Unusual tower of the Quartermass-Wilde House.

The historic 1896 Quartermass-Wilde House, located in Golden Hill overlooking downtown San Diego, is one of the most fantastic, palatial old houses in our city.

Should you walk by Broadway and 24th Street, you might notice that this Queen Anne-style Victorian mansion, with a Classical Revival influence, has a very unusual tower. The top of the tower is shaped like a dome!

Why?

Because Louis J. Wilde, Mayor of San Diego from 1917–1921, loved architect Irving Gill’s elegant 1910 Broadway Fountain so much that he had the tower of his mansion altered to resemble it!

Louis J. Wilde was a controversial mayor, banker, oil tycoon, developer and part owner of the US Grant Hotel. His donation of $10,000 helped to build the Broadway Fountain in Horton Plaza Park, directly across Broadway from the US Grant. (He was also responsible for changing the name of D Street to Broadway!)

I’ve read the cupola under the tower’s dome provides an amazing panoramic view of downtown San Diego!

The 1910 Broadway Fountain at Horton Plaza Park. The fountain, with its unique watery dome supported by classic Corinthian columns, was designed by architect Irving Gill.
The top of the tower of the historic 1896 Quartermass-Wilde House in Golden Hill was altered by Mayor Wilde years later to resemble the Broadway Fountain that he loved in downtown San Diego!

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Aztec Bowl sign at North Park apartments!

I was walking up 30th Street in North Park a couple weekends ago when I saw what appeared to be a bowling alley sign rising in front of an apartment complex. As you might imagine, I did a double take! And snapped a few photos.

A little online research reveals that before these apartments were built, Aztec Bowling Lanes was located here.

Aztec Bowl was established in 1959. For 40 years–from 1960 To 2001–the place also featured entertainment in its Turquoise Lounge, where people would gather to enjoy retro decor and live bands. Music was also performed by the lanes as people bowled!

Over time the popularity of bowling slowly faded. Aztec Bowl was demolished in 2001 to make way for the residential buildings you see in my photographs. But the neon Aztec Bowl sign, recalling a little bit of San Diego history, remains!

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!

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Graffiti removed, scrambled, reassembled!

Check out these strange photographs!

Earlier this year, sheets of plywood protecting certain downtown San Diego windows had been spray painted with colorful graffiti. A few days ago the same boards were reused and placed over windows again.

The original graffiti artwork has been scrambled and randomly reassembled in a bizarre but visually fascinating way!

REAL STREET ART!! (Turned upside down.)

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!

Strange disappearance of St. Joseph Cathedral!

The first thing that grabbed my attention during my walk this morning–other than the fog–was St. Joseph Cathedral had vanished!

The large cathedral seemed to have disappeared under an enormous striped circus tent!

They must have termites.

Now that’s one very peculiar sight you don’t see every day!

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!

Watching a coronavirus game at Petco Park.

During this shortened coronavirus pandemic baseball season, is it possible to actually watch a Padres game at Petco Park? Assuming you aren’t positioned in one of the nearby high-rise buildings? Well, sort of…

Today after work I headed to Petco Park, knowing a Padres afternoon game would be in progress. I was curious to see whether anything interesting was going on at the ballpark–if there was anything to see at all. The Padres and other Major League Baseball teams have taken many steps to protect the public and their staff from the highly contagious COVID-19 virus.

I did see the Arizona Diamondbacks buses parked outside. I did hear the distant announcer vaguely calling plays, music playing between at-bats and innings, and recorded cheering.

When I walked around to Social Tap and the nearby entrance of Gallagher Square (which used to be called Park at the Park), I noticed some fans were hanging out behind the fence bordering the kids’ small ball field.

I joined them.

We could see the video screen that faces Gallagher Square, and one of Petco Park’s faraway scoreboards. We could clearly hear the game–as one would hear it on television, without the play-by-play or commentary. Through a teeny tiny gap in the fence it was possible to see the tops of the heads of visiting bullpen pitchers, the pitcher’s mound and a little tiny bit of the home dugout. But you really couldn’t tell what was going on.

What was fun was the idea that I was actually at the ballpark, with a few other devoted fans!

I happened to walk up as the Padres were trailing the Diamondbacks 1-2. Right after I arrived, a huge rally began and the Padres were soon leading 6-2. Everyone cheered.

Even though nobody heard the few of us.

The Pads won!

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!

An enormous sailing yacht, way up in the air!

Look what I saw as I walked past the Driscoll Mission Bay Boat Yard yesterday. A gigantic sailing yacht, suspended way up in the air!

That towering mast appeared about as high as a five-story building!

How did that enormous boat get up there?

Now that’s one peculiar sight!

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!

A fine evening to eat in the middle of the street!

It’s a fine evening to eat dinner in the middle of the street–Fifth Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter, that is!

Certain restaurants have begun to serve diners at tables in the middle of Fifth Avenue, from G Street down to L Street. “Curbside Gaslamp” has introduced this new way of coping with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and the need for people to maintain six feet of social distance. Safely spaced tables occupy an “extended patio” right into the street, which is closed to traffic. Servers wear facial protection. And diners get to feast in the open air, surrounded by the dynamism and color of the historic Gaslamp Quarter!

Curbside Gaslamp is activated on Thursday and Friday 3 pm – midnight, and Saturday from noon to midnight. Safety rules are posted on a sign which I photographed. If you’re curious, click the photo below and it will enlarge for easy reading.

I believe as time goes on, more and more eateries will be participating!

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!

Pumping sewage and Emerson’s mutable cloud.

What words would you expect to read on the side of a sewage pumping station?

Caution? Beware of spill? In case of vile stink, call an emergency phone number immediately?

Pump Station #4 in Point Loma is different. You can find it at the corner of Carleton Street and Shafter Street, near the entrance to Shelter Island. Large words on the small pump station might cause those walking by to stop and wonder. Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.

It’s a quote by transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson.

If you think about it, sewage is simply another part of nature. And it’s a sort of mutable cloud, always and never the same. It’s a liquidy cloud that’s kept safely unseen and unsmelled.

This very unusual public art was created by Marcos Ramirez and Teddy Cruz. The otherwise ugly cinder block pump station was painted blue and made interesting with an adjacent sculpture of beams, and the steel lattice on two sides containing Emerson’s strangely appropriate philosophical quote.

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Unusual public art at Escondido Transit Center.

Unusual public art stands in the middle of the Escondido Transit Center. The abstract concrete sculpture is surrounded by North County Transit District bus stops.

Tilted concrete slabs, like geometric planes, form a narrow passage. The title of the sculpture is Hekkilk, and it was created by Peter Mitten in 1989. According to a nearby plaque, Hekkilk is a Diegueño Indian word that means “a big dent, as in a pass through mountains.”

The abstract concrete sculpture is apparently a representation of local geography.

The passage is oriented north/south. Approximate distances from the sculpture to various geographic points in San Diego County are noted on the plaque.

For several decades, those travelling through Escondido have been able to take a few steps through this “big dent” and contemplate the larger world around them.

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!

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Stonehenge, stacked blocks, and a La Jolla Project.

Looks somehow familiar?

No, this work of art in UC San Diego’s Stuart Collection isn’t titled Stonehenge. But that’s what many students call it.

Environmental artist Richard Fleischner created this monumental public art, La Jolla Project, in 1984. His artwork explores how universal architectural forms might be integrated into a natural setting. For his La Jolla Project, he used stones quarried in New England and cut near Providence, Rhode Island, on the other side of the continent. A whole lot of human calculation and labor was required to create something that appears extremely simple.

To me, it looks like an enormous giant sat down on a green patch of grass and stacked some toy blocks. The blocks are scattered and assembled in several ways, often forming columns, benches and arches. These simple blocks remind the viewer that all architecture–all existing physical matter in fact–can be broken down into the most rudimentary shapes we learn in basic geometry.

As you walk around La Jolla Project, you feel you’ve entered a strange otherworld that is somehow different from ordinary space and time. It’s a place where abstract forms have materialized in a familiar, park-like landscape. Did they descend from the stars? From the hand of a gigantic, playful child? From the realm of pure ideas? (As I think about it, these vertical forms almost appear like words spelled out with an alien alphabet, including a punctuation mark here or there.)

Should you ever visit UC San Diego, wander through this mazy construction and perhaps arrive at your own conclusion.

But first you must find La Jolla Project on the Revelle College lawn south of Galbraith Hall, beside Scholars Drive South, north of the La Jolla Playhouse.

Bring a compass.

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!