31 December 2015

Balboa Park Turns 100, Part 5

With mere hours left in the year of the centennial, this is the fifth + final installment of my "Balboa Park Turns 100" series.

These photographs are from October, an incredibly warm fall Saturday when my family + I headed to Balboa Park to see the traveling exhibit Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland at the San Diego Museum of Art. Despite the heat, we began across the pedestrian bridge at the gardens and worked our way to the Cabrillo Bridge + back again.

I'll keep it short by saying, in conclusion of this series, that there is no where else on earth like Balboa Park. If you haven't been, go. If you have been, return!

Happy New Year, everyone!

04 October 2015

the 1917 Santa Maria Inn

Early this summer we received a wedding invitation from two very good friends who were getting married in central California in September. It was exciting to know we'd be able to attend, and also that we'd be visiting a part of our huge state that I hadn't spent time in before. 

I couldn't help but start to look right away for a place to stay near the ceremony location that was up our alley. With a kidney shaped pool, neon sign out front + preferably with "motor lodge" in the name. It didn't take long for the fact that it's not 1940 to kick in + for me to realize that many of the quaint motels of the past are a little less savory these days (no offense, Barstow, but I am looking right at you). 

I left the lodging decision up to my husband, who got us a room at the historic (and likely haunted) Santa Maria Inn. As Santa Maria is about half way between Los Angeles + San Francisco, the Santa Maria Inn, built in 1917, became a well known destination for celebrities traveling back and forth. It was the perfect place for us to stay.

A couple weeks after booking our room at the Santa Maria, I was scanning postcards from a recent haul + I came across the one below. What a coincidence! By the time this postcard was sent in 1958 the Santa Maria Inn was no longer on the main road through town, as it had been rerouted a short distance away to accommodate the increase in travelers through the area. Despite this major impact, the Inn remained a desired destination point.

Nearly 60 years later, the umbrellas may be gone but the pool and nearby gardens remain.

The Santa Maria Inn has long embraced its history, which is a key contributor to its continued success. There is memorabilia from the history of the Inn in the lobby and sitting area, everything from newspaper clippings to room keys and countless photographs. Rooms in the "old" section of the Inn -- as opposed to the "new" tower that was built in the 1980s -- that Hollywood stars were known to stay in have a gold star with their names engraved on the door above the room number. Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, W.R. Hearst and Marion Davies, Katharine Hepburn, Charlie Chaplin, Shirley Temple... the list is endless. We stayed in Clark Gable and Carole Lombard's room, a lovely corner room on the second floor with a wonderful little balcony. It was perfect. I am so glad such a special occasion provided us the chance to have a weekend away at a place I know we'll visit again someday.

(A quick aside for anyone interested in Hollywood history: the spectacular podcast You Must Remember This did a series of episodes about stars during World War II. The Carole Lombard and Clark Gable episode is absolutely not to be missed, click HERE to have a listen) 

26 August 2015

anywhere but here

It's late August in southern California.... the point where, every year, I have lost nearly all patience with the heat of summer + I find myself dreaming of being anywhere but here.

This bunch of postcards represents places I'd rather be, those of more forgiving climate and things I've never seen before.

Here's to cooler temperatures soon + more film photographs to share as a result.

"More than 55,000,000 people pass through the portals of the San Francisco Ferry Building each year, where boat connections are made for the East Bay cities and for other rail connections in all directions. The Ferry Building with its clock is one of the landmarks of the city."

"The Niagara River leaves Lake Erie at Buffalo at an elevation of about 600 feet above sea level to run a turbulent course for twenty-seven miles to Lake Ontario. In this journey, it descends over 300 feet, 160 feel of descent is made at the Falls shown in this picture, located about twenty miles from its source."

"Norris Geyser Basin is the first geyser land reached on the Grand Loop trip after leaving Mammoth Hot Springs. Valentine Geyser is distinguished by its crater like deep pit and Ledge Geyser, right near it across the trail, plays from 3 vents. Both are irregular in action."

"After leaving Las Vegas, the railroad winds over slopes to the commanding height of Glorietta Pass (Alt. 7,422 ft.). The downward ride is through Apache Canyon, where, in 1849, noted battles were fought between Kearney's army and the Mexicans, and in 1962 between Federal and Confederate forces."

15 August 2015

The Orange County Fair

2015 marks the 125th anniversary of the Orange County Fair. Growing up in San Diego, Del Mar's annual fair was a huge part of my childhood. The Orange County Fair seemed like it was cut from the same cloth -- carnival rides, disgustingly delicious food, games of chance, nostalgic musical acts nightly (Huey Lewis & the News, anyone?), juried craft + agriculture contests, the list goes on...

I was so excited that we were able to visit the fair on this special anniversary, it was better than I imagined it would be + brought me right back to the summer fairs of my youth.

I'm already looking forward to next year.

08 August 2015

Balboa Park Turns 100, Part 4

San Diego's Balboa Park turns 100 years old this year, and to celebrate I've been working on a series of Balboa Park-related posts that include both my own photographs and postcards from my collection that are relevant to the Panama-California Exposition. For part 4 I'm going to bend the rules a little to include two items that precede the Exposition because I think they are too fantastic to leave out.



Though El Cajon, CA was referred to as "Cajon" for about 30 years in the late 1800s, it was changed back to "El Cajon" in 1905. Correspondent Josie G. didn't use the proper name of the town 9 years after this fact.

The San Diego County Courthouse was built in 1889 and stood at the corner of Front Street and Broadway. It was demolished in 1959 and replaced by a modern county courthouse. That building was completed in 1961 and was razed to be replaced with a $555M superior court building, now under construction and scheduled to open in 1916.

I absolutely love this correspondence: "Thurs. morning 9-23-09. Dear Alberta, arrived O.K. stopping at Richelieu 1055 5th St. Mr. + Mrs. Bowles send ___. Taking a street car ride this morning to Coronado this afternoon. Weather fine. Your mother feeling daily good. She joins me in love. Yours, L"

 The Richelieu Hotel was located at 1055 5th Ave. in downtown San Diego. The House of Blues is located on that plot now. This Wells Fargo handbook for travelers from 1915 I found while looking up the Richelieu is very informative and a great artifact from the Exposition, click here to have a look.



These three postcards were part of the motherlode I mentioned in my last post.

Interested in catching up with the Balboa Park Turns 100 series? Check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

05 August 2015

Washington, D.C.

Late last week I hit a local antique store in search of one specific item that I need was sure they'd have. 

A few hours later, after not finding that one item (a plastic 200 ft. 8mm film reel, in case you're wondering) & instead diving head first into a collection of postcards, film, negatives, and prints, I emerged with a ton of wonderful pieces to add to my collection.

This is the first in what is going to be a series of many posts sharing the treasures I picked up that day. Please enjoy these linen photographs of Washington, D.C. All are unused, the captions are what each card has printed on the back. And if you're so inclined, have a listen to the Magnetic Fields -- Washington, D.C. while you're at it.

"These beautiful Japanese Cherry Blossom Trees which line Riverside Drive, Potomac Park, are a gift of the Japanese Government to the United States Government. In the Spring of the year they are a most beautiful sight and might suggest to the traveler a scene in old Nippon itself."

"The Jefferson Memorial is at the south end of the Tidal Basin. Thomas Jefferson of Virginia (1743-1826) was the author of the Declaration of Independence and one of the Signers. As a member of Congress he originated our system of coinage. Was Secretary of State in Washington's first term, Vice-President with John Adams and President 1801-09. Founder of the first Republican Party, from which the Democratic Party of today claims descent."
Copyright 1922

"The Executive Mansion stands sedately at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, about a mile and a half northwest of the Capitol Building. The White House, built of white-painted gray Virginia sandstone, is 170 feet in length and 85 feet wide. Two stories high with a basement at ground level and an attic. Cornerstone laid in 1792. President John Adams in 1800 was the first occupant."

"The Lincoln Memorial, modeled after a classic Greek Temple, is situated on an eminence in Potomac Park on the banks of the Potomac River. It is a monumental marble structure and a worthy and fitting memorial to Abraham Lincoln. Statue of Lincoln (by Daniel French) is in the center of the memorial, while smaller halls at each side of central space contain Second Inaugural and Gettysburg addresses. Surrounding the walls incasing these memorials is a colonnade of 36 columns for each of the 36 States in the Inion at the time of Lincoln's death. Immediately in front of the Memorial is a large reflecting pool, the placid waters of which mirror the classic lines of this beautiful Temple and the Washington Monument."

"This is one of the most beautiful structures of its kind in the world, the gift of the late Andrew W. Mellon to the nation. The Gallery houses the great art collections of Mr. Mellon and Samuel H. Kress of New York."

"The White House has been the home of the Presidents from the time of John Adams to the present. Washington selected the site, laid the corner-stone in 1792, and with his wife inspected the finished building in 1799. The building is of Virginian freestone. After the house had been fired by British troops in 1814, and only the walls were left standing, the restored exterior was painted white to obliterate marks of the fire."

"The Smithsonian Institution was founded in 1846 by the generosity of James Smithson, "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men." Its purpose is to stimulate, encourage and reward scientific investigation and study."

"The Smithsonian Institution is located on the Mall near 10th Street. It was created by Act of Congress in 1846, under the terms of the will of James Smithson to found an establishment for the "increase and diffusion of knowledge among men," under the name of the Smithsonian Institution."

"A stupendous shaft of granite, 555 feet 5 1/8 inches in height. It is 55 feet square at the base, 34 at the top, and terminates in a pyramid of pure aluminum. The foundation of rock and cement is 36 feet deep, 126 feet square. The corner stone was laid in 1848, the monument was finished in 1885. It is the highest work of masonry in the world."

"The Washington Monument is one of the tallest structures in the world built of stone and masonry. It is a white marble shaft with a non-tarnishing aluminum tip which looks like silver. The Monument stands 555 5 1/8 inches high."

Coming soon -- Balboa Park Turns 100, Part 4. 
Follow the links below for the first three installments: