A strange California Historical Landmark . . . parking lot?

At the north corner of Congress Street and Twiggs Street, in San Diego’s Old Town, you’ll find a large parking lot.

In a strip of landscaping between the parking lot and sidewalk stands a mysterious sign. The sign reads: SITE OF CASA DE COTA – HISTORICAL LANDMARK NO. 75.

That’s strange! The only thing visible is the parking lot! So, where is Casa de Cota?

According to this page of the San Diego History Center: Built in the mid-1830’s by Juan or Ramón Cota, this house stood for over a century on the corner of Twiggs and Congress Streets, before being destroyed by United States Army bulldozers during World War II.

You can see two old photographs of the historical structure here and here.

It appears to have been built of adobe blocks.

Visitor maps posted around Old Town San Diego State Historic Park show Parking Lot B, where the house once stood. I’ve included the following photo. I marked a red X at the mysterious sign’s location.

Do you happen to know more about the long-vanished Casa de Cota? If you do, please leave a comment!

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!

Seeing the future by looking backward.

These old train tracks pass south over the Sweetwater River on a bridge that is no longer in use.

Do you like ghost stories?

Do you like riding trains?

Answer yes to either question, and you might enjoy a new short story that I published this morning. It’s titled Backward Man.

Is it possible to see the future by looking backward? That seems like a reasonable assertion, right?

If a little strangeness and horror are your cup of tea, you can read the story by clicking here!

A mysterious bell in Old Town San Diego!

Help solve a rather strange historical mystery!

There’s a large bell mounted above the entrance of the Five & Dime General Store in Old Town, at 2501 San Diego Avenue, and nobody I’ve spoken to knows why it’s there!

I’ve spoken to friendly people who work at the store, and employees at nearby Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, and the bell remains a complete mystery! I’ve also performed searches on the internet, to no avail.

Written on the bell are the words STEEL ALLOY CHURCH BELL and the number 40, which means it’s a 40 inch bell. On the internet I’ve observed identical bells manufactured by the The C. S. Bell Company, which was in operation from 1875 to the 1970’s. The bell itself looks pretty old.

Another possible clue: this building was once the home of the Studio Gallery, which featured original artwork by famous artists, including Chuck Jones and Dr. Seuss.

Who out there knows anything about this large rooftop bell?

Why is it there? Where did it come from? Who mounted this old bell atop the building and when?

If you know or suspect anything, please leave a comment!

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!

Myth, wonder and WOW in San Diego!

Wonder, surprise, and plenty of WOW was experienced by those visiting Liberty Station today. That’s because La Jolla Playhouse was in their final day of the 2022 Without Walls Festival!

Among many outdoor performances free to the public was the colorful, kinetic procession TransMythical.

Strange, never-before-seen spirits, nature gods, high priests and mythological creatures appeared from the arches at the edge of Liberty Station’s North Promenade.

As they emerged, they seemed to step tentatively into an unfamiliar world–our world.

The mysterious creatures looked about with wonder. They wandered, gathered, formed a procession.

Appearing beautifully strange–and strangely familiar–the giant puppets and masked characters interacted with the crowd in a very human way. But then–all elemental myths are composed by us human types–right?

During the performance a baby deer was born.

The mythical creatures and we humans all looked on with wonder. The fawn was greeted with happiness.

The tiny deer looked about our shared world with newly opened eyes.

These strangely wonderful myths were brought to life by the San Diego-based Animal Cracker Conspiracy!

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!

A giant Red Shoe hidden in the trees!

An enormous, very fancy Red Shoe seems lost among the trees in a corner of UC San Diego!

Red Shoe is an unusual outdoor sculpture by Elizabeth Murray, created in 1996. It’s part of the University of San Diego Stuart Collection.

I say unusual, because it stands among eucalyptus trees and seems oddly–to me–out of place. Like a shoe from a fairy tale, dropped in a forest. But I think that was the intention!

Faceted, colored objects are scattered on the ground nearby, like fallen jewels.

The paths in this corner of the UCSD campus, by North Torrey Pines Road and Revelle College Drive, are seldom trod. By ordinary folk, that is.

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Visions and contrasts in downtown San Diego.

The ordinary . . . the bizarre.

The familiar . . . the dreamlike.

Countless intersecting paths down the same streets.

Turned corners, reflections, glimpses, mysteries.

The complexity of living.

Happiness . . . despair.

You will encounter many complex visions and contrasts when walking through downtown San Diego. Which is what I did yesterday morning.

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!

Winter beauty by the San Diego River.

Please enjoy these photographs of winter beauty by the San Diego River in Mission Valley.

I framed this natural beauty during several January morning walks. Some photos were taken from the pedestrian bridge that spans the river by the Fashion Valley Transit Center; others near Mission Center Road.

Reflections created magic. White clouds in the sky floated on water. Trees were turned upside down.

Branches, leaves, river and sky danced together mysteriously.

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!

Mystical visions at 1st Street Bar in Encinitas!

A new mural was painted at the 1st Street Bar in Encinitas several months ago. I didn’t see it until this weekend, during my walk down South Coast Highway 101.

The mural is a colorful, mystical work by artists Amanda Lynn and Carly Ealey. It’s overflowing with visions of nature’s beauty and cosmic mystery.

This fantastic artwork replaces an older environmental Sea Walls mural at the same Encinitas location, painted by the same artists. I took photos of the previous 1st Street Bar mural in 2019 and posted them here.

It’s interesting to contrast the styles of the two murals. I particularly like this newer one.

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!

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Tiny sidewalk mysteries in Balboa Park!

When you walk randomly through a city, you encounter unexpected mysteries.

The other day I was walking through Balboa Park, west of the Cabrillo Bridge, when strange, tiny mysteries greeted my eyes. Down in the concrete sidewalk were a few dozen scattered leaf impressions.

I found them on the north side of El Prado, west of Balboa Drive, in the vicinity of the Sefton Plaza statues of Balboa Park’s founders.

Did leaves falling on fresh new concrete produce these impressions? The impressions seem too deep for that.

What’s more, many of the leaf shapes don’t appear to match any of the nearby trees or vegetation.

Were these mysterious impressions produced naturally or deliberately?

Stamped in the concrete sidewalk a short distance to the west, at Sixth Avenue, is the year 1968. Perhaps that’s a relevant clue.

What do you think? Does anybody know?

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!

Mural at Escondido Boys and Girls Clubs building.

Does anybody know the history of this old mural in Escondido? It decorates the east side of the Conrad Prebys Escondido Branch of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego.

During a walk through Escondido last weekend, I photographed this colorful mural from the distant sidewalk. It appears to be a mosaic made of small tiles. Youth are depicted reading, playing basketball, and engaged in other activity. The artwork is dated 1976. Tiles spell out two clear signatures: A. Dluhos and T. Pardue.

After some internet searching, I believe the first artist is Andre Dluhos, and the second is Terry Pardue. I’m pretty sure about the second name, because I read this article.

Andre Dluhos was born in 1940 in eastern Czechoslovakia and moved to the United States in 1969.

If anyone out there knows anything about this nearly half century old mural, please leave a comment.

It would be fascinating to learn more about it, and the artists, too!

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!