The unexpected Egyptian Garage in City Heights.

The Egyptian Garage building in City Heights is a fascinating example of Egyptian Revival architecture.

This building with a rather unexpected appearance is located at University Avenue and Euclid Avenue. It’s adjacent to two other unique, historical buildings–directly west of the prominent Euclid Tower, and south across the street from the Silverado Ballroom (both of which you can see in a few of the following photographs).

To learn about the history of the Egyptian Garage, I’ve had to sort out conflicting dates from several web pages. Apparently the building was constructed in 1923, at the end of the old East San Diego trolley line. It was one of three Egyptian Revival streetcar electrical substations that were built. It was sold only two years after beginning operation.

After a remodel in 1925 by David H. Ryan, the building served from 1926 to 1932 as the Egyptian Garage, complete with gas pumps in front. An addition was made on the south side in 1927. Since 1957 it has been the home of Big City Liquor.

Today you can see pharaoh heads atop pilasters on a couple sides of the building, horizontal vulture wings containing cobras and suns up by the rooftop, and an obelisk-like projection on the garage’s south end with a hieroglyphic design featuring ibis-headed Egyptian moon god Thoth.

To learn much more, you can read a detailed article about the Egyptian Garage building’s history and the phenomenon of Egyptian Revival architecture in the 1920’s here.

A few other examples of the Egyptian Revival architectural style can be found in San Diego, most notably in Hillcrest. Years ago I took some fun photos in Hillcrest’s Egyptian Quarter and posted them here.

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Map of the Interplanetary Confederation in El Cajon!

Perhaps you remember a past blog post where I shared photos of a UFO mural outside the Unarius Academy of Science in El Cajon. Or another post that included a photo of a large flying saucer on the roof of an unusual automobile that I spotted in Coronado.

Well, during my weekend walk through El Cajon, I paused outside the Unarius New World Teaching Center to read various displays in their windows.

The first thing that caught my attention was their Map of the Interplanetary Confederation, with its 33 planets that form a spiraling vortex emanating from a spiritual sun. And how in 1973 Uriel contacted the leaders of these planets, learning of their Master Plan.

Another display concerned the lost civilization of Atlantis, and the coming arrival of the Space Brothers, advanced scientists who will teach humankind interdimensional physics.

Fascinating, to say the least!

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!

Colorful mural full of Aztec imagery!

I love this super colorful mural. It’s jam-packed with elaborate Aztec imagery!

I saw it as I walked down Main Street at the intersection of Vesta Street. The artwork adds life to a corrugated steel wall outside G & A Automotive. I believe it was painted fairly recently, but I don’t know the artist.

Additional artwork can be seen inside the auto repair shop’s small yard, but there was a No Photography sign. You’ll have to swing by to see it all for yourself!

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!

Native American flute mural in Barrio Logan.

There’s an extraordinary mural in Barrio Logan. It’s one of my favorites.

The spray painted art appears to feature Kokopelli, the flute-playing fertility deity from some Native American cultures in the Southwest. The landscapes and dwellings in this mural might indicate the people being portrayed are the Hopi. But I can’t say for certain. I’ve walked past this mural three different times searching for an artist signature, so that I could do more research, but to no avail.

The mural was painted on a row of three small buildings along Main Street, just southeast of the Coronado Bay Bridge. I asked a postal delivery person during one walk if he knew anything about the mural, and was told it has been there for years. Another person who works in one of the buildings could provide no information.

What follows is a series of photographs that I took walking along the sidewalk by this amazing mural, from right to left.

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!

Powerful mural honors Kumeyaay people.

I recently came across an article about a newly painted mural in Chicano Park. So I headed to Barrio Logan today to see it up close.

The colorful, symbolic mural celebrates the Native American Kumeyaay story of Creation. It was designed by artist Carmen Linares Kalo. The painting was completed with the help of many artists. (You can see their names in some of the following photos.)

All of the murals inside Chicano Park are bold and vibrant, but I must say the imagery in this one is exceptionally powerful.

The Kumeyaay people lived on this land thousands of years before the existence of a United States or a Mexico or a Spain, and their spiritual connection to nature is beautifully conveyed. Different native animals represent different people in the story of Creation.

Sadly, one person in this world that we all share, when I approached the mural, was buried among painted flowers, homeless.

If you want to learn more about this mural, and its special dedication event a couple months ago, check out the article here.

If you’d like to read Kumeyaay stories concerning their world, its ancient creation and unending life, visit the web page Kumeyaay Religions and Legends and follow the links!

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!

Thousands of origami cranes help heal San Diego.

A large display case inside the Japanese Friendship Garden’s beautiful Inamori Pavilion contains “one thousand” colorful origami cranes. They were created by members of the community from March through July of 2020 to help reassure and heal San Diego during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

A sign in the display case explains: “In Japanese culture, the crane is a symbol of longevity and happiness. The one thousand origami cranes were originally popularized through the story of a Japanese girl, Sadako, who was exposed to radiation from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during World War II. She soon developed leukemia and began making origami cranes with the goal of making one thousand, inspired by the senbazuru legend…”

According to Wikipedia: “The crane in Japan is one of the mystical or holy creatures (others include the dragon and the tortoise) and is said to live for a thousand years.” You can learn more about the ancient Japanese senbazuru legend by clicking here.

People throughout San Diego actually contributed over 2000 paper origami cranes for this very powerful display. Many hopeful hands worked together to help us all get through an extremely difficult period.

If you’d like to be moved and comforted by these “one thousand” cranes, head to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. The Inamori Pavilion can be found in the Lower Garden.

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!

Yes, even Athena and Euterpe wear face masks!

The worldwide coronavirus pandemic is a serious matter. But this morning I didn’t expect to see two powerful Greek deities wearing face masks!

I spotted the great Olympian goddess Athena and the Muse of music Euterpe wearing face coverings during my walk along the Embarcadero!

Athena is the figurehead of HMS Surprise, and Euterpe graces the bow of Star of India. Both famous tall ships belong to the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

UPDATE!

I’ve now been told the figurehead of HMS Surprise is actually Boadicea, who, according to Wikipedia was “queen of the British Celtic Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the conquering forces of the Roman Empire.” This probably makes more sense, as HMS Boadicea was a ship commanded by fictional character Jack Aubrey during the Napoleonic Wars in the series of novels by Patrick O’Brian. Aubrey also commanded HMS Surprise.

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!

Silent faces and Constructed Mythologies.

Emotionally powerful images by internationally known Guatemalan photographer Luis González Palma can now be viewed at the SDSU Downtown Gallery. The title of the exhibition is Constructed Mythologies.

Walk through the gallery and you’ll pass many faces whose expressions convey complex, often painful emotion. Some eyes stare through geometric shapes or fragile threads. Some of the images use sepia tints; some are presented as mosaics or unusual collages; photographs are often layered or cut into shattered pieces and made abstract, as if to depict a series of memories, or moments of living that pass like a dream.

The subjects of Luis González Palma are the indigenous Mayas and the Mestizo people of Guatemala. Their faces speak of silent pride and suffering.

According to one sign that describes the artist: His work is informed by curiosity and reverence for the human condition, woven into evocative images that present an untethered relationship to time and place. Working with symbolism, meticulous staging, and a keen understanding of religious and cultural iconography, González Palma masterfully creates rich narrative influenced by his Guatemalan heritage and perspective as a Latin American artist.

If you like true things, come view these photographs.

The final page of Constructed Mythologies is turned on January 20, 2020.

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!

Public art in Escondido: two female bronzes.

Lorelei, Gale Pruitt, 2005.
Lorelei, Gale Pruitt, 2005.

Two female bronze sculptures welcome visitors to the Plaza Civic Center shopping mall in Escondido. I saw them yesterday as I walked to the California Center for the Arts. The sculptures can be found on North Escondido Boulevard, directly across from the regional cultural complex.

Both fine pieces of public art were created by local sculptor Gale Pruitt. Lorelei depicts a woman summoning with her outstretched arm as she lies on a rock, just as the siren-like figure in German lore. Elation depicts a girl with her head bent skyward in joyful ecstasy.

I took several photos!

Lorelei, Gale Pruitt, 2005.
Lorelei, Gale Pruitt, 2005.

Lorelei, Gale Pruitt, 2005.
Lorelei, Gale Pruitt, 2005.

Elation, Gale Pruitt, 2006.
Elation, Gale Pruitt, 2006.

Elation, Gale Pruitt, 2006.
Elation, Gale Pruitt, 2006.

Elation, Gale Pruitt, 2006.
Elation, Gale Pruitt, 2006.

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!

Photos of Vista’s Annual Viking Festival!

Ready for combat, warriors file through the 16th Annual Viking Festival in Vista, California.
Ready for combat, warriors file through the 16th Annual Viking Festival in Vista, California.

Today I headed up to Vista to enjoy the 16th Annual Viking Festival, which is being held this weekend in and around Norway Hall.

This very popular festival features everything Norse, including costumes, crafts, cultural demonstrations, live music on two stages, and a wide variety of spirited competitions. There’s a Viking Beard Competition, a Viking Horn Blowing contest, a Kids Fish Fling, a Guardians of Midgard Chest Game, and an epic All Weapons Tournament. Although I didn’t stay to watch, I learned that Saturday evening concludes with spectacular flaming axe throwing!

I arrived shortly after the gate opened, then wandered about taking it all in before the festival became extremely crowded.

Here come a bunch of photos!

The Vista Viking Festival continues on Sunday. If you’re in the area, you might want to head on over yourself! If you don’t care for big crowds, come early!

The very popular Vista Viking Festival attracts thousands of visitors every year.
The very popular Vista Viking Festival attracts thousands of visitors every year.

I was given a hearty welcome by these noble members of The Norwegian Fish Club, who meet in Vista's Norway Hall and put on the festival.
I was given a hearty welcome by these noble members of The Norwegian Fish Club, who meet in Vista’s Norway Hall and put on the festival.

The Norwegian Fish Club serves as a forum for persons attached to Norway, its history or mythology. Officers and various members dress in Viking attire!
The Norwegian Fish Club serves as a forum for persons attached to Norway, its history or mythology. Officers and various members dress in Viking attire!

Shortly after I entered the Viking Festival, I spotted this rather unusual longship!
Shortly after I entered the Viking Festival, I spotted this rather unusual longship!

It appears I've entered Viking territory!
It appears I’ve entered Vikings territory!

In addition to crafts and artwork, some of the vendors sell swords, axes and other weapons used by Norsemen long ago.
In addition to crafts and artwork, some of the vendors sell swords, axes and other weapons used by fierce Norsemen long ago.

A basket full of plastic two-horned Viking helmets.
A basket full of plastic two-horned Viking helmets.

Norway Hall in Vista is where locals gather to share unique culture and history from old Scandinavia.
Norway Hall in Vista is where locals gather to share unique culture and history from old Scandinavia.

Food and entertainment are plentiful at the Annual Viking Festival.
Food and entertainment are plentiful at the Annual Viking Festival.

I hadn't realized that Vikings ate hot dogs!
I hadn’t realized that Vikings ate hot dogs!

The festival's Northern Territory is where the Viking clans camp. Demonstrations and reenactments can be enjoyed by curious visitors.
The festival’s Northern Territory is where the Viking clans camp. Demonstrations and reenactments can be enjoyed by curious visitors.

These folk show what life might have been like in parts of northern Europe during the Viking Age.
These folk show what life might have been like in parts of northern Europe during the Viking Age.

A lady at work making Viking crafts.
A lady at work making Viking crafts.

This friendly Viking welcomed me to his camp. Various groups actually camp in the park-like setting around Norway Hall during the weekend of the festival.
This friendly Viking gent welcomed me to his camp. Various groups actually camp in the park-like setting around Norway Hall during the weekend of the festival.

Signs explained different aspect of Norse mythology, including Valhalla, a great hall in Asgard, where fallen heroes assemble, ruled over by Odin.
Signs explained different aspects of Norse mythology, including Valhalla, a great hall in Asgard, where fallen heroes assemble and are ruled over by Odin.

The singing group Damekor performs on the Loke Stage during the Viking Festival.
The singing group Damekor performs on the Loke Stage during the Viking Festival.

Hair braiding could be observed everywhere. I was told the length of a Viking's hair was often proportionate to their social status. Elaborate braids would be tended by servants.
Hair braiding could be observed everywhere. I was told the length of a Viking’s hair was often representative of their social status. Long, elaborate braids would be “sewn together” and tended by servants.

Every sort of Viking armor, costume and dress could be found throughout the festival.
Every sort of Viking armor, costume and dress could be found throughout the festival.

One vendor created these very cool stained glass dragons.
One vendor was showing these very cool stained glass dragons.

Another vendor had magic runes for sale.
Another vendor had magic runes for sale.

Another sold lots of colorful mugs.
Another had a big inventory of very colorful mugs.

These bearded mugs resemble thirsty Viking warriors!
These funny bearded mugs resemble thirsty Viking warriors!

A metalsmith was at work in the festival's Northern Territory.
A metalsmith was at work in the festival’s Northern Territory.

So was a woodcarver. This guy was fashioning a Viking bowl, or skål, based on actual archaeological findings.
So was a woodcarver. This guy was fashioning a Viking bowl, or skål, based on actual archaeological findings.

More armor and weaponry that might have been used by warring Norsemen.
More armor and weaponry that might have been used by marauding Norsemen.

Bread was being baked in two large outdoor earthen ovens.
Bread was being baked in two large outdoor earthen ovens.

Visitors to the Viking Festival can purchase fresh bread, crumpets, scones and other goodies.
Visitors to the Viking Festival can purchase fresh bread, crumpets, scones and other goodies.

This funny warrior was guarding a Staff Only festival entry.
This funny fellow was guarding a Staff Only festival entry.

I believe this guy was making collectible Viking charms by pouring molten metal into small molds.
I believe this guy was making collectible Viking charms by pouring molten metal into small molds.

One vendor had all sorts of fantastic figurines on display. I see a couple of dragons perched on geodes.
One vendor had all sorts of fantastic, glittering figurines on display. I see a couple of dragons perched on geodes.

Visitors to the 16th Annual Viking Festival in Vista walk through the Southern Territory.
Visitors to the 16th Annual Viking Festival in Vista walk through the Southern Territory.

A Viking combat demonstration had just ended, and some festival visitors were talking to one of the participants.
A Viking combat demonstration had just ended, and some festival visitors were talking to one of the participants.

I enjoyed viewing an ongoing blacksmith demonstration at Odin's Forge.
I enjoyed viewing an ongoing blacksmith demonstration at Odin’s Forge.

Kids pose in a Viking longship for a fun photo.
Kids pose in a Viking longship for a fun photo.

At the Weapons Range, visitors to the Viking Festival can try their hand at archery, spear and axe throwing.
At the Weapons Range, visitors to the Viking Festival try their hand at archery, spear and axe throwing.

Aiming for the dragon!
Aiming for the dragon!

Cheers!
And there’s a large beer garden, too. Cheers!

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!