Holiday magic at the Model Railroad Museum!

Need some holiday magic?

It can be found in abundance at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park!

The huge, detailed train layouts are amazing by themselves, but during the Holiday Season, additional surprises await around the museum!

There are beautiful Christmas trees, a talking, animatronic Santa to excite kids, and tiny holiday scenes placed in several of the scale train layouts.

But by far the most magic can be experienced in the Toy Train Gallery!

In the Toy Train Gallery, young and old gaze wide-eyed at a lively city filled with holiday figures and bright decorations. Trains illuminated with colored Christmas lights pass through happy winter scenes. Snowmen and Christmas trees perch on rooftops. It like a dream world one might see in a snow globe–filled with life and activity!

In addition, the Toy Train Gallery’s walls are filled with holiday artwork that will make old-timers nostalgic for years gone by.

A few photos provide a small taste…

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Firefighter street art at Point Loma fire station.

I absolutely love this firefighter street art in front of Point Loma Fire Station 22!

Whenever I drive down Catalina Boulevard past San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Station 22, I catch a glimpse of this artwork. I finally stopped to take some photographs.

There are nostalgic old images of a fire engine, a fireman, and an image of the Point Loma peninsula with the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, with the words: The Community We Serve.

The front of this fire station building is also decorated with beautiful public art. I’ll post those photos coming up!

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and 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!

The Vintage Trolley: A Labor of Love.

Last weekend I rode the San Diego Trolley’s old PCC streetcar 530. I traveled a few stops on the Vintage Trolley’s downtown Silver Line loop.

As I looked about the interior of the restored 1940’s streetcar, I noticed a sign that I’d never seen before. Several paragraphs pay tribute to Ed Lindstrom, who was instrumental in restoring the Vintage Trolley vehicles operated by MTS.

Ed worked as a Light Rail Vehicle Project Coordinator and Electromechanic. Restoring the two streetcars that now run on the Silver Line–cars 529 and 530–required parts that are extremely difficult to find. According to the sign, Ed relentlessly sought the necessary parts from other transit agencies, collectors and museums. With some harder-to-find components, Ed got creative. He reverse-engineered and produced them specifically for the project!

To learn more about the PCC streetcar restoration, and see photos of how the old cars once looked, click here!

If you ever ride one of these nostalgic streetcars on a weekend, you can thank Ed and many others who’ve worked countless hours making a beautiful dream come true.

A LABOR OF LOVE.

Operation of the vintage streetcars in San Diego…began as a dream of Harry Mathis… A cadre of volunteers, led by our restoration manager, Dave Slater, has contributed more than 11,000 man hours of work on our fleet of PCC’s…

As a resident of downtown San Diego who loves riding the Vintage Trolley cars, thank you!

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!

World record longest: the Vista Historical Mural!

Did you know the world’s longest mural was painted in Vista, California?

That’s according to Guinness World Records. The amazing “Vista Historical Mural” is 564 feet long!

Originally painted in 2005 by artist Clayton Parker, the colorful mural covers the rear of eight businesses. It’s located along the alley-like Vistacado Lane between Indiana Avenue and Michigan Avenue. The history of Vista is depicted as a very long parade.

I took photos at one end of this mural back in May. I captured much of the recently restored part near the corner of Main Street and Indiana Avenue, with its scenes from the Vistacado Festival Parade. You can see those particular photos and learn a bit more here. At the time I regretted not photographing the entire long, world record mural.

So I returned later. I’ve now documented the whole length! As you can see, some parked vehicles, trash containers and other objects prevented my camera from capturing absolutely everything.

Walk east down Vistacado Lane, as I did, and the painted representation of Vista’s history moves back in time.

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!

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!

Vistacado Festival Parade mural celebrates Vista history!

A nostalgic mural in downtown Vista, California depicts an annual community parade held in the 1930’s to 1950’s.

One recently restored end of the fun Vistacado Festival Parade mural, painted in 2005 by artist Clayton Parker, decorates the exterior of Barrel & Stave Pour House, near the corner of Main Street and Indiana Avenue.

The parade seems to proceed around the building. There are cool old cars, a marching band, cheerleaders, young baseball players, dignitaries, and even walking avocado mascots!

I smiled when I saw the mural includes an image of Pepper Tree Frosty, which I blogged about yesterday here!

This parade artwork is actually one small part of a much, much longer historical mural that runs 564 feet along Vistacado Lane between North Indiana and Michigan Avenue. The entire stretch of artwork has been recognized as Guinness World Record longest continuous mural!

I glimpsed the very long, somewhat faded artwork down Vistacado Lane during my walk yesterday, and in retrospect I should have photographed all of it. I’ll hopefully remember to do that on my next visit to Vista.

I learned all about the longer mural when I read this article. It explains how the original artist, Clayton Parker, restored the portion that I happened to photograph, back in 2020.

UPDATE!

I later returned to Vista to photograph the entire length of the world record historical mural. You can see those photos 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!

A hamburger and Vista’s old Wishing Well.

In Vista, California there’s a Wishing Well that is several generations old. It has gathered pennies in one spot for almost three quarters of a century.

Curious eyes can discover this small Wishing Well across the driveway of Pepper Tree Frosty, right next to their outdoor eating area.

I happened to see it today while waiting for my order of a hamburger at the walk-up window. I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen a wishing well. When’s the last time you’ve seen one?

I learned from Dan, the friendly owner of Pepper Tree Frosty, that the well was created in the 1950’s by the Lions Club.

Pepper Tree Frosty, a popular ice cream and fast food destination at 270 South Santa Fe Avenue, was originally a Tastee-Freez, built in 1953. When acquired by Dan’s family years later, it was renamed for the pepper trees lining the nearby creek.

Dan said that coins dropped into the shallow, ornamental Wishing Well go to the Boys and Girls Clubs, although donations came to a long pause during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By the way, my hamburger and fries were super good!

(There’s an image of Pepper Tree Frosty in a cool mural in downtown Vista! I’ll be posting those photos soon! As “well” as more interesting stuff I saw today in Vista!)

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!

Jack in the Box clown head at History Center!

These photos might stir up some nostalgic San Diego memories.

How many of you used to pull through Jack in the Box half a century ago, when happy clown heads decorated the fast food restaurant’s roofs and served as the drive-thru speaker box? I remember it from my own childhood.

Last weekend, when I saw this Jack in the Box Clown Head (circa 1950’s to 1970’s) in a display case at the San Diego History Center, I had to smile.

What memories do you have?

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 downtown Silver Line resumes service!

The San Diego Trolley’s Silver Line recently returned to service. After a long period of inactivity during the COVID-19 pandemic, the historic cars that operate on the downtown loop route can now be seen on weekends!

Late this morning I enjoyed the Lemon Festival in Chula Vista. (I’ll blog about that event shortly!) I then returned downtown, hopped onto beautiful vintage PCC streetcar 530 and rode much of the Silver Line loop.

As we headed down the track, curious people on sidewalks watched us and listened to the car ding-dinging with astonished eyes.

Learn more about the Silver Line and its restored trolley cars 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!

Historical uniforms inspire a Fashion Redux!

Anyone in San Diego who is interested in history, fashion, or the evolution of fashion should visit the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

A new exhibit opened on Sunday titled Fashion Redux 2021. Collaborating with the History Center, inspired by four plain-looking late 19th to mid 20th century woman’s uniforms, students from Mesa College’s Fashion Program have designed similar but more contemporary clothing!

The four articles of clothing in the museum’s collection that were considered by the students are: a WWII Uniform, Navy Nurse Corps, c. 1940s; a ZLAC Rowing Uniform, c. 1895; a Girl Scout Uniform, c. 1919; and a Knights of Columbus Uniform, c. late 19th or early 20th century.

Just seeing those old uniforms in the San Diego History Center is interesting in itself, but to see how fashion design students have chosen to alter century-old styles provides a glimpse into the creative human mind, and perhaps a sense of our culture’s present day aesthetic tastes.

The exhibit allows visitors to compare the different clothing in detail, and learn about the talented students who are participating in this Fashion Redux.

Here is some of what you’ll see…

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 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!