Nautical History Gallery & Museum opens!

An amazing new museum had its Grand Opening at Liberty Station today! The Nautical History Gallery & Museum is jam-packed with carefully constructed displays, providing visitors with the U.S. Navy History Experience, 1775-1945.

Museum artist and curator Joe Frangiosa, Jr. has served in both the Navy and Marines. By carefully studying historical photographs, he has been able to craft very realistic miniature ship models. Many of his detailed models can be viewed in the museum’s exhibits, which cover different periods of U.S. Navy history.

The Nautical History Gallery & Museum is located in Room 108 of Liberty Station’s old Command Center. Joe has created and amassed so many artifacts concerning naval history that only a portion of his collection is on display. There’s so much to absorb, a curious visitor could spend a good long time looking at it all!

Visitors to the one-room museum can also view a historical video and Joe’s workshop area, where you might see him concentrating on another model!

If you are interested in military history, model making or the U.S. Navy, this remarkable museum is a must see. If, like me, you are fascinated by ships, the evolution of technology and human history, you’ll probably enjoy it, too!

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A walk into history down Mule Hill Trail.

Walk down Mule Hill Trail at the south end of Escondido and you’ll find yourself stepping into history.

A while back I blogged about the forgotten town of Bernardo. A hundred years ago it was located in farmland near this trail, prior to the creation of Lake Hodges.

Down this same trail information signs mark the location of Mule Hill, where a skirmish took place during the Mexican-American War.

Seeking shelter among rocky outcroppings, General Kearny established a defensive position against pursuing Californios, as his U.S. Dragoons retreated toward San Diego after the Battle of San Pasqual.

The precise location of this skirmish was in debate for many years. Here are some interesting articles.

Today, after a short, easy walk south down Mule Hill Trail, you’ll see the outcroppings rising above several signs. You can find the wide dirt trail just east of Interstate 15, off Bear Valley Parkway, before Beethoven Drive.

Beginning south down Mule Hill Trail, part of the San Dieguito River Park.

The wide, easy trail leads south toward both Mule Hill and the forgotten town of Bernardo.

Off to the right near river trees, a solitary sign beckons.

Start of the Engagement, December 7, 1846

“Late in the evening, when we had arrived within about four hundred yards of the water where we intended to camp, they charged us, coming on in two bodies and compelling us to retreat to a pile of rocks about two hundred yards away on our left . . . ” source–Kit Carson’s Autobiography

Continuing our walk south. Jumbled boulders can be seen on the hill to our left.

We’ve arrived at three signs near a pair of rock outcroppings that figure in the early history of San Diego. The signs explain what happened here at Mule Hill.

Mule Hill Standoff

On December 7, the American soldiers, sailors and volunteers under command of Brigadier General Stephen Watts Kearny, were attacked from the rear by Mexican forces 250 yards northwest of this location…

The Mexican forces recruited for the defense of their homeland were led by Captain Andres Pico . . . The forces were primarily comprised of Californios, residents of California at that time who descended from Mexican and Spanish colonialists…

The Americans were short of food and resorted to eating their mules, hence the name “Mule Hill” for this site…

…Navy Lieutenant Edward Beale volunteered to sneak through the Mexican lines to seek help from San Diego, and he asked that army scout Kit Carson go with him.

Standoff Continues

On December 8, after the sun had set, Beale, Carson and a Native American (identity unknown to us) sneaked through three lines of Mexican sentries…Nearing San Diego, they separated…The Native American arrived in San Diego first…

On December 9, with little food, water or supplies and a number of wounded men, General Kearny made the decision to fight his way to San Diego…

On December 10, Sergeant John Cox died and was buried at Mule Hill…

On December 11… A relief column of 100 sailors and 80 marines, sent by Commodore Robert Stockton, had arrived. The Mexican force, now outnumbered, withdrew. Later that morning the Americans left Mule Hill and marched to what is now Old Town, San Diego, thus completing a 2,000 mile march from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

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I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

Rare airplane debuts on USS Midway!

Today a very rare airplane was transported across San Diego Bay. An enormous floating crane carried a restored Vought F7U Cutlass from Naval Air Station North Island and set it down onto the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum aircraft carrier.

Only seven Vought F7U Cutlass aircraft, built in the early years of the Cold War, are known to still exist. One of them was carefully restored at North Island. Today it joined many other historical aircraft on display at the USS Midway Museum.

I saw the tall crane as it was being pushed by a tugboat away from the museum. Then I observed an unusual plane perched on the flight deck by the aircraft carrier’s horns. A docent informed me what had just happened!

The Vought F7U Cutlass is a very odd looking airplane. Its design is unusual–there is no tail! See its Wikipedia page here!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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The Naked Warrior stands in Coronado park.

In Coronado, at the water’s edge in Glorietta Bay Park, just south of the boat ramp, stands The Naked Warrior. South of the sculpture and its nearby park benches one can see Naval Amphibious Base Coronado stretching into San Diego Bay.

Beneath the feet of the bronze sculpture is a plaque and the words FIRST ASHORE.

THE NAKED WARRIOR

Artist: John Seward Johnson II

THIS WORLD WAR II COMBAT SWIMMER COMMEMORATES THE U.S. NAVY’S UNDERWATER DEMOLITION (UDT) AND SEA, AIR AND LAND (SEAL) TEAMS. THEY HAVE TRAINED AND HAVE BEEN BASED IN CORONADO SINCE 1946. THESE “NAKED WARRIORS” SWAM UNARMED ONTO HEAVILY DEFENDED ENEMY BEACHES WITH EXPLOSIVES TO CLEAR THE WAY FOR AMPHIBIOUS LANDINGS, HENCE THEIR MOTTO “FIRST ASHORE.” THE CONCRETE “SCULLY” ON WHICH THIS FROGMAN STANDS IS TYPICAL OF THE UNDERWATER OBSTACLES THEY RISKED THEIR LIVES TO DESTROY. THEIR LEGACY OF “NEVER QUIT,” WHILE EXECUTING THE MOST DIFFICULT MILITARY MISSIONS FOR OUR COUNTRY, IS STILL IMBUED IN EVERY NAVY SEAL WHOSE UNIFORM BEARS THE NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE TRIDENT INSIGNIA. ON THE BEACHES JUST SOUTH OF THIS SITE, BASIC UNDERWATER DEMOLITION/SEAL TRAINING (BUD/S) GOES ON YEAR ROUND. THE SAILORS WHO COMPLETE BUD/S GO ON TO ADVANCED TRAINING AND ARE THEN ASSIGNED TO U.S. NAVY SEAL TEAMS, BECOMING THE ELITE WARRIORS OUR COUNTRY RELIES UPON FOR COMPLEX AND NO-FAIL SPECIAL OPERATIONS MISSIONS WORLDWIDE.

DONATED TO THE CITY OF CORONADO BY
THE NATIONAL NAVY UDT-SEAL MUSEUM
THE NAVY SEAL FOUNDATION

DEDICATED NOVEMBER 11, 2016

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More gratitude the day after Veterans Day.

Yesterday was Veterans Day. Today, Saturday, the House of USA in Balboa Park held a special program remembering and thanking Veterans.

I lingered on the lawn of the International Cottages for a while and listened to the music of the San Diego City Guard Band. I also listened to short speeches concerning sacrifices made by Veterans.

A local chapter of the DAR had a display out on the grass, which I also looked at. California is home to many Medal of Honor recipients.

Sadly, Balboa Park’s lawn programs are often not well attended. The few who sat down to listen today heard important stories about fellow citizens who fought to protect our Freedom.

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Honoring heroes at Veterans Day Parade in Escondido!

Escondido’s 3rd Annual Veterans Day Parade was held this morning in downtown Escondido!

Marching bands, vintage cars, equestrian groups, dancers, fire engines, and smiling people of all ages, many of whom were Veterans, paraded down Grand Avenue. Then each group turned around and paraded on back! Which created a unique “double” parade, as you’ll see in some of the upcoming photographs!

Honoring Our Hometown Heroes is the theme of Escondido’s VestFest and its big Veterans Day Parade. Those who served many decades ago, or very recently, were thanked equally by flag-waving families lining the sidewalks.

A few preliminary photographs were taken as I walked down Grand Avenue waiting for the parade to begin. Several downtown Escondido buildings and storefronts were decorated with patriotic red, white and blue for Veterans Day.

The above nice lady noticed I was holding up a lamp post. Then she offered me a two-for-one coupon for the Patio Playhouse theater production of Prairie Lights. Go to their website here!

Here comes the parade!

The folks of Esco Alley Art (those many amazing murals in the Escondido alley I’ve blogged about previously) are having their 2022 Season Finale Art Party tomorrow, Saturday, at 3 pm. Go to their website here!

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Young Marines help feed the hungry on Veterans Day.

Today, Veterans Day, a Celebration of Service was held at the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park.

Several local organizations from around San Diego came together during the event to engage in service projects that help the community.

When I arrived at the museum in the early afternoon, I noticed that hard-working Young Marines were helping Feeding San Diego to assemble Thanksgiving boxes.

Every box makes a complete Thanksgiving dinner, minus a turkey. Those who are hungry during the holiday season will greatly appreciate the kindness of others.

The Veterans Day event is part of the #ThanksToVeterans Tour, which has traveled across the United States to celebrate the service and contributions of Veterans.

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Navy ship arrives downtown for Fleet Week!

Fleet Week San Diego is just about here. Many activities begin this weekend, and some are open to the general public!

I was walking along downtown’s Embarcadero yesterday when I saw a huge U. S. Navy ship, accompanied by two tugboats, gliding up to Broadway Pier. A small crowd had already gathered to watch it dock beside the Port Pavilion.

I believe this is the USS Montgomery (LCS-8), an Independence-class littoral combat ship. It’s unusual design includes a trimaran hull, which allows it to operate is more shallow water. The USS Montgomery is based here in San Diego.

Check out the photo of sailors tying up this huge, high-tech vessel with . . . mere ropes! (Whenever I see a gigantic billion dollar cruise ship relying on ropes, too, it always strikes me as a bit funny.)

The general public can go on free tours of this Navy ship this Friday through Sunday. See the details here!

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Coronado’s surprising role in submarine history.

It’s widely known that Coronado’s North Island is the birthplace of naval aviation. But did you know that shortly before World War I, Coronado was also home to a training school for submariners?

Camp Richardson, which was located on a block of First Street just north of the Ferry Landing, served as the homeport of the United States’ very first Pacific Submarine Fleet. This is one of many interesting facts you’ll learn should you enjoy A View from the Periscope, which is the current exhibit at the Coronado Historical Association‘s museum.

A View from the Periscope focuses primarily on twenty-eight works of art. The Coronado Historical Association’s website explains how these pieces of artwork from the Naval History & Heritage Command’s Navy Art Collection are on loan for the exhibition. Throughout the museum gallery visitors can view paintings of submarines in different settings and their working crews. The website further explains that many of the artists featured are affiliated with the Navy’s Combat Art Program, which places artists on board navy ships on duty and in combat.

But there’s much more to discover in this exhibition! When I walked through it a few days ago, what interested me most were displays that concern local history.

Not only did I learn about short-lived Camp Richardson, but I was surprised to read how the submariners in training, as they practiced diving and firing torpedoes, would put on pre-announced shows in San Diego Bay for tourists staying at Coronado’s Tent City!

I was also surprised to learn that a Coronado artist, a member of the San Diego Fine Arts Guild, was instrumental in successfully camouflaging naval vessels during World War II.

His name was Dayton Brown. His novel approach to camouflage involved mimicking the natural environment, eventually utilizing only two color shades like Haze Grey or Ocean Gray.

Until I visited this exhibition, I had no idea!

A View from the Periscope continues through January 2023.

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

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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!

Massing of the Colors in Old Town honors service.

This morning a unique ceremony was held in San Diego. The 66th Massing of the Colors and Service of Remembrance honored the flag of our country and those who’ve served to protect it–and the Freedom it represents.

The annual Massing of the Colors is presented by the San Diego Chapter of The Military Order of the World Wars. The organization is made up of officers from the uniformed services, their spouses and descendants.

This year about 25 color guards from all around the city came together for the ceremony at the U.S. Army of the West Mormon Battalion Historic Site, which is located in Old Town. The MCRD Marine Band provided patriotic music.

I watched as the many color guards arrived, streaming in from nearby parking lots and down sidewalks. There were youth belonging to the ROTC and Junior ROTC programs. There were proud Veterans who’d fought for their country. There were descendants of those who’d served.

Before the ceremony began, the color guards paraded single file through the grassy area where the audience would watch, forming a line of flags to one side. Then several color guards brought more flags forward before an Invocation, Pledge of Allegiance, and singing of the National Anthem. Coming to the podium, Anaeya Baez, from Girl Scout Troop 6116, read My Name is Old Glory.

A guest speaker, the Honorable M. Janet Chin, reminded everyone of the sacrifices many have made. She expressed hope that present and future generations will remember that history, and will continue the tradition of service.

The motto of the Military Order of the World Wars is: It is nobler to serve than to be served.

The ceremony ended with Taps, a Benediction, and the Retiring of the Colors.

As you can see in the following photographs, I arrived and took my seat very early…

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