Category Archives: Halls of History

Combining history, photography, and railroad passions

San Diego Then & Now

I always have been a fan of history, especially history that indicates how cruel humans can be to each other—The Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, American Civil War, World War I, World War II….

My second favorite history genre relies on another of my passions, photography, for its best storyline: then & now.

Combine history and photography with my passion for trains, and all is well in the world.

Trains were instrumental in building America, bringing people closer to each other, and moving troops in times of war.

Much of the railroad infrastructure in San Diego was built by the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe railroad, such as the historic Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego:

Santa Fe Depot in San Diego

The Santa Fe Depot is still used by the San Diego Trolley, the Coaster, and Amtrak. A careful search through historical records will reveal many pictures of Santa Fe trains in San Diego, such as this calendar picture of Santa Fe 3751, a steam engine built in 1927:

Santa Fe #3751 along the Pacific Ocean

That picture is circa 1962 and shows #3751 rounding the curve under the historic Del Mar bridge just north of Torrey Pines State Beach here in San Diego County. The train is headed northbound with the next part of its journey being right above the beaches. Gorgeous views and one of the most scenic Amtrak routes in all of North America!

Santa Fe #3751 still is fully operational and makes several excursions a year to various train events. When I went to San Bernardino Railroad Days earlier this year, I had the pleasure of riding in the consist from San Bernardino to Los Angeles Union Station, about 90 miles, that was being pulled by Santa Fe #3751.

Here is Photographic Art based on a picture of the Santa Fe #3751 from 2012 National Train Day in Los Angeles:

ATSF 3751 at Los Angeles at National Train Day in May 2012

Now let’s go back to that calendar picture. Although the location of the bridge was not disclosed on the calendar, I recognized it because I’ve driven over that bridge many times, and walked Torrey Pines State Beach many times. Here it is on a Google map:

Del Mar Bridge at Torrey Pines State Beach

The location is a great place to do a little train watching since Amtrak and the Coaster use it regularly. Northbound and southbound trains use the single track, so trains go by about every 30 minutes on a week day.

Following is my re-creation of the calendar picture with a northbound Amtrak Pacific Surfliner at the same point on the curve under the bridge.

Amtrak under the Del Mar Bridge at Torrey Pines State Beach near San Diego, California

There are about 50 years between the two pictures.

Look at the trees on the top of the hill in the background and you can see that the silhouette is very much the same:

Torrey pines

The trees are Torrey pines. San Diego is one of only two places in the world where the Torrey pine grows. The other is an island off the Southern California coast.

Now I want to find that tall tree in the middle because I’m pretty sure there must be a time capsule at its base that is waiting for Russel Ray to dig it up. Inside will be all sorts of materials about the history of San Diego, photographs, an old Kodak Brownie camera, and maybe even a toy Lionel train, Santa Fe #3751.

Following is Santa Fe #3751 at the 2014 San Bernardino Railroad Days, preparing to take a couple hundred train fans—including me!—back to Los Angeles Union Station. I rode in the second car behind the locomotive and tender, or the fifth car from the rear.

Santa Fe Depot in San Bernardino, California

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Labor Day and the violence accompanying the labor movement

History Through Philately stamp

Happy Labor Day!

I was eleven years old when my youngest cousin was born. Her family lived across town, and she had an older brother and sister. I remember when her dad came over to announce that mom had “gone into labor.” A couple of months later, school started, the Tuesday after Labor Day. I put two and two together and got, uh, four?

In today’s world, if I have a question about anything, I go to Wikipedia first, and if that’s not helpful, well, Google is my friend. In this case, I find Wikipedia quite adequate.

Labor Day in the United States is a celebration of the American labor movement, the movement that brought us such things as workers’ compensation for accidents in the workplace, at least one day’s rest each week, maximum limits on the length of the work day, and minimum wage laws. Many improvements in the plight of the common laborer have been accomplished through collective bargaining.

Scott #1558 Collective Bargaining

Collective bargaining often meant strikes, which usually involved violence, injury, and death. Newspapers, then as now, created names for events of public interest such as strikes:

  • the “Haymarket Riot” in Chicago in 1886 (7 police and 4 strikers killed, 70 wounded; 4 strikers hanged after being convicted of conspiracy and sentenced to death)
  • the “Colorado Labor Wars” of 1903-04 (66 killed)
  • the “Pullman Strike” of 1894 (13 strikers killed and 57 wounded)
  • the “Great Railroad Strike of 1922″ (11 killed)
  • the “Ludlow Massacre” of 1914 (22 killed, including 4 women and 11 children), part of the “Colorado Coalfield War” of 1913-1914 (reports on deaths vary from 50 to 200).

The “Ludlow Massacre” became folklore…

Woody Guthrie sang about it in his song, “Ludlow Massacre.”

Scott #3213 Woody Guthrie

Upton Sinclair’s novel, “King Coal,” is loosely based on the event and its aftermath.

King Coal by Upton Sinclair

Labor Day is a federal holiday in the United States, as well as state holidays in all 50 states.

7 things to be thankful at work

Labor Unions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Historic Goldenrod Footbridge in Newport Beach, California

Out & About

Before I went to Newport Beach a couple of weeks ago, I got out all my travel books to plan my attack for seeing as much as possible in a short time frame.

One of the things that was going to be close to where I was going to be was the Goldenrod Footbridge. Looks like this:

Goldenrod Footbridge Newport Beach California

The plaque on the right post tells us just everything that average person wants to know:

Goldenrod Footbridge Newport Beach California

Of course, you know that I’m not average….

Sadly, the only other information I could dredge up on the bridge is that it underwent seismic upgrades in 2011 to ensure that it could withstand a “large seismic event.” While original construction costs amounted to $10,884, the seismic retrofitting cost $140,000.

Goldenrod Footbridge Newport Beach California

IMG_7664 bayside park drive newport beach faa framed

Goldenrod Footbridge Newport Beach California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bayside Drive Park, Newport Beach, California

Go to location on Google Maps

copy-image002.jpg

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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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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

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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

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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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If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray