Historical marker at Kate Sessions nursery in Pacific Beach.

If you’ve driven down Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach, you might have noticed a couple of enormous old trees at the corner of Pico Street, just east of Soledad Mountain Road.

By the sidewalk stands an easily overlooked historical marker. It reads:

KATE OLIVIA SESSIONS’ NURSERY SITE

1857-1940

THIS PLAQUE COMMEMORATES THE LIFE AND INFLUENCE OF A WOMAN WHO ENVISIONED SAN DIEGO BEAUTIFUL. ON THIS SITE SHE OPERATED A NURSERY AND GAINED WORLD RENOWN AS A HORTICULTURIST. SHE WAS THE FIRST WOMAN TO RECEIVE THE INTERNATIONAL MEYER MEDAL IN GENETICS.

CALIFORNIA REGISTERED HISTORICAL LANDMARK NO. 764

PLAQUE PLACED BY THE CALIFORNIA STATE PARK COMMISSION IN COOPERATION WITH THE PACIFIC BEACH WOMAN’S CLUB.

JULY 7, 1961

Kate Sessions is probably best known as the Mother of Balboa Park. In addition to owning other nurseries and growing fields in San Diego, she maintained a small nursery in a corner of Balboa Park (originally called City Park) under an 1892 agreement with the City of San Diego. She was required under the lease to plant 100 trees in the park each year. Most of the older trees in Balboa Park that you see today were planted by her hand.

The colorful jacaranda trees seen around San Diego were also introduced to the city by Kate Sessions.

I recently blogged about the very first camphor tree planted in North America. She’s the one who planted it. The historic camphor tree stands just west of Balboa Park in Bankers Hill near a beautiful historic house. To revisit that old blog post, click here.

Here are a couple more photos that I took this weekend by the historical marker…

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!

Sea lion at Chase Bank in Pacific Beach.

A sea lion likes to hang out in front of Chase Bank in Pacific Beach. Perhaps you’ve seen it near the corner of Garnet Avenue and Mission Bay Drive!

I don’t know how I missed this bronze sculpture the day I walked around the bank building to photograph its mosaics back in late January. To see the extraordinary mosaics, which depict figures from San Diego history, click here.

Does anyone out there know the story of this sea lion sculpture? Do you have any memories?

It’s standing on soil covered with wood bark in what might have once been a fountain or pool of water, but I can’t tell. When I walked past the fun sculpture on Saturday, I could find no indication of when it was created or by whom.

Please leave a comment if you happen to know anything!

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!

History mosaics at Chase Bank in Pacific Beach.

Eight extraordinary mosaics decorate two sides of the Chase Bank at Mission Bay Drive and Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach. Six of the mosaics depict figures representing San Diego history; the other two show delightful scenes unique to our city.

This beautiful public artwork was the creation of Millard Owen Sheets, who in the mid-20th century designed Home Savings Bank branch buildings around Southern California. Sheets Studio in Claremont, California employed a team of artists that produced numerous amazing mosaics for the buildings, one of which Chase Bank now occupies. You can see another very fine example in Coronado, which I blogged about here.

These eight mosaics set in travertine were created in 1977. Like the mosaics that were created for other bank branches, they celebrate the local community’s unique heritage.

These mosaics–at least one–appear specifically to be the work of Sheets Studio artist Susan Hertel. The initial S.H. can be seen in the corner of the mosaic titled Children’s Zoo.

Mosaic depicting a Native American.
Mosaic depicting a Spanish explorer.
Mosaic depicting a Californio.
Mosaic depicting a frontiersman or 49er.
Mosaic depicting a tuna fisherman.
Mosaic depicting a construction worker or shipbuilder.
Mosaic titled The Harbor.
Mosaic titled Children’s Zoo.

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 walk up and down Mission Bay Boulevard.

My photos of the Nite Owl mural in the last blog post were taken during a very long walk around east Pacific Beach. One segment of my walk was up and down Mission Bay Boulevard, from Rosewood Street to Garnet Avenue and back.

These are the images I captured. I didn’t see much that was truly noteworthy–mostly car dealerships, motels, office buildings and businesses–but I did encounter the above cool sign and a couple other humorous signs. I also saw some very old faded street art, plus one instance of public art which is extremely important.

On the Chase Bank building at the intersection of Mission Bay Boulevard and Garnet Avenue there are eight extraordinary mosaics. I will blog those photos separately in an upcoming post!

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 very cool Nite Owl mural!

Here is one very cool mural!

You can see it in Pacific Beach as you drive east on Garnet Avenue past the Nite Owl Cocktail Lounge.

The artist is Hanna of Hanna’s Murals. You can see another one of her murals here.

I briefly spoke to Hanna perhaps a year ago when she was doing some painting at the entrance to a La Jolla office. I asked what her favorite creation was. She specifically mentioned the Nite Owl mural.

I finally checked it out!

UPDATE!

A couple months later I noticed there’s a second mural on the opposite, east-facing side of the Nite Owl building!

Drivers coming down Garnet Avenue, if they turn their heads at the right moment, are welcomed to Pacific Beach!

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!

Fantastic exterior of Tango Del Rey!

If you’ve ever driven south on Interstate 5 east of Pacific Beach, a short distance past the Balboa/Garnet Avenue offramp, you’ve probably glimpsed dancers on the side of a building. That building is the home of Tango Del Rey.

I walked around the building the other day and took photos of its fantastic exterior!

Decorating the building are sculpted Spanish dancers, bullfighters, Don Quixote…even medallions that commemorate San Diego’s settlement by the Spanish centuries ago that resemble artwork found in Balboa Park!

This web page concerning Tango Del Rey explains “this stunning venue was built by Don Francisco Ballardo in 1984 and was originally known as Tablao Flamenco. Don Ballardo was an eccentric supporter of the Arts who gave San Diego a landmark that is unique, not for just our city, but the whole country and maybe the world…”

In their photo gallery you can see photos of the large, eye-popping interior hall, which resembles a Moorish castle! It’s available for rental.

I’m afraid I can’t dance, but if I wanted to learn the tango, it appears their Tango Academy is the place to go!

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.

Four cool murals in Pacific Beach!

Here come photographs of four cool murals in Pacific Beach! Until a recent random walk through PB, I hadn’t seen any of this artwork.

I believe the first three murals are relatively new, but the fourth, which is quite faded, appears to have been painted years ago.

First up is a colorful interpretation of a Volkswagen Bus with surfboards, which was painted in front of the Pueblo restaurant by artist Katie Gaines.

(I photographed a mermaid mural by this artist on the back of the same building last year. That was during a fun Pacific Beach guided mural tour, which you can revisit here. The great Quetzalcoatl mural in that blog post is also at the rear of Pueblo.)

I’m pretty sure the next mural, on the front of Funhouse Tattoo, is by the artist Maxx Moses. But I’m not absolutely certain…

At the entrance to Brazilian Bowls you’ll find a mural by @TarsoRibas…

And, finally, check out some fun street art near the corner of Hornblend and Ingraham. Life is a Beach in PB was created by Dana S. Owens (DanaToon)…

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 very favorite mural lives in Pacific Beach.

An extraordinary mural at Pacific Beach Elementary School painted in 2010 by artist Isaias Crow.
An extraordinary mural at Pacific Beach Elementary School painted in 2010 by artist Isaias Crow.

Yesterday I encountered one of my very favorite murals in San Diego. It lives at Pacific Beach Elementary School. I say this mural lives, because the artwork is vibrant, inspiring and has genuine soul. I couldn’t take my eyes off it!

The artist is Isaias Crow, and it was painted in 2010. You can see more of Isaias Crow’s work here and here. He also mentored a young muralist in City Heights, as you might recall here!

According to his website, Isaias Crow is a motivational speaker with an inspiring message. If his words are anything like this art, they must be powerful indeed!

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 slightly weird walk in Pacific Beach!

Easter Island head in a front yard.
Easter Island head in a front yard.

This afternoon I headed to PB to check out a very cool mural at Pacific Beach Elementary School. (I’ll blog about that shortly!)

After having a good look at the mural, I kept my camera out for what might be considered a slightly weird walk. I headed west toward the Pacific Ocean and eventually found myself approaching the grassy park overlooking Law Street Beach. I then turned south and followed the oceanfront boardwalk down to Crystal Pier.

Exactly how weird was this walk?

Check out this cool old truck. A guy with the welding company talked to me near a sculpture of a bison in his lot near the sidewalk, but I didn't think to snap a photo of it before I had resumed walking. Bummer.r.
A friendly guy with the welding company that owns this cool truck talked to me near a steel sculpture of a bison. It was in a work lot by the sidewalk. I forgot to snap a photo of the sculpture. Bummer.

Who wants to take surf lessons? Make this the best summer ever!
Who wants to take surf lessons? Make this the best summer ever!

Old peeling street art seems to portray Neptune on a seahorse.
As I neared the Pacific Ocean, I found this peeling street art that seems to portray Neptune on a seahorse.

Looking north toward La Jolla across the grassy park at Law Street.
Looking north toward the ocean off La Jolla from the grassy park at Law Street.

After I took this photo, I rested on the bench for several minutes.
After I took this photo, I rested on this bench for a little bit.

Thanks for the sunsets and the dawns.
In honor of our parents Bill and Jean Manion. Thanks for the sunsets and the dawns.

I see Crystal Pier in the distance.
Look at all the beach goers! I see Crystal Pier in the distance.

Tons of surfing action and swimmers today at Pacific Beach.
Tons of surfing action and swimmers today at Pacific Beach.

Another perfect bench overlooking the beach.
As I began south, I found another perfect bench overlooking the beach. A gull must think this guy has some food.

The Pacific Beach boardwalk is part of the California Coastal Trail.
The Pacific Beach boardwalk is part of the California Coastal Trail.

Lots of bicyclists out on a warm Friday afternoon.
Lots of bicyclists out on a warm summer Friday afternoon.

I passed on a Chips Galore this time.
I passed on a Chips Galore! ice cream sandwich this time.

Wooden stairs down to the beach.
Wooden stairs down to the beach.

Sign explains how Marine Protected Areas safeguard our ocean's beauty. (Click this photo and it will enlarge for easier reading.)
Sign explains how marine protected areas stretching north from here–directly off La Jolla–safeguard our ocean’s beauty. (Click this photo and it will enlarge for easier reading.)

I was very tempted to descend.
I was very tempted to descend.

Here come some inline skaters.
Here come some inline skaters.

A cool mural at Kono's Coffee by @HannasMurals.
A cool mural at Kono’s Coffee by @HannasMurals.

La Playa Nudista? Where's that?
La Playa Nudista? Never heard of it. Where’s that?

Gone Surfing.
Gone surfing.

Stay Weird.
Stay weird.

Well, honestly, this particular walk didn’t seem that weird to me. But if sunshine, a beach full of sunbathers, distant surf, passing bicyclists, skaters and walkers, and an ice cream vendor with a tinkling bell on his cart are considered weird, I’ll take it!

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!

Fun art along a stretch of Turquoise Street.

A large face greets those heading east on Turquoise Street in Pacific Beach.
A large face greets those heading east on Turquoise Street in Pacific Beach.

Turquoise Street in Pacific Beach, from Mission Boulevard to Cass Street, is the home of a lot of fun street art.

Check out some photos!

Mural on parking lot wall by Treelogy Cafe Restaurant.
Mural on parking lot wall by Treelogy Cafe Restaurant.

These colorful flowers are at the center of the mural.
These colorful flowers are at the center of the mural.

Old-fashioned advertising artwork on wall of Cafe Bar Europa.
Old-fashioned advertising artwork on wall of Cafe Bar Europa.

The happy exterior of Blossoms Design Florist.
The happy wood shack of Blossoms Design Florist.

Mural in a narrow alley celebrates 90 years of Crystal Pier.
Mural in a narrow alley celebrates 90 years of Crystal Pier.

Bottom of the alley mural, with an octopus tentacle wearing a beach sandal. #octopier by @artanystef.
Bottom of the alley mural, with an octopus tentacle wearing a beach sandal. #octopier by @artanystef

Mural on the side of P.B. Yoga and Healing Arts.
Mural on the side of P.B. Yoga and Healing Arts.

Enjoying a hot beverage with a dog. Mural by artist Gloria Muriel on the side of The French Gourmet.
Enjoying a hot beverage with a dog. Mural by artist Gloria Muriel on the side of The French Gourmet.

A fun blue character painted on another nearby wall by Gloria Muriel.
A fun blue character painted on another nearby wall by Gloria Muriel.

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!