Here’s another look at the beautiful San Diego Marriott Marina. Hundreds of boats find safe harbor in this large expanse of water between a grassy park to the west and the silvery Marriott Marquis hotel. You can see boats of every size and description: sailboats, speedboats, small yachts…
Around Christmas, many of these watercraft are decked with strings of colored lights, glowing Santas, and other illuminated decorations, making for a festive scene at night. Dozens of boats participate in the holiday Parade of Lights, cruising merrily around San Diego Bay.
Throughout the year, it’s fun to watch individual boats gliding slowly in and out of the marina. You can also spot rented Jet Skis, people enjoying kayaks, and others standing on paddleboards.
Visible in this photo, taken from the walking path at the south end of the Marriott Marina, are two prominent hotels on San Diego’s picturesque waterfront. To the left is the elegant Manchester Grand Hyatt, and in the center are the two curved, shining, sail-like buildings of the Marriott Marquis. On the far right you can see the north end of the long San Diego Convention Center.
After gazing awhile at the hundreds of sailboats and small yachts docked in the marina, you might head a short distance west to enjoy views of the grassy Embarcadero Marina Park South and its fishing pier on San Diego Bay.
You’ll find the Hilton on the other side of the San Diego Convention Center.
The lady in this ticket booth in front of Horton Plaza seems unconcerned that a dark silent person looms ominously beside her! That person, in the form of a statue, is Ernest Hahn. He’s a famous San Diego developer and the driving force behind the popular Horton Plaza shopping mall.
What you see in the first pic is a colorful scene near the entrance of Horton Plaza. An obelisk with a tile mosaic juts out of the underground entrance to the Lyceum Theater, which is home of the San Diego Repertory Theatre. The domed building in the upper left corner of the photograph belongs to the Balboa Theatre.
Across from the statue of Ernest Hahn is a bronze representation of Alonzo Erastus Horton, a gold miner, shop owner, and finally an influential real estate developer in the second half of the 19th century. He purchased cheap land for development adjacent to San Diego Bay where ships docked, well south of the established settlement below the old Spanish presidio. Alonzo Horton’s New Town had supplanted Old Town in importance by the beginning of the 20th century.
The third statue stands a bit to the west, on the other side of Horton Square. You can find it in the shade of a tree. The figure is Pete Wilson, who served as San Diego mayor from 1971 to 1983. He went on to serve as United States Senator and governor of California.
I like this photo…even though an optical illusion makes it appear a bit tilted!
This was taken in the early morning from the short walkway that passes over Balboa Park’s shimmering reflecting pool. You are looking toward the splendid Spanish Colonial Revival buildings on El Prado.
Later in the morning, when the world has yawned, stretched and put on its shoes, people will be sitting on the white benches. Children will be standing at the pond’s edge, gazing down at Japanese Koi and myriad other critters in the water. An older gentleman will probably be heard nearby, playing Mariachi music with his guitar. And dozens of photographs will be taken. Each as beautiful as this one!
Here are some additional pics taken at various times…
One of my favorite places in Balboa Park is the reflecting pool, or lily pond, as some call it. This tranquil body of water lies between El Prado and the enormous wood lath structure which is the Botanical Building.
Flower beds, green grass and families enjoying picnics surround the pond, and colorful lotus flowers grace the surface. All sorts of interesting creatures call it home. In addition of numerous large koi (two can be seen in this photo), and floating turtles craning their heads to gaze at tourists, there are crawdads and a variety of fish that people have dumped into the pond. Years ago a small shark was spotted in the serene water!
An interesting historical fact: during World War II, when Balboa Park was utilized to mobilize American soldiers, the Navy used the reflecting pool to train sailors! You can still see old black-and-white photos of men rowing on the pool when you visit the San Diego History Center, a bit further to the east down El Prado.
These photographs are of the small pond-like section right next to the Botanical Building. This is the best place to watch brightly colored Koi swimming about.
Here’s one iconic sight in Balboa Park I always lift my eyes to enjoy. The elaborate facade of the California Building, home of the San Diego Museum of Man, contains sculpted historical figures molded from clay and plaster. These figures include Junipero Serra, father of California’s Spanish missions, and Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who discovered San Diego Bay nearly five centuries ago in 1542.
This fantastic building, inspired by the church of San Diego in Guanajuato, Mexico, was erected for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, an event that celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal and promoted San Diego as a destination. Like other similar buildings to the east along El Prado, it is in the Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style, which was largely developed by Bertram Goodhue.
The California Building and adjacent California Tower, and the more simple structure to the south across El Prado–housing Evernham Hall and the St. Francis Chapel–form the California Quadrangle. The courtyard-like area at the quadrangle’s center, where visitors can sit at tables and through which cars today travel, is called the Plaza de California.
Every few years I venture into The Museum of Man just to refresh my memory. There are a number of interesting anthropological exhibits, including a whole room full of spooky Egyptian mummies!
Here are some more pics…
Here are even more photos from a later date…
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A registered National Historic Place, the Horton Grand Hotel in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter is a true architectural treasure. It’s ornate Italianate Victorian facade is based on the famous Innsbruck Inn in Vienna, Austria.
Today’s boutique hotel is a modern restoration of two historic buildings, the Grand Horton, built in 1887, and the Brooklyn Kahle Saddlery. The latter was the residence of Wyatt Earp during the years he lived in San Diego.
The Horton Grand has another interesting distinction. Room 309 is said to be haunted by the ghost of Roger Whitaker, a gambler who was shot dead by a man he cheated in a game of poker. Many guests who’ve stayed in this room have reported objects changing position when they are asleep!
Is that strange, glaring, long-bearded figure in the corner of this photo a vengeful ghost? I hope he didn’t follow me home!