Art museum to use new antiviral technology!

I learned of another improvement to Balboa Park this afternoon!

I was walking through the Plaza de Panama when I noticed several banners on a construction fence in front of the Timken Museum of Art.

One banner states the Timken will be the first museum in the world to install revolutionary antiviral and dehumidification technology. According to a museum web page, here, this new technology “originally engineered in conjunction with the United States Department of Defense” is considerably more effective at eliminating airborne pathogens than systems presently used in hospital operating rooms!

They hope to demonstrate this technology can be used in other museums, and for common everyday use. (Air that’s much safer than a hospital operating room? Sign me up!)

Other banners on the fence direct interested people to the Timken Museum of Art’s website, where they will find online educational experiences, including virtual tours and art tutorials, plus lots of other activities.

The museum, presently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is scheduled to reopen in Summer 2021 with this revolutionary antiviral system installed and ready to go!

If you’d like to learn a more about the Timken Museum of Art, you might enjoy viewing an old blog post here. It includes photographs and notes that I took during a special architectural tour of the Timken’s uniquely beautiful building.

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!

Monument in Otay Mesa to aviation pioneer Montgomery.

It seems few in San Diego know of the historically important hill in Otay Mesa West. From the top of this hill, which overlooks San Diego’s South Bay cities, aviation pioneer John J. Montgomery made the world’s first “controlled” winged glider flights in the late 19th century.

A monument to Montgomery’s achievements stands on the hilltop in the form of a vertical aircraft wing, erected in 1950. Words engraved on a black marble tablet near the wing include:

JOHN J. MONTGOMERY MADE MAN’S FIRST CONTROLLED WINGED FLIGHTS FROM THIS HILLTOP IN AUGUST 1883

HE OPENED FOR ALL MANKIND THE GREAT HIGHWAY OF THE SKY

Erected by the San Diego Junior Chamber of Commerce Montgomery Memorial Committee. Dedicated May 21, 1950

When I researched the early heavier-than-air flights of Montgomery, I noticed there’s a lot of debate about who in the world actually achieved various flying firsts. Some historians assert he made the world’s first “controlled” glider flights. Such as here. “Montgomery should be credited for the invention and demonstration of the 1st controlled glider flight, and patented hinged surfaces at the rear of the wing and a patent for the parabolic wing…

According to Wikipedia: “In the early 1880s Montgomery began studying the anatomy of a variety of large soaring birds to determine their basic characteristics, like wing area, total weight and curved surfaces. He made detailed observations of birds in flight, especially large soaring birds such as eagles, hawks, vultures and pelicans which soared on thermals near San Diego Bay…In the 1880s Montgomery…made manned flight experiments in a series of gliders in the United States in Otay Mesa near San Diego, California. Although not publicized in the 1880s, these early flights were first described by Montgomery as part of a lecture delivered at the International Conference on Aerial Navigation at Chicago, 1893. These independent advances came after gliding flights by European pioneers such as George Cayley’s coachman in England (1853) and Jean-Marie Le Bris in France (1856). Although Montgomery never claimed firsts, his gliding experiments of the 1880s are considered by some historians and organizations to have been the first controlled flights of a heavier-than-air flying machine in America or in the Western Hemisphere, depending on source.

Today, the Montgomery Memorial‘s 93-foot airplane wing juts vertically into the sky at Montgomery-Waller Community Park, which is located at the northeast corner of Coronado Avenue and Beyer Boulevard in Otay Mesa West. The silver wing is from a World War II Consolidated Aircraft B-32 Dominator heavy bomber. It’s an impressive albeit somewhat peculiar reminder of how aviation technology continues to progress.

Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in San Diego, one of the busiest airports in the United States for small aircraft, was once called Montgomery Field, named after the aviation pioneer.

When humans eventually land on Mars, and spread outward into the Solar System, it should be remembered that we made one of our first flights from a hilltop in 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.

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!

A Time Machine, and three fantastic dreams.

In downtown Vista, California, at the intersection of S. Indiana Avenue and E. Broadway, you’ll discover a Time Machine and three fantastic dreams.

Or perhaps I should say, you’ll discover four sculptures, one at each corner. I happened upon this very unique public art while walking today!

You might remember I took photos of other cool sculptures around downtown Vista a couple months ago. See them here.

After I finished that earlier walk, I learned to my chagrin that I’d missed a lot of other nearby artwork, so I returned!

(And I found even more amazing art during today’s adventure. So stay tuned!)

Time Machine, by Randall Art Ranch, 2017.
Time Machine, by Randall Art Ranch, 2017.

Shall we visit three dreams? Pull the lever to GO.
Shall we now visit three dreams? Pull the lever to GO.

Beacon, by artist Kellan Shanahan.
Beacon, by artist Kellan Shanahan.

Aeolian Butterfly, by artists David Terrell and Dave Weaver.
Aeolian Butterfly, by artists David Terrell and Dave Weaver.

Sea Life, by artist Noe Estrada.
Sea Life, by artist Noe Estrada.

What takes us back to the past are the memories. What brings us forward is our dreams.
What takes us back to the past are the memories. What brings us forward is our dreams.

Hop aboard and move forward.
Time to dream. Hop aboard, strap yourself in and forward we go!

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.

On The Map airport mural and aviation history.

Mural visible from Harbor Drive at San Diego International Airport.
Mural visible from Harbor Drive at San Diego International Airport.

Have you wondered about the large new colorful mural that was painted last year at San Diego International Airport? You know, that mural showing a guy in an old-fashioned hat holding a steering wheel, which is visible as you head up Harbor Drive?

The title of this impressive public art is On The Map, and it’s a tribute to the rich aviation history of San Diego. The design was created by Jari “WERC” Alvarez, the same artist who created the SAN mural at the same location in 2014. You can see a photo of that previous mural in one of my old blog posts here.

On The Map is the second of a three mural commission, and will be on display through 2022. The map-like artwork of Jari Alvarez incorporates images that pay tribute to San Diego aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss and early stunt pilot Lincoln Beachey. It also honors female flyers and engineers during the course of aviation history.

Early in the 20th century, before World War I, Glenn Curtiss operated a flying school on Coronado across San Diego Bay. His groundbreaking school was instrumental in making North Island the Birthplace of Naval Aviation.

Lincoln Beachey was a pioneer aviator and barnstormer, who broke world flying records and invented many daring aerial maneuvers. He was called by many The World’s Greatest Aviator.

You might remember that years ago the same building (now the administrative offices of the San Diego Airport Authority, once the commuter terminal) was home to a mural showing Charles Lindbergh holding a small model of his famous airplane Spirit of St. Louis. Before its historic 1927 transatlantic flight, the Spirit of St. Louis was built in San Diego by Ryan Airlines, near where the airport stands today.

San Diego’s deep links to aviation history are just another fascinating aspect of America’s Finest City!

On The Map, a tribute to the rich aviation history of San Diego, by muralist Jari “WERC” Alvarez.
On The Map, a tribute to the rich aviation history of San Diego, by muralist Jari “WERC” Alvarez.

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!

Amazing chromatic ceramics dazzle the eye!

Check out the latest exhibition at Balboa Park’s always amazing Japanese Friendship Garden!

The Chromatic Ceramic Collection: John Conrad features unique ceramic creations whose shining colors dance and change depending on the angle from which they are viewed!

These refractive pieces, which include patterned discs and vases in different shapes, have to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. As you move about the garden’s Exhibit Hall, you seem to the find the end of many rainbows.

According to the Japanese Friendship Garden’s website: “Culminating over 60 years of research and experiments, artist John Conrad developed the spectacular finish that is seen on the Chromatic Collection…The chromatic finish is a combination of metallic flake and silica, which is then adhered onto porcelain using modern plasma technology…”

I was struck during my visit on Sunday how these brilliant ceramics resemble in many respects the holographic paintings of Tom Liguori, another local innovator whose work can be seen here.

I’ve included photographs of a few radiant discs to provide an idea of what you’ll experience. The vases, if anything, are even more beautiful.

Visionary artists continue to find new ways to express and combine form, light and color. It seems the potential for beauty is infinite.

The Chromatic Ceramic Collection: John Conrad can be viewed through April 26, 2020 at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

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!

Amazing life-size cardboard superhero sculptures!

Wow!

Did you step inside the Comic-Con Museum during 2019 December Nights? If you did, you saw an exhibit that was absolutely amazing!

Young artists Connor and Bauer Lee have created fantastic life-size cardboard sculptures of popular Marvel and DC superheroes, plus various Pixar and Star Wars movie characters!

I believe I recognized: Groot, Black Manta holding a mace, a tiny X-wing starfighter, Wall-E, a gigantic Hulkbuster armor (under construction), Thor’s Stormbreaker hammer, Iron Man, C-3PO, R2-D2, Baby Groot, Wonder Woman, plus other fantastic creations including several superhero masks.

The two brothers have been building these cardboard models for many years. I spoke to Connor briefly and he explained that they select an image of a popular character, blow it up, then begin to craft the sculpture based on that initial design. I asked how long it might take to finish the enormous, extremely complex Hulkbuster armor sculpture you see in my photos, and he said about a year.

According to the Cardboard Superheroes website: We hold free workshops for kids in an effort to promote the arts for youth as we’ve see funding for the arts being cut in school and are working to provide an alternative that is free and fun for kids.

That’s definitely a super cool and inspirational project! I’m sure young students everywhere would love to be creative and make their favorite characters with simple cardboard!

I hope local schools take advantage of what appears to be an awesome opportunity. For more info, you can contact Cardboard Superheroes at their website 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!

Positive messages observed during one walk.

Long Live the Creatives.
Long Live the Creatives.

During my early morning walk through Little Italy, I observed all sorts of positive messages–in windows, on tiles, on banners and signs. Many of these messages concern creativity, one of my favorite topics!

To lovers of beer, one of the following photos contains a VERY positive message!

Creativity in one window.
Creativity in a window.

Little Italy San Diego Celebrates Italian Heritage Month and the contributions Italians have made to the world.
Little Italy San Diego Celebrates Italian Heritage Month and the contributions Italians have made to the world.

Candido Jacuzzi, inventor.
Candido Jacuzzi, inventor.

Our destiny is together I pray you so select. Let's find the strength for the family we do protect.
Our destiny is together I pray you so select. Let’s find the strength for the family we do protect.

TRUCKLOAD OF BEER.
TRUCKLOAD OF BEER.

I am bright-eyed. I am connected. I am love...
I am bright-eyed. I am connected. I am love…

What's Your Love Story-
What’s Your Love Story?

Lux, Veritas . . . Light, Truth.
Lux, Veritas . . . Light, Truth.

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!

VEND-o-MATIC supplies Faith, Hope, Peace, Love.

An unusual VEND-o-MATIC vending machine on El Cajon Boulevard near 52nd Street dispenses Faith, Hope, Peace and Love. Place your hand where indicated, make the selection of your choice by pressing a button, and the goodness is beamed directly through your arm into your heart.

From the way the paint has aged, I guess this VEND-o-MATIC has probably seen a great deal of use.

You can never have too much of good things.

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!

Strange, bizarre cars of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Strange, bizarre vehicles are displayed by Ripley's Believe It or Not in the Interactive Zone at Petco Park during 2019 San Diego Comic-Con!
Strange, bizarre vehicles are displayed by Ripley’s Believe It or Not in the Interactive Zone at Petco Park during 2019 San Diego Comic-Con!

Ripley’s Believe It or Not has a really great display at 2019 San Diego Comic-Con. A bunch of strange, bizarre cars can be viewed in the Interactive Zone at Petco Park in Ripley’s fun Car Lot!

It’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not’s very first time exhibiting at Comic-Con, and I hope they return in future years! I was told they have numerous very odd vehicles in their museums around the country, and even more in storage at their Orlando warehouse.

Check out these photos!

The Peel P-50 is the smallest assembly-line manufactured road-legal car ever. It's 54 inches long and goes 15 mph!
The Peel P-50 is the smallest assembly-line manufactured road-legal car ever. It’s 54 inches long and goes 15 mph!

A Mercedes Benz and fire truck coffin. Fantasy coffins are often used by the Ga people of Ghana, Africa to reflect the occupation or status of the deceased.
A Mercedes Benz and fire truck coffin. Fantasy coffins are often used by the Ga people of Ghana, Africa to reflect the occupation or status of the deceased.

A look inside the Fire Truck Fantasy Coffin.
A look inside the Fire Truck Fantasy Coffin.

This amazing, functioning Austin Mini is covered with over 10,000 Canadian pennies, each plated with 24 karat gold!
This amazing, functioning Austin Mini is covered with over 10,000 Canadian pennies, each plated with 24 karat gold!

A full-size working replica of Luke Skywalker's X-34 Landspeeder!
A full-size working replica of Luke Skywalker’s X-34 Landspeeder!

This replica of a Hummer H-3 is covered with over 39,000 lottery tickets!
This replica of a Hummer H-3 is covered with over 39,000 lottery tickets!

A closer look at the Lottery Ticket Hummer.
A closer look at the Lottery Ticket Hummer.

Bad to the Bone is a one-of-a-kind motorcycle made of animal bones from dead cows and road kill.
Bad to the Bone is a one-of-a-kind model of a motorcycle made of animal bones from dead cows and road kill.

A wood-carved Ferrari F-50 took five months to create for Venice's annual Lenten carnival.
A wood-carved Ferrari F-50 took five months to create for Venice’s annual Lenten carnival.

This cool Wooden Ferrari also functions as a boat!
This cool Wooden Ferrari also functions as a boat!

The bizarre High Heel Car has a dragster-style frame in the shape of a large high heel shoe!
The bizarre High Heel Car has a dragster-style frame in the shape of a large high heel shoe!

The Spirit of LeMons was built with a Cessna 310 fuselage!
The Spirit of LeMons was built with a Cessna 310 fuselage!

Photo of the airplane cockpit where the driver operates Spirit of LeMons.
Photo of the airplane cockpit where the driver operates Spirit of LeMons.

Another look at the Spirit of LeMons!
Another look at the Spirit of LeMons!

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!