Building a cannon carriage and adobe walls in Old Town.

Saturday, on my way to TwainFest, I walked a little around Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to see what I might see.

At the blacksmith shop, wood shop and nearby grounds, I observed some interesting activity!

First, I learned from Todd in the blacksmith shop that a new carriage for Old Town plaza’s historic cannon will soon be built! I blogged about this project back in April here. I detail a little about the cannon’s history in that blog post.

Todd showed me how he had removed some of the original iron fittings from the wooden carriage. All of the iron will be saved, then refitted to a brand new carriage once it’s built. Welds will be hidden to preserve the original appearance.

The carriage will be constructed in the wood shop, a small work room attached to the blacksmith shop.

Here are a few photos of the wood shop…

Then I noticed two people working in the dirt area outside the blacksmith shop, behind Seeley Stable. This is the new spot in the State Park where adobe wall-making is demonstrated.

I’ve been told the old adobe demonstration area, which I blogged about here, will be used in the future for a Kumeyaay interpretive display.

As I watched slimy fingers jam mud mortar between large sun-dried adobe blocks, I took a look at information concerning which structures in Old Town are original adobes, and which ones are reconstructed.

Six original adobe buildings shown are: Casa de Machado y Silvas, c. 1843; Casa de Machado y Stewart, c. 1830; Casa de Estudillo, c. 1827; Casa de Bandini/Cosmopolitan Hotel, c. 1829; Altamirano-Perdrorena House, c. 1869; and the oldest structure in San Diego, Casa de Carrillo (between Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and the Presidio), c. 1817.

Reconstructed adobe buildings are: Robinson-Rose Building, c. 1853; Casa de Wrightington, c. 1804; San Diego House, c. 1841; Casa de Rodriguez, c. 1830; Colorado House (Adobe Annex), c. 1854; Casa de Alvarado, c. 1830; and Alvarado Saloon, c. 1830.

Typical adobe wall construction involved a foundation and a layer of small stones and shards topped by adobe bricks, which are cemented with lime and sand or mud plaster.

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!

Returning to normal after the pandemic.

Thank goodness. Life in San Diego is returning to something more like normal. As a large number of people have become vaccinated against COVID-19, the coronavirus pandemic has greatly subsided.

The virus took an unspeakably horrible toll. Lives were lost. Living was curtailed. Many were isolated. Livelihoods were decimated. The lockdowns were unprecedented. But we’re somehow getting beyond it.

In the last couple weeks I’ve taken a few photographs of signs that our city is returning to normal.

Indoor dining is back. Theaters are open or about to open. Stadiums are once again full. Museums and attractions are mostly open. More and more commercial planes are landing at San Diego International Airport. Traffic patterns are returning. Help Wanted signs are now everywhere.

One thing I really notice as I walk around is that tourists are traveling once again to sunny San Diego.

The new normal in the Gaslamp Quarter includes open-air dining.
Visitors to the Maritime Museum of San Diego descend into the USS Dolphin submarine.
Old Town Trolley Tours is starting to get busy again, and these relaxing tour guides smiled for my camera!
The movies are back. I’m anxious to see Black Widow which opens next week!
Most restaurants–the ones that survived the pandemic–are open for indoor dining…and they’re hiring!
Two “smiles” at Fiesta de Reyes are symbolic of the gradual transition back to normal times.
Tourists check out pottery at El Centro Artesano in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
A random fun photo that I took today. These fireplace “fire starters” are made using leftover wax at Toby’s Candle & Soap Shop in Old Town.
People are out and about, so downtown sidewalks must be kept clean!
The historic Balboa Theatre will be reopening in early August!

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!

Photos of Cinco de Mayo fiesta in Old Town!

Cinco de Mayo is being celebrated this weekend in Old Town!

A good crowd was enjoying the colorful fiesta along San Diego Avenue when I arrived today in the early afternoon.

In addition to vendors selling food, crafts, assorted gifts and goodies, Mexican baile folklórico dancers and mariachis could be found along the street providing lively entertainment! And I spotted friendly local chalk artist Cecelia Linayao creating some art by one sidewalk!

Lots of diners were at the various Mexican eateries that line San Diego Avenue, and I was sorely tempted to buy a fresh handmade tortilla!

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t completely over, so everyone at the popular Old Town festival is asked to wear a face mask and engage in social distancing.

I took these photos to capture some of the fun!

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

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Colorful murals at new Old Town Urban Market!

Some very colorful murals have recently appeared in Old Town at the corner of Twiggs Street and Congress Street!

The two newly decorated walls used to enclose Miranda’s Courtyard, which I blogged about many years ago here. The property is being redeveloped into Old Town Urban Market, which is scheduled to open this summer.

The artwork was painted by “memuco” Guillermo Munro, whose other murals can be enjoyed here.

The murals depict Frida Kahlo, a tree full of positive messages, Día de los Muertos imagery, and some of the historical buildings in Old Town 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!

Old Town’s plaza cannon in for repairs!

If you’ve wondered what happened to the cannon that usually stands near the center of Old Town San Diego’s central grass plaza, I learned on Saturday that it’s in for repairs!

The old cannon’s wooden carriage is being restored at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s blacksmith shop.

Seven years ago I blogged about this particular cannon here. I had read at the time it was called El Capitan, and that it was one of two cannons still remaining from the Spanish Fort Guijarros that was built in 1797 at Ballast Point near the entrance to San Diego Bay.

The other cannon, cast in Manila in the 18th century, is called El Jupiter. That one is on display in the Serra Museum atop Presidio Hill. Find a photo of that cannon here.

As you can see, the two cannons do not appear identical. I was told by a friendly gentleman working in the blacksmith shop that this Old Town plaza cannon has a less certain history than its companion El Jupiter. He said there are indications it might have been made in England. We surmised it might have been taken by the Spanish during a conflict at sea. Its exact origin seems to be a mystery.

If you’d like to see this mysterious cannon and its carriage and ask your own questions, head over to the blacksmith shop on a weekend when they are likely to be open. And linger to watch the smiths hammering away at red hot iron!

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!

Spring roses in Old Town San Diego.

Today I went for a slow, easy walk through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

After turning down a path behind several historic buildings, I noticed bright spring colors in a garden that few visitors see. A straggly, uniquely beautiful rose garden can be enjoyed behind the reconstructed La Casa de Machado y Wrightington, which today is home to the Tafoya and Son pottery shop.

For lovers of roses, this a wonderful little place to seek out. The roses even have signs that identify the varieties.

I took a few photos of the newly opened roses.

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 photo memories from March 2016.

We’ve stepped into a new month, so it’s time to look back at some of the things Cool San Diego Sights featured five years ago!

Back in March 2016 there was a whole lot going on in San Diego!

The following links will take you to photographs of various events and places of interest that you might enjoy seeing again. Unless, of course, you’re new to my blog. In that case, you’ll see these photos for the very first time!

Click the following links for lots of photographs…

Mountain men, a gunsmith and a blacksmith.

Irish pride on display at big St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

Photos of International Mariachi Festival in National City.

History comes alive during tour of Spanish Village.

Photos of National City Depot museum and streetcars!

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

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Wheel sculptures at Old Town’s Caltrans building.

If you driven down Taylor Street past Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, you’ve probably seen the big Caltrans building across the street. And you might have observed five sculpted wheels mounted atop a low wall by the sidewalk.

The five wheels together are titled Rodoviaria, and they made their first public appearance in 2006 when the new District 11 Caltrans Office Complex (also known as the Wadie P. Deddeh State Office Building) was dedicated.

Rodoviaria was created by two highly accomplished artists who are brothers: Einar and Jamex De La Torre. Their website describes this public art as: 2005. Rodoviaria, five 50” cantera stone wheels with sand cast glass inclusions, Caltrans District 11 New Campus Facility, San Diego, CA.

Look closely at the glass inclusions and you’ll see not only tiny cars, but all sorts of interesting imagery mixed in. I believe I see beetles, pre-Columbian motifs, masks, hands, abstract human figures…

A plaque on the wall beneath one of the wheels reads:

Einar and Jamex de la Torre
Rodoviaria, 2006

Transportation provides the mobility that enables cultural exchanges that in turn lead to the creations of new and dynamic cultural hybrids, most evident in California’s border towns and immigrant communities.

The first wave of sustained migration into California was made possible by the wagon wheel. Since then, many wheels have made the mobility and progress possible coupled with an ever changing and richly diverse culture.

Several years ago I posted photos of another example of inventive public art by these Mexican-born brothers. You might recall that big fun robot on Commercial Street. See it again here!

They also created the playful “dioramas” you see as you ride the main glass elevator at the San Diego Central Library. I hope to take photos of that one day, 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!

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!

Kumeyaay exhibit area in Old Town takes shape!

I swung by Old Town San Diego State Historic Park this afternoon for a short walk.

While most of Old Town has been very quiet during the COVID-19 pandemic, the construction of the new outdoor Kumeyaay exhibit space in one corner of the park has been going full speed ahead. And it’s really taking shape!

I last posted photos of the construction in October. See those here. At the time, I was calling it the “new Kumeyaay park.” But I see there’s now an updated California State Parks web page concerning the project, and this outdoor area featuring interpretive exhibits is officially called Iipay ~ Tipai Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok, which translates to Land of the First People.

To see that web page, which includes a rendering and a map, click 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!