Sand sculpture murals show San Diego history!

Two bas-relief sand sculpture panels by renowned artist Charles R. Faust in the lobby of 2550 Fifth Avenue in San Diego.
Two bas-relief sand sculpture panels by renowned artist Charles R. Faust in the lobby of 2550 Fifth Avenue in San Diego.

Two amazing works of art can be viewed inside an office building in Bankers Hill. The small murals–sculptures made of sand that appear as bas-relief panels–decorate a wall in the lobby of 5th & Laurel, the building best known as the home of Mister A’s restaurant.

Commissioned by the now defunct Great American First Savings Bank to celebrate their Centennial in 1985, the two panels depict important San Diego landmarks and aspects of local history.

The two sand cast panels were created by Charles R. Faust (1922 – 2000), a prolific artist who for many years worked as the director of architectural design at the San Diego Zoo. His invention of moated animal enclosures in the mid-1950’s revolutionized how the world famous zoo and their Wild Animal Park near Escondido exhibited animals. He also designed the San Diego Zoo’s huge walk-in aviary–the first of its kind in the world.

After retiring from that job, Charles opened Faust Sand Casting in Ocean Beach with his son. Over his creative lifetime the art of Charles Faust would also include fine drawings, watercolors and oil paintings, many of which depicted life in the Old West, a theme he loved.

His sand sculpture murals have added beauty to many locations around San Diego. I photographed a couple of these murals in the past for Cool San Diego Sights, without realizing at the time they were created by Charles Faust. You can spot them here and here!

Yesterday morning I spoke to a security guard in the lobby of 5th & Laurel, and he said these two “sand art” panels were moved from a suite in the building where there used to be a bank. I believe they were in Suite 120, once the home of Pacific Premier Bank, and the future home of an upscale Italian restaurant. But I’m not sure about the exact history of these particular panels. If you know anything more about them, please leave a comment!

(Please note these photographs make the panels seem more yellowish than they are in reality, due to the indoor lighting and my modest camera.)

The left panel depicts early San Diego history, including Mission San Diego de Alcalá and the ranchos.
The panel on the left. It depicts early San Diego history, including Mission San Diego de Alcalá and the ranchos.
A friar outside the Spanish mission. The man on horseback might be a soldier from the old presidio.
A friar outside the Spanish mission. The man on horseback might be a soldier from the old presidio.
The bells of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, first Spanish mission in California.
The bells of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, first Spanish mission in Alta California.
Scenes from the Old West in San Diego.
Scenes from the Old West in San Diego, including an old wagon and a ride on a bucking horse.
A rancher or vaquero, and a herd of cattle.
A rancher or vaquero, and a herd of cattle.
The right panel depicts more San Diego landmarks. Images include Balboa Park, a streetcar, Coronado ferry, naval ship, farm and Victorian houses.
The panel on the right. It depicts many later San Diego landmarks. Images include Balboa Park, a streetcar, Coronado ferry, naval ship, farm and Victorian houses.
GREAT AMERICAN CENTENNIAL - 100 YEARS - 1885-1985
GREAT AMERICAN CENTENNIAL – 100 YEARS – 1885-1985
A sailboat and birds share San Diego Bay with a pre-bridge Coronado ferry and an old Navy warship.
A sailboat and birds share San Diego Bay with a pre-bridge Coronado ferry and an early 20th century Navy warship. In the upper right corner I spy a tiny Old Point Loma Lighthouse!
I recognize the Cabrillo Bridge and the California Building and Tower.
I recognize the Cabrillo Bridge and the California Building and Tower of Balboa Park.
I think I recognize the Long-Waterman House of Bankers Hill on the left. The house on the right might be a south view of the Britt-Scripps House, but I'm not certain.
I think I recognize the historic Long-Waterman House of Bankers Hill. The house to the right of it might be a south view of the Britt-Scripps House, but it appears a bit different.

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How to help homeless youth this Christmas!

Donations and care bags are being gathered for homeless youth this Christmas at the SDSU Downtown Gallery and the downtown Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
Donations are being gathered for homeless youth this Christmas at the SDSU Downtown Gallery, and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

If you’d like to help homeless youth in San Diego this Christmas, donations of helpful items are being accepted by the SDSU Downtown Gallery, and the downtown location of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. School supplies, youth clothing and hygiene items would be very helpful.

Donations are welcome at both museums through December 20, 2018.

You can also join compassionate teens and big-hearted members of the community as care bags for homeless youth are hand assembled on December 20th from 5:00 – 7:30 pm.

Enlarge the above flyer for easy reading by clicking my photo. Feel free to share the flyer on social media.

You can also learn more details at the MCASD website by clicking here!

Are you a blogger? Do you want to help make the world a better place? You might want to join Bloggers Lifting Others Generously.

Dr. Seuss and Cat in the Hat sculpture at UCSD.

Dr. Seuss and the Cat in the Hat are cast in bronze at UC San Diego in La Jolla, not far from the place where the famous children's author resided much of his life.
Dr. Seuss and The Cat in the Hat are cast in bronze at UC San Diego in La Jolla, not far from the place where the famous children’s author resided much of his life.

In 2004, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Seuss, the Theodor Seuss Geisel Memorial made its debut outside the Geisel Library at UC San Diego. The famous children’s book author and illustrator spent the second half of his life living in La Jolla, in a home not far from the university. The University of California San Diego’s main library, the Geisel Library, is now home of the Dr. Seuss Collection.

The inspiring sculpture on the plaza outside the library is by Lark Grey Dimond-Cates. The Cat in the Hat stands at Dr. Seuss’ shoulder holding an umbrella.

The original casting of this whimsical sculpture and many others like it can also be found at the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden at the Springfield Museums’ Quadrangle in Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of Theodor Seuss Geisel.

Plaque describes the Theodor Seuss Geisel Memorial at UC San Diego, home of the Dr. Seuss Collection. The memorial, by sculptor Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, was dedicated on 2 March 2004.
Plaque describes the Theodor Seuss Geisel Memorial at UC San Diego, home of the Dr. Seuss Collection. The memorial, by sculptor Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, was dedicated on 2 March 2004.
The Theodor Seuss Geisel Memorial stands on the outdoor Forum Level of the Geisel Library at UCSD.
The Theodor Seuss Geisel Memorial stands on the outdoor Forum Level of the Geisel Library at UCSD.
A bronze Cat in the Hat stands at the shoulder of Dr. Seuss.
A tall bronze The Cat in the Hat stands with an umbrella at the shoulder of Dr. Seuss.
Dr. Seuss relaxes for a bit with a foot up on his work table.
Dr. Seuss relaxes and reflects for a moment with a foot up on his work table.
A thoughtful, pleasant moment as a famous children's book author and illustrator takes a break to dream.
A thoughtful, pleasant moment as a famous children’s book author and illustrator takes a break to dream.
Looking over the bronze shoulder of Dr. Seuss on a sunny day in La Jolla.
Looking over the bronze shoulder of Dr. Seuss on a sunny day in La Jolla.
The iconic children's character Cat in the Hat cast in bronze.
An immortal children’s character from The Cat in the Hat cast in bronze.
The friendly, wise face of Theodor Seuss Geisel.
The friendly, wise face of beloved author Theodor Seuss Geisel.
The work table of a world-famous children's author and artist.
The work table of a world-famous children’s author and artist.
The inspiring bronze Theodor Seuss Geisel Memorial can be found outside the southwest corner of the Geisel Library at UC San Diego.
The inspiring bronze Theodor Seuss Geisel Memorial can be found outside the southwest corner of the Geisel Library at UC 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 photos for you to enjoy!

A nautical Christmas in the Model Shop!

Step inside the Steam Ferry Berkeley of the Maritime Museum of San Diego and you’ll see nautical Christmas decorations in the Model Shop!

A bright Christmas tree is ornamented with ships, boats, signal flags and lighthouses. It even appears that Santa Claus has been repairing and cleaning one model ship in the small workshop. I guess his elf helpers are busy making toys up at the North Pole!

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!

Happy memories, and the decline of Seaport Village.

I have many happy memories of Seaport Village.

Back in the 1980’s, when I was a young and Seaport Village was new, my family would occasionally head downtown to enjoy the place. We’d stroll around the meandering pathways, poke our noses inside the specialty shops, browse the shelves of the cool bookstore, and enjoy lunch at one of several restaurants.

I was always intrigued by the big selection of magic tricks in the magic shop. At the candy store I’d shovel dozens of different sweets into a small bag, then eat them during the rest of our walk. We’d watch kites soaring in the blue San Diego sky at the nearby grassy park, and sailboats out on the bay. We always tried to catch Kazoo, the Seaport Village mime, performing.

On Sunday I walked through Seaport Village and was saddened to see many of the old shops are now vacant. The east half of Seaport Village almost resembles a ghost town.

Yes, there are plans to redevelop this valuable part of downtown’s bayfront, to make it more attractive and dynamic. Seaport San Diego will feature an observation tower, hotels, even an aquarium. But I’ve been told that future is somewhat uncertain and is still years away.

I’ve also been told that with this uncertain future and a recent change to the Seaport Village management, many shop owners have chosen not to renew their leases.

And yet today I saw hundreds of families happily walking about Seaport Village, visiting those shops and eateries that remain open. Such is the place’s reputation.

Over the decades Seaport Village has been the source of pleasure for millions of people.

But time and progress march on…

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 architectural landmark in University Heights.

Last weekend I enjoyed an easy walk through University Heights. My small adventure included a close look at an architectural landmark that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Teacher Training School Building–San Diego State Normal School. Today the monumental old building, located inside the San Diego Unified School District’s Education Center Complex, is officially designated Teachers Training Annex 1.

The 1910 building, built by engineer Nathan Ellery and architect George Sellon, is in the Italian Renaissance Revival Style. According to the Save Our Heritage Organisation website: “It is the only structure remaining from the 1897 San Diego State Normal School’s University Heights campus, the forerunner to present day San Diego State University. Originally functioning as a living laboratory for student teachers, it was transferred to the City of San Diego Schools in 1931 and served as the original Alice Birney Elementary School until 1951.”

Many in the community hope to see the historic building renovated and transformed into a new University Heights library, replacing the small branch library on Park Boulevard a couple blocks to the south.

Here are some exterior 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!

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!

Marine Corps Recruit Depot brass plaque at City Hall.

A large plaque presented by Marine Corps Recruit Depot to the City of San Diego commemorates the 200th Anniversary of the United States Marines.
A large plaque presented by the Marine Corps Recruit Depot to the City of San Diego commemorates the 200th Anniversary of the United States Marines.

A couple mornings ago, when I visited the San Diego City Administration Building’s lobby, I noticed a large brass plaque in a glass display case against the east wall. The shining badge-like plaque is several feet in length.

Upon closer inspection, I read the words:

Marine Corps Recruit Depot
San Diego, California
Department of the Navy
United States Marine Corps
Presented to City of San Diego
by the
Officers and Enlisted Personnel
Marine Corps Recruit Depot
on 10 November 1975
The 200th Anniversary of the Corps

A smaller descriptive plaque on top of the display case reads: “This plaque is made from brass shell cases of ammunition fired by Marines in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.”

I’ve searched the internet for information regarding this fantastic Marine Corps Recruit Depot plaque, but have found nothing.

Does anyone know its history?

Where was it made? Was it presented to the City of San Diego back in 1975 during a special ceremony? Has it always been on display inside City Hall?

Please leave a comment if you have any additional information!

A closer photo of the shining brass plaque, which is on display inside the lobby of the San Diego City Administration Building.
A closer photo of the shining brass plaque, which is on display inside the lobby of the San Diego City Administration Building.

(Another amazing Bicentennial Plaque–one presented to San Diego by the United States Navy–can be seen on the Embarcadero near the USS Midway Museum. To read a fascinating article about the origin of that historic bronze plaque, and see photos of its forging, click here!)