Messages written on the city sidewalks.

As I wander around San Diego, I observe messages written on the sidewalks.

Many of the messages are essential. Some recall history. A few are mysterious. Some are fading.

On these common sidewalks, the forward paths of our lives intersect.

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!

Local history remembered at Trolley Barn Park.

A cobblestone post at the entrance to Trolley Barn Park.
A cobblestone post at the entrance to Trolley Barn Park.

In University Heights, sunny Trolley Barn Park is a favorite place for neighbors to gather. Whenever I drive past I notice the grass field and playground are alive with activity.

Last weekend, as I walked through the park, I observed plaques and a winding path that remember the old trolley car barn that once occupied this beautiful spot overlooking Mission Valley.

In 1913 the Adams Avenue Trolley Barn was built near Mission Cliff Gardens. The popular botanical destination north of downtown was created by John D. Spreckels, who also owned the San Diego Electric Railway Company. The trolley barn was built directly adjacent to Harvey Bentley’s Ostrich Farm, where visitors could actually ride the exotic birds.

The large brick trolley barn serviced hundreds of cars until 1949. That’s when the streetcars, overtaken by city buses, finally ceased operation.

Many old cobblestone walls and posts from the days of Mission Cliff Gardens can still be seen around Trolley Barn Park and the surrounding neighborhood. Like the surprising images of ostriches, these cobblestone structures today are a symbol of the very unique history of University Heights.

To learn much more about the history of Trolley Barn Park and University Heights, you can visit a very informative page here.

Plaque at base of post reads: HISTORIC LANDMARK No. 369 - ADAMS AVENUE TROLLEY CARBARN SITE 1913 - 1949 . . . The Old Trolley Barn Park was dedicated on this site April 6, 1991.
Plaque at base of post reads: HISTORIC LANDMARK No. 369 – ADAMS AVENUE TROLLEY CARBARN SITE 1913 – 1949 . . . The Old Trolley Barn Park was dedicated on this site April 6, 1991.
What appears to be a round table in the park contains an interesting plaque that remembers when trolleys ran through University Heights.
What appears to be a round table in the park contains an interesting plaque that recalls when trolleys ran through University Heights.
Map of the old 1917 trolley line from downtown San Diego into University Heights in Old Trolley Barn Neighborhood Park.
Map of the old 1917 trolley line from downtown San Diego into University Heights in Old Trolley Barn Neighborhood Park.
Dedicated to all of the members of the University Heights Community Association who helped make this park a reality.
Dedicated to all of the members of the University Heights Community Association who helped make this park a reality.
This scenic spot in Trolley Barn Park overlooks Mission Valley.
This scenic spot in Trolley Barn Park overlooks Mission Valley, which lies to the north.
People jog along a walkway which features tracks that wind through the park like the old trolley line.
People jog along a shady path. Its “tracks” wind through the park like the old trolley line.
Along the walkway are the street names once passed by the trolley line.
Along the walkway are the street names once passed by the trolley line.
Another sunny San Diego day as people recreate on the grass.
Another sunny San Diego day as people recreate on the grass.
An electrical box at the edge of the park is painted like a cobblestone post, one of the symbols of University Heights.
An electrical box at the edge of the park is painted like a cobblestone post, one of the symbols of University Heights.
Trolley Barn Park is a beautiful part of University Heights that honors its colorful history.
Trolley Barn Park is a beautiful gathering place in University Heights that honors the community’s colorful history.

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!

The cool sculpture at Humphreys on Shelter Island.

I’ve always wondered about the cool sculpture that stands in front of Humphreys Half Moon Inn on Shelter Island. It’s situated right next to one of the hotel’s driveways.

Last weekend, during my walk along Shelter Island Drive, I paused by the sculpture and looked about for some information. And I found it!

A plaque at the sculpture’s base reads:

OCEAN SONG

The sculpture is inspired by waves
breaking on the shores of the bay.
It Reflects the play of sunlight throughout
the day on the surface of the ocean.
It recalls the connection of the moon and
the tides.
So as waves on the ocean it also portrays
waves of sound.
The mass of the sculpture transforms itself
from baritone to soprano
Creating a song that tells the story of the
place where we have found shelter.

ALBER DE MATTEIS, SCULPTOR

To have discovered such a poetic description was a wonderful surprise. I also noted the sculpture is dated 2004.

If the name of this artist seems familiar, you might recall seeing photographs of abstract sculptures by Alber De Matteis in National City and Liberty Station.

I blogged those photos years ago here and here!

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A small desert garden inside an old fountain.

A side door to San Diego's City Administration Building lies beyond a small garden containing cacti and succulents.
Side door to San Diego’s City Administration Building lies beyond a small garden containing cacti and succulents.

I was waiting for a trolley at the Civic Center station the other day when my eyes wandered over to the City Administration Building. A small desert garden caught my attention, and I remembered how a few years ago that semicircle of garden used to be a fountain.

The next Blue Line trolley was still five minutes away, so I walked over to look at a nearby plaque and a sign.

Plaque near the small desert garden that has been planted in the basin of The Phil Swing Memorial Fountain, which was dedicated on July 6, 1967.
Bronze plaque near the small desert garden planted in the basin of The Phil Swing Memorial Fountain, which was dedicated on July 6, 1967.
Sign explains the Phil Swing Memorial Fountain was re-purposed to a Desert Garden. In 1933, Mr. Swing introduced a bill to establish Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
Sign explains the Phil Swing Memorial Fountain was re-purposed to a Desert Garden. In 1933, Mr. Swing introduced a bill to establish Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
Philip D. Phil Swing was appointed to the California State Water Resources Board in 1945. This beautiful garden honors his contributions to the conservation of desert lands and water resources.
Philip D. “Phil” Swing was appointed to the California State Water Resources Board in 1945. This beautiful garden honors his contributions to the conservation of desert lands and water resources.
A trolley arrives at the Civic Center station near a small desert garden in downtown San Diego.
A trolley arrives at the Civic Center station near a small desert garden in downtown 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!

Badminton champions compete in Balboa Park!

The Balboa Park Activity Center is filled with many elite international athletes, including past Olympic champions, during the 2019 Dave Freeman Classic Open badminton tournament.
The Balboa Park Activity Center is filled with many elite international athletes, including past Olympic champions, during the 2019 Dave Freeman Classic Open badminton tournament.

Some of the best badminton players in the world are competing this weekend in Balboa Park!

Today I headed up to the Balboa Park Activity Center and was blown away by what I observed. At the 2019 Dave Freeman Classic Open, the badminton action is unbelievably fast and furious!

For several minutes I stood and watched some amazing players perform at a very high level. These elite athletes move so lightning fast their bodies and rackets appear as a blur in nearly all of my photos. The shuttlecocks zoomed and floated. I observed strategy, agility, strength and precision. It’s a sport that must be seen in person to be fully appreciated!

Here are a few photos that provide a small taste of this cool badminton tournament!

Looking at plaques with past champions. The 62nd Yonex Dave Freeman Open 2019 is a USA Badminton sanctioned Classic Series Tournament with cash prizes.
Looking at plaques with past champions. The 62nd Yonex Dave Freeman Open 2019 is a USA Badminton sanctioned Classic Series Tournament with cash prizes.

Bronze plaque inside Balboa Park Activity Center dedicated to Dr. David Guthrie Freeman, one of the world's greatest natural athletes of all time, a badminton legend for whom the tournament is named.
Bronze plaque inside Balboa Park Activity Center dedicated to Dr. David Guthrie Freeman, one of the world’s greatest natural athletes of all time, a badminton legend for whom the tournament is named.
The San Diego Badminton Club is one of the sports groups that meets and plays regularly inside the Balboa Park Activity Center.
The San Diego Badminton Club is one of the sports groups that meets and plays regularly inside the Balboa Park Activity Center.

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!

That big bronze pelican in Pacific Beach!

That big bronze pelican standing by the Pacific Beach Lifeguard Station is one cool bird! His name is Pelican Brown.

Legend has it Pelican Brown was observed dancing at the ballroom that used to be located at the end of Crystal Pier. Dressed up in his best velvet vest, he danced the PB Tango!

This fun public art was created in 2004 for the City of San Diego by artists T.J. Dixon and James Nelson. A nearby plaque on the lifeguard station contains the poem The Ballad of P.B., which was written by Jan Phillips.

The amusing poem begins:

Pelican Brown was in search of a home
where he could have fun and relax.
He looked for a beach that was pretty
and a sea that was swimming with snacks.

He flew up and down the long coastline
looking both far and quite near.
Then, one day he knew he had found it
when his eyes saw the great Crystal Pier.

What happens next? Does the story have a happy ending?

Read the entire poem and learn more about the artists at the Project Pelican Brown web page, which you can visit by clicking here!

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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!

Sunrise at Balboa Park’s Desert Garden.

This morning I spent a few minutes in Balboa Park’s Desert Garden, enjoying a beautiful sunrise.

I had hoped to take photos of new snow on the mountains east of San Diego, but they were too distant for my small camera. What I did discover as I walked down one path was completely unexpected, and indescribably powerful…

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!