Butterflies, art and inspiration in National City!

Yesterday, as I waited for the Memorial Day ceremony to begin in National City, I wandered a short distance down 12th Street from the Veteran’s Wall of Honor. I was surprised to encounter colorful butterflies along the median, and lots of art at a bright building on the north side of Kimball Park. The building, I learned, is home to ARTS, which stands for A Reason To Survive.

ARTS is a special community center where youth are inspired to live positive, hopeful, creative lives free from destructive influences and the violence that might attract their peers.

According to their website, the mission of ARTS is “to heal, inspire, and empower youth facing life challenges through therapeutic arts, formal arts education, and college and career preparation…In 2012, ARTS moved to National City and opened a 20,000-sq. ft. ARTS Center in one of San Diego County’s most health-challenged and economically depressed communities…”

I urge you to visit the above link and read about how the ARTS program has gained national fame, and how you might personally contribute, volunteer or become involved.

Here come photographs of murals and other artwork I happened to see outside the building. Painted words encourage non-violence and provide A Reason To Survive.

The nearby butterflies at intervals along 12th Street represent a transformation into something beautiful.

Each butterfly is unique.

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!

Memorial Day at National City’s Wall of Honor.

Late this afternoon I attended a Memorial Day ceremony at National City’s Wall of Honor.

It was a special event for the South Bay community. Those who served in the United States Armed Services and have passed on were remembered.

The Wall of Honor extends on either side of the National City War Memorial, which stands overlooking a corner of Kimball Park. Plaques on the wall are dedicated to loved Veterans. Through the memorial’s arch children could be seen playing on the park’s wide green grass, and looking through that arch during the ceremony was like peering through the window of Freedom.

National City’s mayor and various dignitaries were in attendance and spoke. The Navy was represented as well. Retired vets who had served their country received handshakes from all.

I took these photographs of the beautiful and very meaningful ceremony. Memorial Day is a time to recognize sacrifices, and to seriously reflect.

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!

One long, colorful mural in Chula Vista!

If you’ve driven through the intersection of Palomar Street and Broadway in Chula Vista you’ve no doubt seen it. A long, very colorful mural painted on the wall by nearby Orange Avenue, between a small city park and the El Mirador Trailer Court.

I believe the wall was painted fairly recently–that’s what a gentleman who works at Jack in the Box across the street told me.

I love the bright, cheerful designs! It appears that many refer to aspects of our region’s unique cultural and natural heritage.

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Photos of historic St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church.

St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in National City is one of the historic churches I paused to look at during my most recent walk around South Bay.

I was taken by how uniquely handsome this church appears. To my eyes, its unusual fusion of Gothic Revival and Tudor architecture is simultaneously elegant and welcoming.

According to Wikipedia: St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church …was built in 1887. It was designed by Chula Vista architect William Herman…inspired by a picture of a small church in the south of England…An Episcopal Society for National City was formed on January 30, 1882; the secretary was Frank Kimball, founder of National City.

In the late 19th century ambitious builder Frank Kimball hoped to make National City the western terminus of a transcontinental railroad. If you’d like to learn much more about his efforts and National City’s early history, you can check out a more detailed old blog post here.

I walked around the church and took some photos that you might enjoy…

The above sign near the church’s entrance reads:

National City Historic Site

St. MATTHEWS EPISCOPAL CHURCH

Built on land originally set aside for a church by the Kimball brothers, but the gift of Elizur Steele. First services held July 3, 1887. Timbers were brought around the Horn. Construction is of California Redwood.

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Four birds and an historic first flight!

I photographed several instances of great street art while walking along Coronado Avenue this weekend. As I headed west from Interstate 5 to Robert Egger, Sr. – South Bay Community Park, I discovered four birds and an historic first flight!

First up, two utility boxes just east of the freeway were painted with three raptors, including a bald eagle…

As I continued west down the sidewalk and passed in front of the City of San Diego’s Engine Co. 30 fire station, I noticed a unique box painted in honor of the world’s first controlled heavier-than-air flight, which took place about a mile east of where I stood.

I blogged about John J. Montgomery’s glider flights from a hilltop in Otay Mesa West and posted photos of the imposing wing monument that marks where aviation history was made here.

Finally, as I arrived at Robert Egger, Sr. – South Bay Community Park, I found a colorful work of street art featuring a beautiful nature scene and pink cockatoo!

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 outside the old Nestor Methodist Church.

This weekend I passed by a couple of old churches in San Diego’s South Bay.

I was walking along Coronado Avenue, just west of Interstate 5, when I saw a white church with an old-fashioned steeple up a low hill. My feet turned toward it for a closer look.

What I discovered was the Nestor United Methodist Church, built in 1896. A friendly gentleman who I believe might belong to the church showed me the building’s brick cornerstone, which I photographed.

Nestor is a community that lies between Imperial Beach and Otay Mesa West. I tried to do a little internet searching to find out more about this historic church, and came upon this South Bay Historical Society Bulletin from 2016, which states:

1896 – Nestor United Methodist Church at Coronado and Hollister was built on land donated by Captain John Folks. The first Methodist organization in the South Bay area was the Tia Juana Valley Methodist Sunday School in Oneonta, beginning in 1888.

Services were conducted in the upstairs room of the Oneonta School. The cornerstone of the present structure at 1120 22nd Street was laid on July 23, 1896. The National City and Otay Railway ran special trains to the ceremony from San Diego.

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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.)

SOUTH BAY ISSEI PIONEERS

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

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El Rincon’s very colorful mural expands!

El Rincon Restaurant in San Ysidro already had an amazing mural on one side of their building. I posted photos of it here when I blogged last September about a international cross-border exhibition of urban art in both San Diego and Tijuana.

Today I noticed the mural has expanded and now covers three sides of the building!

As I took photos, a friendly young man came out and told me the same artist who painted the original artwork, Michelle Ruby, also known as Mrbbaby, returned about a month ago and added to it!

The side facing San Ysidro Boulevard now features bright, happy suns. The northwest side has a moon theme, and what appears to be the Tree of Life growing between night and day.

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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Colorful murals at National City Market!

After taking photos outside the Stein Family Farm in National City (you can see those in my previous post), I walked several blocks west down 18th Street and found these colorful murals painted on two walls of the National City Market!

I believe this artwork is relatively new. Various fun images celebrate the life and history of this South Bay community. I see a lowrider, kids enjoying sweet treats from a paleta cart, and a tribute to the Mile of Cars.

I also see a historic home that resembles the Steele-Blossom House (which appears in the National City logo, and which you can see photographs of here) and graffiti that spells out Teach the Youth…

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 outside the historic Stein Family Farm.

The other day I walked down a National City sidewalk past the historic Stein Family Farm. It was closed at the time, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, so I took these outside photographs!

I spoke over the fence briefly to a couple of nice ladies near the farmhouse and a gentleman volunteer. I vowed that one day I’d return and take a tour!

The Stein Family Farm was once home to Charles Stein, an immigrant German farmer, his wife Bertha and five children. The construction of the Otay Dam in 1897 caused flooding to the Stein’s original property near Mexico, so the family moved to this National City location in 1900.

The 2-acre Stein Family Farm Museum includes their house, barn containing many antique farm implements and vehicles, and other structures, as well as farm animals (from around the world!) and an orchard containing a variety of fruit trees, which you can see in the last two photos.

I learned that second house you see in my photos, a 19th century Queen Anne Victorian, was recently relocated to the museum grounds. It awaits restoration.

Check out the Stein Family Farm’s website for more information 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!