Historic Coca-Cola mural found in Encinitas building!

Look what I saw today!

Inside the Queen Eileen’s Gift Baskets shop in Encinitas, one wall features a fantastic bit of history: a Coca-Cola mural likely dating from the 1940’s! The vintage artwork depicts Coke’s sparkly old advertising character Sprite Boy!

The owner of Queen Eileen’s discovered the mural during a remodel a few months ago. In the 1940’s the building served as a hardware store. The brightly smiling Sprite Boy appeared when slats covering the old wall were removed!

If you want to learn more about Sprite Boy, who often accompanied Santa Claus, and who originated decades before Coca-Cola’s lemon-lime soda that shares the same name, here’s a great web page to visit!

I saw this cool mural late this morning during an Encinitas Historical Society walking tour of Encinitas, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Stand by for several more blogs and many more photographs from this epic walking tour!

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!

Cool marquee of the Star in Oceanside!

The next cool thing I came upon during my Oceanside walk yesterday was the historic Star theater building with its incredible marquee!

As I was taking photos, I noticed someone testing different paint colors on the building’s exterior. I subsequently learned from two friendly people of the Star Theatre Company, which now occupies the old movie house, that a new paint job is coming both inside and outside, to make this historic Oceanside landmark even more amazing!

I also learned the Star Theatre, during the COVID-19 pandemic, is hosting an after school Acting Camp for youth with safety precautions, is offering professional audition taping and workshops, and will be offering live streamed performances. To read more check out their website here.

More about the building’s unique history can be read here, including: “The Star Theatre opened the 18th of August 1956 with the movie “Moby Dick” starring Gregory Peck…Designed by architect William Glenn Balch, the Star was from an era when neon was king and every city was building a drive-in or walk-in theater. The Star Theatre is the largest of Balch’s 17 theaters that were located in the state of California and the last one that is still open. The marquee boasted being the largest in San Diego County and has been noted for its spectacular animation. It is one of the few remaining examples from its era…”

In this difficult period of an extended coronavirus lockdown, the Star Theatre would really appreciate donations, to help keep their important mission moving forward. Please help them here.

Finally, if you’re wondering about the big, colorful mural on the side of the building in the following photograph, check out one of my old blog posts 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!

Nostalgic car mural at The Fin Hotel.

During my long walk through Oceanside yesterday, my very first cool discovery was this large nostalgic mural on the side of The Fin Hotel. It depicts a slice of Americana: a small town scene from the mid-20th century.

The Fin Hotel is a boutique hotel that began its life as the Keisker Hotel, built in 1927. Before it was The Fin it was The Dolphin. Today it’s an historic Oceanside landmark that has survived decades of change in the growing city.

The mural, painted by Southern California artist Lisa Kelly, incorporates the cool The Fin Hotel neon sign, as you can see in the coming photos! It also features many classic cars, the Oceanside Pier, and a woodie with a surfboard on top!

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!

Nostalgic old parade mural in El Cajon!

Today I went for a very long walk through El Cajon, in San Diego’s East County. I took so many photographs, lots of interesting blog posts are on the way!

During my walk I came upon this faded mural on a building at the corner of East Main Street and Roanoke Road. It depicts an old-fashioned American parade, apparently from the mid-20th century. I’m assuming the parade is proceeding down El Cajon’s Main Street, but I don’t really know. I could find no date or artist signature. I believe Jackson Hewitt Tax Service used to occupy at least part of this building.

This artwork is so faded, I had to dramatically increase the contrast of my photos.

I’m sure somebody out there knows the history of this nostalgic old mural. If you know 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!

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!

San Diego history in Rudford’s mural.

A moment in San Diego history is captured in a photographic mural outside Rudford’s Restaurant in North Park.

The exterior of this popular all-American diner, which first opened in 1949, appears today much as it did back in 1963. The mural recalls how on June 6th of that year, President John F. Kennedy passed the restaurant as a crowd looked on.

A description of the event in a corner of the photo mural explains: “In a visit to San Diego…the president traveled down El Cajon Boulevard on his way to San Diego State College where he gave the commence address… This is an actual photo of the motorcade taken by local teenager James Daigh as it passed Rudford’s Restaurant on that Thursday morning…”

Rudford’s Restaurant remains just as popular as ever. The retro diner is open 24 hours a day and treats its customers with home-style cooking and nostalgic decor!

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!

The most scenic bus route in San Diego!

Without a doubt, the most scenic public bus route in the San Diego region is North County Transit District’s Route 101. It runs up the California coast north of San Diego.

Riders on bus Route 101 are treated to views of La Jolla (beautiful Torrey Pines), Del Mar, Solana Beach, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Encinitas, Leucadia, Carlsbad and Oceanside.

It’s a long run with many stops–almost 30 miles and, depending on traffic, somewhere between one and a half to two hours–but you pass beach after beach, and you travel along historic Coast Highway 101 through some of Southern California’s most amazing and colorful beach cities.

Near the end of my last adventure in North County, I rode the bus south from the Oceanside Transit Center late in the afternoon. I was fortunate to have an “ocean side” seat with a window that cracked open a few inches. And my camera’s battery had some life left in it!

It’s hard to get good photographs through a barely cracked open window on a rapidly moving bus, but I got a few decent shots. They provide a brief glimpse of all I saw.

What follows are images taken as I rode from Oceanside to Encinitas. After the last photograph near the Golden Lotus Towers of the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram in Encinitas, my camera’s battery was exhausted.

If you ever plan to travel along San Diego’s beautiful northern coast, are in no big hurry, and would like to experience what the happy, laid-back, sometimes nostalgic Southern California beach scene is all about, consider riding bus Route 101.

You can meet some rather interesting people, too!

(There’s usually a surfboard or two in the aisle!)

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

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Aztec Bowl sign at North Park apartments!

I was walking up 30th Street in North Park a couple weekends ago when I saw what appeared to be a bowling alley sign rising in front of an apartment complex. As you might imagine, I did a double take! And snapped a few photos.

A little online research reveals that before these apartments were built, Aztec Bowling Lanes was located here.

Aztec Bowl was established in 1959. For 40 years–from 1960 To 2001–the place also featured entertainment in its Turquoise Lounge, where people would gather to enjoy retro decor and live bands. Music was also performed by the lanes as people bowled!

Over time the popularity of bowling slowly faded. Aztec Bowl was demolished in 2001 to make way for the residential buildings you see in my photographs. But the neon Aztec Bowl sign, recalling a little bit of San Diego history, remains!

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!

Mural in Lakeside celebrates a moment in history.

A fantastic mural painted in Lakeside at the corner of Woodside Avenue and Maine Avenue celebrates an important moment in this East County community’s surprising history.

Spectators in old-fashioned garb watch an automobile race around Lindo Lake near the long-vanished Lakeside Inn, once called The Coronado of the Hills because of its architectural similarity to the Hotel del Coronado. On one historic day in 1907, race car driver Barney Oldfield set a new world land speed record.

A corner of the mural indicates this nostalgic artwork was painted by David E. Ybarra for the Ron Schafer Family.

I’ve included a vintage photograph of the race depicted in the mural!

Barney Oldfield driving the Peerless Green Dragon at the Lakeside Track, San Diego, California. April 7, 1907. (Public domain photo from Wikimedia Commons.)

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!

Riding the world’s first outdoor glass elevator!

If you’re familiar with the history of the El Cortez in downtown San Diego, you probably know it featured the world’s very first outdoor glass elevator. (Although I’ve also seen information that says it was the first such elevator in the United States, second in the world.)

Based on an idea suggested by a hotel bellboy, an outdoor glass elevator, called the Starlight Express, was installed in 1956 on the side of the El Cortez Hotel, then the highest building in San Diego. People from all around Southern California would converge on the elegant hotel to be swept dizzily skyward to the chic Starlight Room restaurant on the twelfth floor.

Today I came across a black and white 1956 newsreel that has been released by Universal City Studios into the public domain. It shows thrilled passengers going up and down what was then the brand new, incredible, jaw-dropping Starlight Express!

Check out the “futuristic” costume (uniform?) of the smiling elevator operator! And check out how downtown San Diego appeared in the 1950s. A bit different than today, right?

I snipped sequential images from the old newsreel so you can enjoy a fun look!

By the way, the El Cortez Hotel also featured the world’s first moving sidewalk! You know–the sort of thing you might stand on in an airport terminal or at an amusement park. It was called the Travolator. Both the Starlight Express and Travolator were removed many years ago.

Read much more about the El Cortez and its extraordinary history in this detailed Wikipedia article. Among other things, you’ll learn how this Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style landmark was built on property once owned by a son of President Ulysses S. Grant, how a third of San Diego’s population showed up for the hotel’s opening day, and how it had an anti-aircraft battery on its roof during World War II!

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!

The cool Cruisin’ carhop mural at 101 Cafe!

If you love cool cars and nostalgia you’ll like this mural. It’s painted on the south side of 101 Cafe in Oceanside. The mural depicts a carhop outside wearing roller skates. She’s serving food to customers in a woodie, hot rod and several other classic cars.

101 Cafe dates back to 1928. The original twenty seat diner was built on US Highway 101, the main road back then from Los Angeles to San Diego.

The small restaurant has gone through many changes over the years. At one time it was a drive-in. It’s now a diner specializing in breakfast, and features 1950’s decor–including this great mural!

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!