Fantastic architecture at Oceanside Civic Center.

Uniquely beautiful civic centers can be found all around San Diego County. I’ve photographed many of them. But the Oceanside Civic Center might be my favorite.

I walked randomly about the Oceanside Civic Center complex last weekend and was amazed by everything I saw.

As you can see from various plaques I photographed, the original Oceanside Fire Station (also called Oceanside Engine House and Police Station) was built in 1929/1930, and the original City Hall and Library were completed in 1934. They were designed by Irving Gill, a renowned San Diego architect who is now a recognized major figure in the modern movement. His welcoming simplicity, unadorned classic lines and graceful arches have appeared in various places on my blog. His style has been described as cubist. You can see that signature style in these photographs as well. Designing buildings for the City of Oceanside was the final monumental project of his career.

As you can see on another plaque, a City Hall renovation was completed in 1957, and as you can read in this article, a large new Oceanside Civic Center and Public Library were completed in 1990. The large complex “designed by Charles Moore emulated the styling of Irving Gill (with) the white arches and simple architecture…Moore remarked about Gill’s legacy: “We use his plain white walls, his unadorned concrete arcades, disciplined fenestration and flat roofs as our architectural vocabulary, and then allow ourselves the exuberance of bright colors with tiles in niches at the entrances, in the jambs and soffits of deep set openings, and through the contrast of palms and broad-leafed plants surrounding our structure.”

The Oceanside Museum of Art, with its exquisite 1972 Opus sculpture by James Hubbell situated near the entrance, is another beautiful part of the large civic center complex. It occupies the original City Hall.

In the same article, you can read that “After renovation of the interior of building, the Museum of Art opened to the public on October 6, 1997. In 2008, a new addition to the Oceanside Museum of Art was dedicated in 2008. The contemporary, three-level 15,000 square foot addition designed by architect Fredrick Fisher sits alongside the historic building designed by architect Irving Gill, who redefined the architectural landscape of Southern California.”

Should you ever visit Oceanside, California, look for the big colorful fountain at the corner of North Coast Highway and Pier View Way. Then take a stroll through one of the most fantastic civic centers you’re likely to ever see!

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!

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Huge bell at The Big House fire station!

Have you ever walked or driven past Fire Station 1 near the center of downtown San Diego and seen a gigantic bell out front? Have you wondered about it?

A few days ago I walked down the sidewalk past “The Big House” fire station and paused to snap some photos!

Words on the bell read:

W.T.GARRATT & Co SF CAL 1885
PRESENTED TO
SAN DIEGO ENGINE CO NO 1
BY BRYANT HOWARD
SAN DIEGO

A plaque above the huge bell reads:

THIS BELL WAS PRESENTED TO THE SAN DIEGO FIRE DEPT. ENGINE COMPANY NO. 1. IT WAS CAST IN SAN FRANCISCO IN 1885 AND HUNG IN A 50 FOOT TOWER ON FIFTH AVENUE, BETWEEN BROADWAY AND C STREET, WHERE JESSOPS JEWELRY STORE NOW STANDS.

(Jessops moved from that location many, many years ago.)

According to the City of San Diego website: Fire Station 1 was originally opened at 865 Second Avenue in 1904. That station was closed and relocated to the current building (at 1222 First Avenue) in January 1971.

I’d love to hear that bell ring! (Without a fire, of course.)

Thank you to all firefighter heroes!

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!

Photos of Codi, Old Town’s Favorite Horse!

State Park ranger Richard “Dick” Miller and Codi. Photo courtesy Richard Miller.

A couple weeks ago I wrote about a mysterious horseshoe and plaque at the top of some stairs at the Old Town Transit Center. The small monument memorializes Codi, Old Town’s Favorite Horse. (See my blog concerning the horseshoe here.) I asked whether anybody remembered Codi, and I’ve subsequently received photographs and a little information!

I learned that Codi was the horse of Richard Miller, who patrolled Old Town San Diego SHP as a mounted state park ranger. Richard “Dick” Miller retired in 2001 and came back to Old Town for another 12 years as an interpreter. He also started the group known as TRVEA, the Tijuana River Equestrian Association.

Codi and Dick Miller patrolled both Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and Border Field State Park. Codi was a Morgan grade horse who weighed 1400 lbs, and when he passed he was about 22 years old.

After Codi’s passing, the horseshoe monument was made possible by the Old Town Transit Center contractor’s inspector, who had become a friend of Dick Miller.

Do you recognize Codi in these old photographs? If you have lived in or visited San Diego, perhaps Codi has a place in your memories, too!

Codi and Dick Miller at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Photo courtesy Richard Miller.
Codi and Dick Miller at the 1985 Sandcastle Parade in Imperial Beach. Photo courtesy Richard Miller.
Painting of Dick Miller riding Codi in front of the Casa de Estudillo in Old Town San Diego, by artist Miguel Chavez. Photo courtesy Richard Miller.

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!

Cool photo memories from October 2015.

Ready to relive some amazing memories? October 2015 was a very eventful month for Cool San Diego Sights!

Among other things, I took photos of San Diego’s first ever Maker Faire in Balboa Park, including a gigantic fire-breathing robot; a religious procession through Little Italy as the tuna fleet received its traditional yearly blessing; and colorful Balboa Park-themed chalk art at Little Italy’s Festa.

I also had my first look at the seldom visited USS Bennington Memorial Grove in Balboa Park and the historic Mason Street School in Old Town, and I learned about the history of a Navy plaque near the USS Midway Museum that nobody seemed to know anything about!

Click the following links to revisit blog posts from five years ago and enjoy lots of cool photos!

Super cool photos of San Diego’s first Maker Faire!

Photos of Little Italy procession to bless tuna fleet.

USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park.

Amazing Balboa Park chalk art at Little Italy’s Festa!

Creating a plaque: Navy history in San Diego revealed!

Life in 1865 at Old Town’s Mason Street School.

Unusual new public art at Little Italy trolley station.

Thriller flash mob scares Balboa Park visitors!

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.

More discoveries on historic Presidio Hill.

Last weekend I walked all over Presidio Park. Looking around, I noticed several historical plaques, benches and signs on Presidio Hill that I hadn’t seen or observed closely before.

After wandering around Inspiration Point and taking in the view of Mission Valley here, and checking out the park’s little known monument to a White Deer here, I headed down one of the park’s canyon trails and soon arrived at the expanse of grass enclosed by Cosoy Way, where families were picnicking on the green slope above a bench…

The inscription on the bench reads:

THIS MEMORIAL TO

TOMMY GETZ

PLACED HERE BY HIS FRIENDS. JULY. 1935.

After taking a few photos, I crossed Presidio Drive and climbed the short distance to the site of old Fort Stockton, where I looked again at the historical markers and public artwork that I once photographed here and here.

Then I began down Presidio Hill toward the site of the centuries-old, long-vanished Spanish presidio, the “birthplace” of California.

As I slowly wound between trees I came upon the following bench, and a small nearby plaque…

The plaque reads:

DEDICATED IN MEMORY OF

FATHER FRANCISCO PALOU

BIOGRAPHER OF FR. SERRA

BY SAN DIEGO PARLOR 208

N.D.G.W. JULY 13, 1929.

(A little research reveals N.D.G.W. means Native Daughters of the Golden West, and their Parlor 208 represents San Diego County.)

A little farther down I found two more plaques by two trees. Sadly, the second tree and its plaque had been vandalized with red spray paint…

CONGRESSMAN JIM BATES

SAN DIEGO

CITY BEAUTIFUL OF SAN DIEGO

TRUTH- BEAUTY- FELLOWMAN

MARCH 30, 1984

IN HONOR OF

MARY VAUGHN

APRIL 20, 1987

LIFE MEMBER

CITY BEAUTIFUL SAN DIEGO

TRUTH – BEAUTY – FELLOWMAN

When I arrived at the old observation structure in a corner of the parking lot below the Junipero Serra Museum, I discovered a plaque on the ground that I hadn’t seen before. To read the larger plaque affixed to the wall, you can click here.

1782 SYLVESTER PATTIE 1828

UNITED STATES

DAUGHTERS OF 1812

SAN DIEGO CHAPTER – APRIL 1992

Then I walked down to the grassy area where San Diego’s 1769 presidio and original mission stood. You can learn more about the big Padre Cross here.

The above tiles I believe were part of the old Presidio and its chapel, whose ruins are now covered by grassy mounds.

This nearby sign explains how this was the site of the Royal Presidio de San Diego during the time of Spanish settlement during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It was the first permanent European settlement in what is today the State of California.

Grassy mounds now cover what remains of the Presidio ruins.

Finally, I gazed across Presidio Drive at The Indian, a sculpture by renowned artist Arthur Putnam. Learn more and see a closer photo 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!

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!

Two special trees at Alvarado Hospital.

I had to wait a few minutes at the Alvarado trolley station this afternoon, so I walked across the street to look at some brilliantly shining green trees.

The beautiful trees stand in front of Alvarado Hospital Medical Center. Each had a plaque at its base.

I read the words..

Anthony J. Wapnick, M.D. - Dedicated and caring physician - He will never be replaced in the hearts of those whose lives he touched.
Anthony J. Wapnick, M.D. – Dedicated and caring physician – He will never be replaced in the hearts of those whose lives he touched.
Judy Cherry - Microbiologist - A special friend and colleague.
Judy Cherry – Microbiologist – A special friend and colleague.

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!

A walk through Maple Street Plaza in Escondido.

Looking toward the Escondido Civic Center from the north end of Maple Street Plaza.
Looking toward the Escondido Civic Center from the north end of Maple Street Plaza.

After my weekend visit to the Museum at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, I walked south to check out Maple Street Plaza. This “festival plaza” joins the area around the Escondido Civic Center to the historic old business district along Grand Avenue.

On a Sunday afternoon the place was surprisingly empty. When I reached the plaza’s south end, I noticed that Grand Avenue, which appeared to have many vacant old storefronts, was similarly quiet.

Maple Street Plaza, built in 2012, struck me as a very handsome place, but in need of more life. There are beautiful benches, tables and seats, trees and an interactive fountain, which was off. If I had wanted to purchase a sandwich or ice cream or cup of coffee to enjoy in the plaza, I didn’t see any obvious place nearby where I might go. Perhaps I missed something.

Set in the paver blocks at my feet I discovered interesting brief descriptions of Escondido and its history.

A beautiful blue mosaic tile bench curls like a river of water in Maple Street Plaza.
A very beautiful blue mosaic tile bench curls like a river of water in Maple Street Plaza.

Another look at the sculpture that serves as a bench. You can see a fountain (that was off) beyond it, and the oak tree at the center of the plaza in the distance.
Another look at the sculpture that serves as a bench. You can see a fountain (that was off) beyond it, and the oak tree at the center of the plaza in the distance.

A 100 foot flagpole was in the middle of the street at Grand and Broadway from 1927-1944...
A 100 foot flagpole was in the middle of the street at Grand and Broadway from 1927-1944…

Excerpt from 1887 article in Escondido Times extols the virtues of the Vale of Valleys.
Excerpt from 1887 article in Escondido Times extols the virtues of the Vale of Valleys.

Escondido Creek begins above Lake Wohlford and flows to San Elijo Lagoon.
Escondido Creek begins above Lake Wohlford and flows more than 26 miles to San Elijo Lagoon.

Escondido was established as a dry town even though vineyards were plentiful.
Escondido was established as a dry town even though vineyards were plentiful.

More attractive places to sit in Maple Street Plaza.
More attractive places to sit in Maple Street Plaza.

A fine setting in Escondido on a sunny, quiet Sunday.
A fine setting in Escondido on a sunny, very quiet Sunday.

Escondido is often referred to as the Hidden Valley.
Escondido, which means “hidden” in Spanish, is often referred to as the Hidden Valley.

Standing by an oak tree at the center of Maple Street Plaza looking north.
Standing by an oak tree at the center of Maple Street Plaza looking north.

One of two interesting tables I spotted near the south end of the plaza. A cool abstract design unites the tabletop and seat.
One of two interesting tables I spotted near the south end of the plaza. A cool abstract design unites the tabletop and seat. (The other nearby table was occupied by someone who appeared to be homeless.)

Sidewalks were installed on Grand Avenue in 1905 and the street was paved in 1912.
Sidewalks were installed on Grand Avenue in 1905 and the street was paved in 1912.

A bench at the south end of Maple Street Plaza on Grand Avenue.
A bench near the south end of Maple Street Plaza on Grand Avenue.

Plaque on the bench indicates it's For the Citizens of Escondido. Escondido East Rotary.
Plaque on the bench indicates it’s For the Citizens of Escondido. Escondido East Rotary.

Landmark sign arches above the south end of Maple Street Plaza in Escondido.
A welcoming gateway sign arches above the south end of Maple Street Plaza in downtown Escondido.

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!

Cardiff’s beautiful Harbaugh Seaside Parkway.

Beautiful flowers by the path through old Carpentier Parkway, which is turning into Harbaugh Seaside Parkway.
Beautiful greenery by the path through old Carpentier Parkway, which is being transformed into Harbaugh Seaside Parkway.

In Cardiff-by-the-Sea, the bicycle and pedestrian-friendly Cardiff Rail Trail is a relatively new segment of the much longer Coastal Rail Trail, that when finally completed will link San Diego to Oceanside.

Right next to the Cardiff Rail Trail is a garden-like linear park. From what I can gather, this old park maintained by the Cardiff Botanical Society was originally named the Carpentier Parkway, and is now being revamped, turning into Harbaugh Seaside Parkway. I don’t know that much about the project, apart from a few pages I found searching the internet. The George and Betty Harbaugh Charitable Foundation was also instrumental in creating the Harbaugh Seaside Trails at the north end of Solana Beach between Highway 101 and the train tracks.

Yesterday I walked a short distance through the somewhat ragged but quite beautiful Harbaugh Seaside Parkway. Starting at Chesterfield Drive just east of the train tracks, turning off from the paved Cardiff Rail Trail, I walked north up a winding dirt path between flowers, trees, plaques and a sculpture.

I had to brush a thin layer of dirt from engraved pavers and stones.

Enjoy these photographs. I’ve transcribed some of the words that I found on plaques and a weathered sign in a kiosk…

The south end of the dirt path leads away from the Cardiff Rail Trail just north of Chesterfield Drive.
The south end of the dirt path leads away from the Cardiff Rail Trail just north of Chesterfield Drive.

I believe this old wooden Welcome to Cardiff By the Sea sign used to stand beside Highway 101.
I believe this old wooden Welcome to Cardiff By the Sea sign used to stand beside Highway 101.

Bird of Paradise

Lord sent me to this world
as a soul trapped in a human body,
like a bird trapped in a cage
I am waiting for the day
that the Lord will fly me back home.
–Rumi

In memory of my daughter
Chantal Paydar

“Carpentier Parkway proves it is possible to provide beautiful, lush, flowered garden landscaping while using 75% less irrigation water without resorting to using desert plants. This park in downtown Cardiff-by-the-Sea covers the area between San Elijo and the railway tracks from Birmingham to Chesterfield and used to be an ugly patch of weeds…”

Dedicated to the memory of Wayne Holden and to the Honor of all the Volunteers who have given time and donations for the Carpentier Parkway. 1999.

The Cardiff Chamber of Commerce commissioned the statue to be sculptured for Wayne Holden, who died at 47 years old… James Pugh, Sculpturer…

A beautiful old tree has two plaques at its base.
A beautiful old tree has two plaques at its base.

There was a lovely lady from Singapore
Whose humor was great and tales were lore
With a laugh so infectious none could ignore
For all that knew her till the age of eighty-four.

In memory of Kathleen Jack 1928-2013

Good Morning Cardiff by the Sea
Darreld Kitaen 10/2/36 – 1/3/19
Happy Days – Love and Peace

In Loving Memory
Richard W. (Dick) Kratzer

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!

Six names on six benches.

Around noon today I sat down, opened a book.

I’d taken a walk around Cardiff-by-the-Sea and had found a perfect shady bench in Glen Park.

Below in the distance people were darting about the basketball court shooting hoops. One person missed, madly whirled, lunged forward, fell back, reached, barely intercepted, passed, darted, jumped impossibly high, caught, shot again, swished, shouted happily.

Upon finishing a chapter, I got up and gathered my stuff. The bench I’d been sitting on had a plaque. “Gotta go, gotta ride.”

It felt like the perfect small poem.

I found six names on six empty benches.

Every word shined.

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!

Horseshoe recalls Codi, Old Town’s favorite horse.

Here’s another mystery!

Perhaps someone out there remembers Codi, Old Town’s Favorite Horse. I can find nothing about Codi when I search the internet.

This horseshoe with its plaque is likely noticed by very few people. It was placed inconspicuously at the top of some steps that lead under the train and trolley tracks at the Old Town Transit Center. These particular stairs aren’t often used.

I’ve lived in San Diego about twenty years, and I stumbled upon this horseshoe memorializing Codi just this afternoon!

Was this metalwork created at Old Town’s blacksmith shop?

Did Codi live in the corral beside Seeley Stable, where donkeys reside today? Did Codi provide rides or participate in parades? Are there photos of Codi?

Next time I see an Old Town San Diego State Historic Park ranger, I’ll try to remember to ask about Codi.

If you know anything, everyone would love reading your comment!

UPDATE!

Mystery solved! I now know the history of the horseshoe, and have posted photographs of Codi. To learn about Codi, click here!

CODI. January 1974 - November 2, 1995. Old Town's Favorite Horse.
CODI. January 1974 – November 2, 1995. Old Town’s Favorite Horse.

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!