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!

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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!

Varnishing the beautiful Star of India.

Boats require a lot of maintenance. The 157-year-old Star of India, oldest active sailing ship in the world, is no exception!

This afternoon I walked around the Star of India’s main deck and saw that new coats of varnish have been applied to some of the historic tall ship’s rails, posts, belaying pins, various panels, signs, the ship’s wheel and other wooden elements. And the work continues!

A friendly volunteer explained there’s a lot of sanding to do first.

Once the varnish is applied and dries, San Diego’s beloved Star once again shines brightly.

To my eyes more beautiful than ever!

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!

Many colorful birdhouses in Santee trees!

Look what I spied yesterday! As I walked along the San Diego River Trail in Santee, a bit west of Cuyamaca Street, I came upon two sycamore trees that were absolutely filled with small, very colorful birdhouses!

I noticed that names and dates were painted on the base of many houses. It appeared to me some were created in May of this year. Others were dated 2018. I don’t know whose fun project this was. If anyone knows, leave a comment!

The nest boxes–some are very tiny–have been very creatively designed and are like small works of art. I’m not sure whether any birds have used them. It does appear spiders like them! These wonderful little birdhouses dangle like ornaments from branches that are a few feet from the San Diego River Trail where many people walk and ride bikes.

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!

The doors, gates and windows of Old Town.

This afternoon I walked through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, wondering if I might find any Fourth of July decorations. There were only a few. All of the museums and perhaps half of the shops are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But I did find lots of picturesque doors, gates and windows! Which gave me a unique photographic opportunity. On a typical weekend afternoon, some of these colorful wooden doors and rustic gates would be wide open, and taking such photographs would be impossible.

But not today!

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 thousand abstract paintings on one wall.

This morning I had to hurry through downtown to catch the trolley for work. Given more time, I could’ve taken a thousand photographs of abstract paintings on one fantastic construction site wall.

(Okay, there are fragments of wood and old peeling paper. So you might say some of these “works” are mixed media collage.)

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!