Early morning sights in downtown San Diego.

Scooter with fringed canopy zooms past as I swing my camera to capture a sudden morning photo.
Scooter with fringed canopy zooms past as I swing my camera to capture a sudden morning photo.

Here are a few interesting photos from another meandering walk downtown. I took these yesterday morning as I headed down from Cortez Hill to catch the trolley at the Santa Fe Depot.  I know, there are closer trolley stations, but I was itching to venture outside into the world and got an early start…

Wednesday is trash pick up day in front of the House of Blues in downtown San Diego.
Wednesday is trash pick up day in front of the House of Blues in downtown San Diego.
Cool mural on a downtown building's upper patio which, according to a security guard, is inaccessible to the general public.
Cool mural on a downtown building’s upper patio which, according to a security guard, is inaccessible to the general public.

From a distance that mural looks really awesome. The security guard said perhaps he’d let me onto the patio if I were swing by in the middle of a work day. According to some research on the internet, it was painted fairly recently by Maxx Moses, the same artist who created that super fantastic Ancestors street mural in Barrio Logan.

Mysterious elevated box on the sidewalk is colorfully painted with leaves.
Mysterious elevated box on the sidewalk is colorfully painted with leaves.
Vertically moving words on Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego don't seem to make sense.
Vertically moving words on Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego don’t seem to make sense.
Seward Johnson's 'That A Way' sculpture at entrance of The Sofia Hotel.
Seward Johnson’s ‘That A Way’ sculpture at entrance of The Sofia Hotel.

Yep, that’s the same Seward Johnson who created the huge Unconditional Surrender sculpture by the USS Midway Museum. He’s best known for making life-size pieces like this one, which stands by a doorway on Broadway.

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A walk down to the water during sunrise.

January sunrise tints calm water of San Diego Bay.
January sunrise tints smooth water of San Diego Bay.

I feel so fortunate to live where I do. Early this morning I walked from Cortez Hill down to the water just to see, feel and breathe in the sunrise.

Morning light is reflected jewel-like from Point Loma's windows across the bay.
Morning light reflected jewel-like from many Point Loma windows across San Diego Bay.
Sun is about to rise beyond the sleepy USS Midway. Photo taken from Broadway Pier.
Sun is about to rise beyond the sleepy USS Midway. Photo taken from the Broadway Pier.
Sunlight reflects from silvery skyscraper beyond domes of the Santa Fe Depot.
Newborn daylight reflects from silvery skyscraper beyond domes of the Santa Fe Depot.
Birds take flight above palm trees in downtown San Diego.
As the sun lifts into the sky, birds take flight above palm trees in downtown San Diego.

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Timeline shows history of San Diego’s Embarcadero.

Images around a new pavilion near Broadway Pier show history of the Embarcadero.
Images around a new pavilion near Broadway Pier show history of the Embarcadero.

San Diego’s Embarcadero has undergone some major renovations. One of the new pavilions still under construction near the Broadway Pier features a large display that provides a timeline of the area’s history. Notable developments along the waterfront through the passing years are documented with historical photographs.

While many of these images concern more recent events, it still makes a fascinating visual time capsule. Here are some pics that I took!

1542: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo claims San Diego Bay for Spain. He named it San Miguel Bay.
1542: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo claims San Diego Bay for Spain. He named it San Miguel Bay.
1913: San Diego's Broadway Pier makes its debut. It certainly looks different today!
1913: San Diego’s Broadway Pier makes its debut. It certainly looks different today!
1930s: Baseball played across street. Lane Field was home of Pacific Coast League Padres.
1930s: Baseball played across street. Lane Field was home of Pacific Coast League Padres.
1962: San Diego Unified Port District is established.
1962: San Diego Unified Port District is established.
1970: Broadway Pier gets a makeover. A cruise ship terminal is added.
1970: Broadway Pier gets a makeover. A cruise ship terminal is added.
1976: North and South Embarcadero Marina Parks are dedicated.
1976: North and South Embarcadero Marina Parks are dedicated.
1980: Seaport Village becomes the newest San Diego attraction.
1980: Seaport Village becomes the newest San Diego attraction.
1985: North Embarcadero's Crescent area between Coast Guard station and Grape Street renovated.
1985: North Embarcadero’s Crescent area renovated.
1985: Princess Cruises bases its "Love Boat" in San Diego.
1985: Princess Cruises bases its “Love Boat” in San Diego.
1988: San Diego Yacht Club successfully defends America's Cup.
1988: San Diego Yacht Club successfully defends America’s Cup.
1989: San Diego Convention Center opens.
1989: San Diego Convention Center opens.
2003: First of six Urban Trees art exhibits along the Embarcadero.
2003: First of six Urban Trees art exhibits along the Embarcadero.
2007: Seward Johnson's Unconditional Surrender statue goes on display near USS Midway.
2007: Seward Johnson’s Unconditional Surrender statue goes on display near USS Midway.
2009: A record-breaking cruise ship season!
2009: A record-breaking cruise ship season!
2010: Port Pavilion opens on Broadway Pier. It's been over four years already! Time flies!
2010: Port Pavilion opens on Broadway Pier. It’s been over four years already? Time flies!
2011: America's Cup World Series regatta takes place on San Diego Bay.
2011: America’s Cup World Series regatta takes place on San Diego Bay.
2011: North Embarcadero Project (Phase 1) passes.
2011: North Embarcadero Project (Phase 1) passes.
2012: North Embarcadero Visionary Plan breaks ground nearby.
2012: North Embarcadero Visionary Plan breaks ground nearby.
2012: Ruocco Park immediately north of Seaport Village is dedicated.
2012: Ruocco Park immediately north of Seaport Village is dedicated.
2012: Port of San Diego turns 50 years old.
2012: Port of San Diego is 50 years old.
2013: San Diego's historic Star of India tall ship turns 150 years old.
2013: San Diego’s historic Star of India tall ship turns 150 years old.
2014: Lots of cool waterfront improvements opened, including this pavilion!
2014: Lots of cool waterfront improvements opened, including this pavilion!

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Float your boat on San Diego Bay!

Fishermen enjoy a day on San Diego Bay with downtown skyline in background.
Fishermen enjoy a day on San Diego Bay with downtown skyline in background.

I made a discovery last weekend as I searched through hundreds of old pics on my computer. It seems I really like to photograph anything that floats in San Diego Bay! There’s just something very striking about purposeful objects that move across the sparkling water. Here’s a variety of photos…

Ferry approaches Coronado while navigating past other ships and boats.
Ferry approaches Coronado while navigating past other ships and boats.
Kayakers paddle under the Coronado Ferry Landing pier.
Kayakers paddle under the Coronado Ferry Landing pier.
Kayaker checks out the water underneath Joe's Crab Shack.
Kayaker checks out the water underneath Joe’s Crab Shack.
Paddling away on San Diego Bay. Looks like a fun adventure!
Paddling away on San Diego Bay. Looks like a fun adventure!
Guy in small inflatable with bucket, net and fishing rods hopes to catch something.
Guy in small inflatable with bucket, net and fishing rods hopes to catch something.
USS Ardent (MCM-12) mine countermeasures Navy ship cruises along the bay.
USS Ardent (MCM-12) mine countermeasures Navy ship cruises along the bay.
Huge Dole cargo ship brings in millions of bananas from Central America.
Huge Dole cargo ship brings in millions of bananas from Central America.
Sailboat heads out from Shelter Island Yacht Basin past Scripps research ship Melville.
Sailboat heads out from Shelter Island Yacht Basin past Scripps research ship Melville.
Billowing sail is colorful under San Diego blue sky.
Billowing sail is colorful under San Diego blue sky.
Man casts from shore of Shelter Island, hangars on North Island in the background.
Man casts from shore of Shelter Island, hangars on North Island in the background.
A bunch of beautiful yachts in a row behind the San Diego Convention Center.
A bunch of beautiful yachts in a row behind the San Diego Convention Center.
Boats docked in large marina between Harbor Island and Spanish Landing.
Boats docked in large marina between Harbor Island and Spanish Landing.
Maritime Museum of San Diego's Swift Boat, PCF-816, returns from a harbor cruise.
Maritime Museum of San Diego’s Swift Boat, PCF-816, returns from a harbor cruise.
The Harbor Island Fuel Dock is always a hub of boating activity.
The Harbor Island Fuel Dock is always a hub of boating activity.
Sailboat leans on sparkling water of our endlessly fascinating big bay.
Sailboat leans on the sparkling water of our endlessly fascinating Big Bay.

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Tiny, watchful eyes on a very lonely bridge.

Small, vacant eyes stare up from a seldom used bridge in downtown San Diego.
Small, vacant eyes stare up from a seldom used bridge in downtown San Diego.

A pedestrian bridge in downtown San Diego spans Interstate 5. It’s almost never used. From the extreme end of a large, mostly vacant parking lot below the Veteran’s Museum, it arches high over the wide, busy freeway and descends to a securely gated parking lot next to San Diego City College’s sports fields.  It leads mostly nowhere.

I’ve lived about a mile away for over a decade, but I’ve never set foot on the bridge–until this afternoon. Walking up Park Boulevard, I’ve often gazed at the distant bridge and wondered if it was open. Never once have I seen a soul on it.

I suppose people must visit this place at times, because the bridge is absolutely covered with both new and old graffiti. It’s a singularly lonely place, enclosed in fencing, suspended above unseen drivers flashing by in anonymous cars below.

Here are some random photographs.  Who applied these small artistic faces?  The eyes never blink.

This pedestrian bridge spans Interstate 5, connecting two unrelated parking lots.
This pedestrian bridge spans Interstate 5, connecting two unrelated parking lots.
Two strange eyes seem to sprout from the concrete. Going nowhere fast.
Two strange eyes seem to sprout from the concrete. Going nowhere fast.
Stenciled images of bearded face. Stay fresh.
Stenciled images of bearded face. Stay fresh.
Two contented smiles inside lettering of boldly spray painted graffiti underfoot.
Two contented smiles inside lettering of boldly spray painted graffiti underfoot.
Shy face and downcast eyes. Welcome home.
Shy face and downcast eyes. Welcome home.
Small grinning face in some faded blue words.
Small grinning face in some faded blue words.
These stenciled faces seem to be slowly disappearing as time passes.
These stenciled faces seem to be slowly disappearing as time passes.
A whole crowd of colorful eyes watch in every direction.
A whole crowd of colorful eyes watch in every direction.
Spray painted cartoon looks happy and excited as can be.
Spray painted cartoon looks happy and excited as can be.
Another smiling face in graffiti on the lonely bridge.
Another smiling face in graffiti on the lonely bridge.
A fierce cartoon cat or devilish creature of some kind.
A fierce cartoon cat or devilish creature of some kind.
Above a Facebreaker decal is an old Gasface sticker.
Above a Facebreaker decal is an old Gasface sticker.
Looking down at the freeway where it begins its S-curve through downtown.
Looking down at the freeway where it begins its S-curve through downtown.
Enigmatic face is unable to speak to the few who pass by.
Enigmatic face is unable to speak to the few who pass by.
Another simple, childish smile. Even where it's bleak, there is always hope.
Another simple, childish smile. Even where it’s bleak, there is always hope.

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Amazing sight before the Big Bay Balloon Parade!

Balloons of every color and shape bob and rise above the gathering handlers.
Balloons of every color rise and bob above costumed handlers.

I headed down to the Embarcadero a good hour before the start of today’s 2014 Big Bay Balloon Parade. I hoped to capture some fun balloon pics. I succeeded!

The staging area, where the amazing, colorful balloons were being inflated, appeared like a vision in a wonderful dream, with gigantic faces and forms swaying high in the sky. It seemed as if they’d become magically alive!

These photos were taken in a large parking lot north of the County Administration Building. The Big Bay Balloon Parade, held every year in San Diego shortly before the Holiday Bowl, proceeded south on Harbor Drive and ended at Seaport Village.

Tourists pass staging area for San Diego's 2014 Big Bay Balloon Parade.
Tourists pass staging area for San Diego’s 2014 Big Bay Balloon Parade.
This is the nation's largest balloon parade. The event is held just before the Holiday Bowl.
This is the nation’s largest balloon parade. The event is held just before the Holiday Bowl.
Costumed San Diegans enter a fantastic world of huge smileys and ice cream cones.
Costumed balloon handlers enter a fantastic world of huge smileys and ice cream cones.
A giant traditional Christmas nutcracker tips a bit in the sea breeze.
A giant traditional Christmas nutcracker tips a bit in the San Diego sea breeze.
This big inflatable American flag will be part of the upcoming parade.
This big inflatable American flag will be part of the upcoming parade.
Cool! I see Mr. Potato Head!
Cool! A favorite toy when I was a kid!  I see Mr. Potato Head!
Balloons fill the blue sky, and so does a penguin in a tuxedo.
Balloons fill the blue sky, and so does a penguin in a tuxedo.
Are those gigantic pinatas? They must contain lots of candy!
Are those gigantic pinatas? They must contain lots of candy!
Preparation for the parade includes unrolling something wrinkly near an octopus.
Preparation for the parade includes unrolling something wrinkly near an octopus.
This colorful mess is destined to transform into a delightful big balloon!
This colorful mess is destined to transform into a delightful big balloon!
Happy bumble bee billows as it's filled with helium in parade staging area.
Happy bumble bee billows as it’s filled with helium in parade staging area.
USS Midway Museum had a lighter-than-air jet fighter.
USS Midway Museum had a lighter-than-air jet fighter.
Happiness is super-sized like a wonderful waking dream.
Happiness is super-sized like a wonderful waking dream.
Fun, happy childhood stuff flying all over the place. Marvelous mayhem!
Fun, happy childhood stuff flying all over the place. Marvelous mayhem!

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Cool mural at Restaurant Depot in Barrio Logan.

Super cool artwork depicts local community, history and sea life themes.
Super cool artwork depicts local community, history and sea life themes.

I don’t know much about this mural, apart from the fact that it’s huge, colorful and super cool. For years, it seems, scaffolding has stood against the long portion along Harbor Drive. Just recently the scaffolding vanished, and the brilliant, dynamic street art is fully visible in all its glory!

You can find this urban art at the intersection of Cesar Chavez Parkway and Harbor Drive, just south of downtown in Barrio Logan. It decorates the high wall that encloses the parking lot at Restaurant Depot.

I took these photos as I walked south to north along Harbor Drive, then turned west at the intersection for a little more fun artwork.

Enjoy!

Long wall along Harbor Drive is the canvas for this very large street mural.
Long wall along Harbor Drive is the canvas for this very large street mural.
Proximity to San Diego Bay inspires painted marine animals.
Proximity to San Diego Bay inspires painted marine animals.
This big fish seems to be watching for pedestrians on the Barrio Logan sidewalk.
This big fish seems to be watching for pedestrians on the Barrio Logan sidewalk.
A scuba diver seems unaware a large hungry shark looms just behind!
A scuba diver seems unaware a large hungry shark looms just behind!
Mother with young child gazes out at the blue Pacific Ocean.
Mother with young child gazes out at the blue Pacific Ocean.
People from all walks of life populate this very human work of art.
People from all walks of life populate this very human work of art.
San Diego Trolley travels through a scene similar to those found in nearby Chicano Park.
San Diego Trolley travels through a scene similar to those found in nearby Chicano Park.
Painted passengers on a trolley seem visible through a window.
Painted passengers on a trolley seem visible through a window.
Aztec warrior in elaborate costume blows on a ceremonial conch.
Aztec warrior in elaborate costume blows on a ceremonial conch.
Nearby Chicano Park's pavilion is shown with lots of folks dancing.
Nearby Chicano Park’s pavilion is shown with lots of folks dancing.
Young man and lady dance on the festive outdoor mural.
Young man and lady dance on the festive outdoor mural.
Musicians play instruments adding flavor to the celebration.
Musicians play instruments adding flavor to the celebration.
History of Our Community includes the once vital tuna fishing industry.
History of Our Community includes the once vital tuna fishing industry.
The lives of past and present residents provide generations of stories.
The lives of past and present residents provide generations of stories.
Fish caught in local waters just off San Diego.
Fish caught in local waters just off San Diego.
The end of Harbor Drive section, and now we'll turn west for a bit more...
The end of Harbor Drive section, and now we’ll turn west for a bit more…
Walking around the mural on the high wall at Restaurant Depot.
Walking around the mural on the high wall at Restaurant Depot.
This north-facing wall contains lots of bright aquatic life!
This north-facing wall contains lots of bright aquatic life!
Beautifully painted fish, a seahorse, jellyfish and starfish.
Beautifully painted fish, a seahorse, jellyfish and starfish.
An orange Garibaldi just above the sparkling ocean bottom.
An orange Garibaldi just above the sparkling ocean bottom.
Kelp frames the end of this long, amazing mural in Barrio Logan.
Kelp frames the end of this long, amazing mural in Barrio Logan.
This super fun street art is a landmark that is very hard to miss!
This super fun street art is a landmark that is very hard to miss!

UPDATE!

I learned years later (shame on me) that this 1993 mural is titled The Kelco Historical Community Mural, by artist Salvador Roberto Torres and his wife Gloria Rebolledo Torres. It was restored by Salvador Torres in 2012, which explains the scaffolding I had previously seen.

Salvador Roberto Torres is one of the founders of nearby Chicano Park, the largest collection of outdoor murals in the United States. He saw the great freeway pillars supporting the ramps to the San Diego–Coronado Bridge as potential concrete canvases, and so created the Chicano Park Monumental Public Mural Program in 1969. He was also one of the founders of the Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park.

During that later walk I took additional photos of the mural!

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Millions of city doors, beckoning restless people.

Decorative doors to La Granada Ballroom at the House of Hospitality in Balboa Park.
Decorative doors to La Granada Ballroom at the House of Hospitality in Balboa Park.

How many doors are waiting to be opened in one ordinary city? In San Diego, with a population that exceeds one million, there must be many millions of doors.

We take doors for granted, pushing through them like nothing, and yet there is something magical and transformational about each one. Doors represent movement through space and time, from this amazing present to a future, amazing present. As we’re propelled forward in life we pass through many doors, and like the choices we face they are found on every side. Where do we turn our feet? Which doors do we try? Every chosen door leads our restless feet into a beckoning and wonderful unknown.

So, anyway, I just love looking at endless doors. And each unique invitation they present to the eye, while concealing unseen places beyond.

Here’s a variety of doors that I’ve photographed during many walks…

Colorful front door to a small residence in San Diego's Little Italy.
Colorful front door to a small residence in San Diego’s Little Italy.
Colors of the Italian flag frame this unusual door on India Street.
Colors of the Italian flag frame this unusual door on India Street.
Imperial Beach surf shop has a door plastered with beach-themed decals and signs.
Imperial Beach surf shop has a door plastered with beach-themed decals and signs.
Caged lion in the Gaslamp guards the Hard Rock Cafe, and a door with electric guitar handle.
Caged lion in the Gaslamp guards the Hard Rock Cafe, and a door with electric guitar handle.
Funky west entrance to the House of Blues in downtown San Diego.
Funky west entrance to the House of Blues in downtown San Diego.
Walking past distinctive front of Our Lady of the Rosary church in Little Italy.
Walking past distinctive front of Our Lady of the Rosary church in Little Italy.
St. Paul's Cathedral in Bankers Hill and an elegant red door behind rows of columns.
St. Paul’s Cathedral in Bankers Hill and an elegant red door behind rows of columns.
A little shop in Sherman Heights has a plain door invitingly open beside fun pinatas.
A little shop in Sherman Heights has a plain door invitingly open beside fun pinatas.
Artist studio door is wide open and welcoming in Balboa Park's colorful Spanish Village.
Artist studio door is wide open and welcoming in Balboa Park’s colorful Spanish Village.
International Travelers House has a door that welcomes one and all.
International Travelers House has a door that welcomes one and all.
Is that a swinging saloon door in Old Town, or a painted version on an ordinary door?
Is that a swinging saloon door in Old Town, or a painted version on an ordinary door?
This rusted door makes a fashionable statement in downtown San Diego.
This rusted door makes a fashionable statement in downtown San Diego.
Just a cheerful orange and bright green door in East Village!
Just a cheerful orange and bright green door in East Village!

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Historical photos of Balboa Park a century ago.

Photograph of the Panama-California Exposition's La Puerta del Oeste (west entrance) taken from Cabrillo Bridge. Dome and bell tower of the California State Building rise into the San Diego sky.
Photograph of the Panama-California Exposition’s La Puerta del Oeste (west entrance) taken from Cabrillo Bridge. The dome and bell tower of the California State Building rise into the San Diego sky.

Balboa Park’s big Centennial celebration is approaching fast! The year-long event kicks off with the opening of December Nights on Friday, December 5th. Later this month, the celebration will continue with a grand New Year’s Eve procession and concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion!

The Balboa Park Centennial marks the hundred years that have passed since the opening of the Panama-California Exposition in 1915. While a large open space park near downtown San Diego (originally named City Park) was established in 1872, Balboa Park didn’t really take shape until many years later. Many of the buildings along El Prado which visitors enjoy today owe their existence to the development of the Panama-California Exposition, which covered 640 acres and promoted San Diego as the first United States port of call after a passage through the newly opened Panama Canal. Other parts of Balboa Park were created twenty years later for the California Pacific International Exposition–but that’s a different story.

In honor of the Centennial–now just two days away–I figured I’d post a bunch of historical photographs of Balboa Park as it appeared a century ago. The following black-and-white photos are from Wikimedia Commons, and provide different views of the amazing Panama-California Exposition. I had to do a little detective work with some of the images. Since I’m by no means an expert, please leave a comment if I’ve written captions that require correction.

Cover of the 1915 Official Guide Book to San Diego's Panama-California Exposition. The event celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal, and lasted through 1916.
Cover of the 1915 Official Guide Book to San Diego’s Panama-California Exposition. The event celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal, and lasted through 1916.
Aerial view from downtown San Diego of Balboa Park's 1915 Panama-California Exposition. In 1910 San Diego had a small population of only 39,578.
Aerial view from downtown San Diego of Balboa Park’s 1915 Panama-California Exposition. In 1910 San Diego had a small population of only 39,578.
La Laguna Cabrillo lake and Camino Cabrillo road beneath Cabrillo Bridge. California State Route 163, a designated scenic highway, runs beneath the historic bridge today.
La Laguna Cabrillo lake and Camino Cabrillo road beneath Cabrillo Bridge. California State Route 163, a designated scenic highway, runs beneath the historic bridge today.
Detailed 1915 map shows Panama-California Exposition ground plan in Balboa Park (originally named City Park).
Detailed 1915 map shows Panama-California Exposition ground plan in Balboa Park (originally named City Park).
Photo taken of Balboa Park in 1915 from the California Tower provides panoramic view of many exposition buildings designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style.
Photo taken of Balboa Park in 1915 from the California Tower provides panoramic view of many exposition buildings designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style.
Looking west along El Prado through the heart of Balboa Park in 1915. At the exposition's opening ceremony, President Woodrow Wilson activated the electric street lamps with a telegraphic signal.
Looking west along El Prado through the heart of Balboa Park in 1915. At the exposition’s opening ceremony, President Woodrow Wilson activated the electric street lamps with a telegraphic signal.
Commerce and Industries Building and Foreign Arts Building stand side-by-side on the south side of tree-lined El Prado. Today, the rebuilt structures are called the Casa de Balboa and House of Hospitality.
Commerce and Industries Building and Foreign Arts Building stand side-by-side on the south side of tree-lined El Prado. Today, the rebuilt structures are called the Casa de Balboa and House of Hospitality.
Commerce and Industries Building. Rebuilt as Casa de Balboa, it's now home of Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego History Center, and San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Commerce and Industries Building. Rebuilt as Casa de Balboa, it’s now home of Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego History Center, and San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
View of shady pergola and the iconic 208 feet tall California Tower from Los Jardines de Montezuma (Montezuma Gardens) in 1915.
View of shady pergola and the iconic 208 feet tall California Tower from Los Jardines de Montezuma (Montezuma Gardens) in 1915.
Los Jardines de Montezuma (today named Alcazar Garden) at Balboa Park's Panama-California Exposition.
Los Jardines de Montezuma (today named Alcazar Garden) at Balboa Park’s Panama-California Exposition.
Spacious gardens near California State Building's landmark dome and bell tower during the Panama-California Exposition.
Spacious gardens near California State Building’s landmark dome and bell tower during the Panama-California Exposition.
U.S. Navy ambulance parked near entrance of the California State Building, today the Museum of Man.
U.S. Navy ambulance parked near entrance of the California State Building, today the Museum of Man.
Kids feed pigeons on the central Plaza de Panama. The Indian Arts Building with mission bells on left was renamed House of Charm and reconstructed in 1996. It now contains the Mingei Museum.
Kids feed pigeons on the central Plaza de Panama. The Indian Arts Building with mission bells on left was renamed House of Charm and reconstructed in 1996. It now contains the Mingei Museum.
Expansive gardens near the Food Products Building. Today's enormous Moreton Fig Tree was planted in 1914 near this location.
Expansive gardens near the Food Products Building. Today’s enormous Moreton Fig Tree was planted in 1914 near this location.
Elegant facade of Food Products Building, which was eventually reconstructed in 1971 as part of the Casa del Prado. It's now the entrance to the San Diego Junior Theatre.
Elegant facade of Food Products Building, which was eventually reconstructed in 1971 as part of the Casa del Prado. It’s now the entrance to the San Diego Junior Theatre.
View of La Laguna de las Flores, the reflecting pool (or lagoon) at the Panama-California Exposition. This area was called the Botanical Court.
View of La Laguna de las Flores, the reflecting pool (or lagoon) at the Panama-California Exposition. This area was called the Botanical Court.
The Botanical Building, then and now one of the largest lath structures in the world. In 1915 its popular name was Lath Palace.
The Botanical Building, then and now one of the largest lath structures in the world. In 1915 its popular name was Lath Palace.
Fountain by Botanical Building at the Panama-California Expositon in Balboa Park. The Botanical Court a hundred years later remains largely unchanged.
Fountain by Botanical Building at the Panama-California Expositon in Balboa Park. The Botanical Court a hundred years later remains largely unchanged.
Gazing over reflecting pool at Commerce and Industries Building and Foreign Arts Building. A favorite photographic spot for a century in San Diego.
Gazing over reflecting pool at Commerce and Industries Building and Foreign Arts Building. A favorite photographic spot for a century in San Diego.
Food Products Building is reflected in tranquil lily pond directly in front of the large lath Botanical Building.
Food Products Building is reflected in tranquil lily pond directly in front of the large lath Botanical Building.
View of tree-lined El Prado from second floor of Varied Industries Building, which is now part of the Casa del Prado.
View of tree-lined El Prado from second floor of Varied Industries Building, which is now part of the Casa del Prado.
Varied Industries Building seen from the west a short distance. Rebuilt as a part of Casa del Prado, today it houses various art and botanical organizations.
Varied Industries Building seen from the west a short distance. Rebuilt as a part of Casa del Prado, today it houses various art and botanical organizations.
Home Economy Building (left of Foreign Arts Building), site of today's Timken Museum of Art. A wicker Electriquette motor cart is visible among people in the Plaza de Panama.
Home Economy Building (left of Foreign Arts Building), site of today’s Timken Museum of Art. A wicker Electriquette motor cart is visible among people in the Plaza de Panama.
Fine photo across Esplanade of the Indian Arts Building, rebuilt in later years and renamed the House of Charm.
Fine photo across Esplanade of the Indian Arts Building, rebuilt in later years and renamed the House of Charm.
One of many popular recitals in the Organ Pavilion at the Panama-California Exposition. (This venue is now called the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.)
One of many popular recitals in the Organ Pavilion at the Panama-California Exposition. (This venue is now called the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.)
Organ Pavilion colonnade with California Bell Tower in distance. Trees and a large parking exist today on the left, behind the classic structure.
Organ Pavilion colonnade with California Bell Tower in distance. Trees and a large parking lot exist today on the left, behind the classic structure.
View of Spreckels Organ in 1915, from a shady spot in the colonnade. Those wooden benches were replaced many years ago with benches made of steel.
View of Spreckels Organ in 1915, from a shady spot in the colonnade. Those wooden benches were replaced many years ago with benches made of steel.
The distant Organ Pavilion appears in this photo between the San Joaquin Valley Building and the Kern and Tulare Counties Building.
The distant Organ Pavilion appears in this photo between the San Joaquin Valley Building and the Kern and Tulare Counties Building.
Kansas State Building at Panama-California Exposition. Most of these old state buildings no longer exist today, a hundred years later.
Kansas State Building at Panama-California Exposition. Most of these old state buildings no longer exist today, a hundred years later.
Montana State Building, near the site of today's International Cottages.
Montana State Building, near the site of today’s International Cottages.
People take a stroll past a handful of state buildings at the Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park.
People take a stroll past a handful of state buildings at the Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park.
Utah State Building at the Panama-California Exposition.
Utah State Building at the Panama-California Exposition.
Washington State Building at the Panama-California Exposition.
Washington State Building at the Panama-California Exposition.
Artillery practice at the exposition's U.S. Marine Camp, which was located near the site of today's Air and Space Museum.
Artillery practice at the exposition’s U.S. Marine Camp, which was located near the site of today’s Air and Space Museum.
Southern California Counties Building, which stood a century ago in Balboa Park at the site of today's Natural History Museum.
Southern California Counties Building, which stood a century ago in Balboa Park at the site of today’s Natural History Museum.
Visitors back in 1915 enjoy the Southern California Counties Building's elegant patio.
Visitors back in 1915 enjoy the Southern California Counties Building’s elegant patio.
Large area called the Painted Desert at the Panama-California Exposition. This unique attraction was near the site of today's Veteran's Memorial.
Large area called the Painted Desert at the Panama-California Exposition. This unique attraction was near the site of today’s Veteran’s Memorial.
The elaborate Taos pueblo in the Painted Desert was a fantastic sight at San Diego's Panama-California Exposition.
The elaborate Taos pueblo in the Painted Desert was a fantastic sight at San Diego’s Panama-California Exposition.
Realistic exhibit shows Zuni native life at the Panama-California Exposition in San Diego's Balboa Park.
Realistic exhibit shows Zuni native life at the Panama-California Exposition in San Diego’s Balboa Park.
The Pala gem mine was one of the amusements along the Isthmus north of El Prado, near today's San Diego Zoo parking lot. It featured a 300 foot long tunnel filled with simulated gems.
The Pala gem mine was one of the amusements along the Isthmus north of El Prado, near today’s San Diego Zoo parking lot. It featured a 300 foot long tunnel filled with simulated gems.
The Cawston Ostrich Farm was an Egyptian pyramid-shaped amusement on the Isthmus, a section of the expo popularly called the fun street.
The Cawston Ostrich Farm was an Egyptian pyramid-shaped amusement on the Isthmus, a section of the expo popularly called the fun street.
The Japanese Tea Pavilion, northeast of the Botanical Building in 1915. Today, the Japanese Tea Pavilion is located elsewhere and appears entirely different.
The Japanese Tea Pavilion, northeast of the Botanical Building in 1915. Today, the Tea Pavilion at the Japanese Friendship Garden is located elsewhere and appears entirely different.
Citrus and other gardens in a wide north section of the Panama-California Exposition. This is near the entrance of today's San Diego Zoo.
Citrus and other gardens in a wide north section of the Panama-California Exposition. This is near the entrance of today’s San Diego Zoo.
The long Tractor Buillding was located near a tractor demonstration field, just west of the Painted Desert.
The long Tractor Building was located near a tractor demonstration field, just west of the Painted Desert.
California bungalow, surrounded by model farm at the 1915 exposition. Agricultural exhibits and demonstrations were an important part of the event.
California bungalow, surrounded by model farm at the 1915 exposition. Agricultural exhibits and demonstrations were an important part of the event.
The Lipton Tea Gardens at the Panama-California Exposition, one more interesting image from San Diego's rich history.
The Lipton Tea Gardens at the Panama-California Exposition, one more interesting image from San Diego’s rich history.

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Photos of Balboa Park’s unique magic at dusk.

Lights come on inside Casa del Prado in Balboa Park as the day ends.
Lights come on inside Casa del Prado in Balboa Park as another day ends.

Balboa Park in San Diego’s bright sunshine is wonderful. At night it becomes magical.

As darkness seeps in and night gentles the world, Balboa Park transforms into an entirely different place. Take a look…

Plaster statues of Spanish painters become shadowy in courtyard of Casa del Prado.
Plaster statues of Spanish painters become shadowy in courtyard of Casa del Prado.
Faces above blue-lit fountain by Botanical Building.
Faces above blue-lit fountain by Botanical Building.
Ornate building facades on El Prado take on new depth at dusk.
Ornate building facades on El Prado take on new, amazing depth at dusk.
Walking down an elegant, golden corridor as night descends.
Walking down an elegant, golden corridor as night descends.
Passage along El Prado becomes mellow and mysterious.
Passage along El Prado becomes mellow and mysterious.
The sky becomes dark blue after sunset and faint stars slowly emerge.
The sky becomes dark blue after sunset and faint stars slowly emerge.
Balboa Park after dark transforms into a fantastic, fairytale world.
Balboa Park after dark transforms into a fantastic, fairy tale world.
Foliate capitals on the columns of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion colonnade.
Foliate capitals on the columns of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion colonnade.
Illuminated fountain beside patio beneath The Prado restaurant in Balboa Park.
Illuminated fountain beside patio beneath The Prado restaurant in Balboa Park.
One last juggle by darkening fountain near Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.
One last juggle by the slowly darkening fountain near Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.

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