Fun photos of Cinco de Mayo in Old Town!

This afternoon I strolled through Old Town and captured photos of the big 10th Annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. I began in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, headed south along San Diego Avenue, then turned to make my way back to the State Park.

According to a Park Ranger, Cinco de Mayo is by far the most popular event in Old Town San Diego. I saw many families strolling about enjoying the colorful sights, Mexican food and cultural entertainment.

There was a folklorico competition and lucha libre demonstrations (which I missed), giant puppets, Aztec dancers, kids’ crafts, mariachi music, and authentic Mexican food at every turn. There were many people in traditional Mexican dress and others in period costume from the early days of San Diego. I enjoyed checking out a bunch of sweet lowrider cars and a row of shiny, customized kids’ bikes that were definitely super cool. I paused to visit the donkeys near Seeley Stable, guys hammering red hot iron in the blacksmith shop, a silly street performer with a plunger on his head, and a gentleman in La Casa de Estudillo who was playing frontier games of chance against all comers. As I walked about I even spotted some chalk art.

There was so much to see, I didn’t know where to turn next!

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!

Earth Day at Old Town’s Native Plant Garden.

Many volunteers improve the Native Plant Garden near the McCoy House Museum in Old Town San Diego.
Many volunteers improve the Native Plant Garden near the McCoy House Museum in Old Town San Diego.

I was pleased to stumble upon an Earth Day event today as I walked into Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. A variety of organizations had gathered along the path leading to the McCoy House Museum, and many volunteers were working in the nearby Native Plant Garden.

What did I see?

Sign welcomes visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park's weekend Earth Day Open House!
Sign welcomes visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s cool Earth Day Open House!
Volunteers work with a State Park Ranger in Old Town's native garden for Earth Day. The Old Town Transit Center is visible in the background.
Volunteers work with a State Park Ranger in Old Town’s native garden for Earth Day. The Old Town Transit Center is visible in the background.
A row of tents near the McCoy House Museum welcomes curious visitors during the Earth Day Open House event.
A row of tents near the McCoy House Museum welcomes curious visitors during the Earth Day Open House event.
These guys represent Green Love, an environmental organization of the Associated Students at San Diego State University.
These guys represent Green Love, an environmental organization of the Associated Students at San Diego State University.
Green Love's endeavors include campus outreach, environmental justice, sustainable transportation, and even a community garden.
Green Love’s endeavors include campus outreach, environmental justice, sustainable transportation, and even a community garden.
Friendly ladies of the Old Town Basketry Guild demonstrate their craft.
Friendly ladies of the Old Town Basketry Guild demonstrate their ancient craft.
Sheet details how to become a member of the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park Basketry Guild.
Sheet details how to become a member of the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park Basketry Guild.
Participants in Old Town's Earth Day hang out by the McCoy House, which today serves as a museum of San Diego's early history.
Participants in Old Town’s Earth Day hang out by the McCoy House, which today serves as a museum of San Diego’s early history.
At this table, the California State Parks Foundation celebrates Earth Day!
At this table, the California State Parks Foundation celebrates Earth Day!
This sheet shows upcoming volunteer opportunities in California State Parks!
This sheet shows upcoming volunteer opportunities in several regional California State Parks!
An expert showed me examples of native San Diego flowers, like the California golden poppy, our state's official flower.
A knowledgeable expert showed me examples of native San Diego flowers, including the richly golden California poppy, our state’s official flower.
Flyer provides info concerning the California Native Plant Society's San Diego Garden Tour 2019.
Flyer provides info concerning the California Native Plant Society’s San Diego Garden Tour 2019.
I declined to plant a seed today, but I did get some smiles.
I declined to plant a seed today, but I did get some smiles.
Guys with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife answered questions at their table. I believe that's a coyote.
Guys with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife answered questions at their table. I believe that’s a coyote.
Hard-working volunteers could be seen all around the Native Plant Garden.
Hard-working volunteers could be seen all around the Native Plant Garden.
These generous Target employee volunteers were repairing the fence around the McCoy House. Thank you!
These generous Target employee volunteers were repairing the fence around the McCoy House. Thank you!
Caring for our planet during a cool Earth Day event.
Caring for our planet during a cool Earth Day event.

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!

Learning one’s letters in Old Town San Diego.

In the one room Mason Street School in Old Town San Diego, younger and older children sat together before the teacher and learned their letters.
In the one room Mason Street School in Old Town San Diego, younger and older children sat together before the teacher and learned their letters.

A cool theme developed during my walk through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park yesterday. First I wandered into the 1868 San Diego Union Building and observed ladies in 19th century dress practicing calligraphy. A short time later, as my eyes scanned the walls of the one room 1865 Mason Street Schoolhouse, I noticed a sheet on the wall titled First Lessons in Penmanship.

Turns out it was a great day to relearn the alphabet!

A super nice gentleman in the old print shop provided all sorts of tidbits of information concerning printing, publishing and life in early San Diego. I learned the original Washington hand press that was used by the San Diego Union newspaper is now in the collection of the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. And that setting up the tiny type for a single page of the newspaper took a keen-eyed person about 12 hours!

I posted photos of the old print shop and editor’s office four years ago. I also wrote a little about the San Diego Union’s history. You can revisit that blog post by clicking here.

You can see much more inside the old Mason Street School building and learn more about San Diego’s first school teacher, Mary Chase Walker, by clicking here!

Additional information that I learned yesterday is in my photo captions!

A sheet on the schoolhouse wall contains First Lessons in Penmanship. THE ALPHABET.
A sheet on the schoolhouse wall contains First Lessons in Penmanship. THE ALPHABET.
I'm given a small tour of the print shop inside the historic San Diego Union Building.
I’m given a small tour of the print shop inside the historic San Diego Union Building.
Like wet laundry, hundreds of newspaper sheets would be strung up all around the print shop so that the freshly impressed ink would dry!
Like wet laundry, hundreds of newspaper sheets would be strung up all around the print shop so that the freshly impressed ink would dry!
A demonstration of assembled type and the finished impression.
A demonstration of assembled type and a finished impression.
Part of a large plate in the Washington hand press. Today school students often visit the historic print shop to learn about publishing long before the digital age.
Part of a large plate in the massive Washington hand press. Today school students often visit the historic print shop to learn about publishing long before the digital age.
Those students can rearrange these letters to spell words like SUPER.
Those students can rearrange these letters to spell words like SUPER.
To proof newspaper sheets as type was assembled, this huge heavy roll would be used to make a quick impression.
To proof newspaper sheets as type was assembled, this huge heavy roll would be used to make a quick impression.
In the entrance of the San Diego Union Building, ladies sat at a desk practicing their penmanship.
In the entrance of the San Diego Union Building, ladies sat at a desk practicing their penmanship.
A sample of elegant Copperplate Calligraphy.
A sample of elegant Copperplate Calligraphy.
This beautifully penned text is from Lewis Carroll's humorous Lobster Quadrille in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
This beautifully penned text is from Lewis Carroll’s humorous Lobster Quadrille in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Showing how to write fancy letters with a quill and inkwell!
Showing how to write fancy letters with an old-fashioned pen and inkwell.

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!

Do you love to read?

You can find small, thought-provoking works of fiction at my website Short Stories by Richard.

Magical light transforms Old Town backyards.

After work I got off the trolley at Old Town, crossed Congress Street, and headed into the State Historic Park. With the recent return to Daylight Saving Time, there’s an extra hour of light for a leisurely walk.

At first I wasn’t sure what I would photograph. Then, minutes before the sun might disappear behind the horizon, I found myself lingering near the backyards of several very early San Diego houses.

It was the golden, almost dreamlike light that caught my eyes.

I walked along a quiet pathway that passes behind a row of historic structures, including Colorado House, La Casa de Machado y Silvas, U.S. House and San Diego House.

These backyards, back porches and gardens always appear a bit timeworn and scraggly, but the late light magically turned them into something wholly new.

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 coming!

The old Caltrans building at Taylor Street and Juan Street is being torn down, to make room for the expansion of the adjacent Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
The former Caltrans building at Taylor Street and Juan Street is being torn down, to make room for the expansion of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

One of the most visited state parks in California will soon undergo a major expansion!

I noticed during a recent walk that the old Caltrans building, located at the corner of Taylor Street and Juan Street, is being demolished. A banner hanging at the construction site informs passersby that this land will be added to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, and will open to the public in Fall 2019!

I spoke to a state park employee and learned that initially the expansion will feature trees and benches. There are plans to eventually have interpretive exhibits or structures in this area that help visitors understand what life was like for the Native American Kumeyaay people, who inhabited this area for thousands of years before European explorers arrived. According to this informative web page, California State Parks is now working with tribal members representing the Kumeyaay Nation to “interpret their culture and their connections to the San Diego River and Old Town San Diego”.

I can’t wait to see the completed expansion!

Banner at demolition site. The former Caltrans District Office will be replaced with a new outdoor public space at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park in Fall 2019.
Banner at demolition site. The former Caltrans District Office will be replaced with a new outdoor public space for Old Town San Diego State Historic Park in Fall 2019.

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!

Santa Claus is on his way to San Diego!

I see the holidays are being celebrated at San Diego's festive Old Town Model Railroad Depot.
I see the holidays are being celebrated at San Diego’s festive Old Town Model Railroad Depot.

I just checked the Official NORAD Santa Tracker and I see that Santa Claus and his flying reindeer are presently distributing presents to everyone on the good list in Amsterdam. According to that website he has already delivered over 3.5 billion gifts. Santa must use one of those magic Harry Potter bags!

I’m so excited!

Santa Claus should be arriving in San Diego, California very soon now!

Look! It's Santa! He has arrived in Old Town San Diego already! He must have hitched his flying reindeer to this old wagon instead of a sleigh!
Look! It’s Santa! He has arrived in Old Town San Diego already! He must have hitched his flying reindeer to this old wagon instead of a sleigh!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everybody!

And Happy New Year, too!

Lots of fun and surprising blogs coming up!

Take care and keep on smiling!

Richard

Fun holiday decorations appear in Old Town!

Many creative holiday wreaths have appeared throughout Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Lots of fun holiday wreaths have appeared throughout Old Town!

A period of rainy weather is coming to San Diego, so I left home this morning earlier than usual, to enjoy a nice, long walk before the first storm arrives.

After I got off the trolley at the Old Town station, crossed Congress Street, and entered Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, my eyes began searching for holiday decorations.

My eyes were not disappointed!

More colorful wreaths with a little bit of Mexican culture added, at the entrance to Fiesta de Reyes.
More wreaths, made colorful with bits of Mexican culture, at the entrance to Fiesta de Reyes.
A simple but delightful little Christmas tree near the entrance of Seeley Stable.
A simple but delightful little Christmas tree near the entrance of Seeley Stable.
I discovered green and red wreaths at every turn as I walked about Old Town.
I discovered traditional green and red wreaths at every turn as I walked about Old Town.
Looks like three Christmas carolers up on the balcony of La Paloma!
Looks like three Christmas carolers up on the balcony of La Paloma!
Old Town Trolley Tours wishes everyone Joy with their bright banners.
Old Town Trolley Tours wishes everyone Joy with their bright banners.
Looks like Frosty the Snowman has a friend outside the Specialty Shops of Old Town Market.
Looks like Frosty the Snowman is hanging out with a happy friend at the Specialty Shops of Old Town Market.
Poinsettias on an old-fashioned cart, and a window wreath decorate one corner of Toby's Candle and Soap Shop.
Poinsettias on an old-fashioned cart, and a window decorated with a wreath. A beautiful holiday display at Toby’s Candle and Soap Shop.
The annual Christmas tree has appeared near the flagpole at the center of Old Town's historic plaza.
The annual Christmas tree has appeared near the flagpole at the center of Old Town’s historic plaza.
Celebrating the holiday season with a little Mexican flavor in Old Town!
Celebrating the holiday season with a little Mexican flavor 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!