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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Mother and child sculpture on Escondido bench.

Today I enjoyed walk down Grand Avenue, through the heart of Escondido’s historic downtown. I have many colorful photographs coming up!

During my walk I was struck by a wonderful sculpture in front of Felipe’s Restaurant. Life-size cast bronze figures sit on a public bench. A mother holds a small child, who is reaching curiously into her purse. It’s a celebration of ordinary living.

This public art is by T.J. Dixon, whose many extraordinary sculptures can be viewed all around San Diego. Created in 1990, the piece’s title is Reflections on Downtown.

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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Light, reflections on Lane Field hotels.

This morning I walked toward, between and around the hotels that now occupy the site of old Lane Field, where the Padres played baseball when they were a team in the Pacific Coast League.

Bright, clear light reflected from the two very different buildings: the InterContinental San Diego building and the Marriott SpringHill Suites and Residence Inn building across from it. Perfect for intriguing photos!

You might remember that I documented how the site of old Lane Field was transformed into a public park and prime waterfront location for these hotels here.

If you’re curious about the rippling façade you see above and in several other photographs, it covers the Marriott building’s parking garage and is titled California Rain. The sculptural artwork was created by artist David Franklin. I posted photos almost five years ago here. (Read that blog post’s comments to learn more about how the individual aluminum blades were assembled!)

Now on to this morning’s cool pics!

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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Photos of YWCA building in downtown San Diego.

From a few blocks away, the old YWCA building in downtown San Diego appears unremarkable. But approach the corner of Tenth Avenue and C Street and you see why the 1926 YWCA Administrative Building, designed by architects Frank Stevenson and C.E. Decker, is one of our city’s more fascinating sights.

Sculpted stucco and beautiful metalwork decorate the building’s grand front entrance and many windows. The elaborate ornamentation was inspired by the Spanish Colonial Revival architecture that became popular in San Diego and Southern California after the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, held in nearby Balboa Park.

I took photographs of this unique old building during a recent walk.

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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Firefighters descend pole outside fire station!

Yesterday I observed two firefighters sliding down a fire pole outside San Diego Fire-Rescue Station 44 in Mira Mesa.

Yes, I said outside!

Strangely, the two rapidly descending firefighters never reached the ground. Why? Because they’re life-size bronze figures and part of an extremely cool sculpture titled Firefighters at 44.

Firefighters at 44 debuted at the new fire station back in 2002. The monumental sculpture was created by artists T.J. Dixon and James Nelson, whose work can be enjoyed all over San Diego.

(You can see more of their amazing sculptures by checking out certain old blog posts. To do that, click here.)

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!

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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Cardiff’s beautiful Harbaugh Seaside Parkway.

Beautiful flowers by the path through old Carpentier Parkway, which is turning into Harbaugh Seaside Parkway.
Beautiful greenery by the path through old Carpentier Parkway, which is being transformed into Harbaugh Seaside Parkway.

In Cardiff-by-the-Sea, the bicycle and pedestrian-friendly Cardiff Rail Trail is a relatively new segment of the much longer Coastal Rail Trail, that when finally completed will link San Diego to Oceanside.

Right next to the Cardiff Rail Trail is a garden-like linear park. From what I can gather, this old park maintained by the Cardiff Botanical Society was originally named the Carpentier Parkway, and is now being revamped, turning into Harbaugh Seaside Parkway. I don’t know that much about the project, apart from a few pages I found searching the internet. The George and Betty Harbaugh Charitable Foundation was also instrumental in creating the Harbaugh Seaside Trails at the north end of Solana Beach between Highway 101 and the train tracks.

Yesterday I walked a short distance through the somewhat ragged but quite beautiful Harbaugh Seaside Parkway. Starting at Chesterfield Drive just east of the train tracks, turning off from the paved Cardiff Rail Trail, I walked north up a winding dirt path between flowers, trees, plaques and a sculpture.

I had to brush a thin layer of dirt from engraved pavers and stones.

Enjoy these photographs. I’ve transcribed some of the words that I found on plaques and a weathered sign in a kiosk…

The south end of the dirt path leads away from the Cardiff Rail Trail just north of Chesterfield Drive.
The south end of the dirt path leads away from the Cardiff Rail Trail just north of Chesterfield Drive.

I believe this old wooden Welcome to Cardiff By the Sea sign used to stand beside Highway 101.
I believe this old wooden Welcome to Cardiff By the Sea sign used to stand beside Highway 101.

Bird of Paradise

Lord sent me to this world
as a soul trapped in a human body,
like a bird trapped in a cage
I am waiting for the day
that the Lord will fly me back home.
–Rumi

In memory of my daughter
Chantal Paydar

“Carpentier Parkway proves it is possible to provide beautiful, lush, flowered garden landscaping while using 75% less irrigation water without resorting to using desert plants. This park in downtown Cardiff-by-the-Sea covers the area between San Elijo and the railway tracks from Birmingham to Chesterfield and used to be an ugly patch of weeds…”

Dedicated to the memory of Wayne Holden and to the Honor of all the Volunteers who have given time and donations for the Carpentier Parkway. 1999.

The Cardiff Chamber of Commerce commissioned the statue to be sculptured for Wayne Holden, who died at 47 years old… James Pugh, Sculpturer…

A beautiful old tree has two plaques at its base.
A beautiful old tree has two plaques at its base.

There was a lovely lady from Singapore
Whose humor was great and tales were lore
With a laugh so infectious none could ignore
For all that knew her till the age of eighty-four.

In memory of Kathleen Jack 1928-2013

Good Morning Cardiff by the Sea
Darreld Kitaen 10/2/36 – 1/3/19
Happy Days – Love and Peace

In Loving Memory
Richard W. (Dick) Kratzer

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Surprising art on two Barrio Logan corners!

Some surprising and truly fantastic art can be observed on two adjacent street corners in Barrio Logan. I spotted these during a recent walk through the neighborhood.

I was looking up at some banners hung from a street lamp at Main Street and Beardsley Street when I suddenly noticed some incredible wire art suspended nearby! I have no idea who created this unique sculptural artwork! I think the creature grasping a bug has been up there for a while, because it’s visible on Google’s street view.

Fantastic wire art hung from a street lamp at Main Street and Beardsley Street in Barrio Logan!
Fantastic wire art hung from a street lamp at Main Street and Beardsley Street in Barrio Logan!

The two square mosaic panels at Newton Avenue and Beardsley Street decorate a building of Perkins Elementary School. Colorful ceramic fish swim through water-blue tiles! I don’t know who made this artwork, either. Students perhaps?

If you know anything, leave a comment!

Two mosaics depicting colorful fish outside Perkins Elementary School at Newton Avenue and Beardsley Street in Barrio Logan.
Two mosaics depicting colorful fish, located outside Perkins Elementary School at Newton Avenue and Beardsley Street in Barrio Logan.

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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Statue of Frankie Laine in Little Italy.

Statue of Frankie Laine, legendary singer, songwriter, actor and entertainer, on India Street in San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood.
Statue of Frankie Laine, legendary singer, songwriter, actor and entertainer, on India Street in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood.

A life-size bronze statue of legendary entertainer Frankie Laine (born Francesco Paolo LoVecchio) was dedicated this summer in Little Italy. It now stands in front of Nonna, an Italian restaurant owned by Frankie’s long-time friend Joe Busalacchi. You can learn a little more about this statue at the Team Frankie Laine blog here.

Frankie Lane lived the latter part of his life in San Diego’s Point Loma community and frequently visited Little Italy.

The popular singer scored many big hits in the United States and internationally. Some of his best known songs include That’s My Desire, That Lucky Old Sun, Mule Train, Jezebel, High Noon, Save Your Sorrow, I Believe, Cool Water and Rawhide. Western movie theme songs he recorded include 3:10 To Yuma, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and Blazing Saddles. His rock, jazz, folk and blues recordings made him one of the most popular entertainers in the 1940’s and 1950’s. His hits continued right into the 1970’s.

A small plaque can be found on the outside wall of Nonna next to the bronze sculpture. A larger plaque, depicting Frankie Laine with uplifted arms, is also nearby.

I took a photo of the larger plaque six years ago, when it was located elsewhere on India Street, and I transcribed the words written on it here.

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 art salon at the San Diego History Center!

Several museums in Balboa Park have reopened this Labor Day weekend. Among them is one of my favorite destinations–the San Diego History Center.

I ventured inside the museum this afternoon and discovered an amazing exhibit that I hadn’t yet experienced.

Revealed: The San Diego History Center’s Fine Art Collection presents many great examples of art in the San Diego History Center’s permanent collection. Dozens of paintings are arranged on several large walls in a salon style exhibition. A wide variety of important regional artists are represented, including Belle Baranceanu, Ivan Messenger, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, Dan Dickey, Dorr Bothwell, Alfred R. Mitchell, Maurice Braun, and Charles Reiffel.

What I enjoyed most about his exhibition was an amazing video documentary projected against one wall that concerns the creation of San Diego’s iconic sculpture, Guardian of Water. The video follows the conception and painstaking production of this extraordinary public artwork by renowned San Diego sculptor Donal Hord.

If you’ve ever wondered how that beautiful fountain and sculpture ended up on the waterfront side of the San Diego County Administration Building, you want to view this documentary!

Are you planning a visit to Balboa Park? Look for the Casa de Balboa near the east end of El Prado and step through the door of the San Diego History Center. Admission is free, but a donation is greatly appreciated. And while the COVID-19 pandemic persists, make sure to bring a face covering!

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!