A look at the historic Hayward-Patterson House.

During my walk through Golden Hill last weekend I passed dozens of charming old Victorian homes.

Golden Hill and adjacent Sherman Heights seem to have the greatest concentration of Victorian houses in San Diego. In the late 1800’s and very early 1900’s, many of the city’s elite residents built houses in these then-fashionable neighborhoods just east of downtown. The hillside locations offered panoramic views of the city and San Diego Bay.

As I walked down Broadway, I noticed one beautifully restored structure had a plaque indicating it was the Hayward-Patterson House, City of San Diego Historical Landmark No. 85.

A little online research shows the Italianate-style house was built in 1887 by Albert Moses Hayward, an early president of the San Diego Yacht Club and captain of the yacht San Diego. The second owner was Francis Elliot Patterson, a notable photographer and camera store owner who lived in the house for over thirty years.

Various owners followed. It’s currently the office of Finest City Homes and Loans.

As I walked past the Hayward-Patterson House, I snapped a few photographs.

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!

Christmas lights brighten historic house in Bankers Hill!

The historic Forward House in Bankers Hill is brightly lit with Christmas decorations once again! This amazing holiday display has become a tradition in San Diego!

The Forward House, located at the intersection of 1st Avenue and Ivy Street, was built in 1905 for John F. Forward Sr., who would become San Diego’s mayor from 1907 to 1909. The historic house is now home to American Security Mortgage.

I walked through Bankers Hill as night fell to see these fantastic Christmas lights. I wasn’t the only one snapping photos!

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!

Unusual tower of the Quartermass-Wilde House.

The historic 1896 Quartermass-Wilde House, located in Golden Hill overlooking downtown San Diego, is one of the most fantastic, palatial old houses in our city.

Should you walk by Broadway and 24th Street, you might notice that this Queen Anne-style Victorian mansion, with a Classical Revival influence, has a very unusual tower. The top of the tower is shaped like a dome!

Why?

Because Louis J. Wilde, Mayor of San Diego from 1917–1921, loved architect Irving Gill’s elegant 1910 Broadway Fountain so much that he had the tower of his mansion altered to resemble it!

Louis J. Wilde was a controversial mayor, banker, oil tycoon, developer and part owner of the US Grant Hotel. His donation of $10,000 helped to build the Broadway Fountain in Horton Plaza Park, directly across Broadway from the US Grant. (He was also responsible for changing the name of D Street to Broadway!)

I’ve read the cupola under the tower’s dome provides an amazing panoramic view of downtown San Diego!

The 1910 Broadway Fountain at Horton Plaza Park. The fountain, with its unique watery dome supported by classic Corinthian columns, was designed by architect Irving Gill.
The top of the tower of the historic 1896 Quartermass-Wilde House in Golden Hill was altered by Mayor Wilde years later to resemble the Broadway Fountain that he loved in downtown 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 photos for you to enjoy!

A walk down the Bessemer Path in Point Loma.

A surfer begins southwest down Point Loma’s Bessemer Path beside San Diego Bay.
A surfer begins southwest down Point Loma’s Bessemer Path beside San Diego Bay.

Yesterday I enjoyed a leisurely walk down the scenic Bessemer Path in Point Loma. The dirt trail follows the edge of San Diego Bay between Talbot Street and Qualtrough Street.

As other walkers and bicyclists passed me, I looked out at boats in the La Playa Anchorage behind Shelter Island, at people and dogs enjoying several small beaches, and the yards of handsome houses with a view of the water.

I took photos as I walked. I began at the northeast end of Bessemer Path near the San Diego Yacht Club and a bench with an historical marker, which I blogged about yesterday. If you want to see the marker and its plaque, which concerns an old Chinese village that was located here over a century ago, click this link.

When my feet finally reached the short pier of the La Playa Yacht Club, which extends into San Diego Bay at the southwest end of the Bessemer Path, I lowered my camera and enjoyed an easy return walk.

Someone rides along the path one beautiful summer day.
Someone rides along the path one beautiful summer day.

Looking out at boats in the La Playa Anchorage near the San Diego Yacht Club.
Looking out at boats in the La Playa Anchorage near the San Diego Yacht Club.

One of several small beaches along the Bessemer Path.
One of several small beaches along the Bessemer Path. I saw sailboats moving across the water.

I saw many bicyclists.
I saw many bicyclists.

The Conard-Arrington House built in 1949. This ranch style home, designed by Roy Drew, is City of San Diego Historical Landmark No. 460.
The Conard-Arrington House built in 1949. This ranch style home, designed by Roy Drew, is City of San Diego Historical Landmark No. 460.

Trees ahead.
Trees ahead.

Some shade near the end of the path.
Some shade near the end of the path.

A swing in a tree.
A swing in one tree.

A girl sits in a window in the tree.
A girl sits in a window in the tree.

A heron watches for small fish in the nearby water.
Beyond the trees, a heron watches for small fish in the water.

A fisherman in a yellow slicker sits on a rock in the ice plant.
And a fisherman in a yellow slicker sits on a rock in the ice plant.

The short pier of the modest La Playa Yacht Club. Beyond lie boats of the much larger Southwestern Yacht Club.
I’ve reached the short pier of the modest La Playa Yacht Club. Beyond lie boats of the much larger Southwestern Yacht Club.

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!

Many colorful birdhouses in Santee trees!

Look what I spied yesterday! As I walked along the San Diego River Trail in Santee, a bit west of Cuyamaca Street, I came upon two sycamore trees that were absolutely filled with small, very colorful birdhouses!

I noticed that names and dates were painted on the base of many houses. It appeared to me some were created in May of this year. Others were dated 2018. I don’t know whose fun project this was. If anyone knows, leave a comment!

The nest boxes–some are very tiny–have been very creatively designed and are like small works of art. I’m not sure whether any birds have used them. It does appear spiders like them! These wonderful little birdhouses dangle like ornaments from branches that are a few feet from the San Diego River Trail where many people walk and ride bikes.

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!

The history of downtown’s Victoria Square.

Have you ever wondered about those Victorian houses that stand together behind a fence near the corner of 2nd Avenue and Ash Street in downtown San Diego?

I walk by these colorful old houses frequently, but apart from seeing “Victoria Square” on a sign in front of one, for years I’ve known absolutely nothing about them. So I finally did a little research on the internet.

Victoria Square Vacation Homes is what they’re called now, but originally the houses together were known as Kiessig Corner. The handsome blue corner house, in the Italian Renaissance style, was built by Charles Keissig in 1894. Keissig was a Gold Rush-era immigrant from Germany who supposedly buried $20 gold pieces under the house in glass jars. The house directly adjacent to it on Ash Street was built in 1904-1906. A third, one-story house on Second Avenue (the yellow one you can see on the left in the next photo) was moved to the site from another location at about the same time. A fourth smaller building, which is difficult to see from the street, was originally a carriage house.

In 1976, the site was declared an historic property by the San Diego Historic Site Board, and the run-down romantic turn-of-the-century buildings were purchased by real estate development attorney Sandor Shapery. The houses were rehabilitated by Del Mar architect Paul Thoryk to be used commercially. Apparently years ago there was a restaurant in addition to offices, but my poor old brain cannot remember it. After 2008 the buildings were converted back to residential use.

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!

Architecture inspired by nature . . . and UFOs!

An exhibition of truly amazing architectural designs recently opened at the SDSU Downtown Gallery.

Radiant Architecture: The Visionary Work of Eugene Ray showcases the futuristic architectural concepts of an emeritus professor from San Diego State University, who taught Environmental Design from 1969 to 1996.

Those who have driven through La Jolla might have seen the fantastic house and studio he built at 1699 Nautilus Street. It’s commonly referred to as the Silver Ship. It was erected in 1978 with the help of Environmental Design students from SDSU.

It’s no surprise that many of Eugene Ray’s designs appear a bit like spaceships. His inspiration comes not only from simple, efficient, resilient forms found in nature, but from his life-changing sighting of a UFO in 1947 when he was a boy.

According to one sign I read, many of the innovative designs synthesized “Ray’s concepts of the synergy of color, light, and sound to create holistic, healing and energizing environments.” He also sought to create modular structures, which would be affordable and easily assembled.

I was told that his organic, biomorphic designs are so futuristic, unusual and brilliant that world-famous science fiction author Ray Bradbury at one time had plans to make a movie about Eugene Ray’s work.

Here are a few photos of the original drawings, prototypes, renderings and highly creative artwork currently on display. This very cool exhibition at the SDSU Downtown Gallery runs through October 6, 2019.

James A. Perry Residence - New Orleans, Louisiana, 1968.
James A. Perry Residence – New Orleans, Louisiana, 1968.

Aerodyne Sports House - 1984.
Aerodyne Sports House – 1984.

Nautilus Street Residence aka The Silver Ship - La Jolla, California, 1978.
Nautilus Street Residence aka The Silver Ship – La Jolla, California, 1978.

Blueprint of The Silver Ship, designed by Eugene Ray, located at 1699 Nautilus Street in La Jolla, California.
Blueprint of The Silver Ship, designed by Eugene Ray, located in La Jolla, California.

Pavilion for Holy Cross High School - New Orleans, Louisiana, 1967.
Pavilion for Holy Cross High School – New Orleans, Louisiana, 1967.

Untitled, Eugene Ray, 1969 (restored 2019). Acrylic and aluminum on canvas.
Untitled, Eugene Ray, 1969 (restored 2019). Acrylic and aluminum on canvas.

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!

Little Italy’s history, culture at Amici House.

Arriving at the historic Amici House, a cultural center in San Diego's downtown Little Italy neighborhood.
Approaching the historic Amici House, a cultural center in San Diego’s downtown Little Italy neighborhood.

In downtown San Diego’s beautiful Little Italy neighborhood, tucked among trees between Amici Park and the popular Little Italy Dog Park, one can find a small house that is named for friendship. It’s called Amici House.

A century ago the Amici House was home to the Giacalone family, who lived in Sicily before their arrival in San Diego in 1916. Antonio Giacalone and his wife, Josephine, became an integral part of the local Italian fishing community. Their modest Craftsman style house was originally located a few blocks to the west, near India Street. Last year the structure was moved to its present location at 250 W. Date Street, in order to make room for the new Piazza della Famiglia.

The historic home, now called the Amici House, has become a gathering place for the present-day community. Sheltered by graceful trees, its shady patio is the perfect place to relax, have a drink and chat with friends. Inside the house one can observe museum-like displays and learn about life in Little Italy, which was home to many immigrant fishermen back when San Diego was considered the tuna fishing capital of the world.

The Amici House is operated by The Convivio Society for Italian Humanities, a nonprofit organization that promotes Italian arts, culture and heritage in San Diego. The house with its intimate patio provides a unique venue for concerts and other entertainment. A variety of community activities such as outdoor movie screenings are often enjoyed in nearby Amici Park. The house can also be rented for private events.

I paid a visit on Saturday afternoon and took a few photos.

This grassy area in front of Amici House will soon be a venue for outdoor entertainment, with its own small stage.
This grassy area in front of Amici House will soon be a venue for outdoor entertainment, with its own small stage.

A group of people exits Amici House. I will be able to explore the place during a quiet moment on a Saturday afternoon.
A group of people exits Amici House. I will be able to explore the place during a quiet moment on a Saturday afternoon.

Steps lead up into the beautifully renovated Craftsman style Amici House.
Steps lead up into the small, renovated Craftsman style Amici House.

At the bottom of the front steps is a table with gifts. Caffè Convivio offers snacks and a few refreshing things to drink.
At the bottom of the front steps is a table with books and other gifts. Caffè Convivio offers snacks and a few refreshing things to drink.

Chairs and tables in front of Amici House provide a pleasant, shady place to relax on a sunny day.
Chairs and tables in front of Amici House provide a pleasant, shady place to relax on a sunny day.

This kinetic fish sculpture is popular with kids.
This kinetic fish sculpture is popular with kids.

After stepping into the small Amici House, I turned around and took a photo of old fishing artifacts above the door.
After stepping into the Amici House, I turned around and took a photo of old fishing artifacts above the door.

Photo into a large mirror on one wall provides a glimpse of the small museum-like interior.
Photo into a large mirror on one wall provides a glimpse of the small museum-like interior.

The walls inside the Amici House are full of historical photos and information concerning Little Italy, once center of a thriving tuna fishing industry.
The walls inside the Amici House are full of historical photos and information concerning Little Italy, once center of a thriving tuna fishing industry.

Posters, old photos and works of art with an Italian theme appear on all sides. I see Frank Sinatra.
Posters, old photos and works of art with an Italian theme appear on all sides. I see Frank Sinatra.

This small exhibition of art features work by sports fan and artist Christopher Paluso.
This small exhibition of art features work by sports fan and artist Christopher Paluso.

Examples of work by accomplished Italian American artist Christopher Paluso.
Examples of work by accomplished Italian American artist Christopher Paluso.

In a wooden cabinet I spied colorful gifts and crafts imported from Italy.
In a wooden cabinet I saw colorful glassware and crafts imported from Italy.

Painting of John D'Acquisto, Italian American baseball player who played four years with the San Diego Padres.
Painting of John D’Acquisto, Italian American baseball pitcher who played four years with the San Diego Padres.

Little Italy has a rich history, including many generations of families that still thrive in the community today.
Little Italy has a rich history, including many generations of families that still thrive in the community today.

I'm shown a rendering of a proposed, much larger cultural center that might be built by The Convivio Society elsewhere in Little Italy.
I’m shown a rendering of a proposed, much larger cultural center that might be built by The Convivio Society in the future.

Meanwhile, the Amici House is a repository of cherished memories for a lively and welcoming San Diego neighborhood.
Meanwhile, the Amici House holds (and produces) cherished memories for a lively San Diego neighborhood.

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!

House in Little Italy celebrates Thanksgiving!

This morning during my walk to the Little Italy trolley station I was drawn to a couple of newly painted houses on State Street.

As I got nearer I noticed a fun display on one porch that celebrates Thanksgiving!

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!

Two ways to thank those who served and sacrificed.

Today I learned of two ways to thank military heroes who sacrificed part or all of their life in service to country.

I was walking through the Mustang Club of San Diego’s outdoor car show, checking out some of the displays, when I paused to speak to individuals representing two non-profit organizations: Homes For Our Troops and Final Honor.

Homes For Our Troops builds specially adapted custom homes for severely injured post-9/11 Veterans, enabling them to rebuild their lives. The specially designed homes contain features that assist heroes who have multiple limb amputations, partial or full paralysis, and/or traumatic brain injury.

There are 100 severely injured Veterans awaiting entry into their program. To learn more and perhaps make a donation, click here.

Final Honor provides a complimentary horse-drawn funeral carriage at Miramar National Cemetery. The dignified carriage is available for any Veteran, regardless of rank, whose family would like to enhance the memorial service for their loved one at no cost.

This beautiful, completely free service is made possible through private donations. To learn more and perhaps provide a helping financial hand, click here.

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