Faces of Excellence appear at City College.

A new mural has been painted downtown at San Diego City College. The artwork celebrates Excellence at Dr. Constance M. Carroll Plaza.

Dr. Constance M. Carroll has served as San Diego Community College District’s chancellor from 2004 to 2021.

Photographs from stages of the inspirational mural’s creation show how faces of excellence emerged after careful design.

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!

Arts in the Park at Chula Vista’s Lemon Festival!

Chula Vista’s annual Lemon Festival has returned!

This year, the festival is primarily taking place in Memorial Park, where families can enjoy Arts in the Park. A full day of entertainment is scheduled for the big stage, and artist booths abound. The event is produced by the people of OnStage Playhouse, which is a community theatre located in Chula Vista.

I enjoyed the first hour or so of the festival, which included an inspiring dance performance as you’ll see in the upcoming photos!

Lots of family fun can be enjoyed at Arts in the Park during the 2021 Chula Vista Lemon Festival.
Artes en el Parque includes music, dance, and an evening performance by the Fern Street Circus!
A familiar piratical smile. I believe I’ve spotted it during past Comic-Cons!
A smiling mermaid!
Volunteers from Arts in the Park pose for a photo!
Students from Chula Vista Learning Community Charter Middle School were making art! And the community joined them!
Painting our beautiful Earth.
A String of Stories at one of the school’s tables is about Sharing in Community.
Unidos por la paz. United for peace.
I took some photos as I waited in Memorial Park’s amphitheater for the entertainment on stage to begin.
The helpful Honda people came by and offered me a water bottle! Thank you!

Do you know anyone who could use a helping hand? Check out the San Diego Honda Dealers “Random Acts of Helpfulness” web page here. Maybe they’ll provide some assistance! I hope so!

Okay! The program begins with a couple of short speeches…

Ashley Gardner from OnStage Playhouse is introduced. She was instrumental in organizing this great event. Hopefully it becomes a long-lived community summer tradition!

Then the entertainment begins!

An amazing, super positive and energetic hip hop dance group from Steele Canyon High School takes the stage! They’re the Club Groove Dance Team!

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!

Love of reading on a library bookmobile!

Yesterday I enjoyed a long walk in Poway. As I explored the area near Old Poway Park, I happened upon a San Diego County Library bookmobile. I took these photos.

I love how this bookmobile features painted images of diverse people reading, devouring the written word. Gaining knowledge. Activating limitless human imagination.

My own love of reading has only grown stronger with time. Experience has shown me that books are like windows that can be opened to previously undiscovered truths. They enrich one’s inner life.

When I saw the image of the boy pushing books in a cart, I had to smile. In middle school I worked as a page at a library shelving books. I can still picture that library–each room and each wonderful section.

One cool thing about being a library page was I could determine which books were showcased at the end of the shelves. There were so many fascinating titles, so many beautiful covers.

I could choose from a whole world at my fingertips.

Back when I was a kid pushing carts full of returned library books, I had no idea that one day my own fiction would be read by people everywhere around the world. And that my short story, One Thousand Likes, would be included in a textbook by a major international publisher.

Much like a book, the pages of a life turn and strange surprises await!

To read my stories, click Short Stories by Richard.

A visit to the Encinitas Historical Society schoolhouse.

A one-room schoolhouse stands on a hilltop in San Diego’s North County, a very short distance from the beautiful Pacific Ocean. The old schoolhouse is the home of the Encinitas Historical Society, and I paid a visit last Saturday.

The historic schoolhouse, built in 1883, is the oldest building in Encinitas.

While its outward appearance is modest, step through a door and you’ll find the schoolhouse is roomy and welcoming. The wood floors are original. The bright walls are alive with photographs depicting the history of both the schoolhouse and early Encinitas–the residents, town buildings and few landmarks.

In 1883, with the arrival of a family from England, the population of Encinitas swelled to a whopping twenty two. The newly arrived father (a cabinetmaker) and his seventeen-year-old son built the schoolhouse primarily from redwood.

Today, the museum-like schoolhouse contains student desks from the period, but I learned the very first desks, due to lack of funds, were actually irregular things made of cut tree limbs. Slate boards were used for writing and arithmetic. Children who attended the school in those early days of Encinitas came from farms. Some walked as far as two miles.

The history of the schoolhouse is a bit complicated. Over the years changes and additions were made to the structure . . . it was moved in 1928 and became a private residence for half a century . . . it was saved in 1983 by the Encinitas Historical Society and moved back to its original location . . . and finally, it was restored and in 1995 opened to the public.

Visitors who peruse the many photographs and descriptions decorating the schoolhouse walls will feel they’ve travelled back in time. And perhaps to another world.

After looking at many of the displays, I joined a small group that had gathered for a once-every-two-month historical walking tour of Encinitas. I will be blogging about that great tour shortly!

The following photographs are a little of what I saw outside and inside the schoolhouse. To learn much more about this special place, and to perhaps plan your own visit, please check out the Encinitas Historical Society website by clicking here!

I also learned they’d appreciate any donations!

A plaque displayed near the chalkboard is dedicated to the Encinitas Boathouses. One block south of the schoolhouse, two unique cottages that appear like boats can be seen during a walking tour offered by the Encinitas Historical Society.
Encinitas Schoolhouse Grades One through Eight. 1883.
Concrete Highway 101. Two lane road to Los Angeles. 1913.
A craft fair was being held outside the old Encinitas schoolhouse the Saturday I visited. Beyond the parked cars you can see nearby Pacific View Elementary, closed since 2003.
Alone, at the very top of the hill stands the small one-room schoolhouse. A little beyond the hill stretches the Pacific Ocean.

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!

Closed school’s last students create mosaic wall!

Want to see something extraordinary and inspirational?

I had arrived yesterday at the 19th century schoolhouse now utilized by the Encinitas Historical Society, when I noticed a colorful tile mosaic mural wrapped around their dumpster enclosure wall.

When I asked about it, I learned the mosaics had been created by students from nearby Pacific View Elementary in 2003–the year that modern public school shut down. The final class of students produced this amazing artwork!

By looking carefully one can see the initials of students and simple images that record the experiences and desires of youth. You can see a love for art, friends, kindness, the ocean, sunshine, Encinitas and their Pacific View Elementary.

What a fine, enduring way to record important things in life.

Like the historic old schoolhouse that stands near this wall, the work of optimistic people in the past will continue to brighten our future.

If you’re curious about the old schoolhouse, which is headquarters of the Encinitas Historical Society, I’ll be posting lots of photos in the next day or two.

The historic 1883 schoolhouse, now home of the Encinitas Historical Society, can be seen just beyond that dumpster lid. The now closed Pacific View Elementary School can be glimpsed in the distance beyond the umbrellas.

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!

Another walk in the Village of La Jolla.

On Saturday I enjoyed another meandering walk through the Village of La Jolla. I had only one destination in mind: the rear of a bench at the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial. You’ll see why in a coming blog post!

As I walked along I photographed whatever caught my fancy. The murals you see here I haven’t documented in the past.

The Bishop’s School tower. Designed by noted architect Carleton Monroe Winslow, the Bishop Johnson Tower was added to St. Mary’s Chapel in 1930.
Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial by the La Jolla Recreation Center. (Stay tuned for photos of beautiful public art on the other side of that bench!)
Looking out at the Pacific Ocean from the edge of Ellen Browning Scripps Park.
Many people stop to look at sea lions down on the rocks.
People walk along or buy treats on a Saturday by La Jolla Cove.
Gazing down at popular La Jolla Cove.
Mermaids drink free!
The Cave Store is where you can enter Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave through an old bootlegger’s tunnel.
Raymond Chandler at the Whaling Bar, 2018, Raul Guerrero. One of the Murals of La Jolla.
Unity in Diversity. Mural by Gennaro Garcia.
La Valencia Hotel seen from across Prospect Street. The Pink Lady of La Jolla has been a destination of the Hollywood elite, built in 1926.
St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church. The 1928 tower was designed by Louis Gill, based on images from Campo Florida in Mexico.
Front of La Jolla Woman’s Club. California’s first tilt-up concrete building, it was designed by pioneering architect Irving Gill in 1912.
A mural I spotted on Pearl Street.
Fresheria mural on Pearl Street, by @el_pekaso

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Monument honors South Bay Issei Pioneers.

In Chula Vista, at the corner of Palomar Street and Broadway, you’ll find busy shopping malls in every direction. And thousands of passing cars.

What you won’t see, unless you are one of the few who walk down the sidewalk, is a bronze plaque on a stone set back among bushes. This small monument to South Bay Issei Pioneers marks the place where the Chula Vista Gakuen or Japanese School stood when it was dedicated in 1925.

I’ve transcribed what I read on the plaque. (Issei are immigrants born in Japan. Nisei are their children, born in the new country.)


Initially arriving in 1885, these immigrants from Japan, through their intellect, diligence, and tenacity made numerous major contributions to the agricultural development of this area. These accomplishments were achieved at the same time as the issei were fighting discrimination, unfair land laws, and ultimately, the mass removal of all person of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast of the United States during World War II. This site marks the final location of the Chula Vista Gakuen or Japanese School, which was originally dedicated on October 6, 1925. The school helped nisei children to better understand and honor their heritage.

Japanese American Citizens League San Diego Chapter

Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego
September 1996

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!

Barrio Logan mural celebrates education.

I saw this old mural on a Barrio Logan building during a recent walk along Main Street. I don’t know anything definite about it.

After a little internet searching, I believe the mural was painted when this building across Main Street from the 32nd Street Naval Station was occupied by the Barrio Logan Winery. I also believe it might have been created with help from the Urban Corps. That’s my best guess.

What I do know is that education is celebrated, and the positive images aim to inspire youth to stay in school to pursue a brighter future!

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!

Mosaic artwork at Barrio Logan Fire Station!

Take a look at one of the most unique, fun and inspired pieces of public artwork in San Diego!

You can find it at Barrio Logan Fire Station #7 facing Cesar E. Chavez Parkway.

Students attending nearby Perkins Elementary School created this awesome tile mosaic artwork. A sculptural fire hose decorated with firefighting imagery spurts water on burning flames!

This was a project of Rebuilding Together San Diego back in 2005. See their website here.

The organization’s mission is: “Bringing our volunteers and the community together to improve the homes and lives of low-income homeowners who are in need, and help revitalize neighborhoods throughout San Diego.”

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!

Students honored on the Walls of Excellence.

It was raining when I walked up to the Walls of Excellence in Lincoln Park today. Moments after I lifted my camera, as if by magic, the sun came out, shining upon the names of students who have achieved a great honor in this southeast San Diego community.

Every year, since 2000, three seniors from each of four school are selected for inclusion in the Walls of Excellence. These students, from Gompers Preparatory Academy, Lincoln High School, Morse High School and the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, are honored with their own engraved glass panel. Those who are selected have excelled both in their studies and in community service.

Along one side of the walls are quotes concerning wisdom. Above the walls rises a beautiful monument like a long finger. When the sun comes out, that sky-pointing finger turns golden.

The Walls of Excellence is located on Imperial Avenue at Willie James Jones Avenue.

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!