New lights, new life for historic carousel!

Last October I noticed the Balboa Park Carousel was undergoing renovation during the park’s COVID-19 pandemic closure. You can read what I wrote and see those photos here.

Today I was walking past this historic 1910 Herschell-Spillman carousel when I noticed one side of its enclosure was open and lights were on inside. So I approached the structure to sneak a peek.

And I saw the same Armored Horse that I saw before! But now it’s painted more completely–and beautifully!

I also spoke to William “Bill” Brown, who has been operating and tending this historic carousel since 1972. He was carefully painting an intricate part of the wooden horse.

It’s apparent Bill absolutely loves what he does. You can read it in his eyes and smile.

He showed me how an earlier “model” of a hand-carved Herschell-Spillman Armored Horse appeared. You can see with that particular model the sculptural detail and the color scheme was quite different.

Bill also showed me how additional lights have been installed on the carousel!

The 1910 carousel had originally been designed to feature more lights, but too many electrical lights constituted a fire hazard, so many had not been installed.

In the next photo you can see two lights on either side of the carved head, just above the oval mirrors. For a hundred years there were two holes and no lights. That has changed!

That’s because all of the carousel lights are now safer, more energy efficient LEDs. New fixtures not only brighten the upper part of the outer framework, but the interior part of the carousel as well!

When the Balboa Park Carousel’s renovation is finally complete, it will be brighter and more colorful than ever!

To learn more about this carousel, which was built in New York, and which had been installed at Tent City in Coronado before moving to Balboa Park in 1922, click here!

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Adventure Awaits at University Community Library!

Adventure Awaits at the University Community Library–or at least it does outside the front entrance!

Fun artwork decorates an electrical box at the University City public library on Governor Drive. I see Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin’s kite, a beanstalk, a whale, a hot air balloon and biplane, the solar system . . . and even a few books!

Check it out! (Pun intended.)

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!

Colorful murals at National City Market!

After taking photos outside the Stein Family Farm in National City (you can see those in my previous post), I walked several blocks west down 18th Street and found these colorful murals painted on two walls of the National City Market!

I believe this artwork is relatively new. Various fun images celebrate the life and history of this South Bay community. I see a lowrider, kids enjoying sweet treats from a paleta cart, and a tribute to the Mile of Cars.

I also see a historic home that resembles the Steele-Blossom House (which appears in the National City logo, and which you can see photographs of here) and graffiti that spells out Teach the Youth…

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!

Barrio Logan mural celebrates education.

I saw this old mural on a Barrio Logan building during a recent walk along Main Street. I don’t know anything definite about it.

After a little internet searching, I believe the mural was painted when this building across Main Street from the 32nd Street Naval Station was occupied by the Barrio Logan Winery. I also believe it might have been created with help from the Urban Corps. That’s my best guess.

What I do know is that education is celebrated, and the positive images aim to inspire youth to stay in school to pursue a brighter 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!

Sliding through an enormous bunch of grapes!

I’ve seen people stomping on grapes. Now I’ve observed people happily sliding through them!

That’s because a while back I found myself near the Grape Day Park playground in Escondido. As I walked around taking photographs, I saw a couple of kids descending the Vinehenge slide!

Vinehenge was created by artists Valerie Salatino and Nancy Moran in 2004. It’s a very fun part of the City of Escondido’s public art collection!

According to a nearby information sign, city leaders launched the Grape Day Festival back in 1906. “Thousands of visitors, brought in by the Santa Fe Railroad, enjoyed free grapes, danced, socialized, and engaged in other festivities on these grounds.” Today a very wonderful Grape Day Park features the Escondido History Center Museum Complex, which I blogged about over a year ago here.

Check out these fun pics of Vinehenge and its unique grape slide!

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!

Fun photos from Social Distance Santa!

Social Distance Santa waves at passing cars during 2020 Taste of December Nights. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.

Santa Claus sent me a batch of fun photos!

Every year Santa travels down from the North Pole to greet the young at heart in Balboa Park during December Nights.

In 2020 the holiday event, however, turned into a socially-distanced Taste of December Nights. Families drove through Balboa Park’s Inspiration Point parking lot to partake of the offerings of food trucks. Everyone stayed in their car. Santa waved as they passed. During this year’s very serious, very contagious COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic we all are advised to avoid mingling.

Because a visiting Santa Claus wanted to provide a good example, he renamed himself Social Distance Santa. And his elves constructed a special six-foot ruler!

Bill Swank ordinarily greets all comers as Santa Claus in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion during December Nights. He has been Santa since 2002. This rather unusual year he had to adapt, as you can see!

As San Diego’s preeminent baseball historian, Bill Swank also brought along a photo of Shoeless Joe Jackson wearing a mask during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic.

Santa reports that he recognized many people that have visited him over the years, both young and old.

Fortunately, Santa Claus possesses strong magic. His smile beams directly through a face mask, and a friendly wave transmits his powerful love.

Social Distance Santa holds a six-foot ruler with a Balboa Park Ranger during Taste of December Nights. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer waved at Santa and Mrs. Claus from the first car to enter Taste of December Nights on December 4, 2020. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
Social Distance Santa holding a picture of Shoeless Joe Jackson wearing a mask during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
Social Distance Santa cards were given to the first 500 cars each day during Taste of December Nights in Balboa Park. Santa’s Safety List is included.

This has been a challenging year for all of us, but Santa and the City of San Diego are thankful we can come together and celebrate in the special way with all of you!

If you want to learn more about the history of Christmas in San Diego and read a book concerning the subject written by Bill Swank, 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!

Mosaic artwork at Barrio Logan Fire Station!

Take a look at one of the most unique, fun and inspired pieces of public artwork in San Diego!

You can find it at Barrio Logan Fire Station #7 facing Cesar E. Chavez Parkway.

Students attending nearby Perkins Elementary School created this awesome tile mosaic artwork. A sculptural fire hose decorated with firefighting imagery spurts water on burning flames!

This was a project of Rebuilding Together San Diego back in 2005. See their website here.

The organization’s mission is: “Bringing our volunteers and the community together to improve the homes and lives of low-income homeowners who are in need, and help revitalize neighborhoods throughout 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!

Colorful kites above Coronado Cays!

Colorful kites were filling the blue sky today above Coronado Cays Park!

I almost got a kink in my neck staring up at them!

They seemed like a flock of tropical birds taking flight above the palm trees. I walked along a winding pathway then over the grass, circling around the many kites and passing underneath them.

They were alive up there in the sunlight.

Many others had gathered in the park to observe the magic. And to fly their own kite.

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!

Murals at Lakeside Union School District building.

If you’ve ever seen the murals on the Lakeside Union School District building from a distance, you’ve probably moved in closer for a much better look. That’s what I did Saturday after eating at the Roberto’s Taco Shop across the street.

I was stunned at what I found. The beautiful murals include historical scenes from Lakeside. I saw cowboy hats, horses and old cars, and spirited children from another time racing, or near a school bus, heading to or from school. Three panels facing Woodside Avenue show diverse children creating art, performing music and happily living life in the present day.

The fading murals were painted on wood boards by artist Mona Mills in 2016. I see that she has produced other indoor and outdoor murals at many schools in the San Diego region. She has also created murals for several East County libraries, which I’ll have to go see at some future time.

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!

San Diego students create posters against drugs!

The students at Wangenheim Middle School in Mira Mesa have created posters that tell the truth about the destructive nature of drugs.

I was fortunate today to be walking nearby as members of the Associated Student Body were hanging these very creative anti-drug posters on the school fence facing Black Mountain Road!

And they were happy to pose for a group photo!

It’s Red Ribbon Week, when students in schools across San Diego and the United States engage in an annual drug and violence prevention awareness campaign.

Wangenheim Middle School students and members of the Associated Student Body are involved in all sorts of positive community activities, such as a Thanksgiving food drive. It’s encouraging to know the youth you see in the next photograph are some of our future leaders!

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!