Photos of San Diego and Arizona Railway centennial!

People gather for the 100th Anniversary celebration of the San Diego and Arizona Railway at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo.
People gather for the 100th Anniversary celebration of the San Diego and Arizona Railway at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo.

Yesterday I attended an extraordinary event. The 100th Anniversary of the San Diego and Arizona Railway was celebrated at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo!

Hundreds came out to the museum to enjoy special attractions, historical displays and old-time entertainment. Almost everybody rode an excursion train through the nearby countryside (you can see photos of the ride here) before gathering for lunch and a gold spike ceremony that reenacted much of the original ceremony a century ago.

Please enjoy the following photographs. Read the captions if you’d like to learn a little more about the history of the San Diego and Arizona Railway. (Click the images of signs and they’ll enlarge for easier reading.)

Many signs, plaques and historical markers can be found throughout the railroad museum's grounds.
Many signs, plaques and historical markers can be found throughout the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum’s grounds.
In 1916 rails reached Campo on the last transcontinental railway link built in the United States. The line was completed in 1919. The line was eventually purchased by MTS to gain right-of-way for the San Diego Trolley in the city of San Diego.
In 1916 rails reached Campo on the last transcontinental railway link built in the United States. The line was completed in 1919. The line was eventually purchased by MTS to gain right-of-way for the San Diego Trolley in the city of San Diego.
Visitors wait in line at the old Campo depot to pick up tickets for a train ride during the centennial event.
Visitors wait in line at the museum’s old Campo depot to pick up tickets for a train ride during the centennial event.
Heading around the old Campo depot toward the passenger platform.
Heading around the Campo depot toward the passenger platform.
Gazing out at a few of the many old rail cars owned by the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum.
Gazing out at a few of the many old rail cars owned by the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum.
Visitors check out a caboose and more railroad cars to one side of the historic Campo train depot.
Visitors check out a caboose and more railroad cars to one side of the historic Campo train depot.
A simulated hobo camp and interesting sign attract the attention of one gentleman.
A simulated hobo camp and interesting sign attract the attention of one gentleman.
Hobo code used symbols made with chalk or coal to provide directions and warnings to other hobos.
Hobo code used symbols made with chalk or coal to provide directions and warnings to other hobos.
A recreated hobo encampment with campfire.
A recreated hobo encampment with campfire.
On December 14, 1906 John D. Spreckels, with his brother Adolph, announced his intent to construct a railroad from San Diego to Yuma, Arizona.
On December 14, 1906 John D. Spreckels, with his brother Adolph, announced his intent to construct a railroad from San Diego to Yuma, Arizona.
On October 2, 1916 the first passenger trains to Campo were initiated. On November 15, 1919 the Gold Spike Limited brought dignitaries to Carriso Gorge siding. The Impossible Railroad was completed!
On October 2, 1916 the first passenger trains to Campo were initiated. On November 15, 1919 the Gold Spike Limited brought dignitaries to Carriso Gorge siding. The Impossible Railroad was completed!
On February 5, 1950 the first diesel-electric locomotive pulled a freight train over the mountains, in place of a steam locomotive.
On February 5, 1950 the first diesel-electric locomotive pulled a freight train over the mountains, in place of a steam locomotive.
Checking out history at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, with its extensive collection of railroad rolling stock.
Checking out history at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, with its extensive collection of railroad rolling stock.
The Chula Vista Live Steamers were present for the event. They brought some of their 7.5 inch gauge operating steam trains.
The Chula Vista Live Steamers were present for the event. They brought some of their 7.5 inch gauge operating steam trains.
On top of one flatcar is a huge turntable that was used for turning railroad locomotives and cars.
On top of one flatcar is a huge turntable that was once used for turning railroad locomotives and cars.
A cool photo of a nearby Southern Pacific locomotive through the transported turntable.
A cool photo of a nearby Southern Pacific locomotive through the transported turntable.
A sign maps the route of the San Diego and Arizona Railway from San Diego through Mexico to El Centro.
A sign maps the route of the San Diego and Arizona Railway from San Diego through Mexico to El Centro. There are plans to use this line for freight trains once again. There is also talk that a tourist train might in the future run between Tecate, Mexico and Campo, California.
A sign describes two wooden passenger coaches built in the late 19th century. Coach 239 is one of the oldest surviving railroad passenger car artifacts in the West.
A sign describes two wooden passenger coaches built in the late 19th century. Coach 239 is one of the oldest surviving railroad passenger car artifacts in the West.
Visitors check out an enormous old freight car.
Visitors check out an enormous old freight car.
Here comes the San Diego & Arizona Eastern MW 1003 1931 Ford Model AA Rail Fire Engine.
Here comes the San Diego & Arizona Eastern MW 1003 1931 Ford Model AA Rail Fire Engine.
Visitors to the event check out a working 1902 American steam fire engine.
Visitors to the event check out a working 1902 American steam fire engine.
The American was built in 1902 by the American Fire Engine Company. It was restored with the help of the California State Firefighters' Association, and is now valued at over half a million dollars.
The American was built in 1902 by the American Fire Engine Company. It was restored with the help of the California State Firefighters’ Association, and is now valued at over half a million dollars!
People check out some of the railroad equipment on display on the museum grounds.
People check out some of the railroad equipment on display on the museum grounds.
Reading a sign by the railway Section House, where railroad workers were housed along the track.
Reading a sign by the railway Section House, where railroad workers were housed along the track.
Passengers disembark from the day's first excursion train and arrive at the outdoor venue for the gold spike event, near the museum's Display Building.
Passengers disembark from the day’s first excursion train and arrive at the outdoor venue for the gold spike event, near the museum’s Display Building.
A hay ride pulls up to the Display Building area.
A hay ride pulls up to the Display Building area.
Dr. Solar was entertaining kids with his magical Good-Time, Sunshine, Traveling Medicine Show.
Dr. Solar was entertaining kids with his magical Good-Time, Sunshine, Traveling Medicine Show.
Dr. Solar holds his applause meter.
Dr. Solar holds his applause meter.
Vintage auto enthusiasts brought their Model A and Model T Fords and Horseless Carriages.
Vintage auto enthusiasts brought their Model A and Model T Fords and Horseless Carriages.
Some cool period costumes!
Some fancy period costumes!
Vintage automobiles and vintage trains!
Vintage automobiles and vintage trains!
People were lined up for lunch near some of the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum's many outdoor railroad cars.
People were lined up for lunch near some of the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum’s many outdoor railroad cars.
Checking out a very cool old steam locomotive!
Checking out a very cool old steam locomotive!
A little switch engine of the San Diego and Arizona Railway.
A little switch engine of the San Diego and Arizona Railway.
The 100th Anniversary gold spike ceremony is about to begin. A train with red, white and blue bunting on the nearby track will be part of the historical reenactment.
The 100th Anniversary gold spike ceremony is about to begin. A train with red, white and blue bunting on the nearby track will be part of the historical reenactment.
Buffalo Soldiers representing nearby Camp Lockett are the event's color guard.
Buffalo Soldiers representing nearby Camp Lockett are the event’s color guard.
The gold spike ceremony begins.
The gold spike ceremony begins.
Standing for the National Anthem.
Standing for the National Anthem.
The master of ceremonies would introduce numerous present-day dignitaries, and many speeches would follow.
The master of ceremonies would introduce numerous present-day dignitaries, and many speeches would follow.
Native Sons of the Golden West dedicate a plaque celebrating the 100th anniversary of the San Diego and Arizona Railway's completion.
Native Sons of the Golden West dedicate a plaque celebrating the 100th anniversary of the San Diego and Arizona Railway’s completion.
Descendants of John D. Spreckels are asked to stand by Diana Hyatt, President of the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association.
Descendants of John D. Spreckels are asked to stand by Diana Hyatt, President of the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association.
During the centennial ceremony, the original gold spike from 100 years ago was on display in a glass case nearby.
During the centennial ceremony, the original gold spike from 100 years ago was on display in a glass case nearby.
The original gold spike used to celebrate the completion of the San Diego and Arizona Railway in 1919.
The original gold spike used to celebrate the completion of the San Diego and Arizona Railway in 1919.
The San Diego City Guard Band plays the San Diego Progress March, written for the railway's completion 100 years ago and performed then by the 1919 version of the City Guard Band.
The San Diego City Guard Band plays the San Diego Progress March, written for the railway’s completion 100 years ago and performed then by the 1919 version of the City Guard Band.
The gold spike reenactment begins. Railroad workers arrive by handcar.
The gold spike reenactment begins. Railroad workers arrive by handcar.
The railroad workers carry the last section of track to be laid.
The railroad workers carry the last section of track to be laid.
Reenactment of workers completing a transcontinental railroad route.
Reenactment of workers completing a transcontinental railroad route.
History is remembered in Campo, California.
Railroad history comes to life in Campo, California.
Here come dignitaries from 1919, including San Diego Mayor Wilde and William Kettner.
Here come dignitaries from 1919, including San Diego Mayor Wilde and William Kettner.
Politicians and dignitaries from a century ago seem to return to life during the San Diego and Arizona Railway centennial.
Politicians and dignitaries from a century ago seem to return to life during the San Diego and Arizona Railway centennial. Each would read from the original speeches.
Photographers record history from one side of the gold spike reenactment.
Photographers record today’s history from one side of the gold spike reenactment.
John D. Spreckels arrives from the Gold Spike Limited train.
John D. Spreckels arrives from the Gold Spike Limited train.
The shiny gold spike is put into place.
The shiny gold spike is put into place.
John D. Spreckels, creator of the San Diego and Arizona Railway, hammers the final spike.
John D. Spreckels, creator of the San Diego and Arizona Railway, hammers the final spike.
Those attending the big centennial celebration assemble around the John D. Spreckels reenactor for a photograph.
Those attending the big centennial celebration assemble around the John D. Spreckels reenactor for a photograph.
History is made again on a sunny November day in 2019.
History is made again on a sunny November day in 2019.

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Model ship builders restore family heirlooms!

Is there an old model ship in your attic? Perhaps a treasured family heirloom? Is it falling to pieces or in a terrible tangle? Would you like to restore it?

Today, during a visit to the Maritime Museum of San Diego, I learned of a group of dedicated model ship builders who are busy repairing and restoring old model ships!

The members of the San Diego Ship Modelers Guild love their hobby and hold regular meetings aboard the Maritime Museum ship Berkeley. I happened to be walking around the museum today before one of their evening meetings. I struck up a conversation with Guild Master James Pitt and was fascinated as he told me about various aspects of model ship building.

The San Diego Ship Modelers Guild, which was formed in 1971, has dozens of members hailing from all around Southern California and even Arizona. They have partnered with the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and guild members can often be seen working in the museum’s specially equipped Model Makers Workshop.

What interested me most was how the modeler’s guild has been repairing and restoring an increasing number of model ships of late. Many are family heirlooms passed down from previous generations, and are treasured for the memories and special meaning they embody.

If you have any sort of model ship that needs expert repair, check out the San Diego Ship Modelers Guild website by clicking here! Send them an email! I met a couple of the members and all were really nice guys!

I took some photos of a display for today’s meeting. You can see examples of model ships that have undergone restoration.

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 Art of Shag at the Comic-Con Museum!

Today I enjoyed a really great exhibition at the future home of the Comic-Con Museum. The popular artist Josh Agle, who goes by the name Shag, has a big gallery of super cool artwork on display free to the public through this weekend!

I must admit I was unfamiliar with the name Shag, but once I saw the artwork I recognized his distinctive style. And now I’m a big fan! His snappy colorful images have a 1960’s commercial art feel, and many of the pieces celebrate popular entertainment and scenes from that era. His sly, often subversive “Mid-Century Modern aesthetic” is all in good fun.

Shag’s art often depicts Hollywood stars raising glasses at decadent cocktail parties. Many of his images include exotic Tikis. He creates vivid, snazzy scenes that invoke a sense of what is referred to as retro decadence.

Some of his pieces pay tribute to classic cartoons and Disney. As you can see in my photos, he also re-imagines popular movies like Planet of the Apes, Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy, comic books like Spider-Man, and television shows like the Twilight Zone and Batman.

If you’d like to see some really cool art, definitely head over to Balboa Park tomorrow and check out the Art of Shag! The free exhibition will be open 10 am to 4 pm in the Federal Building, which used to house the Hall of Champions, and which is destined to become the Comic-Con Museum in 2021.

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!

Historic Highway 80 mural on El Cajon Boulevard.

Mural by artist Jonny Alexander at El Cajon Boulevard and Winona Avenue remembers old U.S. Highway 80.
Mural by artist Jonny Alexander at El Cajon Boulevard and Winona Avenue remembers old U.S. Highway 80.

A cool mural in San Diego celebrates old U.S. Highway 80. The street art reads “Cruise Historic Highway 80” and features an image of a motorcyclist crossing desert and mountains to reach the Pacific Ocean. The mural was painted near the intersection of El Cajon Boulevard and Winona Avenue in 2015 by Jonny Alexander.

U.S. Highway 80 was a legendary cross-country route that at one time ran 2671 miles from U.S. Route 101 in San Diego, California east all the way to Georgia. The segment through San Diego was eventually decommissioned in favor of a newly built Interstate 8.

Much of old U.S. Route 80 ran through San Diego where El Cajon Boulevard is today.

A motorcyclist riding west has reached the Pacific Ocean after crossing desert and mountains.
A motorcyclist riding west has reached the Pacific Ocean after crossing desert and mountains.
Much of Historic Route US 80 ran where El Cajon Boulevard is today.
Much of Historic Route US 80 ran where El Cajon Boulevard is today.
Cruise Historic Highway 80. A celebration of the old days depicted in a cool mural in San Diego.
Cruise Historic Highway 80. A celebration of the old days depicted in a cool mural in San Diego.

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!

Balboa Park’s fantastic Toy Train Gallery!

One of my favorite attractions in Balboa Park is the absolutely huge, incredible San Diego Model Railroad Museum. And my favorite room in the museum is the fantastic Toy Train Gallery!

Check out these quick photos of the gallery’s super fun toy train layout operated by the San Diego 3-Railers Club!

The colorful layout features O-Scale Lionel-type trains running through a world full of sound and movement. Signs and billboards light up. Cars pull in and out of driveways. People move back and forth. Ghostbusters contend with a rampaging Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

A Choo-Choo Cam lets visitors experience an engineer’s perspective as one model train passes through tunnels, over bridges, and past nostalgic, often humorous scenery. The view is sure to delight children . . . and the child that hopefully remains within each of us!

If you or your family would like to visit the very cool San Diego Model Railroad Museum and their fantastic Toy Train Gallery, you can learn more 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!

Photos of historic centennial U.S. Air Mail flight!

A vintage biplane is almost ready to embark on an historic flight.
A vintage biplane is almost ready to embark on an historic flight.

Today I witnessed a bit of history. I headed to the Allen Airways Flying Museum at Gillespie Field to watch three vintage Stearman Speedmail biplanes take off on the first leg of the old Contract Air Mail 8 (CAM 8) route.

The very special six-day event marks the centennial of United States Air Mail service, which began on May 15,1918 with a flight from Washington D.C. to New York. Today’s flight, endorsed by the U.S. Postal Service, was the beginning of a 1200 mile journey up the West Coast that will include 12 stops, finally ending at Paine Field in Everett, Washington.

Many hobbyists, pilots and history enthusiasts were on hand to see the trio of vintage biplanes begin their commemorative flight. I read that only seven Stearman Speedmail airplanes survive today; 41 were originally built to transport the U.S. Mail by air.

As the planes taxied down the runway for takeoff, a friendly gentleman provided me with a little more history. I learned the original CAM 8 route up the West Coast took about two days, depending on the weather and the wind. He explained how the highly dependable Stearman Speedmail planes have a powerful 450-horsepower engine, and we observed how they took to the air very quickly. In the early days of aviation, before modern airports with lengthy runways, this was a requirement.

I also learned that many other owners of vintage aircraft flew in for today’s event, parking their colorful planes outside the Allen Airways Flying Museum. The museum itself is home to a variety of cool, historical aircraft, and welcomes visitors by appointment.

Here come some photos!

One of three Stearman Speedmail biplanes which will fly from San Diego to Seattle to commemorate the centennial of U.S. Air Mail service.
One of three Stearman Speedmail biplanes which will fly from San Diego to Seattle to commemorate the centennial of U.S. Air Mail service.
Mail collected at a USPS table is put into a canvas airmail bag. Each piece will be postmarked at the 12 stops along the 1200 mile flight.
Special mail collected at a USPS table is put into a canvas airmail bag. Each piece will be postmarked at the 12 stops along the 1200 mile flight.
The City of El Cajon issued a proclamation to mark the 100th Anniversary of U.S. Airmail Service.
The City of El Cajon issued a proclamation to mark the 100th Anniversary of U.S. Airmail Service.
A Ford U.S. Air Mail truck was on display during the event, courtesy of the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
A vintage Ford U.S. Air Mail truck was on display during the event, courtesy of the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
Loading a sack of official U.S. Mail into a cockpit of one Stearman Speedmail biplane.
Loading a sack of official U.S. Mail into the front of one Stearman Speedmail biplane.
Another plane participating in the event awaits nearby.
Another plane participating in the event waits nearby.
People roll the biplane off the grass so that it can taxi away from the Allen Airways Flying Museum.
People roll the biplane off the grass so that it can taxi away from the Allen Airways Flying Museum.
These two planes are ready to safely head out onto the Gillespie Field runway.
These two planes are ready to safely head out onto the Gillespie Field runway.
It's almost 11:45, the time the three planes will start their U.S. Air Mail centennial celebration flight.
It’s almost 11:45, the time the three planes will start their U.S. Air Mail centennial celebration flight.
The first Stearman Speedmail biplane taxis out onto the runway.
The first Stearman Speedmail biplane taxis out onto the runway.
It slowly heads down the runway to prepare for takeoff.
It slowly heads down the runway to prepare for takeoff.
The second Stearman Speedmail aircraft follows.
The second Stearman Speedmail aircraft follows.
And here comes the third. An historic flight will soon begin!
And here comes the third. An historic flight will soon begin!
The trio of vintage biplanes heads down to the end of the airport's runway.
The trio of vintage biplanes heads down to the end of the airport’s runway.
People watch as the Air Mail centennial celebration flight begins in San Diego!
People watch as the Air Mail centennial celebration flight begins in San Diego!
A vintage biplane plane flies north, beginning a 12-stop 1200-mile flight that retraces the Contract Mail 8 (CAM 8) air mail route.
A vintage biplane flies north, beginning a 12-stop 1200-mile flight that retraces the Contract Mail 8 (CAM 8) air mail route.
A wonderful day in El Cajon, and a bit of history, too!
Today many enjoyed a fun celebration of American history at Gillespie Field in El Cajon!

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!

Classic baseball publications anticipate new season!

Official baseball Yearbooks on display include one featuring the National League pennant winning 1984 Padres!
Official baseball Yearbooks on display include one featuring the National League pennant winning 1984 San Diego Padres!

There’s a new exhibition on the first floor of San Diego’s Central Library that anticipates the 2018 Major League Baseball season–now just days away! Examples of classic baseball publications remind visitors to the public library why this popular sport is considered America’s Pastime.

These notable publications are selected from the Bill Weiss Archive, of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Collection. The huge collection is housed within the Sullivan Family Baseball Research Center, located in San Diego’s downtown Central Library. The people of San Diego have easy access to the largest baseball research collection outside of Cooperstown, New York’s incredible National Baseball Hall of Fame!

If you love sports history, Americana or baseball collectibles, you might enjoy this small but very cool exhibit!

Notable Publications from the Sullivan Family Baseball Research Collection are now on display on the first floor of the San Diego Central Library.
Notable Publications from the Sullivan Family Baseball Research Collection are now on display on the first floor of the San Diego Central Library.
Issues of Who's Who in Baseball on display at the San Diego Central Library.
Various old issues of Who’s Who in Baseball on display at the San Diego Central Library.
Who's Who in Baseball was first published in 1912. It was a popular reference for professional baseball stats for over a century.
Who’s Who in Baseball was first published in 1912. It was a popular reference for professional baseball stats for over a century.
Examples of Reach's Official Base Ball Guides and Spalding's Official Base Ball Guides, dating as far back as 1876!
Examples of Reach’s Official Base Ball Guides and Spalding’s Official Base Ball Guides, dating as far back as 1876!
Some classic examples of Baseball Magazine, which was published from 1908 to 1957.
Illustrated covers of Baseball Magazine, which was published from 1908 to 1957.

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!

GO PADRES!