Cool public art in Middletown that nobody sees.

There’s some very cool public art in Middletown that almost nobody sees. You can find it at the intersection of Kettner Boulevard and West Palm Street, just east of the San Diego Trolley’s Middletown Station. A mosaic welcomes people to the ramp that ascends to the pedestrian bridge that crosses over Interstate 5.

Very few people use this pedestrian bridge. They are the only ones who are likely to see this public art. Drivers coming down Kettner might glimpse something, but it requires a good turn of the head at exactly the right moment. The artwork is on a wall tucked in a corner.

I don’t know who created this colorful mosaic. Some names are written on it. The mosaic is composed of tiles, stones, sculpted clay, beads, bits of glass. There are images of surfers, skateboarders, butterflies, flowers… There are wise sayings. It appears to be a community project. I’ve searched the internet but find nothing.

If you know more about this fantastic but mysterious public artwork, please leave a comment!

Thinking is more interesting than knowing but less interesting than looking...
Thinking is more interesting than knowing but less interesting than looking…
You cannot stop the waves but you can learn to surf.
You cannot stop the waves but you can learn to surf.

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!

A walk from Middletown to Broadway Pier.

Part of a long mural on the back of a building behind the Park 'N Fly Lot 1 on Pacific Highway.
Part of a cool mural on a building behind the Park ‘N Fly Lot 1 on Pacific Highway.

Today I got off from work a little early, so I decided to use my extra time for a walk from the Middletown trolley station down to the Embarcadero.

My main intention was to get photographs of a long mural I’ve glimpsed while driving along Pacific Highway near San Diego International Airport. The mural is a fair distance from the street, on the back of an old building behind the Park ‘N Fly Lot 1.

I snapped some photos of the cool mural, but as you can see, the results were not all that great. After doing some internet searching, I still know nothing about this artwork.

My walk turned west on Laurel Street as a series of airplanes came in for landings overhead. My eyes moved right and left searching for interesting sights, but nothing struck my fancy until I came to the big white anchor in the grassy median at the intersection of Harbor Drive and Laurel Street.

I vaguely recall learning something about this historical anchor–where it came from–but now when I do some searching I come up with nothing. The big anchor has been a landmark occupying that spot for as long as I can remember.

My leisurely walk south along the Embarcadero stalled when I came to the Maritime Museum of San Diego. I’m a member, so naturally I had to enjoy the elegant passenger deck of the steam ferry Berkeley to do some quiet reading. When I noticed through a window that the sun was about to slip behind clouds, I ventured outside and took more photos.

The photograph of Sea Shepherd’s vessel Farley Mowat reminds me that I blogged about their mission to protect the critically endangered vaquita porpoise a couple years ago.

My walk then resumed, and I proceeded along the water to Broadway Pier.

The extensive mural on the building is blocked by parked cars and too distant from the street for a good photograph.
The long mural near Pacific Highway is blocked by parked cars and too distant from the sidewalk for a good photograph.
An airplane comes in for a landing at San Diego International Airport near the intersection of Pacific Highway and Laurel Street.
An airplane comes in for a landing at San Diego International Airport near the intersection of Pacific Highway and Laurel Street.
Here comes another plane for a late afternoon arrival.
Here comes another plane for a late afternoon arrival.
A plane lands at San Diego International Airport, just beyond a large white anchor at Harbor Drive and Laurel Street.
A plane lands at San Diego International Airport, just beyond the large white anchor at Harbor Drive and Laurel Street.
A closer photo of the historical anchor.
A close photo of the anchor. If I obtain more information about its history, I’ll post an update.
Circling the big anchor, my camera captured the skyline of downtown San Diego.
After I circled the big anchor, my camera captured the skyline of downtown San Diego.
Now I'm on the Embarcadero by the water, in the Crescent Area that I visited in my last blog post.
Now I’m on the Embarcadero by the water, in the Crescent Area that I visited in my last blog post.
Photo from the Steam Ferry Berkeley of Farley Mowat which is now docked in San Diego. Sea Shepherd's vessel will soon return to the Sea of Cortez to protect the vaquita.
Photo from the steam ferry Berkeley of the Farley Mowat, which is presently docked in San Diego. Sea Shepherd’s vessel will soon return to the Sea of Cortez to resume its urgent mission protecting the critically endangered vaquita.
The sun is still shining on the floating barge behind the Berkeley.
The sun is still shining on the floating barge behind the Berkeley.
People enjoy a look inside the Spanish galleon replica San Salvador.
People enjoy exploring the Spanish galleon replica San Salvador.
The sun shines out from behind clouds, and the masts of America, Californian and San Salvador.
The sun shines out from behind clouds . . . and the masts of America, Californian and San Salvador.
People relax on one of the benches along the edge of Broadway Pier. The fog-like marine layer is coming in over Point Loma as nightfall approaches.
People relax on one of the benches along the edge of Broadway Pier. The fog-like marine layer is coming in over Point Loma as nightfall approaches.
Spirit of San Diego is coming in from a harbor cruise.
Spirit of San Diego is coming in from a harbor cruise.
Piloting the incoming ship, with the USS Midway Museum in the background.
Piloting the incoming ship, with the USS Midway Museum in the background.
Downtown buildings reflected in windows of the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier.
Downtown buildings reflected in windows of the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier.
Late sunlight shines from beautiful high-rise buildings in downtown San Diego.
Late sunlight shines from high-rise buildings in beautiful downtown San Diego.

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!

The fantastic, amazing Harper’s Topiary Garden!

People ride past what is possibly the most amazing, fantastic front yard in all of San Diego!
People ride past what is possibly the most amazing, fantastic front yard in all of San Diego!

I walked through Middletown yesterday on a mission. I wanted to pay a visit to the locally famous Harper’s Topiary Garden!

What a fantastic, amazing creation! This private front yard on a hillside has been transformed by the residents into a eye-popping landscape of weird animals and delightful designs. I felt as though I’d stepped into a small world touched by magic.

This is one super cool sight that is undeniably extraordinary!

Human imagination coupled with passion can actually turn wildest dreams into reality!

Mission Hill Garden Club asks How Does Your Garden Grow? I'll bet it's nothing like the Harper's Topiary Garden!
Mission Hill Garden Club asks How Does Your Garden Grow? I’ll bet it’s nothing like the Harper’s Topiary Garden!
Harper's Topiary Garden seems to be a combination of a vegetable Noah's Ark and an army of unearthly creatures paralyzed by magic.
Harper’s Topiary Garden seems to be a combination of a vegetable Noah’s Ark and an army of fantasy creatures paralyzed by magic.
A green guy in a sombrero takes a siesta. Perhaps this is his dream.
A green guy in a sombrero takes a siesta. Perhaps this is his dream.
A funny rabbit stands and points among many topiary creatures.
A funny rabbit stands and points among many topiary oddities.
It appears that Edna Scissorhands is kept quite busy.
It appears that Edna Scissorhands is kept quite busy.
Harper's Topiary Garden is a marvel of human creativity.
Harper’s Topiary Garden is a marvel of human creativity.
Those who drive up this street might be in for a great surprise!
Those who drive up this street might be in for a great surprise!
Cats and critters with long ears lounge in the sun near the top of the wonderfully weird garden. I think I also see a robot.
Cats and critters with long ears lounge in the sun near the top of the wonderfully weird garden. I think I also see a robot.
Perhaps the garden was inspired a bit by the fantastic worlds of Dr. Seuss, who lived in nearby La Jolla.
Perhaps the garden is inspired a bit by the fantastic worlds of Dr. Seuss, who lived in nearby La Jolla.
A most fantastic topiary garden. A treat for the eyes!
A most amazing topiary garden. A treat for the eyes!

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!

Photos of a walk up India Street in Middletown.

The Interstate 5 pedestrian overpass at Palm Street connects India Street to Kettner Boulevard. It is little used. The homeless sometimes make it their home.
The gritty Interstate 5 pedestrian overpass at Palm Street connects India Street to Kettner Boulevard. It is little used. The homeless sometimes make it their home.

Just a few quick urban photos.

My long walk today included a stretch along India Street in San Diego’s Middletown neighborhood. I sauntered up India Street from Palm Street to Vine Street, in order to check out something indescribably cool that I will soon blog about. I then turned about and returned to the pedestrian freeway overpass, where I crossed over to Kettner Boulevard and made my way to the nearby Middletown trolley station.

The road here is in constant motion, with loads of traffic to and from Interstate 5. As I headed up the sidewalk I passed a number of small businesses in plain, mostly unremarkable buildings. Looking eastward I observed a jumble of modest but colorful houses climbing the steep hill. From busy India Street, residential streets ascend a short distance toward the top of Bankers Hill, and Mission Hills to the north.

Stay tuned! I have many more photos coming from today’s adventure! There’s a good chance you’ll really enjoy the aforementioned super cool sight!

In addition, before I headed up India Street, I checked out a new park in Bankers Hill and learned about some incredible, little known San Diego history!

I also swung by Balboa Park. I’ll be posting those photos later on my other blog, Beautiful Balboa Park!

I hope you all are having a great weekend!

At first glance I thought some people were just hanging out above the freeway--but I was wrong! They were taking urban photographs with a model.
At first glance I thought some people were just hanging out above the freeway–but I was wrong! They were taking urban photographs with a model.
A stretch of India Street looking north from the overpass. Cars speed along continuously. As I proceeded up the opposite sidewalk for many blocks, I saw no other walkers.
A stretch of India Street looking north from the overpass. Cars speed along continuously. As I proceeded up the opposite sidewalk for many blocks, I saw no other walkers.
Bright clouds in an urban setting.
Bright clouds in an urban setting.
An interesting doorway beckons customers into the Starlite eatery.
An interesting doorway beckons customers from India Street into the Starlite eatery.
Cacti rise below electrical wires.
Cacti rise beneath electrical wires.
I'm approaching the Aero Club.
I’m approaching the Aero Club. It seems my camera was aimed upward quite a bit today.
Bold graphics on the white wall by their parking lot.
Bold graphics on the white wall by the bar’s parking lot.
Two golden mermaids above the front door of the Aero Club.
Two golden mermaids above the front door of the Aero Club.
It appears someone scratched many warnings, symbols, theories and ideas on a section of the sidewalk.
Someone scratched many warnings, symbols, concerns and thoughts on a section of the sidewalk. Where is that person now?
A fragment of sidewalk remains from 1914.
A fragment of sidewalk remains from 1914.
A colorful dinosaur on the building of Dyno Brand custom t-shirts!
A colorful dinosaur on the building of Dyno Brand custom t-shirts!

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!

Walk under cool bridges on Maple Canyon Trail.

View of the Quince Street Trestle from a spot on Fourth Avenue.
View of the Quince Street Trestle from a spot on Fourth Avenue.

Many nature hikes can be enjoyed in Balboa Park. But there’s another beautiful, quiet hike through date palms and eucalyptus trees and bright spring flowers that anyone can enjoy just a few blocks north of downtown San Diego.

The Maple Canyon Trail stretches from a trailhead near Quince Street and Third Avenue on Bankers Hill to a second trailhead at Maple Street and Dove Street in Middletown. It often seems that the only people who use the trail are dog walkers and joggers who live nearby. Those who haven’t hiked this easy trail are missing out on a unique experience. The Maple Canyon Trail passes under two cool historic bridges!

The Quince Street Trestle is a visually interesting wooden footbridge that was built in 1905. Back then streetcars ran up Fourth Avenue, and the trestle allowed pedestrians to cross the steep canyon from the west. A quarter century ago the bridge, weakened by termites and rot, was closed and almost demolished. Local residents took up the cause of saving the bridge, which was finally declared a historic site.

The Maple Canyon Trail also passes beneath the impressive First Avenue Bridge. The arched steel bridge was built in 1931 and was originally known as the Peoples Bridge. Its astonishing height above the trail is a reminder of San Diego’s unique geology. Southern California’s coastal region is crisscrossed in many places by deep, narrow canyons, which often serve as undeveloped habitat for native species of plant and animal life.

Small cabinet at end of footbridge contains books that people can freely borrow!
Small cabinet at end of footbridge contains books that people can freely borrow!
Walking across the very cool historic trestle on Bankers Hill.
Walking across the very cool historic trestle on Bankers Hill.
Looking down from the trestle at dogs and walker passing through the canyon below.
Looking down from trestle at dogs and walker passing through the canyon below.
This super cool condo is located near the Third Avenue trailhead.
This super cool condo is located near the Third Avenue trailhead.
Maple Canyon Open Space sign near trailhead on Bankers Hill.
Maple Canyon Open Space sign near trailhead on Bankers Hill.
Looking up at the wooden footbridge from the quiet footpath on a sunny day.
Looking up at the wooden footbridge from the quiet footpath on a sunny day.
Wooden beams compose the high trestle.
Wood beams compose the high trestle.
Grass and spring flowers line the Maple Canyon Trail.
Grass and spring flowers line the Maple Canyon Trail.
Some interesting houses can be seen up on the hillsides.
Some interesting houses can be seen up on the hillsides.
Here comes the First Avenue Bridge beyond a eucalyptus tree.
Here comes the First Avenue Bridge beyond a eucalyptus tree.
This elegant old steel bridge has very limited traffic.
This elegant old steel bridge has very limited motor traffic.

To enjoy future posts, you can “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook¬†or follow me on Twitter.

The historic Mission Brewery in Middletown.

Mission Revival style brewery was built in 1912.
Mission Revival style brewery was built in 1912.

A very cool building is located in San Diego’s Middletown neighborhood, near the intersection of Washington Street and Interstate 5. Here are a few photos I took the other morning!

The historic building, dating from 1912, was the first brewery in the United States to be built in the Mission Revival Style. Today it remains the only Mission Revival industrial building in San Diego.

Briefly, prior to Prohibition, a non-alcoholic drink called Hopski was produced here. The large building then served as an isolation hospital during the 1918 flu pandemic. Later it was converted into an agar plant. Today the historic landmark is a part of Mission Brewery Plaza, whose buildings contains professional offices and a new craft brewery called Acoustic Ales Brewing Experiment.

The building has served many purposes over the years.
The building has served many purposes over the years.
Acoustic Ales Brewing Experiment now occupies this area.
Acoustic Ales Brewing Experiment now occupies this area.
Where beer is made today.
Where beer is made today.
Old production vat now is an outside fountain.
Old production vat now is an outside fountain.
A very cool building!
A very cool building!

To enjoy future posts, you can “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter.

Plaque remembers San Diego’s first sheriff.

plaque of san diego's first sheriff

A large plaque affixed to a boulder near the House of Hungary in Balboa Park’s International Cottages remembers San Diego’s first sheriff, Agoston Haraszthy.

Haraszthy, born in 1812, was the first Hungarian to settle permanently in the United States. Before coming to San Diego, he founded the oldest incorporated village in Wisconsin and operated the first commercial steamboat on the upper Mississippi River.

After moving to San Diego, he formed a partnership with Juan Bandini and began many business and agricultural projects. He planted fruit orchards, operated a livery stable and stagecoach line, and opened a butcher shop. He was instrumental in organizing a large portion of San Diego called Middletown, which many called Haraszthyville. He imported grape vines and planted a vineyard near the San Diego River.

In 1850 he was elected first sheriff of San Diego County.

House of Hungary in Balboa Park's International Cottages.
House of Hungary in Balboa Park’s International Cottages.