San Diego’s original federal building and courthouse.

Few people ever see downtown San Diego’s original federal building and courthouse. It stands off the beaten track, surrounded by tall buildings, where few tourists or locals venture.

Some of those who approach the old federal building might have tried to avoid it. That’s because the historic building, built in 1911-13, is presently a U.S. Bankruptcy Court. It’s named the Jacob Weinberger United States Courthouse, home to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California.

According to the court’s website: “In 1906, Congress authorized construction of the first permanent federal building in San Diego, specifically designed to house the U.S. Post Office, the U.S. District Court, and U.S. Customs. It was commissioned on April 5, 1913 as the ‘U.S. Post Office and Custom House.’ The architecture of the building is an eclectic design, blending ‘monumental classicism and Spanish colonial revival,’ creating a federal building that uniquely recognizes San Diego’s Hispanic heritage…”

The building was designed by architect James Knox Taylor, who was Supervising Architect of the United States Department of the Treasury from 1897 to 1912.

Over the years this old federal building has undergone restoration. In my exterior photographs you can see the colonnaded portico and distinctive square towers.

Make sure to visit the court’s website to read much more about the Jacob Weinberger United States Courthouse’s long, colorful history. Among other things, you’ll learn that horticulturalist Kate Sessions, who introduced many of the trees and plants now found throughout Balboa Park, landscaped the building’s grounds, and how in “August of 1917, Postmaster Barrow asked for permission ‘to plow up the large lawn to the south of the building and plant the ground to potatoes, beans, or some other useful vegetable,’ to locally support the World War I war effort.”

I see that tours of the Jacob Weinberger United States Courthouse are available by appointment. One day I’ll go on one and experience the historic building’s interior. Unless I go bankrupt first…

For tour information, 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!

Big surf at the La Jolla Tide Pools!

A sunny, very warm winter Sunday.

Big surf.

High tide.

A perfect combination for some dramatic photographs at the La Jolla Tide Pools!

Many others had gathered at viewpoints above the tidepools and at Cuvier Park to watch distant surfers catch some amazing waves, and to gasp as huge geysers of foaming water crashed against the offshore rocks and rugged sandstone cliffs!

La Jolla is indeed one of the most beautiful places anywhere.

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 succulents and cacti of Seaport Village.

I discovered a little bit of history yesterday!

You know all those beautiful old succulents and cacti you see in Seaport Village, particularly around the plaza containing the main fountain?

As I walked around the circular plaza I happened to spy a painted tile on top of one planter wall.

Words explain: The beautiful succulents and cacti you are enjoying here were selected and planted by Mr. Chuck Ito of Leucadia, California. 1980.

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!

Painted surfers welcome visitors to Ocean Beach!

Back in 2015, a mural depicting two surfers and sea birds was painted on both sides of a gas station wall at the entrance to Ocean Beach. You can see it as you drive into OB, at the corner of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and West Point Loma Boulevard. The eye-catching mural was painted by Southern California artist Henry Goods.

A couple days ago I finally walked past it.

When I read this great article concerning the mural’s creation, I learned another San Diego gas station features more artwork painted by Henry Goods. It’s that long, very colorful mural on First Avenue between Cedar Street and Elm Street, featuring sharks, fish, sea lions and other marine life. I checked out that mural and posted photos here, here and here, over seven years ago when my blog was just getting started!

Funny how walking is a travel though time.

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!

Bronze wildlife sculptures at Viejas outlet mall.

Many realistic bronze sculptures representing regional wildlife can be found all around the Viejas Outlet Center in Alpine, California. This unique shopping mall, filled with beautiful artwork inspired by Native American Kumeyaay life and culture, is operated by the Viejas Group of Capitan Grande Band of Mission Indians of the Viejas Reservation.

The wildlife sculptures are found throughout the mall, among trees, on pedestrian walkways, even lurking atop artificial rocks and waterfalls. Families turning corners might encounter a bear, mule deer, mountain lions, a rattlesnake, coyote, river otter, Canada geese, and even desert bighorn sheep. Adult animals are often accompanied by their young. The bronze sculptures depict the animals interacting with each other naturally in their small realistic settings.

The wildlife sculptures were created by award-winning El Cajon artist Robert G. Berry, who began as a taxidermist before turning animal sculptor. His work can also be enjoyed at the San Diego Zoo, Cypress Gardens in Tampa, Florida, and at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor and Interpretive Center, which is also in San Diego. To see a few examples of his half dozen bronze sculptures at Mission Trails, click here!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

The Wall Speaks: photos of amazing Escondido mural!

An extraordinary 180 feet long mural was painted in Escondido, California last year. The mural celebrates the rich culture and history of this city in San Diego’s inland North County.

The mural is titled The Wall Speaks. It was created by artists and long-time Escondido residents Leslie Mayer and Cindy Peters. You can find it along a winding pathway next to a low wall outside the Escondido Community Child Development Center, located at 9th Avenue and Tulip Street.

I headed up to Escondido yesterday to view this colorful artwork, which I’ve heard about on several occasions. It was well worth the trip! I started taking photos on the right side of the very long mural, and worked my way to the left.

Right end of The Wall Speaks at Escondido Community Child Development Center. A walk through the Culture and History of Escondido.
Right end of The Wall Speaks at Escondido Community Child Development Center. A walk through the Culture and History of Escondido.
The Wall Speaks mural was painted by artists Leslie Mayer and Cindy Peters.
The Wall Speaks mural was painted by artists Leslie Mayer and Cindy Peters.
In memory of Enrique Morales, 1969-2019. He built this brick wall. In the distance among the stars is historic Palomar Observatory.
In memory of Enrique Morales, 1969-2019. He built this brick wall. In the distance among the stars is historic Palomar Observatory.
Champagne Village at Lawrence Welk Resort.
Champagne Village at Lawrence Welk Resort.
Dixon Lake trout derby.
Dixon Lake trout derby.
Avocados and Ferrara Winery.
Avocados and Ferrara Winery.
Daley Ranch.
Daley Ranch.
Hillsides lined with orange trees.
Hillsides lined with orange trees.
Rube's Fabulous Country Corner store.
Rube’s Fabulous Country Corner store.
Ups-N-Downs roller rink and Baskin-Robbins.
Ups-N-Downs roller rink and Baskin-Robbins.
Original Escondido High School and Petersons Donut Corner.
Original Escondido High School and Petersons Donut Corner.
Joor Muffler Man and the Escondido landmark archway.
Joor Muffler Man and the Escondido landmark archway.
Cruisin' Grand.
Cruisin’ Grand.
The Escondido Civic Center and Grape Day Park.
The Escondido Civic Center and Grape Day Park.
Old Escondido, including the 1896 A. H. Beach House and the historic Santa Fe Depot.
Old Escondido, including the 1896 A. H. Beach House and the historic Santa Fe Depot.
Child learns about the culture and history of Escondido reading a book titled The Wall Speaks.
Child learns about the culture and history of Escondido reading a book titled The Wall Speaks.
Kit Carson and monument at San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park.
Kit Carson and monument at San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
The mysterious 1929 Big Tepee of A.L. “Abram” Houghtelin.
The mysterious 1929 Big Tepee of A.L. “Abram” Houghtelin.
Kids of Escondido Community Child Development Center play on big Snake Slide inspired by Queen Califia's Magical Circle.
Kids of Escondido Community Child Development Center play on big Snake Slide inspired by Queen Califia’s Magical Circle.
Sombrero Slide at Kit Carson Park.
Sombrero Slide at Kit Carson Park.
Queen Califia's Magical Circle by internationally famous artist Niki de Saint Phalle.
Queen Califia’s Magical Circle by internationally famous artist Niki de Saint Phalle.
Native American grinding acorns and Escondido vineyards.
Native American grinding acorns and Escondido vineyards.
Felicita County Park.
Felicita County Park.
Making adobe bricks at the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead.
Making adobe bricks at the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead.
Lake Hodges Pedestrian Suspension Bridge.
Lake Hodges Pedestrian Suspension Bridge.
Lake Hodges Dam.
Lake Hodges Dam.

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!

Holidays arrive at Escondido’s old train depot!

I returned to Escondido yesterday because I wanted to check out an extraordinary mural I’d been told about. During my visit I walked around Grape Day Park, and admired the many holiday decorations that are part of the California Center for the Arts’ outdoor Northern Lights event every evening.

During my daytime stroll through the park, I saw strung lights and Christmas displays and suspended snowflakes and reindeer on the grass that would certainly be very beautiful at night. But my most favorite thing–probably because I like trains–was the historic Escondido Santa Fe Depot and its nearby Pullman Car #92. The holiday decorations at the old railroad station were very unique!

As you can read on one sign that I photographed, the 1888 depot in its heyday “was the nerve center of Escondido, a scene of commercial activity and a social gathering place…The Escondido History Center moved the Santa Fe Depot to Grape Day Park in 1984…”

While the wonderful old train station might no longer be a center for much commercial activity, it definitely remains a social gathering place when the lights come on during the holiday season!

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!

Sunset photos at Torrey Pines State Beach!

I took this series of beautiful photographs today during sunset at Torrey Pines State Beach.

Enjoy!

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!

Hidden historical marker near Mission San Diego.

There’s an important historical marker near Mission San Diego de Alcalá that very few people know about or see. It’s located on private property along San Diego Mission Road, just inside the grounds of a condo complex. You can find it a short distance east of the mission, on some grass behind a fence, very close to the San Diego River.

I was able to take zoom photos of the “hidden” marker and its bronze plaque from the sidewalk.

The words read:

Padre Luis Jayme, Pastor of the Mission San Diego de Alcalá, was martyred near this site November 5, 1775. Father Jayme had asked that the Mission be moved to its present site from Presidio Hill in order to better grow foods for the Mission.

In this area the Mission padres produced grapes, olives and other farm products for the Indian and Spanish communities.

Also near this site a small structure housed the guard from the Royal Presidio, which served as escort and guard for the Mission padres.

The historical marker was placed where Father Jayme’s body was found. He was killed by a large force of native people, said to be Yuman Indians from distant villages, in an uprising in 1775, about a year after the nearby mission was built. The mission was pillaged and set on fire. Survivors of the attack fled to the Presidio, six miles away down the river.

Over the centuries Mission San Diego de Alcalá, the first Spanish mission in California, has been rebuilt several times. The remains of Father Luis Jayme are entombed under the floor next to the altar in the present church.

Looking west down San Diego Mission Road. The mission is located on the hillside beyond those trees..

The nearby San Diego River, where it is crossed by San Diego Mission Road…

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!

The most scenic bus route in San Diego!

Without a doubt, the most scenic public bus route in the San Diego region is North County Transit District’s Route 101. It runs up the California coast north of San Diego.

Riders on bus Route 101 are treated to views of La Jolla (beautiful Torrey Pines), Del Mar, Solana Beach, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Encinitas, Leucadia, Carlsbad and Oceanside.

It’s a long run with many stops–almost 30 miles and, depending on traffic, somewhere between one and a half to two hours–but you pass beach after beach, and you travel along historic Coast Highway 101 through some of Southern California’s most amazing and colorful beach cities.

Near the end of my last adventure in North County, I rode the bus south from the Oceanside Transit Center late in the afternoon. I was fortunate to have an “ocean side” seat with a window that cracked open a few inches. And my camera’s battery had some life left in it!

It’s hard to get good photographs through a barely cracked open window on a rapidly moving bus, but I got a few decent shots. They provide a brief glimpse of all I saw.

What follows are images taken as I rode from Oceanside to Encinitas. After the last photograph near the Golden Lotus Towers of the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram in Encinitas, my camera’s battery was exhausted.

If you ever plan to travel along San Diego’s beautiful northern coast, are in no big hurry, and would like to experience what the happy, laid-back, sometimes nostalgic Southern California beach scene is all about, consider riding bus Route 101.

You can meet some rather interesting people, too!

(There’s usually a surfboard or two in the aisle!)

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.