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Posts tagged ‘Old Town’

Old Town Model Railroad Depot

Last week I went to check out the new store and Model Railroad display at Old Town Model Railroad Depot.  I had read about it on another blog and wanted to see it for myself.  There is something about miniature buildings, towns, landscapes and people, that I love. One of my favorite displays was at Knots Berry Farm, and it was all miniature stores with names that reflected the nature of the store. For example: C. H. Ildrens Store was filled with toys.  It’s like my love of the Lilliputins in the book “Gullivers Travels”.  Also, my Dad was a Standard Oil distributor and his bulk plant was right next to the tracks, as merchandise was unloaded right off the trains into his warehouse. I used to love to be in there when the trains were going by.

I have been to the model train displays at the Train Museum in Balboa park, and they are great with various viewing stations and steps for kids to use, but to my taste, this little store’s display is much more magical and extensive.

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It is located in Old Town, San Diego, CA. on San Diego Ave., a little south of Conde Street, and Cafe Coyote, and a little north of the Old Town Cemetery. Here is a photo of their map. (They are working on their website but you can find them on FB).

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I’m just using my Samsung phone camera but hopefully you can see the map ok.  You can click on the photos to enlarge them and get more detail. I did that just to see all the wonderful buildings, cars, and figures in the photos below.

The entire collection belongs to Gary Hickok.  It took seven men to construct everything and a electrician to set up all the wiring.  Computers and high tech electronics are responsible for the magical displays such as a welder making a spark when he bends in to weld, fireworks over the ball field, an electrical storm coming from the clouds above the night display, the marques on the stores, street lights, etc.  There are both steam trains and diesel engine O-scale model trains. I loved all the people seated in the passenger trains. I tried to get a picture of that but they were moving too fast for my camera 🙂

The display is an re-enactment of 1950’s America and includes 2500 sq. ft. of buildings, scenes and activities; 10,000 ft. of wire; 25,000 people; over 400 vehicles; 165 buildings; 637 ft. of track; more than 1000 trees; 2 lakes and a dam.   There are notable celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, Superman, the Griswolds on vacation (although they came after the 50’s), and even Shotgun Tom Kelly, a noted San Diego Disc Jockey.

The store has model trains and supplies for sale, art work, T-shirts and other memorabilia.

There is a day section and a night section.  Here are 4 photos of the day section.

Below are 10 photos of the night display.  If you look closely you’ll see the welder’s spark, the fire department carrying out a rescue, a solemn group looking on as a casket is being put into the hearse, a drive in theater, a walk in movie theater, the donut shop with police cars in front, an oil bulk plant, and many more scenes of 1950’s city life.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Come check it out. They are open 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, Wed. through Mon., closed on Tues.  Their FB page is listed under Old Town Model Railroad Depot.  Be sure and click on the photo to enlarge it.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. If you like it, please share it!!

Katelon

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Fall Stroll Through Old Town, San Diego

A week ago I decided to stroll through Old Town and see what interesting sights I could find.  In several places altars were starting to be created for their Dio De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration which starts Oct. 29th and goes through Nov. 2nd. http://www.dayofthedeadsd.com/index.html.  Decorated skulls are seen all year in many stores in Old Town. If you are interested in skull jewelry, handbags, back packs, pens, or many other skull items, this is the place to shop 🙂

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But as Dio De Los Muertos decorations start to arrive, you will see more decorated skeletons.  Here is a Mariachi Band dressed for the holiday, welcoming you into an area called Fiesta de Reyes, a group of shops, a restaurant and a stage for various acts throughout the year.

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Here is an elegant “lady” skeleton outside the entrance to Fiesta de Reyes.

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And a couple well dressed “ladies” to welcome you to the Cosmopolitan Hotel and restaurant.

Here is another brightly dressed “lady” in a display in the Fiesta de Reyes courtyard, near this lovely painted wooden bench.

I loved this large wooden horse sculpture outside one of the stores in Fiesta de Reyes.

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Walking outside of Fiesta de Reyes, I spotted this large painted skull, sitting in an old wooden wagon.

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And this lovely fall display set in front of Seeley Stables, a museum that displays old wagons, and other items that are from the era when Old Town was a thriving new town.

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Lastly, on my way back from strolling through other parts of Old Town, I walked through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and was intrigued by this huge gnarled tree and this sweet yellow blossom on another tree.

I hope you have enjoyed your walk with me and the photos I took.  If you are in the area, come check out Old Town, and see all the history, and/or come and join the celebration of Dio de Los Muertos.

Rainy Trip to Old Town, San Diego, CA

I ended up sick in bed, out for the count, the Monday after Christmas, so this post kept getting delayed. There were visitors in the house over Christmas so I had much to do to get the place ready and things felt too hectic to attempt to write this before Christmas….then there was the post clean up and then….- – – \________ Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season.

I headed over to Old Town, in the rain, on the 22nd of Dec., to buy just a couple small things for Christmas presents and to be out in the air. While living in Seattle, I got quite tired of the gray and mist, not enjoying the rain like I did while living earlier in No. CA. But here in San Diego, rain is a glorious thing, and I love the feel of the wind and cold. I miss snow, that I loved while living in CO years ago, so this windy rain here will have to do for now until my journey weaves me on to CO.

It felt quite sweet to be out walking before Christmas, enjoying the lovely decorations and the other visitors and shoppers out around me. There are many outside booths in Old Town and most of these were shrouded in heavy vinyl tents, closed up for the day.

I wandered in and out of some stores and found a couple unique small gifts, and enjoyed the conversations I often have with shop-keepers 🙂

When I was walking back toward my car, I took some photos of the gray sky and decorated buildings. Hope you enjoy these. Come along, you can share the walk with me……

First, heading west, we come to the San Diego Union Printing Office and then Casa de Pedrorena de Altamirano.

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The printing office was a pre-fab building shipped from Maine, around Cape Horn, to arrive in San Diego in 1851. I’ve read a historical novel about traveling via ship around Cape Horn. It was quite dangerous weather wise and in many other ways. But this building arrived safely to be built and house the first office of the San Diego Union weekly paper. The first edition was printed on Oct. 10, 1868. It was 4 pages long.

You can still see the original print room with a Washington press, as well as the editor’s office. Entrance is free.

The Altamirano-Pedrorena House was built on a lot purchased by Miquel de Pedronena, from Madrid. He arrived here as a ship’s agent and later married one of the Estudillo daughters in 1842. He claimed this lot which is next to Casa de Estudillo. Sadly, he didn’t live to build a home on the lot as he died in 1850. The home was built in 1869, by his son, Miguel Jr..

In 1871, the home was transferred to Isabel Altamirano, who was Miguel Jr.’s sister, married to Jose Antonio Altamirano. The house remained a family residence until 1907. It is now a rock, gem and jewelry store.

Walking on, we come to the central plaza in Old Town State Historic Park. This park is where San Diego began. It is now a reconstructed setting of life in San Diego in 1821-1872. It became a historic park in 1968. This day it had a lovely display of a taller Christmas tree surrounded by other smaller trees. Pretty huh?

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As we continue walking west we see the Robinson-Rose House, which is now the Visitor’s Center. It is free to explore, too.

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This building was built by James Robinson, who came from Texas in 1850. He established a successful law practice and built this in 1853 not only to house family but also to house office space for the San Diego Herald, the San Diego and Gila Railroad and other private offices. He died in 1857. (ok….that’s 2 of the main inhabitants moving to San Diego and dying in less than 10 years. It must have been a challenging place to live then.). Anyway, Jame’s wife Sarah, sold the building to Louis Rose for a family home. The roof was destroyed in the 1874 fire and fell to ruins. It is now reconstructed and has various displays in it and admission is free.

As we turn right (north), we can see the Barra Barra Saloon. I loved the fire burning in the patio and the pretty decorations.

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As you look ahead, you can see the entrance to Bazaar Del Mundo. As you first walk through this entrance there is a woman selling very yummy roasted and sweetened nuts. Inside the bazaar there are a restaurant, coffee house, stores, and a stage where various groups usually play, when it isn’t raining. I had started my trip here and found some great seasoning in the Temucula Olive Oil company that has a large variety of flavored olive oils, pastas, olives, bath and body products and other items. I found a couple little gifts, too, at the sweet garden shop that is at the north end.

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Hope you enjoyed the walk with me on that gray rainy day. I held you in my heart as I strolled along, in and out of stores, breeze flowing across my face as I stepped outside.

Wishing you a NEW Year, a truly remarkable shift of a year, with the planet transforming into peace, love, abundance, health, joy, cooperation and support for all!

much love, katelon

Pre-Christmas Celebrations at Old Town, San Diego, CA

Last Sunday afternoon I headed over to Old Town. I wanted to see the 64th Annual Las Posadas, the reenactment of a centuries old Mexican celebration of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. Unfortunately, with my limited phone camera understanding, the darkness and other factors, my pictures of it turned out awful. But I do have some good photos of Christmas decorations spread around the area.

The procession didn’t start until 5:00 and I got there at 2:30 so I had plenty of time to wander around. Here is a great art car that I spotted on my way to the Old Town Historic Park area.
Art Car

I started in Fiesta del Reyes, an area with shops, restaurants, and a small stage for music. The online schedule had listed a children’s choir and carols but instead there was more traditional Marachi music playing. I enjoyed stopping to eat a small bag of freshly roasted nuts, sitting and listening to some music and wandering through stores.

Here was a sculpture welcoming me into the area.
Sculpture seranading
And this lovely display in front of a small cafe and a gift store.
Fiesta de Reyes decorations 1
I ended up having a lovely conversation with a woman whose ancestors had lived in the old homes in the Historic park. I have long felt connected to this place so it was wonderful to meet this woman who had grown up hearing stories of her ancestors settling this town.

Next I headed across the street to Bazaar Del Mundo Shops, where there were several trees in stores and in the walkways. At the entrance to the shops was a pretty nativity scene.
Nativity scene
Bazaar Del Mundo trees 4
Bazaar Del Mundo trees 1

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Bazaar Del Mundo trees 2

After leaving the Bazaar del Mundo shops I headed back to the Historic Old Town park and found a great Santa on a sleigh and a sweet Christmas tree.
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Old town historic park 1

I was led to the Immaculate Conception Church, which I had passed before but never entered. I took a moment to light a votive candle in the front of the church, then I went around the side and found the door open so went inside to find this beautiful altar painting and to pray for light and love to finally cast out all darkness in our world.
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To the side of the church I found this sweet Mother Mary altar.
Immaculate Deception church Mother Mary Statue

Finally, I ended up back at the Historic Old Town park to wait for the Las Posadas to begin. I had a little time left, so I went and grabbed 2 great street tacos. Yum!!! Before the procession started, they set up luminarias around the plaza. So here’s a picture of those.
Old town historic park luminarias

The procession itself was lovely and lively. Mary was on a donkey, Joseph led the way and Mary and the donkey were accompanied by a few other figures. There was a large group in the procession, carrying candles, some singing, as they accompanied the procession from near the old print shop, around the plaza and back to the east end of the plaza. Every once in awhile, Joseph would stop and call out to a proprietor of an inn, having a conversation looking for lodging. The conversations were a combination of tongue in cheek and reverence for the sacredness of the journey and quest for a place for Jesus to be born.

Obviously, it was 2014, in the US, among a reenactment but at times I would crane to hear whether there was indeed room at a particular inn, excited to be part of this sacred journey of faith and Mary and Joseph following the guiding star to the place where Jesus was to be born. When they were welcomed to the stable, I had tears in my eyes 🙂 A woman dresed up as an angel, sang a Christmas song, and then a local choir sang a few more songs. I didn’t stay on for the following pinata or bon fire, but it looked like a lovely evening with many families in attendance.

Hopefully you can come and enjoy this great event next year!

Many blessings to you and your loved ones for a joyous and peace filled Holiday season, no matter how you celebrate the holidays, or which ones you celebrate!

Heritage Park Victorian Homes

A little over a week ago, during my two day visit to Old Town, San Diego, I explored Heritage Park. It is located on the Northeast side of Old Town on Juan Street. It’s 7.8 acres are focused on the preservation of San Diego’s Victorian homes, presently hosting 6 houses and 1 church, moved to it’s location. A few of them are open for touring, one is a gift shop/tea house, the church is available for use for weddings and other events and is open for tour and the rest are closed right now for restoring inside. It is all free to the public.

As you approach the buildings, Temple Beth Israel is on the right. It was built in 1889 as San Diego’s first synagogue.

Tempe Beth Israel Synagogue 1889

Heading east, on the right, is the Burton House, built by Henry Guild Burton,in 1893.

Burton House 1893

Next we come to the McConaughy house, built in 1887 by John McConaughy. It is now a gift house and a tea house. Since I was visiting on Halloween, to my delight, 4 women were sitting in the tea house dressed up as witches 🙂

McConaughy house 1887

Next to the McConaughy house, on the north side of the park, is the Christian House, built in 1889 by Harfield Timberlake Christian.

Christian House 1889

Traveling west we come to the Bushyhead House, built in 1887, as a rental, by Edward Wilkerson Bushyhead.

Bushyhead house 1887

The Shermon- Gilbert House, the most ornate of all of them, was built in 1887 and lived in until 1971. It was originally built by John Sherman.The Gilbert sisters lived there, bringing international performers to entertain there, including Artur Rubinstein.

Sherman Gilbert House 1887

The last house I came to is the Senlis Cottage, which houses the information center for Heritage Park. It was built in 1896, by Kate Sessions, the creator of Balboa Park, for her employee, Eugene Senlis. This cottage is typical of homes built for employees in that it had no electricity, water, sewer, or gas. (mmmmm…employees seem to have a history of poor treatment huh?!)

Senlis Cottage 1896

There is so much to see and enjoy in Old Town, San Diego. Here are two other posts of mine about Old Town. Come and see for yourself!

https://katelontjeffereys.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/old-town-san-diego-ca/

https://katelontjeffereys.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/colorful-characters-in-old-town-san-diego/

Old Town, San Diego, CA

I grew up coming to San Diego almost every summer. We mostly stayed at the beach, which was fine with me as I spent most of my time fearlessly out on my heavy canvas raft, out beyond the waves. At night I’d sit next to the sea wall and listen to the waves. Occasionally we’d go shopping in Mission Valley, go shopping in La Jolla (Mom loved to shop), go to Balboa park and the zoo, or go to Old Town to eat and look around.

This time I’ve spent in San Diego has taken me all over the county, north and south, east and west, into many neighborhoods and outlying areas. It’s been interesting to delve deeper into this county. I realized early on that it wasn’t my home, I wasn’t here to settle, like I had spent much of my life dreaming about, but rather, I was here for some reason, still undefined.

So, as part of my ongoing exploration of this place, I went to Old Town on Oct. 31st and back again on Nov. 3, to explore the history there. Yes, the area is filled with many restaurants and shops, tourist sites gone crazy, but it is also filled with much history. It provides a place to look into the past and imagine San Diego before tall buildings, shopping malls, freeways, and to see the hopes and dreams of the pioneers that saw the potential here and committed to making it happen.

So……come walk with me through Old Town and let me share with you some of the wonderful old buildings and sights:

Let’s start with the Mormon Battalion. It is on the NW corner of Juan and Harney Streets. This is a very delightful interactive museum staffed with Mormon Missionaries, old artifacts and new technology to give you a visceral experience of the story told. It is like mini-Disneyland. The story tells you of 500 men and 32 Mormon women who joined with the US troops, to travel 2000 miles on foot, the longest march in US Military history, from Council bluffs, Iowa to San Diego. They started on July 16,1846 and arrived in Jan. 1847, without having to engage in any battles, although the mission had been to fight the Mexican/American War.

1 Mormon Battalion

Next, we head over to the Denby-Pendleton House, walking south on Harney Street. It is a prefabricated wood house, shipped from Maine, around the Horn of South America, to be built in San Diego in 1853. It is one of the oldest wooden homes in San Diego. It is next to a Creole Restaurant I’d like to try, and behind the Whaley house.

2 Denby Pendleton House 1850

Traveling south and turning left at the corner, heading east on San Diego Ave., we walk by the Whaley house, built in 1856, considered the oldest brick building in San Diego. This house is considered haunted and is open for tours. Price is $6 per adult. All the rest of the places I visited are free.

3 Whaley House

Next we travel east past the intersection of Conde Street and onto the diagonal path of San Diego Ave. to the El Campo Santo Cemetary. This was used in 1850-1880. Many of the graves ended up under San Diego Ave. during it’s paving. Identification of those buried there is still underway. In the pictures you see the plaque at it’s entrance, then the graves. You’ll notice the marigold flower petals left on the graves from the Dio de los Muertos ceremony that took place over the weekend, celebrating the dead.

4 Campo Santo Cemetary 2

4 El Campo Santo Cemetary

Crossing the street and heading west on San Diego Ave. we walk past some stores and restaurants and this wonderful old fashioned Zoltar game. Since I loved the movie “Big”, I couldn’t help but take a picture of this. Just standing there, Zoltar invited me to step forward and have my fortune read 🙂 Maybe next time when I go back and tour the Whaley house 🙂

5 Zoltar

We cross Conde street, heading west and pass the stores and Whaley house again, and now pass the pretty Immaculate Conception Church, which began construction in 1868 and was dedicated in 1919.

6 Immaculate conception church

Passing the corner of San Diego Ave. and Twiggs street, we enter into the area with more historic buildings, some museums now, some stores. We pass this colorful Dio de los Muertos altar, set up in front of the El Patio restaurant.

7 Dio de los muertos altar and skeletons in front of El Patio restaurant

Next, as we near the Old Town San Diego Historic Park, we see the Sessions, Building, built in 1929 for Milton P. Sessions, a well known San Diego landscape architect. This is now a candle shop.

8 Sessions building Candle shop

May’s Saddle and Harness shop building is next, built in 1869 by Charles E. May. It was moved to New San Diego and another one was built here in 1872. It is a candy shop now.

9 Mays Saddle and Harness Candy shop

Still heading west, we come to the Colorado house, now the Wells Fargo Museum, with a stage coach, and other banking and mail artifacts. It was built in 1851 by Cave Couts and used originally as a hotel.

10 Colorado House and Wells Fargo Museum

Behind the Colorado house is the La Casa de Machado y Stewart house, built in 1835, considered the oldest adobe home in San Diego. I took two photos of the inside and one of the south side of the home.

11 La Casa de Machado y Stewart

11 Inside La Casa de Machado 2

11 Inside La Casa de Machado

Two buildings down from the Colorado House we come to the Machado de Silvas Building built in 1830. One picture is of the home, another is of the Restaurante casa Commercial and another Dio de los Muertos altar that was in the back.

12 The Machado de Silvas Building 1893

12 Dio de los muertos altar inside Resaurante casa Comercial The Machado de Silva bulding

12 Restauante casa comercial The Machado de Silvas Building

Next is the US house, built in 1850 and used as a general store. It burned in 1872 in a big fire and was restored. It is now a shop filled with various tin items.

13 US house

We now round the corner, heading north on Wallace Street, passing the Robinson Rose House which is now used as a visitor center, and pass by two more dressed up skeleton mannequins in front of the Barra Barra Saloon.

14 More skeletons in front of rBarra Barra Saloon

We round the corner again, heading east on Calhoun Street and come to Casa de Bandina, built in 1829 by Juan Bandina, sold to Alfred Seely in 1869. He added a second story and turned it into the Cosmopolitan Hotel. There are still a few rooms there to rent and a restaurant.

15  Cosmopolitan Hotel

Next to the hotel is the Seely Stables. The photo shows a Concord Stagecoach on the left and a Wells Fargo mud wagon on the right, used to take mail and passengers from San Diego to Julian. It is an Abbot-Downing Celerity Wagon.

17 Coaches in Seely Stables

And lastly, as we cross the street, we come to La Casa de Estudillo, built in 1827 by Captain Jose Maria de Estudillo. This is the most famous Old Town adobe. This was mistakenly known as “Ramona’s Wedding Place”, from Helen Hunt Jackson’s novel. I loved the lay out of this house with the courtyard in the middle. I suppose I’d get tired of having to walk through various rooms though, to get from one to the other 🙂 One photo is of another Dio de los Muertos altar and the other is of the home.

16 La Casa de Estudillo

16 Dio de los muertos altar at La Casa de Estudillo

Well, that concludes our walk and tour. I hope you enjoyed it. You might enjoy reading my other post with various photos of other costumed skeletons and sculptures https://katelontjeffereys.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/colorful-characters-in-old-town-san-diego/. Thanks for joining me today.

Colorful Characters in Old Town, San Diego

Last Saturday, Oct. 18th, I decided to head over to Old Town, San Diego, CA, in the late afternoon. I hadn’t been there for over a year and hadn’t really explored it much since 1999 when I was in San Diego after my Mom died in Oct. 99, in AZ.

I headed to a part I’d never been before, near the corner of Taylor and Juan Streets. First I headed into Fiesta de Reyes, a newer development with a restaurant and shops. Music was playing and the place was crowded. These are pictures of the fun characters at the entrance and scattered near the stage.

Old town oct 18 2014 d

Old town oct 18 2014 c

Old town oct 18 2014 b

Old town oct 18 2014 a

Then I headed over to Bazaar del Mundo, and found this metal quartet as I headed toward the shops. Another time I am going to go back and explore the museums and historic buildings. This place is rich in history, but is also filled with restaurants, hotels and shops to entertain and delight tourists and residents alike. Come enjoy!

Old town oct 18 2014 f

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