Photos of restored rooms inside Casa de Estudillo.

Visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park look into a restored room of La Casa de Estudillo.
Visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park look into a restored room of La Casa de Estudillo.

Four years ago I posted photos of La Casa de Estudillo, a famous adobe house in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park that was originally built in 1827. That blog was called Ramona saved Casa de Estudillo in Old Town and concerned the fascinating history of this structure.

Over time various parts of the casa have undergone restoration and new rooms have opened up to public view. These rooms now appear furnished as they once might have been, in the very early days of San Diego.

I recently walked through La Casa de Estudillo and peered into a few of the rooms…

Sign describes the dining room of La Casa de Estudillo.
Sign describes the dining room of La Casa de Estudillo.
The eventual prosperity of the Estudillo family is reflected in their elegant dining room.
The eventual prosperity of the Estudillo family is reflected in their elegant dining room.
Expensive furniture and tableware imported by ship from distant places fill the otherwise simple room.
Expensive furniture and tableware imported by ship from distant places fill the otherwise simple room.
Sign describes commerce in the casa. Francisco de Paul Rodriguez rented space from the Estudillos for a store.
Sign describes commerce in the casa. Francisco de Paul Rodriguez rented space from the Estudillos for a store.
The store, or tienda, contained shelves of goods that might be purchased by the residents of Old Town San Diego. Much of the merchandise came by ship from the East Coast around Cape Horn.
The store, or tienda, contained shelves of goods that might be purchased by the residents of Old Town San Diego. Much of the merchandise came by ship from the East Coast around Cape Horn.
More shelves against one wall contain iron tools and basic furnishings like candlesticks for sale.
More shelves against one wall contain iron tools and basic furnishings like candlesticks for sale.
Sign describes how the Estudillos adapted to life on the frontier in the 1830's and 1840's.
Sign describes how the Estudillos adapted to life on the frontier in the 1830’s and 1840’s.
A bedroom inside La Casa de Estudillo contains a wealth of comfort, unusual in early San Diego, which was located far away from developed centers of commerce.
A bedroom inside La Casa de Estudillo contains a wealth of comfort, unusual in early San Diego, which was located far away from developed centers of commerce.
Several additional rooms at La Casa de Estudillo are undergoing restoration.
Several additional rooms at La Casa de Estudillo are undergoing restoration.
Sign describes how the casa started as a modest two-room structure and eventually grew into an expansive U-shaped building with a courtyard and outbuildings.
Sign describes how the casa started as a modest two-room structure and eventually grew into an expansive U-shaped building with a courtyard and outbuildings.
Photo of the Casa de Estudillo's tower from the central garden courtyard.
Photo of the Casa de Estudillo’s tower from the central garden courtyard.
Looking across the south end of the courtyard toward the outdoor oven and Seeley Stable beyond.
Looking across the south end of the courtyard toward the outdoor oven and Seeley Stable beyond.
Sign explains how the Estudillos cared for a growing family including many children.
Sign explains how the Estudillos cared for a growing family including many children.
Frozen Charlotte dolls, ca. 1850's. These china dolls were popular in the Victorian era.
Frozen Charlotte dolls, ca. 1850’s. These china dolls were popular in the Victorian era.
A look into the children's bedroom.
A look into the children’s bedroom.
Sign describes the Estudillo kitchen and pantry. The family's ranchos provided meat, game, vegetables and fruit.
Sign describes the Estudillo kitchen and pantry. The family’s ranchos provided meat, game, vegetables and fruit.
Jars, pots, sacks of flour and fruit are among the many items seen in the rather primitive kitchen.
Jars, pots, sacks of flour and fruit are among the many items seen in the rather primitive kitchen.
The kitchen inside La Casa de Estudillo provides an idea of what life might have been like in early San Diego.
The kitchen inside La Casa de Estudillo provides an idea of what life might have been like in early San Diego.

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.

Top Gun House in Oceanside to be restored.

Photo from across North Pacific Street in Oceanside of the famous Top Gun house, an historical landmark that will be restored.
Photo from across North Pacific Street in Oceanside of the famous Top Gun House, an historical landmark that will be restored.

Today I headed up the coast to enjoy a walk around Oceanside.

During my small adventure I paused to look at Oceanside’s famous Top Gun House, which is located at the corner of North Pacific Street and Seagaze Drive. It’s the small beach house in the popular 1986 movie where Maverick ate dinner with his love interest Charlie.

A nearby sign provided some information about the house’s historical significance and planned restoration:

“Built in 1887 by Dr. Henry Graves as a vacation home, the Graves House is an ocean front Queen Anne Cottage and is now the “last best” existing such house in San Diego County, as recognized by SOHO (the Save Our Heritage Organization).

The house is best known by most people as the “Top Gun House” because of its prominent role in the movie of the same name. Scenes between Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis were filmed here in 1985 and the popular movie was released in 1986.

Complete house restoration pending hotel development on this site.

Oceanside Historical Society.”

I spoke with a friendly Downtown Ambassador of MainStreet Oceanside at an information table by the foot of the Oceanside Pier, and she said there are plans to not only restore “Charlie’s House”, but to move it one block north, nearer the pier. That valuable oceanfront lot is also awaiting development.

The Top Gun beach house sits in a corner of a large empty lot that is awaiting development. A hotel will be built here, a block from the Oceanside Pier.
The Top Gun House sits in a corner of a large empty lot that is awaiting development. A hotel will be built here, a block from the Oceanside Pier.
A sign near the Top Gun house provides information for curious people walking past.
A sign near the Top Gun House provides information for curious people walking past.
On the front of the house is a classic Top Gun poster and a vintage photo of the house as it once looked, over a century ago.
On the front of the house is a classic Top Gun poster and a vintage photo of the house as it once looked, long ago.
Photo of the south side of the small Queen Anne style cottage.
Photo of the south side of the small Queen Anne style cottage.
The famous Top Gun beach house will be restored and enjoyed by the local community and the movie's many fans for years to come.
The famous Top Gun House will be restored and enjoyed by the local community and the movie’s many fans for years to come.

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!

Create a cool beehouse for your garden!

Anyone can create a cool beehouse for their garden. All you really need is a drill!
Anyone can create a beehouse for their garden. All you really need is a drill!

Before my hike through the Sweetwater Marsh on Saturday, I took a stroll through the Native Pollinator Garden just outside the Living Coast Discovery Center. After reading a variety of informative signs, I paused in the garden to look at some very cool beehouses!

As I read about the beehouses, it occurred to me these would be extremely easy to make.

I took photographs just in case anyone reading this blog would like to make a beehouse for their own garden! Read the captions to learn more about the habits of ground-dwelling solitary bees and the materials you can use to make them a beehouse!

The Native Pollinator Garden at the Living Coast Discovery Center includes some very cool beehouses!
The Native Pollinator Garden just outside the Living Coast Discovery Center includes a couple of very cool beehouses!
Bees are extremely important. More than two thirds of the world's crop species rely on pollinators.
Bees are extremely important. More than two thirds of the world’s crop species rely on pollinators.
A large Feed a Bee Pollinator Habitat in the native garden provides shelter for solitary bees and information for the curious.
A large Feed a Bee Pollinator Habitat in the native garden provides shelter for solitary bees and information for the curious.
The rear of this bee condo! Holes have been drilled in a variety of materials, including logs, lumber and bricks.
The rear of this bee condo! Holes have been drilled in a variety of materials, including logs, lumber and bricks.
Solitary bees don't live in colonies. They often seek out hollows of fallen logs, bark and branches. They make up a majority of the 4000 bee species in the United States.
Solitary bees don’t live in colonies. They often seek out hollows of fallen logs, bark and branches. They make up a majority of the 4000 bee species in the United States.
A close look at the fun beehouse. I think even I could make one of these.
A close look at the fun beehouse. I think even I could make one of these.
Creating various hiding places attracts solitary bees, which can be as small as an eighth of an inch.
Creating various hiding places attracts solitary bees, which can be as small as an eighth of an inch.
Feeling inspired? Handy with a hammer and nails? Make your beehouse into a cool work of art!
Feeling inspired? Handy with a hammer and nails? Fashion your beehouse into a unique work of art!

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!

Cool photos near South Mission Beach jetty.

People play on the sandy volleyball courts at South Mission Beach, north of the jetty.
People play on the sandy volleyball courts at South Mission Beach, north of the jetty.

Yesterday I walked through South Mission Beach near the jetty. I got lots of fun, sunny photos for you to enjoy!

Riding a bike through South Mission Beach on a perfect San Diego day.
Riding a bike through South Mission Beach on a perfect San Diego day.
The Mission Beach boardwalk, which passes many small colorful houses and condos, is popular with bicyclists and pedestrians.
The Mission Beach boardwalk, which passes many small colorful houses and condos, is popular with bicyclists and pedestrians.
One of the cool beachfront properties on South Mission Beach. Many are available as vacation rentals.
One of the cool beachfront properties on South Mission Beach. Many are available as vacation rentals.
A row of lifeguard towers. It's winter in San Diego. During the summer these lookouts will be arranged at intervals along the beach.
A row of lifeguard towers. It’s winter in San Diego. During the summer these lookouts will be arranged at intervals along the beach.
Heading south along the path, approaching the parking lot at the jetty.
Heading south along the path, approaching palm trees and the parking lot at the jetty.
A beautiful day for a bike ride.
A beautiful day for a bike ride.
These people have paused to look at the nearby grass.
These people have paused to look at the nearby grass.
Guys play in the sun at the basketball court.
Guys play in the sun at the basketball court.
On the beach, a lifeguard building with flag flapping in the sea breeze. Pacific Beach and La Jolla rise to the north.
On the beach, a lifeguard building with flag flapping in the sea breeze. Pacific Beach and La Jolla rise to the north.
Families walk and play on the shore. The surf is gentle today.
Families walk and play on the shore. The surf is gentle today.
A seagull hangs out on a dune as surfers come in. The South Mission Beach jetty juts into the Pacific Ocean.
A seagull hangs out on a dune as surfers come in. The South Mission Beach jetty juts into the Pacific Ocean.
Someone approaches the foot of the rock jetty, which guards the channel into Mission Bay. This area is also called Point Medanos.
Someone approaches the foot of the rock jetty, which guards the channel into Mission Bay. This cape is called Point Medanos.
I stopped at the lifeguard emergency sign. Halfway down the jetty stands an old, abandoned bait shack, which appears like an arch that is covered with graffiti.
I stopped at the lifeguard emergency sign. Halfway down the jetty stands an old, abandoned bait shack, which appears like an arch that is covered with graffiti.
Gulls wheel over the entrance channel as a boat comes into Mission Bay.
Gulls wheel over the entrance channel as a boat comes into Mission Bay.
Beyond this sailboat I see the Ocean Beach Pier.
Beyond this sailboat I see the long Ocean Beach Pier.
Point Loma rises beyond a second jetty that separates the entrance channel from the San Diego River.
Point Loma rises beyond a second jetty that juts from Hospitality Point, separating the Mission Bay entrance channel from the San Diego River.
People are also out and about in Ocean Beach enjoying the sunny day. I see a few pooches running about Dog Beach.
People are also out and about in Ocean Beach enjoying the sunny day. I see a few pooches running freely about Dog Beach.
Several fishermen were casting into the blue water from the rocks.
Several fishermen were casting into the blue water from the rocks.
Now I'm circling back on North Jetty Road heading for the boardwalk. A cool windblown tree and flowers in the sand.
Now I’m circling back on North Jetty Road heading for the boardwalk. A cool windblown tree and flowers in the sand.
Like paradise on Earth.
Like paradise on Earth.
I love this place!
I love this place!

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.

La Jolla Playhouse enlivens Horton Plaza Park!

Someone in downtown San Diego peers through a spy hole into a tiny red house in Horton Plaza Park.
Someone in downtown San Diego’s Horton Plaza Park peers through a spy hole into a tiny Model Home.

The La Jolla Playhouse has invaded Horton Plaza Park! Several red houses have been placed inside the downtown San Diego park, and inside these tiny houses professional actors and actresses perform. A public audience can freely watch through spy holes!

Model Home is the name of this improvisational performance art concept, and anyone can check it out through Sunday. It’s a part of the La Jolla Playhouse’s annual Without Walls Festival which this year takes place in venues around downtown.

The genius behind Model Home is Mimi Lien, and I believe the idea is to inspire thought about what makes a home, and about those things in a home that individuals deem to be important.

A home is like an enclosed stage where humans act out much of their lives. As one nearby sign says, houses aren’t just structures, but contain human identity, memory and experience. Peering through the various spy holes in these Model Homes is like secretly peering into the mind of another person. It’s an inner life that the observer can never truly know.

I spoke to a couple of friendly La Jolla Playhouse folks and learned the actors and actresses inside the houses perform all day long, with periodic breaks. They are aware that eyeballs are staring in at them, but as trained acting professionals they aren’t fazed at all.

I also learned that at certain times the tiny house that is dangling from a crane is swung around through the air in a Crane Ballet! Perhaps I’ll “swing” by again this weekend and “crane” my neck at what must certainly be an unusual sight!

If you’re in downtown this weekend, you really should check it out!

Inside one tiny house I see an actor in a small kitchen baking bread!
Inside one tiny house I saw an actor in a small kitchen baking bread!
Model Home, in downtown San Diego's Horton Plaza Park, is part of the La Jolla Playhouse Without Walls WOW festival!
Model Home, in downtown San Diego’s Horton Plaza Park, is part of the La Jolla Playhouse Without Walls WOW festival! (Click image to enlarge.)
Several plain red houses stand in Horton Plaza Park--and one is dangling high in the sky from a crane!
Several tiny red houses stand in Horton Plaza Park–and one is dangling high in the sky from a crane!
People pause to read a sign that describes some very unique and thought-provoking performance art that can be enjoyed freely by anyone passing by.
People pause to read a sign that describes some very unique and thought-provoking performance art that can be enjoyed freely by anyone passing by.
Peering through one of the spy holes...
Peering through one of the spy holes…
Inside this very bare Model Home someone sleeps in apparent poverty. But every small set and performance is open for the viewer's own interpretation.
Inside this very bare Model Home an actor seemed to be sleeping in poverty. But every small “stage” and improvised performance invites the viewer’s personal interpretation.
Inside another Model Home are the remains of a birthday party. I'm guessing the kids went outside to play...
Inside another Model Home were the abandoned remnants of a birthday party. I didn’t see an actor. (Perhaps the kids ran outside to play…)
And inside this Model Home an actress is studying a feather, holding it up and turning it in the light. She seems to be quietly thinking.
And inside this Model Home an actress was studying a feather, holding it up and turning it about in the soft light. She seemed to be quietly thinking.

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!

Volunteers needed at San Diego Habitat for Humanity!

San Diego Habitat for Humanity is looking for volunteers, in neighborhoods all around San Diego.
San Diego Habitat for Humanity is looking for volunteers, in neighborhoods all around San Diego.

During my visit to the Imperial Avenue Street Festival, I checked out the San Diego Habitat for Humanity table. And I learned volunteers are needed for a variety of possible activities around San Diego.

One can work at their ReStore home improvement retail warehouses in Escondido, Mission Valley or National City. Or one can help build new homes. Or one can participate in neighborhood revitalization projects.

A flyer that I read explains how Habitat for Humanity provides repair services to homeowners in Logan Heights! I took a photo! (I also see the website address on the flyer pictured above is incorrect. Use my link below.)

No experience necessary! Click here to learn more!

San Diego Habitat for Humanity provides repair services to homeowners in Logan Heights!
San Diego Habitat for Humanity provides repair services to homeowners in Logan Heights!
Volunteers for San Diego Habitat for Humanity are all smiles!
Volunteers for San Diego Habitat for Humanity are all smiles!

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!

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History inside the William Heath Davis House.

Gaslamp Museum at the William Heath Davis House and Park, 1850. Home of the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation.
Gaslamp Museum at the William Heath Davis House and Park, 1850. Home of the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation.

These photos inside the historic William Heath Davis House Museum were taken a few months ago. I toured the fascinating house during the Fall Back Festival, which is held every year in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.

Dated 1850, the William Heath Davis House, like a number of other structures in early San Diego, was built on the East Coast and shipped around Cape Horn. At the time San Diego simply didn’t have the resources and tools required to build a fine wooden house. Various rooms inside the museum show what life was like in New Town a century and a half ago. It was a much simpler time. The small museum now sits in the middle of a gigantic, bustling metropolis.

Please read the photo captions for more info, and click the signs to read them.

Photo of the William Heath Davis House Museum taken from across Island Avenue.
Photo of the William Heath Davis House Museum taken from across Island Avenue.
Tours of the historic house are available. A museum store contains fascinating gifts.
Tours of the historic house are available. A museum store contains fascinating gifts.
The William Heath Davis House is the oldest surviving structure from San Diego's New Town. It is a prefabricated salt-box style home, shipped from Portland, Maine around Cape Horn. Dated 1850.
The William Heath Davis House, built in 1850, is the oldest surviving structure from San Diego’s New Town. It is a prefabricated “salt-box” style home, shipped from Portland, Maine around Cape Horn.
The 1850 Davis-Horton House was used as a military barracks, county hospital, and was home to Alonzo Horton and several other families.
The 1850 Davis-Horton House was used as a military barracks, county hospital, and was home to New Town’s founder Alonzo Horton and several other families over the years.
Looking down the stairs from the second floor. A lady in Victorian attire welcomes visitors to the museum during the Fall Back Festival in November.
Looking down the stairs from the second floor. A lady in Victorian attire welcomes visitors to the museum during the Fall Back Festival in November.
A look at the first floor living room where family and guests would gather.
A look at the first floor living room where family and guests would gather.
A small piano, sheet music, teacup and candle. Entertainment in the olden days was simple.
A small piano, sheet music, teacup and candle. Entertainment in the olden days was simple.
The dining table is set for a grand meal in New Town San Diego.
The dining table is set for a grand meal in what was then a sparsely populated New Town San Diego.
An old sewing machine can be found by a window upstairs.
An old sewing machine can be found by a window upstairs.
The nursery, with crib and small bed.
The nursery, with crib, chest and small bed.
Three beds for the children have colorful quilts.
Three beds for the children have colorful quilts.
A desk in the study and a cabinet full of books.
A desk in the study, framed photos, and a cabinet full of books.  No internet back then!
An old-fashioned penny-farthing bicycle reminds visitors to the William Heath Davis House Museum of what life was like a century and a half ago in San Diego.
An old-fashioned penny-farthing bicycle reminds visitors to the William Heath Davis House Museum of what life was like a century and a half ago in San Diego.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!