Images of the pandemic tragedy downtown.

As I walk around San Diego, I try to find what is uplifting and keep a positive attitude. But these photographs from the past few days aren’t happy. They show tragic aspects of the long COVID-19 pandemic nightmare.

Throughout downtown San Diego it seems time has stopped. It seems the life of my city keeps draining away.

It’s now December and I still see posters for events scheduled last March or April. I see hundreds of boarded windows and a steadily increasing number of For Lease signs. I see people avoiding people. I see more and more who are homeless. And now we’re told a second lockdown in San Diego is imminent.

They tell us this terrible pandemic will finally end in the coming months as vaccines are distributed. But for the time being the tragic scene downtown seems to only worsen.

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 small herd of cows in Mission Valley!

I don’t know who painted this mural. I do know I’ve seen it in Mission Valley near Friars Road for many years. You can see how faded it is.

The small herd of painted cows occupies a low wall beside lanes of traffic. You pass the old mural as you drive off eastbound Friars Road and approach Mission Center Road.

Those who drive through Mission Valley will also see miles of shopping malls, office buildings, hotels, condos and apartments, not to mention a gigantic sports stadium which is about to be demolished. But had you visited the valley in the first half of the 20th century, you would have seen acres and acres of dairy farms.

Cows began to rapidly multiply in Mission Valley in the 1880’s, beginning with the Allen dairy. As San Diego’s population grew, the demand for dairy products steadily increased, and by the 1920’s there were twenty commercial dairies. But in the mid-20th century city dwellers targeted Mission Valley for development. U.S. Highway 80–now Interstate 8–was built. Dairy farmers were enticed to sell their valuable land, and eventually all of the cows vanished.

So today, if you happen to see a small herd of cows grazing by a Mission Valley roadside, it’s probably because you’ve sped past this faded mural.

Panorama of Mission Valley, 1912. Farmland fills the valley in this historical photo. (Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.)
A view of part of Mission Valley 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!

A walk down Escondido’s Grand Avenue.

On Sunday I returned to Escondido. I wanted to explore Grand Avenue–the heart of historic downtown Escondido–a little more thoroughly.

Earlier this year I visited Maple Street Plaza on a Sunday and took a quick look from its south end up and down Grand Avenue. What I glimpsed wasn’t encouraging. Few people. Inactive storefronts. But had I walked a block or two east I would have found a much more lively scene!

Grand Avenue resembles the historic old main streets of many American towns. What used to be the central business district is now home to a multitude of cozy eateries, specialty shops, salons and antique stores. There’s an old restored movie theater, a Rotary Club street clock, a gazebo in a small sunny park, and a friendly feeling of community. During my walk I saw many families just walking along like me, enjoying a late Sunday morning.

I don’t pretend to know a whole lot about Escondido. If you don’t either, enjoy these photos of Grand Avenue as if we are walking together.

I started at the big Escondido landmark sign at Centre City Parkway and headed east. To see some great mosaics in the sidewalk at the intersection, check out my earlier blog post here!

You see that unusual sculpture in the median? I know nothing about it!

I really enjoyed peering into the window of the Timekeepers Watch and Clock Shop and took several photos. Indeed, my walk felt a little like travelling back in time.

After I passed the south end of Maple Street Plaza, I enjoyed looking into the windows of more antique stores. I noticed more and more people sitting in front of various restaurants enjoying Sunday breakfast or an early lunch. (People are dining on sidewalks and streets this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.)

There’s a very cool display near the entrance to the restored The Ritz Theater, which originally opened in 1937. You can see old film reels and all sorts of interesting equipment that was used in this historic movie house. Unfortunately bright street reflections were impossible for my camera to overcome.

I turned around at Valley Boulevard and headed back west along the opposite sidewalk.

According to a nearby plaque, that great mural on the corner of a building is titled Escondido, the Hidden Valley. It’s by artist Daniel Hernandez.

Finally–you see that cool old car coming down the street near the end of my photos? Grand Avenue is probably best known for its popular Cruisin’ Grand vintage auto show event on Friday nights! (Something I haven’t experienced yet.)

Here we go…

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.

Beautiful mosaics in Escondido sidewalk!

My Sunday walk along Grand Avenue in Escondido began at Centre City Parkway–the Mercado area across from the big Escondido landmark sign. Just as I started east down the sidewalk my eyes suddenly fell upon a gorgeous tile mosaic at my feet!

A quick exploration of the intersection and I found three more similar mosaics!

I’ve since learned that the four circular mosaics were created by local artist Tama Dumlao and installed in 2003. As you can see, they pay tribute to art, entertainment and shopping in Escondido’s historic downtown, and its Friday night Cruisin’ Grand tradition!

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!

Escondido community paints street barriers on Grand!

The community of Escondido has come together in the past few weeks to paint about a hundred concrete barriers along Grand Avenue with beautiful, inspiring artwork!

During the COVID-19 pandemic, eateries along Grand Avenue in historic downtown Escondido have been allowed to open outdoor patios on the sidewalk and street. To keep lanes of traffic safely separated from diners, ugly gray concrete barriers were placed along the avenue. But those who love to create art saw numerous blank canvases!

The Beautify Escondido mural project has resulted in numerous colorful works of art that promote love, hope, friendship and community, not to mention businesses along Grand Avenue. I see the Escondido Art Association has been instrumental in coordinating this very cool project.

I must admit, when I last visited Escondido on a Sunday and took photos of the Maple Street Plaza, my brief look at Grand Avenue didn’t do it justice. To my eyes Grand Avenue had appeared quiet, deserted. But had I walked a block or two east into the heart of Escondido’s historic downtown, I would’ve seen many people eating, walking, looking in the windows of antique stores, and enjoying life.

I took additional photos of my adventure on Grand Avenue yesterday, and will share them shortly!

Okay, ready to see lots and lots of awesome artwork?

Here we go!

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!

Mother and child sculpture on Escondido bench.

Today I enjoyed walk down Grand Avenue, through the heart of Escondido’s historic downtown. I have many colorful photographs coming up!

During my walk I was struck by a wonderful sculpture in front of Felipe’s Restaurant. Life-size cast bronze figures sit on a public bench. A mother holds a small child, who is reaching curiously into her purse. It’s a celebration of ordinary living.

This public art is by T.J. Dixon, whose many extraordinary sculptures can be viewed all around San Diego. Created in 1990, the piece’s title is Reflections on Downtown.

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!

More samples of street art in Normal Heights!

A couple weekends ago, as I walked east down Adams Avenue through the heart of Normal Heights, I took photographs of cool street art that I haven’t previously recorded.

Some of the artwork is newer, some older. What a person might discover in Normal Heights–or any dynamic community–is constantly changing. New art appears in front of your eyes one day, then fades or vanishes.

Cool San Diego Sights now features over 32,000 photographs, and it’s getting harder and harder to remember everything my camera has captured! But I believe the artwork you see here is new to my blog.

So just imagine you’re walking down the sidewalk on another sunny San Diego day, finding more and more colorful street art, making endless discoveries in the city…

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 walk up Maine Avenue in historic Lakeside.

Last weekend I enjoyed a leisurely walk up Maine Avenue in Lakeside, California.

I started at Woodside Avenue and proceeded north to Mapleview Street (just south of the Lakeside Rodeo Arena). This part of town is referred to as the Lakeside Historic District.

Apart from a few articles I’ve read, I really don’t know much about the history of Lakeside. This community in San Diego’s East County is best known for its annual rodeo, but over a century ago it was famous for it’s large, opulent Lakeside Inn (originally called the Lakeside Hotel) which was built in 1887 near the edge of Lindo Lake.

(I posted photos of a nostalgic mural at the corner of Maine and Woodside which depicts the old hotel and an early auto racetrack that circled Lindo Lake. See that wonderful mural by clicking here.)

It appears to me little remains from Lakeside’s very earliest days. Apart from a few houses that are scattered along Maine Avenue and adjacent River Street, the one notable building that still stands is the Olde Community Church. When it was completed in 1896, the First Presbyterian Church of Lakeside became the prominent center of the scarcely populated town.

The beautiful old church now houses the Lakeside History Center and Museum of the Lakeside Historical Society. The museum was closed when I happened to walk by it. I’ll have to visit at some future time.

These photographs represent my walk north up Maine from Woodside to Mapleview. I’ve included captions with a little information I’ve found.

The three old black and white photos are from an interesting San Diego County publication that details the history of Lakeside, which you can read here.

Lakeside, California,1904.
Lakeside, California, 1910.
Photo of old Lakeside Inn, originally called Lakeside Hotel, often referred to as the Coronado of the Hills. Its splendid Victorian architecture was similar to that of the Hotel del Coronado.
The Lakeside Post Office and an adjacent strip mall at Maine and Woodson, where the famous old Lakeside Inn used to stand.
Looking north up Maine Avenue from Woodside Avenue.
I’ve arrived at Parkside Street.
The picturesque Olde Community Church.
Sign near entrance to the Lakeside History Center’s museum at the Olde Community Church.
Looking to the left.
Words engraved in a boulder. El Capitan Dam Site discovered and purchased by Ed Fletcher in 1911.
Continuing north up Maine, passing the front of Olde Community Church.

The above plaque in front of the Olde Community Church recalls the Lakeside Auto Speedway that was built around Lindo Lake by John H. Gay, owner of the Lakeside Inn.

It was considered the first purpose-built auto racing facility in the United States. On its opening day in 1907, famed racecar driver Barney Oldfield set a world automotive speed record of 69.49 miles per hour. The feat was performed in his Peerless Green Dragon car as he accelerated down the 2 mile long packed clay oval track.

Sculpture of cowboy on bucking horse on grounds of Lakeside Historical Society’s old church. In Memory of Mr. Lakeside Rodeo, Ben Bruton. (As you can see, I walked by around Halloween!)
Looking back as I continue north up Maine Avenue.
Western cattle drive mural on a parking lot wall in Lakeside. By artist David Ybarra, 2016.
Cool shop owner in cowboy garb poses with his guitar in front of Hazel’s Music.
Rodeo celebrated in Lakeside Historic District mural on side of Lakeside Liquor store.
A happy autumn scarecrow on the street corner. To the right is the 1912 Rocchio Rexal Drug Store building, restored in 2015.
Colorful public art mosaic on the old drug store building’s wall depicts people on horseback.
What became the facade of Kursave’s Lakeside Theatre was originally the front of Lakeside Town Hall, built in 1911. It has housed various businesses more recently.
A classic Western scene in front of a small office building.
Lakeside landmark sign seen beyond Mary’s Donuts.
Lakeside landmark sign rises above Maine Avenue.
Sign rising from patch of cacti welcomes motorists to the Lakeside Historic District.

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.

Lights brighten the night on The Boulevard.

Last night, very early in the morning, I took photographs of interesting “lights” in the vicinity of the iconic “The Boulevard” landmark sign, near the west end of historic El Cajon Boulevard.

The next photo is of an illuminated mural that depicts ostriches, which are symbols of the University Heights community. Many years ago University Heights was home to an ostrich farm! This fun mural can be found at the corner of Park Boulevard and Howard Avenue.

As I headed north up the sidewalk, a glowing Eye of Buddha gazed mysteriously down upon me! The sign hovers above a small strip mall at the corner of Park Boulevard and El Cajon Boulevard.

I then crossed El Cajon Boulevard and Park Boulevard to take a good photo of an absolutely extraordinary sign.

The wonderful Frank the Trainman neon sign is an iconic sight in itself, a beloved little landmark that San Diego residents treasure.

It can be seen at the south end of a building that features another amazing work of art. At its back, on a large wall that very few people see, is a mural painted by internationally recognized Chicano artist Mario Torero.

Photos of the mural, called Cosmic Train of Wisdom, can be seen here! (You can also see a photo I once took of the Frank the Trainman neon sign during the daytime.)

I then started east down El Cajon Boulevard. My walk was quite early in the morning with few cars and people about.

Mysterious globes of light seem suspended in a window ahead…

It’s the very cool BLVD North Park Apartments building. Light coming through an interesting structure at the front entrance spells out one gigantic BLVD!

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!

Fun street art along Black Mountain Road!

During my walk along a stretch of Black Mountain Road in Mira Mesa yesterday I came upon a lot of fun street art!

I found artwork both old and new. I found colorful works of imagination painted by many hands.

Why have we always needed art?

To connect with this great big world, and attempt with eyes and hands to more fully understand it?

To be engaged in the world? To feel productive and alive? To feel pleasure and a sense of personal accomplishment?

To search ourselves? Expand ourselves? Challenge ourselves? Express our desires?

To discover true things about life?

We have always needed art.
We have always needed art.
Electrical box painted with art that seems prehistoric.
Electrical box painted with art that seems prehistoric.
Street art that resembles a Rubik's Cube!
Street art that resembles a Rubik’s Cube!
A very colorful peacock.
A very colorful peacock.
Flowers in a vase.
Flowers in a vase.
Peace on a fence.
Peace on a fence.
Stay fresh.
Stay fresh.
A happy angel.
A happy angel.
Football player runs with the ball.
Football player runs with the ball.
Three parrots.
Three parrots.
Three colorful reptilian creatures.
Three colorful reptilian creatures.
A space station of the future.
A space station of the future.
An enchanted castle, perhaps.
An enchanted castle, perhaps.
Rocket on the gantry, or perhaps a futuristic building.
Rocket on the gantry, or perhaps a futuristic building.
Space monkey eats a banana!
Space monkey eats a banana!

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!