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!
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…
I love this small bronze sculpture just in front of the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. Because it stands inconspicuously in the seldom-visited northwest corner of the Plaza de Panama, few people ever wander over to look at it. Which is a shame.
This piece of art is titled Youth Taming the Wild (Horse Trainer) and was created by Anna Hyatt Huntington in 1927. She is also responsible for the huge, iconic El Cid statue near the center of the plaza, between the fountain and the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
I love the expressed energy in this work of art and the careful natural detail. One can see why this fine artist is considered one of the top equestrian sculptors.