John Denver honored on Encinitas plaque.

Head west through Encinitas along J Street. When you reach the end, climb the stairs to the J Street Viewpoint.

You’ll discover beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, unexpected works of public art . . . and a small plaque.

John Denver

December 31, 1943 – October 12, 1997

John Denver, songwriter, singer, actor, humanitarian and an activist for world peace and the environment was a founder of The Hunger Project and Plant-It 2000 which sponsored tree plantings in Encinitas.

“Though the singer is silent, there still is the truth of the song.”

Your friends will always remember you.

“If peace is our vision, let us begin.”

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!

Historical marker at UC San Diego.

On the campus of UC San Diego in La Jolla, an historical marker stands on a patch of grass among some trees.

A bronze plaque embedded in a boulder explains how, for half a century, this area was the site of Camp Calvin B. Matthews, of the United States Marine Corps.

The bronze plaque is located south of the Price Center and Triton Fountain, in UCSD Town Square.

THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

OCCUPIED THIS SITE KNOWN AS

CAMP CALVIN B. MATTHEWS

FROM 1917 TO 1964, OVER A MILLION MARINES AND OTHER SHOOTERS RECEIVED THEIR RIFLE MARKSMANSHIP TRAINING HERE. THIS SITE WAS DEEDED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT SAN DIEGO ON 6 OCTOBER, 1964 FOR THE PURSUIT OF HIGHER EDUCATION.

Prior to World War II, the military base was simply called Marine Corps Rifle Range, La Jolla.

To learn more about the history of Camp Calvin B. Matthews, you can check out a Wikipedia entry concerning it here.

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A surprising, historical La Mesa building!

At first glance, you might not believe this building is almost 130 years old. That’s because it appears much different today than it did originally.

During my last walk around La Mesa, I learned this is La Mesa’s oldest standing commercial building!

It’s interesting to compare the old photograph on the La Mesa Historical Society plaque with the building one sees today.

The La Mesa Lemon Company Store building is located at the corner of La Mesa Boulevard and Nebo Drive.

La Mesa Lemon Company Store, circa 1895

Opened adjacent to the La Mesa Springs rail station in 1895, the Lemon Company’s impressive building was the first to supply local settlers and ranchers. La Mesa’s oldest standing commercial building, it was expanded south in 1912. Charter La Mesa Rotary Club member Lawrence Washburn remodeled the building for the city’s first Ford automobile dealership in 1923.

Take a close look at the signs in the photos. “Dealers in everything used on a ranch” is now ballet and clothing!

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!

Old Town home of Squibob, who inspired Mark Twain.

One of San Diego’s most famous houses stands in Old Town at 4015 Harney Street. It’s a modest little structure that you might easily pass by without a second glance.

For a couple of years, 1853-1854, the Derby-Pendleton House was the home of Lieutenant George Horatio Derby, an American humorist who wrote articles for California newspapers, including the San Diego Herald, under the pseudonyms Squibob and John Phoenix. It is said his style of writing, employing absurdity, exaggeration, irreverence and good fun, inspired Mark Twain, Artemus Ward, Bret Harte and others.

Derby’s Wikipedia page states: According to the newly (2010) published Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. One, Ulysses S. Grant was a classmate of “Squibob’s” and the General told Twain some stories of Squibob at West Point.

In 1856 Derby’s immensely popular book Phoenixiana was published. It contains many of his humorous pieces, including articles he wrote concerning San Diego. I like the gentle humor of his description of Old Town’s Fourth of July in 1854. It is found on page 123: At 9 A.M. precisely, the San Diego Light Infantry, in full uniform, consisting of Brown’s little boy, in his shirt-tail, fired a national salute with a large bunch of fire-crackers. This part of the celebration went off admirably; with the exception of the young gentleman having set fire to his shirt tail, which was fortunately immediately extinguished without incident.

Why was Lt. George H. Derby, a West Point graduate and engineer of the United States Topographical Corps, in San Diego? To survey the San Diego River and build a dike that would divert its water into False Bay–now Mission Bay.

While in San Diego, he and his wife rented a prefabricated house that was originally brought by ship around Cape Horn. Learn all about the Derby-Pendleton House’s complex history here. It has had many owners, including William Heath Davis and Don Juan Bandini, and has been moved repeatedly.

You can see an historical marker concerning Derby Dike here. You might note that the marker was placed by Squibob Chapter, E Clampus Vitus.

The San Diego chapter of E Clampus Vitus, “a fraternal organization dedicated to the preservation of the heritage of the American West,” is named after Derby’s pseudonym, Squibob. The motto of Clampers is Credo Quia Absurdum, which purportedly means “I believe it because it is absurd.”

In 1962 an historical plaque was placed on The Derby-Pendleton House by the San Diego chapters of the Sons of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution. I took a photo of it yesterday.

Public domain photo of Lieutenant George Horatio Derby.
From the book cover of Phoenixiana.

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Veterans honored at VA Medical Center trolley station.

Veterans are conspicuously honored at the new VA Medical Center trolley station. The station opened for service last month as part of the San Diego Trolley’s Mid-Coast extension. If you’d like to see photos from the Blue Line extension’s big opening day, click here.

Plaques and flags representing five branches of the United States Armed Services, and words like Duty and Sacrifice embedded in the station’s platform, salute those who’ve worked to defend our nation and the freedoms we enjoy.

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!

One of downtown San Diego’s oldest buildings.

A small, unremarkable brick structure in the Gaslamp Quarter is actually one of downtown San Diego’s oldest buildings!

You could easily walk past the current home of Lucky Brand and not realize this modest building has almost a century and a half of history.

I looked at its historical plaque yesterday to learn more about it. As you can see, the plaque is now very corroded and not easily read, so I took a photograph and enhanced the image by increasing the contrast.

The Combination Store, 1880.

Constructed in 1880, the Combination Store is one of the oldest brick structures still standing in the Gaslamp District, dating further back than the Yuma. Originally, the building was built for one store, and had a 35-inch parapet, a metal cornice, and a frame porch extending to the street. It was first known as the New York and Boston Combination Company, specializing in dry goods and clothing. In 1914, the building was divided into two stores. Later, the parapet was shortened and the porch removed.

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!

Military Tribute at Civita in Mission Valley.

Protecting our Freedom.

Four years ago, Military Tribute Plaza was dedicated at Civita in Mission Valley.

This monument, saluting the United States Armed Services, features flags above black marble columns. Bronze plaques recall the history of each military branch in San Diego. Veterans are also honored.

I took these photographs a few weeks ago when I enjoyed a walk through the large Civita residential community. I thought now would be a good time to post them, because Veterans Day has arrived.

In Memory of The Five Grant Brothers Who Honorably Served Their Country During World War II.
SAN DIEGO’S COAST GUARD. One of the predecessors of the modern Coast Guard traces it presence in San Diego to the opening of the Point Loma Lighthouse in 1855…
SAN DIEGO’S AIR FORCE. Originally part of the U.S. Army, the Air Force took shape with military aviation at Rockwell Field at North Island, beginning in 1912…
Lt. Col. Ronald Grant, USAFR.
Lt. Tom (Suds) Sudberry.
SAN DIEGO’S NAVY. San Diego’s development owes much to the Navy, starting with the visit of the Great White Fleet of 16 battleships in 1908…
SAN DIEGO’S MARINE CORPS. Beginning in 1914, strife in Mexico created a continuing presence in San Diego for the U.S. Marine Corps…
SAN DIEGO’S ARMY. The U.S. Army was naturally in the forefront of San Diego’s American beginnings…

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Photographs of the SDSU Clay Gateway.

I recently rode a bus to the SDSU Transit Center on my way to another destination. I had plenty of time, so I walked a couple of blocks south to the corner of Montezuma Road and Campanile Drive to have a good look at the Clay Gateway.

The Clay Gateway opened in 2016. Rising simply but elegantly, decorated with patterned tiles, the gateway serves as a formal campus entrance to San Diego State University. Shining plaques on either side of the entrance state: THROUGH THESE GATES WILL PASS OUR FUTURE LEADERS.

You can learn more about the Clay Gateway, named after SDSU supporters Ben and Nikki Clay, by clicking here.

Here are my 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!

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.

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!

Plaque at Cabrillo honors National Parks hero.

A beautiful bronze plaque near the entrance of the Cabrillo National Monument Visitor Center honors Stephen Tyng Mather.

It reads:

STEPHEN TYNG MATHER

JULY.4.1867. JAN:22.1930.

HE LAID THE FOUNDATION OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEFINING AND ESTABLISHING THE POLICIES UNDER WHICH ITS AREAS SHALL BE DEVELOPED AND CONSERVED UNIMPAIRED FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. THERE WILL NEVER COME AN END TO THE GOOD THAT HE HAS DONE.

You can learn more about Stephen Mather and how he promoted the creation of the National Park Service and became its first director here.

The Wikipedia page states: “In 1932, his family and friends established the Stephen Mather Memorial Fund, which commissioned numerous bronze plaques honoring Mather’s accomplishments and installed them in national park units.

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!