Imperial Beach plaques remember slough surfers.

Bronze plaques near the foot of the Imperial Beach Pier recall the legendary slough surfers who once trekked from far and wide to the Tijuana Sloughs, where the Tijuana River meets the Pacific Ocean, just north of the Mexican border.

During much of the 20th century, the Tijuana Sloughs was considered the preeminent big surf break in California. There’s a great article concerning the history and geology of the Sloughs here.

If you walk around Portwood Pier Plaza at the foot of the IB Pier, you’ll see a bunch of colorful surfboard benches where you can rest and gaze out across the beach. Look down and you’ll discover plaques next to each bench.

The plaques recall those who rode the big waves at the Tijuana Sloughs and honor bits of Imperial Beach surfing history.

Surfhenge public art welcomes people to the Imperial Beach Pier and Portwood Pier Plaza. The plaza is located next to the beach between Surfhenge and the lifeguard tower to the south.
Visiting slough surfers 1940’s.
Regular slough surfers 1940’s and 1950’s.
Most of California’s finest surfers were lifeguards at some stage in their careers…
Dean of the Sloughs. In 1937 the Sloughs were first surfed by the legendary waterman Dempsey Holder. Over the years surfers from all over California showed up at Dempsey’s lifeguard station at the end of Palm Avenue.
Visiting slough surfers 1950’s.
Father of the Modern Surfboard. In the 1940’s Bob Simmons applied the principles of hydrodynamics to surfboard design and forever changed the sport of surfing. In 1950 he moved to Imperial Beach.
…From 1930 to 1950 the total number of California surfers grew from under 70 to over 1500.
In the 1940’s surfers from all over Southern California made the journey to what is now Imperial Beach to surf the then-known biggest waves off the continental United States.
The Tijuana Sloughs became the testing ground for mainlanders going to Hawai’i. Before Malibu, San Onofre and Windansea groups surfed Makaha and the North Shore of O’ahu, they experienced the thrill and fear of big waves at the Sloughs.

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Help turn Balboa Park into a leading world treasure!

The House of Charm and California Tower in silhouette as day ends.
The House of Charm and California Tower in silhouette as day ends.

Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you already love Balboa Park. You know what a truly incredible place it is.

Well, Forever Balboa Park wants to take San Diego’s crown jewel to a whole new level. They want the park to be recognized as one of the premier urban parks in the entire world.

We’ve seen how Balboa Park has undergone numerous amazing enhancements during the past couple years: a reimagined Mingei International Museum, new International Cottages, a new Pan American Plaza with ongoing beautification of buildings in the Palisades area, an upcoming very popular Comic-Con Museum, a new viewing platform for the historic Moreton Bay Fig, and much more!

Now there’s a search for a leader who will transform our amazing park in the eyes of the world.

Forever Balboa Park is searching for a world-class leader. According to the job description: The President and CEO must be equally a visionary, diplomat, fundraiser, conservationist, and community leader who is influential beyond the confines of the park. Forever Balboa Park’s first CEO will unify the community around a shared, inclusive vision to transform this urban gem into one of the world’s premier urban parks.

Do you know a passionate, talented someone who can help to accomplish all this? Spread the word! Learn more 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!

An educational nature hike at Chollas Lake Park.

A wide variety of community programs are offered at Chollas Lake Park in San Diego’s Oak Park neighborhood. There are ranger-led wildlife “Meet the Neighbors” hikes around the small lake, Kumeyaay ethnobotany walks, youth fishing, fitness classes, crafts, an oral history project, archery and even a book club with its own scenic hangout!

Yesterday I went on a nature hike where I and a good number of visitors circled the shallow artificial lake while ranger Cary Goldstein identified and talked about the many birds and other animals we saw, some of which are feral.

The walk was level, about a mile long, easy, and very educational. We saw Chinese and African geese and learned how to tell them apart. We saw a turkey vulture circling high above the treetops. We saw blooming marsh fleabane at the water’s edge and California bulrushes where birds nest. We saw turtles swimming underwater and sunning on rocks. We saw mallards and coots and banded pigeons and Canada geese and curious California ground squirrels and a strange-looking Muscovy duck.

We learned so much I couldn’t begin to relate it all. Some very young walkers had hands raised and asked lots of good questions.

I was fascinated to learn Chollas Lake was created in 1901 as a source for drinking water when San Diego was rather small. Later it was used to cool United States Navy radio equipment back when the three largest structures in the city, at 600 feet tall, stood atop a hill above the lake. Those radio transmitter antennas were the first to receive a signal from Hawaii that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. (A blog concerning this will be coming up later.)

Today Chollas Lake Park is a place where nature thrives. It is also a place where people can recreate, relax and learn about this beautiful and interesting world we call home.

Visit the Chollas Lake Park website 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!

Photos of Park de la Cruz Grand Opening Celebration!

A wonderful new park officially opened yesterday in the Cherokee Point neighborhood of City Heights. The City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department, community organizations and many neighbors and families came together for the Park de la Cruz Grand Opening Celebration!

I swung by the new park during my walk in the late morning to check out some of the fun. I missed the welcome by San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria but was able to catch the City Heights Steppers and Mariachi Victoria performing on the event stage. I walked through the extensive Resource Fair and met many people who are helping to enhance the life of this very diverse community.

Kids were enjoying a big outdoor play area across Landis Street and a Day of Play at the new community center, and many other activities could be enjoyed freely by the public, including a softball clinic at the beautiful green ball field and skating demonstrations at the nearby skatepark. The Fern Street Circus would also perform!

The public was invited to tour inside the new Park de la Cruz Community Center. Services offered at the center include Therapeutic Recreation and AgeWell Services. If you’re a senior in San Diego, check out this web page for information on staying fit and meeting new friends! I blogged about the program a couple years ago here.

The Park de la Cruz Grand Opening Celebration was sponsored by the San Diego Parks Foundation.

Enjoy a few photos!

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!

Sake paints life into new Teralta Park mural!

San Diego graffiti artist Sake was busy painting life into the new multicultural mural at the south end of Teralta Neighborhood Park today. He and a helper were adding bold brushstrokes of color among the many faces that will fill the 263-foot City Heights mural, which is titled Unity in the Community.

I spoke to Sake briefly and enjoyed another look at the monumental work in progress. Once completed, Unity in the Community will be one of the most awesome murals in all of San Diego!

Learn more about the multiple EMMY award winning artist at his website here!

My feet took me through Teralta Neighborhood Park as I walked to an historic event in City Heights, which I’ll blog about shortly!

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 mysterious standing stones of Nestor!

Mysterious standing stones rise in Nestor, a community located in San Diego’s South Bay. You can find them in a quiet residential area, just north of Nestor Park, on Grove Avenue east of Hollister Street.

Few people ever see this unique public art. Why is it here?

The standing stone sculptures together are titled Plaza Piedras. They were created in 2001 by internationally renowned artist Roberto Salas. Plaza Piedras was commissioned through the City of San Diego Metropolitan Wastewater Department and the Commission for Arts and Culture. The public art was created to enhance the nearby Grove Avenue Pump Station.

Roberto Salas created these large, mysterious stelae to pay tribute to indigenous cultures. According to this website: “Salas chose a variety of monumental forms to evoke associations with ancient sites such as the Pre-Colombian pyramids, mysterious ruins of Stonehenge, and the massive figures of East Island…”

At the bottom of the central sandbox, kids digging down can discover various relief shapes. I poked around the sand with my foot like a lazy archaeologist, without success.

As you can see from my photos, this quiet park-like place sees gang activity and is frequented by the homeless. Vandalism on the standing stones appears to be regularly painted over.

I took these photographs while moving north through Plaza Piedras.

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!

An amazing walk along Sunset Cliffs!

One of San Diego’s most amazing, scenic walks is along Sunset Cliffs in Point Loma.

Yesterday I walked along the length of Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, which stretches for about 1.5 miles beside the Pacific Ocean. I started near the intersection of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Adair Street and headed south to Ladera Street, where there’s a popular beach, nature trails and stairs down to a small cave and rocky tide pools.

The August summer day was perfect for a long walk. The sun didn’t break through the coastal marine layer until the very end of my adventure, and the sea breeze was pleasantly cool.

Views of the Pacific Ocean crashing against the steep, rugged cliffs seemed endless. The mostly dirt Coastal Trail I followed wound above the high eroded bluffs, past a few pocket beaches and past sea caves and picturesque sandstone arches.

In places the cliffs have collapsed from the constant powerful action of tides and incoming waves. Many signs warn people away from the edge of the unstable cliffs.

I met a painter. I met friendly lifeguards training for cliff rescues. I saw benches along the path dedicated to lost loved ones and sunsets. Many were standing and sitting at the ocean’s edge, peering at eternity with silent wonder.

As you can see from my photographs, nature’s hand creates beauty everywhere it moves.

If you like to stretch your legs and spirit, and you happen to be in San Diego, it’s likely you’ll love this walk, too.

Looking north for a moment. You can see the Ocean Beach pier in the distance.

As I walked along, I met Scotty Painta. He paints beautiful small scenes from Sunset Cliffs. We had a friendly chat and my day was enriched.

I met three lifeguards. They had slender ropes dangling down an almost vertical bluff. They were practicing cliff rescues. Jake told me a little about what they do. Thank you.

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.

Heroes honored at Chula Vista’s Memorial Monument.

The Memorial Monument stands near the center of Chula Vista’s Memorial Park. It lists the names of honored heroes.

According to bronze plaques, bookending names engraved in marble, the monument is…

DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF CHULA VISTA (AND SOUTH BAY) HEROES OF ALL WARS WHO SO GALLANTLY FOUGHT TO PRESERVE OUR AMERICAN HERITAGE THAT

GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE SHALL NOT PERISH FROM THE EARTH

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 and beauty at Magee Park in Carlsbad.

Magee Park in Carlsbad is a special place where both history and beauty thrive.

I enjoyed a walk through the park recently, pausing frequently to admire its several historical structures.

Everywhere I walked, it seemed, beds of roses greeted me. Magee Park’s rose garden is so beautiful and extensive that the American Rose Society called Carlsbad “An American Rose City” in 2002.

The centerpiece of the park is the 1887 Magee House, a handsome Craftsman-style house built by Samuel Church Smith, one of the founders of Carlsbad Land and Water Company. Today it is home to the Carlsbad Historical Society and their museum. Unfortunately, the museum was closed when I walked past. Read more about the Magee House’s history here.

Other historic structures in Magee Park include the Shipley-Magee Barn, Heritage Hall, the Twin Inns Granary and the Twin Inns Gazebo.

During my meandering walk, I photographed many of the informative signs and plaques that I came upon.

During Carlsbad’s agricultural past a variety of barn styles were constructed.
The barn at Magee Historical Park is the oldest Carlsbad barn in existence. This sign on the barn’s side details its history, and tells a little about the life of Florence Shipley and her husband Hugh Magee.
Vast areas of present day Carlsbad were once used to raise cattle and horses.
Heritage Hall in Carlsbad, California.

HERITAGE HALL

HERITAGE HALL WAS BUILT IN 1926 AS THE ORIGINAL SANCTUARY OF ST. PATRICK’S CATHOLIC CHURCH. IN 1952 IT BECAME CARLSBAD’S FIRST CITY HALL AND POLICE STATION; IN THE 1960’S THE FIRST LIBRARY, THE FIRST CHILDREN’S LIBRARY AND LATER A BALLET STUDIO. IN 1979 THE HALL WAS MOVED TO ITS PRESENT SITE WITH THE HELP OF FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY, THE CARLSBAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY, AND VOLUNTEERS. IT IS NOW A COMMUNITY MEETING HALL.

The Twin Inns Granary.

THE TWIN INNS GRANARY

ORIGINALLY BUILT BY EDDIE KENTNER, PROPRIETOR OF THE WORLD FAMOUS CARLSBAD TWIN INNS, THIS GRANARY WAS DONATED TO THE CITY OF CARLSBAD BY NEIMAN’S VILLAGE FAIRE AND MOVED TO MAGEE PARK IN 1985. IT WAS RESTORED THROUGH THE GENEROUS ASSISTANCE OF THE CARLSBAD EVENING ROTARY CLUB.

Now I’ve begun to walk around the Magee House…

A time capsule in front of the Magee House placed by the Carlsbad Historical Society. It will be opened July 4, 2076, our nation’s Tricentennial.
Roses by the Magee House’s welcoming veranda.
Circular patio with birdbath beside the Magee House. More roses.
The old Twin Inns Gazebo nearby.
Continuing my walk around the Magee House.

As I walked through wide, grassy Magee Park, I noticed it has several trees with dedication plaques.

I found three of them…

25 years of friendship with sister city Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.
In loving memory of Doris A. Gordon.
Mary Jane Joseph. Proud resident of Carlsbad.

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!

Neighbors create sculptures for community garden!

There’s an outdoor sculpture garden in San Diego that very few know about. It’s called the Azalea Park Water Conservation Garden. You can find this special place in Azalea Park, a neighborhood in south City Heights, at the east end of Azalea Community Park.

Last weekend I was given a tour of the sculptures by local artist Jim Bliesner and members of the Azalea Park Mosaic League!

As you can see in my photos, all of the garden’s imaginative artwork is made of recycled materials. What I really loved is the pieces were all created by people who live in the neighborhood!

Come wander with me through this peaceful garden, down several dirt paths through native drought tolerant vegetation, and let’s see what we might discover…

A tall sculpture attracts those who are nearby. Curious eyes will discover something special.

PEACE BEACON

INSTALLED ON JUNE 12, 2016

IN HONOR OF THE VICTIMS OF THE SHOOTING THAT OCCURRED ON THIS DATE IN ORLANDO, FL.

Donated to the Azalea Park neighborhood, where people of all faiths, cultures, and ethnicities proudly live together as one community. May we shine as a beacon to the rest of the country.

Artist: Vicki Leon, 2016

Installation team: Vicki Leon, Bonnie Brooks, Jennifer Lindsey, Brent Lindsey, Aiya Lindsey, Aiden Lindsey. Title by Aiden Lindsey (10 years old).

City Heights artist Jim Bliesner stands by his fun sculpture Joy Ride. It’s made of colorfully painted car hoods!
A dreamcatcher made of recycled metal objects.
A bull made of old car mufflers.

“The Bull”

By Karim Carlock

Welded by Jose Orozco

I.W.U. Local 229

All the sculptures in the Azalea Park Water Conservation Garden are wonderful. Take a look at this!

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.