Seeley Stable’s stagecoaches and freight wagons.

Front of the Seeley Stable Museum in Old Town.
Front of the Seeley Stable Museum in Old Town San Diego.

Perhaps my favorite part of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is the Seeley Stable Museum.

The huge old barn and surrounding area were once owned by Albert Seeley, who ran the San Diego-Los Angeles Stage Line from 1868 to 1877.  His Concord stagecoaches left San Diego at 5 am, stopped overnight at San Juan Capistrano, and arrived in Los Angeles at 4 pm the next day.  Eventually competition with the railroad put him out of business.

Sign on the Blacksmith Shop behind Seeley Stable.
Sign on the Blacksmith Shop behind Seeley Stable.

Behind the Seeley Stable is a cool blacksmith shop, where tourists can watch skilled hobbyists demonstrate the shaping of red hot iron.   The hammers ring loudly and the sparks fly!  Unfortunately it wasn’t open the day I took these photos.

Covered wagon, anvils and relics of the Old West behind Seeley Stable.
Covered wagon, anvils and relics of the Old West behind Seeley Stable.

Across from the blacksmith you’ll find this.  Very cool!

Several unrestored wagons.
Several unrestored wagons.
Peering through old wagon wheels.
Peering through old wagon wheels.
Donkey awaits young visitors to historic Seeley Stable.
Donkey awaits young visitors to historic Seeley Stable.

On the south side of the stable you’ll find a couple of donkeys, which are used by park rangers to teach children about life in the Old West.

Stagecoach from the Los Angeles and San Diego route.
Concord stagecoach from the Los Angeles to San Diego route.

Finally, we’re inside the museum!  You can see many different wagons and stagecoaches inside the dark old barn, plus other artifacts from life one and a half centuries ago.

Museum display with horse and saddles recreates the old stable.
Museum display with horse and saddles recreates the old stable.
Huge freight wagon on display at Seeley Stable.
Huge freight wagon on display at Seeley Stable.
Old Wells Fargo wagon once used to transport the mail.
Old Wells Fargo wagon once used to transport the mail.
Old Town San Diego park ranger chats with ticket window lady.
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park ranger chats with friendly lady at the ticket window.

The Seeley Stable Museum is free!

UPDATE!

Here are a few more interesting and informative photos that I took inside the museum in August 2017…

Roscoe E. "Pappy" Hazard was a developer and rancher who collected stagecoaches, carriages and wagons from the Old West. Many are displayed in Seeley Stable.
Roscoe E. “Pappy” Hazard was a developer and rancher who collected stagecoaches, carriages and wagons from the Old West. Many are displayed today in Old Town’s Seeley Stable Museum.
In 1869, Albert L. Seeley transformed the nearby Bandini adobe into the two-story Cosmopolitan Hotel, which became Old Town's stage depot and social center.
In 1869, Albert L. Seeley transformed the nearby Bandini adobe into the two-story Cosmopolitan Hotel, which became Old Town’s stage depot and social center.
Photo of Seeley Stable's barn and yard taken from Presidio Hill in 1872. The Cosmopolitan Hotel can be seen on the right.
Photo of Seeley Stable’s barn and yard taken from Presidio Hill in 1872. The Cosmopolitan Hotel can be seen on the right.
Map shows important stagecoach routes, including the Butterfield Overland, and the Birch's Line from San Antonio to San Diego.
Map shows important stagecoach routes, including the Butterfield Overland, and the Birch’s Line from San Antonio to San Diego.
Signs and old photos concerning freight wagons in the Old West, which often employed large teams of mules.
Signs and old photos concerning freight wagons in the Old West, which often employed large teams of mules.
Spaniards introduced mules to America along with the horse. Hardy pack mules were used by trappers to haul furs, and by gold miners to move supplies and equipment.
Spaniards introduced mules to America along with the horse. Hardy pack mules were used by trappers to haul furs, and by gold miners to move supplies and equipment.
This delivery wagon was brought to San Diego by Frank Kimball in 1868. It was used to show passengers land that he had for sale in National City.
This delivery wagon was brought to San Diego by Frank Kimball in 1868. It was used to show passengers land that he had for sale in National City.
This old Park Wagon was used by rancher Walter Vail. He owned land in Arizona, Santa Rosa island off the coast of California, and Warner's Ranch northeast of San Diego.
This old Park Wagon was used by cattle rancher Walter Vail. He owned a land in Arizona, Santa Rosa island off the coast of California, and Warner’s Ranch northeast of San Diego.
How part of the stable might have once appeared. Stable hands had many chores, including feeding, watering and grooming animals, and cleaning stalls.
How a corner of the stable might have once appeared. Stable hands had many chores, including feeding, watering and grooming animals, and cleaning stalls.

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Biggest model train museum in North America!

HO Scale model train travels through Tehachapi Pass exhibit.
HO Scale model train travels through Tehachapi Pass exhibit.

I could happily spend many hours at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.  Not only is it the largest such museum in North America, but it features some of the coolest, most realistic model train layouts you’ll ever see!

Located in Balboa Park, the model train museum contains five huge sections.  The Cabrillo Southwestern exhibit is in O Scale, the same size as Lionel toy trains. The San Diego and Arizona Eastern, and the Southwestern Pacific-Santa Fe Tehachapi Pass exhibits are both in the popular HO Scale.  The Pacific Desert Lines exhibit is in tiny N Scale.  Finally, there’s a toy train gallery crammed with Lionel-type trains and many amazing moving accessories, including cars and people.  One train is mounted with a Choo-Choo Cam which provides an engineer’s moving view of the dazzling layout.

I took lots of pics yesterday afternoon.  Many of the shots taken through glass or in darkness didn’t come out so great.  But I did get some fairly good ones.  Enjoy!

Kids love the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Kids love the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Windows to the big Cabrillo Southwestern O Scale exhibit.
Windows to the big Cabrillo Southwestern O Scale exhibit.
Large O Scale model train exhibit includes many detailed buildings.
Large O Scale model train exhibit includes many detailed buildings.
Rail yard action at the Cabrillo Southwestern exhibit.
Rail yard action at the Cabrillo Southwestern exhibit.
Tiny human figures at work near some trolley tracks.
Tiny human figures at work near some trolley tracks.
The elaborate O Scale exhibit is full of train action!
The elaborate O Scale exhibit is full of train action!
Men work on unfinished San Diego and Arizona Eastern exhibit.
Men work on unfinished San Diego and Arizona Eastern exhibit.
HO Scale bridges and a detailed mountain scene.
HO Scale bridges and a detailed mountain scene.
Attention to detail makes these model train exhibits lifelike.
Attention to detail makes these model train exhibits lifelike.
Tracks under construction climb to Tehachapi Pass Mezzanine.
Tracks under construction climb to Tehachapi Pass Mezzanine.
Pacific Beach Club Room with trains, videos and Lego exhibits.
Pacific Beach Club Room with trains, videos and Lego exhibits.
The famous Tehachapi Pass HO scale exhibit is amazing.
The famous Tehachapi Pass HO Scale exhibit is amazing.
Train tracks meander through highly realistic hillside scenes.
Train tracks meander through highly realistic hillside scenes.
A stretch of desert highway in HO scale.
A stretch of desert highway in HO Scale.
Model of a desert town at San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Model of a desert town at San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
These huge train exhibits are a child's fantasy come to life!
These huge train exhibits are a child’s fantasy come to life!
Member of Model Railroad Museum attends to derailed train.
Member of Model Railroad Museum attends to derailed train.

UPDATE!

Almost every day this blog post is receiving visitors from Pinterest.

Welcome!

I decided to visit the museum again in May 2017 to get more photos!

The layouts are so huge and detailed it would take some time to describe exactly what the photos depict and from what position they were taken. So I’m just going to insert a bunch of random photos for you all to enjoy.

Feel free to share any of these photos if you’d like. It’s all for fun! And if you ever have a chance, make sure to visit the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park. The place is truly incredible!

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Are you a railroad or streetcar enthusiast? Do you love railway history?

You might like to check out my cool photos of the National City Depot museum and streetcars!

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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!

Twelve-person bicycle heads down street.

twelve-person bicycle heads down street

What could be more cool than biking along a city street with a dozen of your buddies? These folks are sitting around a table enjoying drinks and conversation while pedaling away and taking in the sights. This twelve-person bicycle might not be suitable for your typical family, but lots of tourists and fun-seekers enjoy it!

I spotted two of these cool contraptions in East Village!
I spotted two of these cool contraptions in East Village!

Silver Line trolley at City College station.

silver line trolley at city college station

This pic is definitely cool!

I happened to be at the Smart Corner building, the location of the City College trolley station, when a historic car belonging to the Silver Line came through! It was servicing the downtown loop.

This shiny, beautifully restored Presidents Conference Committee (PCC) trolley car was built just after the end of World War II. A whole fleet of electric trolleys like this one traversed San Diego until 1949.

Here are more pics of the same trolley taken on different days:

Cool restored Silver Line trolley at Fifth Avenue station.
Cool restored Silver Line trolley at Fifth Avenue station.
Silver Line trolley near the Convention Center.
Silver Line trolley near the Convention Center.

Unrestored vintage Silver Line trolley car.

unrestored vintage silver line trolley

Here’s a photo of an unrestored vintage trolley car. It belongs to the San Diego trolley and one day will run on downtown’s Silver Line loop!

One vintage car has already been beautifully restored and is running during special hours. I’ll try to get a good pic of it one of these days.

Five cars are scheduled for restoration. They are relatively elegant post-war Presidents Conference Committee (PCC) cars, which ran in the city until 1949. Some would like to see these revitalized cars run up a new trolley line from downtown along Park Boulevard to the San Diego Zoo and beyond. It makes sense to me. Balboa Park and the zoo would be more easily reached by out-of-town visitors.

Streetcars have been a part of San Diego history since the 1890’s. The first were open-air coaches pulled by mules and horses. Eventually, electric streetcars ran from downtown to Hillcrest and east through many local communities, including North Park, Kensington and East San Diego. With the rise of the motorcar, they vanished. That is, until the modern red trolleys began service in 1981.

This photograph was taken at the 12th and Imperial trolley station, right next to the train and MTS trolley yard. You can see the tall bayside Hilton hotel in the background.

Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Comic-Con trolley.

marvel agents of s.h.i.e.l.d. comic-con trolley

At least one car being used by the San Diego Trolley still has its 2013 Comic-Con Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wrap and here it is in this quick photograph. I snapped this seconds after getting off at the Fifth Avenue trolley station. During Comic-Con, I noted three cars had this wrap, plus I saw various other cool wraps promoting other pop culture television shows. Check out the Cool San Diego Sights blog next summer and I’ll try to get a ton of Comic-Con pics.

Here’s a pic taken on a much later date:

Close-up image of the S.H.I.E.L.D. emblem on a black trolley.
Close-up image of the S.H.I.E.L.D. emblem on a black trolley.

Cool car carrier ship in San Diego Bay.

cool car carrier cargo ship in san diego bay

Check out the Lyra Leader, a massive box-like car-carrying ship as it heads down San Diego Bay toward the National City Marine Terminal. These cool, very unusual type of roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships are often seen passing close to downtown. They’re bringing in thousands of new cars from Asia–Japan and South Korea–which are driven off a ramp into a massive parking lot. Many of the vehicles are then loaded into car-carrying freight trains and sent off toward their final destinations.

In this photograph, note the active aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson docked at the North Island naval base on the left.

UPDATE–I finally got a couple more pics of another ship while I was crossing San Diego Bay on the ferry. All the passengers were excited to be so close to the massive thing!

Sailboats, skyscrapers and one super enormous ship!
Sailboats, skyscrapers and one super enormous ship!
Swift Ace car transport ship leaves San Diego Bay.
Swift Ace car transport ship leaves San Diego Bay.

ANOTHER UPDATE–Here are more photos that I took at later times…

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Cool, tangled photo of San Diego Trolley Yard.

cool chaotic photo of trolley yard

Here’s a unique photo that looks really cool!

I snapped this pic of the San Diego Trolley Yard at the 12th and Imperial Transit Center from the bridge above Harbor Drive. This new pedestrian bridge is a great spot for views of gleaming downtown skyscrapers, the Convention Center, Petco Park, the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, and the trolley and train yards.

This cool photograph was taken through a fence, giving the image a cluttered, layered, weirdly tangled appearance. The red trolleys seem to snake their way through a gray complex jumble of curving rails, vertical electrical poles and the grid of the blurred fence. It’s an image that fascinates the eye!

Here’s a less fascinating photo taken another day…

A less tangled photo from the bridge of the nearby train rail yard and tracks.
A less tangled photo from the bridge of the nearby train rail yard and tracks.