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.

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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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Surprising contrasts on a quiet walk.

Sunday afternoon I took the trolley to East County to enjoy a quiet walk near Gillespie Field. I knew that along Marshall Avenue there’d be no traffic.

As I walked down the long, empty sidewalk I turned my eyes toward sleepy hangars across the street, burgeoning spring flowers at my feet and a large construction site abandoned for the day. All I heard was the whisper of the breeze, birds flitting here or there and small planes rising into the sky.

The time and place was perfect for a stretch of thinking. I’m struggling with a short story that is particularly difficult. It’s a story about the complexity of people and the small actions that help to define a life. I keep changing the words.

As I walked along in a state of abstraction I slowly became aware of surprising shapes and contrasts in the world all around me. Exactly like the complexity we find in ourselves.

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 photographic adventure by the water.

I enjoyed a small photographic adventure yesterday evening.

Walking along the Embarcadero, camera in hand, I gazed out toward San Diego Bay and the descending sun. Occasionally I paused to frame long shadows, glowing clouds, silhouettes and bright reflections on the water.

These photographs represent a segment of my walk from Broadway Pier to the Greatest Generation Walk, just south of the USS Midway.

The exaggerated contrasts in these photos were produced by my camera’s automatic mode. When I shoot into the sun, many of the resulting images can appear very dramatic. And darkly mysterious!

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!

Slowly rising sunlight and a downtown walk.

Sunlight gradually streamed into downtown early this morning. Like clear water, light rose in the long channels of glass and steel.

I wandered for a few minutes around Broadway, near Pacific Highway and Harbor Drive.

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!

Natural beauty on a Balboa Park walk.

Starting west across Cabrillo Bridge, looking south toward downtown San Diego.
Starting across Cabrillo Bridge, looking south toward downtown San Diego.

On Sunday I walked slowly through Balboa Park. I began at the Cabrillo Bridge and headed east along El Prado. My wandering feet finally took me down into Florida Canyon.

I discovered many scenes of natural beauty: green canyons, bright trees, yellow hillsides, spring flowers, newly opened roses and even cacti.

Come along…

Near the center of Cabrillo Bridge. Trees in sunlight on the median of State Route 163, also known as Cabrillo Freeway.
Near the center of the bridge. Sunlit trees line the median of scenic State Route 163, also known as the Cabrillo Freeway.
Looking back west along Cabrillo Bridge toward the West Mesa of Balboa Park.
Looking back along historic Cabrillo Bridge toward the West Mesa of Balboa Park.
Near the east end of Cabrillo Bridge, looking down at the Rube Powell Archery Range.
Near the east end of the bridge, gazing down at the Rube Powell Archery Range.
Passing through the California Quadrangle. Palm trees cast shadows on the California Tower.
Passing through the California Quadrangle. Palm trees cast shadows on the California Tower.
Gazing back toward the California Tower from the Alcazar Garden.
Turning back to photograph the California Tower from the Alcazar Garden.
Twisty trunks and shadows near the Timken Museum of Art.
Twisty trunks and shadows near the Timken Museum of Art.
Staghorn ferns on one wall of the Botanical Building.
Staghorn ferns on one wall of Balboa Park’s Botanical Building.
Orchids inside the Botanical Building.
Orchids inside the Botanical Building.
More beauty inside the wonderful Botanical Building.
More natural beauty inside the Botanical Building.
A small yellow flower greets me inside the Casa del Prado. It's the annual spring sale by the Southern California Plumeria Society.
A small yellow flower greets me inside the Casa del Prado. I stumbled upon a sale by the Southern California Plumeria Society.
Perfect beauty somewhere along El Prado.
A bloom along El Prado near the Casa de Balboa.
Walking along El Prado, just above the Zoro Garden.
Walking along El Prado, just above the Zoro Garden.
Like orange flames on El Prado.
Like orange flames.
Looking back west as I approach the Plaza de Balboa at the east end of El Prado.
Looking backward as I finally approach the east end of El Prado.
About to cross over Park Boulevard on the pedestrian bridge, gazing back toward the Fleet Science Center.
About to cross over Park Boulevard on the pedestrian bridge, pausing for a moment to look south toward the Fleet Science Center.
Walking among early spring blooms in the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden.
Strolling among early spring blooms in the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden.
In the rose garden, aiming my camera toward the fountain.
In the rose garden, aiming my camera toward the fountain.
Another rose.
Another rose.
Another miracle.
Another.
Gazing east across Florida Canyon. A rainy winter has brought forth lush spring greenery.
Gazing east across Florida Canyon. A rainy winter has brought forth lush spring greenery.
I now move north, into the Desert Garden.
Now I am moving north, into the Desert Garden.
Strange cactus beauty.
Strange cactus beauty.
More surprising beauty.
More beauty.
About to head down a winding path into Florida Canyon.
About to head down a winding path into Florida Canyon.
A hillside bright with cacti and native sunflowers.
A hillside bright with cacti and spring flowers.
More abundant natural beauty.
Nature has painted the hillside.
Slanting cacti.
Slanting cacti.
The beauty of Balboa Park never ends.
The natural beauty in Balboa Park never ends.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park, too? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!