The beautiful California Building and Quadrangle.

Elaborate facade of the beautiful Museum of Man in Balboa Park.
Elaborate facade of the beautiful California Building in Balboa Park.

Here’s one iconic sight in Balboa Park I always lift my eyes to enjoy. The elaborate facade of the California Building, home of the San Diego Museum of Man, contains sculpted historical figures molded from clay and plaster. These figures include Junipero Serra, father of California’s Spanish missions, and Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who discovered San Diego Bay nearly five centuries ago in 1542.

This fantastic building, inspired by the church of San Diego in Guanajuato, Mexico, was erected for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, an event that celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal and promoted San Diego as a destination. Like other similar buildings to the east along El Prado, it is in the Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style, which was largely developed by Bertram Goodhue.

The California Building and adjacent California Tower, and the more simple structure to the south across El Prado–housing Evernham Hall and the St. Francis Chapel–form the California Quadrangle. The courtyard-like area at the quadrangle’s center, where visitors can sit at tables and through which cars today travel, is called the Plaza de California.

Every few years I venture into The Museum of Man just to refresh my memory. There are a number of interesting anthropological exhibits, including a whole room full of spooky Egyptian mummies!

Here are some more pics…

Gazing up at the colorful dome and the California Tower.
Gazing up at the colorful dome of the California Building, and the California Tower.
People on the street in front of the Museum of Man.
People on the street in front of the Museum of Man. El Prado runs through the Plaza de California.
Plaster figures from local history adorn the ornate facade.
Plaster figures from local history adorn the ornate facade.
Three exhibits running at the Museum of Art.
Banners near the entrance show current exhibits at the Museum of Man.
Plaque by Museum of Man commemorates Cabrillo's discovery of California.
Plaque a bit west of the Museum of Man, beside the archway into Balboa Park’s California Quadrangle, commemorates Cabrillo’s discovery of California.
Sitting at table under an umbrella near Museum of Man.
Sitting at a table under an umbrella near the beautiful Museum of Man.

Here are even more photos from a later date…

Sign in the California Quadrangle. Built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the Plaza de California and surrounding buildings served as the grand west entrance for the exposition.
Sign in the California Quadrangle. Built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the Plaza de California and surrounding buildings served as the grand west entrance for the exposition.
Photo toward the southeast corner of the California Quadrangle shows Mission Revival style arches.
Photo toward the southeast corner of the California Quadrangle shows Mission Revival style arches.
Photo of the iconic California Tower from a point east on El Prado.
Photo of the iconic California Tower from a point east on El Prado.
The ornate upper levels of the California Bell Tower.
The ornate upper levels of the California Bell Tower. Tours up the tower’s stairs provide amazing views of Balboa Park and San Diego.
Photo of the beautiful California Building from the east, near the Old Globe Theatre.
Photo of the beautiful California Building from the east, near the Old Globe Theatre.
Elaborate ornamentation around the archway outside the east side of the California Quadrangle.
Elaborate ornamentation around the archway outside the east side of the California Quadrangle.
Colorful dome tiles, part of the Spanish Colonial Revival masterpiece of exposition architect Bertram Goodhue.
Colorful dome tiles, part of the Spanish Colonial Revival masterpiece of exposition architect Bertram Goodhue.

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The mostly forgotten San Diego Chess Club.

nearly forgotten san diego chess club

In 1961, the Balboa Club moved into a building near the southwest corner of Balboa Park. The building today is faded, padlocked, and seldom used. Few people now visit this once popular meeting place. It is the location of the San Diego Chess Club.

Taking a picture through a side window of empty chess club on a weekend morning.
Taking a picture through side window of empty chess club on a weekend morning.

Through a dirty window on the north side, rows of empty tables are visible. The place seems dead.

Most chess players now test their skills on virtual chessboards. Two flesh and blood players squaring off in a lively, tension-filled room across a common table has been replaced by isolated taps and clicks on small screens.

Passing years and neglect at San Diego Chess Club building in Balboa Park.
Years of neglect show at San Diego Chess Club building in Balboa Park.
Chessboard and other old images on side facing Sixth Avenue are very faded.
Chessboard and other images on side facing Sixth Avenue are faded.

Adjoining the building are numerous lonely horseshoes pits. The Balboa Park Horseshoe Club seems just as forgotten.

Unused horseshoes pits near San Diego Chess Club.
Unused horseshoes pits near San Diego Chess Club.

Walked past on a spring day… The game of horseshoes isn’t dead yet!

One fine Saturday afternoon, I finally saw folks playing horseshoes on one court!
One fine Saturday afternoon, I finally saw a handful of folks playing horseshoes!

San Diego skyline and Tuna Harbor boats.

Fishing boats in Tuna Harbor and downtown skyscrapers.
Fishing boats in Tuna Harbor and downtown skyscrapers.

The above photograph was taken near the public pier that stretches into San Diego Bay from the G Street Mole. It can be found next to the top rated Fish Market restaurant, a bit south of the USS Midway. The picturesque skyline rises behind a number of inactive fishing boats in the always interesting Tuna Harbor this fine sunny summer day.

San Diego’s Tuna Harbor decades ago was home to the largest tuna fishing fleet in the world. That was before fishing regulations and tuna populations shifted, sending most of the boats away. The American Tuna-Boat Association office is still located near the foot of the pier.

Here are a variety of pics taken at different times…

Fisherman heads to a boat in Tuna Harbor.
Fisherman heads to a boat in Tuna Harbor.
Ramp down to docks in San Diego's Tuna Harbor.
Ramp down to docks in San Diego’s Tuna Harbor.
Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton rise behind Tuna Harbor fishing boats.
Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton rise behind Tuna Harbor fishing boats.
A number of fishing vessels docked inside San Diego's Tuna Harbor.
A number of fishing vessels docked inside San Diego’s Tuna Harbor.
This typical small boat is part of the large local fishing fleet.
This typical small boat is part of the large local fishing fleet.
Colorful floats of different sizes tangled over the railing at edge of Tuna Harbor Pier.
Colorful floats of different sizes tangled over the railing along edge of the G Street Pier.
Fishing boats docked in Tuna Harbor next to downtown San Diego.
Fishing boats docked in Tuna Harbor next to downtown San Diego.
Lobster traps lined up on a Tuna Harbor dock.
Turning a bit to the right.  Lobster traps are lined up on a Tuna Harbor dock.
Fishermen sort sea urchins from large tank, to be sold at nearby public fish market.
Fishermen sort sea urchins from large tank, to be sold at nearby public fish market.
Gazing down one dock at a line of fishing vessels in San Diego.
Gazing down one dock at a line of fishing vessels in San Diego.
Small boat painted with various names, including Rambo!
Small boat painted with various names, including Rambo!
A clutter of work gear all along the wooden dock.
A clutter of work gear all along the wooden dock.
Downtown highrises in the blue sky behind a Tuna Harbor boat.
Downtown high-rises in the blue sky behind a Tuna Harbor boat.
USS Midway aircraft carrier museum can be seen beyond the fleet of fishing vessels.
USS Midway aircraft carrier museum can be seen beyond the fleet of fishing vessels.
Sun, wind, salt water and frequent use take a toll on these hard-working boats.
Sun, wind, salt water and frequent use take a toll on these hard-working boats.
Old navy boat has been converted for civilian purpose.
I believe this is an old Navy boat which has been converted for civilian purpose.
A couple more fishing boats tied up in beautiful San Diego Bay.
A couple more fishing boats tied up in beautiful San Diego Bay.
Many boats are out on Friday afternoon, seeking fresh fish for Saturday morning market.
Many boats are out on a Friday afternoon, seeking fresh fish for Saturday morning market.

That shiny cylinder-like drum will be mounted on the rear of a fishing boat, and used to unspool then haul in a very large net!

Papa Alex, a psychic near Seaport Village.

papa alex psychic at seaport village

In Seaport Village and on the grassy fringe beside it one can find all sorts of curious, interesting and helpful folk. There are street performers of every kind. You’ll find clowns, cartoon portrait sketchers, an amazing rock balancer, guys with colorful exotic birds, face painters, henna tattoo artists, balloon twisters, poets, musicians, people in cute costumes posing with tourists, marvelous magicians, palm readers, tarot card readers and various seers with crystal balls.

Above is a pic of Papa Alex, a friendly psychic. According to his sign, he’s a specialist in love problems and finance. Seniors are entitled to a 75% discount.

And here are more pics taken on several of my walks…

This sign promotes psychic readingz and more!
This sign promotes psychic readingz and more!
HONEST READINGS sign near Seaport Village.
HONEST READINGS sign near Seaport Village.
The Angel Reader does both tarot and palm reading.
The Angel Reader does both tarot and palm reading.
Handmade sign in Embarcadero Marina Park North beside Seaport Village.
Handmade sign in Embarcadero Marina Park North beside Seaport Village.
Table next to sidewalk features tarot cards kept in place by crystal paperweights.
Table next to sidewalk features tarot cards kept in place by crystal paperweights.
This smiling psychic has a bright pink tent!
This smiling psychic has a bright pink tent!

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Ornate facade of haunted Horton Grand Hotel.

ornate facade of horton grand hotel

A registered National Historic Place, the Horton Grand Hotel in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter is a true architectural treasure. It’s ornate Italianate Victorian facade is based on the famous Innsbruck Inn in Vienna, Austria.

Today’s boutique hotel is a modern restoration of two historic buildings, the Grand Horton, built in 1887, and the Brooklyn Kahle Saddlery. The latter was the residence of Wyatt Earp during the years he lived in San Diego.

The Horton Grand has another interesting distinction. Room 309 is said to be haunted by the ghost of Roger Whitaker, a gambler who was shot dead by a man he cheated in a game of poker. Many guests who’ve stayed in this room have reported objects changing position when they are asleep!

Is that strange, glaring, long-bearded figure in the corner of this photo a vengeful ghost? I hope he didn’t follow me home!

Entrance to elegant Horton Grand hotel in the Gaslamp.
Entrance to elegant Horton Grand hotel in the Gaslamp.
Another wing of the historic hotel.
Another wing of the historic hotel.
The inside courtyard used to be outside!
The inside courtyard used to be outside!
A closer examination of architectural detail.
A closer examination of architectural detail.
The Horton Grand Hotel stands in downtown San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.
The Horton Grand Hotel stands in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.

Cool, tangled photo of San Diego Trolley Yard.

cool chaotic photo of trolley yard

Here’s a unique photo that looks really cool!

I snapped this pic of the San Diego Trolley Yard at the 12th and Imperial Transit Center from the bridge above Harbor Drive. This new pedestrian bridge is a great spot for views of gleaming downtown skyscrapers, the Convention Center, Petco Park, the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, and the trolley and train yards.

This cool photograph was taken through a fence, giving the image a cluttered, layered, weirdly tangled appearance. The red trolleys seem to snake their way through a gray complex jumble of curving rails, vertical electrical poles and the grid of the blurred fence. It’s an image that fascinates the eye!

Here’s a less fascinating photo taken another day…

A less tangled photo from the bridge of the nearby train rail yard and tracks.
A less tangled photo from the bridge of the nearby train rail yard and tracks.

Blue sky, white clouds reflect on skyscraper.

blue sky and clouds reflected on skyscraper

This photo turned out pretty good! Wish I could say it was the result of incredible photographic skill! But I must admit to being lucky once in a while…

This dazzling downtown skyscraper, not far from the Santa Fe Depot, reflects the deep blue summer sky and broken white clouds in a truly spectacular way! Look closely, and you can also see the reflection of the One America Plaza building which stands directly across Broadway.

I love that most of the newer skyscrapers in San Diego are a shiny silver or blue or green–like gleaming ocean waves rising above the sandy tan-colored buildings at their feet. The color scheme gives the skyline a watery cool, light and inviting appearance.

Here come two fun pics I took of the same building on a later date…

Reflection on glass skyscraper of America Plaza across Broadway.
Reflection on shiny glass skyscraper of One America Plaza across Broadway.
Three tall buildings reflect from downtown San Diego window.
Three tall buildings near Santa Fe Depot reflect from downtown San Diego window.