Mural at southwest corner of continental USA!

Walk out to the end of the Imperial Beach Pier and you’re standing near the most southwesterly point in the continental United States!

And if you turn around at the end of the pier to look at one side of the Tin Fish restaurant, you’ll see a big mural created late last year by the local artists of Pandr Design Co. The mural includes geographic coordinates in degrees of latitude and longitude that prove its assertion!

While walking along the pier I noted a few other cool murals which were also painted recently by Pandr Design Co….

AS LONG AS THERE’S BEEN SURFING THERE’S ALWAYS BEEN THE QUEST FOR THE PERFECT WAVE
GOOD VIBES ONLY
IMPIERIAL BEACH CALIFORNIA Forever

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Markers and monuments at San Ysidro border.

Two historical markers can be seen just north of the San Ysidro Port of Entry border crossing. They stand near the entrance to the pedestrian bridge that crosses over Interstate 5 to Camino de la Plaza. I spotted them during my last walk around San Ysidro and took photographs.

A granite monument, marker number 255, reads Boundary of the United States–Treaty of 1853–Re-Established by Treaties of 1882-1889. The opposite side contains the same information in Spanish. The monument’s two other sides show the principal names from the international commission that precisely determined the previously disputed boundary with Mexico in 1892 to 1896. It was one of 258 markers placed along 689 miles of border.

The fascinating story of this particular marker includes a flood, a replacement duplicate, and the original marker’s rediscovery and relocation to this spot. Read more about its complicated history here.

Behind the granite boundary monument, a historical sign on a post marks the Blue Star Memorial Highway. The sign describes the highway as A tribute to the Armed Forces that have defended the United States of America.

Perhaps you’ve seen these signs elsewhere across the United States. Read more about the Blue Star Memorial Highway (which is in fact numerous highways) here.

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A look at the Stratford Square building in Del Mar.

Possibly the most unique and well known building in Del Mar is Stratford Square. Located at Camino del Mar and 15th Street, the English Tudor style architecture makes Stratford Square instantly recognizable.

This historical landmark was constructed in 1927 and was originally called the Kockritz Building. Today it’s the home of a couple dozen offices and a few small shops and eateries.

Stratford Square was built across 15th Street from the now long-vanished 1909 Stratford Inn. The Stratford Inn, later called the Hotel Del Mar, had a very similar Tudor appearance. It became a gathering place for many of Hollywood’s stars after Bing Crosby built the Del Mar Racetrack.

The spot where the old Stratford Inn stood overlooking the Pacific Ocean is now the location of the L’Auberge Del Mar luxury hotel.

As you travel through Del Mar, you might notice a few other buildings with an English Tudor appearance. Like Stratford Square, they were inspired by the original Stratford Inn.

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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.

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Amazing, monumental The Shell nears completion!

Oh my goodness! Look at these photos! I took them today during a walk along San Diego’s waterfront, at Embarcadero Marina Park South.

San Diego Symphony’s monumental The Shell is nearing completion and it’s more amazing than I anticipated!

As I understand it, the San Diego’s Symphony’s popular summer concerts will resume this year, after being cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And for the very first time, Bayside Summer Nights will be held at this permanent outdoor venue.

I spoke to a construction worker and he said the project is indeed nearing completion. I could see that landscaping is now underway, and that most of the structures seem about ready to go.

If you’d like to compare how the project appeared in late 2019, as it was just getting started, you can check out photos I took here. At the time the venue was referred to as Bayside Performance Park.

Today this outdoor stage, the only venue of its kind on the West Coast, whose acoustic quality is said to be as good as any indoor concert hall, and whose white “shell” is made of the same material as the San Diego Convention Center’s iconic sails, is simply called The Shell.

As I walked outside the construction fence peering at The Shell, I could immediately see that this extraordinary landmark will help further distinguish San Diego from every other city in the world, and is destined to become a beloved part of the already beautiful skyline.

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Historical marker at Kate Sessions nursery in Pacific Beach.

If you’ve driven down Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach, you might have noticed a couple of enormous old trees at the corner of Pico Street, just east of Soledad Mountain Road.

By the sidewalk stands an easily overlooked historical marker. It reads:

KATE OLIVIA SESSIONS’ NURSERY SITE

1857-1940

THIS PLAQUE COMMEMORATES THE LIFE AND INFLUENCE OF A WOMAN WHO ENVISIONED SAN DIEGO BEAUTIFUL. ON THIS SITE SHE OPERATED A NURSERY AND GAINED WORLD RENOWN AS A HORTICULTURIST. SHE WAS THE FIRST WOMAN TO RECEIVE THE INTERNATIONAL MEYER MEDAL IN GENETICS.

CALIFORNIA REGISTERED HISTORICAL LANDMARK NO. 764

PLAQUE PLACED BY THE CALIFORNIA STATE PARK COMMISSION IN COOPERATION WITH THE PACIFIC BEACH WOMAN’S CLUB.

JULY 7, 1961

Kate Sessions is probably best known as the Mother of Balboa Park. In addition to owning other nurseries and growing fields in San Diego, she maintained a small nursery in a corner of Balboa Park (originally called City Park) under an 1892 agreement with the City of San Diego. She was required under the lease to plant 100 trees in the park each year. Most of the older trees in Balboa Park that you see today were planted by her hand.

The colorful jacaranda trees seen around San Diego were also introduced to the city by Kate Sessions.

I recently blogged about the very first camphor tree planted in North America. She’s the one who planted it. The historic camphor tree stands just west of Balboa Park in Bankers Hill near a beautiful historic house. To revisit that old blog post, click here.

Here are a couple more photos that I took this weekend by the historical marker…

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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Cool marquee of the Star in Oceanside!

The next cool thing I came upon during my Oceanside walk yesterday was the historic Star theater building with its incredible marquee!

As I was taking photos, I noticed someone testing different paint colors on the building’s exterior. I subsequently learned from two friendly people of the Star Theatre Company, which now occupies the old movie house, that a new paint job is coming both inside and outside, to make this historic Oceanside landmark even more amazing!

I also learned the Star Theatre, during the COVID-19 pandemic, is hosting an after school Acting Camp for youth with safety precautions, is offering professional audition taping and workshops, and will be offering live streamed performances. To read more check out their website here.

More about the building’s unique history can be read here, including: “The Star Theatre opened the 18th of August 1956 with the movie “Moby Dick” starring Gregory Peck…Designed by architect William Glenn Balch, the Star was from an era when neon was king and every city was building a drive-in or walk-in theater. The Star Theatre is the largest of Balch’s 17 theaters that were located in the state of California and the last one that is still open. The marquee boasted being the largest in San Diego County and has been noted for its spectacular animation. It is one of the few remaining examples from its era…”

In this difficult period of an extended coronavirus lockdown, the Star Theatre would really appreciate donations, to help keep their important mission moving forward. Please help them here.

Finally, if you’re wondering about the big, colorful mural on the side of the building in the following photograph, check out one of my old blog posts 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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La Jolla artwork in Solana Beach!

Check out some great tile artwork depicting many of La Jolla’s landmarks.

I spied this today while walking past a shopping center in Solana Beach!

The painted tiles, created by artist Alma Ortega in 2016, can be found on the YogaSix building in the northeast corner of the Beachwalk Shopping Center.

Look at all the La Jolla landmarks. They include UCSD’s Geisel Library, the Birch Aquarium, Scripps Pier, the sea caves, the Coast Walk, and La Jolla Cove. Above it all I see the Mount Soledad Cross. Numerous popular eateries along the ocean are also depicted!

I’m not sure why this La Jolla art is in Solana Beach, but I love it!

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!

Holiday lights on two landmark buildings!

After sunset I photographed two landmark buildings in San Diego that are illuminated with colorful lights this holiday season!

Until this Friday, December 18, the County Administration Building is lit blue and white to celebrate Hanukkah.

The County Administration Building in San Diego lit blue and white during Hanukkah.

And as usual in Bankers Hill, the Manchester Financial Centre building, long-time home of Mister A’s, is lit red and green and strung with many colors to celebrate Christmas!

The colorfully lit Manchester Financial Centre building in Bankers Hill with Christmas trees at each corner!

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Photos of the Euclid Tower in City Heights.

One of the most colorful and fascinating landmarks in all of San Diego is the Euclid Tower in City Heights.

The 80‐foot tall Euclid Tower, located on University Avenue at Reno Drive, a block east of Euclid Avenue, was originally built in 1932. Today the extraordinary building is home to the Tower Bar and Tower Tattoo Parlor.

The Euclid Tower was originally a drive-in soda fountain, and its second floor served as an observation deck. Over the decades the building has been the unique home for a string of businesses, primarily restaurants. An example of the Zigzag Moderne Art Deco style, the Euclid Tower was designed by an unknown architect. You can learn more about its history and see old photographs of the building here.

By the 1980’s the old gray building had a look of neglect and decay. In 1995 a community art project painted it with colorful new designs. Third grade kids created pictures of the City Heights community, which ended up as the tiles you see in my photographs.

But structural degradation that occurred over the course of many years resulted in the tower tipping dangerously. In 1999 the tall spire of the building was removed.

In 2009 a somewhat shorter spire was erected and the building was restored using a design proposed by Cynthia Bechtel, Mark Messenger and Christina Montuouri. Their vision of the present-day Euclid Tower is what you see in my photographs.

You can read about the Euclid Tower’s restoration 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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