The colorful Catrinas of Old Town San Diego!

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is coming up on Sunday. This popular Mexican holiday is a special time to remember and pray for loved ones who’ve passed on from this world.

Día de los Muertos has many rich traditions that have evolved over time, and one is the Catrina. Elegantly dressed skeletons with sugar skulls symbolize death. In Mexico, Day of the Dead is a time for the celebration of past lives, not mourning.

This year, celebrations of Día de los Muertos will be limited because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In Old Town San Diego State Historic Park the annual procession and festival have been cancelled.

But I did notice during a walk through Old Town late this afternoon that many very colorful Catrinas are on display in the large outdoor courtyard of Fiesta de Reyes!

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 Codi, Old Town’s Favorite Horse!

State Park ranger Richard “Dick” Miller and Codi. Photo courtesy Richard Miller.

A couple weeks ago I wrote about a mysterious horseshoe and plaque at the top of some stairs at the Old Town Transit Center. The small monument memorializes Codi, Old Town’s Favorite Horse. (See my blog concerning the horseshoe here.) I asked whether anybody remembered Codi, and I’ve subsequently received photographs and a little information!

I learned that Codi was the horse of Richard Miller, who patrolled Old Town San Diego SHP as a mounted state park ranger. Richard “Dick” Miller retired in 2001 and came back to Old Town for another 12 years as an interpreter. He also started the group known as TRVEA, the Tijuana River Equestrian Association.

Codi and Dick Miller patrolled both Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and Border Field State Park. Codi was a Morgan grade horse who weighed 1400 lbs, and when he passed he was about 22 years old.

After Codi’s passing, the horseshoe monument was made possible by the Old Town Transit Center contractor’s inspector, who had become a friend of Dick Miller.

Do you recognize Codi in these old photographs? If you have lived in or visited San Diego, perhaps Codi has a place in your memories, too!

Codi and Dick Miller at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Photo courtesy Richard Miller.
Codi and Dick Miller at the 1985 Sandcastle Parade in Imperial Beach. Photo courtesy Richard Miller.
Painting of Dick Miller riding Codi in front of the Casa de Estudillo in Old Town San Diego, by artist Miguel Chavez. Photo courtesy Richard Miller.

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 October 2015.

Ready to relive some amazing memories? October 2015 was a very eventful month for Cool San Diego Sights!

Among other things, I took photos of San Diego’s first ever Maker Faire in Balboa Park, including a gigantic fire-breathing robot; a religious procession through Little Italy as the tuna fleet received its traditional yearly blessing; and colorful Balboa Park-themed chalk art at Little Italy’s Festa.

I also had my first look at the seldom visited USS Bennington Memorial Grove in Balboa Park and the historic Mason Street School in Old Town, and I learned about the history of a Navy plaque near the USS Midway Museum that nobody seemed to know anything about!

Click the following links to revisit blog posts from five years ago and enjoy lots of cool photos!

Super cool photos of San Diego’s first Maker Faire!

Photos of Little Italy procession to bless tuna fleet.

USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park.

Amazing Balboa Park chalk art at Little Italy’s Festa!

Creating a plaque: Navy history in San Diego revealed!

Life in 1865 at Old Town’s Mason Street School.

Unusual new public art at Little Italy trolley station.

Thriller flash mob scares Balboa Park visitors!

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.

Horseshoe recalls Codi, Old Town’s favorite horse.

Here’s another mystery!

Perhaps someone out there remembers Codi, Old Town’s Favorite Horse. I can find nothing about Codi when I search the internet.

This horseshoe with its plaque is likely noticed by very few people. It was placed inconspicuously at the top of some steps that lead under the train and trolley tracks at the Old Town Transit Center. These particular stairs aren’t often used.

I’ve lived in San Diego about twenty years, and I stumbled upon this horseshoe memorializing Codi just this afternoon!

Was this metalwork created at Old Town’s blacksmith shop?

Did Codi live in the corral beside Seeley Stable, where donkeys reside today? Did Codi provide rides or participate in parades? Are there photos of Codi?

Next time I see an Old Town San Diego State Historic Park ranger, I’ll try to remember to ask about Codi.

If you know anything, everyone would love reading your comment!

UPDATE!

Mystery solved! I now know the history of the horseshoe, and have posted photographs of Codi. To learn about Codi, click here!

CODI. January 1974 - November 2, 1995. Old Town's Favorite Horse.
CODI. January 1974 – November 2, 1995. Old Town’s Favorite Horse.

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 September 2015.

Five years ago in September a whole lot of activity could be found in San Diego. No coronavirus pandemic back then! I must’ve been really busy walking around the city, checking out cool events, because I posted lots of photographs!

Following are links to a variety of interesting blog posts from five years ago.

As you can see, there was a US Sand Sculpting Challenge and Festival of Sail the Labor Day weekend of 2015. And there were other great events that September, including Fiestas Patrias in Old Town, the Trolley Dances, and the Pacific Islander Festival. On top of that, a unique new city park had just opened in East Village and a huge fantastic mural had been painted downtown…

Click the following links for lots of fun photos!

Team USA Olympics sand sculpture in San Diego!

Museum exhibit brings Coney Island to San Diego!

Beautiful tall ships visit San Diego for Festival of Sail!

Listen to the Earth whisper at Fault Line Park!

Photos of Fiestas Patrias in Old Town San Diego.

Photos of Coastal Cleanup Day in Ocean Beach!

Get out of jail free at old police headquarters!

Fun photos of Trolley Dances in water fountain!

Smiles, life and culture at Pacific Islander Festival!

Cool new parking garage mural in downtown San Diego!

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.

Progress at Old Town’s new Kumeyaay park.

I walked around Old Town San Diego this afternoon looking for anything interesting or new. As I passed the area that is being developed into a new outdoor park with Kumeyaay interpretive displays, I noticed great progress has been made. I last blogged about this spacious new park in early May, and provided much more information about it here.

Today, as I walked along the west side of this new park, I took some photos over the construction fence. I saw that many native trees have been planted!

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 doors, gates and windows of Old Town.

This afternoon I walked through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, wondering if I might find any Fourth of July decorations. There were only a few. All of the museums and perhaps half of the shops are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But I did find lots of picturesque doors, gates and windows! Which gave me a unique photographic opportunity. On a typical weekend afternoon, some of these colorful wooden doors and rustic gates would be wide open, and taking such photographs would be impossible.

But not today!

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!

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Last year, at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s annual Fourth of July celebration, diverse people from our community joined together on stage to read parts of the Declaration of Independence.

People from all walks of life, converging from different places, each with their own unique struggles, ambitions and experiences, remembered some of the enduring principles that underlie a free society.

During the event, anyone in the crowd was invited to come up onto the stage to read, and many did.

Of all the photos I took at the event, the above photograph to me is the most powerful.

Even with all of our human differences–the millions of unique personal beliefs and desires that frequently conflict–there are high ideals that are cherished by one and all.

We all want to live. We all want to be free. We all seek happiness.

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Mystery disappearance of historical tombstone?

Armchair detectives and San Diego history buffs, here’s a possible mystery to solve!

In January of 2017 I was walking by the west side of a long parking lot along Anna Avenue near the old location of the San Diego Humane Society, when I spotted a wooden tombstone. On it were the words: “Juan Mendoza. Feb. 6, 1865. Shot in the back while running away.”

Here’s my photo from back then…

Mysterious wooden tombstone with name of Juan Mendoza, who was shot by Cave Couts in the back with a double-barreled shotgun in Old Town San Diego, February 6, 1865.
Mysterious wooden tombstone with name of Juan Mendoza, who was shot by Cave Couts in the back with a double-barreled shotgun in Old Town San Diego, February 6, 1865.

Juan Mendoza was a person who figured in the early history of Old Town, which is located just south of this spot across the San Diego River.

At the time I couldn’t help but wonder about the mysterious wooden grave marker. Was it real? A prop? A prank? You can read about my strange discovery several years ago by checking out my old blog post here.

As I wrote in that original post: “Cave Couts built the wood-frame hotel called the Colorado House in 1851 and became an influential resident of early San Diego. But by some accounts he was a sketchy character. On February 6, 1865 he shot a disgruntled former employee (who worked on one of Cave Couts’ ranches) in the back with a shotgun. This violated the unspoken “Code of the West”. The unfortunate victim who died was Juan Mendoza.”

Well, look what I saw today. The wooden tombstone is gone. There’s some sort of covering and efforts at erosion control around the place where it stood. Was there a grave? Nearby I also observed objects that might be related to the Mid-Coast Trolley extension construction over Friars Road, and possible homeless activity.

Okay, maybe it’s nothing. I see nothing on the internet. I don’t claim to be an expert when it comes to our city’s history. But I do know there are readers following this blog who are far more informed than me.

Is there an explanation?

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!

Sometimes I make seemingly mysterious discoveries!

Historical marker near Midway and Rosecrans.

Historical marker recalls early San Diego's La Playa Trail. This plaque can be found on Rosecrans Street near Midway Drive.
Historical marker recalls early San Diego’s La Playa Trail. This plaque can be found on Rosecrans Street near Midway Drive.

While walking around Point Loma this weekend, I came upon another historical marker with a plaque that commemorates San Diego’s famous old La Playa Trail. This marker stands in front of a shopping center near the corner of Midway Drive and Rosecrans Street. It features one of six similar plaques created back in the 1930s.

You can see a photo of another such plaque at the east end of the La Playa Trail, near Mission San Diego de Alcala, by clicking here. You can see a third plaque at the base of Presidio Hill and learn about the remaining three plaques (which I have yet to photograph) here.

According to Wikipedia: “The La Playa Trail was a historic bayside trail in San Diego, connecting the settled inland areas to the commercial anchorage at Old La Playa on San Diego Bay…The trail was used during the Pre-Hispanic (Native American), Spanish, Mexican and American periods of San Diego history. Much of the length of the original trail corresponds to the current Rosecrans Street in the San Diego neighborhood of Point Loma…The trail was already established by the time the Spanish settlers arrived in 1769; the first inhabitants of the area, including the Kumeyaay tribe, used it to access the beaches of San Diego Bay. It was improved and extended during the Spanish colonization of the region, reaching Old Town San Diego and Mission San Diego de Alcalá in Mission Valley by the 1770s. Cargo which had been unloaded by ship at Ballast Point in Old La Playa was transported along the trail several miles inland to Old Town…”

US Boundary Survey of 1850 shows the La Playa Trail along San Diego Bay and the San Diego River. Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.
US Boundary Survey of 1850 shows the La Playa Trail along San Diego Bay and the San Diego River. (New San Diego is where downtown is today.) Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

Have you read the classic of American Literature, Two Years Before the Mast? It’s one of my all-time favorite books. Richard Henry Dana Jr. wrote an account of a sailor’s life on the coast of California in the mid-1830s, and a good portion of his fascinating narrative describes San Diego.

La Playa (then a beach on Point Loma just inside San Diego Bay) is where merchant ship Pilgrim unloaded cattle hides that had been gathered by Dana and his shipmates up and down the California coast. When Dana rode on horseback from the hide houses on the beach to Old Town, or farther east to Mission San Diego, he followed the La Playa Trail!

La Playa Trail. Oldest commercial trail in western United States. Erected by San Diego Historical Society. 1938.
La Playa Trail. Oldest commercial trail in western United States. Erected by San Diego Historical Society. 1938.

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!