American heroes honored at Veterans Museum.

On steps of Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park.
On steps of the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park.

Today a special event was held at Balboa Park’s Veterans Museum and Memorial Center. The Spirit of 1945 National Day of Remembrance honored American veterans who defended freedom around the globe during World War II.

The Spirit of ’45 is an annual event held throughout the United States in many cities. It marks the anniversary of V-J Day, the day the Japanese finally surrendered and World War II ended. The special event has become increasingly important, as thousands of heroes from The Greatest Generation now pass away every year.

Many San Diego dignitaries attended today’s ceremony, including an ex-mayor, city council member, district attorney, police chief, plus some very high-ranking military officers. But in my mind, the day was all about ordinary Americans who personally sacrificed to do an extremely difficult and very important thing.

Several of these heroes recalled in short speeches what it was like to hear the news that the war had ended. You could hear the emotion in their voices, almost 70 years later.

After the ceremony, veterans told their personal stories inside the museum, so that memories will continue of those times and their deeds.

Spirit of 1945 National Day of Remembrance was held near museum.
Spirit of 1945 National Day of Remembrance was held near the museum.
Memorial for combat wounded veterans is one of nearby monuments.
Memorial for combat wounded veterans is one of the nearby monuments.
Color guard poses for me while they wait for event to officially begin.
Color guard poses for me while they wait for the event to officially begin.
World War II veteran helped into museum side door.
World War II veteran helped by serviceman into museum side door.
Tents line walkway where Spirit of 1945 event took place today.
Tents line walkway where Spirit of 1945 event took place today.
Girl Scouts help to check in the honored veterans.
Girl Scouts help to check in the honored veterans.
Over a hundred vets were in attendance, remembering the war's end.
Over a hundred vets were in attendance, remembering the war’s end.
Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial had a display.
Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial had a display.
Filipino-American Military Officers Association Tent.
Filipino-American Military Officers Association tent.
Clowns and face painters were there to entertain kids.
Clowns and face painters were there to entertain families with kids.
Duty Honor Country is at the center of a small circular plaza.
Duty Honor Country written at the center of a small circular plaza.
And so are some dancers enjoying the nearby band playing swing music!
Dancers enjoy the nearby band playing swing music!
Now it seems everybody's dancing!
Now it seems everybody’s dancing!
Here are the musicians. Big band music was playing from the 1940s era.
Here are the musicians. Big band music was playing from the 1940s era.
B-24 Liberator bomber from World War II rises above a nearby fountain.
B-24 Liberator bomber from World War II rises above a nearby fountain.
Now I'm standing in back area where chairs were under shady trees.
Now I’m standing in back area where chairs were under shady trees.
Nearby, guys in vintage military uniforms look at some historical images.
Nearby, guys in vintage military uniforms look at some historical images.
Kids check out a tent and various items carried by soldiers decades ago.
Kids check out a tent and various items carried by soldiers decades ago.
Many were wearing clothing and uniforms common during World War II.
Many were wearing clothing and uniforms common during World War II.
Display on grass shows maps and articles from a battlefield.
Display on grass shows maps and articles from a battlefield.
Scattered items inside a command tent include old magazines.
Scattered items inside a command tent include old magazines.
One got a flavor of the experiences of the Greatest Generation.
One got a flavor of the difficult experiences of the Greatest Generation.
Here comes color guard, prior to National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance.
Here comes color guard, prior to National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance.
Veteran talks about Victory in the Pacific and how overjoyed the troops were.
Veteran talks about Victory in the Pacific and how overjoyed the troops were.
A generation of veterans listens as speakers honor their sacrifices for freedom.
A generation of veterans listens as speakers honor their sacrifices for freedom.
Veterans salute a general who spoke about his pride for those who served.
Veterans salute a general who spoke about his pride for those who served.
A bust to be set near B-24 Liberator is unveiled by the artist and others.
A bust to be set near the B-24 Liberator sculpture is unveiled by local artist Richard Becker. To the far right stands retired Brigadier General Robert L Cardenas, USAF.
Bust of a brave World War II aviator.
Bust of Brigadier General Robert L Cardenas , an accomplished World War II aviator. The sculpture was created by renowned San Diego artist Richard Becker.
Everyone listens to happy memories of V-J Day on August 14, 1945.
Everyone listens to happy memories of V-J Day on August 14, 1945.
Crowd was twice the size that had been expected.
Crowd was twice the size that had been expected.
The ceremony ends and I take a pic over beautiful flowers.
The ceremony ends and I take a pic over beautiful flowers.
Sailors help the aging American heroes back to their cars.
Sailors ready to help aging American heroes back to their cars.

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Historic adobe house in San Diego’s Old Town.

Approaching La Casa de Machado y Stewart Museum in Old Town.
Approaching the La Casa de Machado y Stewart Museum in Old Town.

It seems most of the tourists who visit Old Town San Diego State Historic Park enjoy the large central grassy plaza and the many interesting buildings immediately around its perimeter. Few, however, go slightly off the beaten track to investigate the several restored old structures that are scattered a few easy steps farther away.

In addition to a very cool one room schoolhouse dating from 1865 (which I remember visiting during a field trip as a child), there is a restored adobe house called Casa de Machado y Stewart which stands as an open museum to any passersby who are curious.

The Casa de Machado y Stewart dates from 1835. It was built by José Manuel Machado, a Spanish (then later Mexican) officer who served at the nearby presidio. Jack Stewart, an American shipmate of famous author Richard Henry Dana Jr., and a pilot on San Diego Bay, married Machado’s youngest daughter Rosa in 1845 and the two moved into the house. Over their many years of residence they made many improvements, including a clay tile roof and wood-paned windows. What today seems a very simple and almost primitive existence was back in those days living in the lap of luxury.

In 1932, the house became an official California Historic Landmark.

Restored 1835 adobe house in San Diego's Old Town State Historic Park.
Restored 1835 adobe house in San Diego’s Old Town State Historic Park.
Sign details history of La Casa de Machado y Stewart.
Sign details history of La Casa de Machado y Stewart.
House was built by a soldier from nearby presidio.
House was built by a soldier from nearby presidio.
A spinning wheel in one of the simple rooms suggests what life was like.
A spinning wheel in one of the simple rooms suggests what life was like.
A modest dining area as it appeared long ago.
A modest dining area as it appeared long ago.

UPDATE!

I visited La Casa de Machado y Stewart again in August, 2018, and noticed the exterior had been painted white. When I looked through the front door into the main living room, I observed that new furnishings and artifacts have been added, and others moved about.

I also peered through a window into what appears to be a bedroom.

Here are photos…

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Truth rendered with small touches of light.

Sorolla and America special exhibit at San Diego Museum of Art.
Sorolla and America special exhibit at San Diego Museum of Art.

Light is the physical means by which my eyes see. But I often don’t see true light.

Light is a mixture of myriad colors. But I often don’t see those many colors.

Yesterday I was struck by a few small touches of rare light. My eyes widened with astonishment during a few joyful, delicious moments of revelation.

I was very fortunate and privileged to be a given a special tour of the amazing Sorolla exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. Catherine Jones, a docent at the museum, provided an excellent introduction to the light-dabbed paintings of a very important artist that the world has often overlooked.

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida was a Spanish post-Impressionist painter who won several major art awards and popular fame while he lived, but who soon became forgotten with the advent of the modern abstract movement in the early twentieth century. His stylistically varied and often unusually angled images contain applications of light like I’ve never before seen. Bits of reflection and exquisite luster, and sheens of revealed color, pulled me into a world where the true essence of a subject seems to shine out like magic, but in a very natural way.

I could have gazed at his emotionally stirring, always fascinating paintings for the entire day!

María at La Granja, courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
María at La Granja, courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.

The above painting, María at La Granja, was painted by Sorolla in 1907. In it you can see Sorolla’s famous application of light. The piece was donated to the San Diego Museum of Art in 1925 by Archer Huntington, philanthropist and founder of The Hispanic Society of America. The very first work of art to enter the collection, today María at La Granja is probably the most recognized image in the entire museum.

Joaquin Sorolla Portrait of President Taft, courtesy of Wikipedia.
Joaquin Sorolla’s Portrait of President Taft, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Joaquin Sorolla’s Portrait of President Taft was commissioned by the president in 1909. It is one of many canvases in a special exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Art assembled from museums throughout the world. Most of Sorolla’s important works are present, including Another Marguerite (1892), which was awarded a gold medal at the National Exhibition in Madrid and first prize at the Chicago International Exhibition, and Sad Inheritance (1899), which was awarded the Grand Prix and a medal of honor at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900, and the medal of honor at the National Exhibition in Madrid in 1901.

The two paintings that I’ve posted here hardly do justice to the full range of Sorolla’s splendor. His sun-splashed scenes of beach life in Valencia, his diverse and stunning portraits, his detailed scenes of life in Spain, all the essence and astonishing light that he captured, must be experienced firsthand to be most fully appreciated.

These works by Sorolla are on display for a limited time at the San Diego Museum of Art. If you can, you really should go see them! The special exhibition ends August 26, 2014.

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Beautiful garden of Balboa Park’s Marston House.

Flowers and bench by historic Marston House.
Flowers and bench by historic Marston House.

The historic Marston House is nestled among some trees in the seldom-visited northwest corner of Balboa Park. The house museum and its beautiful gardens are truly one of San Diego’s hidden gems.

I strolled about the grounds recently and took a few photos. Roaming about the gardens is free; to take a guided tour of the house’s interior one must pay a small entrance fee.

The house, in the Arts and Crafts architectural style, was built in 1905 by George W. Marston, a wealthy philanthropist who owned a prominent department store. He was also founder of the San Diego Historical Society, and was instrumental in preserving the site of the original San Diego Presidio.

The Marston House was designed by the internationally famous architects William Sterling Hebbard and Irving Gill. Its five acres of lawns and formal gardens have become a very popular wedding location.

Marston House Museum and Gardens in a corner of Balboa Park.
Marston House Museum and Gardens in a corner of Balboa Park.
Arts and Crafts style house was built in 1905.
Arts and Crafts style house was built in 1905.
This beautiful garden is a popular wedding location.
This beautiful garden is a popular wedding location.
Looking from hedge pathway toward Marston House.
Looking from hedge pathway toward Marston House.
Small fountain at end of garden.
Small fountain at end of garden.
Outdoor archway and oven are part of the delightful scenery.
Outdoor archway and oven are part of the delightful scenery.
A pic of the lath greenhouse interior.
A pic of the lath greenhouse interior.
The Marston House is a San Diego hidden gem.
The Marston House is a San Diego hidden gem.

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Working high in the rigging of Star of India.

Clinging to the end of Star of India's bowsprit.
Clinging to the end of Star of India’s bowsprit.

Dedicated members of San Diego’s Maritime Museum were hard at work yesterday, working in the Star of India’s rigging like busy spiders on a web.

The rigging of the historic three-masted bark is undergoing an overhaul, a project that is expected to take a full year. That’s according to the person selling tickets. The large yards of the foremast have already been removed and are lying on the sidewalk awaiting inspection and a new coat of paint. I was told the ship’s trees (platforms on the masts) are infested with termites. They’ll have to be repaired. To maintain the 150 year old Star of India, the oldest active sailing ship in the world, requires a lot of work!

People tangled in picturesque ship's rigging.
People tangled in picturesque ship’s rigging.
Like highwire artists on the slender ropes.
Like highwire artists on the slender ropes.
Looks like a lot of hard work.
Looks like a lot of hard work.
Yards from foremast wait on sidewalk to be painted.
Yards from foremast wait on sidewalk to be painted.
Maritime Museum members at work on Star of India.
Maritime Museum members at work on Star of India.
High up in the blue San Diego sky.
High up in the blue San Diego sky.

I got a quick photo of a San Diego Maritime Museum volunteer working on the yards on an early July morning!

Volunteer works on Star of India's yards.
Volunteer works on Star of India’s yards.

Here come several more pics taken in October. The top third of the foremast has been removed!

Top portion of foremast has been removed in October of 2014.
Top portion of Star of India foremast has been removed in October of 2014.
San Diego Maritime Museum volunteers work high up on the historic Star of India.
Maritime Museum of San Diego workers high up on the foremast of the historic Star of India.
On the shrouds, in a tangle of ropes between masts.
On a shroud, in a tangle of ropes and cables between masts.

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Big indoor mural at San Diego Museum of Art.

In Search of Earthly Delights mural at San Diego Museum of Art.
In Search of Earthly Delights mural at San Diego Museum of Art.

If you’re walking around Balboa Park and feeling adventurous, you can sneak into a portion of the San Diego Museum of Art and enjoy a stunning indoor mural. Just enter the unlocked door near the Sculpture Garden’s outdoor cafe! Like the sculpture garden, this area of the museum is free to the public!

The 70 foot mural is named En Busca de las Delicias de la Tierra/In Search of Earthly Delights. Created by Writerz Blok, an innovative graffiti mural organization, it was painted by young artists Sake, Daze, Izze and Krown. Pieces from the museum’s collection of Mexican modern art were used for reference and inspiration.

San Diego Museum of Art visitor walks past large indoor mural.
San Diego Museum of Art visitor walks past large indoor mural.
San Diego organization Writerz Blok helped to create this mural.
San Diego organization Writerz Blok helped to create this amazing mural.

San Diego’s Mormon Battalion Historic Site.

Sculpture and cannon at entrance to Mormon Battalion Historic Site.
Sculpture and cannon at entrance to the Mormon Battalion Historic Site.

Just east of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park one can find the Mormon Battalion Historic Site, an attraction created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The location itself seems a bit arbitrary, as the Mormon Battalion manned Fort Stockton up on the hill by the old, abandoned Presidio when they arrived in San Diego in 1847.

Young lady missionaries guide visitors through a series of rooms and outdoor areas which are designed to tell a sympathetic version of the Mormon Battalion’s difficult 2000 mile march from Iowa. The ulterior motive is to promote their beliefs, and there are frequent religious references, but there is no hard sell and the tour guides are warm and friendly. One can absorb a little bit of history while experiencing a good-humored, Disney-like presentation.

Missionary lady comes outside to welcome a new visitor.
A friendly missionary lady comes outside to welcome a new visitor.
Girl in pioneer dress begins tour with talking, moving portraits.
Girl in a pioneer dress begins the tour with talking, moving portraits.

Much of the tour is spent watching professionally produced dramatic videos. Several real historical artifacts can be found near the tour’s end.

Taking pictures of visitors with a large old camera.
Taking pictures of visitors with a large antique camera.
Girls pose for a picture in front of a western scene.
Girls pose for a picture in front of a western scene.

A lot of families and kids were smiling and enjoying the tour. Many appeared to be members of the LDS Church.

Visitors near end of tour pan for iron pyrite--fool's gold.
Young visitors near end of the tour pan for glittery iron pyrite.
Covered wagon in front of Mormon Battalion Historic Site.
Covered wagon in front of the Mormon Battalion Historic Site.

Seeley Stable’s stagecoaches and freight wagons.

Front of the Seeley Stable Museum in Old Town.
Front of the Seeley Stable Museum in Old Town San Diego.

Perhaps my favorite part of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is the Seeley Stable Museum.

The huge old barn and surrounding area were once owned by Albert Seeley, who ran the San Diego-Los Angeles Stage Line from 1868 to 1877.  His Concord stagecoaches left San Diego at 5 am, stopped overnight at San Juan Capistrano, and arrived in Los Angeles at 4 pm the next day.  Eventually competition with the railroad put him out of business.

Sign on the Blacksmith Shop behind Seeley Stable.
Sign on the Blacksmith Shop behind Seeley Stable.

Behind the Seeley Stable is a cool blacksmith shop, where tourists can watch skilled hobbyists demonstrate the shaping of red hot iron.   The hammers ring loudly and the sparks fly!  Unfortunately it wasn’t open the day I took these photos.

Covered wagon, anvils and relics of the Old West behind Seeley Stable.
Covered wagon, anvils and relics of the Old West behind Seeley Stable.

Across from the blacksmith you’ll find this.  Very cool!

Several unrestored wagons.
Several unrestored wagons.
Peering through old wagon wheels.
Peering through old wagon wheels.
Donkey awaits young visitors to historic Seeley Stable.
Donkey awaits young visitors to historic Seeley Stable.

On the south side of the stable you’ll find a couple of donkeys, which are used by park rangers to teach children about life in the Old West.

Stagecoach from the Los Angeles and San Diego route.
Concord stagecoach from the Los Angeles to San Diego route.

Finally, we’re inside the museum!  You can see many different wagons and stagecoaches inside the dark old barn, plus other artifacts from life one and a half centuries ago.

Museum display with horse and saddles recreates the old stable.
Museum display with horse and saddles recreates the old stable.
Huge freight wagon on display at Seeley Stable.
Huge freight wagon on display at Seeley Stable.
Old Wells Fargo wagon once used to transport the mail.
Old Wells Fargo wagon once used to transport the mail.
Old Town San Diego park ranger chats with ticket window lady.
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park ranger chats with friendly lady at the ticket window.

The Seeley Stable Museum is free!

UPDATE!

Here are a few more interesting and informative photos that I took inside the museum in August 2017…

Roscoe E. "Pappy" Hazard was a developer and rancher who collected stagecoaches, carriages and wagons from the Old West. Many are displayed in Seeley Stable.
Roscoe E. “Pappy” Hazard was a developer and rancher who collected stagecoaches, carriages and wagons from the Old West. Many are displayed today in Old Town’s Seeley Stable Museum.
In 1869, Albert L. Seeley transformed the nearby Bandini adobe into the two-story Cosmopolitan Hotel, which became Old Town's stage depot and social center.
In 1869, Albert L. Seeley transformed the nearby Bandini adobe into the two-story Cosmopolitan Hotel, which became Old Town’s stage depot and social center.
Photo of Seeley Stable's barn and yard taken from Presidio Hill in 1872. The Cosmopolitan Hotel can be seen on the right.
Photo of Seeley Stable’s barn and yard taken from Presidio Hill in 1872. The Cosmopolitan Hotel can be seen on the right.
Map shows important stagecoach routes, including the Butterfield Overland, and the Birch's Line from San Antonio to San Diego.
Map shows important stagecoach routes, including the Butterfield Overland, and the Birch’s Line from San Antonio to San Diego.
Signs and old photos concerning freight wagons in the Old West, which often employed large teams of mules.
Signs and old photos concerning freight wagons in the Old West, which often employed large teams of mules.
Spaniards introduced mules to America along with the horse. Hardy pack mules were used by trappers to haul furs, and by gold miners to move supplies and equipment.
Spaniards introduced mules to America along with the horse. Hardy pack mules were used by trappers to haul furs, and by gold miners to move supplies and equipment.
This delivery wagon was brought to San Diego by Frank Kimball in 1868. It was used to show passengers land that he had for sale in National City.
This delivery wagon was brought to San Diego by Frank Kimball in 1868. It was used to show passengers land that he had for sale in National City.
This old Park Wagon was used by rancher Walter Vail. He owned land in Arizona, Santa Rosa island off the coast of California, and Warner's Ranch northeast of San Diego.
This old Park Wagon was used by cattle rancher Walter Vail. He owned a land in Arizona, Santa Rosa island off the coast of California, and Warner’s Ranch northeast of San Diego.
How part of the stable might have once appeared. Stable hands had many chores, including feeding, watering and grooming animals, and cleaning stalls.
How a corner of the stable might have once appeared. Stable hands had many chores, including feeding, watering and grooming animals, and cleaning stalls.

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Walk from Old Town to the San Diego Presidio.

Old Presidio Historic Trail leads up hill from Old Town.
The Old Presidio Trail leads up a steep hill from San Diego’s historic Old Town.

Please join me as I walk from San Diego’s Old Town up a short but very steep trail to Presidio Park. We’ll see all sorts of interesting monuments, views, and of course, the location of the old Spanish presidio, whose ruins are no longer visible. The top of Presidio Hill is now home to the Junipero Serra Museum. Follow me!

We begin near the trailhead, beside the small Presidio Hills Golf Course, on the east edge of historic Old Town.

One of several signs along the Old Presidio Historic Trail. This one explains that soldiers and families used to walk down from the Spanish presidio to tend gardens and livestock near the Casa de Carrillo, around the location of the present-day Presidio Hills Golf Course.
One of several signs along the Old Presidio Historic Trail. This one explains that soldiers and families used to walk down from the Spanish presidio to tend gardens and livestock near the Casa de Carrillo, which is now the pro shop at Presidio Hills Golf Course.
The Indian sculpture by Arthur Putnam in Presidio Park.
The Indian sculpture by Arthur Putnam in Presidio Park.

The first interesting thing we see is this sculpture, titled The Indian.  It was created by famous American artist Arthur Putnam in 1905 and placed at the site of an ancient Indian village.  The small village was discovered and named San Miguel by the explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542.

Cross marks where Junipero Serra established California's first mission.
The Padre Cross was erected near the spot where Junipero Serra established California’s first mission.

Up the hill from The Indian stands the Padre Cross. It was raised in 1913 by the Order of Panama and is made up of tiles from the Presidio ruins.  The cross marks the strategic location overlooking San Diego Bay where Franciscan friar Junipero Serra chose to establish a Spanish Catholic mission in 1769. (The mission was moved several miles up the San Diego River 5 years later.)

Bronze statue titled The Padre by Arthur Putnam.
Bronze statue titled The Padre by Arthur Putnam.

Nearby among some trees we find a memorial to the mission’s friars. It’s a bronze statue titled The Padre, completed in 1908 by renowned sculptor Arthur Putnam.

The old presidio rises beyond billowing Spanish flag.
The Serra Museum rises beyond billowing Spanish flag.

Our legs are starting to feel the climb as we reach three flagpoles overlooking Mission Valley.

Looking down at a red trolley in Mission Valley.
Looking down at a red trolley in Mission Valley.

Turning north for a moment, we see the trolley!

View of the old Spanish presidio in San Diego.
View of the Serra Museum on Presidio Hill in San Diego.

Now we’re getting close to the Serra Museum, which was built in 1928 on this historically very important hill. The museum was built, and the land containing Presidio Park was purchased and preserved for posterity, by philanthropist George Marston.

San Diego was born in 1769 at the old Presidio, a Spanish fort in a desert-like wilderness very far from European civilization.  It was located just below the Serra Museum.

Serra Museum employee watches as I approach old presidio.
Serra Museum employee looks down the grassy hill.

Not many people are about at the moment.  Most tourists never venture up this way.

The Serra Museum is packed with numerous historical exhibits.  You can climb the tower for views of San Diego Bay, the San Diego River and Mission Valley.

Row of Spanish Colonial style arches.
Row of Mission Revival style arches.
Large wine press outside the old San Diego presidio.
Large wine press outside San Diego’s fascinating Junipero Serra Museum.
Looking downhill from atop grassy Presidio Park.
Looking downhill from atop grassy Presidio Park.

Now we’ll wander along the hilltop to nearby Fort Stockton, the short-lived camp of the famous Mormon Battalion.

Where a cannon once overlooked Old Town at Fort Stockton.
Where a cannon once overlooked Old Town at Fort Stockton.

Decades ago, when I was a young man, I remember seeing a cannon set in this concrete overlooking Old Town.  I believe that same cannon is now on display in the nearby Serra Museum. Given the name El Jupiter, it was one of ten cannons that originally protected the old Spanish Fort Guijarros on San Diego Bay at Ballast Point.

(A second surviving cannon from the fort is named El Capitan. Today it can be found near the center of Old Town San Diego’s Plaza de las Armas.)

Mural at Fort Stockton of the Mormon Battalion.
Mural at Fort Stockton of the Mormon Battalion.

In 1846, President James K. Polk asked Brigham Young of the Mormons to send a few hundred men to San Diego to help in the Mexican-American war effort.  On January 29, 1847 five hundred men and about eighty women and children arrived at Fort Stockton after a very difficult 2,000-mile march from Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Mormon Battalion Monument by Edward J. Fraughton.
Mormon Battalion Monument by Edward J. Fraughton.

I hope you enjoyed our walk!

Biggest model train museum in North America!

HO Scale model train travels through Tehachapi Pass exhibit.
HO Scale model train travels through Tehachapi Pass exhibit.

I could happily spend many hours at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.  Not only is it the largest such museum in North America, but it features some of the coolest, most realistic model train layouts you’ll ever see!

Located in Balboa Park, the model train museum contains five huge sections.  The Cabrillo Southwestern exhibit is in O Scale, the same size as Lionel toy trains. The San Diego and Arizona Eastern, and the Southwestern Pacific-Santa Fe Tehachapi Pass exhibits are both in the popular HO Scale.  The Pacific Desert Lines exhibit is in tiny N Scale.  Finally, there’s a toy train gallery crammed with Lionel-type trains and many amazing moving accessories, including cars and people.  One train is mounted with a Choo-Choo Cam which provides an engineer’s moving view of the dazzling layout.

I took lots of pics yesterday afternoon.  Many of the shots taken through glass or in darkness didn’t come out so great.  But I did get some fairly good ones.  Enjoy!

Kids love the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Kids love the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Windows to the big Cabrillo Southwestern O Scale exhibit.
Windows to the big Cabrillo Southwestern O Scale exhibit.
Large O Scale model train exhibit includes many detailed buildings.
Large O Scale model train exhibit includes many detailed buildings.
Rail yard action at the Cabrillo Southwestern exhibit.
Rail yard action at the Cabrillo Southwestern exhibit.
Tiny human figures at work near some trolley tracks.
Tiny human figures at work near some trolley tracks.
The elaborate O Scale exhibit is full of train action!
The elaborate O Scale exhibit is full of train action!
Men work on unfinished San Diego and Arizona Eastern exhibit.
Men work on unfinished San Diego and Arizona Eastern exhibit.
HO Scale bridges and a detailed mountain scene.
HO Scale bridges and a detailed mountain scene.
Attention to detail makes these model train exhibits lifelike.
Attention to detail makes these model train exhibits lifelike.
Tracks under construction climb to Tehachapi Pass Mezzanine.
Tracks under construction climb to Tehachapi Pass Mezzanine.
Pacific Beach Club Room with trains, videos and Lego exhibits.
Pacific Beach Club Room with trains, videos and Lego exhibits.
The famous Tehachapi Pass HO scale exhibit is amazing.
The famous Tehachapi Pass HO Scale exhibit is amazing.
Train tracks meander through highly realistic hillside scenes.
Train tracks meander through highly realistic hillside scenes.
A stretch of desert highway in HO scale.
A stretch of desert highway in HO Scale.
Model of a desert town at San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Model of a desert town at San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
These huge train exhibits are a child's fantasy come to life!
These huge train exhibits are a child’s fantasy come to life!
Member of Model Railroad Museum attends to derailed train.
Member of Model Railroad Museum attends to derailed train.

UPDATE!

Almost every day this blog post is receiving visitors from Pinterest.

Welcome!

I decided to visit the museum again in May 2017 to get more photos!

The layouts are so huge and detailed it would take some time to describe exactly what the photos depict and from what position they were taken. So I’m just going to insert a bunch of random photos for you all to enjoy.

Feel free to share any of these photos if you’d like. It’s all for fun! And if you ever have a chance, make sure to visit the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park. The place is truly incredible!

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Are you a railroad or streetcar enthusiast? Do you love railway history?

You might like to check out my cool photos of the National City Depot museum and streetcars!

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!