November 11, 2014

Last Day Of The 1939 Fair

Filed under: Diary of Helen Hussey,Historical,Home and Family — Dan Soderberg @ 11:28 am

Golden Gate Park Portals of the Past

Monday October 23, 1939 “Felt Low. Walked in the park. Cold day. ”

Tuesday October 24, 1939 “Cold clear day. Walked Bijou in the park. Read and shopped.

George Stinson From Policeman to Opera Singer

George Stinson “From Policeman to Opera Singer.” Image Source: HistoricImages – Store

Wednesday October 25, 1939 “Jeanne and I went to the Fair. Count Basie played. Heard George Stinson sing – grand voice. Also watched the Hawaiians, the Marimbas. 5pm met Tony at Brazil. Saw the gang. Home early. Then late had to pick up Sam and Phil at the plant. Lots of drinks.”

Marimba Director_El Salvador Pavilion

Thursday October 26, 1939 “Slite hangover – long walk in the park. Saw a crazy nut in the street.”

Friday October 27, 1939 “Had to pick up Sam. Out for drinks. Home late.”

orrin_tucker as Smart Object-1

Image Source: Cruising The Past

Saturday October 28, 1939. “To the Fair with Tony. Heard Orrin Tucker. Met Ted and had a couple of drinks. Stopped at the plant. A few more drinks. Home and more drinks. Sam drunk with Cy and Tommy. To bed late.”

Sunday October 29, 1939 “Last day of the Fair – quite a time. Jeanne, Duke, Tony, and Phil closed Brazil House – got three bags of coffee. Danced and drank at various places. Saw the closing ceremonies. Home, and Sam in not very good condition.”

I haven’t been able to locate images of closing day. But below is a newsreel style summary of the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition


Monday October 30, 1939. “Felt low. Jeanne stayed home – in bed most of the day.”

Tuesday October 31, 1939 “Still slightly shaky. Lazy day. Jeanne and I went to a show. Halloween – quite a lot of noise.”

November 8, 2014

Count Basie And Lily Pons In One Week

Filed under: Diary of Helen Hussey,Historical,Home and Family — Dan Soderberg @ 11:28 am

honolulu_cliipper_o_1024 as Smart Object-1


Saturday October 14, 1939. To the Fair with Tony, Dodo & Jeanne. Saw glassblowers, the Honolulu Clipper. Lovely day. Nite – Ted back the house with us. He and Tony left about 1 am.


San Francisco Fox Theatre, One of the grandest movie palaces ever built was demolished in 1963. Image Source Cinema Treasures

Sunday October 15, 1939 “Sam to Union meeting. Jeanne, Tony & I went to the Fox Theatre – Then drove to Fisherman’s Wharf and saw the fishing fleet go out. Nite with Sam to Scotts – Tired!

Monday October 16, 1939. “Downtown – paid phone. Shopped a little. Nite with Sam to Library. Ted phoned & tried to date Jeanne.

Tuesday October 17, 1939 “Lovely Fall day – Walked in the park. Shopped on Clement Street. Read.

Image Source Jazz Lives – Count Basie seated, middle.
Wednesday October 18, 1939 Sam and I to the Fair after picking up Press Card at Marc’s. To Palace of Arts and heard Count Basie. Saw the Guard Mount and the Clipper departs. Bought shakers for Carola. Home early Tony called – party to be Friday.

Fillmore Street Hill _ Fillmore at Chestnut

Views of Fillmore Street, image source http://www.cable-car-guy.com

Thursday October 19, 1939. “Went to Fillmore Street for Brazil coffee – window shopped – very interesting. At the library afternoon and nite. Went alone to a show at nite. Nice walk in the park. Beautiful Fall day.”

Friday October 20, 1939. “Cleaned house. Nite to the party at Tony’s for the Brazil band. Vic and Ginni had a fight on the way home.”



Lily Pons 1939. Image Source www.albionmich.com

Lily Pons was renown and successful on many tracks. She was an opera singer known for her coloratura soprano repertoire – distinguished by agile runs, leaps and trills. She was also  a successful concert singer with a lucrative schedule until her retirement in 1973. She was a recording artist, worked in movies and television.

Saturday October 21, 1939. “Hot today. Jon & Fred got in from L.A. Tony and I to the Fair. Heard Lily Pons. After coffee Tony and I went to the Press Club, etc. with Vic. Then home. Waldrons here. Drank Tom Collins. Vic stayed at Tony’s.”

Sunday October 22, 1939 “Jon, Sam & Fred to the Fair together. Tony, Jeanne, Phil & Vic and I met Sam and Jon and we did the rounds.”

October 30, 2014

Nice Birthday

From the ongoing series, Diary of Helen Hussey – Golden Gate International Exposition Years, 1939 – 1940.


Saturday October 7, 1939. “Downtown with Jeanne + To the Fair with Tony – Went through many buildings again. Coffee at Brazil + and saw Gen there. Beautiful day + clear nite. Home early.”

Nov-12-1936-bay-bridge-dedication-w-pedestrians as Smart Object-1Opening_day_of_the_San_Francisco-Oakland_Bay_Bridge_Nov_12_1936_AAD-2287 as Smart Object-1

Using Opening Day of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge to illustrate a long wait on the bridge.

Sunday October 8, 1939. “Warm day. With Tony, Jeanne, and Dodo to the Fair. One hour over the bridge. Biggest day of the Fair.
Image Source http://theredlist.com

“Saw and heard Bing Crosby. Nite – Brought Ted back and we stopped at his apartment for drinks. Met William Saroyan’s cousin. Went to Cat Show.”

Dodo  Mark_Niece and Nephew Tony Schmidt

Dodo and her brother Mark. They were the niece and nephew of Helen’s friend, the downtown San Francisco dress shop owner, Tony Schmidt. Tony’s the wife of Phil Schmidt.

William Saroyan was an American dramatist and author. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1940, and in 1943 won the Academy Award for Best Story for the film adaptation of his novel The Human Comedy.

An Armenian American, Saroyan wrote extensively about the Armenian immigrant life in California. Many of his stories and plays are set in his native Fresno. Some of his best-known works are The Time of Your Life, My Name Is Aram and My Heart’s in the Highlands.

He is recognized as “one of the most prominent literary figures of the mid-20th century.” Stephen Fry describes Saroyan as “one of the most underrated writers of the [20th] century.” Fry suggests that “he takes his place naturally alongside Hemingway, Steinbeck and Faulkner.”

Monday October 8, 1939. “Very warm today. Tired! Lazy day today – short walk in the park. Nite: to library. Read + bed early.”


Helen with the Hussey/Martin household pets, Bijou (left) Pancho (right).

Tuesday October 10, 1939. “Another warm day. Phoned Kathleen – wrote Ruth, Carola, M. Tinney. Sent Shakers. Bathed Bijou. Shopped for turkey for tomorrow. Got Pancho from hospital. She acted so cute! Nite: stuffed turkey and made cranberry sauce.”

Wednesday October 11, 1939 “Hot Day! Cleaned house. Tony + Phil here for turnkey dinner. Tony brought port + beer. Sam and I up late drinking port.”




Gayatri Devi often styled as Maharani Gayatri Devi, Rajmata of Jaipur. She was the third Maharani of Jaipur from 1939 to 1970 through her marriage to HH Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II. She has been counted in ‘The Ten Most Beautiful Women of the World’ along with actress Leela Naidu by the Vogue Magazine.

Thursday October 12, 1939. Another hot day. Jeanne and I to the Fair. Saw miniatures + rifle drill. Maharajah of Kaipur there. Met Tony + Ethelwyn at Brazil. Drinks at the Island Club. Jeanne and I home early.”

Miniature RoomsS

Friday October 13, 1939 “Nice Birthday. Jeanne gave me a lovely amethyst necklace, Sam a bracelet. Tony over in the evening with plaid skirt. Home most of the day. Fog in the evening. Jeanne out with Duke. Kathleen phoned in the A.M. Ross called at night.





October 25, 2014

The Women


From the ongoing series, Diary of Helen Hussey – Golden Gate International Exposition Years, 1939 – 1940.

Polytech Football Player

Photo is from Jeanne’s 10th Grade, Fall 1939 Year Book, The Polytechnic. “Athletes of Polytechnic.”

Tuesday, September 26, 1939. “Lovely day. Walked to the beach + back. Sam home early. Nite to the library.

Wednesday, September 27, 1939. “Perfect day – walked in the Park with Bijou. Met young man with a dog. Nite read and listened to the radio. Torry stopped in for a few minutes.

Thursday, September 28, 1939. “Lovely day. Walked to the beach and back. Quiet evening of radio. Wrote to Irene and Carola. Jeanne to the first football game of the season. Marc and Rosses over for gin.”


Packard 40_darrin_ad_1
The 1940 Packards began to appear in August of 1939

Friday September 29, 1939. “Hangover. Took Bijou to the park -Saw a Packard! Nite, Sam, Jeanne + I to dinner in Chinatown. Window shopped + Sam made a deposit on a bracelet for my birthday present. Got a card from Zella.”

San Francisco Day at GGIE 9_30_39 SFgatedotcom

The parade for San Francisco Day at Golden Gate International Exposition, September 30, 1939. Image source sfgate.com (Photo published 10/1/39).

Saturday, Sepetember 30, 1939. “To the Fair with Tony + Sam. Did a lot of trekking around. Met Jeanne at Brazil – saw the San Francisco Day parade. It poured at nite. Cabbed over to the car. Bought sherry. Home about 9.”

Sunday October 1, 1939. “Took Sam to Union meeting. Scott, Ricco and another man came back with him – drank martinis. Nite Rosses came over – more gin.”

Monday October 2, 1939 “Hangover. Nite to dinner at Salad Bowl. Cold nite. Saw airplane and lights from Presidio. Kathleen phoned.

Tuesday October 3, 1939 “Cold worse. Felt rotten. Cleaned the flat, and man came for the vacuum. Paid some bills and to the bank. To bed early.”

Paramount SF 1939Paramount SF
Paramount Theatre 1066 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102. Photo source cinematreasures.org

Wednesday October 4, 1939 “To town. Paid on the car. To the Paramount to see “The Women.” Missed first game of the World Series. Yanks 2 Cincy 1. Nite Tony + Phil over. Then Sam and I to the library. News – the Fair closes October 29 instead of December 2. Duke called Jeanne and made date for Saturday.

Screenshot 2014-05-19 08.40.24

Just a nondescript plug a building fills the void of where the beautiful Mission Revival Paramount Theatre once stood. The magnificent theatre held 2,656 seats.

The_Women Poster
1939 World Series Yankee Stadium

Thursday October 5, 1939. “Listened to the series. Yanks 4 – Cincy 0.  Took cat to pet hospital for operation – $10. Check from Ruth. Nite – Marc to supper + then went to Kathleens’s. Had gingerbread and drinks. Stopped at Jacopetti’s for cafe diablo. Marc here all night – pouring rain!”

Colonel Andrews Diamond Palace

Colonel Andrews Diamond Palace at 50 Kearny Street –  “Most beautiful jewelry store in the world”. 

Friday October 6, 1939 “Rather weary today. Nite-with Jeanne to meet Sam for dinner in Chinatown. Picked up bracelet + bought bamboo table mats. Home + bed early.”






October 22, 2014


Filed under: Dan Soderberg Photography — Dan Soderberg @ 2:45 pm

Trentoncup 1a

On December 5th, 1992, a very unique establishment on La Jolla ‘s Pearl Street opened its doors. A place where one can be swallowed up into the social scene, or put on headphones, and reside in the world of their personal music preference. Co-owner Danny O’ Halloran has taken the ever-popular concept of the coffee house and combined it with the technological breakthrough of the compact disc. The result; Discafe.


Whether relaxing at the bar, or browsing the numerous discs for listening and purchase, the vanilla-almond aroma and rich, Spanish sounds of Ottmar Liebert caress the senses. Several monitors provide entertainment with various media like computer animation, snowboarding footage, and music videos.

Trenton2 copy

O’ Halloran explains what separates Discafe from the numerous cafes along La Jolla’s streets. “The main thing about this ( Discafe ) is taking a European way of selling c.d.’s which is to listen before you buy. Having the coffee shop as an accessory, and then making it a club atmosphere where it’s more of a hangout.”


Danny derived the concept of the C.D. listening bar from World of Music, a similar bar in Munich, Germany. He enlisted the help of designer Mike Martin, who recently beautified Society Billiard Cafe in Pacific Beach. Using Danny’s pictures from Network , a billiard hall in Spain, Mike was able to re-create the “Barcelona-techno style” Danny wanted, using elements of maple and steel.


Prominent San Diego interior designer Richard Kaleh calls Discafe avant-garde because it has a “real mix of furnishings and styles. There’s something from the ‘50’s; there’s something from the ‘60’s, and there’s also a projection of the future going on here.”

The upstairs loft houses the eleven listening stations where people listen to their chosen discs, or any of the nine pre-selected c.d.’s The sitting bar and display racks occupy the space below. Numerous beverages and snacks are offered at the bar. Customize your coffee with cream, sugar, or any of the six DaVinci syrups. Order drinks you’ve never even heard of before.


Discafe attracts an older crowd in the morning and then a younger population throughout the afternoon. In the later hours, the place is dominated by people in their 20’s and 30’s. Late meaning open until 2:00 a.m. on the weekdays and until 3:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, which makes Discafe one of the few nocturnal members of La Jolla ‘s commercial community.

The store is mainly run by Danny and his brother Mike, who handles the advertising and other public relations. Robert O’Quinn is a vital asset of Discafe , handling all the inventory and ordering. However, the numerous employees must not be overlooked, because they are the ones we see; the ones we talk with; the ones who make coming to Discafe so enjoyable.

Future plans for Discafe include possible live Jazz and performances from local bands like Rocket from the Crypt and Three Mile Pilots. Prospective cafe owners will hopefully realize the cause of Discafe’s tremendous success. Mesa student and Discafe employee Jack Algar states, “There’s more than just coffee…there’s music.”


The atmosphere is clean, and the people are friendly. Sit back, drink what you want, and listen to music you like. On a nearby flyer, you discover a phrase that explains Discafe’s appeal. The Cheers of the modern, health-conscious West boasts, “This ain’t no warehouse, it’s more like your house.”

The photos by Dan Soderberg appeared in Robert Mealing’s 1993 BLEND MAGAZINE. The above text is from the 02/08/93 issue of the Mesa Press, the Mesa College Newspaper which was reposted on Clark Wyatt’s Blog, The Clarkive

June 25, 2014

Standing On A Potato Chip

Filed under: Dan Soderberg Photography,Matthieu Arnould — Dan Soderberg @ 3:55 pm

Mount Woodson_Matt_35

It is one of the most prominent peaks in the San Diego region. On a clear day it is visible from most parts of  the County. This is Mount Woodson. It was named after  Dr. Marshall Clay Woodson who happened to serve as a surgeon in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War who also became a prominent citizen in San Diego county. He settled here in 1875 on a homstead of 320 acres at the base of this peak. It is located between the cities of Poway to the west, and Romona to the east. There is a trail from either side leading to this 2,855 foot peak.

MountWoodson_36 Matt

On November 22, 2013 Matt and I hiked to Mount Woodson’s peak from the Poway trailhead. While not an exhausting hike, it is a steadily uphill ascent on a well maintained trail. To the top and back it took us about 3 hours over a total distance of 6.5 miles.

Mount Woodson_34 Matt

Upon reaching the peak of Mount Woodson, you stand along with at least eight transmission towers for San Diego television and radio stations. No telling what the effects are of walking through amplified radio frequency waves.  Warning signs just tell you not to go beyond the fenced areas. You can hear some of the equipment buzzing and humming.

Lake Poway

The trailhead for the west side of Mount Woodson begins near Lake Poway. It is a dam created lake. Since 1972 it has served as a water supply and recreational spot – although swimming is prohibited. Signs are posted to not allow human skin to come in contact with lake water. Dirty humans cause water pollution! Actually some people and children tend to pee when they go swimming. Not the most desirable ingredient in drinking water.

Mount Woodson Matt_65b

The trail cuts through a thick growth of Chaparral and the mountain is populated with large granite boulders.


Although not a true rival to Joshua Tree boulders, Mount Woodson granite boulders are among the most sought after by rock climbing enthusiasts in San Diego County.


Mount Woodson_8Matt

Mount Woodson Matt_60Mount Woodson Boulders_62Mount Woodson_69Mount Woodson Boulders_110Mount Woodson Boulders_104Mount Woodson Boulders_68

The boulders of Mount Woodson offer an endless array of shapes and sizes for both viewing and climbing.

Mount Woodson Boulders_22

Some unusual ones too. But there is one boulder on Mount Woodson that could be described as world famous. It is…

Matt Potato Chip_11b

…called the Potato Chip. A constant stream of hikers go to it, to experience it, and have their pictures taken on it.  It looks risky, but architecturally speaking the cantilever is well supported by the boulder’s mass.

Matt Potato Chip_30Matt Potato Chip_26Matt Potato Chip_17b

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Matt observing and reacting to some of the antics of other climbers on the Potato Chip.


If one waits awhile, there will be a lot of antics going on at the Potato Chip.

Potato Chip Girls3

This on another day, Intrax girls from Switzerland – and one German – on the Chip. Some American fraternity boys came along and persuaded them to take a prank “mooning” photo. The girls said “OK, no problem!”

Potato ChipPotato Chip Boys

Potato Chip View From

Looking down on top of the Chip, and the view.

Mount Woodson_50 Matt

There’s a sign at the parking lot reading “gates lock at dark.” So the return hike was a race against the setting sun. In fact part of the hike was in darkness.  Because of my broken arm I gave Matt the car keys to race ahead of me and to drive the car out of the parking lot before the gates closed. Then I would meet him outside. But we met at the car simultaneously – he mistakenly took the wrong trail back to the car.  Fortunately the gates were still open – we escaped without further incident.


Part of my strategy for hosting a foreign student is to teach about American culture. Here is Hooters. Perhaps not considered a sophisticated aspect of American culture, but non-the-less it is a part  the culture. Whether viewed as famous or infamous, it’s where waitresses are young  with short, tight fitting, cleavage revealing, cheer leader outfits. Its menu of gourmet burgers and comfort foods predictably attracts young males but it also is promoted as a family restaurant-some come to watch popular local sporting events on giant TVs. And in fact there were families with children eating  there! I anticipated that an 18 year old Belgian who enjoys the company of pretty girls would enjoy eating here. I think Matt had a really good time.


Matt Hooters
A Hooters photo taken by one of the girls which I thought was “complimentary,” but not when the bill came! But it was appropriate, considering the festive mood, to pay up without regrets for a keepsake anyway.

Matt + Dan Hooters

This was the complementary photo of me and Matt provided by Hooters, taken by the girls. And so ended another very fun day of adventures and creating great memories.









May 17, 2014

Drove To Rockaway Beach

Nicks_Rockaway_Beach_sign as Smart Object-1

Friday September 22, 1939 “Hotter than ever. Jeanne and I drove to Rockaway Beach (Pacifica). At nite surprised by Cy and B. calling. Later Amy and S. Ross over for Tom Collins. Bed at 1:40.”

Vanessi'sDiamondMatchCover  Vanessis_logo as Smart Object-1Vanessi'sMatchCover

Saturday September 23, 1939 “Another hot day. Sam, Tony, and I to Vanessi’s late…”


“After went to the Fair – Coffee at Brazil…”

Stokowski_AOM_1939 as Smart Object-1

Leopold Stokowski conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra, 1939

“…And then to Stokowski’s concert. Marvelous! Home about midnite. B came in later and spent the nite.”

Gay Way Color

Sunday September 24, 1939. “Cool again. B., J., & I to the Fair. A lot of walking. Jeanne came home early. B.& I did the Gay Way.”


Monday September 25, 1939. ” Showers today. Took B. to the 11:50 bus. Registered at the Emporium. Then went shopping at Crystal Market. Picked Jeanne up after school. Picked Sam up at 6:30 or 7.”

The Emporium, 835 Market Street, operated from 1896 – 1995. The site became a reconstruction project with much of the original “bones and fabric” of the building demolished, save the facade and iconic dome.
emporiuminteriorrotunda620x504 as Smart Object-1

The Emporium Rotunda in 1905. The building was gutted by the 1906 Earthquake, but reopened 2 1/2 years later including the rebuilt dome.
Photo source blog.sfgate.com

Emporium dome as Smart Object-1

The enormously delicate operation of saving the historic facade and dome during the modern day reconstruction.
Emporium Today
Emporium facade today. The cast-iron window system, sandstone walls, columns, historic wood windows and glazing were completely restored. The revived street level features extensive display windows, bronze doors and copper piping, all elements of its 1908 appearance, as well as charming concealed entries and windows. Balustrades removed in years past are again prominent at the building’s cornice and over the main entry of the fourth floor. At night, lighting highlights the façade’s remarkable architecture. The Market Street façade serves as a main entrance to the centre preserving the old world charm of historic Union Square and Market Street. Image source: www.kainc.com

crystal_palace_market_1920s as Smart Object-1

The Crystal Palace Public Market on Market Street at 8th Street in the 1920s. – Photo Source: Jack Tillmany via www.outsidelands.org
On August 1, 1959, the Crystal Palace Market closed its doors and was demolished to make room for an $8 million, 400-room Del Webb TowneHouse luxury motel.
Crystal Market site after 1959

“The complex was originally built in the 1960s as a motor hotel known as Del Webb’s Towne House. Webb may be better known for building a Japanese internment camp during WWII, and later The Flamingo Hotel & Casino for famed mobster Bugsy Siegel. Webb built the Towne House as part of a national chain. The motel was unsuccessful from the start, and later converted to apartments.” — http://sf.curbed.com
Trinity Ph 3 - View 1

Replaced by 1,900-unit Trinity Place apartment project. Looking hard to see just what part of this architecture says anything uniquely positive about San Francisco.

May 6, 2014

The Torrey Pines Reserve

Filed under: Dan Soderberg Photography,Matthieu Arnould — Dan Soderberg @ 11:57 am

Torrey Pines_2925

The trip to Torrey Pines State Reserve was on November 16, 2013.
The Torrey Pine is the rarest pine tree in the United States. It is among the rarest pine trees on the planet.

It was named after Princeton Professor Dr. John Torrey who had supervised plant collections being done as a part of the boarder survey 1848-54 in the wake of the Mexican-American War.

The samples from the pine tree  were collected by a member of the survey team, botanist and geologist  Dr. Charles Parry. He was the first to identify the rarity of the species. He was also the first to recognize how carelessly they were treated, and was the first to call for their protection. If it weren’t for the fact he proposed the name “Pinus Torreyana” himself,  we may well be calling it the “Parry Pine” today.


The Torrey Pines of Torrey Pines State Reserve are believed to be remnants of what was once an ancient coastal forest.


The twisted and gnarled Torrey Pines along the ocean bluffs often lean inland.


At the most direct interface with the ocean winds, the trees and their twisted branches grow low to the ground from the force of wind and the pruning effect of airborne salt crystals. The tree branches here are only a few inches off the ground.

Torrey Pines_73

A few steps farther along the trail you see this Torrey Pine tree with branches growing at ground level. The trunk and tree top is pushed upon and completely sculpted by the strong drafts of salt laden ocean air.


The Torrey Pine grows best in nutrient poor, sandy soils, along sandstone bluffs, canyons and ravines. Coastal fog is of most importance to the survival of this tree.

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Coastal Fog acts as an air conditioner, shielding the needles from the hot sun providing most of the tree’s moisture.



In addition to being a reserve for the very rare Torry Pine, this is a State Park where you’ll find an expansive native plant landscape known as the coastal chaparral.


The Torrey Pine and native chaparral landscape became severely threatened by human activity in the 20th Century. The road connecting San Diego and Los Angeles was a dirt grade at first. It cut through the trees, chaparral, and sandstone topography in 1910. Paving was done in 1915.

The model T Ford, before gas pumps where devised, relied on gravity to deliver fuel from the tank to the engine. The steep grade at Torrey Pines required the model T to be driven uphill backwards and in reverse! Apparently the problem of getting gas to the engine while going uphill was solved by the time this postcard was made.

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Today the road is lightly used only by vehicles within the park, by pedestrians and bicyclists.

Torrey Pines Grade Today_270

Pacific Coast Highway,  the road used today, bypassed the old road inside the park in 1933. The decision to grade the road here was a compromise. The original plan was to regrade the main road through the park itself, digging into the sandstone, chaparral, cutting through the trees and into the cliffs. Horrible!


Even before consideration for the road, developers wanted to maul through the densest and best groves of Torrey Pines to build housing and businesses. That is until Ellen Browning Scripps bought up significant tracts of land in 1908, 1911, and 1912 to save this natural wonder. She eventually donated the groves of Torrey Pines to the City of San Diego in 1932. To be “held into perpetuity as a public park,” and requesting “that care be given to preserve the natural beauty of the area.”


In this modern day, park strategy is to bring awareness and appreciation of a natural or cultural resource through its interpretive center or museum. But originally to connect visitors and travelers to a particular site or destination, a lodge was built. Here is the Torrey Pines Lodge which today is the park’s interpretive center and museum.

TorreyPinesLodgeRenderingPrior to its opening on April 7, 1923, Ellen Browning Scripps envisioned the lodge as a roadside rest where people would come, relax, and learn more about the Torrey Pine trees. She took care to commission a design that would blend and be very kind to its environment. The site selected for the lodge was a treeless sandy bluff. She hired San Diego master architects Requa and Jackson to design the adobe Hopi Pueblo style structure.

The lodge concept included having a restaurant – which proved to be very successful. The goal was to serve sought after meals at reasonable prices.

Torrey Pines Lodge Restaurant

The lodge’s front veranda was renown as a delightful and relaxing dining area.


torreylodge as Smart Object-1

The road was known then as the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Highway.  As mentioned earlier, this road is now closed to through traffic.


Human presence and particularly land development has an environmental impact even under normal circumstances. But especially so when rare plant species are present. In the 20th Century the number of Torrey Pines trees in existence dwindled to a only a couple thousand.  Although this pine tree does drop cones with seeds, having one sprout is rare. And  then odds are against that sprout growing into a mature tree.


One of the most severe impacts to Torrey Pines was during World War II when the reserve was turned into an army base. There was training, drills, marches, jeep trails throughout the grounds, bluffs, and cliffs of the Torrey Pines site.


The South Entrance was beyond the Torrey Pines grade, past the Torrey Pines Lodge, and across the mesa.

By 1942, the post had over 297 buildings, covering 1282 acres, had 5 post exchanges, 3 theaters and 5 chapels. About 15,000 men went through a 13 week training cycle with a strong emphasis on modern coast artillery and anti-aircraft defense weapons.


The base was shut down on November 1, 1945. The built environment of the base was declared surplus. Buildings were moved or dismantled – recycled into new housing elsewhere in San Diego. A large portion of the former base eventually became Torrey Pines Golf Course. This photo may well be a view of an area that would become the 16th hole of the famous Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Torrey Pines Golf Course 16th Tee_240 as Smart Object-1

Where the chaparral ends and the 16th hole of the Torrey Pines Golf Course begins.


Image Source Alfred/San Diego UT

Tiger Woods enjoys great success at Torrey Pines, having won several tournaments here including the major U.S. Open.

But Torrey Pines Golf Course wasn’t the first use of this land after Camp Callan closed. Just after the Army camp closed, it became the Torrey Pines Road Race track.

Torrey Pines Sports Car Races

It was a 2.7 mile circuit over roads paved for Camp Callan. At that time in San Diego automobile racing was a relatively new, amateur sport. Anyone could race any car. Cars were separated into classes by engine size.

Ferraris, Jaguars, and Austin Healeys roared over the mesa at nine race events from December 1951 until 1955. The most famous turn was called Ocean Corner, where drivers headed downhill towards the ocean, facing a sharp right turn just before the edge of the cliff.

The races proved very popular. City planners had proposed a combined golf course and race track – including a 20,000 seat grandstand. But there wasn’t enough city funds at the time for such a scheme. And likely City Council wasn’t on board with the idea either. Building only a golf course had more support.


Matt is standing on a rock that is more than 45 million years old. It’s called “Flat Rock.” There were even grand plans for this once. On this ancient formation is a 4 x 5 foot cut out. It was made to try and reach a coal vein that was known to exist beneath the ocean.

Flat Rock 2908

It was in the late 19th century that a would be coal miner named William Bloodsworth tried to sink a mineshaft into “Flat Rock.” Ultimately the unrelenting waves and high tides stopped the digging operation after about 15 feet. The mineshaft has long since  filled with sand and rocks, but the 4 x 5 foot cut out can still be seen and forms a shallow pool.


Jumping from “Flat Rock.”

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The colors of the photogenic sandstone cliffs are most intense around sunset.

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A view of Torrey Pines State Beach looking north from about where “Flat Rock” is located.

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Each layer is a history lesson. The bottom greenish layers of fine grained siltstone goes back more than 45 million years. Its abundant oyster shell fossils indicate there was once a warm water lagoon here.

Above that the layer of cobblestones. they were originally formed volcanically in Sonoran Mexico and transported to the coast by river 45 million years ago. However this section of coast became separated from the ancient river mouth by some 200 miles via movement of  the Pacific Tectonic Plate.

Further up is Torrey Sandstone. A light colored sandstone that was once part of a tidal flat. As sea levels rose, the sands were buried and cemented by calcite. Cross bedding (layers that alternate directions) shows shifting channels and alternating flood and ebb tide flows. See the next photo illustrating the cross cutting pattern found in Torrey Sandstone.

Some layers are missing.  Formations between 1 million and 45 million years ago got washed away, leaving a gap in the history being told here.

The most recent sandstone layers go back one million years. They were cemented by iron oxides imparting the reddish color and relative hardness. The most visible capstone is Red Butte.
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Boulders come a tumblin’ down! Examples of the cross hatched Torrey Sandstone dislodged from the cliffs.

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Matt with a small sample of Bull Kelp at the end of its growing season.

Bull Kelp Facts

1. Bull kelp along San Diego’s coastal ocean is an annual plant that grows offshore entirely in one season, spring to fall. It can grow up to 2 feet in one day alone. It can grow to a total length
of up to 80 ft. The blades can grow up to 10 ft long.

2. Bull kelp is the largest form of brown algae. It has a large bulb on the end of a long tail called a stipe. It is attached to the sea floor by it’s roots
called a hold-fast. Attached to the bulb are long flowing blades of kelp.

3. The bulbous float at the end of the kelp is filled with up to 10% carbon monoxide gas. The gas filled bulb floats on the surface of the ocean
allowing the plant to get the sunlight it needs.

4. Bull kelp grow in “forests” along the rocky shelves of ocean headlands. They help reduce the effects of corrosion as well as warn boaters of
shallow reefs.

5. They are a unique biosphere that shelter many species of fish, shellfish and jellies. They are a great feeding ground for seals.

6. Bull kelp has many names including; bull whip kelp, ribbon kelp, giant kelp, horsetail kelp and sea otter’s cabbage.

7. Kelp extracts are used as a thickener in products such as salad dressing, ice cream, hand lotion and paint.8. Bull kelp is often used to make sushi. There are recipes for Bull Kelp salad and soup etc. It is very nutritious.

9. As the bull kelp dies in the winter and washes up on beaches it serves a useful purpose as a source of food and shelter for sand crabs, beach fleas
and periwinkles.

10. First Nations people used dried kelp stipe to make fishing lines.



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Finishing the tour of Torrey Pines State reserve with a relaxing observation of the sun setting in the Pacific Ocean.

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The good news about Torrey Pines is that the area is now protected. No more Army camps, race tracks or mine shafts. The number of the rare trees has stopped shrinking. There is finally an increase in their numbers.

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A great day.  Fun and adventure!











April 5, 2014

Joshua Tree

Filed under: Dan Soderberg Photography,Matthieu Arnould — Dan Soderberg @ 11:32 pm

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Two ravens sitting in a Joshua Tree.
The Joshua Tree plant is a true icon of the Mojave Desert and Joshua Tree National Park. But in fact, it’s not a tree! It’s part of the yucca family. The “tree” grows to over 40 feet and produces blooms from February through April. Summer is severe with relentless sunshine, little water, and temperatures over 100 degrees. Yet it is the home to numerous desert birds and critters including the common raven.
joshuatreedetail1FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT
As resilient as the Joshua Tree plants and animals are, their world is fragile. It was Minerva Hoyt who understood the threats from humans to Joshua Tree and spearheaded efforts to persuade President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to proclaim Joshua Tree National Monument in 1936. In 1994 it became Joshua Tree National Park.

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Matthieu at rest during his climb to the top of this pile of huge boulders.

There are vast tracks of giant boulder piles in Joshua Tree. The rock piles began underground eons ago as a result of volcanic activity. Granite magma rose deep within the earth. As the granite cooled and crystalized underground, the cracks and joints seen here were formed. The granite continued to push up. Contact with groundwater widened the cracks and rounded the boulders. As surface soil eroded, these tall large piles were fully exposed as we see them today.

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These are the top two boulders from the boulder pile in the previous photo.

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The decsent.

Click here: Video footage of the climb http://youtu.be/4xzdmvs5Q-o

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Campsites within Joshua Tree were full so we found a place nearby called Joshua Tree Lake Campground.


Matthieu setting up his new tent.



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With the camp set, compass in hand, there was time to hike to the top of the nearby peak overlooking the campground.

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On the move to the top.

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Bottle House

An interesting site we saw from the top of the peak was this house in the middle of the desert.

Bottle House Close

It had piles of bottles and glass all about, sorted by color.


Bottles, bottles – piles everywhere. Also metal pans and machinery parts. There’s a robot-like creation.

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And a wall made bottles.

Sunset Nov 8_

Sunset, November 8, 2013. Joshua Tree Lake Campground. My VW and Matthieu’s tent.


Maple, Sausage, and Egg biscuit “Breakfast In Bed.”

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Stabbed by the spear of a Joshua Tree leaf.


More boulder climbing.

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The hike to Wall Street Stamp Mill, a gold crushing mil closed since the 1940’s.

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This may have been the boulder passage where my boots got tangled together causing me to fall and break my wrist.

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Old abandoned truck near “Wall Street Stamp Mill.”

Old truck_Wall Street Stamp Mill hike_14 as Smart Object-1

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Wall Street Stamp Mill_9 as

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The Wall Street Stamp Mill. The site was named “Wall Street” by miners Oran Booth and Earl McInnes who laid claim here in 1928.  William F. Keys took over the claim in 1930 and built this stamp mill to process gold ore from his mine here and other mines in the desert. It is a complete gold ore crushing mill featuring late 19th Century two-stamp mill machinery. It is on the National Register of Historic Sites.

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Yet another abandoned vehicle near the mill.

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Keys View



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Water tank for Ryan Ranch


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At the western base of Ryan Mountain lie adobe ruins representing early turn of the century life in Joshua Tree National Park. What remains there today is the footprint left behind by the Ryan family, who came to Joshua Tree in the 1890’s to manage and eventually acquire the Lost Horse Mine, the most successful mine in the area.


Ryan Ranch originally consisted of three adobe structures: a small one room structure of unknown purpose, a two room bunkhouse, and the main house. Wood and metal structures were eventually added to the site. While the main house is thought to have been built around 1896, the construction dates of the neighboring structures are unknown but thought to post date the main house.


In 1975, Ryan Ranch along with the Lost Horse Well, was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The site was nominated as a historic district based on its profitable history and depiction of early mining life and, therefore, its local significance to Joshua Tree National Park and the surrounding communities.



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Sunrise last day.


Skull rock.


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Ryan Mountain

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March 25, 2014

Heat Wave

Filed under: Diary of Helen Hussey,Historical,Home and Family — Dan Soderberg @ 11:56 pm

Friday September 15, 1939. “Very hot today. To town in a.m. + bought gold belt. Nite: to Marc’s birthday party dinner at House That Jack Built. Had Manhattans + a swell dinner.”
2014 Grant Ave

“San Francisco in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City by the Bay” lists the House That Jack Built as a Costa Rican restaurant located at 2014 Grant Avenue. No indication of that historic time and place  today here at the end of Grant Avenue. 

King's Koffee KupKing's Koffee Kup Napkin

“Then to the Press Club – African Dancer. Stopt at Will King’s Koffee Kup. Home about 12.”
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They made the space look a lot more spacious and dramatic than the boring treatment of the same view today.


Former Koffee Kup, now two store fronts. One selling comics. The other an ice cream parlor.

Towers Of The East And Temple Compound From Lakes of the Nations

Image courtesy of Bjorn Palenius

Saturday September 16, 1939. “Beastly hot! To the Fair with Tony – Saw Harry Owens Show…”

Harry Owens Voice Of The Trade Winds

Selection from Harry Owens and his Royal Canadians  Voice of The Trade Winds.

Owens was the band leader who organized The Royal Hawaiians orchestra at the hotel of the same name in Waikiki in 1933.

But he was most renown as the composer of “Sweet Leilani,” a song he wrote for his daughter 0n the day she was born in 1934. It won an Academy Award for Owens when sung by Bing Crosby in the picture “Waikiki Wedding” in 1937. More than 20 million recordings of the song have been sold, with Crosby’s alone accounting for 5 million copies.


“Went to Brazil. Saw Mayor Bowron of Los Angeles…”

Los Angeles Mayor Bowron

From the Los Angeles Times, September 17, 1938.

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“Nite: To Sally Rand’s new show – home about 9:30.”

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Lake Merced 1939

Sunday September 17, 1939. “Sam to Union meeting. Tony, Jeanne and I to the beach for several hours. Another hot day. In the evening took sandwiches etc. + ate by Lake Merced. ”

Old Maid

Monday September 18, 1939. “Hotter today – Went downtown – got iron with coupons – book left at Penney’s. Bought ticket for the Fair. Met + talked to Vic, Carlos + Ted on Market Street. Nite: went to see Old Maid while Sam worked. Home about 11.”

Tuesday September 19, 1939. “Hot morning – cooler in the afternoon with showers but hot again later. Evening to Tony’s + got a grape jacket.”


Wednesday September 20, 1939 “Hotter than ever. Bought a lite dress. Went to the Fair about 1.  Grand Hotel Day. Saw the Cavalcade and Jade Exhibit. Nite with Tony + San Diego man to Sally’s Nude Ranch. Still hot all nite.”

Thursday September 21, 1939 “Up early and to the park. Took Sam downtown. Went to Fort Winfield Scott – cool there. Scorching day. Hottest yet. School let out at 12:30…”

754 Clement Street See's

Today it is See’s at 754 Clement Street. In 1939 it was Ladenheim’s Women’s clothing, as many of the shops on Clement street were clothing stores for men and women.
“Jeanne and I to Clement Street and bought dresses. Nite, Tony over and rode to the beach. Walked along the shore-cool-but…”
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Front Room at 4320 Fulton

“at 10:10 still 81 degrees in the front room.”



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