More current news and photos of Balboa Park!

People walk down El Prado past the amazing Casa del Prado.
People walk down El Prado past the amazing Casa del Prado.

I’m afraid this blog you are now reading, Beautiful Balboa Park, has been dormant the past many months. All of my spare time has been devoted to my main website Cool San Diego Sights!

I still frequently visit Balboa Park. It’s just as wonderful as ever. I walk through the park almost every weekend to soak in its vibrant life, discover new things.

If you want to see more current news and photographs from Balboa Park, you might bookmark or follow Cool San Diego Sights!

To read my latest posts that specifically concern Balboa Park, click here.

If you click the above link, right at this moment (late September, 2020) you will see photographs and information about a brand new exhibition of the Mingei International Museum at the Japanese Friendship Garden, some interesting information concerning a preview of the upcoming Comic-Con Museum, plus an eyeful of fascinating photographs from an exhibition of fine art at the San Diego History Center. And a whole lot more!

Better yet, if you follow my main website Cool San Diego Sights you’ll experience cultural events and colorful places throughout the entire city, so who knows what you might discover?

Thanks for checking out my blog!

Richard

Fine art at the San Diego History Center.

The San Diego History Center in Balboa Park has a fine art collection of more than 1700 works. They represent the visual culture of our region.
The San Diego History Center in Balboa Park has a fine art collection of more than 1700 works. They represent the visual culture of our region.

The San Diego History Center, originally the San Diego Historical Society, has been an important custodian of our region’s history since the organization’s founding in 1928 by civic leader George W. Marston. Their preserved documents, photographs and artifacts trace the development of San Diego from a small town in the desert-like wilderness to a modern, thriving Southern California metropolis.

Visitors to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park might be surprised when they enter one of the museum galleries to discover pieces from their Fine Art Collection. The current exhibition is titled Exquisite Views. Amazing canvases on three walls represent over 1700 pieces of fine art, many of which were donated by San Diego residents. Notable artists in the large collection include James Hubbell, Maurice Braun, Alfred Mitchell, Charles Fries, Belle Baranceanu, Charles Reiffel, Alice Klauber and Donal Hord.

There are two gigantic, amazing murals by Charles Reiffel on the walls of the museum nearby. And two more above stairs inside the Casa de Balboa. I posted photos of them here and here.

Like many cultural institutions who need support from the public, the San Diego History Center welcomes any contributions. Admission to their museum in the Casa de Balboa is free, but I’m always careful to leave a donation when I visit. Many of their fine art pieces are also up for “adoption” by art lovers. Contact them if you are interested.

The Family of Joseph W. Sefton, Sr., ca. 1890, oil on canvas, by artist Alden Finney Brooks.
The Family of Joseph W. Sefton, Sr., ca. 1890, oil on canvas, by artist Alden Finney Brooks.

By the Sea, 1940, oil on board, by artist Dan Dickey.
By the Sea, 1940, oil on board, by artist Dan Dickey.

La Cumbre Peak, Santa Barbara 1918-1920, oil on canvas, by artist Charles A. Fries.
La Cumbre Peak, Santa Barbara 1918-1920, oil on canvas, by artist Charles A. Fries.

Torrey Pines - Spring, 1997, watercolor on paper, by artist James Hubbell.
Torrey Pines – Spring, 1997, watercolor on paper, by artist James Hubbell.

Untitled Landscape (Mission Bay Causeway Bridge), ca. 1930, oil on canvas, by artist Alice Klauber.
Untitled Landscape (Mission Bay Causeway Bridge), ca. 1930, oil on canvas, by artist Alice Klauber.

Eileen, ca. 1939, oil on canvas, by artist Margaret (Margot) King Rocle.
Eileen, ca. 1939, oil on canvas, by artist Margaret (Margot) King Rocle.

Girl with a Fawn, 1935, charcoal and colored chalk, by artist Belle Baranceanu.
Girl with a Fawn, 1935, charcoal and colored chalk, by artist Belle Baranceanu.

1935 photograph from the Union-Tribune Collection shows Belle Baranceanu painting the mural Girl with a Fawn on the east side of the Fine Arts Gallery, today's San Diego Museum of Art.
This 1935 photograph from the Union-Tribune Collection shows Belle Baranceanu painting the mural Girl with a Fawn on the east side of the Fine Arts Gallery, today’s San Diego Museum of Art.

Ramona Morning, 2013, oil on linen, by artist Carol Lindemulder.
Ramona Morning, 2013, oil on linen, by artist Carol Lindemulder.

The San Diego History Center seeks to acquire new works. Their Art for the Next Century Initiative will expand their collection of historical artwork.
The San Diego History Center seeks to acquire new works. Their Art for the Next Century Initiative will expand their collection of historical artwork.

Sycamores at Springtime, 1937, oil on board, by artist Charles A. Reiffel.
Sycamores at Springtime, 1937, oil on board, by artist Charles A. Reiffel.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Nature photos: MOPA’s Genesis in Balboa Park.

Genesis, an exhibition of Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado's work, contains many stunning images.
Genesis, an exhibition of Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado’s work, contains many stunning images.

The Museum of Photographic Art’s current exhibition titled Genesis contains dozens of magnificent photographs. I enjoyed this exhibition in May. MOPA was one of several Balboa Park museums that I visited during that month’s Big Exchange promotion.

Some signs have appeared in the Plaza de Panama which show a few of these visually stunning photographs. Genesis contains the work of Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, who captures the raw, wild beauty of unspoiled nature and the simplicity of people untouched by modernity. The photographs take one’s breath away. They make one yearn for a simpler, more primal, more natural existence.

Of course, the funny thing is that the exquisite photographs themselves were created with a modern instrument, and their exhibition and transmission to thousands or millions of people relies on technology–the product of accumulated human knowledge and aspiration.

A photograph from the Museum of Photographic Arts in the Plaza de Panama.
A photograph from the Museum of Photographic Arts in the Plaza de Panama.

One of my favorite images by Sebastião Salgado shows penguins leaping into the ocean.
One of my favorite images by Sebastião Salgado shows penguins leaping into the ocean.

Photograph of the Grand Canyon, one of many stunning images in the Genesis exhibition at MOPA.
Photograph of the Grand Canyon, one of many stunning images in the Genesis exhibition at MOPA.

I try with my pictures to raise a question, to provoke a debate, so that we can discuss problems together and come up with solutions. Sebastião Salgado
I try with my pictures to raise a question, to provoke a debate, so that we can discuss problems together and come up with solutions. Sebastião Salgado

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Lamp and lantern exhibit at Model Railroad Museum!

Old photo and advertisement show an electric Sport-Lite lantern.
Old photo and advertisement show an electric Sport-Lite lantern.

Personally, I love the San Diego Model Railroad Museum. The massive train layouts and their realistic landscapes, tiny scale buildings, streets and fun details make me feel like a kid again.

During a recent visit, I was excited to see the museum had a fine exhibit concerning the history of railroad lamps and lanterns.

I took a few photos for you to enjoy and I added descriptive captions, but I suggest a visit in person. There’s so much to absorb, so much history and sheer fun!

You can see photos of the museum’s gigantic model train layouts here!

Exhibit inside the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, located near the N-Scale layout, shows old railroad lamps and lanterns, and recalls their history.
Exhibit inside the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, located near the N-Scale layout, shows old railroad lamps and lanterns and recalls their history.

Railroad lanterns were held by hand, and manual signals were used for night communication. Railroad lamps are mounted on train cars and railroad tracks.
Railroad lanterns were held by hand, and manual signals were used for night communication. Railroad lamps were mounted on train cars and railroad tracks.

Two examples of switch lamps. They were mounted to a railroad track switch and indicated the current position of the switch.
Two examples of switch lamps. They were mounted to a railroad track switch and indicated the current position of the switch.

Old diagram of an Adlake No. 1221 marker lamp.
Old diagram of an Adlake No. 1221 marker lamp.

Three models of old conductor's lanterns. Buck's Pattern, Daisy, and The Boss.
Three models of conductor’s lanterns: Buck’s Pattern, Daisy, and The Boss.

Three lantern hand signals: the train has departed, proceed, and apply the air brakes.
Three lantern hand signals: the train has departed, proceed, and apply the air brakes.

Three additional lantern hand signals: back up, stop, and release the air brakes.
Three additional lantern hand signals: back up, stop, and release the air brakes.

Over time signals and colors used for railroad communication became standardized. This sign describes what different color lights indicate.
Over the years signals and colors used for railroad communication became standardized. This sign describes what different colored lights indicate.

Fixed globe railroad lanterns began to be used in the 1840s. At night they allowed railroad workers to communicate.
Fixed globe railroad lanterns began to be used in the 1840s. At night they allowed railroad workers to communicate.

Marker lamps were hung on the train's caboose to identify the train and show where it ended.
Marker lamps were hung on the train’s caboose to identify the train and show where it ended.

A fascinating exhibit concerning the history of railroad lamps and lanterns is now on display in Balboa Park's unique San Diego Model Railroad Museum!
A fascinating exhibit concerning the history of railroad lamps and lanterns is now on display in Balboa Park’s amazing San Diego Model Railroad Museum!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

A final look inside the San Diego Hall of Champions.

The San Diego Hall of Champions now occupies the historic Federal Building in Balboa Park. The sports museum will soon close.
The San Diego Hall of Champions now occupies the historic Federal Building in Balboa Park. The sports museum will soon close.

San Diego’s Hall of Champions will soon close. I was told yesterday that the museum’s final day is uncertain, but most likely imminent. So you’d better hurry on over to Balboa Park before it is gone forever.

A couple days ago news broke that the historic Federal Building in Balboa Park’s Palisades area, which has been the location of the Hall of Champions for many years, will become the home of a brand new San Diego Comic-Con museum. It’s an exciting bit of news and should revitalize this slightly less active section of Balboa Park. I’m sure the neighboring museums will benefit from what is sure to be a very popular attraction. But it’s so very, very sad to see the Hall of Champions come to an end.

I learned the plaques from the Breitbard Hall of Fame will be relocated to the Western Metal Supply Co. at Petco Park, and the Padres will claim the exhibits that pertain to their team. The San Diego Chargers exhibits will head up to Los Angeles now that the team has moved north. Other sports artifacts and bits of memorabilia will be claimed by their respective owners: athletes, teams, collectors and sports organizations. So, I suppose, the history of athletic achievement in San Diego will live on.

Here’s one final look inside the Hall of Champions.  It’s where many fantastic memories were made and preserved. San Diego has been home to some of the world’s greatest champions, including baseball’s Tony Gwynn, skateboarding’s Tony Hawk, NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson, golf’s Phil Mickelson, basketball’s Bill Walton, boxing’s Ken Norton, diving’s Greg Louganis, sailing’s Dennis Conner . . . and many others.

Peering into the entrance of the Hall of Champions. Colorful exhibits celebrate San Diego champions from a wide variety of sports.
Peering into the entrance of the Hall of Champions. Colorful exhibits celebrate San Diego champions from a wide variety of sports.

Large banners inside the museum entrance honor an athlete's dedication, confidence, focus, determination and character.
Large banners inside the museum entrance honor an athlete’s dedication, confidence, focus, determination and character.

A San Diego Chicken suit worn by Ted Giannoulas. The funny mascot is known and loved worldwide.
A San Diego Chicken suit worn by Ted Giannoulas. The funny mascot is known and loved worldwide.

Tony Gwynn jersey and memorabilia near the Hall of Champion's indoor cafe.
Tony Gwynn jersey and memorabilia near the Hall of Champion’s indoor cafe.

A big National League Champion pennant above the front door of the Hall of Champions, won by the San Diego Padres in 1984.
A big National League Champions pennant above the front door of the Hall of Champions, won by the San Diego Padres in 1984.

A large statue of Muhammad Ali stands above an event space where many local sports award ceremonies are held. Ali fought Ken Norton at the San Diego Sports Arena in 1973.
A large statue of Muhammad Ali stands above an event space where many local sports award ceremonies are held. Ali was defeated by Ken Norton at the San Diego Sports Arena in 1973.

The Hall of Champions honors local high school coaching legends.
The Hall of Champions honors local high school coaching legends.

The San Diego County Officials Hall of Fame.
The San Diego County Officials Hall of Fame.

The Dragonfly II human powered vehicle is on display in the museum.
The Dragonfly II human powered vehicle is on display in the museum.

Sign describes the Dragonfly II. Richard Byrne of San Diego rode it to a first place finish at the 1983 Human Powered Speed Championships held on the Indianapolis race track.
Sign describes the Dragonfly II. Richard Byrne of San Diego rode it to a first place finish at the 1983 Human Powered Speed Championships held on the Indianapolis race track.

One display case contains old high school sports souvenir programs.
One display case contains old high school sports souvenir programs.

Another case holds objects related to the Padres slugger Nate Colbert.
Another case holds objects related to Padres home run slugger Nate Colbert.

The San Diego Hall of Champions has an extensive Moores Family Baseball Exhibit.
The San Diego Hall of Champions has an extensive Moores Family Baseball Exhibit.

The exhibit features many memorable moments in San Diego Padres baseball history.
The exhibit features many memorable moments in San Diego Padres baseball history.

Top players in Padres history include Trevor Hoffman, Ken Caminiti and Steve Finley. Bruce Bochy is remembered as a fan favorite coach.
Top players in Padres history include Trevor Hoffman, Ken Caminiti and Steve Finley. Bruce Bochy is remembered as a fan favorite manager.

Remembering the 1984 National League Champion Padres.
Remembering the 1984 National League Champion Padres.

Major League Baseball's Padres are a beloved sports team in San Diego.
Major League Baseball’s Padres are a beloved sports team in San Diego.

Notable Padres players in the 1970's include Randy Jones, Rollie Fingers, Dave Winfield and Gaylord Perry.
Notable Padres players in the 1970’s include Randy Jones, Rollie Fingers, Dave Winfield and Gaylord Perry.

Display recalls the 1954 PCL Championship, won by the Padres.
Display recalls the 1954 PCL Championship, won by the Padres.

Another display shows the San Diego Padres in their earliest years.
Another display shows the San Diego Padres in their earliest years.

On July 4, 1871 San Diego was a dusty little border town of barely 2300 hardy souls. On this day baseball was first played in our city!
On July 4, 1871 San Diego was a dusty little border town of barely 2300 hardy souls. On this day baseball was first played in our city!

One section in the Hall of Champions honors San Diego Collegiate Stars of football.
One section in the Hall of Champions honors San Diego Collegiate Stars of football.

Local college football memories live on at the Hall of Champions.
Local college football memories live on at the Hall of Champions.

Alvin Hall played five seasons for MCRD, and ranks as one of the Marine Corps' greatest running backs.
Alvin Hall played five seasons for MCRD, and ranks as one of the Marine Corps’ greatest running backs.

The San Diego Chargers exhibit at the Hall of Champions includes many player jerseys.
The San Diego Chargers exhibit at the Hall of Champions includes many player jerseys.

The San Diego Chargers produced many fond memories for local football fans.
The San Diego Chargers produced many fond memories for local football fans.

Trophies and plaques from the exciting Don Coryell era Chargers.
Trophies and plaques from the exciting Don Coryell era San Diego Chargers.

More football memories from the 90's.
More NFL football memories from the 90’s.

This display shows some San Diegans who starred in the NFL, including Marcus Allen, Junior Seau, Terrell Davis, Art Powell and Marshall Faulk.
This display shows some San Diegans who starred in the NFL, including Marcus Allen, Junior Seau, Terrell Davis, Art Powell and Marshall Faulk.

The San Diego Chargers won the AFL Championship in 1963.
The San Diego Chargers won the AFL Championship in 1963.

Exhibit fondly remembers the early days of the San Diego Chargers.
Exhibit fondly remembers the early days of the San Diego Chargers.

Display case at the Hall of Champions dedicated to San Diego basketball's original NBA Clippers and Rockets.
A display case at the Hall of Champions dedicated to San Diego basketball’s original NBA Clippers and Rockets.

Jerseys and equipment from different incarnations of the San Diego Gulls hockey teams.
Jerseys and equipment from different incarnations of the San Diego Gulls hockey team.

Surfing is a major sport in Southern California. So many surfboards are displayed in the San Diego Hall of Champions.
Surfing is a major sport in Southern California. So many different surfboards are displayed in the San Diego Hall of Champions.

The underside of one of Tony Hawk's practice skateboards shows a lot of wear!
The underside of one of Tony Hawk’s practice skateboards shows a lot of wear!

Motocross exhibit at the Hall of Champions.
Motocross exhibit at the Hall of Champions.

An exhibit features a NASCAR racing suit worn by 7-time champion Jimmie Johnson, who grew up in El Cajon.
An exhibit features a NASCAR racing suit worn by 7-time champion Jimmie Johnson, who grew up in El Cajon.

An inboard hydroplane that set a world record in 1975.
An inboard hydroplane that set a world record in 1975.

Designed by San Diegan Steve Ball, this 850 C.C. inboard Hydroplane is on display at the Hall of Champions.
Designed by San Diegan Steve Ball, this 850 C.C. inboard Hydroplane is on display at the Hall of Champions.

Two walls on the Hall of Champions' second floor contain the Breitbard Hall of Fame, celebrating great San Diego athletes.
Two walls on the Hall of Champions’ second floor house the Breitbard Hall of Fame, celebrating great San Diego athletes.

A random photograph of one section of the Breitbard Hall of Fame.
A random photograph of one section of the Breitbard Hall of Fame.

Dennis Conner has been called America's greatest sailor.
Dennis Conner has been called America’s greatest sailor.

Bill Walton is considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
Bill Walton is considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

Another wall on the second floor of the Hall of Champions contains Sports Illustrated covers that feature San Diego athletes. Dennis Conner with Ronald Reagan, and Phil Mickelson winning his first major.
Another wall on the second floor of the Hall of Champions contains Sports Illustrated covers that feature San Diego athletes. Dennis Conner with Ronald Reagan, and Phil Mickelson winning his first major.

Heavyweight boxing champion Ken Norton prepares for his first defense.
Heavyweight boxing champion Ken Norton prepares for his first defense.

As of June 2008, the Sports Illustrated feature story has included San Diegans 113 times.
As of June 2008, the Sports Illustrated feature story has included San Diegans 113 times.

Tony Gwynn, the best hitter since Ted Williams.
Tony Gwynn, the best hitter since Ted Williams.

UCLA's red-hot redhead, center Bill Walton.
UCLA’s red-hot redhead, center Bill Walton.

Randy Jones' threat to win 30.
Randy Jones’ threat to win 30.

A sculpture of Muhammad Ali in a corner of the Hall of Champion's second floor.
A sculpture of Muhammad Ali in a corner of the Hall of Champion’s second floor.

Now we check out the second wall of the Breitbard Hall of Fame. Golf's Craig Stadler was a product of the San Diego Junior Golf Association.
Now we check out the second wall of the Breitbard Hall of Fame. Golf’s Craig Stadler was a product of the San Diego Junior Golf Association.

Ken Norton began boxing in the Marine Corps while stationed at Camp Pendleton.
Ken Norton began boxing in the Marine Corps while stationed at Camp Pendleton.

Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk makes San Diego proud.
Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk makes San Diego proud.

Marshall Faulk broke NCAA rushing records at San Diego State University.
Marshall Faulk broke NCAA rushing records at San Diego State University.

Greg Louganis of San Diego has been called the greatest diver of all time.
Greg Louganis of San Diego has been called the greatest diver of all time.

Junior Seau is remembered with love by many in San Diego. He was an NFL football great.
Junior Seau is remembered with love by many in San Diego. He was an NFL football great.

The statue of Muhammad Ali looks down at tables set for a special evening event at the San Diego Hall of Champions.
The statue of Muhammad Ali looks down at tables set for a special evening event at the San Diego Hall of Champions.

Gazing down at the front entrance of the sports museum from the second floor.
Gazing down at the front entrance of the sports museum from the second floor.

The lower level of the Hall of Champions is dedicated to sailing. It isn't surprising that San Diego has produced many of the greatest sailors in the world.
The lower level of the Hall of Champions is dedicated to competitive sailing. It isn’t surprising that San Diego has produced many of the greatest sailors in the world.

One of many displays that recalls sailing's very rich history in San Diego.
One of many displays that recalls sailing’s very rich history in San Diego.

Two small sailboats inside the museum.
Two small sailboats inside the San Diego Hall of Champions.

San Diego has produced many sailing World Champions.
San Diego has produced many sailing World Champions.

Every U.S. Olympic sailing team since 1964 has featured at least one San Diegan.
Every U.S. Olympic sailing team since 1964 has featured at least one San Diegan.

A look into the Hall of Champion's Bill Koch America's Cup Gallery.
A look into the Hall of Champion’s Bill Koch America’s Cup Gallery.

A model of America, the racing schooner that beat many British competitors in 1851, establishing the America's Cup. A replica full-size boat makes San Diego Bay its home.
A model of America, the racing schooner that beat many British competitors in 1851, establishing the America’s Cup. Today, a replica full-size boat makes San Diego Bay its home.

A timeline shows America's Cup history and traditions, including the evolution of the racing craft.
A timeline shows America’s Cup history and traditions, including the evolution of racing craft.

San Diego Yacht Club's Dennis Conner won the America's Cup four times.
San Diego Yacht Club’s Dennis Conner won the America’s Cup four times.

Painting of Oracle vs. Alinghi, 2010. By artist Tim Thompson.
Painting of Oracle vs. Alinghi, 2010. By artist Tim Thompson.

A replica of the America's Cup, the oldest international sporting trophy in the world.
A replica of the America’s Cup, the oldest international sporting trophy in the world.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Magic in Balboa Park as night falls.

Walking down toward the Spreckels Organ Pavilion as night approaches in Balboa Park.
Walking down toward the Spreckels Organ Pavilion as night approaches in Balboa Park.

I got off work a bit early today, so I took an evening walk through Balboa Park. Few people were still about as darkness began to descend. Just an ordinary Thursday in early February–a quiet time of year.

I managed to capture a few photos of Balboa Park’s wonderful magic as night fell.

North side of the House of Charm and Alcazar Garden. The lights have come on along El Prado.
North side of the House of Charm and Alcazar Garden. The lights have come on along El Prado.

Beautiful light shines from the facade of Casa del Prado.
Beautiful light shines from the facade of Casa del Prado.

Balboa Park visitors walk along El Prado as darkness nears.
Balboa Park visitors walk along El Prado as darkness nears.

Golden light behind the second story arches of the Casa del Prado.
Golden light behind the second story arches of the Casa del Prado.

Few people remain in the Japanese Friendship Garden as darkness falls. All is quiet and very beautiful.
Few people remain in the Japanese Friendship Garden as darkness falls. All is quiet and very beautiful.

Night produces rare magic near the Exhibit House at Balboa Park's Japanese Friendship Garden.
Night produces rare magic near the Exhibit Hall at Balboa Park’s Japanese Friendship Garden.

The ornate facade of the Museum of Man becomes rich with color when lit at night.
The ornate facade of the Museum of Man becomes rich with depth and color when lit at night.

Photo through arches of lights illuminating the outdoor patio of The Prado at Balboa Park, a fine restaurant located in the House of Hospitality.
Photo through arches of lights illuminating the outdoor patio of The Prado at Balboa Park, a fine restaurant located in the House of Hospitality.

The House of Charm, home to the Mingei Museum, like a glowing dream in the darkness.
The House of Charm, home to the Mingei International Museum, like a glowing dream in the darkness.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Watch a really great video about Balboa Park!

I love this 30 minute DVD about Balboa Park. It's available exclusively at the San Diego History Center in the park's Casa de Balboa.
I love this 30 minute DVD about Balboa Park. It’s available exclusively at the San Diego History Center in the park’s Casa de Balboa.

A couple weekends ago I watched a really good 30 minute film about Balboa Park in the San Diego History Center’s auditorium. It made me realize just how much I love this amazing place.

The film, which is titled Balboa Park: The Jewel of San Diego, describes the history of the park–from its creation to the present day. It’s loaded with great images and information, and is just plain fun to watch. And the soundtrack is infectious. Not stuffy at all!

When I told a friendly person working at the front desk that the film almost brought me to tears, she said the same emotion was felt when the staff first viewed it. The love for Balboa Park is that deep. Then I learned I could buy the video DVD in their gift shop. Which I did!

I recommend a purchase of this DVD. It’s a fine way to support a really important San Diego institution that works to preserve our city’s history. Originally called the San Diego Historical Society, the nonprofit organization also operates another museum near Old Town–that towering building atop historic Presidio Hill: the Junipero Serra Museum. I wrote about that beautiful and impressive museum here on my main blog Cool San Diego Sights.

I was told the DVD is available exclusively in Balboa Park, at the San Diego History Center gift shop.

You can also watch the film on YouTube here!

Tell a friend!

Floral Association event honors Kate Sessions.

Photograph of the Marston House across the south lawn.
Photograph of the handsome Marston House across the south lawn.

Kate Sessions, the pioneering horticulturist who is often called the Mother of Balboa Park, was honored yesterday at an event held at the beautiful George Marston House and Gardens. Every year the San Diego Floral Association throws a special birthday party for Kate Sessions, who was born on November 8, 1857.

Many of the large trees that grow today around Balboa Park were planted in person by Kate Sessions over a century ago. That the annual floral party is held in the sprawling gardens of the 1905 Marston House is appropriate, because George W. Marston, successful businessman and founder of the San Diego Historical Society, was also an important advocate for Balboa Park. His old house, situated in the northwest corner of the park, is a fine example of the Arts and Crafts architectural movement. It was designed by famous architects William Sterling Hebbard and Irving Gill. Today it is the home of a historical museum.

The Marston House Museum and its lovely gardens are open to the public in the northwest corner of Balboa Park. The current exhibit is titled Irving Gill - Progress and Poetry in Architecture.
The Marston House Museum and its lovely gardens are open to the public in the northwest corner of Balboa Park. The current exhibit is titled Irving Gill – Progress and Poetry in Architecture.

Several vintage automobiles from the Early Ford V8 Club were on display in front of the house.
Several vintage automobiles from the Early Ford V8 Club were on display in front of the house.

Geraniums and other colorful plants were for sale on the Marston House grounds.
Geraniums and other colorful plants were for sale on the Marston House grounds.

The San Diego Floral Association, founded in 1907, is celebrating their second century of community service and horticultural education.
The San Diego Floral Association, founded in 1907, is celebrating their second century of community service and horticultural education.

Victorian attire and a food truck greet visitors to the fun annual event.
Victorian attire and a food truck greet visitors to the fun annual event.

Sunlight through gilded leaves.
Sunlight through Autumn-gilded leaves.

View of the Marston House from the north, across a section of the gardens.
View of the Marston House from the north, across a section of the gardens.

Beds of blooming roses in the Marston House gardens.
Beds of blooming roses in the Marston House gardens.

Sitting quietly on a bench among green hedges.
Sitting quietly on a bench among green hedges.

Fountain in the gardens of Balboa Park's historical Marston House.
Fountain in the gardens of Balboa Park’s historical Marston House.

Beautiful tiles with images of flowers.
Beautiful tiles with images of flowers.

A peek inside the lath greenhouse between the Marston House and its carriage house, which now operates as a museum store.
A peek inside the lath greenhouse between the Marston House and its carriage house, which now operates as a museum store.

A perfect yellow rose.
A perfect yellow rose.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

1922 Mack Water Truck outside Automotive Museum.

1922 Mack Water Truck on display outside the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park.
1922 Mack Water Truck on display outside the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park.

For many years, a very cool old water truck has been parked in an outdoor alcove near the entrance to the San Diego Automotive Museum, which is one of the outstanding museums in Balboa Park. I frequently walk past the shiny red water truck and wonder about its history–the stories it might tell.

The 1922 Mack Water Truck was donated in 1997 to the museum by Bruce and Mary Hazard. R.E. Hazard, the father of Bruce, began the prosperous local construction company almost a hundred years ago. I’ve tried to find information about this particular truck, but without success. All I know is that several years ago the time-weathered water truck was restored into a glorious shiny condition by a host of volunteers.

On the opposite side of the Automotive Museum’s front entrance a second outdoor alcove awaits, empty. Wouldn’t it be cool if another historic vehicle were to be placed there for everyone passing by to enjoy?

The vintage 1922 Mack Water Truck was donated to the Automotive Museum by Bruce and Mary Hazard in 1997. Hazard Construction Company dates from the early 1920's.
The vintage 1922 Mack Water Truck was donated to the Automotive Museum by Bruce and Mary Hazard in 1997. Hazard Construction Company dates from the early 1920’s.

Photo of the sturdy but rather simple 1922 Mack Water Truck.
Photo of the sturdy but rather simple 1922 Mack Water Truck.

Hard rubber tires are driven by a chain. A ride through a construction site must have been rather bumpy!
Hard rubber tires are driven by a chain. A ride through a construction site must have been rather bumpy!

The 1922 Mack Water Truck can be seen near the entrance to the fascinating San Diego Automotive Museum, one of the best museums of its kind.
The 1922 Mack Water Truck can be seen near the entrance to the fascinating San Diego Automotive Museum, one of the best museums of its kind.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

A quick peek: Art and history inside Casa de Balboa.

Tables, banners and art inside the comfortably air-conditioned Casa de Balboa. The Casa 1915 Mexican Grill hasn't opened yet at this early hour. It serves hungry visitors to the building's three museums.
Tables, museum banners and painted artwork inside the Casa de Balboa. The Casa 1915 Mexican Grill hasn’t opened yet at this early hour. It serves hungry visitors to the building’s three museums.

Here are a few photos of what you might see should you step inside Balboa Park’s Casa de Balboa. The Casa de Balboa is located on the south side of El Prado, between the House of Hospitality and Zoro Garden. The ornate building, which has undergone numerous name changes and even a complete reconstruction during the past century, today is the home of three excellent museums: the San Diego History Center, the Museum of Photographic Arts, and the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.

On a hot day the Casa de Balboa is a good spot to cool off and perhaps grab a bite to eat. One can also see a number of interesting things inside the building, including beautiful artwork and fascinating bits of history.

I begin with these two fantastic paintings . . .

Point Loma, Charles Reiffel, oil on canvas, 1937. San Diego History Center. Painted for the City Curriculum Project, Works Progress Administration, the mural originally hung in Memorial Junior High School.
Point Loma, Charles Reiffel, oil on canvas, 1937. San Diego History Center. Painted for the City Curriculum Project, Works Progress Administration, the mural originally hung in Memorial Junior High School.

Farm Landscape, Charles Reiffel, oil on canvas, 1937. San Diego History Center. Painted for the City Curriculum Project, Works Progress Administration, the mural originally hung in Memorial Junior High School.
Farm Landscape, Charles Reiffel, oil on canvas, 1937. San Diego History Center. Painted for the City Curriculum Project, Works Progress Administration, the mural originally hung in Memorial Junior High School.

A peek into MOPA, the Museum of Photographic Arts, which is located inside Balboa Park's Casa de Balboa.
A peek into MOPA, the Museum of Photographic Arts, which is located inside Balboa Park’s Casa de Balboa.

Another peek. The San Diego History Center, inside Balboa Park's Casa de Balboa, is where photos, documents and other recordings of our city's past are carefully preserved for posterity.
Another quick peek. The San Diego History Center, inside Balboa Park’s Casa de Balboa, is where photos, documents and other recordings of our city’s past are carefully preserved for posterity.  One current exhibit celebrates the San Diego Zoo.

These stairs lead down to a place that kids love, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum. A working railway semaphore signal rises from the lower level.
These stairs lead down to a place that kids absolutely love, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum. A working railway semaphore signal rises from the lower level.

It's almost 10 o'clock, when the museums open. Cafe 1915 Mexican Grill employee carries a sign to be placed outside the Casa de Balboa, along El Prado where people walk.
It’s almost 10 o’clock, when the museums open. Cafe 1915 Mexican Grill employee carries a sign to be placed outside the Casa de Balboa, along El Prado where people walk.

Video on a wall inside Balboa Park’s Casa de Balboa shows old photographs from the Panama-California Exposition Digital Archive. More material is sought from the public
Video on a wall inside Balboa Park’s Casa de Balboa shows old photographs from the Panama-California Exposition Digital Archive. More material is sought from the public.

Our 1915-1916 Panama-California Exposition forever changed Balboa Park and helped put San Diego on the map. We invite you to contribute to this digital archive at pancalarchive.org
Our 1915-1916 Panama-California Exposition forever changed Balboa Park and helped put San Diego on the map. We invite you to contribute to this digital archive at pancalarchive.org  (To read this, click the image and it will enlarge.)

Art inside the Casa de Balboa. An identical image of Junipero Serra can be seen outdoors in the facade of the Casa del Prado. This might be a duplicate, or perhaps it was used in the latter's creation.
Art inside the Casa de Balboa. An identical image of Junipero Serra can be seen outdoors in the facade of the Casa del Prado.

Preserved bit of history features an image of a friar at Mission San Diego, which was established in 1769.
Preserved bit of history features an image of a friar at Mission San Diego, which was established in 1769.

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