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.
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.
Across from the blacksmith you’ll find this. Very cool!
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.
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.
The Seeley Stable Museum is free!
Here are a few more interesting and informative photos that I took inside the museum in August 2017…
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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!
Almost every day this blog post is receiving visitors from Pinterest.
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!
Are you a railroad or streetcar enthusiast? Do you love railway history?
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 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:
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.
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.
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!
ANOTHER UPDATE–Here are more photos that I took at later times…
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…