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

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Bayside Performance Park rises on San Diego Bay!

Look what I spotted this afternoon during my walk along San Diego Bay. I was approaching the Marriott Marina when my eyes were surprised by a monumental steel structure rising from Embarcadero Marina Park South.

It’s the enormous stage of the new Bayside Performance Park, now under construction!

This permanent concert venue is an amazing gift from the San Diego Symphony to all of San Diego. How appropriate it appeared in time for Christmas!

As I walked around the construction site on my way to the Embarcadero Marina Park South pier, I spoke to a crew member of the Silvergate, a Coronado ferry that docks nearby, and he informed me the steel structure you see in my photographs went up rapidly four or five days ago.

You can also see a banner on a fence that shows what Bayside Performance Park might look like when completed. The concert stage’s curving shell is not only visually attractive, but it’s designed to provide a high quality acoustic experience.

Bayside Performance Park is due to open in time for the 2020 season of San Diego Symphony’s Bayside Summer Nights.

I can’t wait to see how it looks (and sounds) when completed!

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Flagpole and historic plaque at Marston Point.

I took a walk early yesterday morning. I headed from downtown San Diego up Sixth Avenue to Marston Point, which is located in the southwest corner of Balboa Park.

Near the south end of Marston Point, a flag flies at the center of a parking lot that overlooks the city. At the base of the 80-foot flagpole there’s an historic plaque. It reads:

ERECTED
BY THE
FREE AND ACCEPTED
MASONS
OF SAN DIEGO COUNTY

IN COMMEMORATION OF
THE ADOPTION OF THE
UNITED STATES FLAG
1777 JUNE 14TH 1927

A second, smaller plaque reads:

REDEDICATED
JUNE 15, 1947

According to what I found on the San Diego History Center website here, the Masons’ flagpole dedication was celebrated with a big parade.

Today the flag remains a landmark seen by thousands every day.

Early yesterday morning, as I arrived at the flagpole and empty parking lot, the rising sun was coloring beautiful clouds.

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.

Photos beneath I-805 bridge in Mission Valley.

Yesterday morning I jumped off the Green Line trolley at the Rio Vista station. I walked east over Qualcomm Way via the pedestrian bridge then continued down the little-used walkway that runs parallel to the trolley tracks.

I had never gone that way before.

The concrete walkway leads behind the Marriott Mission Valley and several large, gleaming office buildings and finally terminates by a parking lot directly beneath the very impressive I-805 freeway bridge.

I turned my camera upward and snapped photos beneath the tall landmark bridge!

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!

Mural at Civita celebrates San Diego!

Ranches, hot air balloons, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Ranches, hot air balloons, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

There’s a very cool mural inside a pedestrian tunnel at the Civita development in Mission Valley. I recently learned about this public art because it was nominated for a 2019 Orchid Award by the San Diego Architectural Foundation.

The 72-foot-long mural, which can be found under Via Alta next to the Civita Dog Park, was painted in 2018 by local artist and muralist Kevin Anderson. It depicts well-known and beloved places in the city of San Diego and the surrounding county.

San Diego County is so enormous, it’s geographic area is larger than Rhode Island and Delaware put together! Looking at this beautiful mural, you can see the county’s fantastic natural diversity, from the oceans to the mountains and deserts, not to mention San Diego’s rich history and culture.

Because this mural isn’t far from my work, I couldn’t resist walking over today to check it out!

Here are photos that you might enjoy!

View of the pedestrian tunnel that passes under Via Alta in Civita Park. The mural inside depicts many wonderful places around San Diego.
Outside view of the pedestrian tunnel that passes under Via Alta in Civita Park. The mural inside depicts many wonderful places around San Diego.
The Blue Angels, citrus and agriculture, San Diego County mountains, golf.
The Blue Angels, citrus and agriculture, the mountains of San Diego County, golf.
Potato Chip Rock, mountain biking, rural living.
Potato Chip Rock, mountain biking, rural living.
Julian apple pie, wildlife and wildflowers, the Palomar Observatory.
Julian apple pie, wildlife and wildflowers, the Palomar Observatory.
Mountains overlooking Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, cacti, bighorn sheep.
Mountains overlooking Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, cacti, bighorn sheep.
Beneath San Diego State University and Balboa Park, Civita Park has been painted in Mission Valley, along with the names of Civita Kids Art.
Beneath San Diego State University and Balboa Park, Civita Park has been painted in Mission Valley, along with the names of Civita Kids Art.
Junior Seau, Tony Gwynn, Petco Park, downtown and San Diego Bay.
Junior Seau, Tony Gwynn, Petco Park, downtown and San Diego Bay.
USS Midway, Coronado Bay Bridge, Star of India, Hotel del Coronado.
Little Italy, USS Midway, Coronado Bay Bridge, Star of India, Hotel del Coronado.
Mariachis of Old Town beneath the Serra Museum, SeaWorld, Mission Bay.
Mariachis of Old Town beneath the Serra Museum, SeaWorld, Mission Bay.
La Jolla Cove and Pacific Ocean aquatic life.
La Jolla Cove and Pacific Ocean aquatic life.
Surfing and paragliding along the cliffs of Torrey Pines.
Surfing and paragliding along the cliffs of Torrey Pines.

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!

Jessop’s Street Clock removed from Horton Plaza.

The historic 1907 Jessop’s Street Clock, San Diego’s biggest tourist attraction over a century ago, has been removed from Horton Plaza. I made the discovery after work today as I walked through downtown’s once popular but now almost vacant shopping mall.

Horton Plaza is to undergo redevelopment. The one-of-a-kind, gold-plated, precious gem-filled, award-winning Jessop’s Clock has been moved to a warehouse for refurbishment. According to a posted notice of application, the amazing street clock will be reinstalled at a new location.

To learn more about the history of the Jessop’s Street Clock, and see many more photographs, you can check out an old blog post of mine 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!

History and faith at St. Agnes Catholic Church.

On Saturday I stepped inside St. Agnes Catholic Church. It was one of three sites I visited in Point Loma during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2019 OPEN HOUSE SAN DIEGO.

Donna Alves-Calhoun, author of the book Portuguese Community of San Diego, told me a little about the history of this church and the people whose lives are deeply linked to it.

I learned that an original church was built in 1908 by Portuguese fisherman families that had settled in La Playa, near the entrance to San Diego Bay. It was difficult for them to travel to Old Town or La Jolla to attend church services, so they built a small mission church in Point Loma.

In 1933 the new Mediterranean-style St. Agnes Catholic Church was built at the same location, using funds donated by the crews of local fishing boats.

The beautiful church’s bell tower was decorated with an illuminated statue of Our Lady of Good Voyage, which could be seen at a distance. Like a beacon it guided the Portuguese fishermen safely home. I also learned the extraordinary stained glass windows were made in Ireland, and the religious statues placed in corners of the church are from Italy.

After I moved around the church, looking up at the ceiling and its dark wooden beams painted faintly with tulips, Donna explained that many Dutch settled in the Azores. Like many who have descended from San Diego’s Portuguese fishermen, she herself possesses a measure of Dutch ancestry.

During the annual Festa do Espírito Santo celebration, a crown kept in a glass case near the altar, symbol of the supreme dominion of the Holy Spirit, is brought with other holy objects in a ceremonial procession from the U.P.S.E.S. Chapel and Hall to St. Agnes Catholic Church. The bringing of the “Coroa” remembers an historical gesture of compassion by Portugal’s beloved Santa Isabel, the Peacemaker and Holy Queen.

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!