Archive for the ‘architecture’ Category

RIP, Landlord Jim’s

This used to be Landlord Jim's

This used to be Landlord Jim's

See this pile of rubble on the corner of 16th Street and Broadway? It used to be a pretty decent dive bar called Landlord Jim’s.

I noticed on the drive home from work that a favorite game I play (“See Which Local Hipster Is Smoking A Cigarette Outside Landlord Jim’s”) would definitely not be making a comeback.

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New Condos Built to Boost Morale for Sailors

For years the San Diego Naval Station was home to a par 3 golf course as part of the Morale, Welfare and Recreation services on base. Then the Navy decided to turn that parcel of land into a four-tower $300+ million dollar barracks developed for personnel in the Navy. The accommodations are designed to offer more privacy than the berthing compartments on board ships, while at the same time not emptying the sailor’s wallet on rent and utilities. (more…)

Supporting San Diego History

photo courtesy of sandiegohistory.org

photo courtesy of sandiegohistory.org

When Peg mentioned last week that the San Diego Historical Society will no longer be maintaining two of San Diego’s most beautiful historic properties due to overhead in this painful economy, it really bummed me out.   I have such respect for local vintage architecture, both well-known and hidden gems.  From the many tiny post-war bungalows in our coastal communities to the semi-famous Cabrillo Bridge over 163 (which caught fire in 1951 and again in 2004), the architecture of this city deserves to be respected, preserved and protected.

Of course, we can’t blame the SDHS, they are doing everything they can in a city that has many valuable sites.  This economy is hard on everyone and spare clams are hard to come by, but even just a little support of the San Diego Historical Society could help.

You can become a member from $35/year and and if you aren’t into that, you could always visit the Museum and exhibits they offer.  The Museum of San Diego History is one of my favorite museums in the city– it holds so much wonderful information.  It’s only $6 to get in and every 2nd Tuesday of the month, it’s totally free.  Who doesn’t love free?

Got a wedding in your future?  If you’re planning an event, the San Diego Historical Society has several incredible locations to choose from, so that is another way to benefit the preservation of our local history.

If you’re an About San Diego junkie like myself or you just love old buildings, please “spare a square” and support the San Diego Historical Society and Museum of San Diego History soon… before they’re forced to give up other incredible sites.

San Diego Historical Society cutting loose Marston House, Villa Montezuma

Villa Montezuma - photo courtesy of San Diego Historical Society

Villa Montezuma - photo courtesy of San Diego Historical Society

The San Diego Historical Society recently announced it can no longer maintain two historic properties, the Marston House and Villa Montezuma.

The Marston House, built in 1906 by city father George Marston, was closed to the public last Sunday, February 15. It’s especially ironic that the SDHS will no longer be maintaining it, as Marston helped found the society 81 years ago. The property is located at the edge of Balboa Park on Seventh Avenue.

Villa Montezuma, a Queen Anne gem built in 1887, has been closed for repairs since 2006. It’s located on K Street in Sherman Heights.

Both properties will be handed back to the city of San Diego. Given our city’s current financial state, it’s probable that another entity would be needed to raise funds, maintain the properties and reopen them to the public.

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History Right Under Your Nose

Most San Diegans think of the Gaslamp Quarter as the destination for nightlife and dining. While that is true, my favorite reason to head to the Gaslamp is to learn history about San Diego and to take photos of architecture.

Historic buildings are marked with a plaque such as this one for the Old City Hall building.

You can easily walk around and find these plaques and read about the building’s history. There is a great book that you can use for reference: San Diego Architecture: From Mission to Modern by Dirk Sutro. (I have seen it at SDMA’s bookstore but it is also available on Amazon.)

I’m long overdue for another walking adventure in the Gaslamp. If any like-minded arhictecture-history-photography enthusiasts want to join me, feel free to comment and we’ll organize an outing.

Ghosts of San Diego

Some guests just do not know when to check out...

Some guests just do not know when to check out...

When people think of San Diego, they usually think of beaches and surfers. But did you know our town has more than its share of ghosts? That, in fact, one historic building here is called “the most haunted house in America”? It’s true. For creepiness, I’d stack San Diego against Salem, Mass any day.

Here are the 3 places you’ll most likely feel the chills:

  • Hotel Del Coronado room #3327
    In 1892, a beautiful young woman checked in to this room, then shot herself on the beach a few days later. She was found to have checked in under a pseudonym, and had been a grifter abandoned by her equally shady husband. Sad, but not ghostly…until she started “visiting” occupants of the room, and even the hotel’s gift shop! Witnesses describe seeing a woman in a black lace high-necked dress. Perhaps this is a story invented to keep this room booked. If so, it works – the room is very difficult to reserve for all the ghosthunters. For more on this ghost, read Beautiful Stranger: The Ghost of Kate Morgan and the Hotel del Coronado by Chris Donovan.
  • The Whaley House
    Constructed in 1856, the Whaley House is one of the oldest houses still standing in San Diego, and at various times was a courthouse, general store, granary and a family home in what is now called Old Town San Diego. In its courthouse days, it was the site of several hangings, and when the Whaleys lived here, it witnessed the suicide of their daughter Violet, who was despondent over a humiliating divorce. Witnesses have since reported seeing the ghost of Yankee Jim Robinson (a criminal hung on the property), Thomas Whaley, Violet Whaley, and even a fox terrier once owned by the family. Now a museum, the house is maintained by the Save Our Heritage Organization and is mentioned on several ghost-seeking TV shows as “the most haunted house in America.” For more on the Whaley House, visit its website.
  • Villa Montezuma
    This place creeped me out. I have never seen a ghost, and didn’t see one here. However, I visited this house on two separate occasions 20 years apart, and felt the immediate need to GET OUT both times. Built in 1887, the house is a marvel of Victorian architecture, and was built for a celebrated author, spiritualist and musician of the time named Jesse Shepard. The interior is lavishly decorated with with carved wood paneling, stained glass windows and period furnishings. Jesse was said to have held seances here where he communed with the dead. My guess is he did this in an upstairs room, because that’s where I felt the overwhelming need to split. For more info on Villa Montezuma, visit its page the San Diego Historical Society’s website.

Do you know of other hauntings here in San Diego? Tell us about it!

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