Category Archives: Photos

San Diego Historical Landmarks—#14I: Exchange Hotel Site

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 ninth historical landmark within Old Town is the Exchange Hotel Site. Also known as “Tebbett’s Place” in the early 1850’s, its location was not known until 1951. The life story of the proprietor, George Parrish Tebbets, is well known but the building where he conducted his business is pretty much unknown since there are no photographs, drawings, or complete descriptions of the hotel.

Several sources indicate that the Exchange Hotel was located at 2729 San Diego Avenue. Other sources say 2731 San Diego Avenue. Here is a picture of 2731 and 2733 San Diego Avenue:

Old Town San Diego first San Diego Courthouse

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Both buildings are rebuilds as they were destroyed in the great Old Town Fire of 1872. A lot is known about the two-story building, the Colorado House. The one-story building is the first San Diego courthouse. Based on my own research, I’m pretty sure that the first San Diego courthouse was not at that location but I couldn’t find where it actually had been built.

So we’re still looking for the Exchange Hotel….

In 1851, the Masons scheduled a meeting at the Exchange Hotel to draw up a petition to form a masonic lodge in San Diego. The petition was granted on August 1, 1851, and the lodge became San Diego Lodge No. 35. The date is noteworthy because in 1951, in celebration of the centennial of Southern California’s oldest Masonic Lodge, people went looking for the Exchange Hotel site in order to place a marker there.

No luck with the records of San Diego Lodge No. 35 as they contain no description of the Exchange Hotel and no mention of its location.

A June 28, 1852, article in the San Diego Herald was uncovered which seems to indicate that the Exchange Hotel was at least a two-story structure next to the Colorado House, itself known to be a two-story structure:

“The procession after marching through the principal streets, halted under the gallery of the Exchange and the Colorado house, to listen to the oration by J. Judson Ames, R.A. & K.T. which occupied about a half hour. Of its merits it isn’t of course, proper to speak.”

A November 3, 1855, San Diego Herald article reveals a little more:

“On the Plaza and its vicinity are several operations just completed or in progress, one of the most important of which is the raising and enlargement of the Exchange estate by Messers Franklin, who intend to devote it to their large and increasing business. The lower story is to be of brick, fronted by a handsome veranda which will be carried up three stories, the height of the building.”

Franklin HouseThe first three-story building, and for many years the only three-story building, in San Diego was the Franklin House. At one time it was owned by Joseph Mannasse, a member of the San Diego Lodge. Many of the Lodge’s early banquets and special events were held in the Franklin House.

Further research in 1951 indicates that the Franklin House was built where the Exchange Hotel once stood. I’m wondering if the Franklin House actually was the Exchange Hotel after “the raising and enlargement of the Exchange estate.”

Also in 1951, James Forward and George Elder of Union Title Insurance Company found a property transfer dated July 19, 1855:

“Conveys situate in the Town of San Diego. Having a front on the Plaza or public square of 35 feet more or less, and in depth 50 varas (measure) and known upon the plaza of said town, as part of Lot 2 in Block 30, upon which the building known as the ‘Exchange’ has been erected.”

That pretty much defined the location as 2731 San Diego Avenue.

Permission of the owners was obtained to place a bronze plaque at the site and, although that apparently was done on June 16, 1951, I could not find a plaque at the site when I was there this morning. Next time I am there I will search with a more critical eye.

The foundation of the Franklin House was uncovered in 1981 during renovation of Old Town. Sadly, though, once it was uncovered and documented, they poured sand on it and recovered it with concrete walkways and asphalt streets. I guess no one would want to look at a crumbled foundation of a destroyed house when they can reconstruct other buildings on top of it so people can buy trinkets, souvenirs, food, and, of course, margaritas!

Location of Old Town San Diego State Historic ParkOld 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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Under the spell of succulents

Out & About

When I came to San Diego in April 1993, I left all of my beautiful plants in the gardens back in Texas. Since I lived pretty much in hot, dry areas of Texas, and I intensely disliked paying water bills, most of my gardens and plants were cactus and succulents. So I had to start all over again in San Diego.

I didn’t get that start until November 1995 when the consulting job I took in April 1994 stationed me permanently in San Diego. My first task after moving into the new digs was to find the cactus and succulent nurseries in San Diego County.

One of my favorites was Solana Succulents, 355 N. Highway 101 in Solana Beach:

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Map location of Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Solana Succulents is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and Noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. Those are Daylight Savings Time hours. During Standard Time, they close at 4:00 p.m. on all days.

Solana Succulents is where I bought my first Stapelia. Looked like this when it bloomed:

Stapelia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The plant is so unlike most cactus and succulents that I took an immediate liking to it. But when it bloomed, I became Stapelia’s greatest fan. Here are some other pictures from my Stapelia collection throughout my years in San Diego:

Stapelia

Stapelia

Stapelia flower

Stapelia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Succulent chess set at the San Diego County FairWhen I started my home inspection company in October 2001, I stopped by Solana Succulents because they always had a stack of 10% discount coupons at the front entrance. Pick up a discount coupon and use it ten minutes later!

I wanted to know if I could include a discount coupon with each of my home inspection reports. They said yes! So each of my Clients got a 10% discount coupon. I know from follow-up conversations that many of them used the coupon, and that made me happy.

Yesterday I went to Carlsbad to get a picture of the new Cecil the Lion mural (see yesterday’s post here: I’m going to call animal abuse on that). On the way home, I drove down the Pacific Coast Highway with the specific intent of stopping at Solana Succulents. I spent nearly an hour talking to the owner, Jeff Moore, and taking pictures.

Here are twenty pictures taken on August 19, 2015:

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Can you guess which picture is my favorite?

NONE OF THEM!

It’s this one:

Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sadly, all of my Stapelias got left behind when I moved from Spring Valley to La Mesa in June 2001, and gardening then took a back seat to the commencement of my home inspection company just a couple of months later.

Stapelias are difficult to find in nurseries here, which puzzles me because they are so easy to grow, are drought tolerant, and have such beautiful star-shaped flowers.

Yesterday, Jeff was kind enough to give me a piece of that Stapelia in the very last picture. My life is complete again now that I once more have a Stapelia!

Jeff has a newly published book about succulents, a copy of which he also was kind enough to give me yesterday. The cover looks like this:

Under the Spell of Succulents by Jeff Moore

There are 244 pages with over 800 color photos in an 8″x10″ soft cover book for just $29.95! Contact Jeff at 858-259-4568 or solanasucculents@sbcglobal.net for your copy!

I can highly recommend “Under the Spell of Succulents” as an absolute necessity for cactus and succulent lovers, and for those who simply love beautiful pictures of beautiful plants.

Jeff also said that I could create a 10% discount coupon specifically for my wonderful followers here, so when you stop by Solana Succulents to choose YOUR special succulent or display, give Jeff the coupon below.

10% off coupon for Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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It doesn’t look like Earth

Out & About

One of the most beautiful areas of San Diego County is La Jolla at low tide.

There’s nothing quite like it with its natural beauty looking like something from Mars; its pelicans, cormorants, sea lions, and seals; and its opportunities for great sunsets.

Here’s a slide show to illustrate:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Look how children are being indoctrinated

Out & About

One of the things I noticed while teaching chess in elementary after-school enrichment programs is the beauty of the schools.

Sadly, though, they are fenced, locked, and secured after hours so one can’t just wander the school grounds to look at the beauty.

That’s where I come in!

I wandered and took pictures to share.

These really show just exactly how the students at this elementary school are being indoctrinated.

The following is Bird Rock Elementary School in La Jolla, an enclave of the rich in San Diego, California.

birdrock location

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I think it’s interesting that each graduating class, and sometimes other grades as well, present a gift to the school.

My elementary school, Charles H. Flato Elementary in Kingsville, Texas, was no beauty when I was there in 1965-1966, having been built in the 1930s or so, and we certainly didn’t give anything back to the school when we left….

Click on the pictures that are NOT stamps and you can get a bigger version.

img_0623-0624 panorama birdrock elementary school low res

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0604-0606 panorama birdrock elementary school low res

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0607 and 0610 panorama birdrock elementary school low res

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0612 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0615 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0616 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0617 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

They make use of all their space. For example, the following two pictures are of the back of the wall that holds the basketball goal.

img_0618 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0619 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

No, I did not put these words on the steps using Photoshop…….

img_0621 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0620 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0625 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0627 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0628 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0629-0632 panorama birdrock elementary school low res

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0622 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

IMG_0611 mural birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0613 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In the third picture above, the text reads, “If we are to reach real peace in this world…. we shall have to begin with the children.”—Gandhi

How wonderful it would be if our children were indoctrinated first with things like logic, reasoning, and science before being indoctrinated with religion. That’s my opinion, and at the age of 60, I’m sticking with it.

Child abuse isn't always physical

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pay someone a compliment

Out & About

A collection of pictures taken near the Crystal Pier Hotel in Ocean Beach and the neighborhoods nearby (map location at end).

Cat utility box

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Brick walkway with child's police car toy

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walkway landscape

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walkway stairs

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Ocean Beach near the Crystal Pier Hotel

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pelican statue at Crystal Pier Hotel in Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Octopus art at Crystal Pier Hotel in Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pay someone a compliment graffiti

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Crystal Pier Hotel in Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Crystal Pier Hotel in Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Never again

Picture of the Moment

It’s rare that people are in my pictures but sometimes it just can’t be helped.

img_0575 pelican crystal pier la jolla stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That giant pelican is located near the Crystal Pier Hotel in Ocean Beach:

Crystal Pier Hotel in Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

Crystal Pier Hotel in Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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The Lemon Grove Mummy

Out & About

Although I live in La Mesa, I’m just a hop skip and a jump away from Lemon Grove.

After a recent visit to the San Diego Museum of Man, I discovered that Lemon Grove once had more than just lemon groves.

The Lemon Grove Mummy was found there, kind of. Looks like this:

img_0487 lemon grove mummy stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looks absolutely nothing like King Tut!

The story of the Lemon Grove Mummy:

It was first discovered in Chihuahua, Mexico, and then “rediscovered” in Lemon Grove. The two men who discovered the mummy in 1966 brought it back to Lemon Grove and put it in storage in a friend’s garage. Before they could decide what to do with it, they were drafted into the Vietnam War. Everyone forgot about it.

In 1980, the friend’s mother was cleaning out the garage when she opened an unfamiliar box and discovered a curled up human body in it. After her initial screaming (might have been worthy of a “Friday the Thirteenth” movie), she called the police.

I checked YouTube but the actual 911 call has not been released. I do have a transcript of it, though:

911: This is 911. What is your emergency?

Mom: I found a body.

911: You found a body?

Mom: Yes, a body!

911: And you just found it?

Mom: Yes!

911: Where did you find it?

Mom: In my garage!

911: In your garage?

Mom: Yes, in my garage!

911: And you found it?

Mom: Yes, I told you! I found it in my garage!

911: Did you know it was there?

Mom: No, I said I found it!

911: But it was in your garage?

Mom: Yes, in my garage!

911: So you didn’t know it was in your garage?

Mom: No!

911: Is it male or female?

Mom: I don’t know.

911: You don’t know if the body is male or female?

Mom: No, I don’t.

911: Describe the body.

Mom: It looks like it’s about a thousand years old.

911: And it’s in your garage?

Mom: Yes! I found it in my garage!

911: When was the last time you were in your garage before finding the body?

Mom: Yesterday.

911: You were in your garage yesterday?

Mom: Yes. Yesterday.

911: You said the body looks like it’s a thousand years old?

Mom: Yes.

911: But you were in your garage yesterday?

Mom: Yes.

911: Why didn’t you see this thousand-year-old body yesterday when you were in your garage?

Mom: It was in a box.

911: Who put it in the box?

Mom: I don’t know! I found it today!

911: So you found a thousand-year-old body today in your garage in a box and you don’t know anything about it?

Mom: No, I don’t.

911: Okay. I’m going to send a sheriff to your home. What’s your address?

Mom: 1234 North Mummy Mountain Road….

The mummy is that of a woman who lived about 800 years ago. It is an example of a natural mummy, a body that is preserved without using any preservation methods. In this case, the body dessicated rapidly in the hot, dry environs of the Chihuahuan Desert, the second largest desert in North America.

Since it was removed illegally from Mexico, it belongs to the Instituto Nacional de Anthropología e Historia in Mexico City and is on loan to the San Diego Museum of Man.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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