The mystery of an old San Diego history mural.

An amazing mural depicting two hundred years of San Diego history can be found on a building in Point Loma. The long mural, which is located on the side of Zino’s Hair Designers at 2168 Chatsworth Boulevard, has a plaque that reads: “SAN DIEGO from 1769 to 1969 Painted by JORGE IMANA Commissioned by David G. Fleet.”

I’ve performed a variety of searches on the internet to learn more about the mural and the artist, but find little that seems reliable…

UPDATE!

I’ve edited out my previous surmises because the truth has been learned and a few assumptions I made while searching the internet were misguided. Jorge Imana is, in fact, a famous Bolivian artist, who has lived for many years now in La Jolla! You can visit his website here.

I believe Gil is his brother–I found this Wikipedia page.

Thanks to a comment from Joseph M, I was steered in the correct direction!

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!

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A simple, fun walk in Point Loma!

Looking at Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church from the intersection of Voltaire Street and Chatsworth Boulevard. The traditional New England style Red Brick Church was built in 1954.
Looking at Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church from the intersection of Voltaire Street and Chatsworth Boulevard. The traditional New England style Red Brick Church was built in 1954.

First of all, I’d like to welcome new visitors to Cool San Diego Sights! I’m not sure how my website suddenly merited inclusion in Google News, but, what the heck, this amateur photo blogger will take it!

Cool San Diego Sights is mostly about a guy with a little old camera walking around our big city semi-randomly, experiencing the wonder of its neighborhoods, its people, and the world in general. Occasionally I’ll report something that’s newsworthy, but only if I happen to stumble upon it. All this walking and taking photos is really just a hobby and personal pleasure.

On Saturday I enjoyed a long walk that included several areas of Point Loma. After climbing those hidden stairs I blogged about on Saturday, I headed through residential Loma Portal and down into the tiny business district near the intersection of Voltaire Street and Chatsworth Boulevard.

I walked in a short counterclockwise loop, from the Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church, toward Point Loma High School, down to the Point Loma Library, and back up to the spot where I had begun.

I had no plan other than to take photos of whatever caught my fancy!

I spotted a long mural along the roof of the building at 2168 Chatsworth Boulevard.
I spotted a long mural along the roof of the building at 2168 Chatsworth Boulevard.
Part of the mural titled San Diego from 1769 to 1969, painted by Jorge Imana. (I took many photos of this amazing mural and will post them to my blog shortly.)
Part of the mural titled San Diego from 1769 to 1969, painted by Jorge Imana. (I took many photos of this amazing mural and will post them to my blog shortly.)
An electrical box up the street was painted with all sort of guitars.
An electrical box up the street was painted with all sort of guitars.
More colorful guitar street art on another side of the box.
More colorful guitar street art on another side of the box.
As I walked by European Cake Gallery, I noticed the pastry chef peering out at Point Loma from the rooftop.
As I walked by European Cake Gallery, I noticed the pastry chef peering out at Point Loma from the rooftop.
Some fun but simple artwork on the windows of Coastal Sage Gardening.
Some fun but simple artwork on the windows of Coastal Sage Gardening.
The front entrance of the James Edgar and Jean Jessop Hervey Library in Point Loma.
Dedication plaque near library's front entrance. Dated September 20, 2003.
Dedication plaque near library’s front entrance. Dated September 20, 2003.
Looking back at where I was a moment ago.
Looking back at where I was a moment ago. It’s a gray, overcast day.
The other side of the architecturally interesting Point Loma Library. The glass near the roof resembles waves breaking on the beach.
The other side of the architecturally interesting Point Loma Library. The glass near the roof resembles waves breaking on the beach.
As I walked past the library I saw words written at my feet. It's all good!
As I walked past the library I saw words written at my feet. It’s all good!
Then I saw this rather interesting Padres fan.
Then I saw this rather interesting Padres fan.
A mouse has a secret door near the ground by the door of a Point Loma business.
A mouse has a secret door near the ground by the door of a Point Loma business.
That church looks familiar!
I'm already back at the Red Brick Church. A simple but fun walk in Point Loma!
I’m already back at the Red Brick Church. A simple but fun walk in Point Loma!

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!

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Historical marker near Midway and Rosecrans.

Historical marker recalls early San Diego's La Playa Trail. This plaque can be found on Rosecrans Street near Midway Drive.
Historical marker recalls early San Diego’s La Playa Trail. This plaque can be found on Rosecrans Street near Midway Drive.

While walking around Point Loma this weekend, I came upon another historical marker with a plaque that commemorates San Diego’s famous old La Playa Trail. This marker stands in front of a shopping center near the corner of Midway Drive and Rosecrans Street. It features one of six similar plaques created back in the 1930s.

You can see a photo of another such plaque at the east end of the La Playa Trail, near Mission San Diego de Alcala, by clicking here. You can see a third plaque at the base of Presidio Hill and learn about the remaining three plaques (which I have yet to photograph) here.

According to Wikipedia: “The La Playa Trail was a historic bayside trail in San Diego, connecting the settled inland areas to the commercial anchorage at Old La Playa on San Diego Bay…The trail was used during the Pre-Hispanic (Native American), Spanish, Mexican and American periods of San Diego history. Much of the length of the original trail corresponds to the current Rosecrans Street in the San Diego neighborhood of Point Loma…The trail was already established by the time the Spanish settlers arrived in 1769; the first inhabitants of the area, including the Kumeyaay tribe, used it to access the beaches of San Diego Bay. It was improved and extended during the Spanish colonization of the region, reaching Old Town San Diego and Mission San Diego de Alcalá in Mission Valley by the 1770s. Cargo which had been unloaded by ship at Ballast Point in Old La Playa was transported along the trail several miles inland to Old Town…”

US Boundary Survey of 1850 shows the La Playa Trail along San Diego Bay and the San Diego River. Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.
US Boundary Survey of 1850 shows the La Playa Trail along San Diego Bay and the San Diego River. (New San Diego is where downtown is today.) Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

Have you read the classic of American Literature, Two Years Before the Mast? It’s one of my all-time favorite books. Richard Henry Dana Jr. wrote an account of a sailor’s life on the coast of California in the mid-1830s, and a good portion of his fascinating narrative describes San Diego.

La Playa (then a beach on Point Loma just inside San Diego Bay) is where merchant ship Pilgrim unloaded cattle hides that had been gathered by Dana and his shipmates up and down the California coast. When Dana rode on horseback from the hide houses on the beach to Old Town, or farther east to Mission San Diego, he followed the La Playa Trail!

La Playa Trail. Oldest commercial trail in western United States. Erected by San Diego Historical Society. 1938.
La Playa Trail. Oldest commercial trail in western United States. Erected by San Diego Historical Society. 1938.

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!

Hidden stairs ascend Point Loma hillside.

I was looking at Google Maps, plotting out a walk around an area of Point Loma, when I saw a crooked green line connecting two segments of Whittier Street just northwest of Rosecrans Street. What does that mysterious line represent? I wondered.

So I walked from Rosecrans up Whittier late this morning to check things out.

What I found at Whittier’s apparent dead end were some hidden stairs that climb past homes and through lush vegetation toward Loma Portal.

I searched the internet to find something about the history of these stairs, but I’m afraid I learned nothing. Scarcely a mention anywhere.

The stairs themselves are in two segments: first below, then above Locust Street. A slightly fancy concrete bench or two are found along the ascending way, and at either end of the stairs, as you can see in the following photographs.

A couple of Point Loma residents were getting some exercise going up and down the stairs when I arrived. If you wonder about the face covering on the man in the final photograph, and you’re reading these words at some point in the future, this blog was posted during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Huge blue whale at Wienerschnitzel drive-thru!

Apparently I’m not the only mammal who loves hot dogs and chili cheese fries. There’s a huge blue whale that likes to hang out at the Wienerschnitzel in Point Loma!

I see this exact same whale swimming right next to their drive-thru every time I head down Rosecrans Street!

This very cool whale mural was created by artist Leonardo Nado (@leonardonado.33) back in 2018. I checked out his Instagram page and noticed he really likes to paint whales!

I went on a long walk around Point Loma today, so I had the opportunity to take close up photographs of this street art. Then I walked up to the Weinerschnitzel window and ordered a big chili cheese fries with lots of napkins!

(Maybe I’ll try the craft beer around the building at Goodbar next time. The whale seems to be heading that way.)

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 art of Lomaland at San Diego History Center.

The Bard, Reginald Willoughby Machell, c. 1895. Oil on canvas. One of the Theosophical Society artist's allegorical works.
The Bard, Reginald Willoughby Machell, c. 1895. Oil on canvas. One of the Theosophical Society artist’s allegorical works concerning spirituality.

Until yesterday, I didn’t know very much about Lomaland. I knew it was a Theosophical community in Point Loma with several exotic buildings that were located where Point Loma Nazarene University stands today, but that’s about all.

After viewing the San Diego History Center’s current exhibition The Path of the Mystic: Art & Theosophy at Lomaland, and doing a little online research, I now know more about this unique utopian community that made important cultural contributions to San Diego in the first half of the 20th century.

Lomaland was established by Katherine Tingley in 1897. The home of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society, the community became a haven for learning, culture and social reform. Artists and like-minded individuals from around the world came to Lomaland to lead spiritual, contemplative, idealistic lives.

According to the San Diego History Center website: “Tingley’s progressive Theosophical vision, which placed strong emphasis on cultural pursuits including music, dance, drama, literature and visual art, attracted artists from the United States and abroad. As the community developed, many artists came to live and work at Lomaland, including Marguerite Lemke Barton, Grace “Gay” Betts, Maurice Braun, Benjamin Gordon, Leonard Lester, Marian Plummer Lester, Reginald Willoughby Machell, and Edith White.”

I learned from Wikipedia: “Led by Katherine Tingley, the group came to Point Loma to establish a community that would model the philosophical and humanitarian goals of Theosophy. The “White City” envisioned by Tingley was to be located on the extreme western edge of the North American continent but oriented toward India, the spiritual center of Theosophical beliefs. The blend of new world confidence, Victorian morality, a love of antiquity, and Indian spirituality created a unique community …”

The buildings of Lomaland were completed in 1900, and the Theosophical community flourished in Point Loma until 1942, when it relocated to Covina. The main building and Temple of Peace, which often appear in Theosophical Society artwork, had domes of aquamarine and amethyst colored glass. They could be seen far out to sea, and as far east as Mt. Cuyamaca. They were destroyed by fire in 1952. The Spaulding house today serves as the administration building at Point Loma Nazarene University.

I took a few photos of the exhibition in subdued lighting, but my poor old camera doesn’t capture the full detail and beauty of this artwork.

Many more paintings, historical photographs and other works of unique art in The Path of the Mystic: Art & Theosophy at Lomaland will be on display through April 19, 2020 at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

Katherine Tingley, founder of Lomaland, in her office.
Katherine Tingley, founder of Lomaland, in her office.
Roman Gate, entrance to Lomaland in Point Loma.
Roman Gate, entrance to Lomaland in Point Loma.
Marian Plummer Lester, Untitled drawing, c. 1908. Ink on paper. Small drawing of the Temple of Peace and Raja-Yoga Academy buildings at Lomaland when the artist was fifteen years old.
Marian Plummer Lester, Untitled, c. 1908. Ink on paper. Small drawing of the Temple of Peace and Raja-Yoga Academy buildings at Lomaland when the artist was fifteen years old.
Edith White, Landscape, 1917. Oil on canvas. Painting of foxglove from Lomaland's International Garden.
Edith White, Landscape, 1917. Oil on canvas. Painting of foxglove inspired by Lomaland’s International Garden.
Edith Whilte, Roses on a Fence, c. 1915. Oil on canvas. Close-up photo of a beautiful painting created in Lomaland.
Edith Whilte, Roses on a Fence, c. 1915. Oil on canvas. Close-up photo of a beautiful painting created in Lomaland.
The Prodigal or The Kingdom of Heaven is Within You, Reginald Willoughby Machell, c. 1895. Oil on canvas. Painted in England before artist moved to Point Loma in 1900.
The Prodigal or The Kingdom of Heaven is Within You, Reginald Willoughby Machell, c. 1895. Oil on canvas. Painted in England before artist moved to Point Loma in 1900.

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!

Public art at Liberty Station invites interaction.

Facetime is a site-specific public art piece that offers three separate spaces for both interaction and contemplation, while providing temporary shelter.
Facetime is a site-specific public art piece that offers three separate spaces for both interaction and contemplation, while providing temporary shelter.

Very cool new public art was installed at Liberty Station this summer. I saw it for the first time last weekend while I experienced the La Jolla Playhouse’s outdoor WOW festival.

The public art is titled Facetime. It was created by Ocean Beach artist Miki Iwasaki. Three angular sculptures made of corten steel contain seats, inviting face to face human interaction.

I watched a couple enter one shelter, promptly pull out phones and bow their heads.

At least they sat near one another.

Facetime on grass near walkways at Liberty Station.
Facetime on grass near walkways at Liberty Station.
Instead of speaking face to face, two people stare silently down at their phones.
Instead of speaking face to face, two people stare silently down at their phones.
Miki Iwasaki. Facetime. August 2019. Corten steel with seating elements. In partnership with Mingei International Museum.
Miki Iwasaki. Facetime. August 2019. Corten steel with seating elements. In partnership with Mingei International Museum.
Materials will patinate over time, enhancing the visible connection to natural forces and site context.
Materials will patinate over time, enhancing the visible connection to natural forces and site context.
Three can sit near each other in this shady sculpture and share an experience.
Three can sit near each other in this shady sculpture and share an experience.
Facetime is public art located in Liberty Station's ARTS DISTRICT.
Facetime is public art located in Liberty Station’s ARTS DISTRICT.
Cool public art invites human interaction.
Cool public art invites human interaction.

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!