A quiet Sunday walk down Sixth Avenue.

I enjoyed a slow, easy walk down Sixth Avenue around noontime today. As a rule, the quietest day in downtown is Sunday, but there’s still plenty in the city to discover.

If you’re familiar with San Diego, you might recognize some of the locations in these 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!

Trades That Shaped the West demonstrated in Old Town!

A Wells Fargo stagecoach takes a turn around La Plaza de Las Armas in San Diego's historic Old Town.
A Wells Fargo stagecoach takes a turn around La Plaza de Las Armas in San Diego’s historic Old Town.

Here come photos from today’s Trades That Shaped the West event, which took place in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park!

A wide variety of demonstrations drew curious visitors to a cluster of tents in the park’s grassy plaza. Early San Diego in the 1800’s was completely different from our modern city of gleaming skyscrapers. In many ways, life back then was both simpler and more difficult. Many household objects that are manufactured today were crafted using raw muscle and sweat. Most ordinary tasks were neither easy nor automated.

One hopes that historical reenactments like this continue for generations, so that people don’t forget the unique and meaningful lives of our ancestors.

You might notice this isn’t the first time I’ve blogged about this annual event. I’m so fascinated by San Diego’s history, I decided to experience Trades That Shaped the West again!

Stagecoach Days is celebrated every Saturday in Old Town during the summer. There’s a different themed event every week!

Aspects of frontier life were reenacted today in Old Town San Diego. Visitors watch in amazement as a stagecoach passes by!
Aspects of frontier life were reenacted today in Old Town San Diego. Visitors watch as a stagecoach passes by!
History comes to life during Stagecoach Days in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. There's a different theme each Saturday in July and August.
History comes to life during Stagecoach Days in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. There’s a different theme each Saturday in July and August.
Many fascinating demonstrations could be viewed by the public at the Trades That Shaped the West event.
Many fascinating demonstrations could be viewed by the public at the Trades That Shaped the West event today.
Young and old alike watched two blacksmiths at work with an anvil and small portable forge.
Young and old alike watched two blacksmiths at work with an anvil and small forge.
A wheelwright explains his craft. Wagon wheels were difficult to create, but a necessity of life in the 1800's.
A wheelwright explains his craft. To make wagon wheels required great skill. Like cars today, wagons were an important part of life in the 1800’s.
The bent metal band tyre would be expanded with heat, then contracted using cold water once carefully placed around the wooden wheel.
The bent metal band tyre would be expanded with heat, then contracted using cold water once carefully placed around the wooden wheel.
We take laundry machines for granted today. In the Old West, cleaning clothes took a whole lot more work.
We take laundry machines for granted today. Years ago in the Old West, cleaning clothes required a whole lot more work!
Irons, washboards and other objects from daily life generations ago are on display.
Irons, washboards and other objects from daily life generations ago were on display.
These ladies were weaving baskets. Basket-weaving is said to be the oldest of all human crafts.
These ladies were weaving baskets. Basket-weaving is said to be the oldest of all human crafts.
The local Kumeyaay would use willow baskets to protect their gathered acorns and other food from insects.
The local Native American Kumeyaay would use willow baskets to protect their gathered acorns and other food from insects.
This portable green forge is being used for the first time. The handle turns a belt which operates an air blower. I recognized this blacksmith from the Fall Back Festival in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.
This portable green forge is being used for the first time. The handle turns a belt which operates an air blower. I recognized this blacksmith from the Fall Back Festival in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.
Local blacksmith hobbyists made all the items you see here, including the ornamental snake (which takes about an hour and a half to make) and the huge padlock!
Local blacksmith hobbyists created all the items you see here, including the ornamental snake (which took about an hour and a half to make) and the huge padlock!
This crafty gambler tried to entice me into playing a game of chance. Nice try!
This crafty gambler tried to entice me into playing a game of chance. Nice try!
A gentleman had a table containing old tintype photographs. He also had antique cameras on display that produce daguerreotype photographs.
A gentleman had a table containing old tintype photographs. He also had antique cameras on display that were used for daguerreotype photographs.
A new wheel is being produced by several wainwrights, trades people who make and repair wagons and carts.
A new wheel is being produced by several wainwrights, trades people who craft and repair wagons and carts. These guys belong to the California Historical Artillery Society.
A variety of useful tools and devices. Many look familiar today.
A variety of useful tools on their table. Many look familiar today.
Friendly members of the California Historical Artillery Society were demonstrating at the annual Old Town event for the first time.
The members of the California Historical Artillery Society were attending the annual Trades That Shaped the West event for the first time.
Approximate blacksmithing prices in the mid 1800's.
Sign shows average blacksmithing prices in the mid 1800’s. The prices were much higher in Northern California during the Gold Rush.
These guys also had a traveling battery forge, used by the Army long ago. Today they are often used in Civil War reenactments.
These guys also had a traveling battery forge, used by the Army long ago. Today they are often used in Civil War reenactments.
I noticed that the snake oil salesman had drawn a crowd!
I noticed that a snake oil salesman had drawn a crowd!
An old lady with a bad case of lumbago was eager to try Dr. Montbank's Tonic Elixir.
An old lady with a bad case of lumbago was eager to try Dr. Montbank’s Tonic Elixir.
I'm not sure it helped much.
I’m not sure it helped much.
A guitar, fiddle, banjo and a bottle. These frontier musicians were getting ready to provide a bit of Western entertainment.
A guitar, a fiddle, and a bottle. These frontier musicians were getting themselves ready to provide a bit of Western entertainment.
Visitors to Old Town were walking in front of the Colorado House and enjoying a sunny San Diego weekend.
Visitors to Old Town were walking in front of the Colorado House and enjoying a sunny San Diego weekend.
Look what's coming! These pack animals have transported the mail all the way from San Antonio!
Look what’s coming! These pack animals have transported the mail all the way from San Antonio!
The Overland Mail Delivery arrived exactly at one o'clock!
The Overland Mail Delivery arrived exactly at one o’clock!
I guess this would qualify as Ground Mail.
I guess this would qualify as Ground Mail.
The small Old Town encampment excitedly greets the four-legged mail carriers.
The small Old Town encampment excitedly greets the four-legged mail carriers.
Mail is handed out to many event participants!
Mail is handed out to many of the event participants!
The young folk don't seem to notice.
These creative young folk are too busy writing their own letters to notice.
An educational slice of history could be enjoyed today in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park!
An educational reenactment of history was enjoyed today in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park!

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People ride cool “live steam” trains in San Diego!

A "live steam" enthusiast watches folks ride a small train through Rohr Park, in San Diego's South Bay.
A “live steam” enthusiast watches families ride a small train through Rohr Park, in San Diego’s South Bay.

This is beyond cool!

The Chula Vista Live Steamers is a club in San Diego’s South Bay. Members build and operate their own small “live steam” trains that people can actually ride!

These friendly hobbyists utilize an elaborate network of miniature train tracks in a public park; the layout is called the Sweetwater and Rohr Park Railroad. During public run days, which take place in Bonita’s grassy Rohr Park one Saturday and Sunday of each month, anyone can watch or ride the small trains! Or if you’re inclined, join and become a member! If you have kids, visit their website, and you can schedule birthday parties!

Today I spotted one steam and one diesel locomotive (which is actually powered by gasoline). It’s winter, so things are bit slow. On Labor Day, I was told, a gigantic railroading extravaganza takes places, with many different trains running simultaneously! If you’re a kid (or a kid at heart), I can only imagine how utterly fantastic it would be!

Whether you’re a railfan, a model train enthusiast, a maker, a dreamer, or just like to see something really unique and fun, head down to join in the action and you’ll have a great time!

Should you walk down this path through Rohr Park in Bonita, you'll eventually come upon something really cool and amazing.
Should you walk down this path through Rohr Park in Bonita, you’ll eventually come upon something really cool and amazing.
Run days for The Chula Vista Live Steamers are usually the 2nd Saturday and Sunday of each month. On Labor Day there's a huge event with many trains operating.
Run days for The Chula Vista Live Steamers are usually the 2nd Saturday and Sunday of each month. On Labor Day there’s a huge event with many trains operating.
Adults love riding the trains just as much as kids. Hobbyists build and maintain the rail cars and working locomotives, and haul them to the park for some fun.
Adults love riding the trains just as much as kids. Hobbyists build and maintain the rail cars and working locomotives, and haul them to the park for some fun.
Thrilled kids ride behind a small diesel locomotive, which is actually powered by gasoline. The tracks looping through the park provide a fun, scenic ride.
Thrilled kids ride behind a small “diesel locomotive”, which is actually powered by gasoline. The tracks looping through the park provide a fun, scenic ride.
Here comes the same train. The Bonita Golf Course is in the distance, beyond the tracks.
Here comes the same train. The Bonita Golf Course is in the distance, beyond the tracks.
This working steam locomotive is a very cool sight. But it's so small that folks at a nearby picnic table seem to be giants.
This working steam locomotive is a very cool sight. But it’s so small that folks at a nearby picnic table seem to be giants.
This tiny train is part of the National City and Otay Railway!
This tiny train is part of the National City and Otay Railway!
A close-up photo of the live steam locomotive. In every detail, it seems a perfect reproduction of a full-size engine.
A close-up photo of the live steam locomotive. In every detail, it seems a perfect reproduction of a full-size engine.
Dedicated train hobbyists have gathered on the surprisingly large rail yard to watch the steam locomotive.
Dedicated train hobbyists have gathered on the surprisingly large rail yard to enjoy the steam locomotive.
This caboose in the rail yard seems to be occupied by the Creature from the Black Lagoon!
This caboose in the rail yard seems to be occupied by the Creature from the Black Lagoon!
A pair of tracks head for a good quarter mile along the edge of the Bonita Golf Course. You can see railroad crossings and a few small bridges!
A pair of tracks head for a good quarter mile along the edge of the Bonita Golf Course. You can see railroad crossings and a few small bridges!
Occasionally, trains will run down the length of the golf course to another loop.
Occasionally, trains will run down the side of the golf course to another loop.
An actual working railway turntable! This area is where steam locomotives are fired up and build up steam pressure before running. The turntable is very busy on Labor Day!
An actual working railway turntable! This area is where steam locomotives build up steam pressure before running. The turntable is very busy on Labor Day!
Checking out a super cool locomotive operated by a member of the Chula Vista Live Steamers!
Checking out a super cool locomotive operated by a member of the Chula Vista Live Steamers!

Follow along on some unique adventures! You can enjoy future Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Trades That Shaped the West live on in Old Town.

A ship's purser greets the friendly wheelwright in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park during Stagecoach Days: Trades That Shaped the West.
A merchant ship’s purser greets a wheelwright in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park during Stagecoach Days: Trades That Shaped the West.

This afternoon I took a short easy stroll through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. My trusty little camera captured some interesting photos of history come to life!

During summer Saturdays, Old Town hosts a cool event called Stagecoach Days. Each weekend there’s a different theme. Today it was Trades That Shaped the West.

As you might imagine, I witnessed historical reenactments of working life in San Diego when the town was a small outpost of civilization surrounded by mostly undeveloped wilderness. In those days life was often difficult, but the people were from hardy stock. Let’s see a small sample of what 19th century San Diego might have been like…

Stagecoach Days, Celebrating the West on the Move, is open free to the public. The weekly event is held on summer Saturdays in Old Town's historic central plaza.
Stagecoach Days, Celebrating the West on the Move, is open free to the public. The weekly event is held on summer Saturdays in Old Town’s historic central plaza.
Preparing an old Stanhope Park Phaeton, parked with other buggies and carriages in front of the Robinson-Rose House Visitor Information Center.
Preparing an old Stanhope Park Phaeton, parked with other buggies and carriages in front of the Robinson-Rose House Visitor Information Center.
A ladies basket trap carriage, circa 1900. This simple horse-drawn vehicle was often used for comfortable country travel, complete with wicker basket seat.
A ladies basket trap carriage, circa 1900. This simple horse-drawn vehicle was often used for comfortable country travel, complete with wicker basket seat.
The wheelwright had many tools on display and explained how wheels in the 19th century were skillfully created of wood and iron.
The wheelwright had many tools on display and explained how wheels in the 19th century were skillfully created of wood and iron.
A welded ring of bent iron would be expanded with heat, then placed around the wheel's ash wood circumference.
A welded ring of bent iron would be expanded with heat, then placed around the wheel’s ash wood circumference.
A cool woodworker demonstrates and provides the names of his many tools to the delight of watching kids.
A cool woodworker demonstrates and provides the names of his many tools to the delight of watching kids.
A sneaky peek into the blacksmith shop behind Seeley Stable Museum before the event officially begins outside in the plaza.
A sneak peek into the blacksmith shop behind Seeley Stable Museum before the event officially begins outside in the plaza.
A patient blacksmith bangs away on some hot metal as he fashions a thin, pointed nail.
A blacksmith bangs away on some hot metal as he fashions a thin, pointed nail.
This sliver of red hot iron with some hammering will be turned into a nail with a flat head, ready to be used for 19th century construction.
This sliver of red hot iron with some hammering will be turned into a nail with a flat head, ready to be used for 19th century construction.
These folks in historical costume are busily preparing some biscuits, a common food in the early days of San Diego.
These folks in historical costume are busily preparing some biscuits, a common food in the early days of San Diego.
A smiling someone is tending the campfire. What's cooking?
A smiling someone is tending the campfire. What’s cooking?
Looks like a bubbling stew!
Looks like a bubbling stew!
Printing press demonstration underway at the San Diego Union Museum print shop in Old Town.
Printing press demonstration underway at the San Diego Union Museum print shop in Old Town.
Wells Fargo employee, from the agent’s office museum in the Colorado House, helps Old Town visitors into a stagecoach for a photograph.
Wells Fargo employee, from the agent’s office museum in the Colorado House, helps people into a stagecoach for a photograph.
Of course, a good historical reenactment of the Old West requires lively music and enthusiastic dancing.
Of course, a good historical reenactment of the Old West requires lively music and enthusiastic dancing.
Two ladies prepare to dance the polka.
Two ladies prepare to dance the polka.

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Drama and music in Balboa Park’s Zoro Garden.

Actors rehearse A Nation of Pain in Balboa Park's small Zoro Garden.
Actors rehearse A Nation of Pain in Balboa Park’s small Zoro Garden.

Today during my walk through Balboa Park, I noticed that the small Zoro Garden has become a venue for summer weekend entertainment. Usually the shady, sinuous, amphitheatre-like garden is left to the butterflies, who flutter here and there in sunbeams above ragged beds of colorful flowers.

As I walked down, actors were rehearsing for a comedic play on the bare dirt center of the garden. At two o’clock a musical performance began, and I listened while chowing down on a polish sausage. I love Balboa Park!

Garden Theatre Festival takes place during the summer in Balboa Park.
Garden Theatre Festival takes place during the summer in Balboa Park.
People enter the seldom-used, charming Zoro Garden.
People enter the seldom-used, charming Zoro Garden.
This was a nudist colony during the 1935 California-Pacific Exposition!
This was a nudist colony during the 1935 California-Pacific Exposition!
Butterfly among flowers in the small Zoro Garden.
Butterfly among flowers in the small Zoro Garden.
Zoro Garden dedicated to butterflies in 2007.
Zoro Garden dedicated to butterflies in 2007.
Jennie Buss' Band plays warm-hearted music for onlookers.
Jennie Buss’ Band plays warm-hearted music for onlookers.
Folks enjoy a musical performance in Balboa Park.
Folks enjoy an intimate musical performance in Balboa Park.

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Dick’s Last Resort in the Gaslamp.

dick's last resort in the gaslamp

Here’s a photo taken on a weekday morning of Dick’s Last Resort in the Gaslamp. This wacky bar and restaurant chain with an intentionally-trained-to-be-obnoxious staff is jam-packed with all sorts of colorful customers most evenings and especially on weekends. Beer and good times are known to flow freely here!

Here are a couple more pics from other days:

Dick's Last Resort seen from across Fourth Avenue.
Dick’s Last Resort seen from across Fourth Avenue.
A very dour, funny unshaven dude with beer mug.
A very dour, funny unshaven dude with beer mug.