Category Archives: History

Sadly, she sits on dry land

Picture of the Moment

Imagine living in an area that has been a navy stronghold for a century.

Imagine living in an area that has one of the world’s largest maritime museums.

Imagine living in an area where big boats are built, big boats like cruise ships, battleships, aircraft carriers.

Imagine living in an area where the first ship visited the current west coast of the United States back in 1542.

You’re in San Diego!

Now imagine that maritime museum (Maritime Museum of San Diego) building a full-size replica of that first ship, the San Salvador. Looks like this:

San Salvador

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Now imagine a sixteenth century ship being built in the 21st century with 21st century technology that is unable to move the ship from drydock to the water.

You’re still in San Diego!

The San Salvador was supposed to be launched on April 19, 2015. Just a couple of days earlier one of the engineers determined that the ship was about 20 tons heavier than predicted.

Sadly, the San Salvador still it sits on dry land at the build site.

Activity dedicated to getting it into the water increased significantly the past two days. San Diego can build aircraft carriers but doesn’t have any cranes that can handle this weight. The closest crane is in Los Angeles, and apparently the folks up there want too much money to come help.

Sadly, the San Salvador continues to sit on dry land.

Tugboat bargeThis morning’s activity, which began at 5:00 a.m., was dedicated to getting the San Salvador onto a tugboat barge (picture ►), off to Chula Vista for leak testing, and then into the water within the next few days.

Sadly, the San Salvador continues to sit on dry land.

The deck of the tugboat barge sits higher than drydock, so there must be a low tide of a certain height in order to get the San Salvador onto the barge. Today at 7:00 a.m. was one of those low tides, with a window up to about 10:00 a.m.

I arrived at 4:30 this morning. At 10:19 a.m. with two words, “Not today,” they informed the crowd that the San Salvador wasn’t moving today. That was it.

Sadly, the San Salvador still sits in drydock….

The next appropriate low tide is two weeks away, sadly.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (7-13-15)—Music, real estate, California, and a cat…. obviously a great guy!

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

In the past I would sometimes buy an album or CD for just one song. That was back in the days when we had to do that. Now if we just like one song, we just buy that one song! Ah, digital music….

Billy Idol’s 1990 album “Charmed Life” is one such album. I bought it for “Cradle of Love” and pretty much dismissed the rest of the album….

….until I equalized the album yesterday. That’s when I discovered “Endless Sleep.”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I knew the song from somewhere; Wikipedia helped me out.

The original song was written and sung by Jody Reynolds (1932-2008) in 1958. Yes, I did have it in my music collection.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Endless Sleep” peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1958.

Jody Reynolds was born in Denver, raised in Shady Grove, Oklahoma, and eventually settled in Palm Springs, California, working in real estate for Fred Sands Realty in La Quinta. He also had a cat named Bandit. Music, real estate, California, and cats…. Obviously a great guy!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (7-6-15)—It’s a small world

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

As I was listening to 1988 music this weekend, a song reminded me that I did an inspection in 2007 for someone whose name was familiar.

At the end of the inspection I said, “I went to high school with a guy named __________ but that was in Kingsville, Texas.”

He looked shocked, and after catching his breath, said, “I went to King High. I knew a Russel but his last name was Kirk.”

“Well, in 2004 I dropped my last name Kirk and took my middle name as my last name. So you’re looking at the former Russel Kirk, now Russel Ray.”

We talked about what brought him to San Diego (the Navy in the late ’70s) and why I changed my name (estrangement from the Kirk relatives).

Here is the song that reminded me of that event:

“Small World” by Huey Lewis & The News

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The lyrics have absolutely nothing to do with my situation, but I had never really listened to the words. I just remember my wise old grandmother always telling me that “it’s a small world” in the context of meeting someone from your past in a faraway place.

The words do have a lot to do with what currently is going on in the world, even right here in the United States with health care, gay marriage, the Confederate flag, this whole group of Republican nuts running for President, etc.

Lyrics

All around the world
There are people like you and me
From the poorest beggar in the street
To the richest king and queen

Some people take
And then they never give
You gotta learn to give and take
If you wanna learn to live
In a small world
Small, small world

Now we can
Fight one another
Like they to on T.V.
Or we can
Help one another
The way it’s supposed to be

If we all give a little
It could really mean a lot
It’s a small world
But it’s the only one we’ve got
Small world
Small, small world

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Mardi Gras, New Orleans, 1995

Picture of the Moment

Moving is like archaeology. You’ll discover things that you never knew you had or that had been lost for years, maybe even decades.

Which reminds me of a home inspection I did many years ago for an 87-year old woman whose children were forcing her to downsize from the large home that her husband had built. After coming out of the attic I commented to her that there still was one piece of luggage in the attic. She exclaimed, “No! Everything was supposed to be brought down. Can you bring it down?”

I did.

She started crying.

The luggage had all sorts of memorabilia and family heirlooms in it that she thought had been lost over 50 years ago when they moved into their new home.

Happiest person in the world at that moment, and her children were pretty happy, too.


Back in 2004 I started scanning photographs in my photo albums and saving them as digital files. Once I had something scanned, I threw the item away.

Then, I suffered the Great Hard Drive Crash of August 2005. Lost everything. All of those pictures—mom, dad, siblings, relatives, pets, places, events, things—all gone.

However, apparently I had not finished scanning everything because yesterday I discovered a stack of old photographs, including this one of New Orleans Mardi Gras in 1995:

1995 Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That was the first Mardi Gras that Jim and I went to together. We had been an item for just ten months at that time, so this is a nice picture for us to have.

Now, of course, all my digital files, especially my collections of music, photos, and Photographic Art are backed up multiple times.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Out & About—Windansea Beach in La Jolla CA

Out & About

I had a home inspection in La Jolla this afternoon at 1:30, so I left at 6:00 this morning. Granted, the property in La Jolla is only 30 miles from me but, as my wise old grandmother always said, “You can never be too early!” (Although in my later years I discovered that yes, you can be too early!)

Actually, as many readers probably have already guessed, I can’t go north of Interstate 8 without turning the trip into a photographic adventure. Why should today be any different?

After discovering Del Mar Shores beach last week, my goal this morning was to find more beaches. And I did!

Surfers were out all along the coast. I found the Pacific Beach Surf Club at Tourmaline Beach and the Windansea Surf Club at Windansea Beach. Windansea was a larger beach, and had better breakers and more surfers this morning.

img_3054 surfer windansea la jolla

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_3059 surfer windansea la jolla

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Windansea Beach and the surrounding neighborhood were after the 1909 oceanfront Strand Hotel when it was renamed Windansea Hotel in 1919. The Windansea Hotel, located on Neptune Avenue between Playa del Sur and Playa del Norte, burned down in 1943. Surprisingly, I could find no historical pictures of either the Strand Hotel or the Windansea Hotel.

The beach is defined geographically as extending north of Palomar Avenue and south of Westbourne Street.

windansea beach map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The distinguishing landmark at Windansea Beach is a palm-covered shack originally built in 1946 by Woody Ekstrom, Fred Kenyon, and Don Okey. Looks like this:

img_3059 windansea shack la jolla

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“The Surf Shack at Windansea Beach” was designated a historical landmark by the San Diego Historical Resources Board on May 27, 1998.

Although there is limited parking at the Beach, there is plenty of parking on neighborhood streets. Also, there are no drinking fountains, showers, or public restrooms although the main drag through La Jolla (La Jolla Boulevard) is just one or two blocks away. There you should be able to find drinking water, showers, and public restrooms.

Windansea Beach has a storied past, serving as home beach to many notable surfers, including Joey Cabell, Del Cannon, Pat Curren, Mike Diffenderfer, “Longboard Larry,” Mickey Muñoz, Chris O’Rourke, and Butch Van Artsdalen.

The Windansea Surf Club was founded by Chuck Hasley in 1962 and included members such as The Endless Summer star and first Vice President Mike Hynson.

img_3053 windansea shack la jolla

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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#14G: Casa de Machado y Stewart

San Diego Historical Landmarks

Old Town San Diego State Historic ParkWithin Old Town San Diego State Historic Park (San Diego Historical Landmark #14) are many historic buildings and rebuilds. We’ll explore nine of them since they also have been designated San Diego Historical Landmarks.

The seventh landmark, San Diego Historical Landmark #14G, is Casa de Machado y Stewart.

img_8738 la casa de machado y stewart stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The museum was undergoing renovations when I was there, which means two things: (1) I don’t have any good pictures, and (2) I will get to go back!

img_8739 la casa de machado y stewart stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Casa de Machado y Stewart was built around 1835 (some sources say as early as 1830) by José Manuel Machado, a retired soldier from the presidio. Its walls are sun-dried adobe bricks, and the home originally had just a bedroom and a living room.

Rosa, José’s youngest daughter, and her husband, Jack Stewart, a sailor and carpenter from Maine, moved into the home after getting married in 1845. During their residence there—it was their only home—they added rooms, lime washed the adobe walls, built a barrel clay tile roof, and added wood-paned windows and a rear piazza (columned porch) for outdoor gatherings. It should also be noted that they raised 11 children in the home.

The building was listed as a California Historic Landmark in 1932, but its historic integrity and appearance had been significantly changed by previous large-scale alterations. For example, in 1911, Frank “Pancho” Stewart, Machado’s grandson, completely remodeled the home. He built a new wooden porch, covered the exterior adobe walls with wood siding, and laid interior wood board ceilings and tongue-and-groove floors. He also added a fireplace at the building’s west end to go along with an outdoor oven. By the late 1930s, the building didn’t look anything like an adobe building:

1937 view la casa de machado y stewart

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The house was occupied by descendants of the Stewarts until 1966. The California Department of Parks and  Recreation acquired the building in 1967 and hired Coneen Construction to repair and restore it to its original appearance circa 1835-1845.

The building underwent more significant repairs in 2011 and, since I was there in December 2014, we know that it was undergoing repairs then.

Casa de Machado y Stewart is one of five adobes in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Adobe buildings require regular maintenance so it’s not unusual for such a building to appear to be undergoing constant repairs. Inspections are critical especially after San Diego’s rainy season. In fact, Mrs. Carmen Meza, the last resident of the home, was forced to leave it due to severe damage sustained in the rains of 1966.

la casa de machado y stewart

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

For previous posts in the San Diego Historical Landmarks series, go here.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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This junk is for sale!

Picture of the Moment

When I moved to Houston in May 1977 after four years at Texas A&M University, a friend (I’ll call him Thad since his name was Thad) and I started a company called “Yesterday’s Treasures.”

Yesterday’s Treasures specialized in finding unique junk and antiques, fixing them up, and selling them, usually to specialized antique places in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Beaumont, Houston, Victoria, and Corpus Christi.

Thad was from Corpus Christi and had the “unique junk and antique” knowledge. I was the man with the money. We complemented each other very well.

This morning I went driving up Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 101), stopping here and there to take pictures, which resulted in 259 pictures and 2 videos during a 6-hour drive.

One of the places I visited was the Cedros Avenue Design District in Solana Beach. It’s only three blocks long but definitely one of my favorite areas.

Cedros Avenue Design District in Encinitas, California

Cedros Avenue Design District in Solana Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Thad and I didn’t have a store front, but if we did, this sign would have fit us perfectly:

img_2430 cedros design district encinitas junk for sale stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The business looks like this:

img_2340 vintage treasures cedros design district solana beach junk for sale stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I could not determine the actual name of the business, and the Cedros Avenue Design District web site is all messed up right now.

I do like the sign under the arbor that says “Vintage Treasure” and the little pink circle sign above the third window from the right that says “Fancy Junk.”

If you’re in the San Diego area and looking for unique items for your home, check out the Cedros Avenue Design District. For a previous post about the Cedros Avenue District, see “I learned something today….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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