Sculptures by James Hubbell at Mission San Diego.

During my first visit to Mission San Diego de Alcalá over seven years ago, I took a self-guided tour and snapped a variety of photographs, which you can see here. I also provided a very brief overview of the mission.

At the time, I didn’t realize many of sculptures inside and outside of San Diego’s historic Spanish mission were created (beginning in 1974) by renowned local artist James T. Hubbell, whose beautiful work can be seen all over the city. (If you’d like to see more photos of his public sculptures, click here to check out several old blog posts.)

During a recent walk along San Diego Mission Road, I decided to head up the short mission driveway to take a closer look at some of the outdoor sculptures. James Hubbell produced a total of twenty sculptures for the mission, and I photographed the following ten.

The first nine sculptures stand in niches along the front portico of Mission San Diego de Alcalá. They represent the nine Spanish missions that were founded in California by Franciscan friar Junípero Serra.

I then photographed the sculpture of Saint Junípero Serra that stands beside a large cross in front of the mission’s iconic facade.

Should you visit the mission yourself, make sure to obtain a handout in the gift shop concerning the James Hubbell Collection at Mission San Diego de Alcalá. You can read a more detailed description of each piece. The literature refers to spirituality in art, and states that the earthy clay figures are meant to convey each Saint’s humanity.

Along the front portico of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, sculptures in niches represent the nine Spanish missions in California founded by Junípero Serra.
Along the front portico of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, sculptures in niches represent the nine Spanish missions in California founded by Junípero Serra.
Plaque near the portico sculptures: In memory of W. George Hubbard, Sr. A builder of conviction who made every day a better day.
Plaque in the wall near the portico sculptures: In memory of W. George Hubbard, Sr. A builder of conviction who made every day a better day.
San Buenaventura.
San Buenaventura.
Mission San Buenaventura 1782.
Mission San Buenaventura 1782.
Santa Clara de Asís.
Santa Clara de Asís.
Mission Santa Clara de Asís 1777.
Mission Santa Clara de Asís 1777.
San Juan Capistrano.
San Juan Capistrano.
Mission San Juan Capistrano 1776.
Mission San Juan Capistrano 1776.
San Francisco de Asís.
San Francisco de Asís.
Mission San Francisco de Asís 1776.
Mission San Francisco de Asís 1776.
San Luis Obispo.
San Luis Obispo.
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa 1772.
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa 1772.
San Gabriel Arcángel.
San Gabriel Arcángel.
Mission San Gabriel Arcángel 1771.
Mission San Gabriel Arcángel 1771.
San Antonio de Padua.
San Antonio de Padua.
Mission San Antonio de Padua 1771.
Mission San Antonio de Padua 1771.
San Carlos Borromeo.
San Carlos Borromeo.
Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo 1770.
Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo 1770.
San Diego de Alcalá.
San Diego de Alcalá.
Mission San Diego de Alcalá 1769.
Mission San Diego de Alcalá 1769.
Sculpture of Fray Junípero Serra in front of the Mission San Diego de Alcalá facade.
Sculpture of Fray Junípero Serra in front of the Mission San Diego de Alcalá facade.

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More discoveries on historic Presidio Hill.

Last weekend I walked all over Presidio Park. Looking around, I noticed several historical plaques, benches and signs on Presidio Hill that I hadn’t seen or observed closely before.

After wandering around Inspiration Point and taking in the view of Mission Valley here, and checking out the park’s little known monument to a White Deer here, I headed down one of the park’s canyon trails and soon arrived at the expanse of grass enclosed by Cosoy Way, where families were picnicking on the green slope above a bench…

The inscription on the bench reads:

THIS MEMORIAL TO

TOMMY GETZ

PLACED HERE BY HIS FRIENDS. JULY. 1935.

After taking a few photos, I crossed Presidio Drive and climbed the short distance to the site of old Fort Stockton, where I looked again at the historical markers and public artwork that I once photographed here and here.

Then I began down Presidio Hill toward the site of the centuries-old, long-vanished Spanish presidio, the “birthplace” of California.

As I slowly wound between trees I came upon the following bench, and a small nearby plaque…

The plaque reads:

DEDICATED IN MEMORY OF

FATHER FRANCISCO PALOU

BIOGRAPHER OF FR. SERRA

BY SAN DIEGO PARLOR 208

N.D.G.W. JULY 13, 1929.

(A little research reveals N.D.G.W. means Native Daughters of the Golden West, and their Parlor 208 represents San Diego County.)

A little farther down I found two more plaques by two trees. Sadly, the second tree and its plaque had been vandalized with red spray paint…

CONGRESSMAN JIM BATES

SAN DIEGO

CITY BEAUTIFUL OF SAN DIEGO

TRUTH- BEAUTY- FELLOWMAN

MARCH 30, 1984

IN HONOR OF

MARY VAUGHN

APRIL 20, 1987

LIFE MEMBER

CITY BEAUTIFUL SAN DIEGO

TRUTH – BEAUTY – FELLOWMAN

When I arrived at the old observation structure in a corner of the parking lot below the Junipero Serra Museum, I discovered a plaque on the ground that I hadn’t seen before. To read the larger plaque affixed to the wall, you can click here.

1782 SYLVESTER PATTIE 1828

UNITED STATES

DAUGHTERS OF 1812

SAN DIEGO CHAPTER – APRIL 1992

Then I walked down to the grassy area where San Diego’s 1769 presidio and original mission stood. You can learn more about the big Padre Cross here.

The above tiles I believe were part of the old Presidio and its chapel, whose ruins are now covered by grassy mounds.

This nearby sign explains how this was the site of the Royal Presidio de San Diego during the time of Spanish settlement during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It was the first permanent European settlement in what is today the State of California.

Grassy mounds now cover what remains of the Presidio ruins.

Finally, I gazed across Presidio Drive at The Indian, a sculpture by renowned artist Arthur Putnam. Learn more and see a closer photo here!

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Historical markers at entrance to Presidio Park.

Several historical markers can be found near the northwest entrance to Presidio Park. If you’ve ever driven along Taylor Street just past Morena Boulevard and the Presidio Recreation Center, you might’ve glimpsed them. They stand beside a sidewalk that comes to an abrupt end, in a place where almost nobody walks.

The three markers were placed years ago near three sites of historical importance: the Serra Palm, Derby Dike, and the La Playa Trail.

I’ve transcribed the words on each plaque.

I was told by a park ranger who happened to be parked nearby that the Serra Palm is long gone. He said it was probably blown over in a windstorm, and pointed out a pine tree that was toppled by our most recent storms.

The Serra Palm was planted in 1769 by Padre Junípero Serra, and marked the beginning of El Camino Real.

I’ve photographed a similar La Playa Trail marker near Mission San Diego de Alcalá. To view that photo, click here.

According to Wikipedia: “In 1934, six commemorative terra cotta plaques were placed along the length of the trail by the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and other groups, based on a relief designed by sculptor Rose M. Hanks. The original six were located at Mission San Diego de Alcala; at the foot of Presidio Hill in Old Town; near the intersection of Rosecrans St. and Midway Blvd. in the Midway area; at the corner of Rosecrans and Lytton streets in Loma Portal, across from the Naval Training Center San Diego golf course; at the corner of Rosecrans and Byron streets in Roseville; and at the site of the fuel depot at Naval Base Point Loma…”

SERRA PALM

TRADITIONALLY THE EARLIEST PLANTED TREE IN
CALIFORNIA. DIRECTLY IN THE REAR, BENEATH
THE BROW OF THE HILL, LIE THE DEAD OF THE
SACRED EXPEDITION OF 1769, BURIAL PLACE OF
OUR FIRST UNKNOWN SOLDIERS.
STATE REGISTERED LANDMARK NO. 67
MARKER PLACED BY CALIFORNIA CENTENNIALS COMMISSION
IN COOPERATION WITH
SAN DIEGO COUNTY HISTORICAL MARKERS COMMITTEE
DEDICATED SEPTEMBER 2, 1950

DERBY DIKE

UNTIL 1853 THE ERRATIC SAN DIEGO RIVER DUMPED TONS
OF DEBRIS INTO THE HARBOR OR POURED INTO FALSE
BAY, NOW MISSION BAY. AT TIMES IT THREATENED TO DE-
STROY OLD TOWN SAN DIEGO. LIEUTENANT GEORGE
HORATIO DERBY, U.S. TOPOGRAPHICAL CORPS, BUILT A
DIKE THAT DIVERTED THE WATERS INTO FALSE BAY. THIS
WAS THE FIRST EFFORT TO TAME THE RIVER, AND ONE
OF THE FIRST U.S. GOVERNMENT PROJECTS IN CALIFOR-
NIA. THE RIVER WAS NOT FULLY HARNESSED UNTIL THE 1950s.
CALIFORNIA REGISTERED HISTORICAL LANDMARK NO. 244
FIRST REGISTERED JUNE 10, 1936. PLAQUE PLACED BY THE
STATE DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION IN CO-
OPERATION WITH THE SAN DIEGO DEPARTMENT OF PARKS
AND RECREATION AND SQUIBOB CHAPTER, E CLAMPUS
VITUS, AUGUST 4, 1990.

LA PLAYA TRAIL
JEDEDIAH STRONG SMITH
PATHFINDER OF THE SIERRAS
HERE COMPLETED THE FIRST TRAIL FROM
THE ATLANTIC TO THE PACIFIC JAN. 1827
ERECTED BY
SAN DIEGO CHAPTER D.A.R. 1937

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!

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Colorful photos of Founders Day in Old Town.

Representatives of many communities come together during Old Town San Diego's Founders Day to celebrate our city's diverse history.
Representatives of many communities come together during Old Town San Diego’s Founders Day to celebrate our city’s diverse history.

Founders Day is being celebrated in Old Town this weekend. The unique Old Town San Diego Chamber of Commerce event, which is inspired by our city’s 250th anniversary, is being held along San Diego Avenue, just south of the State Park.

I walked around at noontime today and took photos!

The colorful Founders Day festival will continue tomorrow. There will be street vendors and music and dancing and a whole lot of history to experience. If you can, head to Old Town San Diego and check it out!

San Diego Avenue was full of color and activity during my walk on the Saturday of Founders Day weekend.
San Diego Avenue was full of color and activity during my walk on the Saturday of Founders Day weekend.

A banner on an Old Town lamp post remembers the year 1769, when Junípero Serra founded a Spanish mission in San Diego.
A banner on an Old Town lamp post remembers the year 1769, when Junípero Serra founded a Spanish mission in San Diego.

This musician smiled for a blogger who happened to walk by.
This musician smiled for a blogger who happened to walk by.

The San Diego Model A Ford Club had lots of vintage cars on display during the event.
The San Diego Model A Ford Club had lots of vintage cars on display during the event.

Root beer floats could be enjoyed at this outdoor Western saloon!
Root beer floats could be enjoyed at this outdoor Western saloon!

The San Diego History Center had a display detailing important moments in San Diego's 250 year history.
The San Diego History Center had a display detailing important moments in San Diego’s 250 year history.

Early people, events and developments in San Diego's history include the native Kumeyaay, the Spanish arrival, and the establishment of Mission San Diego de Alcalá in 1769.
Early people, events and developments in San Diego’s history include the native Kumeyaay, the Spanish arrival, and the establishment of Mission San Diego de Alcalá in 1769.

Frontier musicians play banjo, guitar and washboard.
Frontier musicians play banjo, guitar and washboard.

Historical reenactors from Old Town's African Latin Museum participated in Founders Day.
Historical reenactors from Old Town’s African Latin Museum participated in Founders Day.

SDSU Archaeology had a table near the Whaley House Museum.
SDSU Archaeology had a table near the Whaley House Museum.

San Diego State University Archaeology students once excavated behind the Whaley House, and found many interesting artifacts.
San Diego State University Archaeology students once excavated behind the Whaley House, and found many interesting artifacts.

Uncovered artifacts included bottles and various household items common in early San Diego.
Uncovered artifacts included bottles and various household items common in early San Diego.

Write Out Loud had their Poe and Twain puppets roaming about during the cool event!
Write Out Loud had their Poe and Twain puppets roaming about during the cool event!

Many people come together during Founders Day to celebrate our city's complex and fascinating 250 years of history.
Diverse people come together during Founders Day to celebrate our city’s complex and uniquely fascinating 250 years of history. During the opening ceremony, words of optimism were expressed for the future!

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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Revisiting history on San Diego’s 250th Anniversary.

An event of great historical importance is scheduled for this evening.

At five o’clock, on Presidio Hill near the Serra Museum, a ceremony will be held to mark the 250th Anniversary of San Diego. I plan to be there.

To remember the birth of our city (which began precisely where the above photo was taken), I’ve decided to revisit that history and provide links to various past blog posts.

If you plan to attend today’s event, there’s a trail to the top of Presidio Hill that starts near the small golf course east of Old Town. Today my feet will again follow that path.

The following photo of a display inside the Serra Museum shows the location of the original Spanish presidio, now a ruin hidden beneath grassy mounds.

The following blog posts contain a great deal of information about San Diego’s early history.

Here are the links:

Walk from Old Town to the San Diego Presidio.

Photos of historical plaques on Presidio Hill.

Photos of The Padre sculpture in Presidio Park.

San Diego’s early history at the Serra Museum.

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!

Banner celebrates San Diego’s 250th Anniversary!

Huge banner on sail of Star of India celebrates the 250th Anniversary of San Diego!
Huge banner on sail of Star of India celebrates the 250th Anniversary of San Diego!

The City of San Diego has placed an enormous banner on a sail of the historic tall ship Star of India. Its bold message can be seen from many spots downtown. The banner celebrates San Diego’s 250th Anniversary!

In 1769, on the hill that overlooks what would eventually become Old Town, Spain began its settlement of the region by building El Presidio Reál de San Diego. Attached to the fort, the original Mission San Diego de Alcalá was established by Junípero Serra in the same year.

Back then the land was wide open and mostly wilderness. The mountains, hills, rivers and coast were home to the Native American Kumeyaay. European settlement brought about an abrupt change in the region’s history. For better or worse, 250 years later San Diego is quite a bit different!

What will San Diego look like in another 250 years? As our civilization evolves, and as technological breakthroughs accelerate, can anyone possibly imagine?

Together we sail into the future!

SAN DIEGO 250 - EST. 1769 - WHERE CALIFORNIA BEGAN
SAN DIEGO 250 – EST. 1769 – WHERE CALIFORNIA BEGAN

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!

San Diego’s 250th Anniversary coming in 2019!

Close photo of bowed head of The Padre on Presidio Hill.
Arthur Putnam’s sculpture The Padre on Presidio Hill.

If one considers San Diego’s founding to have occurred in 1769, the year both Mission San Diego de Alcalá and the El Presidio Reál de San Diego were established on Presidio Hill, then 2019 will be our city’s 250th Anniversary!

That’s no small thing! One would suppose that huge celebrations are being planned!

Well, when I perform an internet search, I can find no plans for celebrations mentioned, apart from Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá’s announced church events, and a Founders’ Day Festival in Old Town.

It’s hard to believe, but I find almost no discussion of the city’s upcoming 250 year anniversary.

Unfortunately, as many of you might remember, the occasion of Balboa Park’s Centennial in 2015 was not celebrated with the fanfare that would have been appropriate.

I do hope that behind the scenes serious plans are being made for the appropriate celebration of San Diego’s 250th birthday! Or that plans will be made!

Just a thought from a silly blogger who loves San Diego!

UPDATE!

The City of San Diego has placed a huge 250th Anniversary banner on a sail of Star of India. You can see photos here!

UPDATE!

The City of San Diego has created a website dedicated to its 250th Anniversary. It lists several events that commemorate this special year. Visit the website here!

UPDATE!

In May, 2019, I noticed San Diego 250 banners have appeared along streets all over downtown!

IMG_5747z

UPDATE!

On July 1, 2019, a gigantic 250th anniversary banner appeared on the County Administration Building.

It celebrates the fact that San Diego was California’s first port and first city! I posted several photos of the banner here!

Photos of The Padre sculpture in Presidio Park.

The Padre, by Arthur Putnam, 1908. The public artwork stands on a patch of grass among trees on Presidio Hill.
The Padre, by Arthur Putnam, 1908. The public artwork stands on a patch of grass among trees on Presidio Hill.

Walk up to the top of Presidio Park from Old Town and you’ll discover a variety of fascinating, historical sights. Possibly the most amazing, apart from the impressive Serra Museum building, are two extraordinary bronze sculptures, The Indian and The Padre, by renowned sculptor Arthur Putnam.

The Padre was cast in 1908. The figure of a Spanish friar stands in a small, quiet space among trees, not far from the spot where Junípero Serra founded Mission San Diego de Alcalá in 1769, which began as a temporary church at the Spanish presidio. Five years later the mission would be moved a few miles east up the San Diego River to its present location.

Here are photos of The Padre which show the sculpture’s quiet beauty.

The Padre stands alone in a green, gentle place.
The Padre stands alone in a green, gentle place.

A Spanish friar seems to walk out of San Diego's very early history.
A Spanish friar seems to walk out of San Diego’s very early history.

The Padre by Arthur Putnam. Given to San Diego Historical Society by the descendants of E.W. Scripps.
The Padre by Arthur Putnam. Given to San Diego Historical Society by the descendants of E.W. Scripps.

Markings at the sculpture's base indicated it was cast by Louis de Rome's bronze foundry in San Francisco, the city where Arthur Putnam lived for many years.
Markings at the sculpture’s base indicated it was cast by Louis de Rome’s bronze foundry in San Francisco, the city where Arthur Putnam lived for many years.

A quiet bronze statue among trees near San Diego's now ruined and vanished Presidio.
A quiet bronze statue among trees near San Diego’s now ruined and vanished Presidio.

A spider's web and small fallen leaves above folded hands.
A spider’s web and small fallen leaves above folded hands.

The Padre seems to be lost in prayer or silent contemplation.
The Padre seems to be lost in prayer or silent contemplation.

Close photo of bowed head of The Padre on Presidio Hill.
Close photo of bowed head of The Padre on Presidio Hill.

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!

Photos of historical plaques on Presidio Hill.

View of the Serra Museum through trees atop Presidio Hill, near the spot where European civilization first took root in California in 1769.
View of the Serra Museum through trees atop Presidio Hill, near the spot where European civilization first took root in California in 1769.

A few years ago I walked from Old Town San Diego up to the top of Presidio Hill and wrote a simple blog about what I saw. You can revisit that post here.

What I failed to do at the time was photograph many of the historically important plaques that can be found around various sites and monuments, so I thought it would be proper to finally correct that omission.

I’ve included one informative sign which stands near the ruins of the old Spanish presidio’s chapel, and a variety of plaques. One of the plaques is at the base of the Padre Cross; two are near The Padre sculpture; one is on an observation structure near the Junipero Serra Museum parking lot; and several others are found at Fort Stockton, where the Mormon Battalion camped after their 2000-mile march from Iowa to San Diego.

Click the photos and they will enlarge for easier reading.

Sign marks the Old Presidio Historic Trail. Grassy mounds on the hill below the Serra Museum are the ruins of the old presidio chapel.
Sign marks the Old Presidio Historic Trail. Grassy mounds on the hill below the Serra Museum are the ruins of the old presidio chapel. It was built for the garrison’s soldiers after the original Spanish mission was relocated up the valley.

A large cross marks the location of the first Spanish mission in Alta California, established by Junipero Serra.
The large Padre Cross, made in 1913 of tiles from the Presidio ruins, marks the location of the first Spanish mission in Alta California, established in 1769 by Junipero Serra.

Plaque at base of cross remembers the Indian village of Cosoy, named San Miguel by Cabrillo in 1542, then San Diego de Alcala by Vizcaino in 1602.
Plaque at base of the Padre Cross remembers the Indian village of Cosoy, named San Miguel by Cabrillo in 1542, then San Diego de Alcala by Vizcaino in 1602.

Near the Padre Cross, a plaque covers a time capsule that was created two centuries after the establishment of Mission San Diego de Alcala. It is to be opened on July 16, 2069.
Between the Padre Cross and The Padre sculpture, a plaque covers a time capsule that was created two centuries after the establishment of Mission San Diego de Alcala. It is to be opened on July 16, 2069.

A plaque behind The Padre sculpture, placed on December 29, 1981 by the Presidio Hill Society Children of the American Revolution.
A plaque in the ground behind The Padre sculpture, placed on December 29, 1981 by the Presidio Hill Society Children of the American Revolution.

Photo taken behind The Padre on Presidio Hill. The 1908 bronze sculpture is by Arthur Putnam.
Photo taken behind The Padre on Presidio Hill. The 1908 bronze sculpture is by Arthur Putnam.

A plaque can be seen on the observation structure near one corner of the Serra Museum parking lot.
A plaque can be seen on the observation structure near one corner of the Serra Museum parking lot.

The plaque begins: Sylvester Pattie, pathfinder, leader of the first party of Americans into Alta California over Southern trails. Arrived at San Diego Presidio March 27, 1828.
The plaque begins: Sylvester Pattie, pathfinder, leader of the first party of Americans into Alta California over Southern trails. Arrived at San Diego Presidio March 27, 1828.

Mural at Fort Stockton depicts the long march of the Mormon Battalion.
Mural at Fort Stockton depicts the long march of the Mormon Battalion.

California Historical Landmark plaque at Fort Stockton. The top of Presidio Hill was fortified by Carlos Carrillo in 1838. From July to November 1846 the fortification was called Fort Dupont when American forces temporarily held Old Town.
California Historical Landmark plaque at Fort Stockton. The top of Presidio Hill was first fortified by Carlos Carrillo in 1838. From July to November 1846 the site was called Fort Dupont when American forces temporarily held Old Town.

 

Plaque by mural, commemorating the heroic sacrifice and history-making achievements of the Mormon Battalion.
Plaque by mural, commemorating the heroic sacrifice and history-making achievements of the Mormon Battalion.

More plaques nearby explain the history of the Mormon Battalion, which blazed the first wagon trail to the Pacific over the southern route.
More plaques nearby explain the history of the Mormon Battalion, which blazed the first wagon trail to the Pacific over the southern route.

Members of the Mormon Battalion worked to improve San Diego by making the first kiln in California, the first pumps to draw water, and the first blacksmith shop and bakery.
Members of the Mormon Battalion worked to improve San Diego by making the first kiln in California, the first pumps to draw water, and the first blacksmith shop and bakery.

The two plaques depicted above are near the Mormon Battalion Monument, a bronze sculpture by Edward J. Fraughton.
The two plaques described above can be found near the Mormon Battalion Monument, a bronze sculpture created by Edward J. Fraughton.

Another nearby plaque explains the history of the sculpture. It was a gift to the City of San Diego in 1969 by the National Society of the Sons of Utah Pioneers.
Another nearby plaque explains the history of the statue. It was a gift to the City of San Diego in 1969 by the National Society of the Sons of Utah Pioneers.

A plaque by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers also stands at the site of old Fort Stockton.
A plaque by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers also stands at the site of old Fort Stockton.

Women of the Mormon Battalion. Almost eighty women and children accompanied the soldiers during the long march. Four wives traveled the entire distance to San Diego.
Women of the Mormon Battalion. Almost eighty women and children accompanied the soldiers during the long march. Four wives traveled the entire distance to San Diego.

Flags of the United States, Spain and Mexico fly atop Presidio Hill, birthplace of California. Here many chapters of history are remembered.
Flags of the United States, Spain and Mexico fly atop Presidio Hill, birthplace of California. Here many chapters of history are remembered.

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 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.

History is made–and remembered–at Horton Plaza Park!

The new Horton Plaza Park in downtown San Diego makes history in 2016, just over a century after this important civic gathering place originated.
The new Horton Plaza Park in downtown San Diego makes history in 2016, just over a century after this important civic gathering place originated.

Early this morning I enjoyed a bit of history. During my walk, I paused to check out downtown San Diego’s brand new Horton Plaza Park!

The new park, located in the heart of our city, is just as fantastic as I anticipated. It contains cool public artwork, garden-like beauty, and loads of great modern features. But what I appreciated most, as I strolled through the park this morning, was its tangible sense of history.

Horton Plaza Park not only highlights the iconic Broadway Fountain, a true San Diego landmark, but preserves a number of fascinating historical markers and plaques that remember aspects of our city’s unique history.

Please read the photo captions, where I provide more information. I’ve also included three photographs taken about a week before the park opened, as last-minute preparations were being made.

People walk near west entrance of a greatly enlarged Horton Plaza Park the morning after its grand opening celebration. Historically the small city park was simply called Horton Plaza.
People walk near west entrance of a greatly enlarged Horton Plaza Park the morning after its grand opening celebration. Historically the small city park was simply called Horton Plaza. (When people say “Horton Plaza” today, they are usually referring to the popular shopping mall located directly to the south.)

About a week before the grand opening of the new Horton Plaza Park, many workers were applying the final touches.
About a week before the grand opening of the new Horton Plaza Park, many workers were applying the final touches.

The historic 1910 Broadway Fountain, designed by Irving Gill, is prepared for the amazing new Horton Plaza Park's grand opening.
The historic 1910 Broadway Fountain, designed by Irving Gill, is being renovated about a week before the amazing new Horton Plaza Park’s grand opening.

The modern, expansive Horton Plaza Park is a fantastic addition to downtown San Diego, but its creation took many years of planning and hard work. Another photo about a week prior to the grand opening.
The modern, expansive Horton Plaza Park is a fantastic addition to downtown San Diego, but its creation took many years of planning and hard work. One last photo that was taken about a week prior to the grand opening.

A tile walkway along the north edge of Horton Plaza Park preserves a century of history in San Diego.
The morning after the park’s grand opening.  A tile walkway along the north edge of Horton Plaza Park preserves a century of history in San Diego.

One plaque at the north entrance to the park dated 1985. It was laid down to mark the constantly evolving Horton Plaza's 75th anniversary.
One plaque, dated 1985, in the walkway at the north entrance to the park. It was laid down to mark Horton Plaza’s 75th anniversary.

San Diego's iconic Broadway Fountain, with the equally famous U.S. Grant Hotel in the background. The hotel was built by the son of Ulysses S. Grant and opened in 1910.
San Diego’s iconic Broadway Fountain, with the equally famous U.S. Grant Hotel in the background. The hotel was built by the son of President Ulysses S. Grant and opened in 1910.

One of four plaques near base of the Broadway Fountain. It reads Presented to The City of San Diego by Louis J. Wilde, 1909 A.D. Wilde was a banker, businessman and San Diego mayor.
One of four plaques near base of the Broadway Fountain. It reads Presented to The City of San Diego by Louis J. Wilde, 1909 A.D. Wilde was a banker, businessman and San Diego mayor.

Plaque near base of Broadway Fountain depicts Father Junipero Serra, founder of the first Spanish missions in California, including Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá.
Plaque near base of Broadway Fountain depicts Father Junipero Serra, founder of the first Spanish missions in California, including Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá.

Plaque near base of Broadway Fountain depicts Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who discovered San Diego Bay during an expedition for Spain in 1542.
Plaque near base of Broadway Fountain depicts Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who discovered San Diego Bay during an expedition for Spain in 1542.

Plaque near base of Broadway Fountain depicts Alonzo E. Horton. He created and promoted New Town, where downtown San Diego exists today. Before being sold to the city in 1895, Horton Plaza was originally used by guests staying at his Horton House Hotel.
Plaque near base of Broadway Fountain depicts Alonzo E. Horton. He created and promoted New Town, where downtown San Diego exists today. Before being sold to the city in 1895, the Horton Plaza park was originally used by guests staying at his Horton House Hotel.

A proud eagle perched within the elegant columns of San Diego's Broadway Fountain.
A proud eagle perched within the elegant columns of San Diego’s Broadway Fountain.

Looking east from the Broadway Fountain toward an historical marker: The Pacific Milestone.
Looking east from the Broadway Fountain toward an historical marker: The Pacific Milestone.

The citizens of San Diego in dedicating this Pacific Milestone, November 17, 1923, hereby gratefully acknowledge the untiring efforts of Col. Ed Fletcher in the construction of a Southern Transcontinental Highway.
The citizens of San Diego in dedicating this Pacific Milestone, November 17, 1923, hereby gratefully acknowledge the untiring efforts of Col. Ed Fletcher in the construction of a Southern Transcontinental Highway.

The points of the compass cap the Pacific Milestone.
Points of the compass cap the Pacific Milestone.

Pacific Milestone dedicated by our beloved President Calvin Coolidge November 17, 1923.
Pacific Milestone dedicated by our beloved President Calvin Coolidge November 17, 1923.

The Pacific Milestone in today's Horton Plaza Park marks the western terminus of The Old Spanish Trail, which traversed the American continent to St. Augustine, Florida.
The Pacific Milestone in today’s Horton Plaza Park marks the western terminus of The Old Spanish Trail, which traversed the American continent and ended in St. Augustine, Florida.

Old Spanish Trail. St. Augustine, Florida to San Diego, California.
Old Spanish Trail. St. Augustine, Florida to San Diego, California.

A familiar El Camino Real bell in Horton Plaza Park. It was donated by the San Diego Woman's Club.
A familiar El Camino Real bell in Horton Plaza Park. It was donated by the San Diego Woman’s Club.

Small plaque beneath the El Camino Real bell in Horton Plaza Park.
Small plaque beneath the El Camino Real bell in Horton Plaza Park.

Another historical plaque in the tile walkway. First Pacific Terminal Jefferson Davis Highway. Presented to the City of San Diego May 12, 1926...
Another historical plaque in the tile walkway. First Pacific Terminal Jefferson Davis Highway. Presented to the City of San Diego May 12, 1926…

Starbucks occupies one of three food pavilions at the new Horton Plaza Park. The morning after the park's grand opening, this Starbucks is already busy.
Starbucks occupies one of three food pavilions at the new Horton Plaza Park. The morning after the park’s grand opening, this Starbucks is already busy.

People enjoying a morning Starbucks sit at tables above Horton Plaza Park's outdoor amphitheater. A cool new mural serves as a distinctive backdrop.
People who enjoy a morning coffee can sit at tables above Horton Plaza Park’s outdoor amphitheater. A cool new mural serves as a distinctive urban backdrop.

A better look at the central part of the park. This broad, shallow amphitheater will be the site of many concerts and civic events in downtown San Diego. It also contains an interactive fountain (off at the moment).
A better look at the central part of the park. This broad, shallow amphitheater will be the site of many concerts and civic events in downtown San Diego. It also contains an interactive fountain (off at the moment).

Walking along Fourth Avenue, viewing the new park through several 23-foot high sculptures. These luminaries have lights that change colors at night.
Walking along Fourth Avenue, viewing the new park through several 23-foot high metal sculptures. These luminaries have lights that change colors at night.

Rounding a corner, I see some workers are removing fencing and tables that were used for the grand opening yesterday evening.
Rounding a corner, I see some workers are removing fencing and tables that were used for the park’s big grand opening yesterday evening.

South side of the huge new public art mural in Horton Plaza Park.
South side of the huge public art mural in Horton Plaza Park.

A cool public space that is sure to become one of San Diego's most popular gathering places.
A cool public space that is sure to become one of San Diego’s most popular gathering places.

The morning after the new Horton Plaza Park has opened. History is being made in San Diego, and one gentleman takes it all in.
The morning after San Diego’s amazing new Horton Plaza Park has opened. History is being made, and one gentleman takes it all in.

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