The historic William Clayton House in Bankers Hill.

Those entering Balboa Park from Bankers Hill might notice this beautiful old house at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street. During my walks I’ve often wondered about it.

After doing a little research, I discovered it’s called the William Clayton House. It was designed in 1907 by San Diego’s first female architect, Hazel Wood Waterman.

Hazel Wood Waterman got her start as one of renowned architect Irving J. Gill’s two chief draftspeople. With a particular love for the Arts and Crafts style, she would eventually design a number of houses and buildings around San Diego. Her most famous work was the 1910 restoration of the Casa de Estudillo in Old Town, a commission that came from John D. Spreckels.

You can learn more about Hazel Wood Waterman here.

The William Clayton House barely avoided demolition almost thirty years ago. You can read about that here. Today it is San Diego Historic Landmark #270 and location of the Vista Balboa Crisis Center.

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 water saving demonstration landscape in La Mesa.

If you live in San Diego and love having a beautiful, lush garden in your yard, but also want to save water, there’s a fine demonstration landscape full of drought tolerant native plants, trees and flowers you can check out in La Mesa. The demonstration landscape can be found on two sides of the Helix Water District building at 7811 University Avenue.

I enjoyed looking at the demonstration garden last weekend and took photographs. According to a sign, water can be saved by not only planting vegetation native to the San Diego region, or well suited to our arid climate, but by installing a drip irrigation system under a layer of mulch to prevent evaporation. A smart irrigation controller can adjust watering times based on the weather.

Having such a WaterSmart landscape can help “beautiful plants and trees thrive on half, a third, or a fifth of the water a traditional lawn needs.”

If you can’t make it to La Mesa, go to the Helix Water Districts’ website and check out their Sustainable Landscape page here. You’ll find lots of great ideas, including numerous plants that you might 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!

Climbing the Secret Stairs in La Mesa!

Have you ever climbed the Secret Stairs in La Mesa?

If you have, it’s an experience you definitely remember!

I had often heard about the Secret Stairs, so I decided to finally go check them out last weekend.

The photographs you’re about to see involve climbing the stairs on the west side of Mount Nebo, from Windsor Drive/Canterbury Drive to Summit Drive. Which amounts to 245 steps, covering three blocks!

At the top I turned around and took a couple photos. You can see how high I had ascended–an elevation of 830 feet!

Here’s a City of La Mesa web page that describes the Secret Stairs and links to a map. There are additional stairs in the neighborhood that you might like to explore. You can also see them on Google Maps should you perform a search.

If you decide to go for a climb, make sure to be quiet because many residents live nearby.

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How to create a wildlife-friendly backyard!

I saw this great information on how to create a wildlife-friendly backyard and thought I’d share it! These four ideas were posted in a trailhead kiosk at Mission Trail Regional Park.

  1. Grow plants that provide wildlife with a natural food source such as nuts, berries or nectar, or add backyard feeders.
  2. Provide water for wildlife with a birdbath, small pond or shallow dish.
  3. Offer protective cover for wildlife by providing ground cover, a hollow log or rock piles, dense shrubs or a roosting box.
  4. Provide places for wildlife to raise their young, such as a water garden, pond or nesting box.

If you’d like to watch the birds and animals without them being spooked, or perhaps take close-up photographs, consider building a blind from which you can watch your wild visitors!

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 look at the Alfred Haines House in Golden Hill.

Yesterday my long walk included a stretch through Golden Hill. As I headed back down E Street, I enjoyed viewing the handsome exterior of the historic Alfred Haines House.

This renowned Craftsman-style home, built in 1908 for San Diego Judge Alfred Haines, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Master Architects William, Charles and Edward Quayle designed the house.

The Quayle Brothers are responsible for many other notable structures in San Diego, including the Neo-Classical style Salt Lake and Union Pacific Building, which used to stand east of the Organ Pavilion during the 1915 Panama‐California Exposition. They designed the North Park Theatre in 1928 and the San Diego Police Department in 1939. They also designed San Diego’s historic Balboa Stadium (originally called City Stadium) for the Panama-California Exposition. It was the second concrete stadium built west of the Mississippi River.

If you want to see photos of the Alfred Haines House’s very elegant interior, click here!

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!

Famous house from movie Top Gun is restored!

The famous Top Gun House, where Maverick ate dinner with Charlie in the popular 1980’s movie Top Gun, has been restored!

I passed the iconic house today during a long walk through Oceanside, and the beachfront cottage appears completely changed from a few years ago. When I last took a look at the Top Gun House, back in 2018, the color scheme and porch were quite different, as you can see in today’s photos and my old blog post here.

The beautiful little 1887 Queen Anne Cottage has been restored to its original appearance. Learn about the Graves House’s historical importance in Oceanside and see a photo of how it looked when built over a century ago by clicking here.

The house has not only been restored, but it has been relocated a short distance up North Pacific Street, to a spot in front of the newly built Oceanside Beach Resort, which is scheduled to open later this year.

The following photo is one that I took in August of 2018…

UPDATE!

When I walked past on Labor Day, 2021, the famous Top Gun House had been painted once again! This time the color scheme is lighter, and much more attractive in my opinion…

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 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!