ARTS youth add more smiles to National City!

A few weeks ago a corner store in National City was brightened by the young artists of A Reason To Survive (ARTS).

The Munchies Corner Store, at the corner of 18th Street and Palm Avenue, has been painted colorfully with many fun, smiling characters! (Including a few of the tasty snacks that await inside!)

The mission of A Reason To Survive is to lift and encourage South Bay youth to become confident, compassionate, and courageous community builders through the transformative power of creativity. As you can see, these young painters have made a positive contribution to their community!

Enjoy some photos that I took this morning. You can plainly see how the efforts of ARTS and inspired young people are making National City more welcoming and beautiful…

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 ceremony to be held in National City.

National City will be hosting a Memorial Day ceremony tomorrow, May 30, 2022. The event will honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in our nation’s armed forces.

The ceremony will be held at 4 pm in front of the War Memorial and Veterans Wall of Honor, which is located at 12th Street and D Avenue, at the northeast corner of Kimball Park.

I noticed other San Diego websites failed to list this important Memorial Day event, so I thought I’d mention it here. Spread the word.

I plan to take the day off and simply rest. Perhaps write a little. I’m not getting any younger.

Believe me, I’m grateful to live in a free country. And I want to thank those who have sacrificed to defend freedom.

I attended the National City Memorial Day ceremony last year, and posted many moving photographs of 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!

Power Avengers beat Darkula in Chula Vista!

In Chula Vista, the dastardly supervillain Darkula has been defeated, thanks to the superhero Power Avengers!

Don’t believe me? The exciting comic book story fills the walls of the Energy Station at the South Chula Vista Library!

When local sixth grade school students enter the Energy Station, with its action-packed walls, they might be inspired to become real life heroes. At the Energy Station makerspace they learn about energy conservation and sources of renewable energy, such as solar or wind power.

This unique City of Chula Vista project, created several years ago in partnership with San Diego Gas and Electric, aims to inspire the next generation to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM. Having a pipeline of future STEM workers is essential to the health and growth of our regional innovation economy, which depends on technical expertise in fields such as electrical engineering, biomedical research, and wireless communications…

No matter what a kid’s talents or interests might be, at the South Chula Vista Library they can learn how to create a brighter future and thwart the menace of Darkula . . . as members of the Power Avengers!

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!

Beautiful geometry at South Chula Vista Library.

In the quiet of a public library, the world’s infinite pages readily open and curious minds flourish.

Certain libraries offer even more. They are designed for the spirit. The South Branch of the Chula Vista Library is such a place. It’s an urban retreat where eyes hungry for beauty can feast!

I walked around the South Chula Vista Library last weekend. I had never visited it before.

The building’s unusual architecture became apparent as I approached from the street.

Wandering about, I was struck by the many basic geometric shapes that, joined together, help produce the library’s unique beauty. Colorful forms are contrasted with green plant life, and the many indoor and outdoor windows make the library feel like a fluid three-dimensional space that’s both intimate and part of a larger sunny world. Anyway, that’s what I felt. I felt inspired.

The South Chula Vista Branch Library was built under the direction of renowned Mexican architect Ricardo Legorretta in 1995. Learn more about the architect and his other work here.

I took these random photos…

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Wonderful sculpture at San Ysidro Health in Chula Vista.

Does anyone out there know anything about this wonderful bronze sculpture of children playing in a tree? It’s located on Third Avenue in Chula Vista, near the entrance to the San Ysidro Health medical building.

As I walked past the beautiful artwork on Saturday I took these photos. I looked for a plaque or any indication of the artist and history. Perhaps I missed it, but I all saw was the sign near its base indicating the sculpture is monitored at all times.

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!

The powerful Holocaust exhibit in Chula Vista.

It is essential, to maintain our humanity, that we remember the Holocaust, and the terrifying inhumanity of a time and place when six million ordinary people were systematically murdered.

RUTH Remember Us The Holocaust is an extremely powerful exhibit now on display in Chula Vista. It occupies a corner of the Chula Vista Civic Center Library–a quiet, thoughtful space set aside for the Chula Vista Heritage Museum.

Display cases filled with photographs remember the experiences of Holocaust survivors who arrived in the South Bay with important stories to tell and broken lives to renew. One survivor, in particular, is highlighted: Ruth Sax. As a girl, she lived the horror of Jewish persecution by the Nazis. Ruth would end up in three different concentration camps including Auschwitz.

Those who wish to learn from history will see how Nazis in pre-World War II Germany began with anti-Jewish propaganda and discrimination, and ended with ghettos, concentration camps and extermination centers.

“The smell, deaths, lice, beatings, isolation, tattoos, gassings, cremations, humiliations . . . and the starving, shaving, hiding, markings, threats . . . this was the Holocaust. I felt dead inside . . .” These words were written by Ursula Israelski.

Many of the Holocaust survivors who arrived in San Diego’s South Bay brought with them similar memories. And many, appreciative to be in a free country, were able to live normal lives again–to the extent normal is possible after such life changing experiences.

According to one graphic in a display case, the mission of this exhibit is to shine “a light on the darkness of the Holocaust by creating awareness so that we are guided by leadership, respect, hope and that our history teaches love is stronger than hate and kindness is stronger than power.”

Come and see it with your own eyes.

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!

Chula Vista Fire Department’s Centennial exhibit!

An ongoing exhibit at the South Chula Vista Library celebrates the centennial of the Chula Vista Fire Department.

Today I visited this library for the very first time, knowing that a vintage fire engine would be on display.

I was excited to discover a large, museum quality exhibit just inside the library entrance!

The Chula Vista Fire Department originated in 1921. For over a century now, they’ve saved many lives and been an integral part of this South Bay community.

The displays I looked at concerning dedication and heroism impressed me the most.

Not only do library visitors see historical photographs, artifacts, and firefighting equipment, but at the center of the exhibit stands the Chula Vista Fire Department’s original fire engine, The Gallopin’ Goose!

I’ve added captions with some additional fascinating info. If you have a chance, I definitely recommend a visit!

Chula Vista Fire Department. Established May 2, 1921. People who care about people.
The Chula Vista Fire Department’s original Seagrave fire truck, on display at South Chula Vista Library. “The Gallopin’ Goose” was purchased in 1923, the same year City Hall was built at 294 Third Avenue. The new City Hall was also a fire and police station.
Artifacts from the very early days of the Chula Vista Fire Department.
The Firemen’s Ball was an annual dance that began in 1922. It raised funds for the Firemen’s Benefit Fund. Children were also helped in the community during Christmas.
Originally, firefighters used buckets of water passed from hand to hand. But the “bucket brigade” method wasn’t very effective. The development of the firehose was of critical importance.
One display in the exhibit concerns training.
Photos, descriptions and firefighting equipment in one corner of the extensive centennial exhibit. Fire Station No. 5 is located directly next to the South Chula Vista Library.
Firefighting equipment includes breathing apparatus, turnouts (protective clothing) and helmets.
Dogs heroes help with ignitable liquid detection, and urban search and rescue.
Six Chula Vista firefighters traveled to New York City after the attacks of September 11, 2001. They worked the night shift at Ground Zero for ten days.
Artwork celebrates the firefighting heroes of Chula Vista.
The museum display is dedicated to Captain William Gavin.
If you’d like to show your support for the Chula Vista Fire Department, read the above sign!

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!

An amazing San Diego museum few know about!

One of San Diego’s most amazing museums is little known to the public. But if you are interested in our city’s history, it’s a place you absolutely must visit!

The San Diego Electric Railway Association’s historic National City Depot museum is positively jam packed with fascinating exhibits. I last visited the old train depot six years ago, and I posted this blog with lots of photos and interesting information. On a whim I swung by the museum yesterday–and was wowed once again!

Display cases are filled with artifacts and ephemera from a century ago when a growing San Diego was crisscrossed with streetcars. And, of course, there are the many outdoor exhibits, including old trolleys, streetcars and railway equipment.

As I entered the depot, my eyes immediately fixed upon something astonishing. A sign described how three of San Diego’s original streetcars were added to the museum last year! I’ll be blogging about that shortly!

If you have kids and need something to do on a weekend, they’ll love the museum. I bet you will, too! And it’s free!

Take a look at just a tiny bit of the San Diego history you’ll see…

There are important out of print reference books available at the museum, too, including one titled Rails of the Silver Gate that I purchased. Published in 1960, it provides a complete detailed history of entrepreneur John D. Spreckels and his creation of the San Diego Electric Railway. The incredible book includes many photos, plus descriptions of every car that ever operated, and route maps that became increasingly extensive over the years!

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!

Another colorful mosaic wall in National City!

Colorful mosaic art can be found all around Kimball Park in National City. I spotted this wall covered with cheerful mosaics during one of my recent adventures in the South Bay.

The low wall, on the north side of Kimball Park, is filled with bright, beautiful trees and houses and animals and musical notes. The designs are fashioned from tiles, bits of ceramic and glass. I believe it was another project of A Reason To Survive (ARTS) whose building rises just a few steps to the north.

The lighting wasn’t ideal with alternating bright sunlight and shadow, and the artwork appeared dulled by time and weather, so I’ve altered my photographs slightly, in an attempt to make the colors more vibrant.

You can check out several other amazing mosaics in the immediate area by clicking here or here or 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!

A tour of Olivewood Gardens in National City.

Yesterday I enjoyed an awesome tour of Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center in National City.

As you will see in my photographs, Olivewood Gardens is a very special place.

It’s a green paradise in the middle of an urban setting, where students, families and neighbors learn about organic gardening and good nutrition. Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center is the destination of school field trips, where city kids can experience the virtues of a vegetable garden, being active outdoors, and environmental stewardship. There are also classes where parents learn how to prepare healthy meals, and how to become leaders in their community.

Graduates of Olivewood’s Cooking for Salud program are called Kitchenistas. They are integral participants in this non-profit organization’s educational programs. The Kitchenistas, through a Community Engagement Program, proudly work to improve the well-being of families throughout National City!

Patty Corona, the Cooking for Salud Coordinator, showed me all around Olivewood Gardens. We toured most of the grounds and checked out several demonstration gardening areas. We then walked through Olivewood’s historic Victorian house and its kitchen, which serve as the hub for a variety of fun events and educational activities.

In 2006, the beautiful 1896 Queen Anne style house and surrounding gardens were generously donated by the Walton family to the International Community Foundation “with the goal of leveraging the property to engage, grow, and promote healthy communities and dialogue through civic engagement and philanthropy in the San Diego-Baja California border region.” Through their own personal experiences, the Waltons understood the importance of eating healthy foods.

Learn more about the history of ICF and Olivewood Gardens, and the positive programs that are offered to the community, by visiting their website here.

Please enjoy these photographs from my tour! And read the photo captions for much more information.

I was excited to discover this small paradise in San Diego’s South Bay area, where gardens flourish, the sun shines, and nature’s beauty and healthy people thrive!

A view of Olivewood Garden’s beautiful Victorian house from N Avenue in National City.
One of many works of art gracing Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center.
Various signs near the the late 19th century house provide visitors with information.
Oliver H. Noyes, National City postmaster (and retired senator from New Hampshire), built this Victorian house for his family in 1896. They sold it in 1947 to the Newlan family, who sold it to John and Christy Walton in 1985…
In July 2006, Christy Walton donated her former home and garden to the International Community Foundation to increase cross-border dialogue and philanthropy…
An area of the garden north of the house where school students gather, experience and learn.
Beds with growing vegetables, where young hands can work in the earth.
Look at all the healthy veges growing in this organic garden!
When I was young, my family had a large vegetable garden. Simply standing here brought back happy memories.
More surprising artwork in the garden. A stunning mosaic depicts colorful flowers.
Here’s a small succulent garden, demonstrating native plants.
Mural on a garden shed is bright with fruits and vegetables. By artist Brianna Perkins.
Don’t hog the water. Think several generations ahead.
Many butterflies like these, decorated differently, can be found in parks around National City. They were created by artist Roberto Salas, the Kitchenistas, and families from around the community.
As we walked along, I spied these sunlit roses.
A closer look at the beautiful sculpture you saw earlier from the street. It’s titled Reina de los Mares (Queen of the Seas), by artist Rocio Sánchez.
Walking through a lush green world.
We’ve arrived at another larger garden south of the house.

A sign describes Lukas’ garden…

When the Walton family lived here, their son Lukas was diagnosed with cancer at the age of three. When his cancer returned…his parents decided to treat him with herbs, juices, and produce they grew themselves. They made changes to their garden, growing all their food organically (with no chemicals) and biodynamically (by building healthy, living soil).

Lukas graduated from college, cancer-free in 2010.

A funny mural painted by the chicken coop.
Olivewood Gardens is filled with natural beauty.
A nursery on the grounds, overlooking National City Golf Course.
Taking a trail few other visitors travel.
On the hill above the golf course, Olivewood Gardens is growing dragon fruit! These interesting cacti are indigenous to the Americas.
Making our way back to the Victorian house. This is where many classes, events and activities are held at Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center.
A mermaid sculpture beside the house.
Hand prints from the four members of the Walton family.
The kitchen area, where healthy cooking classes for students and parents take place.
Gorgeous stained glass window in the nearby dining room, where presentations to local teachers are also made.

The following few photos provide a taste of the house’s amazing interior decoration.

An old photograph in one room shows the house as it appeared over a century ago. Today the historic house remains in absolutely pristine condition.

Photograph of the Oliver H. Noyes home, circa 1900.
A smile at a very special place in National City!

Feeling inspired?

Do you want to volunteer, become an intern, learn gardening, take a cooking class, request a speaker, book a private event? Would you like to take steps toward becoming a community leader, so that you can create positive change?

Want to learn more?

Visit the Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center website 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!