Photos outside La Mesa’s historic McKinney House.

I took the trolley to La Mesa yesterday, eager to check out the La Mesa Historical Society’s McKinney House Museum.

I arrived at the McKinney House right at one o’clock, when it is said to open on Saturdays. After walking up and down the sidewalk taking outside photographs, it became apparent the museum wouldn’t be opening on time. So in this blog post I can only provide exterior photos of the 1908 house built by Rev. Henry A. McKinney, back when La Mesa was known as Allison Springs.

You can see an old historical photograph of the house here.

I look forward seeing the interior on a future visit. I’ve read it contains furnishings from the 1908-1920 period. I believe there are exhibits concerning La Mesa’s history, too.

Not sure why the museum sign was on the ground.

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Fun for kids in La Mesa and Campo!

Do you know any kids who love trains? If you do, there are many opportunities for fun coming up in both La Mesa and Campo!

Yesterday I was passing the La Mesa Depot Museum when I noticed it was open and someone was working inside.

That someone was Station Master Timothy. He was building a new HO scale train layout in the old depot’s baggage room!

After showing me a few nearby historical exhibits, he explained this new layout will eventually be a fun, free activity for visiting kids. There will be a dynamic little town named Kerville (the tracks curve), and a module that can be added that includes both desert and mountainous terrain!

Meanwhile, the La Mesa Depot Museum has a curvy, twisty toy train layout in the adjoining ticket and passenger room that small kids can play with by hand.

Cooler yet, there are those real life train cars outside that one can explore up close and personal! If you’ve ever driven down Spring Street at La Mesa Boulevard, you’ve no doubt seen them.

You can see more photographs in and around the La Mesa museum here.

The La Mesa Depot Museum is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:00 to 3:00 pm and Saturdays 1-4 pm.

. . .

The old La Mesa depot is a satellite of the much larger Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, located out in Campo. There kids can ride historic trains through San Diego’s scenic backcountry. And big kids (adults) can even take the controls of a big, honest-to-goodness diesel-electric locomotive and run it for a short distance!

Need something fun for the family to do next weekend before Halloween? Reserve a ticket for a unique Campo train ride out to a pumpkin patch. It’s called the Pumpkin Express.

Then, before Christmas, kids will enjoy meeting Santa during an incredible train ride on the North Pole Limited!

If you’d like an idea of how awesome this all would be, check out two of my past blog posts. This one has photographs from the train ride out in Campo. And this one shows the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum during its the big 100th Anniversary of the San Diego and Arizona Railway event!

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and 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!

Cool cars on a Thursday in La Mesa!

It’s summer. It’s a Thursday.

That, of course, means the weekly La Mesa Classic Car Show was held this evening in the Village of La Mesa!

A large crowd was sitting along La Mesa Boulevard east of Spring Street, on sidewalk benches, on lawn chairs, or at tables outside restaurants, looking at cars as families passed by.

There were classic cars, lowriders, hot rods . . . cars that were perfectly restored or partially restored–it didn’t matter. And there were trucks, and vans, and uniquely modified vehicles that were one-of-a-kind. All were admired as works of art.

What an awesome event!

A community drawn together. Generations sharing one passion.

Voices sharing stories. . . the smell of food . . . the sound of a band playing nearby . . .

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 celebrates freedom at inaugural Juneteenth event!

Today was the start of something big in La Mesa. This afternoon the inaugural La Mesa Juneteenth celebration kicked off in MacArthur Park!

I arrived shortly after the free public event opened at noon. Lots of people were already walking about, exploring the many canopies dotting the grass. I saw artists with crafts, vendors, community organizations . . . and lots of smiles!

There were families everywhere enjoying the sunshine. Kids were playing in a fun zone and learning about the history of the very first Juneteenth, June 19, 1865, when enslaved African Americans in Texas finally heard of their freedom.

I missed some of the later entertainment. I’ll try to catch it next year.

Because I have no doubt next year’s La Mesa Juneteenth celebration will be even bigger and better!

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 gathers for big Flag Day Parade!

A good crowd gathered late this morning in the Village of La Mesa for the big 23rd Annual Flag Day Parade!

Excited people–young and old, kids and parents, friends and neighbors–lined the sidewalks on either side of La Mesa Boulevard to watch heroes and active members of the community pass by in a sea of American flags.

Flags waved for marching bands, veterans, beauty queens, scout troops, youthful dancers, politicians–everything you’d expect from this red, white and blue slice of Americana!

The patriotic spectacle is a popular La Mesa tradition that I personally hadn’t seen until today.

I took lots of colorful photographs that you, too, might enjoy…

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Beautiful fountain at Herrick Community Health Library.

A beautiful fountain invites meditation near the entrance to the Dr. William C. Herrick Community Health Care Library in La Mesa. I discovered it by pure chance while walking in La Mesa last weekend.

And, to my surprise, I learned the fountain, topped by a sculpture, is by none other than James Hubbell, whose mosaics also grace nearby Briercrest Park!

This public art in the Community Health Library’s outdoor courtyard is titled Moving Circles (O’s on the plaque). Water runs from the sculpture, then drips down from rugged stonework into a blue basin, where a watery mosaic ripples in the sunlight.

Moving Circles is dated 2002. I was told this particular project by renowned artist James Hubbell was separate from his work at Briercrest Park.

If you’d like to see those nearby park mosaics, which are also amazing, I took photographs of them, too. I posted those pics 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!

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Nature’s beauty and Hubbell art at Briercrest Park.

One of San Diego’s most beautiful community parks is located in La Mesa. It’s called Briercrest Park.

I toured Briercrest Park yesterday during the 2022 San Diego Architectural Foundation’s annual Open House event.

The winding paths I walked along were shiny wet from a recent rain. The grass was green. The air was fresh, the sun peeking out from behind clouds. Surrounding nature smelled so good. I felt at peace.

I soon learned that feeling was by design.

Our tour group gathered by an amazing mosaic labyrinth created by renowned local artist James Hubbell. His architect son, Drew, was on hand to tell us about the Hubbell created public art around the park. Glen of Schmidt Design Group, the landscape architect who designed the park some 20 years ago, was also there.

Well, you can see in my upcoming photos what an extraordinary place this is.

I’ll let my photo captions explain some of what I learned.

Walking into the park by one pathway from Wakarusa Street.

The above map near one entrance contains information about Briercrest Park, which was designed to emphasize the “healing and restorative values of green park space in an urban environment.”

The site, originally a reservoir, features a central wetland where water runoff collects. Turf mounds radiate outward from the watery center, like expanding ripples. Gentle bridges add a scenic touch. Native drought tolerant plants and trees are lush, providing refuge for the spirit.

Kids are encouraged to meander about, explore the fun playground, art and nature. Who knows what they might discover?

This butterfly glass mosaic was assembled by Emilie Ledieu, one of the artists in residence at James Hubbell’s Ilan-Lael Foundation, located near Santa Ysabel, California, in the mountains east of San Diego.
One plaque on a park bench. Live Well – Love Much – Laugh Often…
Many benches in the park were designed to accommodate people in wheelchairs.
An herb garden, maintained by a local gardening club, provides a sensory experience. I smelled sage.
The playground has numerous fun elements, including these critters.
Path by the central wetlands, with lots of greenery and boulders and stone benches for meditation.
An area of open grass. The unique restrooms are in the distance.
Hubbell mosaics can be found on three sides of the beautiful structure, said to be the only park restrooms in San Diego with stained glass!
Organic mosaic above and around drinking fountains appear a bit like a watery landscape.
Mosaic on one side. The vertical blue lines are like cascading water.
The other side. The flowing mosaic almost seems to have the shape of a heron.
Stained glass window seen from inside the men’s restroom, made with durable resin.
Tiles around another small garden space created by local school children.
The very beautiful Hubbell labyrinth. One begins at water, passes through space, and arrives at the bright flaming center.
Tables set up for the Open House tour visitors. That’s Emilie the artist in red. People could help build two small mosaics!
One of the small example mosaics in progress.
A smile!
This looks like a very cool book concerning the history of this neighborhood. La Mesa’s Severin Grossmont Hills and Vicinity.
We have gathered near the labyrinth for a talk at the beginning of the tour. Look at that sunlight in trees.
That’s Glen Schmidt on the left and Drew Hubbell on the right, standing near a small climbing structure.
Glen, the friendly landscape architect, explains concepts behind Briercrest Park’s creation.
We look at one concept image board. Emphasized are accessibility, the senses, nature, serenity, and even music! I didn’t photograph it, but one area is equipped with outdoor chimes and other musical instruments to freely play.
Drew Hubbell leads the way.
We stroll through a very beautiful 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!

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A park designed for healing in La Mesa.

Briercrest Park in La Mesa was designed for healing.

The tranquil, beautiful park is located adjacent to the Herrick Community Health Library, and near many medical office buildings in La Mesa, not to mention Sharp Grossmont Hospital.

Briercrest Park, at 9001 Wakarusa Street, was purposely designed to be wheelchair friendly. Paths winding beneath shady sycamores and oaks lead to benches that accommodate those in wheelchairs. A special stone alcove, which you can see in my photographs, was specially constructed for this purpose.

It has been demonstrated that being outside in nature promotes healing. I know that, for me, fresh air and sunshine produces a greater sense of well-being.

Nature was an important element in the design of this park. There are flowers, gentle bridges over still water, and ample opportunity for easy exploration or quiet meditation. There is also stunning public artwork at every turn.

A mosaic butterfly at one entrance symbolizes transformation and renewal. It’s placement on the pathway was intentional. The butterfly along with other park mosaics (including a gorgeous labyrinth) were designed by renowned artist James Hubbell, along with his award-winning architect son, Drew.

I learned all of this today as I toured the park during the 2022 San Diego Architectural Foundation’s annual Open House event. My next blog post will detail what I learned about the amazing mosaics, plus other unique aspects of Briercrest Park.

If I lived nearby, I would walk through this park often. To help soothe my small day-to-day hurts. To feel whole.

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 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!

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!