Category Archives: Manmade

San Diego Historical Landmarks—#14H: Mason Street School

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 eighth landmark within Old Town is the Mason Street School:.

Mason Street schoohouse

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mason Street School markerA marker outside the museum (picture►) says that it was named “Mason Screen School, District No. 1) and was built in 1865.

Not only was it the first public school in San Diego, but in all of San Diego County as well, which, in 1865, was twice as large as it is today. No two boards were the same width or length, so presumably they tore down various abandoned structures and salvaged the lumber to build the schoolhouse.

School was in session 12 months of the year and school hours
were from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Attendance averaged 35 students of age 4 to 17. All eight grades were taught in one room. Since very few families owned clocks, school tardiness was the rule rather than the exception.

Heat was supplied by an iron stove and indoor plumbing was a water bucket with a dipper. Outdoor toilets were provided with a new moon crescent cut into the door to signify girls and a round hole (sun) indicating boys.

Mary Chase Walker (1828-1899) was the first teacher, earning a monthly salary of $65. After just eleven months she quit teaching. Maybe she had too many juvenile delinquents like one Russel Ray and just couldn’t handle them all….

….or maybe she married Ephraim Morse, who was president of the school board at the time.

(Reminds my of my mom’s dad. While married to his first wife, he had an affair with one of his students, got divorced, married her, and proceeded to have five more children.)

mary chase walkerMary Chase Walker (picture►) was born in Methuen, Massachusetts, and began her teaching career in Groton, New Hampshire, when she was only 15 years old.

On April 1, 1865, she took a steamship from New York to San Francisco, costing $375 for a 4-week voyage. Although there were no teaching jobs
in San Francisco she was told that
San Diego needed a teacher for its new school. She arrived in San Diego on
July 5, 1865, to what was, she says,

“a most desolate looking landscape. The hills were brown and barren; not a tree or green thing was to be seen. Of all the dilapidated, miserable looking places I had ever seen, this was the worst. The buildings were nearly all of adobe, one story in height, with no chimneys. Some of the roofs were covered with tile and some with earth.

“The first night of my stay at the hotel, a donkey came
under my window and saluted me with an unearthly bray.
The fleas were plentiful and hungry. Mosquitoes were also
in attendance.”

About the school she said:

“My school was composed mostly of Spanish and half-breed children, with a few English and several Americans. I aimed to teach which was most meaningful to them; namely reading, spelling, arithmetic, and how to write letters. At recess the Spanish girls smoked cigaritas and the boys amused themselves by lassoing pigs, hens, etc. The Spanish children were very irregular in their attendance at school on account of so many fiestas and amusements of various kinds. For a week before a bull fight the boys were more or less absent, watching preparations, such as fencing up the streets leading to the plaza.”

Her story gets even more interesting, though, when she invited a black woman to lunch at the Franklin House. Some diners stormed out while others stared with contempt. Many parents removed their children from the school, and enrollment plunged from
36 students to 15.

After she left teaching, she supported the suffragette movement and worked to help the most needy. She died in San Diego on
May 17, 1899.

The Mason Street School Museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m.
to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free.

Various resources say that they have adult education class in California history, and fourth grade tours. Inquiring minds want to know why just fourth grade?

Old Town San Diego

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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Suspension bridges right here in San Diego!

Out & About

Ever since staycations became fashionable about eight years ago, I have been endeavoring to explore San Diego County—cities, rural areas, monuments, beaches, forests, parks, tourist attractions. Anything and everything is subject to Russel Ray’s Exploration Team, defined as Russel and his Canon camera.

Recently the Exploration Team stopped by San Dieguito County Park, a 125-acre park located on the border between the cities of Del Mar and Solana Beach.

san dieguito county park map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

san dieguito county park logoInterestingly, the park doesn’t open until 9:30 in the morning. I feel sorry for the early morning joggers.

The park is home to the Miracle Field, a fully accessible baseball field that accommodates children and adults with special needs.

There is a wide variety of recreational activities, including playgrounds, exercise stations, a basketball court, pavilions, a wedding gazebo, large open lawn areas, picnic areas, barbecue facilities, restrooms, drinking fountains, plenty of parking………

…….and trails! Lots of trails! With two suspension bridges at the top of Activity Hill!

The main trail:

img_0280 san diego county park trail stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Where I wanted to go:

img_0319 san diego county park trail stamp

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Short suspension bridge:

img_0285 san diego county park trail suspension bridge stamp

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Long suspension bridge:

img_0288 san diego county park trail suspension bridge stamp

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The view from the top of a purple mountain majesty:

img_0317 san diego county park trail stamp

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My Canon camera is never disappointed in Ocean Beach

Out & About

It’s no secret that one of the most eclectic neighborhoods in San Diego County is the City of San Diego neighborhood of Ocean Beach.

Ocean Beach

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As I was driving around Ocean Beach taking pictures of the rain this past weekend, I also was noticing business signage, something I’ve never done before during the daytime.

Ocean Beach never fails to disappoint my Canon camera, which then makes it so much more fun to play around in Photoshop.

omg_0073 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0095 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0096 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0097 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0098 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0102 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0142 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0171 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0173 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0174 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0184 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0190 ocean beach business sign stamp

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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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Worst. Weekend. Ever.

Out & About

This past weekend was my worst weekend ever since I arrived in San Diego on April 27, 1993.

Two consecutive days of rain.

Hard rain.

Lasting for hours and hours.

Two wettest July days in San Diego ever in history.

Making it the wettest July in San Diego ever in history.

The San Diego Padres, who claim to be a professional baseball team (current record 43-49, 9½ games out of first, but on a 4-game winning streak), first time ever in history rained out in July. It was their first rainout since April 4, 2006, and only the seventeenth rainout in their 47-year history.

Long-time readers know that one of the best places to go in San Diego when it’s raining is Ocean Beach.

Here are four pictures taken during the rain, thunder, lightning, and high winds:

img_0210 ocean beach rain stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0211 ocean beach rain stamp

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img_0212 ocean beach rain stamp

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img_0209 ocean beach rain stamp

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I stayed until dusk when lights started coming on, and as I was walking back to the car, I saw this business sign:

img_0115 attoo stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I guess the only thing to say is, “Bless you!”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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SNIPPETS (7-18-15)—Will we become maze runners?

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

Today is Jim’s birthday. Happy birthday, love!

Happy Birthday!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #2

We have rain, thunder, and lightning here in San Diego for Jim’s birthday.

I reminder readers of the following facts:

It’s July.
Middle of July.
In San Diego.
Southern California.
It rarely rains here, much less in July.
The last time it rained in July was 1992.
Wait.
I was still in College Station, Texas, then.
IT’S NEVER RAINED IN JULY IN SAN DIEGO!
This is completely unacceptable.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #3

Jim is off work this weekend so we are having a birthday weekend instead of just a birthday.

Yesterday evening we went to the San Diego Night Time Zoo. That’s when the Zoo stays open an extra four hours, until 9:00 p.m. Along with entertainment (music, magic….) throughout the Zoo (wonder how the animals like that….), it’s a great time to see some animals that only come out or become active at dusk. Such as the Fennec Fox (Vulpes zerda).

img_3862 fennic fox zoo stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

At a maximum weight of 3½ pounds, the Fennec Fox is the smallest canine in the world. It lives in the Sahara Desert of North Africa. Its coat, ears, and kidney functions have adapted to high-temperature, low-water, desert environments, and its hearing is sensitive enough to hear prey moving underground. It mainly eats insects, small mammals, and birds, and is itself eaten by the eagle owl.

Milky Eagle Owl

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SNIPPET #4

The Serval (Leptailurus serval), a small kitty cat but bigger than domestic kitty cats, also was active last night.

img_3914 serval zoo stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Serval is a slender cat with long legs and a fairly short tail with a maximum weight of 40 lbs. It also is native to Africa, south of the Sahara Desert.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #5

The Serval at the Zoo is a mommy. Two little ones born earlier this year. They were just as playful as all little kitties are. Jim and I stood there for thirty minutes watching the little ones play with each other and with their toys, although I think their favorite toy was a pine cone that had fallen from the tree.

img_3912 serval kitten zoo stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #6

atlas shruggedThis past week I watched three futuristic movies based on a book that Republicans seem enthralled with: “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. “Atlas Shrugged,” along with her previous book “The Fountainhead,” developed the philosophical system now known as Objectivism.

According to Wikipedia, “Objectivism’s central tenets are that reality exists independently of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive logic, that the proper moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness (rational self-interest), that the only social system consistent with this morality is one that displays full respect for individual rights embodied in laissez-faire capitalism, and that the role of art in human life is to transform humans’ metaphysical ideas by selective reproduction of reality into a physical form—a work of art—that one can comprehend and to which one can respond emotionally.”

Are you as tired from reading that as I am?

My wise old grandmotherOne of the things that my wise old grandmother (picture ►) taught me 40 years ago is that if you want to see how something will work in reality, take it to its extreme. That has always worked for me, and I think it works with Objectivism, Capitalism, and Socialism.

Objectivism seems to be where the Republicans want to take us, privatizing schools, roads, libraries, food (Monsanto comes to mind) and everything else in the world, which pretty much would be total and complete Objectivism with the rich controlling anything and everything.

Unbridled Capitalism comes very close to Objectivism, in my opinion, but I don’t know of any country anywhere, past or present, that subscribes to unbridled Capitalism. Rather, in capitalist economies, the parties to a transaction typically determine the prices at which they exchange assets, products, and services. Note the word “typically” there. Governments often get involved in capitalism to prevent things like gouging during natural disasters whereby prices for food and water are not allowed to increase exorbitantly due to demand caused by the situation.

Lack of any government at all would, I think, result in Anarchism, no better than Objectivism or Capitalism.

atlas shrugged filmYes, life is not fair, but do we really have to capitalize (pun intended) on that unfairness? Surely intelligent humans can find a happy middle ground that would allow the rich to stay rich, the middle class to have the opportunity to become rich, and government to be able to provide for all of its citizens in terms of transportation and education but also including the unemployed, the sick, the homeless, and the hungry.

I can highly recommend the three movies, “Atlas Shrugged,” “Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike,” and “Atlas Shrugged III: Who Is John Galt?”.

SNIPPET #7

maze runnerOnce you finish those three moves, go a little further to the extreme and watch “The Maze Runner.” All four movies also provide a view into society and what the future might hold as the climate changes, manmade or not.

However, if you’re still confused about the role of mankind in climate change, think about this:

The Holocene interglacial period, which is what we are in now, began about 11,000 years ago. The population of Earth at that time was about a million people. Now fast forward to July 18, 2015, where the population is 7½ billion people. Climate change happens. We know that. With all we are doing in terms of manufacturing and such, and the results of 7½ billion people using the products of that manufacturing, can we really say that we are not having some effect on the climate of the Earth, perhaps causing climate change to get here sooner rather than later? Can we do something, or will be become maze runners?

SNIPPET #8

San Diego gay pride paradeThis is Gay Pride weekend here in San Diego. Started with the Stonewall Rally yesterday evening, continues with a huge 3-hour long parade today followed by a Festival, and continuing with the Festival tomorrow. Parties are everywhere, including Gay Pride parties at the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld.

Jim and I are going to the San Diego Botanic Garden today and to the Gay Pride Festival tomorrow.

Rainbow balloons at San Diego Gay Pride

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Day One at San Diego Comic-Con International

Out & About

It was a dark and stormy morning….

img_3274 san diego trolley spring street stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray PhotosHa!

You thought I was going to say “stormy night”

That was 5:00 a.m., the start of the first day of San Diego Comic-Con International, July 9. It didn’t look promising. While it was partly cloudy all day with dark, stormy clouds, it didn’t rain.

Police were out in force to protect the crowds from, uh, the crowds.

img_3285 police comic con 2015

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Many of the ubiquitous fire-engine red cars of the San Diego Trolley had been turned into rolling advertisements.

img_3298 san diego trolley comic con 2015

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Petco Park was a huge advertisement.

img_3303 petco park comic con 2015

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The advertisement says “Evil isn’t born. It’s made.” Petco Park is where the San Diego Padres attempt to play professional baseball. Coincidence?

At 6:00 a.m., the line for the great H hall, which seats just over 6,100, had just over 6,100 people under the tents. The first person in line said that he had camped out since 6:00 p.m. the day before for an event that wasn’t occurring until 10:00 a.m.

img_3304 convention center comic con 2015

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Lines were long everywhere.

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img_3335 comic con 2015

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego’s most beautiful skyscraper hotels had been turned into advertising monoliths.

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img_3333 comic con 2015

img_3334 comic con 2015

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Once the convention got under way, crowds seemed to multiply exponentially.

img_3371 comic con 2015

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Even the Coaster, San Diego’s heavy rail commuter train, got involved in the action.

img_3382 coaster comic con 2015

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Santa Fe Depot in San DiegoThe Coaster normally stops several miles away at the historic Santa Fe Depot, but it was bringing trainloads of people into the downtown area.

I thought it was interesting that people standing in lines weren’t wearing anything special other than Superman and Batman shirts, Sharknado caps, and such. But once convention proceedings got underway, costumes seemed to come out of the woodwork. Here are the first four I saw:

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img_3348 costume comic con 2015

img_3349 costume comic con 2015

img_3351 costume comic con 2015

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Tomorrow’s post is “Music on Mondays” but on Tuesday, I’ll have a wide selection of the best costumes from my two days at San Diego Comic-Con International.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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