Big shark mural in University Heights!

This large shark mural in University Heights was painted many years ago. But every time I’ve walked by it in the past, taking photographs was problematic. (Here’s one instance.)

A couple days ago I finally captured the entire mural! (Well, almost all of it.)

The artist is Cinzah, who hails from New Zealand. He painted this wall for the 2016 Sea Walls Festival organized by PangeaSeed Foundation. He wanted to increase awareness of a severe threat to shark populations: the act of finning. Around 100,000,000 sharks are killed every year for their fins, sharply reducing their numbers. The mural is titled 100 Million.

You can see this cool mural from the Park Boulevard sidewalk, to the east, half a block south of Monroe Avenue.

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Remains of ostrich farm in University Heights.

In 2022, the University Heights Historical Society placed a historical marker at the intersection of Park Boulevard and Adams Avenue. The sign stands near the remains of the entrance to the long-vanished Harvey Bentley’s Ostrich Farm!

The City of San Diego describes Historical Landmark No. 346 as: Mission Cliff Gardens Cobblestone Wall and Related Features.

One can see similar stone posts a couple blocks to the east at Trolley Barn Park. Cobblestones structures (and images of ostriches) are frequently seen throughout University Heights!

The sign explains:

This was once the entrance to Harvey Bentley’s Ostrich Farm, established in 1904. Nearby are the remains of a waiting station and drinking fountain for the #11 streetcar that brought scores of visitors from downtown to University Heights to see the ostriches as well as Mission Cliff Gardens and William Hilton’s Silk Mill. The streetcar was part of the 165-mile San Diego Electric Railway network, established in 1892 by visionary entrepreneur John D. Spreckels.

Here are two public domain images of the ostrich farm…

Just for fun, I photographed an ostrich painted at Yipao Coffee, a short distance south on Park Boulevard…

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

Hollywood, Tarzan, Live Wire and Vaudeville!

Hollywood, Tarzan, Live Wire and Vaudeville… What do these four have in common?

They’re all aspects of a short walk in University Heights!

A few days ago I walked east along the south sidewalk of El Cajon Boulevard, from Park Boulevard to Louisiana Street. My camera was out, aiming at anything that caught my fancy.

I saw street art and the iconic The Boulevard sign. I passed a strange bicycle and a fun window.

When I came to the historic Lafayette Hotel, I noticed huge banners proclaiming its rebirth in June of 2023.

The Lafayette Hotel has undergone many changes since it began as the Imig Manor in 1946. It’s very first guest was Bob Hope. It soon became a favorite playground for Hollywood stars, like Ava Gardner, Katharine Hepburn, Betty Grable, Lana Turner and singer Bing Crosby. It’s rumored Marilyn Monroe and JFK had a secret rendezvous here.

The hotel’s swimming pool was designed by Olympic gold medal winning swimmer and Tarzan movie actor Johnny Weissmuller. It was used by San Diego native Florence Chadwick to train for her record breaking swim across the English Channel. The hotel’s Mississippi Ballroom was used in the filming of Top Gun’s classic You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ scene.

You can learn more about the amazing, elegant features of the Lafayette Hotel here.

Okay! Here are photos from my short walk…

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

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!

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Huge owl spotted in University Heights!

A huge owl has been spotted perched on a building in University Heights. Drive down El Cajon Boulevard just west of Texas Street and there’s a good chance you’ll spot it, too. The mysterious owl seems to have merged with a flowering tree!

This cool mural was painted by San Diego muralist Gloria Muriel. Her unique style is unmistakable!

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Cool PARK BLVD mural in University Heights!

I recently noticed a new spray painted mural in University Heights on the south wall of Park Boulevard Liquor and Deli. It has replaced another mural which I posted several years ago here.

The artists for this very cool street art appear to be: HASLER, SHARK, BRAVE and T-BONE.

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!

Local history remembered at Trolley Barn Park.

A cobblestone post at the entrance to Trolley Barn Park.
A cobblestone post at the entrance to Trolley Barn Park.

In University Heights, sunny Trolley Barn Park is a favorite place for neighbors to gather. Whenever I drive past I notice the grass field and playground are alive with activity.

Last weekend, as I walked through the park, I observed plaques and a winding path that remember the old trolley car barn that once occupied this beautiful spot overlooking Mission Valley.

In 1913 the Adams Avenue Trolley Barn was built near Mission Cliff Gardens. The popular botanical destination north of downtown was created by John D. Spreckels, who also owned the San Diego Electric Railway Company. The trolley barn was built directly adjacent to Harvey Bentley’s Ostrich Farm, where visitors could actually ride the exotic birds.

The large brick trolley barn serviced hundreds of cars until 1949. That’s when the streetcars, overtaken by city buses, finally ceased operation.

Many old cobblestone walls and posts from the days of Mission Cliff Gardens can still be seen around Trolley Barn Park and the surrounding neighborhood. Like the surprising images of ostriches, these cobblestone structures today are a symbol of the very unique history of University Heights.

To learn much more about the history of Trolley Barn Park and University Heights, you can visit a very informative page here.

Plaque at base of post reads: HISTORIC LANDMARK No. 369 - ADAMS AVENUE TROLLEY CARBARN SITE 1913 - 1949 . . . The Old Trolley Barn Park was dedicated on this site April 6, 1991.
Plaque at base of post reads: HISTORIC LANDMARK No. 369 – ADAMS AVENUE TROLLEY CARBARN SITE 1913 – 1949 . . . The Old Trolley Barn Park was dedicated on this site April 6, 1991.

What appears to be a round table in the park contains an interesting plaque that remembers when trolleys ran through University Heights.
What appears to be a round table in the park contains an interesting plaque that recalls when trolleys ran through University Heights.

Map of the old 1917 trolley line from downtown San Diego into University Heights in Old Trolley Barn Neighborhood Park.
Map of the old 1917 trolley line from downtown San Diego into University Heights in Old Trolley Barn Neighborhood Park.

Dedicated to all of the members of the University Heights Community Association who helped make this park a reality.
Dedicated to all of the members of the University Heights Community Association who helped make this park a reality.

This scenic spot in Trolley Barn Park overlooks Mission Valley.
This scenic spot in Trolley Barn Park overlooks Mission Valley, which lies to the north.

People jog along a walkway which features tracks that wind through the park like the old trolley line.
People jog along a shady path. Its “tracks” wind through the park like the old trolley line.

Along the walkway are the street names once passed by the trolley line.
Along the walkway are the street names once passed by the trolley line.

Another sunny San Diego day as people recreate on the grass.
Another sunny San Diego day as people recreate on the grass.

An electrical box at the edge of the park is painted like a cobblestone post, one of the symbols of University Heights.
An electrical box at the edge of the park is painted like a cobblestone post, one of the symbols of University Heights.

Trolley Barn Park is a beautiful part of University Heights that honors its colorful history.
Trolley Barn Park is a beautiful gathering place in University Heights that honors the community’s colorful history.

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!

Cool sights along Adams Avenue west of 30th.

A very cool mural spray painted on the wall of The Land Barbershop on Adams Avenue.
A very cool mural spray painted on the wall of The Land Barbershop on Adams Avenue.

During a recent walk along a stretch of Adams Avenue, I was excited to discover some very cool sights!

I photographed several great examples of street art, plus a tranquil park with a beautiful bronze sculpture.

My journey started in North Park, near the intersection of Adams Avenue and 30th Street. I proceeded west along Adams Avenue until I reached the Texas Street bridge, then I continued a couple blocks farther into University Heights.

More colorful artwork on the front of The Land Barbershop in North Park.
More colorful artwork on the front of The Land Barbershop in North Park.

A bold, contented face painted by the entrance to Dia Del Cafe.
A bold, contented face painted by the entrance to Dia Del Cafe.

Faded mural depicting two classic cars, next to a repair bay at Advantec Auto Repair.
Faded mural depicting two classic cars, next to a repair bay at Advantec Auto Repair.

It's HYPNOSIS CAKE TIME at Twiggs Bakery and Coffeehouse!
It’s HYPNOSIS CAKE TIME at Twiggs Bakery and Coffeehouse!

Fun art on the exterior of Mona Lizzy's.
Fun art on the exterior of Mona Lizzy’s.

More fun artwork at Mona Lizzy's.
More fun artwork at Mona Lizzy’s.

Meditation is invited on Adams Avenue at the Sri Chinmoy Peace Garden, maintained by the San Diego Sri Chinmoy Centre.
Meditation is invited on Adams Avenue at the Sri Chinmoy Peace Garden, maintained by the San Diego Sri Chinmoy Centre.

Plaque in a small park dedicated to Sri Chinmoy. STUDENT OF PEACE--CHAMPION OF THE INDOMITABLE SPIRIT OF MANKIND
Plaque in a small park dedicated to Sri Chinmoy. STUDENT OF PEACE–CHAMPION OF THE INDOMITABLE SPIRIT OF MANKIND

A fine bronze statue of Sri Chinmoy.
A fine bronze statue of Sri Chinmoy.

Sign on Adams Avenue marks the west end of Historic Antique Row.
Sign on Adams Avenue marks the west end of Historic Antique Row.

Looking north down into Mission Valley. Photo taken from the Adams Avenue bridge that spans Texas Street, as I walk west from North Park into University Heights.
Looking north into Mission Valley on a spring day. Photo taken from the Adams Avenue bridge over Texas Street, as I walked west from North Park into University Heights.

Some stylish artwork painted on the wall of Grains vegetarian restaurant.
Some stylish artwork painted on the wall of Grains vegetarian restaurant.

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Art along Park Boulevard in University Heights.

A small sign with ostrich welcomes those walking up Park Boulevard to University Heights.
A small sign with an ostrich welcomes those walking up Park Boulevard in University Heights.

Last weekend I walked along Park Boulevard in University Heights. I headed north from El Cajon Boulevard to Adams Avenue, then back south on the opposite sidewalk. I saw all sorts of fun art during my journey!

Why so many ostriches? University Heights has adopted the ostrich as a unique and memorable symbol. Back in 1903 this neighborhood was the home of Harvey Bentley’s ostrich farm, where visitors could ride the large birds!

Artistic mural painted on south wall of Park Blvd Artworks.
Artistic mural painted on south wall of Park Blvd Artworks.

Wall painted by New Zealand artist Cinzah for the PangeaSeed Foundation informs passersby that each year 100,000,000 sharks are killed for their fins.
Wall painted by New Zealand artist Cinzah for the PangeaSeed Foundation informs passersby that each year 100,000,000 sharks are killed for their fins.

Electrical box street art near the Diversionary Theatre.
Electrical box floral street art near the Diversionary Theatre.

People walk up the Park Boulevard sidewalk toward the University Heights landmark sign.
People walk up Park Boulevard’s sidewalk toward the University Heights landmark sign.

Some small colorful tiles in a stucco wall.
Some small colorful tiles in a stucco wall.

Transformer box painted with an image of The Pavilion at Mission Cliff Gardens.
Transformer box painted with an image of The Pavilion at Mission Cliff Gardens.

Street lamp banner with ostrich proclaims University Heights - Founded in 1888.
Streetlamp banner with ostrich proclaims University Heights – Founded in 1888.

Faded flowery street art on a utility box.
Faded flowery street art on a utility box.

A small, peaceful sculpture in front of Buddha's Light Bookstore.
A small, peaceful sculpture in front of Buddha’s Light Bookstore.

Spiritual image above front entrance of San Diego Buddhist Association's Hsi Fang Temple.
Spiritual image above front entrance of San Diego Buddhist Association’s Hsi Fang Temple.

Part of a cool mural painted on store wall at the corner of Park Boulevard and Monroe Avenue.
Part of the cool mural painted on a store wall at the corner of Park Boulevard and Monroe Avenue.

I photographed the above mural four years ago. See more images of this street art here!

Some more cool but faded street art.
Some beautiful but faded street art.

Silly faces!
Silly faces!

Love Your H2O, a mural painted by local artist Gloria Muriel for the Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans project.
Love Your H2O, a mural painted by local artist Gloria Muriel for the Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans project.

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!

An architectural landmark in University Heights.

Last weekend I enjoyed an easy walk through University Heights. My small adventure included a close look at an architectural landmark that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Teacher Training School Building–San Diego State Normal School. Today the monumental old building, located inside the San Diego Unified School District’s Education Center Complex, is officially designated Teachers Training Annex 1.

The 1910 building, built by engineer Nathan Ellery and architect George Sellon, is in the Italian Renaissance Revival Style. According to the Save Our Heritage Organisation website: “It is the only structure remaining from the 1897 San Diego State Normal School’s University Heights campus, the forerunner to present day San Diego State University. Originally functioning as a living laboratory for student teachers, it was transferred to the City of San Diego Schools in 1931 and served as the original Alice Birney Elementary School until 1951.”

Many in the community hope to see the historic building renovated and transformed into a new University Heights library, replacing the small branch library on Park Boulevard a couple blocks to the south.

Here are some exterior photos…

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!