A surprising, historical La Mesa building!

At first glance, you might not believe this building is almost 130 years old. That’s because it appears much different today than it did originally.

During my last walk around La Mesa, I learned this is La Mesa’s oldest standing commercial building!

It’s interesting to compare the old photograph on the La Mesa Historical Society plaque with the building one sees today.

The La Mesa Lemon Company Store building is located at the corner of La Mesa Boulevard and Nebo Drive.

La Mesa Lemon Company Store, circa 1895

Opened adjacent to the La Mesa Springs rail station in 1895, the Lemon Company’s impressive building was the first to supply local settlers and ranchers. La Mesa’s oldest standing commercial building, it was expanded south in 1912. Charter La Mesa Rotary Club member Lawrence Washburn remodeled the building for the city’s first Ford automobile dealership in 1923.

Take a close look at the signs in the photos. “Dealers in everything used on a ranch” is now ballet and clothing!

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!

La Mesa’s famous movie history remembered!

In the early 20th century, La Mesa was home to the American Film Manufacturing Company. Some of the most popular movies of the time were filmed around San Diego!

The historic Wolf Building, at 8360 La Mesa Boulevard, has a plaque that recalls how the city was a pioneer in early motion pictures. The American Film Manufacturing Company made this new building and adjacent lot its home from August 1911 to July 1912. They created over one hundred “Flying A” Western “one-reelers” while in La Mesa…

According to this Wikipedia article, Flying “A” made over 150 films in San Diego County. The films were usually western adventures, comedies or an occasional local documentary…

The popular movie actors would make appearances at La Mesa parades and public events.

I’ve photographed the Wolf Building as it appears today. The Corner Store shoppers who haven’t read the nearby plaque probably don’t realize they’re experiencing a bit of motion picture history!

Also, I’ve posted two public domain images. The advertisements from the American Film Manufacturing Company are dated a few years after the studio departed La Mesa for Santa Barbara.

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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Two more colorful murals in La Mesa!

During my visit to La Mesa for Oktoberfest, I photographed two colorful murals that I hadn’t seen or recorded during prior walks.

The first three photos were taken at Public Square Coffee House. I believe this amazing mural overlooking La Mesa Boulevard is by prolific San Diego graffiti artist Sake (@sakeonedesign).

The seahorse mural in the rear of Sheldon’s Service Station was painted back in 2017 by Beth Emmerich (@bethemmerich).

Enjoy!

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!

Love wins at La Mesa’s Weiner Dog Races!

The Weiner Dog Races at the 2021 La Mesa Oktoberfest made for an exciting spectator sport. The crowd cheered. Dog athletes raced down a short track into the outstretched arms of loved ones. Some dogs became confused in all the excitement and ran the wrong way. Love can do that.

One race saw all four contestants wander off in different directions, tails wagging. The judges were forgiving and restarted that one.

The Weiner Dog Races were brought to La Mesa Oktoberfest by the Dackeldorf Dachshund Village. There was also a doggie fashion show, which I missed.

Enjoy some photos that show love wins every time. Even if the furry arrival is a bit tardy.

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!

Food, fun and smiles at La Mesa Oktoberfest!

Today’s the final day of 2021 La Mesa Oktoberfest. I rode the trolley to the Village of La Mesa as the free street festival opened and quickly found lots of food, smiles and fun!

The Bratwurst was delectable. The garlic fries were yummy. The German oompah music was infectious. Vendors had all sorts of artsy and inventive wares. The Weiner Dog Races were hilarious. (So much fun, in fact, that a separate blog post concerning the races is coming up!) The three beer gardens and big Ferris wheel were attracting huge crowds. There was fun stuff to do and see in every direction.

My favorite part of Oktoberfest, however, is the smiles.

Of course I’m going to promote a fellow writer. Particularly one who has written an inspirational book full of daily positive messages that are like poetry, and who opened the pages to share words with me concerning October 3. John L. Wagner is the author of Daily Ripples and you can find his book 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!

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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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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A sidewalk Memorial Day thank you.

It’s Memorial Day weekend. I saw this on the sidewalk today while walking through downtown La Mesa. Somebody created a small tribute with chalk, fresh flowers and green leaves. Spelled inside a heart is Thank You. All gave some and some gave all.

I thought I’d share the photo. And add my own Thank You to all those who’ve sacrificed defending the freedoms we might sometimes take for granted.

(Why was I in La Mesa? To climb the Secret Stairs! I’ll blog about that experience sometime later this week!)

Take care everybody.

An octagonal Chinese-Mexican building in La Mesa.

One of the most distinctive buildings in La Mesa can be found in MacArthur Park. The designated historic landmark, located at 4910 Memorial Drive, is called Porter Hall.

This small octagonal building, built by the Porter family in the late 1920’s, has an unusual tile roof that appears a little Chinese and a little Mexican. The roof’s exotic contours are explained by the fact that Henry and Elizabeth Chapin Porter had previously lived in China.

From 1932 to 1957 Porter Hall served as a San Diego County library.

Prior to 1974 the original octagonal structure stood on the other side of University Avenue. It was moved when the street was widened. Today the enlarged building is home of the Foothills Art Association.

When I walked past Porter Hall a couple weekends ago, I took these photographs. Some artwork could be seen from the sidewalk, including a beautiful mosaic bench with a colorful parrot. A plaque dedicates the bench to Katherine Faulconer.

You can learn more about La Mesa’s influential Porter family by reading page 5 of an old La Mesa Historical Society publication 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!

Girl walks with many dogs in La Mesa!

During my walk in La Mesa last weekend I spotted a girl strolling with numerous dogs down the sidewalk!

Happy dogs of every type were walking with her past Village Antiques, as a curious cat watched from the shop window. And all of this was happening at the corner of La Mesa Boulevard and University Avenue . . . on a painted utility box!

I saw that this fun but somewhat faded street art was created by Margo Parks and Yvonne Rose.

As I tried to do a little research about the artists, I made a big discovery. This street art is part of a larger La Mesa beautification project called the Walking Art Trail.

The Walking Art Trail was created by the La Mesa Arts Alliance (LMAA) in partnership with the community. Local artists painted a variety of utility boxes around La Mesa, and a brochure which you can see here shows the locations of each colorful box!

Back in 2017 I photographed a number of these painted boxes without realizing they were all part of a larger project. You can see my photographs here.

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.