Historical plaque near Paradise Valley Hospital.

There’s a mysterious bronze plaque in National City near Paradise Valley Hospital.

You can see it on Euclid Avenue, north of 8th Street, right next to a bus stop and hospital sign. The archway to long-vanished Paradise Valley Sanitarium also stands nearby.

There’s no visible indication of who placed the plaque, or when. Just these words in bronze:

SITE OF ORIGINAL WELL

FAITH AND PRAYER WERE REWARDED IN
NOVEMBER 1904, FOR AT THIS SITE GOD
GAVE OUR PIONEERS WATER. MRS. ELLEN
G. WHITE IN REVEALING WHAT GOD HAD
SHOWN HER SAID, “IT MAY NOT BE AT THIS
SPOT, IT MAY BE SOMEWHERE ELSE ON THIS
ESTATE, BUT THERE IS PLENTY OF WATER
SOMEWHERE.” TO THIS DAY, THE SUPPLY HAS
NOT FAILED. OUR PRESENT WELL TAPS THE
SAME CHANNEL, BUT BECAUSE OF DRAINAGE
PROBLEMS IT IS ON A HIGHER LEVEL
APPROXIMATELY 700 YARDS EAST.

A little research indicates that the Ellen G. White mentioned was one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

According to Wikipedia: In 1883, Dr. Anna L. Potts started construction of Mount Paradise Sanitarium seven miles from San Diego. The thirty room sanitarium was finished in 1887. But in 1895, lacking water and patients, Dr. Potts closed Potts Sanitarium…in 1900, Ellen G. White…repeatedly received strong impressions from God that the region was a good location for a sanitarium and hospital. During Mrs. White’s visit to San Diego in 1902, Paradise Sanitarium was for sale for $11,000. Real estate prices slowly declined as the drought continued…later Mrs. White and a wealthy friend, Mrs. Josephine Gotzain, bought it for $4,000. There still was no water, so Ellen White hired a well digger and water was found at 98 feet…

More history concerning Paradise Valley Sanitarium–which became a world-famous health resort, and which was eventually replaced by Paradise Valley Hospital–can be found on this page!

(As you can see in my above photograph, somebody tried to cover up the plaque’s text with black paint or ink.)

No copyright image of Paradise Valley Sanitarium from adventistdigitallibrary.org

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A look at the Woolworth Building in the Gaslamp.

Many fascinating old buildings stand in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. Many were built in the late 1800’s during one of the city’s early booms.

I always enjoy looking at the 1886 Woolworth Building as I walk along Fifth Avenue south of Broadway. Not because its architecture is particularly unique or interesting. No, I see that word Woolworth near the rooftop and vague memories from my very early childhood flash inside my aged brain.

I recall how my parents would take me shopping at a Woolworth’s, and how I would always be treated to an ice cream at the store’s stainless steel lunch counter and soda fountain. Memories can be funny. Don’t ask me where this Woolworth store was. All I really remember is standing before all that ice cream, and always choosing Rocky Road.

So what happened to the F. W. Woolworth Company and their immense chain of retail stores? They morphed into Foot Locker! (Regrettably, I’m pretty sure most Foot Lockers don’t serve ice cream.)

Since you might have some difficulty reading the weathered plaque near the entrance to the Woolworth Building, I’ve tried to transcribe it correctly:

Woolworth Building, 1886. Originally Victorian in its architecture, this brick and wood frame building was used for retail stores on the first floor, offices on the second, and furnished rooms on the third. In 1922, Frank W. Woolworth, founder of the five-and-dime stores, had the building remodeled. The original Victorian bay windows were removed, and four Corinthian pilasters were added to a gray granite facade. Woolworth leased the structure for 50 years.

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Shelltown public art celebrates community.

In Shelltown, a community southeast of downtown San Diego and north of National City, you’ll find fantastic public art at Southcrest Trails Park.

As one walks through the neighborhood park, one comes upon a large mosaic-like disk that contains many expressive faces. The public art, made of concrete pavers and bronze set in a small plaza, is titled A Place to Call Home. It was created in 2018 by San Diego artists Ingram Ober and Marisol Rendón-Ober.

The faces represent residents of the community speaking four names associated with the site: Chollas Creek, Shelltown, Southcrest and Home. As one circles the plaza, many mouths appear to speak.

The plaque at the center includes the words: Home is a place that helps us define who we are, and although we may leave that place, it never leaves us.

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Greek community’s olive tree in Balboa Park.

Visitors to Balboa Park walking between the Desert Garden and Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden might notice a single olive tree. It grows a short distance from the winding pathway, near some logs at the edge of Florida Canyon where people can sit while listening to ranger talks.

What they probably won’t observe is a plaque describing the tree. The plaque, which is not easily seen from the busy walkway, explains the olive tree was donated to the City of San Diego by the local Greek community in November 1976.

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Sunrise photos at the Georgia Street Bridge.

Yesterday morning I walked from Hillcrest to the top of the Georgia Street Bridge to watch the sunrise over North Park.

After a few quiet minutes, with the daylight gradually increasing, I walked back down to Park Boulevard and headed east along University Avenue under the bridge, where I photographed the plaque from the historic structure’s construction in 1914.

According to this page of the City of San Diego Digital Archives: The Georgia Street Bridge was built in 1914 in one of the city’s earliest suburbs, crossing over busy University Avenue where streetcars once traveled. The bridge’s basic design is Romanesque Spandrel Arch with Mission Revival styling. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. The bridge recently completed a major renovation that included seismic and structural retrofitting.

As you can see in my photos, I then ascended the bridge again from the east, while gazing down at early morning traffic below. The second-to-last photo with the two buses is from the top of the bridge, looking west into Hillcrest’s Egyptian Quarter.

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A downtown burial site at Dead Men’s Point?

At the south end of Pacific Highway, a short distance from Seaport Village, an historical marker can be observed by the sidewalk. In 1954 it was placed adjacent to the old San Diego Police Headquarters, which today is home to the shops and eateries of The Headquarters.

The marker reads:

LA PUNTA
DE LOS MUERTOS
(DEAD MEN’S POINT)
BURIAL SITE OF SAILORS AND MARINES IN 1782
WHEN SAN DIEGO BAY WAS SURVEYED & CHARTED
BY DON JUAN PANTOJA Y ARRIAGA, PILOT, AND
DON JOSE TOVAR, MATE, OF THE ROYAL FRIGATES
“LA PRINCESA” AND “LA FAVORITA” UNDER
COMMAND OF DON AGUSTIN DE ECHEVERRIA.
STATE REGISTERED LANDMARK NO. 57
MARKER PLACED BY SAN DIEGO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
AND THE HISTORICAL MARKERS COMMITTEE
ERECTED 1954

But according to The Journal of San Diego History’s article A Monument to an Event that Never Happened, this marker is wildly inaccurate! There is no burial site and no one died on the Pantoja voyage. And “dead men” probably refers to pine logs! Huh?

To read the article, click here!

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Hidden historical marker near Mission San Diego.

There’s an important historical marker near Mission San Diego de Alcalá that very few people know about or see. It’s located on private property along San Diego Mission Road, just inside the grounds of a condo complex. You can find it a short distance east of the mission, on some grass behind a fence, very close to the San Diego River.

I was able to take zoom photos of the “hidden” marker and its bronze plaque from the sidewalk.

The words read:

Padre Luis Jayme, Pastor of the Mission San Diego de Alcalá, was martyred near this site November 5, 1775. Father Jayme had asked that the Mission be moved to its present site from Presidio Hill in order to better grow foods for the Mission.

In this area the Mission padres produced grapes, olives and other farm products for the Indian and Spanish communities.

Also near this site a small structure housed the guard from the Royal Presidio, which served as escort and guard for the Mission padres.

The historical marker was placed where Father Jayme’s body was found. He was killed by a large force of native people, said to be Yuman Indians from distant villages, in an uprising in 1775, about a year after the nearby mission was built. The mission was pillaged and set on fire. Survivors of the attack fled to the Presidio, six miles away down the river.

Over the centuries Mission San Diego de Alcalá, the first Spanish mission in California, has been rebuilt several times. The remains of Father Luis Jayme are entombed under the floor next to the altar in the present church.

Looking west down San Diego Mission Road. The mission is located on the hillside beyond those trees..

The nearby San Diego River, where it is crossed by San Diego Mission Road…

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Golden bust of Benito Juárez in Chicano Park.

If you walk to the northwest corner of Chicano Park and cross the intersection of Cesar E. Chavez Parkway and Logan Avenue, you’ll see what appears to be a statue on a checkerboard. Move closer and you’ll discover a golden sculpted head on a white pedestal. The bust is of Mexican national hero, Benito Juárez.

A plaque in Spanish at its base begins: “El respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz,” which translates into English as: “Respect for the rights of others is peace.” The full quote by Juárez, who is remembered for modernizing Mexico with liberal reforms, is: “Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace.”

According to the plaque, the bust was unveiled on June 25, 2005. It appears to have been placed here by Gran Logia Mexico, Americana San Diego California. I believe the organization is a local Mexican Freemasonry group. I can find nothing about this public artwork on the internet.

Another sculpture of Benito Juárez can be found in downtown San Diego’s Pantoja Park.

That less mysterious public art was a gift from Mexico. I once took a photograph of the fine bronze statue and posted it here.

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A walk up Maine Avenue in historic Lakeside.

Last weekend I enjoyed a leisurely walk up Maine Avenue in Lakeside, California.

I started at Woodside Avenue and proceeded north to Mapleview Street (just south of the Lakeside Rodeo Arena). This part of town is referred to as the Lakeside Historic District.

Apart from a few articles I’ve read, I really don’t know much about the history of Lakeside. This community in San Diego’s East County is best known for its annual rodeo, but over a century ago it was famous for it’s large, opulent Lakeside Inn (originally called the Lakeside Hotel) which was built in 1887 near the edge of Lindo Lake.

(I posted photos of a nostalgic mural at the corner of Maine and Woodside which depicts the old hotel and an early auto racetrack that circled Lindo Lake. See that wonderful mural by clicking here.)

It appears to me little remains from Lakeside’s very earliest days. Apart from a few houses that are scattered along Maine Avenue and adjacent River Street, the one notable building that still stands is the Olde Community Church. When it was completed in 1896, the First Presbyterian Church of Lakeside became the prominent center of the scarcely populated town.

The beautiful old church now houses the Lakeside History Center and Museum of the Lakeside Historical Society. The museum was closed when I happened to walk by it. I’ll have to visit at some future time.

These photographs represent my walk north up Maine from Woodside to Mapleview. I’ve included captions with a little information I’ve found.

The three old black and white photos are from an interesting San Diego County publication that details the history of Lakeside, which you can read here.

Lakeside, California,1904.
Lakeside, California, 1910.
Photo of old Lakeside Inn, originally called Lakeside Hotel, often referred to as the Coronado of the Hills. Its splendid Victorian architecture was similar to that of the Hotel del Coronado.
The Lakeside Post Office and an adjacent strip mall at Maine and Woodson, where the famous old Lakeside Inn used to stand.
Looking north up Maine Avenue from Woodside Avenue.
I’ve arrived at Parkside Street.
The picturesque Olde Community Church.
Sign near entrance to the Lakeside History Center’s museum at the Olde Community Church.
Looking to the left.
Words engraved in a boulder. El Capitan Dam Site discovered and purchased by Ed Fletcher in 1911.
Continuing north up Maine, passing the front of Olde Community Church.

The above plaque in front of the Olde Community Church recalls the Lakeside Auto Speedway that was built around Lindo Lake by John H. Gay, owner of the Lakeside Inn.

It was considered the first purpose-built auto racing facility in the United States. On its opening day in 1907, famed racecar driver Barney Oldfield set a world automotive speed record of 69.49 miles per hour. The feat was performed in his Peerless Green Dragon car as he accelerated down the 2 mile long packed clay oval track.

Sculpture of cowboy on bucking horse on grounds of Lakeside Historical Society’s old church. In Memory of Mr. Lakeside Rodeo, Ben Bruton. (As you can see, I walked by around Halloween!)
Looking back as I continue north up Maine Avenue.
Western cattle drive mural on a parking lot wall in Lakeside. By artist David Ybarra, 2016.
Cool shop owner in cowboy garb poses with his guitar in front of Hazel’s Music.
Rodeo celebrated in Lakeside Historic District mural on side of Lakeside Liquor store.
A happy autumn scarecrow on the street corner. To the right is the 1912 Rocchio Rexal Drug Store building, restored in 2015.
Colorful public art mosaic on the old drug store building’s wall depicts people on horseback.
What became the facade of Kursave’s Lakeside Theatre was originally the front of Lakeside Town Hall, built in 1911. It has housed various businesses more recently.
A classic Western scene in front of a small office building.
Lakeside landmark sign seen beyond Mary’s Donuts.
Lakeside landmark sign rises above Maine Avenue.
Sign rising from patch of cacti welcomes motorists to the Lakeside Historic District.

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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!

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