A look inside Old Town’s Wood Shop!

The working Blacksmith Shop is one of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s most popular attractions. At one end of the blacksmith shop is a small wood shop, where I seldom see any activity. But that wasn’t the case today!

Gary, a California State Parks volunteer, was busy working on some projects inside the Wood Shop. He was nice enough to describe the elegant Mediterranean chair that he is creating, plus a beautiful wooden cabinet and stand!

He then demonstrated some of the old-fashioned tools one can see in the wood shop. Many of the historical tools hanging on the walls are so old they are no longer very functional. But they do provide an idea of what a wood shop might have held in the early days of San Diego, around the mid-19th century.

I asked him about Old Town’s cannon carriage project that I blogged about over a year ago. He has the materials ready, but he’s awaiting word concerning it!

Gary explained that the above tool is an antique drill press. (Sort of looks like a massive mousetrap!)

By pulling a cord, this rather primitive lathe smoothly rotates a length of wood around a horizontal axis. I forgot to ask Gary, but I believe this might be an old bow lathe.

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Archive and Witness sculpture at Liberty Station.

A thought-provoking sculpture can be found at Liberty Station in Point Loma. Created by San Diego artist Trevor Amery in 2021, the wood sculpture, Archive and Witness, stands in front of the Dick Laub NTC Command Center.

A nearby sign explains that Archive and Witness takes the form of…a fallen tree in a forest…Through…decomposition and decay, it…provides a home to animals and insects…The fallen tree is not the end of a life cycle; it is a transformation as well as a beginning

The slab from the dead tree, whose tree rings represent a finished life, seems to pulse outward with abstract rings symbolizing future life. At least, that’s the way I see it.

It was interesting to read that artist Trevor Amery’s father was stationed at the old Naval Training Center San Diego here years ago. The human world, like a forest, is interconnected in surprising ways.

Archive and Witness stands where the Mingei International Museum’s Nikigator sculpture stood while that Balboa Park museum was undergoing its renovation a couple years ago.

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

New beauty inside historic Santa Fe Depot.

I believe that efforts to revive the life and beauty of historically important buildings should be celebrated. So today let me celebrate a project underway inside San Diego’s historic 1915 Santa Fe Depot.

Earlier this week, as I was waiting for Jimmy at the Santa Fe Depot concession stand to microwave a burrito, I noticed some yellow tape. The enormous Waiting Room’s wooden benches were being sanded down and newly varnished!

When I walked through the depot this morning, the work had progressed. More of the benches were richly shining! Jimmy had informed me it took about one day to complete each bench.

The interior of an amazing space in downtown San Diego is becoming even more beautiful.

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!

Echoes of Africa at San Diego Library.

The Central Library in downtown San Diego has a stimulating new exhibition in its Art Gallery on the 9th floor. Echoes of Africa opened last weekend.

Contemporary works by local African American artists are contrasted with African artifacts from San Diego Mesa College’s World Cultures Art collection, including objects that demonstrate the mastery of African artisans in metal, wood, ceramics, beadwork, and textiles.

One can see how the spirit and traditions of African ancestors live on, helping to guide the hands of inspired creators in our community.

As I wandered about the gallery, I was drawn to the abstract spray painted pieces by popular San Diego muralist and graffiti artist Maxx Moses. Traditional masks were translated into complex, colorful canvases full of symbolism. I was also stunned by some truly extraordinary wood artwork by Christopher Lloyd Tucker. Other talented artists in the exhibition are Andrea Chung, Angie Jennings, and Jermaine A. Williams.

Filling the gallery are dozens of fascinating pieces, accompanied by extensive descriptions, giving curious viewers an opportunity for contemplation and learning.

Additional objects from the extensive Mesa Colleges collection can be observed in glass display cases on the first floor of the Central Library.

The exhibition will continue through August 20, 2022.

Benin, 2022, Maxx Moses. Spray paint and acrylic on canvas.
Detelumo (Helmet Mask) of the Ejagham (Ekoi) People of Cross River, Nigeria. Wood, animal skin.
AGAIN, 2021, Christopher Lloyd Tucker. Padauk, wenge, rosewood, aromatic cedar, purple heart, walnut, maple, poplar and epoxy resin.
Bwoom (Helmet Mask) of the Kuba People of Democratic Republic of Congo. Wood.
Kuba Cloth of the Kuba People of Democratic Republic of Congo. Raffia fiber.
Ceremonial Dance Skirt of the Kuba People of Democratic Republic of Congo. Raffia fiber.

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!

Restoring a great San Diego treasure!

The historic ship Star of India is one of San Diego’s great treasures. Its figurehead, depicting the Greek Muse of music and lyric poetry Euterpe, is undergoing restoration at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Euterpe was the original name of Star of India when it was launched in 1863 at the Isle of Man.

Should you venture down into the hold of Star of India, you’ll see how the carved wooden figurehead has had many layers of paint removed, in order to remove rot and fill in cracks. The last time the figurehead was removed from the tall ship’s bow was back in 1988.

The figurehead was carved from a single piece of pine wood by a worker at a Glasgow boatyard named George Sutherland. By sheer coincidence, that is the exact name of the Maritime Museum crew member leading today’s restoration effort!

If you’re interested in seeing history close up, this is your chance! Head down to the Maritime Museum of San Diego, step aboard Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing ship, and descend from the main deck down two levels into the hold, where you can view the renewal of beautiful Euterpe!

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!

Leaf Throne at Lindo Lake County Park!

I have no idea what this seat carved from a tree trunk at Lindo Lake County Park in Lakeside is called. Or whether it even has a name. So, for the fun of it, I’ll refer to it as the Leaf Throne!

Sit in this high chair near the southwest corner of Lindo Lake and you’ll have a perfect view of action at the Lakeside Skatepark!

Who created this? Apparently it was carved from a dead tree.

Very cool!

The mighty Leaf Throne commands this view:

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!

Sparks, scrapes and chisels at the Maritime Museum!

Lots of fascinating activity today at the Maritime Museum of San Diego!

As I walked about, I noticed volunteers and sail crew members were working on several very different vessels in the museum’s world-famous collection.

Sparks were flying from the black sail of the B-39 Soviet-era Russian submarine. Its life, sadly, has come to an end. Preparations are underway to tow the badly rusted Foxtrot-class diesel electric submarine to Mexico where it will be scrapped.

After watching guys using a torch on the sub’s outer hull, I walked to the far end of the Maritime Museum’s barge where the Robert Sharp’s stern was being restored. A friendly worker with a heat gun was crackling old varnish, which was then scraped off.

When I stepped onto the deck of the historic steam yacht Medea, I noticed a woodworker carefully repairing the boat’s wooden rail where it had split.

The elegant Medea has a fascinating history.

Did you know that, in addition to Medea being a pleasure yacht that cruised the isles and lochs of Scotland, it was used by France during World War I, and by the British Royal Navy and Norwegian Navy during World War II?

Learn much more here!

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!

Two fun sculptures at the Central Library!

Downtown San Diego’s Central Library is filled with all sorts of public artwork. Walk around the various floors with your eye on the walls and you’ll make frequent unexpected discoveries!

A couple weekends ago I was walking around the library’s 5th floor when I came upon two abstract sculptures by internationally renowned multimedia artist Italo Scanga. They are titled Music I and Music III. Both were created using oil paint, wood and found objects. And what appears to be symbolic imagery. Much of Scanga’s work incorporates elements of mythology.

Italo Scanga was born in Italy. He lived the later part of his life in San Diego. His pieces can be found in many museum collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Read a Wikipedia article about Italo Scanga here.

Both of these fun, very colorful sculptures, Music I and Music III, are in the City of San Diego Civic Art Collection.

Enjoy a few photos!

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Building a cannon carriage and adobe walls in Old Town.

Saturday, on my way to TwainFest, I walked a little around Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to see what I might see.

At the blacksmith shop, wood shop and nearby grounds, I observed some interesting activity!

First, I learned from Todd in the blacksmith shop that a new carriage for Old Town plaza’s historic cannon will soon be built! I blogged about this project back in April here. I detail a little about the cannon’s history in that blog post.

Todd showed me how he had removed some of the original iron fittings from the wooden carriage. All of the iron will be saved, then refitted to a brand new carriage once it’s built. Welds will be hidden to preserve the original appearance.

The carriage will be constructed in the wood shop, a small work room attached to the blacksmith shop.

Here are a few photos of the wood shop…

Then I noticed two people working in the dirt area outside the blacksmith shop, behind Seeley Stable. This is the new spot in the State Park where adobe wall-making is demonstrated.

I’ve been told the old adobe demonstration area, which I blogged about here, will be used in the future for a Kumeyaay interpretive display.

As I watched slimy fingers jam mud mortar between large sun-dried adobe blocks, I took a look at information concerning which structures in Old Town are original adobes, and which ones are reconstructed.

Six original adobe buildings shown are: Casa de Machado y Silvas, c. 1843; Casa de Machado y Stewart, c. 1830; Casa de Estudillo, c. 1827; Casa de Bandini/Cosmopolitan Hotel, c. 1829; Altamirano-Perdrorena House, c. 1869; and the oldest structure in San Diego, Casa de Carrillo (between Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and the Presidio), c. 1817.

Reconstructed adobe buildings are: Robinson-Rose Building, c. 1853; Casa de Wrightington, c. 1804; San Diego House, c. 1841; Casa de Rodriguez, c. 1830; Colorado House (Adobe Annex), c. 1854; Casa de Alvarado, c. 1830; and Alvarado Saloon, c. 1830.

Typical adobe wall construction involved a foundation and a layer of small stones and shards topped by adobe bricks, which are cemented with lime and sand or mud plaster.

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!

Bowsprit of Forester in front of Maritime Museum.

Have you ever wondered about that massive timber that lies in front of the Maritime Museum? The one people will sit on to gaze across San Diego Bay or at several of the museum’s nearby ships?

That’s the bowsprit of the old four-masted schooner Forester, built in 1900 to transport lumber from the Pacific Northwest to ports along the West Coast and destinations all around the Pacific Ocean, including China, India, Australia, South Sea islands and Peru.

The old ship, when her life of carrying logs of spruce and fir came to an end, was used as a tidal break near the northeastern end of San Francisco Bay. Eventually it was towed to a mudflat west of Antioch (the city stated in the plaque I photographed) and beached. There it became home of its long-time captain.

In 1975 fire swept through the abandoned ship and it burned to the waterline. The remains of Forester can still be seen along the shoreline of Martinez, California.

If you want to learn more about the history of the Forester, and see several interesting old photographs of the ship, there’s a great web page that you can check out by clicking here.

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!