History inside Old Town’s San Diego Union Building.

Plaque marks the birthplace of the San Diego Union newspaper in 1868.
Plaque marks the birthplace of the San Diego Union newspaper in 1868.

There are many interesting houses and buildings within Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. One of the most fascinating is the San Diego Union Building. Take a step inside and you’ll see the carefully restored birthplace of a present-day major newspaper: the San Diego Union Tribune.

The framework of the building, erected around 1851, is believed to have been originally fabricated in Maine, then shipped to San Diego around Cape Horn. The San Diego Union was first published on October 10, 1868. The newspaper’s editor at that time was Edward “Ned” Wilkerson Bushyhead, a Cherokee Indian with a Scottish ancestor.

The newspaper began as a modest four page weekly, and was produced on a massive wrought iron Washington hand press. In the museum one can also see an authentic 1860’s recreation of the editor’s room, which contains a desk once owned by the son of Ulysses S. Grant!

The San Diego Union Building in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park contains a print shop and editor's office.
The San Diego Union Building in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park contains a print shop and editor’s office.
The prefabricated wood-frame building was erected in 1851.
The prefabricated wood-frame building was erected circa 1851. In 1967 the building was restored by James S. Copley, who at the time was owner of the San Diego Union Tribune.
Old wood stove just inside the front entrance to accurately restored newspaper office.
Old wood stove just inside the front entrance of accurately restored newspaper office.
Drawers hold hand-set type that used to be used in old newspaper printing presses.
Drawers hold hand-set type that used to be assembled in a press for newspaper printing.
Massive Washington hand press can be glimpsed to the right in small printing shop.
A massive Washington hand press can be glimpsed to the right in the small printing shop.
The small editor's office contains a desk once owned by the son of President Ulysses S. Grant. Ulysses S. Grant, Jr. built a grand hotel in San Diego's New Town.
The small editor’s office contains a desk once owned by the son of President Ulysses S. Grant. In 1910 Ulysses S. Grant, Jr. built a grand hotel in San Diego’s New Town. (I took this photo in August 2017.)
The Newspaper Museum is open daily from 10 to 5.
The Newspaper Museum is open daily from 10 to 5.

UPDATE!

In August 2017, during Stagecoach Days in Old Town, I was able to actually enter the print shop and take better photos of the presses and other objects inside. (Usually visitors must peer or take photographs from a greater distance.)

Washington hand presses were common on the frontier because of their relative light weight. They required two people for efficient operation.
Washington hand presses were common on the frontier because of their relative light weight. They required two people for efficient operation.
Fresh paper was laid on inked type. Setting the type for new articles on just one page could take hours. Fortunately, many advertisements on a page remained the same.
Fresh paper was laid on inked type and an impression made. Setting the type for new articles on just one page could take hours. Fortunately, many advertisements on a page didn’t change.
This jobber printing press would have been used for small jobs such as stationery and handbills.
A jobber printing press like this would have been used for small jobs such as stationery and handbills.
This safe is the one original object displayed inside the reconstructed San Diego Union Building in Old Town.
This safe is the only original object displayed inside the restored San Diego Union Building in Old Town.
A type case full of large cast metal sorts. Individual letters were combined into words, sentences and paragraphs.
A type case full of large cast metal sorts. Individual letters were combined into words, sentences and paragraphs.
Manual typesetting for old presses, as one might imagine, took patience and a good eye.
Manual typesetting for old presses, as one might imagine, took lots of patience and a good eye.
Gazing from the print shop toward the building's entrance area.
Gazing from the print shop toward the small building’s entrance area.
According to one sign, the San Diego Union Building was erected around 1850 by Miguel Pedrorena. The Washington Press, type and printing supplies arrived by steamship from Northern California.
According to one sign, the San Diego Union Building was erected around 1850 by Miguel Pedrorena. The Washington Press, type and printing supplies arrived by steamship from Northern California.
A docent explains how the San Diego Union newspaper was composed and printed many years ago.
A knowledgeable lady in period attire explains how the San Diego Union newspaper was composed and printed a century and a half ago, long before the digital age.

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A garden and poem at New Children’s Museum.

New Children's Museum Garden Project beside Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.
The New Children’s Museum Garden Project beside Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.

I can’t stand being cooped up inside, especially on Christmas, so around noon I went out for a short walk around a sunny but very quiet downtown San Diego. I didn’t intend to blog about anything, but here I am posting a few pics anyway. That’s because I was impressed by the beauty of a very small spot along a popular walkway.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade runs along a portion of Harbor Drive, and it passes San Diego’s fun New Children’s Museum. In addition to a playground right next to the pathway, there’s a very small urban garden. The museum’s Garden Project is a demonstration area that allows children to explore a few plants and the basics of gardening. Some art is incorporated into the space, and a surprising poem!

Small garden plot beside children's play area contains flowers and a few edible plants.
Small garden plot beside children’s play area contains flowers and a few edible plants.
Kids can explore gardening and learn with their own hands about our environment.
Kids can explore gardening and learn with their own hands about our environment.
Bicycle wheels and a couple scarecrows add to the fun in the Garden Project.
Bicycle wheels and a couple of scarecrows add to the fun in the Garden Project.
A few vegetables in plots enjoy the downtown San Diego sunshine!
A few vegetables in plots enjoy the downtown San Diego sunshine!
A whimsical poem is inscribed on a long wall enclosing the small garden.
A whimsical poem is inscribed on a long wall enclosing the small garden.

I should’ve photographed this entire poem, but I assumed at the time that it could be found on the internet. I was wrong! The poem seems like a fun, playful bit of writing, and I can’t make heads or tails of it looking at my few photos. Oh, well. I’ll leave it to you to reconstruct the verses I’ve selected!

I did figure out that the poem was written by Quincy Thomas Troupe, Jr., who used to be a professor at the University of California, San Diego, just up the coast in La Jolla. He is known for his biography of Miles Davis, the legendary jazz musician. Quincy also helped to write The Pursuit of Happyness, a true story which was adapted into the popular film starring Will Smith. (I love that movie!)

The poem bounds along with crazy, almost nonsensical words.
The poem bounds along with crazy, almost nonsensical words.
Hopping frogs seem to be important characters in this silly poem.
Hopping frogs seem to be important characters in this silly poem.
The poetry was written by local San Diego author Quincy Troupe.
The poetry was written by local San Diego author Quincy Troupe.
A beautiful sight greets pedestrians strolling down Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.
A beautiful sight greets pedestrians strolling down Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.

Here are two photos I took the following spring of flowers in the garden:

Perfect beauty.
Perfect beauty.
Bursts of color.
Bursts of color.

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Kids’ NewsDay benefits Rady Children’s Hospital!

Selling special edition Union-Tribune newspapers during Kids' NewsDay!
Selling very special edition Union-Tribune newspapers during Kids’ NewsDay!

Smiling volunteers could be seen throughout San Diego this morning selling special edition newspapers! Today was the 25th anniversary of Kids’ NewsDay, a much-anticipated yearly event whose purpose is to benefit Rady Children’s Hospital.

Over the years, thousands of children and families have been helped by the money raised by generous people who purchase this inspiring edition of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Since the first Kids’ NewsDay in 1990, about 30,000 volunteers have sold over a million papers, raising nearly 3 million dollars! That’s amazing! The featured section of the newspaper is filled with stories of kids overcoming extremely difficult situations, many with rare or life-threatening diseases. The stories are filled with optimism, and the most inspiring stories are written by children themselves!

If you would like to make a donation to Rady Children’s Hospital, please click this link!

Kid's NewsDay helps raise funds for Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego.
Kid’s NewsDay helps raise funds for Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.

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Wally the sociable sea lion greets boaters.

Forgive me for telling the following very silly story.  I suppose I like this short story because it happens to be true.

As always, please follow the captions…

A beautiful day on Shelter Island and kayakers approach the boat ramp area.
A beautiful day on Shelter Island and kayakers approach the boat ramp area.
A fisherman has arrived on a boat and he's tossing leftover bait to pelicans and gulls.
A fisherman has arrived on a boat and he’s tossing leftover bait to pelicans and gulls.
And look who else is tagging along--it's Wally the sea lion!
And look who else is tagging along–it’s Wally the sea lion!
Wally is looking for a free meal, himself. A large fish would be very nice!
Wally is looking for a free meal, himself. A large fish would be very nice!
Wally spots some new arrivals coming into the little boat ramp area.
Wally spots some new arrivals coming into the little boat ramp area.
It's the kayakers! Wally comes on by to look things over and say hello.
It’s the kayakers! Wally greets everyone and quickly looks things over.
Some curious, sociable mammals (and a few birds) enjoy a moment together.
Some curious, sociable mammals (and a few birds) enjoy a moment together.

The fisherman told me the California sea lion’s name is Wally. He told the kayakers the same thing. So it seems his name must be Wally!

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Sculpture of Mark Twain reading book on bench.

Sculpture of Mark Twain sitting on a bench at Fenton Marketplace in Mission Valley.
Bronze sculpture of Mark Twain sitting on a bench at Fenton Marketplace in Mission Valley.

A very famous author is known to hang out in San Diego.  He’s usually seen just off Friars Road in Mission Valley. He likes to sit on a bench at Fenton Marketplace in front of the International House of Pancakes!

Who is this celebrated writer of American literature? That prolific master of humor and satire, Mark Twain!

According to my research on the internet, Mr. Samuel Clemens seems to get around. He’s been seen in the same pose in numerous cities. That’s because the bronze sculpture, by artist Gary Lee Price, is practically mass-produced!

Samuel Clemens gazes up from his book.
Samuel Clemens gazes up dreamily from his book.
Mark Twain is reading his own classic American novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Mark Twain is reading his own classic American novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Famous author sits on bench by fountain in front of IHOP.
Famous author with biting wit sits on bench by fountain in front of IHOP.

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Mark Twain lives at Old Town’s TwainFest!

Here comes Mark Twain during Old Town San Diego's literary TwainFest!
Here comes Mark Twain during Old Town San Diego’s literary TwainFest!

One of my favorite San Diego events of all time took place today in historic Old Town!

TwainFest is an amazing annual festival celebrating Mark Twain and other famous authors from the 19th century. While there seems to be an emphasis on American and English novelists, I saw homages to writers, poets and storytellers from around the world. Scenes from American and California history also appear in several of the exhibits. Which makes sense, because Old Town is a history-filled park recreating the earliest days of San Diego!

To get an idea of what TwainFest is about, enjoy a quick look at these fun pics! And be sure to attend next year, if you can!

TwainFest is part of Stagecoach Days at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Event is part of Stagecoach Days at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
And here comes a towering puppet of American author Edgar Allan Poe!
And here comes a towering puppet of American author Edgar Allan Poe!
Lots of entertainment included a stage with music and various contests.
Lots of entertainment included a stage with music and various contests.
Music included those familiar old folk songs that had everyone clapping.
Music included those familiar old folk songs that had everyone clapping.
Costumed participants were roaming about the central plaza of historic Old Town.
Costumed participants roaming about the central plaza of historic Old Town.
Families enjoyed many activities including games.
Families enjoyed many activities including games.
Excited kids blast off across the grass in an old-fashioned sack race!
Excited kids blast off across the grass in an old-fashioned sack race!
Kids of all ages enjoyed many unique literature-themed games and activities.
Kids of all ages enjoyed many unique literature-themed games and activities.
The TwainFest Wheel of Fiction featured many famous writers.
The TwainFest Wheel of Fiction featured many famous writers.
Booth inspired by Lewis Carroll had me making up a silly word!
Booth inspired by Lewis Carroll had me making up a silly word!
Never-ending stories had visitors adding their imaginative sentences.
Never-ending stories had visitors adding their imaginative sentences.
The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County readies to soar from a catapult!
The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County ready to soar from catapult!
I wonder if Mark Twain imagined kids would replicate his famous short story!
I wonder if Mark Twain imagined kids would replicate his famous short story!
Children really enjoyed this guy's amazing flea circus!
Children really enjoyed this cool guy’s amazing flea circus!
A flea performer mounts the trapeze before the incredulous audience.
A flea performer mounts the trapeze before the incredulous audience.
Girl uses magnifying lenses to watch a flea take a swan dive from high platform.
Girl uses magnifying lenses to watch a flea take a swan dive from high platform.
The Quotation Machine rumbled before producing a quote.
The Quotation Machine rumbled before producing a quote.
Here come some horses around the Old Town San Diego square!
Here come some horses around the Old Town San Diego square!
The Marshall informed me that all was well.
The Marshall informed me that all was well.
Small audience in one shady corner enjoyed music and stories.
Small audience in one shady corner enjoyed music and stories.
The big Liar's Contest featured lots of tall tales and jaw-dropping whoppers.
The big Liar’s Contest featured lots of tall tales and jaw-dropping whoppers.
This guy is demonstrating the eloquent effects of literary potions.
This slick salesman is demonstrating the eloquent effects of literary potions.
Bottled Verne, Dickinson, Whitman, Bronte, Byron and more!
Bottled Verne, Dickinson, Whitman, Bronte, Byron and more!
Voters in election of 1872 must pass a literacy test!
Voters in presidential election of 1872 must pass a literacy test!
Of course, TwainFest had a bookstore with many classics of literature!
Of course, TwainFest had a bookstore with many classics of literature!
People could trade places with Henry David Thoreau.
People could trade places with Henry David Thoreau.
The guilty author of civil disobedience!
The obviously guilty author of civil disobedience!
Thoreau locks himself in with a brave visitor.
Thoreau locks himself in with a brave visitor.
It's the Daniel Webster Frog Toss!
It’s the Daniel Webster Frog Toss!
Carroll's Red Queen challenges all comers to flamingo croquet!
Carroll’s Red Queen challenges all comers to flamingo croquet!
Old Town event included the historic Mason Street School.
Old Town event included the historic Mason Street School.
Actors read poetry from Alice in Wonderland in one room schoolhouse.
Actors read poetry from Alice in Wonderland in one room schoolhouse.
Here come participants in the literary costume contest!
Here come participants in the fancy literary costume contest!
The spirit of Twain lives at this wonderful annual festival.
The spirit of Twain lives at this very wonderful annual festival.

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Flowers remember somebody’s best buddy.

Flowers remember somebody's best buddy.
Flowers remember somebody’s best buddy.

I snapped this pic today after work, while walking to a trolley station in Mission Valley. The simple memorial was by a busy sidewalk. It’s a sidewalk traveled by many homeless people. I’m almost certain Dago Dog was the best buddy of a homeless person. No more words are necessary.

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