History and faith at St. Agnes Catholic Church.

On Saturday I stepped inside St. Agnes Catholic Church. It was one of three sites I visited in Point Loma during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2019 OPEN HOUSE SAN DIEGO.

Donna Alves-Calhoun, author of the book Portuguese Community of San Diego, told me a little about the history of this church and the people whose lives are deeply linked to it.

I learned that an original church was built in 1908 by Portuguese fisherman families that had settled in La Playa, near the entrance to San Diego Bay. It was difficult for them to travel to Old Town or La Jolla to attend church services, so they built a small mission church in Point Loma.

In 1933 the new Mediterranean-style St. Agnes Catholic Church was built at the same location, using funds donated by the crews of local fishing boats.

The beautiful church’s bell tower was decorated with an illuminated statue of Our Lady of Good Voyage, which could be seen at a distance. Like a beacon it guided the Portuguese fishermen safely home. I also learned the extraordinary stained glass windows were made in Ireland, and the religious statues placed in corners of the church are from Italy.

After I moved around the church, looking up at the ceiling and its dark wooden beams painted faintly with tulips, Donna explained that many Dutch settled in the Azores. Like many who have descended from San Diego’s Portuguese fishermen, she herself possesses a measure of Dutch ancestry.

During the annual Festa do Espírito Santo celebration, a crown kept in a glass case near the altar, symbol of the supreme dominion of the Holy Spirit, is brought with other holy objects in a ceremonial procession from the U.P.S.E.S. Chapel and Hall to St. Agnes Catholic Church. The bringing of the “Coroa” remembers an historical gesture of compassion by Portugal’s beloved Santa Isabel, the Peacemaker and Holy Queen.

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A look inside the Portuguese Historical Center.

Anyone interested in the rich history of the Portuguese community in San Diego should visit the Portuguese Historical Center in Point Loma. It’s located at 2831 Avenida de Portugal, in a neighborhood that was home to many immigrant fishermen who came from the Azores, Madeira, and the mainland of Portugal, back in the days when tuna fishing was a major industry in our city.

I took a look inside the center yesterday during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2019 OPEN HOUSE SAN DIEGO.

Every corner of the small museum is jam-packed with history. Shelves are brimming with Portuguese cultural artifacts, and there are photos of notable people, places and events. I saw many references to Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, the Portuguese explorer who discovered San Diego Bay in 1542 on behalf of Spain.

A recently opened exhibit in the Portuguese Historical Center remembers those in the local Portuguese community who have served their country. During World War II, San Diego’s many Tuna Clippers were converted into patrol and supply boats that served the United States military throughout the Pacific Ocean theater. You can learn much more about that fascinating aspect of San Diego history here.

When I visited yesterday, the centerpiece of the museum was a stunning dress worn by the 2018 Festa Queen. The traditional Festa do Espírito Santo is celebrated each year by the community at the nearby U.P.S.E.S. Chapel and community hall. Festa is a Catholic celebration of Pentecost Sunday. During the colorful event a religious procession makes its way several blocks up Avenida de Portugal to St. Agnes Catholic Church.

In front of the Portuguese Historical Center, a shining Tuna Fishing Industry Monument is inscribed with the names of loved ones who’ve become a part of local history. Members of the Portuguese Historical Center also maintain the Tunaman’s Memorial on Shelter Island. You can see photos of that iconic memorial here.

Please enjoy this quick look . . .

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Inside the historic Portuguese U.P.S.E.S. Chapel.

Today I enjoyed a look inside a beautiful Catholic chapel in Point Loma. The historic U.P.S.E.S. Chapel, located on Avenida de Portugal, was open to curious visitors for the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2019 OPEN HOUSE SAN DIEGO.

The small, nearly one hundred year old chapel stands in a neighborhood that once was the home to many Portuguese tuna fishermen. Many families that have descended from these seafaring fishermen still call this part of San Diego their home.

U.P.S.E.S. comes from União Portuguesa Açoreana Sociedade do Espírito Santo, which in English means the United Portuguese Azorean Society of the Holy Spirit.

According to the U.P.S.E.S. website, this building “was completed and inaugurated in 1922. The design of the Chapel is a facsimile of those that exist on the island of Terceira, Azores and follows the design of the chapels of that era. The interior reflects the design of the chapels that were found in the tuna vessels of that era. Today, as it was intended in 1922, the Chapel is used to house the Crown of the Holy Spirit during the Festa do Espirito Santo celebrations. On Pentecost Sunday, devotees of the Holy Spirit visit the Chapel to pray and offer a donation of money or Portuguese sweetbread to assure the continuation of this time honored ethnic religious celebration.”

The chapel stands adjacent to the United Portuguese SES Hall, directly across the street from the Portuguese Historical Center.

After walking up some steps and looking at memory-filled commemorative pavers, I stepped inside the chapel and took photos of its modest, elegantly beautiful interior.

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 fun walk along Shelter Island Drive.

Fun shark street art on a utility box at the corner of Shelter Island Drive and Rosecrans Street.
Shark street art on a utility box at the corner of Shelter Island Drive and Rosecrans Street.

This morning I headed to Point Loma to visit three sites participating in the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2019 OPEN HOUSE SAN DIEGO. All three are located in a neighborhood at the foot of Shelter Island–an area once populated by many Portuguese fishermen. I think you might enjoy a look at Little Portugal’s history and some of its landmarks.

Before I sort through all those photographs, however, please enjoy others photos I took during a fun walk down Shelter Island Drive, from Rosecrans Streets to the recently improved Shelter Island boat ramp.

(To see additional street art I photographed along Shelter Island Drive a couple years ago, click here!)

The Union Bank on the same corner has a colorful mural depicting fishermen near its entrance.
The Union Bank on the corner of Shelter Island Drive and Rosecrans Street has a colorful mural near its entrance. Tuna fishermen with poles out on the Pacific Ocean.
Plaque describes the artwork. Sean Wells - Art Teacher. Mural completed Spring 2010 depicting historic scenes of the Point Loma region.
Plaque describes the above artwork. Sean Wells – Art Teacher. Mural completed Spring 2010 depicting historic scenes of the Point Loma region.
As I began walking along Shelter Island Drive, a gigantic yacht passed down the street!
As I began walking along Shelter Island Drive, a gigantic yacht passed down the street!
A few benches overlook a corner of the Shelter Island Yacht Basin. It's a nice place to sit and relax.
A few benches overlook a corner of the Shelter Island Yacht Basin. It’s a nice place to sit in the sun and relax.
I spotted this cool stained glass panel in a window of The Marlin Club.
I spotted this cool stained glass panel in a window of The Marlin Club.
I remember seeing some huge fish suspended here years ago, before I began taking photos for this blog.
I remember seeing several huge fish suspended here years ago, before I began taking photos for this blog.
Someone bikes past a huge boat lift at the Shelter Island Boatyard.
Someone bikes past a huge boat lift at the Shelter Island Boatyard.
Those yachts being repaired seem to be up in the sky!
Those yachts being repaired seem to be up in the sky!
People bicycle near the Ocean Song sculpture in front of Humphreys Half Moon Inn.
People bicycle near the Ocean Song sculpture in front of Humphreys Half Moon Inn. This cool public art was created by Alber De Matteis.
As I approach San Diego Bay, I see the Pacific Portal sculpture by local artist James T. Hubbell.
As I approach San Diego Bay, I see the Pacific Portal sculpture by local artist James T. Hubbell.
I've arrived at the recently improved and enlarged Shelter Island Launch Ramp. Many recreational watercraft enter San Diego Bay here.
I’ve arrived at the recently improved and enlarged Shelter Island Launch Ramp. Many recreational watercraft enter San Diego Bay here.
Looks like these guys backing their boat into the water intend to spend the day fishing.
Looks like these guys backing their boat into the water intend to spend the day fishing.
Someone hangs out nearby, sitting among beached dinghies.
Someone hangs out nearby, sitting among beached dinghies.
Looking across the boat launch basin, the San Diego downtown skyline in the distance.
Looking across the boat launch basin, the San Diego downtown skyline in the distance.
I see some sailboats racing in the distance, between here and Harbor Island.
I see some sailboats racing in the distance, between here and Harbor Island.
Here comes an amphibious SEAL tour boat. These cool boats head out toward the entrance to the San Diego Bay channel and turn about near the submarines at Naval Base Point Loma.
Here comes an amphibious SEAL tour boat. Tourists float out toward the entrance of San Diego Bay, then turn around near the submarines at Naval Base Point Loma.
These cool vessels drive right out of the water and up onto the boat ramp!
These cool vessels drive right out of the water and up onto the boat ramp!
After walking a bit, I'm nearer those small sailboats that were racing in the distance.
After walking a bit, I’m nearer those small sailboats that were racing in the distance.
Some people by the rocky shore watch even more distant sailboats with binoculars.
Some people by the rocky shore watch even more distant sailboats with binoculars.
My camera zooms and just manages to capture a nice image.
My small camera zooms and just manages to capture a nice image.
Look! Here comes San Salvador, the Maritime Museum of San Diego's amazing Spanish galleon replica!
Look! Here comes San Salvador, the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s amazing Spanish galleon replica!
Now that is one very cool sight!
Now that is one very cool sight!

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!

A fine morning walk down Ash Street.

These photos are from early this morning. I pulled out my camera and began walking west down Ash Street from the top of Cortez Hill. I ended near the trolley and railroad tracks, just north of the Santa Fe Depot.

Over the years my blog has shown many of these downtown buildings. Often I provide description. Today I just want to share what it’s like to walk down Ash Street on a clear spring morning.

Here we go…

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!

Getting ready for a new Padres season!

New graphics for the 2019 Padres baseball season are now being applied around Petco Park.
New graphics for the 2019 Padres baseball season are now being applied around Petco Park.

Everyone is hustling to get ready for the 2019 Padres baseball season. Opening Day is a week from tomorrow!

I’ve noticed all sorts of preparations now underway at Petco Park, and at businesses on surrounding streets. Petco Park has been getting a new paint job and new player graphics are being applied to the rear of the two big videoboards. One major theme this year is the recent signing of superstar Manny Machado.

Will 2019 be the season the Padres turn the corner and become a winning team?

Fingers crossed!

The first street lamp banners to go up promote the free, family friendly Opening Day Block Party. The annual event will take place Thursday and Friday next week in East Village.
The first street lamp banners to go up promote the free, family friendly Opening Day Block Party. The annual event will take place Thursday and Friday next week in East Village.
A new Manny Machado shirt is now on display in a window of the Padres Team Store.
A new Manny Machado shirt is now on display in a window of the Padres Team Store.
We Who Reign graphic on a vendor cart inside the Park at the Park.
We Who Reign graphic on a vendor cart inside the Park at the Park.
Great progress is being made in erecting the new permanent concert stage in the Park at the Park.
Progress is being made erecting the new permanent concert stage in the Park at the Park.
A worker was welding when I walked past.
A worker was welding when I walked past.
Various restaurants and bars in East Village and the Gaslamp Quarter are putting up Padres banners and posters.
Various restaurants and bars in East Village and the Gaslamp Quarter are putting up Padres banners and posters.
GO PADRES
GO PADRES
Manny Machado has appeared in a window between Will Ferrell and Eric Hosmer!
Manny Machado has appeared in a window between Will Ferrell and Eric Hosmer!

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!

Murals inspire, motivate students in schools!

Thao Huynh and Kolten French of Mindful Murals encourage school kids to #CREATE with a super colorful interactive mural!
Thao Huynh and Kolten French of Mindful Murals encourage school kids to #CREATE with a super colorful interactive mural!

Yesterday during my mural walking adventure I was introduced by Love City Heights to two people who are doing something that is brilliant and inspiring. Thao Huynh and Kolten French have together created Mindful Murals, an enterprise that’s all about engaging young students at schools with large, affirming, fun graphics!

Check out these six interactive murals that were recently completed at Edison Elementary School. They decorate the backstops of outdoor handball courts. Big splashes of color feature short positive messages like BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, BE LOVING, and NEVER GIVE UP. The murals not only encourage positive thoughts and behavior, but they become a motivating part of a student’s outdoor physical activity.

In addition to interactive murals, Mindful Murals creates sensory paths for schools. These pathways invite kids to walk, twist and turn all about, as they head down a colorful path to discover happy emojis and surprises. It’s a cool idea that engages a growing body, mind and spirit!

To learn more about Mindful Murals, check out their Instagram page here!

Two of the Mindful Murals recently painted in the playground of Edison Elementary School in San Diego's City Heights neighborhood.
Several of the Mindful Murals recently painted in the playground of Edison Elementary School, located in San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood.
PERSEVERE
PERSEVERE
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
EMPATHY
EMPATHY
BE LOVING
BE LOVING
I love how this bold message faces the school's soccer field. NEVER GIVE UP
I love how this bold message faces the school’s soccer field. NEVER GIVE UP

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!