Category Archives: Photos

San Diego Historical Landmarks—#14D: Casa de Pedrorena

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 fourth one, San Diego Historical Landmark #14C, is Casa de Pedrorena.

Casa de Pedrorena

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Miguel de Pedrorena JrCasa de Pedrorena was built in 1869 by Miguel de Pedrorena Jr (picture ►), a wealthy stockman. His dad, a native of Madrid, Spain, living in Peru had come to San Diego as a ship’s agent, marrying into the prominent Estudillo family in 1842. Although he claimed the lot adjacent to the Estudillo home in Old Town, the historic Casa de Estudillo, he died in 1850 before he could build a home.

One online source states that the structure was built in 1850 by Miguel Sr. Since he died on March 21, 1850, I’m going to go with it being built in 1869 by Miguel Jr. I just don’t believe an adobe or framed home could be built in San Diego at that time in a mere 2½ months.

A plaque on the grounds (lower right corner of picture above) states that Casa de Pedrorena was the final adobe built in Old Town, and one online source states that its thick adobe and mud-plastered, whitewashed walls were typical of Mexican adobes in the area. However, the shingled roof, as well as the mill-sawn, wood-columned front porch, reflected American building practices.

Other online sources state categorically that Casa de Pedrorena was “one of” the first frame houses in Old Town.” Several sources state that it was “the first frame house” built in Old Town. Here is a picture taken around 1920:

Casa de Pedrorena

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I looked closely at the building exterior but could not determine whether it was a wood-frame building or an adobe. I guess I’ll just leave it at that. As my wise old grandmother said, “It is what it is.”

Miguel Sr. came from one of the best families in Madrid, being educated there and at Oxford University. He served as a captain in the United States Cavalry during the Mexican-American War. He was in the forefront of the attack against Fort Stockton when it was finally captured.

El Jupiter cannon in the Junipero Serra Museum in San DiegoDuring the early part of the war, he had buried under his house (or the patio behind it, one source says) El Jupiter (picture ►), the old bronze cannon now on display at the Junipero Serra Museum (see my post here) in order to prevent its being used against the Americans.

Miguel Sr. was a member of the California Constitutional Convention which met in Monterey, California, in 1849. He was a member of the group headed by William Heath Davis which attempted to found New Town in 1850, an attempt that failed because of the lack of fresh water.

Miguel Jr. gave Casa de Pedrorena to his sister, Isabel de Altamirano, in January 1871, a gift that joined together two pioneer California families. Isabel and her husband, José Antonio Altamirano, raised their family in the home.

Although some sources call the home “Casa de Pedrorena y Altamirano,” Altamirano also owned the little frame house next door where the San Diego Union newspaper was first published in 1868. The newspaper building is more traditionally connected with Altamirano’s name rather than Casa de Pedrorena.

Casa de Pedrorena remained a family residence until 1907, although one source says “until the 1890s.” It was restored in 1996 by California State Parks and is said to be one of five historic 19th century adobes in Old Town State Historic Park. Currently it is a gem, jewelry, and rock shop, open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. There are two old railroad mining cars located on the property:

Railroad mining car at Casa de Pedrorena in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Railroad mining car at Casa de Pedrorena in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

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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Friday Flower Fiesta (2-27-15)—LLAP

Friday Flower Fiesta

A little something different for today’s Friday Flower Fiesta.

Up until September 2004, my name was Russel Ray Kirk, and I was a fanatic about all things “Star Trek.” In fact, put “Star” in the title—e.g., “Star Wars,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” etc.—and you were assured of having at least one die-hard fan.

Throughout my youth and up until I changed my name to Russel Ray, I was also known by a nickname that was first bestowed on me in late 1966, “Captain Kirk.” I was only 11 but I couldn’t quit talking about Captain Kirk. He fascinated me, as did “Star Trek.” I anticipated each week for the next couple of years, and summers were a real bummer for me.

As I got older, my logic earned me another nickname, “Spock.”

The death of Leonard Nimoy today at age 83 takes me back to Friday, June 4, 1982, when I stood in line to be one of the first to see “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.” A few hours later, my thinking about “me” and “us” had changed, all because of something “Spock” said in the movie: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Those words spoke to me about why I pay taxes for schools (I have never had a child in school!), roads, police, fire fighters, libraries, and so much more. Today, “us” extends to the Affordable Care Act—The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Life is about more than just me and my needs or wants.

Today, as Jim was in the hospital recovering from minor surgery, the nurse asked us if we had heard about Leonard Nimoy. We had not, but he didn’t have to say anything else.

I never got to watch “Star Trek” on Thursday nights at 8:30 in September 1966. Way too late for an 11 year old with homework. Fortunately, it was shown in our little farming & ranching community on Friday afternoons at 3:30. School got out at 3:00. You know where I was from 3:30 to 4:30.

Leonard Nimoy’s death is one of the three saddest days in my life (I’m lucky, I know), the other two being the murder of John Lennon and the death of my best friend, Ken Lewis, when he was just 32.

Rest in peace, Leonard Nimoy, but may you live on through Spock for millions of future generations. May they live long and prosper.

In memory of Leonard Nimoy

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Urban barn

Picture of the Moment

Now that the days are getting longer, there is time to go exploring after teaching chess at elementary schools in the afternoon, and that’s what I’ve been doing.

I got a surprise the other day when I went exploring in a 1% neighborhood and saw this:

Urban barn

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Usually, in order to see a real barn here in San Diego, one has to travel far out into the boondocks. This barn, however, was in a semi-rural neighborhood of large homes.

Barn location map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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He’s home!

Picture of the Moment

Someone was gone for 213 days, but he’s home now!

Welcome home

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Discovered yesterday as I was exploring on my way to a new elementary school to teach some rugrats how to play chess.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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I’m rich! I’m rich!

Inspiration

It doesn’t take much for me to get inspired each day, usually a catnap here and there, a hot shower, the news report, and my Excel spreadsheet detailing my goals and tasks for each day.

Occasionally, though, my level of inspiration jumps a few notches, as it did two days ago when I got this email:

Newsflare

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Notice that payment is in Pounds. I thought Great Britain was part of the Eurozone and was using the Euro. Not so. I guess the citizens voted down membership in the Eurozone. Good for me, though. When I initially read the email, I thought the sales price was in Euros, which were trading at $1.14 to a U.S. dollar. When I went to my PayPal account, the amount was much more than what I thought it should be. That’s when I realized that payment was in Pounds Sterling, which were trading at $1.499 to a U.S. dollar. Yahooooo! More money for me!

Here is the video that sold:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

A mere 13 seconds. However, the event itself started at 10:00 a.m. and ended at 5:00 p.m. Knowing that parking in the area would be bad, I arrived at 7:00 a.m., got a great parking spot, and proceeded to take pictures of the trains passing by every 30 minutes:

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner in Del Mar, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

So if I divide the sales price, $1,124.25, by 12 hours, I get an hourly rate of $93.69. Hmmm. Still not bad………..LOL

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Out & About—Hail Satan

Out & About

I recently commented to a photographer friend on Facebook that finding abandoned buildings in San Diego doesn’t happen often because real estate is so expensive here.

If anyone abandons buildings or—gasp!—land, some developer comes in, swoops it up, and redevelops it, creating a subdivision of cookie cutter homes, condos, a mall, or a parking lot.

So imagine my surprise yesterday when I passed a collection of abandoned homes and (obviously) agricultural buildings along a one-mile stretch of winding rural highway.

Pala CasinoI was on my way to an elementary school that is part of the San Antonio de Pala Mission on the Pala Indian Reservation. A huge Casino (picture ►) also resides on the reservation, so traffic on the rural highway was heavy and slow, speed limit 35 mph.

Abandoned buildings make great pictures, so I went back to explore, although I had to drive another mile before finding a safe place to do a U turn.

I only found one building with a NO TRESPASSING sign, so I skipped that building but explored all the others. I’ll have more about these abandoned homes and buildings—and an abandoned 100 acres of real estate as well!—in tomorrow’s post. It’s quite interesting.

Meanwhile, three pictures to whet your appetite:

Abandoned building

Abandoned home

Hail Satan

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (2-20-15)—Orchids are blooming everywhere!

Friday Flower Fiesta

Sunday is National Margarita Day…………

Wait.

This is a Friday Flower Fiesta post……….

Nevermind.

Wait.

Don’t “nevermind.”

Instead, keep in mind that Sunday is National Margarita Day! Margaritas for everyone!

Now on to our Friday Flower Fiesta featuring orchids this week.

Why orchids?

Because if you go to the Botanical Building in Balboa Park right now, it is full of blooming orchids. It’s an orchid orgasm. Wait. Did I just say that?

Botanical Building in San Diego's Balboa Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids at the Botanic Building in Balboa Park, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids at the Botanic Building in Balboa Park, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids at the Botanic Building in Balboa Park, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids at the Botanic Building in Balboa Park, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids at the Botanic Building in Balboa Park, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids at the Botanic Building in Balboa Park, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchid

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchid from the 2014 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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