Liberty Station Command Center’s historical exhibits.

Historic Decatur Road entrance of Dick Laub NTC Command Center at Liberty Station in Point Loma.
Historic Decatur Road entrance of Dick Laub NTC Command Center at Liberty Station in Point Loma.

Some time ago I visited the Command Center at NTC Liberty Station in Point Loma. Two interesting exhibits can be found along the main hallway that runs the length of the historic building. The Command Center was once the operational hub of former Naval Training Center San Diego.

The museum-like Stockdale Family Exhibit concerns the life and history of celebrated Navy Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale and his wife Sybil. The Point Loma Legacy Wing contains many displays that provide insights into the fascinating history of San Diego’s Point Loma.

Should you visit, here’s what you’ll see…

Built in 1941, The Command Center (Building 200) was the focal point of the base. These were offices for the highest-ranking officers, including the Admiral in Command of the Center.
Built in 1941, The Command Center (Building 200) was the focal point of the base. These were offices for the highest-ranking officers, including the Admiral in Command of the Center.
Looking from inside the Command Center southeast toward Preble Field and a large American flag.
Looking from inside the Command Center southeast toward Preble Field and a large American flag.
Inside the entrance to the Command Center. Various signs and free literature provide information about the converted military base and its many cultural attractions.
Inside the entrance to the Command Center. Various signs and free literature provide information about the converted military base and its many cultural attractions.
Naval Training Center, San Diego. The recruit story is one of personal transformation; a recruit's experience from arrival through graduation is the foundation for memories...
Naval Training Center, San Diego. The recruit story is one of personal transformation; a recruit’s experience from arrival through graduation is the foundation for memories…
In Memory Of Richard Dick Laub. Dick gave credit for much of his success to the G.I. Bill. His passion was the sea and fishing.
In Memory Of Richard “Dick” Laub. Dick gave credit for much of his success to the G.I. Bill. His passion was the sea and fishing.
One wing of the NTC Command Center today contains the Stockdale Family Exhibit. James and his wife Sybil are Navy heroes from the Vietnam War era.
One wing of the NTC Command Center today contains the Stockdale Family Exhibit. James and his wife Sybil are Navy heroes from the Vietnam War era.
Vice Admiral James Stockdale, long-time resident of Coronado, obtained and conveyed important tactical information while imprisoned in Vietnam
Vice Admiral James Stockdale, long-time resident of Coronado, obtained and conveyed important tactical information while imprisoned in North Vietnam
Stockdale was candidate for United States Vice President in 1992 on Ross Perot's independent ticket. During a debate, he famously said Who am I Why am I here.
Stockdale was candidate for United States Vice President in 1992 on Ross Perot’s independent ticket. During a debate, he famously said: “Who am I? Why am I here?”
The exhibit contains photographs and objects from James and Sybil Stockdale's family life.
The exhibit contains photographs and objects from James and Sybil Stockdale’s family life.
The Point Loma Legacy Wing at the NTC Command Center contains two walls of fascinating displays concerning this area's history.
The Point Loma Legacy Wing at the NTC Command Center contains two walls of fascinating displays concerning this area’s history.
The Point Loma lighthouse, erected in 1854, housed a principal keeper and an assistant keeper. In 1933, the lighthouse became part of Cabrillo National Monument and was restored.
The Point Loma lighthouse, erected in 1854, housed a principal keeper and an assistant keeper. In 1933, the lighthouse became part of Cabrillo National Monument and was restored.
San Diego yacht clubs offer camaraderie, friendships and sport. The first club, founded in 1852, was the Pacific Pioneer Yacht Club. In 1886, the San Diego Yacht Club was established.
San Diego yacht clubs offer camaraderie, friendships and sport. The first club, founded in 1852, was the Pacific Pioneer Yacht Club. In 1886, the San Diego Yacht Club was established.
Display case contains artifacts from the San Diego Maritime Museum, including model of a tuna boat.
Display case contains artifacts from the San Diego Maritime Museum, including model of a tuna boat.
The first fish cannery was built in 1909 at La Playa designed for processing sardines. Albacore canning started in 1911.
The first fish cannery was built in 1909 at La Playa designed for processing sardines. Albacore canning started in 1911.
Pole fishing for tuna was a major industry in San Diego from 1930 through the 1940s. Tuna pole fishing boats traveled up and down the Pacific coast for both albacore and yellowfin.
Pole fishing for tuna was a major industry in San Diego from 1930 through the 1940s. Tuna pole fishing boats traveled up and down the Pacific coast for both albacore and yellowfin.
Ballast Point is a small peninsula extending from Point Loma into the channel entrance to the harbor of San Diego. Cobblestones on the point were used for ballast by early trade ships.
Ballast Point is a small peninsula extending from Point Loma into the channel entrance to the harbor of San Diego. Cobblestones on the point were used for ballast by early trade ships.
The Point Loma kelp forest is part of one the largest kelp forests in the northern hemisphere. Giant kelp is a species of marine alga, which may grow up to 200 feet in length.
The Point Loma kelp forest is part of one the largest kelp forests in the northern hemisphere. Giant kelp is a species of marine alga, which may grow up to 200 feet in length.
Fort Rosecrans. In 1793, British Captain George Vancouver entered San Diego harbor. He noted the port would be better defended from the Point Loma peninsula.
Fort Rosecrans. In 1793, British Captain George Vancouver entered San Diego harbor. He noted the port would be better defended from the Point Loma peninsula.
Dutch Flats and the Marine Command Recruit Division. Plans were devised by San Diego Congressman William Kettner. A tidal marsh would be dredged and filled.
Dutch Flats and the Marine Command Recruit Division. Plans were devised by San Diego Congressman William Kettner. A tidal marsh would be dredged and filled.
Anchor and Sybil Stockdale Rose Garden next to NTC Command Center. Photo taken from Legacy Plaza near the center of Liberty Station.
Anchor and Sybil Stockdale Rose Garden next to NTC Command Center. Photo taken from Legacy Plaza near the center of Liberty Station.

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Watercolor Society members paint portraits near roses.

Artist works at edge of the Sybil Stockdale Rose Garden behind the Command Center at NTC Liberty Station.
Artist works by the Sybil Stockdale Rose Garden, behind the Command Center at NTC Liberty Station.

Yesterday, while I waited for the San Diego Comic Art Gallery to open, I walked a bit around NTC Liberty Station. I was pleased to stumble upon painters at work in the beautiful rose garden behind the old Command Center. I learned the artists were members of the San Diego Watercolor Society, which has its gallery in one of the nearby buildings. I took a few photos that you might enjoy.

Members of the San Diego Watercolor Society practice painting portraits amid beautiful roses
Members of the San Diego Watercolor Society practice painting portraits amid beautiful roses
This creative lady at an easel sported a cool paint palette hat!
This creative lady at an easel wore a unique paint palette hat!
Brushes wait on a nearby bench.
Brushes wait on a nearby bench.
The painters appeared to be mostly working from photographs.
The painters appeared to be mostly working from photographs.
Friendly gentleman receives some feedback as he carefully applies color to a canvas.
Friendly gentleman receives some feedback as he carefully applies color to a canvas.
Artist in a corner of NTC Liberty Station creates a watercolor portrait.
Artist in a corner of NTC Liberty Station creates a watercolor portrait.
Another member of the San Diego Watercolor Society walks toward the old Command Center on a perfect Saturday.
Another member of the San Diego Watercolor Society walks toward the old Command Center on a perfect Saturday.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at IDW comic art gallery!

A very cool comic art gallery created by IDW Publishing opened a little over a week ago in San Diego's Liberty Station.
A very cool comic art gallery created by IDW Publishing opened a little over a week ago in San Diego’s Liberty Station.

This morning I enjoyed an incredible treat. I checked out the new San Diego Comic Art Gallery, part of IDW Publishing’s new headquarters at NTC Liberty Station. IDW is the fourth largest comic book publisher in the United States, and their rapid expansion was the reason for their move. Their new home is in a renovated barracks at the historic Naval Training Center San Diego, located in Point Loma. NTC Liberty Station has become home to a number of other museums, galleries and cultural attractions, a few of which I’ve blogged about already.

The first exhibition at the San Diego Comic Art Gallery concerns the art of Kevin Eastman. He is a co-creator of the stupendously successful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He and Peter Laird imagined the funny characters during a casual brainstorming session over thirty years ago. Their Mirage Studios was founded in 1983. IDW now owns publishing rights to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so original artwork provided by Kevin Eastman appropriately fills the comic gallery for the public to freely enjoy. Perhaps the most incredible part of the exhibition is a realistic representation of his studio, filled with creative materials and his own personal collectibles. There are shelves and shelves of toys, figurines and cool pop culture stuff!

Flash photography is not allowed in the museum-like gallery, because the light degrades the extremely valuable artwork. Consequently, many of my photos came out dim or blurred. Here are a few which turned out reasonably okay. They provide a flavor of what you’ll see should you visit!

The first exhibition of the San Diego Comic Art Gallery features the work of Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The first exhibition of the San Diego Comic Art Gallery features the work of Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Kevin Eastman began reading comics and drawing at a very young age. Major influences include Jack Kirby and science fiction. He created a character named Ninja Turtle just for fun.
Kevin Eastman began reading comics and drawing at a very young age. Major influences include Jack Kirby and science fiction. He created a character named Ninja Turtle just for fun.
One of several TMNT drawings in a front window at the new San Diego Comic Art Gallery.
One of several TMNT drawings in a front window at the new San Diego Comic Art Gallery.
Many examples of original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle artwork are on display in the fun, family-friendly museum.
Many examples of original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle artwork are on display in the fun, family-friendly museum.
Foot Warrior Chick and a Foot Ninja with cloak, two enemies of the world-famous comic book, movie and cartoon turtles.
Foot Warrior Chick and a Foot Ninja with cloak, two enemies of the world-famous comic book, movie and cartoon turtles.
Images in one display show some work of comic artist Kevin Eastman and the studio where he has worked.
Images in one display show some work of comic artist Kevin Eastman and the studio where he has worked.
The studio you see before you is what I work in today. Every item has been brought from my home studio, and personal collections spanning over thirty five years. Cowabunga Dude!
The studio you see before you is what I work in today. Every item has been brought from my home studio, and personal collections spanning over thirty five years. Cowabunga Dude!
Photo through glass of the Kevin Eastman studio, transported to San Diego for this special exhibition.
Photo through glass of the Kevin Eastman studio, transported to San Diego for this special exhibition.
Wood panel by studio window shows the four funny, dynamic turtles in action.
Wood panel by studio window shows the four funny, dynamic turtles in action.
Leonardo, wearing a blue mask, overlooks visitors to a room where kids and adults are encouraged to draw, experience and read about comic art.
Venus, wearing a blue mask, overlooks visitors to a room where kids and adults are encouraged to draw, experience and read about comic art.
Inked panel is one sample of the fun TMNT artwork on display at the Kevin Eastman exhibition.
Inked panel is one sample of the fun TMNT artwork on display at the Kevin Eastman exhibition.
From sketch to finished page, visitors to the gallery can view a comic book's creative process.
From sketch to finished page, visitors to the gallery can view a comic book’s creative process.
Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello and Splinter, the Turtles’ sensei.
Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello and Splinter, the Turtles’ sensei.
Shredder, the villainous leader of the Foot Clan in New York City.
Shredder, the villainous leader of the Foot Clan in New York City.
Colorful graphic depicts Raphael, of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Colorful graphic depicts Raphael, of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Life is Art. Paint your Dreams.
Life is Art. Paint your Dreams.

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Photos of cool sculptures at Liberty Station.

Mother by Robert Michael Jones appears complex and incomplete. According to the artist, his unusual sculptures represent ongoing life stories.
Mother by Robert Michael Jones appears complex and incomplete. According to the artist, his unusual sculptures represent ongoing life stories.

I still have a bunch of photos to share from my long walk around Liberty Station several weeks ago!

Check out these cool sculptures! I stumbled upon them while wandering about the North Promenade area of the old Naval Training Center San Diego. NTC Liberty Station, with its rich history, unique architecture, many museums and fun public art, is a great place to absorb a whole lot of culture and beauty.

Runner by Robert Michael Jones with strange muscle, bone and energy. Three pieces by this artist stand in front of NTC Liberty Station's Barracks 14.
Runner by Robert Michael Jones with strange muscle, bone and energy. Three pieces by this artist stand in front of NTC Liberty Station’s Barracks 14.
Close up photo of Ascend by Robert Michael Jones. His works seem like frayed, ancient images of human struggle from mythology.
Close up photo of Ascend by Robert Michael Jones. His works seem like frayed, ancient images of human struggle from mythology.
Archimage by Jeffery Laudenslager, whose sculptures often use odd geometry to boggle the mind. This piece, near the Dance Place, won an Orchid award in 1999.
Fuji San by Jeffery Laudenslager, whose sculptures often use odd geometry to boggle the mind.
Sol Searching by Alber De Matteis was part of an Urban Tree exhibition on San Diego's Embarcadero. It's now situated on Truxton Road south of the Dance Place building.
Sol Searching by Alber De Matteis was part of an Urban Trees exhibition on San Diego’s Embarcadero. It’s now situated on Truxton Road south of the Dance Place building.
Archangel by famed Mexican sculptor Alfonso Arambula Robles. It's located between two converted barracks at the former Naval Training Center San Diego.
Archangel by famed Mexican sculptor Alfonso Arambula Robles. It’s located by Barracks 16 at the former Naval Training Center San Diego.
Sisterhood by Ashley Gardner stands next to the Women's Museum of California.
Sisterhood sculpture by Mary Buckman stands next to the Women’s Museum of California.
Two life-size sisters greet visitors who wander about Point Loma's art-filled Liberty Station.
Two life-size sisters greet visitors who wander about Point Loma’s art-filled Liberty Station.

UPDATE!  Here are two more photos that I took on a sunnier day:

Archangel, kinetic artwork by Mexican sculptor Alfonso Arambula Robles.
Archangel, kinetic artwork by Mexican sculptor Alfonso Arambula Robles.
Light shines on Sisterhood terracotta sculpture, by artist Mary Buckman.
Light shines on Sisterhood terracotta sculpture, by artist Mary Buckman.

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Historical exhibit at Women’s Museum of California.

Important stories from local history are preserved at the Women’s Museum of California in Liberty Station.
Important stories from local history are preserved at the Women’s Museum of California.

The Women’s Museum of California is one of many cultural attractions that can be enjoyed at Liberty Station in Point Loma. I took some photos of a historical exhibit just outside their front door.

This unique museum was founded by Mary Maschal, a collector of memorabilia and artifacts pertaining to women. The collection has moved to different locations and evolved over the years; today it has grown into an important museum that features art shows, live performances, lectures and other educational events. Its mission is summarized by the slogan: Preserving the past…inspiring the future.

The women of Old Town, 1821-1872. Women and their families have lived in this area, called Cosoy by indigenous people, for over 10,000 years. This exhibit focuses on a short period.
The women of Old Town, 1821-1872. Women and their families have lived in this area, called Cosoy by indigenous people, for over 10,000 years. This exhibit focuses on a short period.
The historical experiences and accomplishments of local women are preserved at this unique San Diego museum.
The historical experiences and accomplishments of local women are preserved at this unique San Diego museum.
The Ipai and Tipai (Diegueño, Kumeyaay) resisted Christianity and the missions more than other indigenous Californians. Moved off their land, the women worked in the town and ranchos.
The Ipai and Tipai (Diegueño, Kumeyaay) resisted Christianity and the missions more than other indigenous Californians. Moved off their land, the women worked in the town and ranchos.
The few women in Old Town had more opportunities to earn money than in the Eastern U.S. They did traditional work--laundry, baking, cooking, sewing, tending to children and livestock.
The few women in Old Town had more opportunities to earn money than in the Eastern U.S. They did traditional work: laundry, baking, cooking, sewing, tending to children and livestock.
Settlers contributed to San Diego's complex society after 1830. Women arrived alone and with family after a difficult trip by stagecoach and ship.
Settlers contributed to San Diego’s complex society after 1830. Women arrived alone and with family after a difficult trip by stagecoach and ship.
Californios were a diverse group whose culture created el pueblo San Diego. They were descendants of mixed Spanish and indigenous peoples, often given land grants by Mexico.
Californios were a diverse group whose culture created el pueblo San Diego. They were descendants of mixed Spanish and indigenous peoples, often given land grants by Mexico.
Old photographs in an artifact that helps modern San Diegan's remember their rugged, fascinating past.
Old photographs in an artifact help modern San Diegans remember their rugged, fascinating past.

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Weathered yellow arches and a bold blue door.

Photo of shuttered windows taken through dark, weathered archway.
Photo of old, shuttered windows taken through dark, weathered archway.

During my recent ramble around NTC Liberty Station, I did some nosing around. I took a few interesting photos of a lonely portion of the old Naval Training Center San Diego that has yet to be renovated. A row of old, weathered barracks along the North Promenade are vacant and locked shut. But if you listen closely, and use a little imagination, it might be possible to hear the echoing footsteps of naval recruits from decades ago.

The old Naval Training Center in Point Loma is a fascinating place with a significant place in United States history. The idea of training sailors in San Diego was first explored in 1915 by Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt. When the complex was finally built in 1921, it was a modest affair, with several barracks, a mess hall, dispensary, and a few other buildings. It expanded over the years, and during World War II accommodated as many as 25,000 naval recruits. The center remained a vital resource of the United States Navy until 1997, when it was finally closed. Today around 50 original buildings along the beautiful promenade (which also includes the old base’s command center and parade ground) have been restored. Liberty Station has become a popular destination for shopping, recreation and a variety of cultural attractions.

In the following photos, you might note the architecture is mostly based on the Spanish Colonial Revival style, particularly the long arcades. The design of the Naval Training Center was directly influenced by buildings constructed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego’s Balboa Park.

Looking along the length of long-abandoned Barracks 5 at NTC Liberty Station.
Looking along the length of long-abandoned Barracks 5 at NTC Liberty Station.
Some old base signs still can be seen at the historic Naval Training Center San Diego.
Some old military base signs still can be seen at the historic Naval Training Center San Diego.
Buildings 18 and 25 remain empty. Most structures in the complex are renovated and have commercial or nonprofit tenants.
Buildings 18 and 25 remain empty. Most structures in the complex are renovated and have commercial or nonprofit tenants.
Simple geometry of functional architecture influenced by the Spanish Colonial Revival style.
Simple geometry of functional architecture influenced by the Spanish Colonial Revival style.
Peeling yellow paint on buildings where new United States Navy recruits used to train.
Peeling yellow paint on buildings where new United States Navy recruits used to train.
There's something strangely picturesque in this image of lonely decay.
There’s something strangely picturesque in this image of lonely decay.
With a bit of imagination, one can picture newly recruited sailors moving and marching through the Naval Training Center years ago.
With a bit of imagination, one can picture newly recruited sailors moving and marching through the Naval Training Center years ago.
This boldly painted blue door really catches the eye!
This boldly painted blue door really catches the eye!
Walking around NTC Liberty Station is like taking a small voyage back into history.
Walking around NTC Liberty Station is like taking a small voyage back into history.

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The fun, artistic benches of Liberty Station.

A happy sun shines above beach and ocean on this unique bench, where anyone might sit and relax.
A happy sun shines above beach and ocean on this unique bench, where anyone might sit and relax.

Liberty Station is a wonderful place to spend the day in Point Loma. Its beautiful promenade contains many small museums, art studios and cultural attractions. When you walk around the grounds of this brilliantly converted Naval Training Center, you’ll notice a number of artistic benches placed around the old barracks, military buildings and plazas. I recently took photos of many benches. Just for fun!

Photo of creative guy working near The Hot Spot walk-in art studio at Barracks 14.
Photo of creative guy working near The Hot Spot walk-in arts and crafts studio at Barracks 14.
One of several colorful benches inside Building 202, home to small museums and galleries.
One of several colorful benches inside Building 202, home to small museums and galleries.
This wildly creative work of art is just too much fun!
This wildly creative work of art is just too much fun!
An outdoor bench welcomes visitors to history-rich San Diego attraction NTC Liberty Station.
An outdoor bench welcomes visitors to history-rich San Diego attraction NTC Liberty Station.
Looks to me like we're supposed to sit here!
Looks to me like we’re supposed to sit here!
Shops and restaurants around Liberty Station provide many treats. So does this seat!
Shops and restaurants around Liberty Station provide many treats. So does this seat!
Cool scene of breaching whales decorates this bench found on the North Promenade.
Cool scene of breaching whales decorates this bench found on the North Promenade.  The artist is David Mandel.
Another super fun whale bench awaits walkers with tired feet.
Another fun whale bench awaits people at Liberty Station with tired feet.  Colorful ocean art by David Mandel.
Check out this Yellow Brick Road to Emerald City bench, straight from the Wizard of Oz!
Check out this Yellow Brick Road to Emerald City bench, straight from The Wizard of Oz!
Smiling, active people, playful dogs and a whole lot of heart!
Smiling, active people, playful dogs and a whole lot of heart!
If music be the food of love, play on!
If music be the food of love, play on!

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