the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel, those two tall, sandy tan buildings.
Tour guides and pedicab drivers often joke that the downtown skyline resembles a set of tools. The Hyatt buildings resemble straight-edge screwdrivers; America Plaza, which you can see, resembles a phillips screwdriver; and another skyscraper, Emerald Plaza (not visible in this pic) resembles a set of socket wrenches!
Here’s a pic of a non-sailboat taken on a later occasion…
These private yachts are docked directly behind the San Diego Convention Center. Some can be really huge. Most are gorgeous. Over the years, I’ve seen a few that have helicopters or small airplanes!
I took the above photo while riding the ferry to Coronado island. The building jutting up in the background is the Omni Hotel, which stands in the Gaslamp adjacent to Petco Park.
The following pics were taken at various different times:
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The Hotel Del Coronado is one of my favorite places for a stroll. The beautiful architecture, the white sandy beach, the rich history, the sunshine and leisurely vibe, all combine for a wonderful experience.
The Del’s unique appearance makes it an unmistakeable landmark in San Diego. It’s a classic Victorian beach resort, and one of the largest wooden structures in California. In 1888, when it opened, it was the largest resort hotel in the world!
Today, the spacious beach that it overlooks is routinely considered a top beach in the United States.
Sixteen different American presidents have been guests at the Del, as well as numerous celebrities. These include royalty from many nations, Thomas Edison, Babe Ruth, and loads of Hollywood movie stars: Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Vincent Price, James Stewart, Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn, to name just a few.
L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, did much of his writing at the Hotel Del Coronado.
Numerous movies have been filmed at the hotel, most notably Some Like It Hot, which starred Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis.
Many photos and signs throughout the amazing hotel remind visitors of its rich past history!
Here are three more pics that I took on a somewhat more cloudy day!
Here’s another look at the beautiful San Diego Marriott Marina. Hundreds of boats find safe harbor in this large expanse of water between a grassy park to the west and the silvery Marriott Marquis hotel. You can see boats of every size and description: sailboats, speedboats, small yachts…
Around Christmas, many of these watercraft are decked with strings of colored lights, glowing Santas, and other illuminated decorations, making for a festive scene at night. Dozens of boats participate in the holiday Parade of Lights, cruising merrily around San Diego Bay.
Throughout the year, it’s fun to watch individual boats gliding slowly in and out of the marina. You can also spot rented Jet Skis, people enjoying kayaks, and others standing on paddleboards.
Visible in this photo, taken from the walking path at the south end of the Marriott Marina, are two prominent hotels on San Diego’s picturesque waterfront. To the left is the elegant Manchester Grand Hyatt, and in the center are the two curved, shining, sail-like buildings of the Marriott Marquis. On the far right you can see the north end of the long San Diego Convention Center.
After gazing awhile at the hundreds of sailboats and small yachts docked in the marina, you might head a short distance west to enjoy views of the grassy Embarcadero Marina Park South and its fishing pier on San Diego Bay.
You’ll find the Hilton on the other side of the San Diego Convention Center.
The historic El Cortez Hotel, now converted into condominiums, has been an iconic landmark in San Diego since 1926. Decades before gleaming skyscrapers rose to shape our modern skyline, the El Cortez dominated Cortez Hill and was the city’s tallest building.
The large sign on top, illuminated at night, brightly flashes the sequenced letters of “El Cortez” like a beacon out of the past. The El Cortez years ago had the world’s very first outside glass elevator. Known as the Starlight Express, the elevator brought visitors to the hotel’s penthouse restaurant, which featured amazing views of the growing city and the bay below. The hotel also had the world’s first motorized moving sidewalk!
I live several blocks from this wonderful building and love to gaze at it whenever I walk or drive past!
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!