San Diego’s 250th Anniversary coming in 2019!

Close photo of bowed head of The Padre on Presidio Hill.
Arthur Putnam’s sculpture The Padre on Presidio Hill.

If one considers San Diego’s founding to have occurred in 1769, the year both Mission San Diego de Alcalá and the El Presidio Reál de San Diego were established on Presidio Hill, then 2019 will be our city’s 250th Anniversary!

That’s no small thing! One would suppose that huge celebrations are being planned!

Well, when I perform an internet search, I can find no plans for celebrations mentioned, apart from Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá’s announced church events, and a Founders’ Day Festival in Old Town.

It’s hard to believe, but I find almost no discussion of the city’s upcoming 250 year anniversary.

Unfortunately, as many of you might remember, the occasion of Balboa Park’s Centennial in 2015 was not celebrated with the fanfare that would have been appropriate.

I do hope that behind the scenes serious plans are being made for the appropriate celebration of San Diego’s 250th birthday! Or that plans will be made!

Just a thought from a silly blogger who loves San Diego!

Californio history celebrated again in Old Town!

Today, after I checked out the San Diego Cup racing at Mission Bay, I headed to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to see if anything interesting was going on. Somehow I’d forgotten that Stagecoach Days are celebrated in Old Town on summer Saturdays, and so I was surprised and happy to stumble upon Days of the Vaqueros!

I blogged about this exact same event last year, and took lots of photos and provided a fair amount of description and background. I saw many of the same participants again this year, and debated whether I should take more photos.

I love Old Town so much I couldn’t resist. If you want to learn more about life in San Diego when Southern California was a part of Spain, then Mexico, and large ranches employed the original cowboys, or vaqueros, then visit my blog from last summer’s event here.

You might also enjoy reading my blog post about Old Town’s McCoy House Museum, which includes many displays that concern San Diego’s fascinating early history.

Meanwhile, here are a few uncaptioned photographs of what I experienced today…

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!

Photos of The Padre sculpture in Presidio Park.

The Padre, by Arthur Putnam, 1908. The public artwork stands on a patch of grass among trees on Presidio Hill.
The Padre, by Arthur Putnam, 1908. The public artwork stands on a patch of grass among trees on Presidio Hill.

Walk up to the top of Presidio Park from Old Town and you’ll discover a variety of fascinating, historical sights. Possibly the most amazing, apart from the impressive Serra Museum building, are two extraordinary bronze sculptures, The Indian and The Padre, by renowned sculptor Arthur Putnam.

The Padre was cast in 1908. The figure of a Spanish friar stands in a small, quiet space among trees, not far from the spot where Junípero Serra founded Mission San Diego de Alcalá in 1769, which began as a temporary church at the Spanish presidio. Five years later the mission would be moved a few miles east up the San Diego River to its present location.

Here are photos of The Padre which show the sculpture’s quiet beauty.

The Padre stands alone in a green, gentle place.
The Padre stands alone in a green, gentle place.
A Spanish friar seems to walk out of San Diego's very early history.
A Spanish friar seems to walk out of San Diego’s very early history.
The Padre by Arthur Putnam. Given to San Diego Historical Society by the descendants of E.W. Scripps.
The Padre by Arthur Putnam. Given to San Diego Historical Society by the descendants of E.W. Scripps.
Markings at the sculpture's base indicated it was cast by Louis de Rome's bronze foundry in San Francisco, the city where Arthur Putnam lived for many years.
Markings at the sculpture’s base indicated it was cast by Louis de Rome’s bronze foundry in San Francisco, the city where Arthur Putnam lived for many years.
A quiet bronze statue among trees near San Diego's now ruined and vanished Presidio.
A quiet bronze statue among trees near San Diego’s now ruined and vanished Presidio.
A spider's web and small fallen leaves above folded hands.
A spider’s web and small fallen leaves above folded hands.
The Padre seems to be lost in prayer or silent contemplation.
The Padre seems to be lost in prayer or silent contemplation.
Close photo of bowed head of The Padre on Presidio Hill.
Close photo of bowed head of The Padre on Presidio Hill.

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!

Exciting debut of San Diego’s new Civic Organist!

Raúl Prieto Ramírez, San Diego's new Civic Organist, raises his arms in greeting.
Raúl Prieto Ramírez, San Diego’s new Civic Organist, raises his arms in greeting.

I’m still in a state of elation after experiencing the exciting debut this afternoon of San Diego’s new Civic Organist!

The first appearance of Raúl Prieto Ramírez as official organist for the city of San Diego was nothing less than phenomenal. He performed in Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion, where the public will now enjoy his free performances every Sunday at two o’clock.

His great love of music, his energy, his vivaciousness and his extraordinary skill were apparent from the start. An enormous audience filled the Spreckels Organ Pavilion and welcomed him warmly. At the conclusion of the exciting concert, he received a well-deserved standing ovation.

San Diego is so fortunate. The shoes of previous Civic Organist, Dr. Carol Williams, would be difficult for anyone to fill, but Raúl Prieto Ramírez seems definitely up to the task. His playing is crisp, nimble, precise, and full of expression. His smile is enormous. His mission in life, he told the audience, was to bring to the world great music. That makes him happy.

Raúl Prieto Ramírez comes to San Diego from Barcelona, Spain. He is internationally acclaimed, the founder of the Barcelona-Mataró International Organ Festival. Now he will perform his magic in Balboa Park as Civic Organist and Artistic Director of the Spreckels Organ Society. I can tell you right now the future of the 103-year-old Spreckels Organ is incredibly bright.

My photos of today’s concert captures a true artist’s unbounded passion. That passion translates into musical gold.

Jack Lasher, President of the Spreckels Organ Society, welcomes new San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez to the world's largest outdoor organ in Balboa Park.
Jack Lasher, President of the Spreckels Organ Society, welcomes new San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez to the world’s largest outdoor organ in Balboa Park.
A sparkling debut concert is about to begin.
A sparkling debut concert is about to begin.
A tradition for the Sunday organ concerts in Balboa Park, Raúl Prieto Ramírez plays America to get things started.
A tradition for the Sunday organ concerts in Balboa Park, Raúl Prieto Ramírez plays America to get things started.
The San Diego audience loved our new Civic Organist from the word go.
The San Diego audience loved our new Civic Organist from the word go.
Raúl Prieto Ramírez talks about coming to San Diego, before his brilliant performance of Johann Sebastian Bach's famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor.
Raúl Prieto Ramírez talks about coming to San Diego, before his brilliant performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor.
Playing the Spreckels Organ with style and passion.
Playing the Spreckels Organ with style and passion.
There were many smiles throughout the large audience at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Every bench was full.
There were many smiles throughout the large audience at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Every bench was full.
Finishing a difficult Classical piece with a triumphant flourish.
Finishing a difficult Classical piece with a triumphant flourish.
With theatrical flair, Raúl Prieto Ramírez talks about the next piece, Danse Macabre.
With theatrical flair, Raúl Prieto Ramírez talks about the next piece, Danse Macabre.
Concentration.
Concentration.
Feeling.
Feeling.
Intensity.
Intensity.
More smiles.
More smiles.
After a great organ rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, Spreckels Organ Society's Executive Director Ross Porter announces kids are needed for the next number.
After a great organ rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, Spreckels Organ Society’s Executive Director Ross Porter announces kids are needed for the next number.
Kids from the audience take the stage right next to the Spreckels Organ console.
Kids from the audience take the stage right next to the Spreckels Organ console.
Here comes a fifth kid.
Here comes a fifth kid.
Instructions are secretly given.
Instructions are secretly given.
While Raúl Prieto Ramírez plays Batalla Famosa, the kids read a short sentence that introduces each part of the music.
While Raúl Prieto Ramírez plays Batalla Famosa, the kids read a short dramatic sentence that introduces each part of the music.
Too much fun!
Too much fun!
Meet the new San Diego Civic Organist, Raúl Prieto Ramírez!
Meet the new San Diego Civic Organist, Raúl Prieto Ramírez!

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!

Festive culture and tradition at Fiestas Patrias!

Every year, Fiestas Patrias, which celebrates Mexican independence from Spain in 1821, includes traditional entertainment for the entire family.
Every year, Fiestas Patrias, which celebrates Mexican independence from Spain in 1821, includes traditional entertainment for the entire family.

This morning I missed a bus to Ocean Beach at the Old Town Transit Center, so to pass the time I walked the short distance over to the State Park to see if anything was going on. And I discovered that Fiestas Patrias was being celebrated today!

I lingered for a few minutes and took some photos, headed over to OB (as you will see), then returned to Old Town a couple hours later to really soak in the event. Fiestas Patrias is a yearly celebration of Mexican independence from Spain in 1821. San Diego, a small town founded near a Spanish presidio in Alta California, thereafter became a part of Mexico until 1848.

Many diverse traditions have intermingled during San Diego’s history to make our city what it is today. The rich and colorful culture of Mexico has remained an essential part of life in San Diego!

A mariachi welcomes visitors to the historic Casa de Estudillo in Old Town San Diego.
A mariachi welcomes visitors to the historic Casa de Estudillo in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
A friendly horse came for a visit as I took some photos outside the Casa de Estudillo during Fiestas Patrias.
A friendly horse came for a visit as I took some photos outside the Casa de Estudillo during Fiestas Patrias.
Traditional dances were being performed on the central plaza's main stage. Las damas y los caballeros took turns being el toro and el matador!
Traditional dances were being performed on the central plaza’s main stage. Las damas y los caballeros took turns being el toro and el matador!
The annual event features authentic costumes from a time when San Diego was a small Mexican town in Alta California.
The annual event features authentic costumes from a time when San Diego was a small Mexican town in Alta California.
Kids were decorating traditional cascarones eggshells.
Kids were decorating traditional cascarones eggshells.
A demonstration inside the Casa de Estudillo of yarn being spun. During the Spanish period, sheep were first introduced along with cattle and horses at the Mission San Diego de Alcalá.
A demonstration inside the Casa de Estudillo of yarn being spun. During the Spanish period, sheep were first introduced along with cattle and horses at the Mission San Diego de Alcalá.
Nearby, ladies were demonstrating Colcha Spanish Colonial embroidery, which was typical in San Diego in the early 1800s.
Nearby, ladies were demonstrating Colcha Spanish Colonial embroidery, which was typical in San Diego in the early 1800s.
At the same table, another lady was cutting out festive Mexican papel picado.
At the same table, another lady was cutting out festive Mexican papel picado.
The historically authentic musical group Los Californios wait for their turn on the stage at Fiestas Patrias in Old Town San Diego!
The historically authentic musical group Los Californios wait for their turn on the stage at Fiestas Patrias in Old Town 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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Photos of historical plaques on Presidio Hill.

View of the Serra Museum through trees atop Presidio Hill, near the spot where European civilization first took root in California in 1769.
View of the Serra Museum through trees atop Presidio Hill, near the spot where European civilization first took root in California in 1769.

A few years ago I walked from Old Town San Diego up to the top of Presidio Hill and wrote a simple blog about what I saw. You can revisit that post here.

What I failed to do at the time was photograph many of the historically important plaques that can be found around various sites and monuments, so I thought it would be proper to finally correct that omission.

I’ve included one informative sign which stands near the ruins of the old Spanish presidio’s chapel, and a variety of plaques. One of the plaques is at the base of the Padre Cross; two are near The Padre sculpture; one is on an observation structure near the Junipero Serra Museum parking lot; and several others are found at Fort Stockton, where the Mormon Battalion camped after their 2000-mile march from Iowa to San Diego.

Click the photos and they will enlarge for easier reading.

Sign marks the Old Presidio Historic Trail. Grassy mounds on the hill below the Serra Museum are the ruins of the old presidio chapel.
Sign marks the Old Presidio Historic Trail. Grassy mounds on the hill below the Serra Museum are the ruins of the old presidio chapel. It was built for the garrison’s soldiers after the original Spanish mission was relocated up the valley.
A large cross marks the location of the first Spanish mission in Alta California, established by Junipero Serra.
The large Padre Cross, made in 1913 of tiles from the Presidio ruins, marks the location of the first Spanish mission in Alta California, established in 1769 by Junipero Serra.
Plaque at base of cross remembers the Indian village of Cosoy, named San Miguel by Cabrillo in 1542, then San Diego de Alcala by Vizcaino in 1602.
Plaque at base of the Padre Cross remembers the Indian village of Cosoy, named San Miguel by Cabrillo in 1542, then San Diego de Alcala by Vizcaino in 1602.
Near the Padre Cross, a plaque covers a time capsule that was created two centuries after the establishment of Mission San Diego de Alcala. It is to be opened on July 16, 2069.
Between the Padre Cross and The Padre sculpture, a plaque covers a time capsule that was created two centuries after the establishment of Mission San Diego de Alcala. It is to be opened on July 16, 2069.
A plaque behind The Padre sculpture, placed on December 29, 1981 by the Presidio Hill Society Children of the American Revolution.
A plaque in the ground behind The Padre sculpture, placed on December 29, 1981 by the Presidio Hill Society Children of the American Revolution.
Photo taken behind The Padre on Presidio Hill. The 1908 bronze sculpture is by Arthur Putnam.
Photo taken behind The Padre on Presidio Hill. The 1908 bronze sculpture is by Arthur Putnam.
A plaque can be seen on the observation structure near one corner of the Serra Museum parking lot.
A plaque can be seen on the observation structure near one corner of the Serra Museum parking lot.
The plaque begins: Sylvester Pattie, pathfinder, leader of the first party of Americans into Alta California over Southern trails. Arrived at San Diego Presidio March 27, 1828.
The plaque begins: Sylvester Pattie, pathfinder, leader of the first party of Americans into Alta California over Southern trails. Arrived at San Diego Presidio March 27, 1828.
Mural at Fort Stockton depicts the long march of the Mormon Battalion.
Mural at Fort Stockton depicts the long march of the Mormon Battalion.
California Historical Landmark plaque at Fort Stockton. The top of Presidio Hill was fortified by Carlos Carrillo in 1838. From July to November 1846 the fortification was called Fort Dupont when American forces temporarily held Old Town.
California Historical Landmark plaque at Fort Stockton. The top of Presidio Hill was first fortified by Carlos Carrillo in 1838. From July to November 1846 the site was called Fort Dupont when American forces temporarily held Old Town.

 

Plaque by mural, commemorating the heroic sacrifice and history-making achievements of the Mormon Battalion.
Plaque by mural, commemorating the heroic sacrifice and history-making achievements of the Mormon Battalion.
More plaques nearby explain the history of the Mormon Battalion, which blazed the first wagon trail to the Pacific over the southern route.
More plaques nearby explain the history of the Mormon Battalion, which blazed the first wagon trail to the Pacific over the southern route.
Members of the Mormon Battalion worked to improve San Diego by making the first kiln in California, the first pumps to draw water, and the first blacksmith shop and bakery.
Members of the Mormon Battalion worked to improve San Diego by making the first kiln in California, the first pumps to draw water, and the first blacksmith shop and bakery.
The two plaques depicted above are near the Mormon Battalion Monument, a bronze sculpture by Edward J. Fraughton.
The two plaques described above can be found near the Mormon Battalion Monument, a bronze sculpture created by Edward J. Fraughton.
Another nearby plaque explains the history of the sculpture. It was a gift to the City of San Diego in 1969 by the National Society of the Sons of Utah Pioneers.
Another nearby plaque explains the history of the statue. It was a gift to the City of San Diego in 1969 by the National Society of the Sons of Utah Pioneers.
A plaque by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers also stands at the site of old Fort Stockton.
A plaque by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers also stands at the site of old Fort Stockton.
Women of the Mormon Battalion. Almost eighty women and children accompanied the soldiers during the long march. Four wives traveled the entire distance to San Diego.
Women of the Mormon Battalion. Almost eighty women and children accompanied the soldiers during the long march. Four wives traveled the entire distance to San Diego.
Flags of the United States, Spain and Mexico fly atop Presidio Hill, birthplace of California. Here many chapters of history are remembered.
Flags of the United States, Spain and Mexico fly atop Presidio Hill, birthplace of California. Here many chapters of history are remembered.

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 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 oldest building in San Diego is a golf Pro Shop!

The Pro Shop at Presidio Hill Golf Course can be found inside San Diego's oldest building, La Casa de Carrillo.
The Presidio Hills Golf Course Pro Shop can be found inside San Diego’s oldest building, La Casa de Carrillo.

Believe it or not, the oldest structure that still exists in San Diego (outside of the walls of the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá) contains a golf Pro Shop!

The two-century-old Casa de Carrillo, located near the base of historic Presidio Hill, was built in 1817, according to the Save Our Heritage Organisation.  (Plaques at the location provide two different years.)  It was built by the Spanish presidio’s commander, Francisco Maria Ruiz, for Joaquin Carrillo, a relative and fellow soldier stationed in San Diego. The adobe house stood beside the Comandante’s pear garden. Today the rather simple building, which was restored in 1931, is the home of the Presidio Hills Golf Course Pro Shop!

The small Presidio Hills Golf Course has its own unique history. Occupying what was once a scrubby plot of land at the foot of Presidio Hill, just east of Old Town, the pitch-and-putt golf course was developed in the early 1930s by George Marston, a visionary San Diego businessman and philanthropist who also worked to develop Balboa Park, the San Diego Public Library, and the San Diego Historical Society. Marston created the Junipero Serra Museum which rises today just above the site of the original 1769 Spanish presidio, so-called birthplace of California.

Over the years, the Presidio Hills Golf Course has hosted several world famous golfers, most notably Phil Mickelson, a resident of San Diego. When they were kids, Phil and his sister Tina would play all day at the small golf course. I was told by the super friendly young gentleman working in the pro shop that Phil Mickelson returns to visit every few years, just for old time’s sake.

A young Tiger Woods also won two Junior World trophies at Presidio Hills Golf Course!

Read the photo captions for a bit more information . . .

Photo of the small, historic adobe across the parking lot of the Presidio Hills Golf Course. Built around 1810, it's the oldest structure that is still standing in San Diego.
A photo of the small, historic adobe taken from the parking lot of the Presidio Hills Golf Course. Casa de Carrillo is the oldest structure that is still standing in San Diego.
A portion of La Casa De Carrillo - Pear Garden House. A center of social life and romance in early Spanish days. Here lived Senorita Josefa Carrillo. One of the oldest adobe dwellings in San Diego. Built about the year 1810. Restored in October 1931.
Bronze plaque near the front door reads:  A portion of La Casa De Carrillo – Pear Garden House. A center of social life and romance in early Spanish days. Here lived Senorita Josefa Carrillo. One of the oldest adobe dwellings in San Diego. Built about the year 1810. Restored in October 1931.
Photo of La Casa de Carrillo taken from a golf green just east of the structure.
Photo of La Casa de Carrillo taken from a golf green just east of the structure.
Sign near historical marker for Casa de Carrillo points to the golf course clubhouse and first hole.
Sign near historical marker for Casa de Carrillo points to the golf course clubhouse and first hole.
Presidio Comandante Francisco Maria Ruiz built this house next to his 1808 pear garden late in 1821 for his close relative and fellow soldier, Joaquin Carrillo, and his large family.
Presidio Comandante Francisco Maria Ruiz built this house next to his 1808 pear garden late in 1821 for his close relative and fellow soldier, Joaquin Carrillo, and his large family.
The easy Presidio Hills Golf Course is a great place to learn golf--ideal for families and kids. And one gets a history lesson, too!
Enter the old adobe and you will find the Pro Shop.  The easy Presidio Hills Golf Course is a great place to learn golf–ideal for families and kids. And one gets a history lesson, too!
A look inside the restored adobe. I'm not sure which parts of the historically important building are original.
Another look inside the restored adobe. I’m not sure which parts of the historically important building are original.
An old newspaper article displayed in the pro shop includes a photo of 8-year-old Tiger Woods. He is showing off his Junior World trophy captured at Presidio Hills, where he won two titles.
An old newspaper article displayed in the pro shop includes a photo of 8-year-old Tiger Woods. He is showing off a Junior World trophy captured at Presidio Hills, where he won two titles.
San Diego Union September 1, 1931. Old Town Links Well Under Way On Marston Land.
San Diego Union September 1, 1931. Old Town Links Well Under Way On Marston Land.
Various photos of Presidio Hills Golf Course history inside the Pro Shop. Phil Mickelson and Craig Stadler are two notable golfers from San Diego.
Various photos of Presidio Hills Golf Course history inside the Pro Shop. Phil Mickelson and Craig Stadler are two notable golfers from San Diego.
Old photo shows Don and Al Abrego Presidio Hills Tiny Tots Golf School. The school has faded into history.
Another photo shows Don and Al Abrego Presidio Hills Tiny Tots Golf School. The defunct school has faded into history.
The modest Presidio Hills Golf Course is Par 3, 18 Holes. It's located at the east edge of San Diego's Old Town.
The modest Presidio Hills Golf Course is Par 3, 18 Holes. It’s located at the east edge of San Diego’s Old Town.
Another look across the small, easy golf course. The course appears to be a bit neglected. Regrettably, I saw no players out on a Sunday afternoon.
Another look across the small, easy golf course. It appears to be a bit neglected. Regrettably, I saw no players out on a Sunday afternoon.
Historical photograph in the Presidio Hills Golf Course Pro Shop. La Casa de Carillo before it was restored in 1929.
Old black-and-white photograph inside the Presidio Hills Golf Course Pro Shop shows La Casa de Carillo (note the different spelling) before it was restored in 1929.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! I also love history! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!