Days of the Vaqueros in Old Town San Diego!

Two vaqueros chat during an event in Old Town San Diego that reenacts aspects of Californio history.
Two vaqueros chat during an event in Old Town San Diego that reenacts fascinating Californio history.

I enjoyed the Trades That Shaped the West event in Old Town San Diego last Saturday so much, I decided to return today to experience another Stagecoach Days event: Days of the Vaqueros!

Days of the Vaqueros invited curious visitors to experience what life was like when San Diego was a part of Mexico. The emphasis was on the vaqueros–the first true cowboys. During the era of the Californios, wealthy ranch owners employed vaqueros to manage their stock.

For a couple of decades–from the early 1820s to the mid-1840s–cattle hides were the primary export of Alta California. Merchant ships from the East Coast (and other places about the Pacific Ocean) would trade the plentiful hides for finished goods that were in high demand in early, geographically isolated, sparsely populated towns like San Diego.

Someone reads Days of the Vaqueros sign on the Robinson Rose House in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Someone checks out Days of the Vaqueros activities. The banner hangs on the Robinson Rose House in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Taking place during Old Town's summer Stagecoach Days, today's event celebrated life in San Diego when the small town and surrounding area was part of Mexico.
Taking place during Old Town’s summer weekend Stagecoach Days, today’s event celebrated life in San Diego when the small town and Alta California were part of Mexico.
Ladies in period dresses at the Days of the Vaqueros event in Old Town San Diego.
Ladies pass by in period dresses. One of many cool sights at the Days of the Vaqueros event in Old Town San Diego.
Tables contained information about life during the era of huge Mexican land grant cattle ranches worked by vaqueros. Vaqueros, the first cowboys, were mostly indigenous people employed to manage cattle by the wealthy land owners.
Tables contained information about life during the era of huge Mexican land grant ranches worked by vaqueros. Vaqueros, the first true cowboys, were mostly indigenous people employed to manage cattle by the wealthy land owners.
A vaquero shows a visitor to Old Town how to properly handle a rope.
A vaquero shows a visitor to Old Town how to properly handle a rope.
The visitor successfully lassoes his cow--the rear end, that is--first try!
The visitor successfully lassoes his cow–the rear end, that is–first try!
A gentleman who used to work for Buck Knives makes unique knife handles with elk antlers. He has developed his own technique, which takes great skill and precision.
A gentleman who used to work for Buck Knives makes unique knife handles out of elk antlers. He has developed his own technique, which takes great skill and precision.
A hat maker shows how beaver felt material was steamed then pushed over a hat-form block.
A hat maker shows how beaver felt material was steamed then pushed over a hat-form block.
What's cooking on the campfire? Some tasty pozole, I was told!
What’s cooking on the campfire? Some tasty pozole, I was told!
Pozole is a traditional Mexican soup or stew, made from hominy, meat and various vegetable seasonings.
Pozole is a traditional Mexican soup or stew, made from hominy, meat and various vegetable seasonings.
Preparing eggs for the cascarón. Near the end of a fiesta Californios flirted by cracking eggs filled with scented water or confetti over the startled head of someone they liked.
Decorating eggshell cascarones. Near the end of a fiesta, Californios flirted by cracking eggs filled with scented water or confetti over the startled head of someone they liked.
A group called Los Californios played authentic early California music--tunes that were preserved over a century ago on wax cylinder sound recordings made by Charles Lummis.
A group called Los Californios played authentic early California music–tunes that were preserved over a century ago on wax cylinder sound recordings made by Charles Lummis.
A couple dances to the happy, gentle music.
A couple dances to the happy, gentle music.
Publications by a project called San Diego Friends of Old Time Music. Author Vykki Mende Gray is helping to preserve the musical history of California.
Publications by a nonprofit project called San Diego Friends of Old Time Music. Author Vykki Mende Gray is helping to preserve the musical history of California.
A display of braided ropes and cut rawhide, once commonly used by vaqueros as they worked on the large cattle ranches around San Diego.
A display of braided ropes and rawhide, once commonly used by vaqueros as they worked on the large cattle ranches around San Diego.
On this table I see more ropes, a canteen, iron brands and boot spurs.
On this table I see more ropes, a canteen, iron brands and boot spurs.
A gentleman who teaches students visiting Old Town about history holds up an illustration of bear-baiting, which early Californians found entertaining.
A gentleman who teaches school students visiting Old Town about history holds up an illustration of bear-baiting, which early Californians found entertaining.
These guys were making adobe bricks. I learned earth and water are mixed, and straw or manure are often added for strength and cohesion.
These guys were making adobe bricks. I learned earth and water are mixed, and straw or manure are often added for strength and cohesion.
These authentic adobe bricks take weeks or months to properly dry. When hard, they'll possibly be used in new construction or restored exhibits at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Authentic adobe bricks take weeks or months to properly dry. When hard, these bricks will possibly be used in new construction or to restore existing exhibits inside Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Traditional dancing in the courtyard of Casa de Estudillo of Los Camotes (which translates the sweet potatoes), a tune from Mexican and Spanish California.
Traditional dancing in the courtyard of Casa de Estudillo of Los Camotes (which translates the sweet potatoes), a tune from old Mexican and Spanish California.

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 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.

Trades That Shaped the West demonstrated in Old Town!

A Wells Fargo stagecoach takes a turn around La Plaza de Las Armas in San Diego's historic Old Town.
A Wells Fargo stagecoach takes a turn around La Plaza de Las Armas in San Diego’s historic Old Town.

Here come photos from today’s Trades That Shaped the West event, which took place in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park!

A wide variety of demonstrations drew curious visitors to a cluster of tents in the park’s grassy plaza. Early San Diego in the 1800’s was completely different from our modern city of gleaming skyscrapers. In many ways, life back then was both simpler and more difficult. Many household objects that are manufactured today were crafted using raw muscle and sweat. Most ordinary tasks were neither easy nor automated.

One hopes that historical reenactments like this continue for generations, so that people don’t forget the unique and meaningful lives of our ancestors.

You might notice this isn’t the first time I’ve blogged about this annual event. I’m so fascinated by San Diego’s history, I decided to experience Trades That Shaped the West again!

Stagecoach Days is celebrated every Saturday in Old Town during the summer. There’s a different themed event every week!

Aspects of frontier life were reenacted today in Old Town San Diego. Visitors watch in amazement as a stagecoach passes by!
Aspects of frontier life were reenacted today in Old Town San Diego. Visitors watch as a stagecoach passes by!
History comes to life during Stagecoach Days in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. There's a different theme each Saturday in July and August.
History comes to life during Stagecoach Days in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. There’s a different theme each Saturday in July and August.
Many fascinating demonstrations could be viewed by the public at the Trades That Shaped the West event.
Many fascinating demonstrations could be viewed by the public at the Trades That Shaped the West event today.
Young and old alike watched two blacksmiths at work with an anvil and small portable forge.
Young and old alike watched two blacksmiths at work with an anvil and small forge.
A wheelwright explains his craft. Wagon wheels were difficult to create, but a necessity of life in the 1800's.
A wheelwright explains his craft. To make wagon wheels required great skill. Like cars today, wagons were an important part of life in the 1800’s.
The bent metal band tyre would be expanded with heat, then contracted using cold water once carefully placed around the wooden wheel.
The bent metal band tyre would be expanded with heat, then contracted using cold water once carefully placed around the wooden wheel.
We take laundry machines for granted today. In the Old West, cleaning clothes took a whole lot more work.
We take laundry machines for granted today. Years ago in the Old West, cleaning clothes required a whole lot more work!
Irons, washboards and other objects from daily life generations ago are on display.
Irons, washboards and other objects from daily life generations ago were on display.
These ladies were weaving baskets. Basket-weaving is said to be the oldest of all human crafts.
These ladies were weaving baskets. Basket-weaving is said to be the oldest of all human crafts.
The local Kumeyaay would use willow baskets to protect their gathered acorns and other food from insects.
The local Native American Kumeyaay would use willow baskets to protect their gathered acorns and other food from insects.
This portable green forge is being used for the first time. The handle turns a belt which operates an air blower. I recognized this blacksmith from the Fall Back Festival in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.
This portable green forge is being used for the first time. The handle turns a belt which operates an air blower. I recognized this blacksmith from the Fall Back Festival in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.
Local blacksmith hobbyists made all the items you see here, including the ornamental snake (which takes about an hour and a half to make) and the huge padlock!
Local blacksmith hobbyists created all the items you see here, including the ornamental snake (which took about an hour and a half to make) and the huge padlock!
This crafty gambler tried to entice me into playing a game of chance. Nice try!
This crafty gambler tried to entice me into playing a game of chance. Nice try!
A gentleman had a table containing old tintype photographs. He also had antique cameras on display that produce daguerreotype photographs.
A gentleman had a table containing old tintype photographs. He also had antique cameras on display that were used for daguerreotype photographs.
A new wheel is being produced by several wainwrights, trades people who make and repair wagons and carts.
A new wheel is being produced by several wainwrights, trades people who craft and repair wagons and carts. These guys belong to the California Historical Artillery Society.
A variety of useful tools and devices. Many look familiar today.
A variety of useful tools on their table. Many look familiar today.
Friendly members of the California Historical Artillery Society were demonstrating at the annual Old Town event for the first time.
The members of the California Historical Artillery Society were attending the annual Trades That Shaped the West event for the first time.
Approximate blacksmithing prices in the mid 1800's.
Sign shows average blacksmithing prices in the mid 1800’s. The prices were much higher in Northern California during the Gold Rush.
These guys also had a traveling battery forge, used by the Army long ago. Today they are often used in Civil War reenactments.
These guys also had a traveling battery forge, used by the Army long ago. Today they are often used in Civil War reenactments.
I noticed that the snake oil salesman had drawn a crowd!
I noticed that a snake oil salesman had drawn a crowd!
An old lady with a bad case of lumbago was eager to try Dr. Montbank's Tonic Elixir.
An old lady with a bad case of lumbago was eager to try Dr. Montbank’s Tonic Elixir.
I'm not sure it helped much.
I’m not sure it helped much.
A guitar, fiddle, banjo and a bottle. These frontier musicians were getting ready to provide a bit of Western entertainment.
A guitar, a fiddle, and a bottle. These frontier musicians were getting themselves ready to provide a bit of Western entertainment.
Visitors to Old Town were walking in front of the Colorado House and enjoying a sunny San Diego weekend.
Visitors to Old Town were walking in front of the Colorado House and enjoying a sunny San Diego weekend.
Look what's coming! These pack animals have transported the mail all the way from San Antonio!
Look what’s coming! These pack animals have transported the mail all the way from San Antonio!
The Overland Mail Delivery arrived exactly at one o'clock!
The Overland Mail Delivery arrived exactly at one o’clock!
I guess this would qualify as Ground Mail.
I guess this would qualify as Ground Mail.
The small Old Town encampment excitedly greets the four-legged mail carriers.
The small Old Town encampment excitedly greets the four-legged mail carriers.
Mail is handed out to many event participants!
Mail is handed out to many of the event participants!
The young folk don't seem to notice.
These creative young folk are too busy writing their own letters to notice.
An educational slice of history could be enjoyed today in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park!
An educational reenactment of history was enjoyed today in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park!

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Terracotta female figures at Heritage Plaza.

Two terracotta female figures stand at corner of Heritage Plaza, near the intersection of San Diego Avenue and Hortensia Street.
Two terracotta female figures stand at Heritage Plaza, near the intersection of San Diego Avenue and Hortensia Street.

A number of fine sculptures by artists T.J. Dixon and James Nelson can be spotted around San Diego. During a walk down San Diego Avenue in Old Town, I paused to photograph their 1995 sculpture of two life size female figures in terracotta. If you drive down the street past Heritage Plaza, it can be easy to miss them. Here’s a look…

Plaque reads Sculpture by T.J. Dixon and James Nelson. Tile by Mark Emery.
Plaque reads Sculpture by T.J. Dixon and James Nelson. Tile by Mark Emery.
Graceful female figure sculpted with lifted head and smile.
Graceful female figure sculpted with lifted head and smile.
The second terracotta figure.
The second terracotta figure.
Art can represent essential human truth.
Art can represent essential human truth.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

The mystery of a strange lighthouse in Old Town!

The top section of a historically important lighthouse now stands on a sidewalk in Old Town San Diego!
The top section of a historically important lighthouse now stands on a sidewalk in Old Town San Diego!

A lighthouse that once guided ships into San Diego Bay now stands on an Old Town sidewalk? How strange is that?

Well, not an entire lighthouse–just the lantern room of the 1890 Ballast Point Light Station!

The other day while walking down Congress Street, a few steps southeast of Harney Street, I paused to more carefully examine this mystery. (I’ve driven past the kiosk-like structure often, without really giving it a second thought.)

First, you should note Ballast Point is about 6 miles southwest of Old Town. The spit of land juts down into San Diego Bay from Point Loma; it’s where tall ships used to load ballast stones for their return trip around Cape Horn to the East Coast. Today it is part of Naval Base Point Loma.

So how did this top section of Ballast Point’s historic lighthouse end up on an Old Town sidewalk?

Some interesting photos behind a glass pane provided me with a few clues. The Ballast Point Light Station was built in 1890 and eventually dismantled in 1960. (Click the images and they will expand so you can read much more.)

After doing a little research, I learned the lantern room was found in 1998 by the owner of an Old Town nautical antiques store–West Sea Company–in a classified ad. At the time the Ballast Point lantern room was located at someone’s Bonita residence! Purchased and transported by flatbed truck to Old Town, it was placed on a cement pad near West Sea Company–and here it “mysteriously” remains today!

The 1890 Ballast Point Light Station was an example of Railroad Gothic. Its sixth order lens can be seen today at Cabrillo National Monument, in a museum near the old lighthouse.
The 1890 Ballast Point Light Station was an example of Railroad Gothic. Its sixth order lens can be seen today at Cabrillo National Monument, in a museum beside the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.
Historical photo and some words explain the light at Ballast Point. It guided sailors past Middle Ground Shoal and into San Diego's harbor.
Historical photo and some words explain the light at Ballast Point. It guided sailors past Middle Ground Shoal and into San Diego’s harbor.
A public domain photo of the Ballast Point Light Station, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
A public domain photo of the Ballast Point Light Station, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
The lantern room that housed a light that guided ships into San Diego Bay now can be seen on Congress Street in Old Town!
This lantern room housed a light that guided ships into San Diego Bay. It can now be seen on Congress Street in Old Town!

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!

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Time, memory, and the history of Old Town.

Photographs of Old Town's history slowly fade with the passage of time.
Photographs of Old Town’s history slowly fade with the passage of time.

I recently walked down a few streets in Old Town that are seldom visited by tourists. After taking photographs of the Old Adobe Chapel, I noticed that across Conde Street there was some sort of structure containing glass display cases.

Upon closer inspection, I saw this was an outdoor exhibit concerning San Diego’s early history. And that its contents were in a sad state of decay.

No one seemed to know who’d created this exhibit until I spoke to a cashier in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s visitor center, inside the Robinson Rose House. She told me the structure had been built decades ago for the Old Town Mexican Cafe and that the displays had been designed by a woman who loved history. But she had gone blind.

Time moves incessantly forward.

You can find this fascinating but faded exhibit on Conde Street, behind Cafe Coyote.

Displays behind glass windows include old photos and historical artifacts. This was created many years ago, I was told, for the nearby Old Town Mexican Cafe.
Displays behind glass windows include old photos and historical artifacts. This was created many years ago, I was told, for the nearby Old Town Mexican Cafe.
It is silks, satin and fancy soaps, blue jackets, denims and bear grease... It is Richard Henry Dana visiting the pulperia...rowdy sailors, soldiers; gambling and vigilantes...
It is silks, satin and fancy soaps, blue jackets, denims and bear grease… It is Richard Henry Dana visiting the pulperia…rowdy sailors, soldiers; gambling and vigilantes…
Early residents of Old Town, slowly fading.
Early residents of Old Town, fading away.
A collection of photos show life as it was in Old Town San Diego.
A collection of photos show life as it was in Old Town San Diego.
It is chocolate cups, gunpowder, Louis Rose's seaweed mattresses... Spinning wool, Juanita's cactus garden...a game of basketball behind Seeley Stable...
It is chocolate cups, gunpowder, Louis Rose’s seaweed mattresses… Spinning wool, Juanita’s cactus garden…a game of basketball behind Seeley Stable…
More old photos. Life remembered here as it once was...
More old photos. Life remembered here as it once was…
A few household objects in one display case. Perhaps life those many years ago wasn't so very different...
A few household objects in one display case. Perhaps life those many years ago wasn’t so very different…
Youthful faces, now fading.
Youthful faces.
Faded by time, now ghostlike.
Faded by time, now ghostlike.
Memories of days gone by can be traced now only by adobe hummocks that the yearly rains are slowly beating down.
Memories of days gone by can be traced now only by adobe hummocks that the yearly rains are slowly beating down.
History captured, for those who might pass down the sidewalk.
History captured, for those who might pass down the sidewalk.
Palms grow. Some words fade.
Palms grow. Some words fade.
Wooden boxes were sunk in the center of Fitch Street from the river bank to the post office for sewage.
Wooden boxes were sunk in the center of Fitch Street from the river bank to the post office for sewage.
Photo of the Old Adobe Chapel. In November when it was complete, the little church could be seen for miles around...
Photo of the Old Adobe Chapel. In November when it was complete, the little church could be seen for miles around…
By 1866, the little adobe chapel was enclosed in clapboard and a new roof was installed. It served the community of Old Town for decades...
By 1866, the little adobe chapel was enclosed in clapboard and a new roof was installed. It served the community of Old Town for decades…
The Old Adobe Chapel has been preserved. Now a historical landmark, it stands across Conde Street.
The Old Adobe Chapel has been preserved. Now a historical landmark, it stands across Conde Street.
Decayed flag and old photos of tall flagpole at center of La Plaza de Las Armas.
Decayed flag, and old photos of flagpole at center of La Plaza de Las Armas.
Old photos of the Campo Santo Cemetery. Words describe: A mingling of men, women, and children from places and lives so different...
Old photos of the Campo Santo Cemetery. Words describe: A mingling of men, women, and children from places and lives so different…
One empty display case, graffiti and a place for the homeless.
One empty display case, graffiti and a hard place for the homeless.
A monument to the human desire to remember.
A monument to the human desire to remember.
Many years, many faces.
Many years, many faces.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of interesting 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 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.

A look inside the Blacksmith Shop in Old Town.

A blacksmith shapes red hot iron at a forge in San Diego's historic Old Town.
A blacksmith shapes red hot iron at a forge in San Diego’s historic Old Town.

Yesterday I lingered for a few minutes at the Blacksmith Shop in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Two forges were operating. I watched as hammers swung, making sparks fly. It was fascinating to learn about blacksmithing and its vital role in San Diego’s history.

I chatted for a bit with one of the friendly gentlemen working in the Blacksmith Shop. These days the shop is used by highly skilled hobbyists to make all sorts of ornamental and useful metal items. They’ve made objects used for display elsewhere in the State Park. They make everything but horseshoes–and that’s because none of them know how to shoe a horse!

I learned that in 19th century San Diego there were several blacksmiths; this shop now in Old Town was probably located a bit to the east, on the outskirts of town (near today’s Presidio Hills Golf Course) because of the fire danger it presented to other buildings. No blacksmith shop back then would have been as large as the one visitors see today. A blacksmith would most likely do their work in the corner of a livery stable, using one modest forge.

Please read the photo captions to learn more!

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park's Blacksmith Shop and Wood Shop at the site of the Blackhawk Livery Stables, circa 1850-1871.
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s Blacksmith Shop and Wood Shop at the site of the Blackhawk Livery Stables, circa 1850-1871.
Visitors to Old Town learn a little about life in San Diego during the mid 1800s. Blacksmiths created assorted metal objects, made repairs and shoed horses.
Visitors to Old Town learn a little about life in San Diego during the mid 1800s. Blacksmiths created assorted metal objects, made repairs and shoed horses.
This friendly blacksmith provided lots of fascinating information. Visitors watch with interest as he works to create a pot holder.
This friendly blacksmith provided lots of fascinating information. Visitors watch with interest as he works to create a pot holder.
I learned that in early San Diego blacksmiths typically burned charcoal in their forge, as coal was usually of poor quality and difficult to obtain in Southern California.
I learned that in early San Diego blacksmiths typically burned charcoal in their forge, as coal was usually of poor quality and difficult to obtain in Southern California.
A huge bellows provides oxygen for this furnace. A good working temperature is about 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.
A huge bellows provides oxygen for this brick furnace. A good working temperature is about 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.
Products that were fashioned include grills, traps, candle holders, fish roasters, knives, shovels, chains, hinges, nails, cooking ladles and horseshoes.
Products that were fashioned include iron grills, traps, candle holders, fish roasters, knives, shovels, chains, hinges, nails, cooking ladles and horseshoes.
Hammers, bars, wrenches and various blacksmithing tools hang from the rear wall, in addition to harnesses and other items one might find in a livery stable.
Hammers, bars, wrenches and various blacksmithing tools hang from the rear wall, in addition to harnesses and other items one might find in a livery stable.
The gentleman showed me some devices used to suspend pots over a fire. Everything on this wall was made by local members of blacksmithing clubs and organizations.
The gentleman showed me some devices used to suspend pots over a fire. Everything on this wall was made by local members of blacksmithing clubs and organizations.
A shiny anvil.
A shiny anvil.
This wide grassy area behind nearby Seeley Stable was once used for anvil shoots. Gunpowder was placed in a hollow indentation between two anvils and ignited, sending one anvil high into the air with a loud bang! Anvils that did not shatter were considered sound.
This wide grassy area behind nearby Seeley Stable was once used for anvil shoots. Gunpowder was placed in a hollow indentation between two anvils and ignited, sending one anvil high into the air with a loud bang! Anvils that did not shatter were considered sound.
Old Town visitor tries on a Spanish conquistador helmet made in the Blacksmith Shop.
Old Town visitor tries on a Spanish conquistador helmet made in the Blacksmith Shop.
A heavy anchor chain is shown. The welds must be as strong as the iron links.
A heavy anchor chain is shown. The welds must be as strong as the iron links themselves.
A look back at history. Skilled artisans used muscle, fire and sweat to make everyday life easier for the early residents of San Diego.
A photo of living history. Skilled artisans used muscle, fire, metal and sweat to make everyday life easier for the early residents of 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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Mormon Battalion celebrates Flag Day in Old Town.

Mormon Battalion flag flies during a special event in Old Town San Diego.
Mormon Battalion flag flies during a special event in Old Town San Diego.

I was invited to a unique event that took place yesterday. A special Flag Day Ceremony was held at the Mormon Battalion Historic Site in San Diego’s Old Town. The event remembered World War I and saluted all American veterans.

During the ceremony five veterans from different military services were made honorary members of the Mormon Battalion. A cake was cut with a military saber and an American flag that has been flown over the U.S. Capital and over Fort Leavenworth (where the historic Mormon Battalion originated) was raised.

The patriotic ceremony was organized by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members composed the Mormon Battalion, the only religiously based unit in United States military history. Commanded by regular U.S. Army officers, members of the battalion marched almost 2,000 miles from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to San Diego, California to help secure the region during the Mexican–American War. Much of the difficult march was over mountains and through desert. They saw no fighting.

I have noticed that Mormons treasure liberty–religious freedom in particular. I’m not a Mormon–very far from it–but I do happen to be a strong believer in personal liberty. That’s because I’m a writer. Also, as a child I traveled with my family behind the Iron Curtain twice. I have briefly seen how dark life is without liberty.

A friendly Mormon lady in pioneer dress welcomes guests to the Flag Day Celebration.
A friendly Mormon lady in pioneer dress welcomes guests to the Flag Day Celebration.
This 2017 celebration of Flag Day honored veterans who served with distinction.
This 2017 celebration of Flag Day honored veterans who served with distinction.
Guests are welcomed by Director of the San Diego Mormon Battalion Historic Site, Elder Michael Hemingway.
Guests are welcomed by Director of the San Diego Mormon Battalion Historic Site, Elder Michael Hemingway.
The United States flag is posted after the National Anthem.
The United States flag is posted after the National Anthem.
Folding of the flag. Each of the thirteen folds is invested with a special meaning.
Folding of the flag. Each of the thirteen folds is invested with a special meaning.
Four American veterans on stage are honored and made honorary members of the Mormon Battalion.
Four American veterans on stage are applauded and made honorary members of the Mormon Battalion.
Keynote speaker General Bruce Carlson, USAF, Ret. talks about liberty. He is also made an honorary member of the Mormon Battalion.
Keynote speaker General Bruce Carlson, USAF, Ret. talks about liberty. He is also made an honorary member of the Mormon Battalion.
Many voices sing God Bless America.
Many voices sing God Bless America.
Young members of Marine Band San Diego after the ceremony.
Young members of Marine Band San Diego after the ceremony.
The United States Marine Corps bus contains an image of the flag being raised during the Battle of Iwo Jima.
The United States Marine Corps bus contains an image of the flag being raised during the Battle of Iwo Jima.
Pageantry and remembrance at a Flag Day Ceremony in Old Town San Diego.
Pageantry and remembrance at a Flag Day Ceremony 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!