Category Archives: Out & About

San Diego Historical Landmarks—#8: The Sherman-Gilbert House

San Diego Historical Landmarks

Even though San Diego was “discovered” in 1542 and “founded” in 1769, lacking in a historical perspective are old buildings.

Progress over the millennia sent buildings to the scrap heap of history in favor of new and improved.

The oldest buildings that remain are seven structures moved from their original locations to the Victorian Village (also called Heritage Row) in Heritage Park.

Heritage Park sign

Heritage Park location map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The seven structures include six homes and one temple, all built between 1887 and 1896.

Interestingly, the Heritage Park web site indicates that only two of the seven structures are San Diego Historical Landmarks. I know for certain that three of them are, and I won’t understand it if I discover that not all of them are registered historical landmarks. That would be weird to save a building, spend lots of money moving it, putting it in a place called “Heritage” Park, taking care of it, but not designating it as a historical landmark. Yep. That would be weird, weird, weird.

One that I know for certain is registered is San Diego Historical Landmark #8, the Sherman-Gilbert House, the first structure moved to Heritage Park in the Spring of 1971.

Sherman-Gilbert house in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The house was built in 1887 and first owned by John Sherman, a San Diego real estate developer and cousin of General William Tecumseh Sherman. Cousin John Sherman should not be confused with brother John Sherman, a significant politician and three-time presidential candidate.

The house is in the Stick Eastlake architectural style, sometimes referred to as Victorian Stick, a style that was popular in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

Several characteristics of the Stick style include interpenetrating roof planes, bold paneled brick chimneys, wrap-around porch, spindle detailing, “panelled” on blank walls, and radiating spindle details at the gable peaks.

There are few survival examples of the Stick Eastlake style; the Sherman-Gilbert House is one of them.

Sherman-Gilbert house in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

From 1892 to 1965, the home was owned by sisters Bess and Gertrude Gilbert, significant San Diego patrons of art and music. While they owned the house, they brought internationally famous entertainers to receptions there, including Yehudi Menuhin, Artur Rubinstein, and Ernestine Schumann-Heink.

The house was marked for demolition in 1969. Concerned citizens formed the Save Our Heritage Organization and were granted a reprieve to raise funds and move the house from its original location at 139 Fir Street in Bankers Hill.

In the latter part of the twentieth century, moving historic structures in order to save them was commonplace. It’s now considered inappropriate to move them, which also means that sometimes historic structures are demolished rather than saved, usually in the name of progress such as highways, skyscrapers, and shopping malls.

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

Looking for a unique gift for Christmas?

Out & About—The unusual and strange

Out & About

I teach chess on weekdays at elementary school after-school enrichment programs, which means my afternoons are taken. Mornings, then, are reserved for home inspections or getting out and about to enjoy all that is San Diego.

Home inspections during rain, or even the threat of rain, are rare, so these past few mornings I have been out searching for San Diego Historical Landmarks. Sometimes when the landmark is no longer there, probably having been destroyed in the name of progress, I will drive the neighborhood looking for good photography subjects.

Always amazed, I am, at some of the things I find, such as this rooftop horse:

Rooftop horse

Rooftop horse

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I found a large mural of a woman with spider webs on her forehead and surrounded by roses. Perhaps this is Spider Woman:

Mural in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The historical landmark I was searching for still existed but was being renovated, so the pictures aren’t real good with scaffolding and such surrounding the house. However, the rooftop adornments were quite interesting:

Rooftop adornments

Rooftop adornments

Rooftop adornments

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I also found the Monkey Paw Brewing Company.

Monkey Paw Brewing Company San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sadly, the Monkey Paw Brewing Company was not open at 7:00 a.m. Surely it was 5:00 somewhere in the world, right?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift for Christmas or Fall graduates?
Photographic Art logo
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.
Order today!

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

About these ads

Local Weather: Winter to arrive today, exiting late tomorrow

Out & About

The weather people tell us that winter is going to arrive in San Diego today and might linger into tomorrow. Then it’s back to regularly scheduled programming with highs in the low 70s, lows in the high 50s, partly cloudy or sunny, with little chance of rain….

In every place where I have lived and worked, weather phenomena came with names—Nor’easter when I was in Boston and Philadelphia, Norther in Texas, Blizzard in Chicago. It’s no different here in San Diego, and today’s event is a “Pineapple Express,” a strong, fast-moving, and warm storm system which typically starts near Hawaii.

Those pesky weather people tell us to prepare for a inch of rain along the coast (that would cause flooding; we’re never prepared for an inch of rain!), a half inch in the high desert (that would cause flash floods for them), and up to four inches in the coastal mountains (kind of where I live).

More importantly for me, the Pacific Ocean should come crashing ashore along the San Diego coast, and you just know that I’m going to be over there trying to get some great pictures. For those in San Diego, best places to see the waves crashing ashore….

Ocean waves

….are at Sunset Cliffs (see picture above); the piers in Imperial Beach, Ocean Beach, La Jolla, and Oceanside; and Boomer or Horseshoe in La Jolla.

Birds watching the waves crashing ashore

Of course, when big waves hit make headlines, surfers and jet-skiers have to go check them out.

Inevitably a few of the novices get themselves into trouble and emergency personnel have to rescue them.

Good thing the Republicans haven’t completely done away with government yet…………………………………….

Surfer in San Diego

I’m not sure where I’m going to be. I’m usually at Sunset Cliffs since I have never been disappointed with the waves and people action there. However, I might try to get to La Jolla because there are so many good spots up there and I have never been there during a good storm.

Gawkers watching the waves at Ocean Beach Pier during storm

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift for Christmas or Fall graduates?
Photographic Art logo
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.
Order today!

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

San Diego Historical Landmarks—#5: Calvary Cemetery Site

San Diego Historical Landmarks

San Diego Historical Landmark #5 is site of the old Calvary Cemetery, now Calvary Memorial Pioneer Park. It was declared a historic site on February 29, 1969, by the The City of San Diego Historical Site Board. Interestingly, I could not find a calendar showing 1969 being a leap year so I don’t know what’s going on there.

Mission Hills Pioneer Park

Mission Hills Pioneer Park

Mission Hills Pioneer Park

I have passed by Pioneer Park without knowing its name or history at least a few thousand times since moving to San Diego in April 1993. Across the street are the Mission Hills tennis courts where I played many a game of tennis in 1993-94. A block down the street used to be one of San Diego’s largest real estate offices, where I spent a great deal of time when I started my home inspection business in October 2001.

As one is driving by, though, one sees the playground and the tall trees. That’s it. For someone like me who really doesn’t like children, I never had an interest in checking out the park. Well, exploring San Diego’s Historical Landmarks, especially #5 here, has taught me a lesson: Let no park go unexplored.

San Diego doesn’t have a lot of cemeteries, probably because cremation is the preferred method of taking care of dead bodies. So when I came to Historical Landmark #5, I actually thought I already had pictures of it. When I went to prepare the pictures for this post, I realized that the pictures were of the El Campo Santo Cemetery, which is Historical Landmark #26.

I set out to find Calvary Cemetery, and one of my history books told me that it is located in Mission Hills, Randolph Street at Washington Place. I realized that I knew exactly where it was:

Pioneer Park location

Mission Hills comprises many historical landmark homes, so we’ll be visiting the area a lot throughout my San Diego Historical Landmark series. The area is up on a mesa overlooking the ocean, Mission Valley, the airport, Old Town, and downtown San Diego. It is where California was founded in 1769; see the previous four posts in this series.

I parked at the far end of the park and was getting really discouraged as I walked around the park because there was no sign of tombstones anywhere. The park is hilly, though, and as I crested one of the final hills in the southeast corner, here is what greeted me:

img_8486 stamp

I can’t tell you how excited I was.

I walked around them from my hilly crest to get more pictures.

Mission Hills Pioneer Park

The land that currently is Calvary Memorial Pioneer Park was purchased by the City of San Diego in 1876 specifically to be used as a cemetery. Named Calvary Cemetery, one source says it was to be run by Catholic and Protestant churches. Other sources say that it was a Catholic cemetery run by Father Antonio Ubach.

One source says that it was “the new Catholic cemetery” to differentiate it from the older Catholic cemetery (now called “El Campo Santo Cemetery”; historical landmark #26) in Old Town. After burials began at Holy Cross Cemetery in 1919, Calvary Cemetery was referred to as “the old Catholic cemetery,” a name reflected in mortuary records and newspaper notices of the times.

Calvary Cemetery was used extensively from 1880 to 1919. The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 (“Spanish Flu” or “La Grippe”) killed tens of millions of people worldwide, resulting in more people being buried at Calvary Cemetery in 1918 than in any other year.

The last burial was in 1960, but the cemetery had fallen into disrepair from 1919 to 1960, although the Works Progress Administration, a New Deal Agency of the Great Depression, renovated the cemetery in 1939 according to this Park monument:

Mission Hills Pioneer Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

A city resolution converted the cemetery into Calvary Memorial Pioneer Park in 1970. Of the more than 600 gravestones and monuments that remained in the cemetery, 142 were preserved in the park with the others being relocated to Mount Hope Cemetery.

Mount Hope Cemetery location

The intent was for Mount Hope Cemetery to be a temporary holding area until the gravestones could be returned to the new park. My history books say that “opposition prevented this,” but I don’t know who the opposition was.

A different online source (Calvary Cemetery, San Diego, CA) reports that “the removed and discarded gravestones were buried on the grounds of San Diego’s Mount Hope Cemetery. This action destroyed these historic monuments and the only existing record of hundreds of people who were born and died before birth and death certificates became standard.”

I do not think there are 142 gravestones remaining in the Park. I think 142 was the total number of gravestones that were saved, of which some are now in the Park, some at Mount Hope Cemetery, and apparently some even at other cemeteries throughout the area, according to the Calvary Cemetery, San Diego, CA source.

There is a large memorial in the southeast corner of the Park with about 2,000 names listed on its six plaques:

Mission Hills Pioneer Park

Mission Hills Pioneer Park

The Calvary Cemetery, San Diego, CA source states that over 4,000 people are documented as having been buried at Calvary Cemetery, and it has some pretty cool cemetery plot maps on its site.

Sadly, there are no dates of birth or death on the Park memorial, or any other identifying information. I didn’t want to transcribe all the names on the memorial plaques, thinking that somewhere in the world would be a list of all those who had been interred in Calvary Cemetery. The previously mentioned online source and the “Guide to the Calvary Cemetery Collection” available online at the San Diego History Center are the two best resources I could find.

With the pictures in the Collection, as well as other identifying information, I can now visit Mount Hope Cemetery to see what might remain of any gravestones that were relocated there.

The oldest date on the remaining gravestones in the Park was for Julian Ames, born in 1807:

img_8493 stamp

Interestingly, records indicate that the first burial at Calvary Cemetery was in 1875, so I can’t explain Julian’s gravestone. Maybe he was reinterred from elsewhere.

I found it quite interesting to read through the details on the gravestones. There were babies, military from throughout the country, religious leaders, regular people….

Mission Hills Pioneer Park

Mission Hills Pioneer Park

Mission Hills Pioneer Park

Mission Hills Pioneer Park

Lastly, here we have proof of reincarnation:

Mission Hills Pioneer Park

The last person to be buried at Calvary Cemetery was Rose Wilson Mallicoat, buried on March 16, 1960. In addition to being the last, she died on my birthday in 1960; I was five years old.

As I was walking around the park, I had mixed feelings knowing that I was walking on gravesites. I still had mixed feelings as I was researching this post even though I discovered that on June 5, 1957, California Governor Goodwin Knight approved Assembly Bill No. 2751 that amended the state Health and Safety Code (Section 8825-8829) to establish the procedure for allowing a city or county to declare a cemetery abandoned and convert it to a pioneer memorial park. So there we have it: Calvary Memorial Pioneer Park.

According to Calvary Cemetery, San Diego, CA, on February 9, 1988, “A bulldozer was used to bury many gravestones that had been taken from Calvary Cemetery in 1970. They were buried in an isolated area on the property of The City of San Diego’s Mount Hope Cemetery. As a memorial, a small group of the headstones (that had been taken from Calvary Cemetery in 1970) were set in concrete near the site of the buried gravestones at Mount Hope Cemetery.”

With that said, I’m on my way this morning to Mount Hope Cemetery to see if I can find the site of the buried gravestones and the group that might still be standing. Check in tomorrow for the conclusion to this post!

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 This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Need a unique gift? Have Bare Wall Symdrome?
Visit Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.
Christmas is just around the corner. Order today!
photograhic art taking pictures making art

Adobe Falls now off limits

Out & About

San Diego doesn’t have many natural waterfalls. I think it has something to do with needing water to fall from the skies in order for water to flow along the ground and create waterfalls. Just a hunch.

The waterfalls that we do have, however, are pretty nice. The problem is how to get to them safely.

Inevitably when the rains come (another four weeks or so) and the waterfalls start falling, people who have no appreciation for the outdoors tend to make their way to the waterfalls, destroying everything in their path and sometimes destroying the waterfalls, too.

One of the rare year-round waterfalls here in the County is just a mile from me and at the side of Interstate 8, but it is extremely difficult to get to because it’s in a small canyon surrounded by highway and houses.

The reason why it is year-round is because it’s in a small canyon occupied by the San Diego River. It’s called Adobe Falls.

Adobe Falls location

It also happens to be on land owned by San Diego State University.

Because of the damage and destruction to houses and environment caused by those trying to get to the waterfalls, SDSU has decided to make the waterfalls off limits to the extent that anyone caught on that little sliver of land will be arrested.

The grapevine tells me that they mean it and have been backing up their words. Thus, I will not be going to the waterfalls this year, so you’ll simply have to enjoy these pictures from past trips.

Adobe Falls

Adobe Falls

There’s a huge building on the SDSU campus with a magnificent view of the little canyon where Adobe Falls is located, although the Falls is hidden from view in the midst of all the palm trees and brush:

SDSU building overlooking Adobe Falls

Adobe Falls

Even though there is a 12-lane freeway between Adobe Falls and that building, wouldn’t that be a great place for SDSU to station lookouts to keep an eye on trespassers to the Falls?

On my last trip to Adobe Falls, I found this little guy:

Green heron at Adobe Falls

I’m pretty sure that is a Green Heron, and it was not in the least bit frightened of me. It let me get within a few feet to get that picture! Just kept one eye on me, seeming to say, “Yeah, I’ve seen your kind around here before. I’m keeping an eye on you.”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by
This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Do you have Bare Wall Syndrome? Need a unique gift?
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

photograhic art taking pictures making art

San Diego Historical Landmarks—#4: Site of the Presidio of San Diego, part 2

San Diego Historical Landmarks

San Diego Historical Landmark #4 is the site of the Presidio of San Diego. Read part one here.

On the grounds where the Presidio of San Diego was existed—nothing but bumps in the landscape now—stands the Junípero Serra Museum, one of the most familiar landmarks in San Diego.

Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The museum was built in 1928-1929 to house the collection of the San Diego Historical Society (now named the San Diego History Center), which was founded in 1928.

The museum is open only on Saturdays and Sundays.

If you love history, wandering about the museum for a couple of hours is a great way to spend some time.

Although the museum is small, it has lots of great documents, pictures, and archaeological findings.

Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego

Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In a previous post, I mentioned the El Jupiter cannon which I knew was located in the museum:

El Jupiter cannon in the Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego

El Jupiter cannon in the Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

View of Fashion Valley Mall and the University of San Diego from the Serra Museum tower:

View of Fashion Valley Mall and the University of San Diego from the Serra Museum tower .

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 This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Need a unique gift? Have Bare Wall Symdrome?
Visit Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.
photograhic art taking pictures making art

San Diego Historical Landmarks—#4: Presidio of San Diego site, part 1

San Diego Historical Landmarks

San Diego Historical Landmark #4 is the site of the Presidio of San Diego.

Presidio of San Diego site

San Diego Presidio Site
Soldiers, sailors, Indians, and Franciscan missionaries from New Spain occupied the land at Presidio Hill on May 17, 1769 as a military outpost. Two months later, Fr. Junipero Serra established the first San Diego mission on Presidio Hill. Officially proclaimed a Spanish Presidio on January 1, 1774, the fortress was later occupied by a succession of Mexican forces. The Presidio was abandoned in 1837 after San Diego became a pueblo.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Only ruins of the Presidio remain, simple bumps in the ground:

Site of the Presidio of San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

A walk around the surround grounds finds many items of interest, such as a statue of “The Indian” by Arthur Putnam (1873-1930)….

The Indian, by Arthur Puinam, in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

….a statue of “The Padre,” also by Arthur Putnam….

"The Padre" by Arthur Putnam in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

….and a hugemonstergiganticreallyreallybig cross made out of bricks:

The Cross in Presidio Park in San Diego California

The Cross in Presidio Park in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Wouldn’t it be neat if we discovered that the bricks are from an old building in the area? Sadly, I could find nothing about the cross other than what is told on a plaque at the base:

In this ancient Indian village of Cosoy
Discovered and named San Miguel by Cabrillo in 1549
Visited and christened San Diego de Alcala by Vizcaino in 1602
Here the first citizen
Fray Junipero Serra
Planted civilization in California
Here he first raised the cross. Here began the first mission.
Here founded the first town, San Diego, July 16, 1769
In memory of him and his works. The Order of Panama 1913.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Just across the street from the ruins of the Presidio is the Junípero Serra Museum, one of the most familiar landmarks in San Diego.

Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Junípero Serra Museum is often mistaken for Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá—indeed, for many years, I counted myself among the mistaken.

The Serra Museum was built in 1928-1929 for the purpose of housing the collection of the San Diego Historical Society (now named the San Diego History Center), which was founded in 1928. William Templeton Johnson was the architect and used Spanish Revival architecture to resemble the early missions that once dominated the Southern California landscape.

Following are three pictures from the Museum’s collection of the Museum in 1929:

Architect’s elevation drawingElevation of the Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Project completedJunipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Dedication DayDedication day of the Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Prior to the Great Recession, the Museum was open seven days a week. Now, sadly, it is open only on weekends.

There are other markers from the past, and I’m sure I missed some because they are located in strange places, places which probably weren’t so strange many decades ago. An example is this tree, possibly as old as the ruins:

Presidio Hill in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

See the crooked gravestone-like marker at the right of the trunk? Obviously I had to go see what it said:

Presidio Hill in San Diego California

Dedicated in memory of
Father Francisco Palou
Biographer of Fr. Serra

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I also discovered a huge statue of a man on a horse:

Presidio Hill in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The plaque on the base is in Spanish:

DONADO A LA CIUDAD DE SAN DIEGO
POR EL SEÑOR LICENSIADO
GUSTAVO DIAZ ORDAZ
PRESIDENTE DE LA REPUBLICA MEXICANA
NOVIEMBRE DE 1970

Wikipedia tells me that Gustavo Diaz Ordaz (1911-1979) was president of Mexico from 1964 to 1970. That, however, doesn’t explain anything about this statue and why it is there. Research for another day….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As I said earlier, the Junípero Serra Museum is open only on Saturdays and Sundays. I went a couple of weeks ago, and in my next posting about San Diego Historical Landmarks, I’ll take you inside the Museum. It’s quite beautiful and should not be missed if you make a trip to Presidio Hill.

The San Diego Presidio Site is also California Registered Historic Landmark #59. Considering that this is where California was founded, what 58 sites could be more important?

Junipero Sera Museum in San Diego California

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 This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Need a unique gift? Have Bare Wall Symdrome?
Visit Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.
photograhic art taking pictures making art