Presidio Hill sculptures moved to History Center.

Two remarkable and historically important sculptures were moved recently from Presidio Hill to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

When I visited the History Center today I was surprised to see the two large Arthur Putnam works, because I’d observed them several times in the past during walks through Presidio Park.

An explanation on the gallery wall explains that The Indian (1904) and The Padre (1908) were moved to protect them from the outdoor elements and vandalism. I learned they will be gallery centerpieces as this section of the San Diego History Center receives additional material. Critical context will be provided for these bronze statues.

If you’d like to see photos of the two sculptures when they stood on Presidio Hill, check out past blog posts here and here.

The first link will take you on a walk from Old Town up to the Serra Museum–a walk I made years ago when Cool San Diego Sights was just getting started.

The second link concerns an Arthur Putnam exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art. You’ll learn that he was internationally renowned, particularly for his sculptures depicting animals. And he also had an interesting San Diego connection!

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!

Grand Opening for Old Town’s new Kumeyaay expansion!

I just received the above information. There will be a Grand Opening of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s recently completed expansion!

The new outdoor interpretive area, which I visited yesterday and blogged about here, is called Iipay ~ Tipai Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok, Land of the First People. It’s a beautiful place, with winding walkways and public art and displays concerning the history and culture of the Native American Kumeyaay. These First People have lived in our region for thousands of years, long before European explorers arrived.

The big Grand Opening is scheduled for Tuesday, October 26, 2021, and will take place between 1 pm and 4 pm.

Kumeyaay bird singers will perform during the historic Grand Opening ceremony!

If you plan to go, look for the large park-like space full of trees and native greenery, at the corner of Taylor Street and Juan Street!

Extraordinary new Old Town art honors Kumeyaay!

Extraordinary new public art has been unveiled in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park!

Two benches in the park’s recently opened outdoor expansion, which is called Land of the First People, feature beautiful mosaics that honor the Native American Kumeyaay and the world of nature.

Once you look at the following photographs, you’ll likely agree these ceramic mosaics are exceptional. They were created by local artist Betsy K. Schulz.

The two interpretive benches contain images of the Kumeyaay people in our region, fishing, collecting reeds, paddling boats and living by a river, among birds, fish and other native wildlife.

If you’d like to see more stunning public art around San Diego that was created by Betsy K. Schulz, click here.

These images were captured yesterday evening just before nightfall. I took additional photographs of this newly opened area of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, and posted them here.

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!

Old Town State Park’s new Kumeyaay expansion opens!

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s major expansion has opened!

The beautiful new outdoor area, situated at the north end of the State Park, near the intersection of Taylor Street and Juan Street where an old Caltrans building used to stand, is called Land of the First People. It honors our region’s Native American Kumeyaay.

Pathways wind through native vegetation, beautiful public artwork, and interpretive displays on stones that describe the history and culture of the Kumeyaay, who lived here for many thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. A Kumeyaay village called Kosa’aay existed where Old Town is now, near the mouth of the San Diego River.

I arrived at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park this evening just before sunset and noticed the construction fence circling this new area had finally come down! So I had to investigate immediately!

Artwork I discovered includes numerous disks along the pathways, showing native animals and the Kumeyaay words for each; a circular plaza with a mosaic depicting stars and constellations recognized by the Kumeyaay; and two benches made extraordinary with mosaics by local artist Betsy K. Schulz. Her amazing mosaics can be found all around San Diego. I’ll provide more photographs of these two benches in my next blog post!

Before it became too dark as night fell, this is what my camera captured…

Iipay ~ Tipai Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok — Land of the First People.
Ha silly hatekarr – sea otter
The Kumeyaay created pottery made of local clay for cooking and storage. A large askay or saakay kept water cool…
The traditional Kumeyaay diet was highly diverse, but shawii (acorn mush) was eaten daily…
The traditional Kumeyaay cosmology of Maay Uuyow (Sky Knowledge) is extensive and elaborate…
Hand tools like those shown here are used with the bowl-like hollows and other indentations in xepiicha (grinding stones) to process acorns, seeds, fibers…
This ancestral land is respectfully dedicated to the First People, the Kumeyaay.
The people of the Kumeyaay Nation have historically lived in and traveled through the Southern California and Northern Baja California region. This area extended from the Pacific Ocean to the desert…

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!

Inter-Tribal dancing at 2021 Balboa Park Pow Wow.

When I arrived at the 2021 Balboa Park Pow Wow this afternoon, the Inter-Tribal Dancing was just beginning.

According to the event’s flyer, the Balboa Park Pow Wow, a project of the San Diego American Indian Health Center, is about dancing for healing and honoring heritage. It’s taking place this weekend (both Saturday and Sunday) at the corner of Park Boulevard and Presidents Way.

I missed the earlier Aztec Dancers and Bird Singing, but I did experience what you’ll see in the following photographs.

The rhythmic beat of the drums was like a steady heartbeat. As I watched the different dancers, young and old, I saw eyes filled with dedication and pride. And I saw smiles like sunshine, 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!

Visiting the Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center in Poway.

Once a month, every third Saturday, the Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center in Poway opens to the public.

Today I enjoyed a tour of the archaeological site and its educational visitor center. I was surprised to find so much history preserved in this small island of natural beauty just off Poway Road.

Poway is derived from the Native American Kumeyaay word Pauwai, which means the shape of an arrowhead or the merging of two creeks. A short distance to the south is Poway Creek.

As you will see in the following photographs, a small Kumeyaay village of approximately 20 families once lived on the hill that I and my docent tour guide, Heidi, explored.

The Kumeyaay people have lived in this region for at least 10,000 years. These first people had their lives severely disrupted with the arrival of Europeans in 1769. Today, descendants of those who lived in Pauwai are members of the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians.

Please enjoy the following photos to get a taste of what you might discover when you visit. Read the captions for a few of the things I learned.

Are you a local history or anthropology enthusiast? Or a community-minded person who loves the outdoors? The Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center is always looking for volunteers!

Check out their Facebook page and learn about the special days and hours when you can visit here.

Sign at the end of Ipai Waaypuk Trail, south of Poway Road, where there is parking.
Kiosk welcomes visitors to an important historical site.
My tour guide Heidi starts up stairs that lead to short looping trails.
At the Replica Village in a clearing stand several recreated Kumeyaay ewaas. These are shelters made of sycamore or willow tree branches, covered with cattails or baccharis, and tied with yucca or agave fiber string. These replica ewaas are old and need to be refurbished. The Kumeyaay would refresh their watertight ewaas regularly. A grinding stone, or metate, lies nearby.
This nearest ewaa was recently reconstructed. Volunteers who’d like to maintain this special place are welcome!
Heading up to the top of the hill along a very short, moderately steep section of trail.
I’m shown Wild Cucumber. Like many native plants, it had various practical uses. Seeds ground into a powder by the Kumeyaay were added to pigments to create rock art. The crushed roots, when tossed into water, would paralyze fish!
In the distance we could see Mt. Woodson, Iron Mountain, and Cuyamaca Peak. Depending on the season, the Kumeyaay would migrate east to the mountains or west to the Pacific Ocean coast.
One of several outdoor ramadas built for visitors to the Interpretive Center. Historical ramadas erected by the Kumeyaay were shady places for village activities and ceremonies.
It was thought that rock art might be found on these monumental boulders crowning the hilltop, but a thorough study using modern technology detected no traces.
A wise Kumeyaay observer found in this rock formation a whale, a turtle, and the head of a dolphin. Do you see them?
A nearby fire pit once used by the Kumeyaay villagers.
Soot remains in this natural rocky oven. A crack in the rear conveniently served as a flue for smoke.
Cooking stones would be heated in the fire, then placed in baskets to prepare food.
Many small broken pottery sherds have been found near this primitive kitchen.
At the top of the hill are very deep grinding holes, or morteros, where acorns were ground for thousands of years. After being reduced to powder, the acorns would be leached of tannic acid and cooked into a mush called shawii.
A important cultural site representing thousands of years of indigenous history in Poway.
A Coast Live Oak beside the trail. One of several types of oak trees in the San Diego region. Acorns were a staple of the Kumeyaay diet.
As I and my tour guide walk back down the trail, another group heads up toward the hilltop.
A hollow Elderberry branch. Not surprisingly, these were used to make musical instruments such as flutes.
Some of the rugged natural beauty that we enjoyed.
At another ramada replica, we saw a series of genuine metates that Third Grade students can use during educational field trips! These metates were rescued during road construction many years ago and were donated to the Interpretive Center.
There is much to learn about Kumeyaay tools, food, basket weaving, pottery and more!
Third Grade students use these small stones to paint their own rock art!
We head into the building at the Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center to learn even more!
Look at all the smiling docents!
Dorothy M. Tavui was a Kumeyaay friend who helped to establish the Interpretive Center in Poway.
Shelves full of artifacts that kids can explore and handle to learn about Kumeyaay life.
A willow basket full of acorns. The long conical acorns are from Coast Live Oaks. The big acorns are from Black Oaks in the Cuyamaca Mountains. They were the largest and tastiest! The abalone shells you also see were obtained from the coast and often used as trade items.
Old photo of a 6 foot tall willow basket! Acorns would be gathered in season to last the entire year.
Sandals made of natural plant fibers.
I learned this is a seed beater! It’s being demonstrated on dried blooms of sage.
A beautiful mural inside the Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center in Poway shows what village life was like here for many thousands of years. By artist Brigitte Lopez, 2012.

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!

Fun street art on Main Street in Ramona!

Yesterday I arrived in Ramona in the morning, a couple hours before the start of the Ramona Country Fair.

I parked near the McDonald’s on 16th Street and walked east up Main Street to around 4th Street, watching for the many H.E.A.R.T. murals that have been painted in Ramona’s downtown. I found many and will be sharing those photographs before too long!

I also spotted a beautiful sculpture and an interesting historical building, but I’m not posting those photos quite yet, either.

Today I’d like to share photographs of painted street art that decorates electrical boxes along and near Main Street! You can find artist names in a couple of the images.

I probably missed other colorful boxes, but you might enjoy the ones I found!

As you might guess, this street art was next to Ramona’s public library. Book titles on the painted shelves reflect unique aspects of this rural community.

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!

Big gathering of Azteca dancers in Chicano Park!

A group of about a hundred Danza Azteca-Chichimeca dancers filled Chicano Park today with life and color and tradition and joy!

To the rhythmic beat of drums, strummed lutes and rattled gourds, families danced within and around Chicano Park’s central gazebo, or Kiosko.

I don’t know a whole lot about the Mexican Concheros ceremony and dance, other than it’s a fusion of pre-Hispanic and Christian symbols and rituals. You can learn more here.

Additional elements in today’s dance I believe come from San Diego’s local Native American Kumeyaay culture–including the blessing of participants with white sage smoke, which purifies minds and hearts. Please write a comment if I need correction.

I do know that the energy of the performers and the spirit that emanated from their dance was uplifting. Even as I kept a respectful distance, the infectious beat made me want to dance, too! Perhaps because a human heartbeat is a thing we all have in common.

I hope these photos do justice to what those watching and listening experienced.

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!

Old Town State Park expansion nears completion!

This morning I walked around the north end of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. I wanted to check out the progress that has been made with the State Park’s big expansion.

Old Town’s new outdoor interpretative area is beautiful and appears to be nearing completion!

I took photos of the area under construction four months ago and posted them here. You can definitely see the progress!

This large plot of land where the old Caltrans building used to be–at the corner of Juan Street and Taylor Street–is being converted into an inviting space that is alive with native vegetation and historical exhibits. Visitors walking along various pathways will have the opportunity to learn about the life and culture of the Native American Kumeyaay people. The Kumeyaay lived here by the San Diego River long before Europeans arrived.

The California State Parks website refers to this outdoor space as Land of the First People Exhibit Area—called Iipay ~ Tipai Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok.

As I circled the construction site fence, I noticed many plaques have been installed. I’ll be eager to read them once this area opens to the public.

This is what I saw…

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!

Mutt’Tipi–People of the Earth mural in IB.

Today I enjoyed long walks in both San Ysidro and Imperial Beach. I captured many photos, which I’ll share in the next few days!

First up, I discovered this amazing mural in Imperial Beach at the corner of Palm Avenue and 2nd Street, on the side of a 7-Eleven. It was painted in 2018 and I was surprised that I hadn’t noticed it previously. It’s titled Mutt’Tipi–People of the Earth. The artist is Marissa Quinn.

MuttTipi is the name that some Native American Kumeyaay in our region have called themselves, and it translates to People of the Earth.

The mural’s spiritual and environmental message includes a variety of symbols, including the sacred sun and moon, once-endangered brown pelicans and healing honeybees. The pelicans have human legs, connecting them to past ancestors.

The mural itself has an earthy look, which appears to be by design. It is also the result of wind, soil, rain and sunshine, and time’s passage.

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!