Category Archives: Halls of History

San Diego Historical Landmarks — #1: El Prado Area Designation, part 14

San Diego Historical Landmarks

For the introductory blog post to San Diego’s historical landmarks, click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 1
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 2
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 3
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 4
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 5
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 6
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 7
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 8
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 9
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 10
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 11
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 12
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 13

El Prado Area Designation

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Next up on our trek through the El Prado Area Designation is Casa de Balboa:

Casa de Balboa

Of all the buildings in Balboa Park, I visit Casa de Balboa most often because my three favorite museums in all of Balboa Park are there:

San Diego Model Railroad Museum
Museum of Photographic Arts
San Diego History Center

San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa ParkThe San Diego Model Railroad Museum has one of the largest model railroad layouts in all the world, is the only accredited model railroad museum in the United States, and is the largest permanent operating model railroad exhibit in North America with over 27,000 square feet of exhibit space.

The museum is particularly popular with children, especially the Toy Train Gallery, home to several model towns with multiple train lines. The towns get decorated for the seasons, which makes the fall colors and Christmas particularly colorful. San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa ParkSeveral of the train lines can be operated by the kids (or adults like me!) with pushbutton controls.

The museum gift shop has a great selection of railroad memorabilia, including vintage railroad posters, for railroad lovers like me. Sadly, my budget won’t let me buy the whole dang store…. If you are into railroads and history, you can easily spend days on end in the Erwin Welsch Research Library.San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park

The museum and gift shop are open Tuesday through Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors 65 and older, $3 for students with ID, $4 for all military with ID, and free for children 14 years and under when accompanied with an adult.

San Diego Model Railroad Museum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The purpose of the Museum of Photographic Arts is to inspire, educate, and engage the broadest possible audience through the presentation, collection, and preservation of photography, film, and video. They do a great job, and I often get inspiration for my own Photographic Art by visiting the museum.

Earlier in the 21st Century I tried to volunteer at the San Diego History Center. At the time, there was a long waiting list for opportunities to volunteer. Sadly, my name never made it to the top of the list after a year of waiting, so I took it off.

The interesting thing about San Diego history is that there are three organizations that seem to own every historical image of San Diego: Google Images, San Diego U-T, and the San Diego History Center. All three organizations make it prohibitively expensive to use one of their images, effectively shutting out little people like me who want to do Then & Now pictures. That’s the only reason why I don’t do more blog posts featuring then and now pictures. I have no desire to infringe on the copyrights of others, and my budget doesn’t allow me to buy permission nor does it have a slush fund for paying the penalty for using copyrighted images illegally.

San Diego Model Railroad Museum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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About these ads

SNIPPETS (8-16-14, #2)—WordAds revenue, and more

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

The earnings report from my WordAds came in. I got approved for WordAds on July 15, so the revenue is for 16½ days.

Drum roll please….

$16.62.

Yep. A measly $16.62. Wait! Measly? NOT measly! I did nothing other than allow their ads to show up on my blog. $16.62 is 97.76¢ per day! That $16.62 for 17 days in July equates to about $30 per month. Julian and I think we can get to $50 per month by the end of the year, if not sooner. And ever since I got WordAds approved, I have been endeavoring to do everything possible to increase readership and views to get us there. I have even……….

SNIPPET #2

………..caught up on my backlog of blog visits. Remember when I was using Internet Explorer 9 from January 2 to March 27 and got so far behind in reading, liking, and commenting on blogs because the LIKE buttons and the comment boxes wouldn’t load? I got nine months behind. I pleased to say that as of today, I’m exactly 30 days behind.Goats at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

I find 30 days to be just about right because not everyone publishes a blog post each day like I do (sometimes two, like today!). The one thing that really gets my goat in the blogging world is when I go to visit someone’s blog only to find that they have published absolutely nothing since the last time I visited.

SNIPPET #3

My wise old grandmotherMy wise old grandmother was a master gardener before there was such a thing. Everything I learned about gardening, I learned from her. So my memories of her are strong when I visit gardening sites and blogs.

Recently I visited a blog that was telling the reader to provide nesting materials to get birds to build nests in your yard. Twigs make great nesting materials, and the article said that the twigs and sticks should be under four inches long.

Hmmmm.

Nest-building osprey

SNIPPET #4

Photographic Art of a rhinoceros at the San Diego Zoo:

Rhinoceros

Created by Julian. Gotta give credit where credit is due.

SNIPPET #5

Would y’all like a blog post by Julian?

If there is strong enough demand, I’ll force him to comply with that demand as part of his ongoing partnership agreement with Photographic Art, but I won’t put any restrictions on what he can blog about. That might prove interesting……….LOL

Let me him know with a comment.

SNIPPET #6

Suicide is in the mainstream news again due to Robin Williams.

About a year ago, Junior Seau, also known as Mr. San Diego, committed suicide.

For readers who might not know, my dad committed suicide when I was six years old, although I didn’t find out about it until much later. Much, much later.

I also have been depressed and suicidal at times in my life, so I get quite disgusted by people with such a cavalier attitude about suicide and the effect on the people it leaves behind. So disgusted that I unfriend, unfollow, and unlike them.

SNIPPET #7

Tony GwynnWith the recent death of Tony Gwynn (see stamp at right) in June at the age of 54 from cancer, and the fact that the San Diego Padres, for whom he played his entire professional baseball career, won’t be going anywhere in the playoffs, people are reminiscing about the best years of the San Diego Padres. Those years are few and far between, with the Padres playing in, and losing, the World Series in 1984 and 1998. Tony Gwynn was with the team both times.

There have been some highlights beyond the team itself, though, such as when Tony Gwynn got hit #3,000 (see stamp above).

Here are two other players who provided lots of highlights for the Padres:

Steve Garvey
Home Run in the 1984 NLCS,
winning the game and sending the Padres to the World SeriesIMG_6979 steve garvey faa stamp

Trevor Hoffman
Save #500Trevor Hoffman

SNIPPET #8

When Jim and I went to watch the Big Bay Boom! fireworks downtown for the fourth of July, the San Diego Country Administration Building had been made into a Tony Gwynn memorial:

Tony Gwynn memorial on the San Diego County Administration Building

SNIPPET #9

A mural, titled “Escalera After Bechi,” in the Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego:

Escalera After Bechi

SNIPPET #10

Hope you enjoyed the extra blog post today!

Hope you enjoyed the extra blog post and SNIPPETS today

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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The Rose Canyon Fault in San Diego

Out & About

My wise old grandmother helped me start my very first company way back in 1966. It was a typing business. While my friends were out mowing lawns, pulling weeds, and washing cars, I was typing papers for students at Texas A&I University in Kingsville, Texas.

Eventually I diversified my services so that, in addition to typing, I was proofing papers for spelling errors and poor grammar, and eventually even researching, writing, and typing term papers for those college students.

The first term paper I ever wrote was for a sophomore at Texas A&I. I was only 13, but I (he) got a B+ on that paper! I don’t know if that says something good about me or something bad about the standards of his English class at college.

Nonetheless, the paper was on earthquakes, and ever since then I have always been fascinated by earthquake.

I was at home in College Station, Texas, watching the 1989 World Series when the earthquake hit San Francisco.

Five years later, I was living in San Diego when the Northridge earthquake hit in Los Angeles, with the epicenter just a few hundred feet from where my oldest uncle and his family lived. Their kitchen was separated from the house by a few feet, and the house got red-flagged by the City as uninhabitable.

Although there are a lot of faults that run through the San Diego area, major earthquakes here are few and far between. Hmmmm. Maybe it’s time………

The last earthquake I felt here was the Easter 2010 earthquake in Brawley, Baja California, Mexico. That’s only sixty miles due east of me. It was magnitude 7.2, and virtually destroyed Mexicali and Calexico. The shaking here lasted for about 25 seconds, but no damage. Just a really frightened Zoey the Cool Cat.

Earthquake experts eventually expect a fairly good-sized earthquake to occur here in San Diego on the Rose Canyon Fault:

Southern California showing Rose Canyon Fault

According to those experts, the Rose Canyon Fault has the potential to unleash a 7.5 earthquake. Since the fault goes right underneath downtown San Diego, when it happens, I’m sure it will be “the big one” as far as San Diegans are concerned.

Most of the fault zones in San Diego are not visible on the surface, making them of little interest to someone like me. However, if you go to the Tecolote Recreation Center, you can see very good evidence of the Rose Canyon Fault, as well as a pretty cool sign explaining what you are looking at.

Location of rose canyon fault

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Rose Canyon Fault Zone

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Here is the “50 million year old Eocene sandstone of the Scripps Formation”:

Eocene sandstone of the Scripps Formation

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The houses are built right on top of that sandstone formation. As a home inspector, I suspect their foundation pillars probably go pretty deep.

Here is the “half-million year old Pleistocene conglomerate” :

Half-million year old Pleistocene conglomerate in Rose Canyon

photograhic art taking pictures making art

Pine trees seem to love the Pleistocene conglomerate.

Between the two formations is “a major strand of the Rose Canyon Fault” but you would never know it because it looks like this:

Rose Canyon Fault

Would you let your children play baseball there if you knew it was smack dab on top of what is considered San Diego’s most active and dangerous fault zone?

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San Diego by water

Out & About

I lived in Houston, Texas, from May 1977 to March 1982.

In addition to the City being the fourth most populous city in the United States, the Port of Houston is the busiest port in the United States in terms of foreign tonnage, second-busiest in the United States in terms of overall tonnage, and thirteenth busiest port in the world.

Unfortunately, trying to get the Port of Houston to watch the ships was an exercise in getting nowhere, and I suspect

The City of San Diego, where I have lived since May 1993, is the eighth most populous city in the United States. The Port of San Diego is, well, about all we can say is that it is the primary port of entry for Honda, Acura, Isuzu, Volkswagen, Nissan, Mitsubishi Fuso, and Hino Motors into the United States.

That doesn’t mean the waters of San Diego aren’t busy. Just to the south of the Port of San Diego is the huge 32nd Street Naval Station, the largest base of the United States Navy on the west coast of the United States. Naval Base San Diego, as it is known, is the principal homeport of the Pacific Fleet, comprising 54 ships and over 120 tenant commands. It encompasses 13 piers covering 977 land acres and 326 water acres. The total on-base population is 20,000 military personnel and 6,000 civilians.

Across the bay is Naval Base Coronado. Under the command of the Naval Base Coronado are seven separate Naval installations encompassing 57,000 acres.

Naval Air Station North Island is the home port of several nuclear aircraft carriers, such as the USS Carl Vinson.

USS Carl Vinson

Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach is known as the Helicopter Capital of the World. From dawn to dusk on weekdays, hundreds of helicopters are flying in the air, practicing various maneuvers that might be critical in a war.

Helicopters at the Naval Outlying Landing Field in Imperial Beach, California

I’m fairly familiar with all the United States ships, and if I’m not Google will help me if I have the ship number.

Occasionally a ship comes into port that gets a lot of attention, especially tall ships at the Festival of Sail (coming up in September):

Tall Ship Parade at San Diego Festival of Sail

Tall ship at the 2012 Festival of Sail, San Diego

Occasionally ships from foreign countries also plow through our waters:

Japanese ships in San Diego

Japanese ships in San Diego

Japanese ships in San Diego

You can catch a cruise ship, sometimes two, at the cruise ship terminal built a few years ago:

San Diego's cruise ship terminal

Sapphire Princess cruise ship in San Diego, California

I think the most excitement is generated when a foreign tall ship comes to town, such as the Esmeralda from Chile (top) and the Sagres from Portugal (bottom):

Esmeralda

Sagres ship

The Maritime Museum of San Diego has two tall ships, the Star of India (top), the oldest ship in the world that still sails under its own sails, and the Master & Commander (bottom), built for the movie filmed in and about San Diego and the northern peninsula of Baja California and then donated to the Museum:

Star of India

Master & Commander

If you know where to go, and I do, you can see submarines coming and going at all hours of the day:

Submarine from Cabrillo National Monument

Submarine and tugboat

I’ll be nice and tell you where to go to see submarines: Point Loma. Stop at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery and you’ll be right above the submarine base.

San Diego submarine base

Head on out to Cabrillo National Monument and you can catch the submarines coming in or heading out. It’s fine, fine, fine….

Cabrillo National Monument

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#1: El Prado Designation Area, part 13

San Diego Historical Landmarks

For the introductory blog post to San Diego’s historical landmarks, click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 1
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 2
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 3
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 4
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 5
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 6
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 7
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 8
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 9
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 10
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 11
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 12

El Prado Area Designation

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

We are coming to the end of our west to east travel on El Prado!

Across El Prado from the Timken Museum of Art (see part 11) and the Botanical Building (part 12) is the House of Hospitality.

House of Hospitality in San Diego's Balboa Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The House of Hospitality was built in 1915 for the Panama-California Exposition of 1915-1916 celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal. At that time it was known as the Foreign Arts Building or the Foreign Liberal Arts Building. It was renamed the House of Hospitality for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.

House of Hospitality in San Diego's Balboa ParkAs it exists now, though, the House of Hospitality dates only from 1997. The original building had deteriorated and needed earthquake retrofitting to make it safe. The powers that be determined that the only way to do that was to tear it down and rebuild it. And that they did.

The original architect was Carleton M. Winslow under Bertram Goodhue’s direction. Its architecture, Spanish-Renaissance Plateresque, exists only in two other places in the United States, having been built in Buffalo, New York, for the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, and the Panama-Pacific International Exposition held concurrently in 1915 in San Francisco.

House of Hospitality in San Diego's Balboa ParkThe exterior of the building was decorated with coats of arms of Latin American countries that were expected to exhibit at the Exposition. The tower and façade details were borrowed from the sixteenth century Plateresque-style façade of the Hospital of Santa Cruz in Toledo, Spain; the Palace of the Count of Monterrey in Salamanaca, Spain; and the Palace of the Count of Heras in Mexico City, Mexico.

On the south side of the House of Hospitality is a courtyard which is popular for weddings and bar and bat mitzvahs. Located inside the House of Hospitality is the Visitors Center and The Prado Restaurant. Prior to reconstruction in 1997, The Prado Restaurant was one of the best restaurants in San Diego County. Although the food is still very good, albeit on the expensive side, it would not be my first choice of special event restaurants anymore.

House of Hospitality in San Diego's Balboa Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Tony Gwynn statue at Petco Park in San Diego

Out & About

This morning I went with the Pacific Photographic Society for a private tour of Petco Park, which is where the San Diego Padres profess to being a major league baseball team. Their current record as of today is 41-54, good enough for third place in the National League West, out of 5 teams in that division.

Oh, well.

At least the tour was much better than our major league baseball team is.

On the north side of the stadium is a statue of Tony Gwynn, also known as Mr. Padre. Looks like this:

Tony Gwynn statue at Petco Park in San Diego

Sadly, Tony Gwynn died on June 16, 2014, at the age of 54, after battling salivary gland cancer for about a year. I don’t know what caused the cancer, but chewing tobacco used by major league baseball players comes immediately to mind.

Gwynn was born in Los Angeles and attended college at San Diego State University where he played baseball for three years and basketball for four years. He was drafted on the same day in 1981 by both the San Diego Padres baseball team and the San Diego Clippers basketball team, ultimately choosing baseball.

Gwynn hit left handed and won eight batting titles, was an all-star 15 times, and won seven Silver Slugger Awards for his offensive skills and five Gold Glove Awards for his defensive skills. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007, his first year of eligibility.

Gwynn played in the World Series in 1984 and 1998, the only two World Series appearances in San Diego’s franchise history. He had a .338 career batting average and never hit below .309 in any full season. Gwynn retired with 3,141 career hits with the San Diego Padres, one of just ten players to reach the 3,000 hit club while only playing for only one team.

Following his retirement from professional baseball, Gwynn was hired as the head baseball coach at San Diego State University, which is when I got to know him as I hung out often at Aztec baseball games.

The Padres retired his #19 jersey number in 2004.

RIP, Tony.

Location of Tony Gwynn statue
Location of Tony Gwynn statue at Petco Park in San Diego, Californai

Go to location on Google Maps

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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At least they have new fences….

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you go to the world-famous La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California (a neighborhood of San Diego), you can stand looking at the ocean and see this:

La Jolla Cove panorama, La Jolla, California

La Jolla, California

Seals and sea lions at La Jolla Cove, La Jolla, California

Sunset at La Jolla Cove, 10-17-12, La Jolla, California

If you turn and look behind you, this might be what you see:

Red Roost Neptune cottage in La Jolla, California

Red Rest Neptune cottage in La Jolla, CaliforniaNeptune cottage in La Jolla, California

Those two houses, named Red Roost (top) and Red Rest (bottom), were built in 1894. They are the region’s oldest surviving examples of late-Victorian beach cottage architecture.

They were bought in 1967 by the La Jolla Cove Motel and Hotel Apartments, today known as the La Jolla Cove Suites. On adjacent land sat the La Jolla Bath House, demolished to make way for part of the La Jolla Cove Suites.

The owners intended to demolish the red cottages and build an apartment building. They met with community resistance, although the San Diego City Council withdrew its objection to demolition in 1975. In March 1976, the cottages were placed on the register of the California Office of Historic Preservation, an action that the owners knew nothing about.

That designation, a subsequent designation from the National Register of Historic Places, and the fact that San Diegans passed Proposition D in 1972, setting a height limit of thirty feet on new construction in La Jolla, have prevented the owners from developing the properties.

Since they could not develop the property as they wished, they evicted the tenants in 1977 and began what appears to be intentional and prolonged neglect.

There have been many plans over the years to develop or restore the properties, but none of them have come to fruition.

In 2010, the two properties were put up for sale at $10 million each. I’m sure the land itself in this location is worth $20 million, but the hassle of trying to develop or restore these two houses precludes any logical, sane person from spending that kind of money on them.

Historic structures are required to be kept weatherproofed and free of litter and excess vegetation. I’m not seeing that here and wonder why the City of San Diego doesn’t do something. This is so sad.

Well, at least the houses have new fences around them……..

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Halls of History—Billions and billions served

Halls of History

When I started college at Texas A&M University in September 1973, I lived in Moore Hall, a dormitory just feet from a McDonald’s restaurant at Northgate. It became my go-to dining experience if I missed eating in Sbisa Hall, and for late evening, midnight, and after-midnight snacks.

Texas A&M UniversityWhen I moved off campus for my sophomore year, it was more of an effort to get to McDonald’s at Northgate, several miles away. Fortunately, there was another McDonald’s a half mile from me on Harvey Road. Since it was on the way to campus, it became my daily dining experience for the final three years of my undergraduate experience.

I lived in Houston from May 1977 to April 1983 and never did find a McDonald’s to call my own.

When I moved back to College Station in April 1983, McDonald’s on Harvey Road again became my go-to eatery…. for ten years!

When I arrived in San Diego on April 27, 1993, I immediately looked for a McDonald’s. Amazingly, there was one in Hillcrest right behind the Center for Social Services, which is where I “came out,” and where my life was centered for the next eleven months.

Recently, I discovered that the McDonald’s at 1414 University Avenue in Hillcrest was built in 1977 but is an original McDonald’s location from the 1960s. Here it is:

McDonald's in Hillcrest, San Diego, California

My discovery came about because two of the three original locations remaining in San Diego County were in the news.

One is at 1146 East Valley Parkway in Escondido, about 30 miles northeast of Hillcrest, and the building was recent demolished and rebuilt, now looking like this:

McDonald's in Escondido, California

That restaurant was not yet open when I went by on June 6. It should be open now.

The third oldest location, at 137 Canyon Drive in Oceanside, about 30 miles due north of Hillcrest,  is the one that was making the biggest headlines here. It looked like this on June 6:

McDonald's in Oceanside, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Along with it being an original location dating from the 1960s, it also has one of the few remaining signs stating how many billions of burgers had been sold:

Mcdonald's in Oceanside, California

If you look at your local McDonald’s, it probably says something like “BILLIONS AND BILLIONS SOLD.” The sign at the Hillcrest location says “BILLIONS SOLD.”

McDonald’s pre-corporation history started when Richard and “Mac” McDonald opened a barbecue restaurant at 1398 North E Street in San Bernardino, California, on May 15, 1940. The San Bernardino location is now an unofficial McDonald’s museum owned by the Juan Pollo restaurant chain (not related to El Pollo Loco).

McDonald’s as a corporation was founded on April 15, 1955, when Ray Kroc opened the ninth McDonald’s restaurant after, according to one source, having purchased McDonald’s equity and assets from Richard and Maurice. The real story of Kroc’s purchase might never be known because there is a lot of disagreement about how it came about.

Ray Kroc’s aggressive business practices were the subject of the song “Boom, Like That,” released in 2004 by Mark Knopfler, formerly the guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for Dire Straits.

Ray Kroc, who had joined McDonald’s as a franchise agent in 1955, lived much of his life, and died, right here in San Diego. He owned the San Diego Padres professional baseball team from 1974 until his death in 1984.

Just a mile down the road from me is The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, which has one of San Diego County’s year-round ice skating rinks. Regretfully, the Salvation Army is quite homophobic so I have not been by to visit the facility and, thus, have no pictures of it. And you won’t find a link from my blog to their web site; you’ll have to find it on your own if you’re interested.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#1: El Prado Designation Area, part 11

San Diego Historical Landmarks

For the introductory blog post to San Diego’s historical landmarks, click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 1
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 2
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 3
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 4
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 5
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 6
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 7
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 8
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 9
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 10

El Prado Area Designation

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Next to the San Diego Museum of Art is the Timken Museum of Art.

Timken Museum of Art

Timken Museum of Art San Diego

Of all the buildings in Balboa Park, this one seems most out of place because its architecture does not match the predominant Spanish architecture. It was designed by San Diego architect John Mock and is considered one of the most important examples of mid-century southern California modernism, as well as one of the finest examples in the United States of the International Style. Construction materials include travertine, bronze, and glass, embracing the landscape of Balboa Park from its lobby, and making great use of natural light created by pioneer lighting designer Richard Kelly.

Putnam Foundation Art CollectionThe Timken Museum of Art houses the world-class Putnam Foundation Art Collection and is considered one of the great “small museums” of the world. It is the only museum in Balboa Park which does not have an admission fee. Donations, of course, are happily accepted, and memberships are available.

The Putnam Foundation Collection dates back to the early part of the 20th century when sisters Anne and Amy Putnam came to San Diego. During their extensive travels, they developed a love of fine art and spent decades acquiring European old master paintings, mostly for public collections in San Diego, but also for their own private collection. They established the nonprofit Putnam Foundation in 1951, and subsequent acquisitions became part of the Putnam Foundation Collection.

The Timken Museum of Art was founded in 1965 as a permanent home for the Putnam Foundation Collection, featuring paintings from European and American old masters. Notable artists represented in the collection include Rembrandt, Rubens, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, John Singleton Copley, and Eastman Johnson. The museum also is noted for its collection of Russian icons, icons here having a totally different meaning than in today’s computer world.

Since I only today realized that the Timken Museum of Art always has free admission, I scurried over to Balboa Park and made my way to the museum. I was quite impressed.

They don’t allow any photography whatsoever, so one either has to search for hours on Wikipedia or Google royalty-free images to find something, or you can go directly to the Timken Museum of Art online gallery.

I did find a royalty-free image of the one painting that I found the most impressive:

Death of the Virgin, Petrus Christi, Timken Museum of Art, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I couldn’t find a royalty-free image with the frame, so I used a picture and put my own antique wood, museum-quality frame around it.

This probably was the largest painting in the museum, measuring a whopping 67×54 inches. I am not much into religious paintings, but I found the history of this painting to be interesting. In art, a painting’s history is called its provenance.

Titled “Death of the Virgin,” Petrus Christus (unk.-1475/6) painted this from 1460-65 using oil on oak panel. It is his largest known work and was originally the centerpiece of a triptych. The two side panels were destroyed during World War II, a fate of many works of art during that time.

Its provenance has been traced back to the town of Sciacca in Sicily during the 16th century. Various families in Palermo and Bagheria, Sicily, owned it until it was sold to Knoedler & Company of New York in 1938. The Putnam Foundation acquired it in 1951.

It has not been registered as stolen or missing by the Art Loss Register database, nor is it known to be an art loss related to World War II. Barring any future research revealing it to be stolen or missing, it will most likely remain here in San Diego at the Timken Museum of Art.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Halls of History—The 1961 Dodge Polara police car

Halls of History

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When Jim and I decided to go to the May 3 fundraiser for Cat House on the Kings in Fresno, we also decided to drive, even though the round-trip distance would be 800 miles….

we also decided to go up a day early and get a hotel room for Friday night….

we also decided that we would come back via the loop road that goes through Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park so we could visit the huge, gigantic, monster, really really big sequoias and redwoods….

we also decided to rent a car since rental cars are really inexpensive, they give you unlimited mileage, and they get better gas mileage than our 2002 Toyota Camry….

We stayed at a hotel in Visalia on Friday night, about 20 miles south of Fresno. When I got up Saturday morning, I went to check out the neighborhood, which basically meant that I walked around the hotel parking lot because my choice was that or walking along the freeway.

Around the corner from our room was this really cool car:

1961 Dodge Polara

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That’s a 1961 Dodge Polara, but not just any 1961 Dodge Polara. This one is special.

I spent some time taking pictures and examining virtually every square inch.

1961 Dodge Polara

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

1961 Dodge Polara

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

1961 Dodge Polara

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As I was taking pictures of the car, the owner came out of his hotel room and unlocked the car.

1961 Dodge Polara

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Check out the pushbutton controls:

1961 Dodge Polara

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Dodge Polara was introduced in 1960 as Dodge’s top-of-the-line full-size car. The Polara nameplate was retired in 1973.

The owner had just bought the car at auction and was driving it home to California. The trunk was full of historical papers and books documenting the history of this specific car.

In addition to being registered in Arizona as a historic car, its history includes starting out as a police car for the California Highway Patrol, one of only two authorities (the other being the City of Los Angeles) which used the 1961 Dodge Polara with police car outfitting. This was quite a historic vehicle.

The owner’s intention is to restore the car to its police days. I believe he said that he would need special permits in order to do that since installing flashing red lights and other such police outfitting on a car is illegal. Nonetheless, it was pretty cool that the car came with a trunk full of historical documents associated with the car.

1961 Dodge Polara

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

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I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos