Building a cannon carriage and adobe walls in Old Town.

Saturday, on my way to TwainFest, I walked a little around Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to see what I might see.

At the blacksmith shop, wood shop and nearby grounds, I observed some interesting activity!

First, I learned from Todd in the blacksmith shop that a new carriage for Old Town plaza’s historic cannon will soon be built! I blogged about this project back in April here. I detail a little about the cannon’s history in that blog post.

Todd showed me how he had removed some of the original iron fittings from the wooden carriage. All of the iron will be saved, then refitted to a brand new carriage once it’s built. Welds will be hidden to preserve the original appearance.

The carriage will be constructed in the wood shop, a small work room attached to the blacksmith shop.

Here are a few photos of the wood shop…

Then I noticed two people working in the dirt area outside the blacksmith shop, behind Seeley Stable. This is the new spot in the State Park where adobe wall-making is demonstrated.

I’ve been told the old adobe demonstration area, which I blogged about here, will be used in the future for a Kumeyaay interpretive display.

As I watched slimy fingers jam mud mortar between large sun-dried adobe blocks, I took a look at information concerning which structures in Old Town are original adobes, and which ones are reconstructed.

Six original adobe buildings shown are: Casa de Machado y Silvas, c. 1843; Casa de Machado y Stewart, c. 1830; Casa de Estudillo, c. 1827; Casa de Bandini/Cosmopolitan Hotel, c. 1829; Altamirano-Perdrorena House, c. 1869; and the oldest structure in San Diego, Casa de Carrillo (between Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and the Presidio), c. 1817.

Reconstructed adobe buildings are: Robinson-Rose Building, c. 1853; Casa de Wrightington, c. 1804; San Diego House, c. 1841; Casa de Rodriguez, c. 1830; Colorado House (Adobe Annex), c. 1854; Casa de Alvarado, c. 1830; and Alvarado Saloon, c. 1830.

Typical adobe wall construction involved a foundation and a layer of small stones and shards topped by adobe bricks, which are cemented with lime and sand or mud plaster.

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!

Old Town State Park expansion nears completion!

This morning I walked around the north end of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. I wanted to check out the progress that has been made with the State Park’s big expansion.

Old Town’s new outdoor interpretative area is beautiful and appears to be nearing completion!

I took photos of the area under construction four months ago and posted them here. You can definitely see the progress!

This large plot of land where the old Caltrans building used to be–at the corner of Juan Street and Taylor Street–is being converted into an inviting space that is alive with native vegetation and historical exhibits. Visitors walking along various pathways will have the opportunity to learn about the life and culture of the Native American Kumeyaay people. The Kumeyaay lived here by the San Diego River long before Europeans arrived.

The California State Parks website refers to this outdoor space as Land of the First People Exhibit Area—called Iipay ~ Tipai Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok.

As I circled the construction site fence, I noticed many plaques have been installed. I’ll be eager to read them once this area opens to the public.

This is what I saw…

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!

Old Town’s plaza cannon in for repairs!

If you’ve wondered what happened to the cannon that usually stands near the center of Old Town San Diego’s central grass plaza, I learned on Saturday that it’s in for repairs!

The old cannon’s wooden carriage is being restored at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s blacksmith shop.

Seven years ago I blogged about this particular cannon here. I had read at the time it was called El Capitan, and that it was one of two cannons still remaining from the Spanish Fort Guijarros that was built in 1797 at Ballast Point near the entrance to San Diego Bay.

The other cannon, cast in Manila in the 18th century, is called El Jupiter. That one is on display in the Serra Museum atop Presidio Hill. Find a photo of that cannon here.

As you can see, the two cannons do not appear identical. I was told by a friendly gentleman working in the blacksmith shop that this Old Town plaza cannon has a less certain history than its companion El Jupiter. He said there are indications it might have been made in England. We surmised it might have been taken by the Spanish during a conflict at sea. Its exact origin seems to be a mystery.

If you’d like to see this mysterious cannon and its carriage and ask your own questions, head over to the blacksmith shop on a weekend when they are likely to be open. And linger to watch the smiths hammering away at red hot iron!

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!

Kumeyaay exhibit area in Old Town takes shape!

I swung by Old Town San Diego State Historic Park this afternoon for a short walk.

While most of Old Town has been very quiet during the COVID-19 pandemic, the construction of the new outdoor Kumeyaay exhibit space in one corner of the park has been going full speed ahead. And it’s really taking shape!

I last posted photos of the construction in October. See those here. At the time, I was calling it the “new Kumeyaay park.” But I see there’s now an updated California State Parks web page concerning the project, and this outdoor area featuring interpretive exhibits is officially called Iipay ~ Tipai Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok, which translates to Land of the First People.

To see that web page, which includes a rendering and a map, 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!

A video about Old Town’s Favorite Horse.

Painting of Dick Miller riding Codi in front of the Casa de Estudillo in Old Town San Diego, by artist Miguel Chavez. Photo courtesy Richard Miller.

I’ve been informed there’s a Ken Kramer “About San Diego” video on YouTube that concerns Codi, Old Town’s Favorite Horse!

You can watch the short video here.

To see several old photographs of Codi, and learn more about a horse that many in San Diego loved, 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!

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!

Holiday decorations in Old Town State Park!

Late this afternoon, a little before sunset, I strolled around Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to enjoy their annual holiday decorations.

Even though all of the museums and many of the shops are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I noticed a few people walking about like me, poking their noses into scattered places that were open.

If a lockdown is mandated throughout California in the coming days or weeks, I’m sure Old Town will become a ghost town. Already there are no scheduled holiday events, such as the traditional Las Posadas procession. So if you’d like to see Old Town’s beautiful holiday decorations, now might be the best time to go!

I did notice during my late day walk that Fiesta de Reyes was open for dining, and I saw folks inside a few shops, including Cousin’s Candy Shop, Toby’s Candle and Soap Shop, and Miner’s Gems and Minerals. It appeared other shops might have closed a little earlier in the day.

As you can see in one photo, Old Town’s Cygnet Theatre is streaming two holiday radio plays this year: A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life. Learn how you can listen by visiting their 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!

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 unique bridges of Torrey Pines State Beach.

If you’ve walked along or driven past Torrey Pines State Beach, your eyes have probably lingered on two very different, uniquely picturesque bridges.

The North Torrey Pines Road Bridge, which crosses the narrow ocean inlet to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, was completed in 2005, replacing a 1932 structure that was neither earthquake-proof nor environmentally friendly. The new 340 feet long bridge was designed with only four columns, which allows for better natural tidal flushing of the lagoon. The graceful design has won numerous engineering awards.

As you can see in my photographs, the bridge fits in beautifully with the nearby beach and eyes are drawn to the sand and bright water. Next to the bridge is a preserved concrete chunk of the old bridge it replaced, with the original date of 1932.

The second, more elaborate bridge whose arches have a uniquely Gothic appearance is 553 feet long and crosses the railroad tracks at the north end of Torrey Pines State Beach. It has been variously called High Bridge, the Sorrento Overhead, or North Torrey Pines Bridge. Built in 1933, it facilitated increasing car traffic along the coast highway just south of Del Mar–part of the main route that connected San Diego to Los Angeles.

High Bridge was built to replace a railroad underpass located a short distance to the south. The original road was winding, steep, and the railroad’s wooden trestle was susceptible to flooding.

The picturesque but aging High Bridge was retrofitted between 2011 and 2014, thereby avoiding a proposed replacement.

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 Codi, Old Town’s Favorite Horse!

State Park ranger Richard “Dick” Miller and Codi. Photo courtesy Richard Miller.

A couple weeks ago I wrote about a mysterious horseshoe and plaque at the top of some stairs at the Old Town Transit Center. The small monument memorializes Codi, Old Town’s Favorite Horse. (See my blog concerning the horseshoe here.) I asked whether anybody remembered Codi, and I’ve subsequently received photographs and a little information!

I learned that Codi was the horse of Richard Miller, who patrolled Old Town San Diego SHP as a mounted state park ranger. Richard “Dick” Miller retired in 2001 and came back to Old Town for another 12 years as an interpreter. He also started the group known as TRVEA, the Tijuana River Equestrian Association.

Codi and Dick Miller patrolled both Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and Border Field State Park. Codi was a Morgan grade horse who weighed 1400 lbs, and when he passed he was about 22 years old.

After Codi’s passing, the horseshoe monument was made possible by the Old Town Transit Center contractor’s inspector, who had become a friend of Dick Miller.

Do you recognize Codi in these old photographs? If you have lived in or visited San Diego, perhaps Codi has a place in your memories, too!

Codi and Dick Miller at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Photo courtesy Richard Miller.
Codi and Dick Miller at the 1985 Sandcastle Parade in Imperial Beach. Photo courtesy Richard Miller.
Painting of Dick Miller riding Codi in front of the Casa de Estudillo in Old Town San Diego, by artist Miguel Chavez. Photo courtesy Richard Miller.

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!

Sunflowers on the Silver Strand.

There were many empty picnic benches on the bay side of Silver Strand State Beach today.

I chose a shady one that faced these bright sunflowers. Then I took out a notebook and struggled with my writing.

Words never seem adequate.

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!

If you’d like to read an inspirational little story about sunflowers and human kindness, click here!