Architecture

Pan Pacific

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Pan Pacific Auditorium, Welton Becket, architect. Surrounded by barbed wire and cyclone fence, circa 1988.

Before Los Angeles had a commerce and population requiring such indoor venues as The Staples Center, The L.A. Sports Arena, and the L.A. Convention Center, there was the venerable Pan Pacific Auditorium. The nearly endless list of events there included Ice Capades, Harlem Globetrotters, Wrestling, UCLA basketball, Political rallies, and concerts of all musical genres. In fact, Elvis had left the building…following his concert there in 1957.
The striking streamline moderne facade of that multi functional hall made an impression on me at an early age (1960’s) when Dad took me on his tropical fish store route. Later during my years at UCLA I liked to drive by and admire it. But the old beauty by then was neglected and left behind by the newer, larger, exhibit halls. Talk was afloat for years about restoration. But the only result was more crumbling and decay. It is a scenario all too familiar, especially in San Diego with the California Theatre and the La Jolla cottages, Red Roost and Red Rest.

While I was taking this photo from behind the post office, a resident of the neighborhood said “It’s a fire waiting to happen.”  Sadly he was right.

http://www.lafire.com/famous_fires/MajorIncident-index.htm

“Even vanished Becket buildings have left an indelible after-image: the Pan Pacific Auditorium remains a part of the mental landscape of L.A. long after the actual building burned and crumbled.” –Alan Hess

Historical photographs of this and other L.A. landmarks, go here:
hollywoodphotographs.com/search….

Home and Family

Immigrant Soderbergs

On Sunday I drove to Aunt Greta’s to do some background gathering for the upcoming trip to Sweden. She provided me with a copy of her journal of the time she spent in Sweden from 1938 to 1940. A lot of this trip will be to retrace some of those steps of that by gone time. To see the homeland of my Dad and Grandparents.

Seeing Greta’s scrap book made me regret not bringing a scanner a long on this visit. But when I got home I located one of Dad’s scrapbooks. I just finished scanning it and here’s one from the batch.

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That’s Gunhild, Bill and Gustov Soderberg taking in Big Bear Lake. This was clearly a favorite recreational destination for the young family. Greta says Gunhild was an earthy woman who liked to get outside. Didn’t mind getting a little dirty along the way or roughing it.  She eventually went byMargaret in the U.S.A.
Lack of jobs in the building trade and unpaid bills promted Gustav to immigrate once more.  Gunhild chose not to go.  “It was too hard the first time,” she said.  He moved on, leaving behind his family, to live in Australia. There he became a member of the Communist Party and started another Soderberg family, unknown to us here. UPDATE: It is true Gustav was a Communist and started another family, but not in Australia – he returned to Sweden.  More about this to come.

Dan Soderberg Photography

The Ferry

2009 marks the 40th year since we last saw the graceful San Diego Coronado Ferry Boats.  This part of San Diego history is remembered fondly by many of us who rode these wonderful vessels.  There was kind of smell associated with the ferry boats.  A combination of marine air and the tar coated timber pilings at the dock.

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The Crown City was one of the newer sleek ferry boats.  It could carry the most cars of any in the fleet.  The Coronado Historical Association’s Newsletter of Spring 2008 reports it is still in service at Martha’s Vineyard.
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The Coronado went to Argentina and served on the Amazon River.  It is reported she is beached and abandoned somewhere there.

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The San Diego skyline from the Coronado ferry dock.  Not so big and built up as we know it today.
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The ferry boats were basically an extension of Harbor Drive.  Here you can barely make out the the Harbor House Restaurant sign.

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The San Diego is aground on the banks of the Sacramento River.  The Coronado Historical Association indicates there were repeated efforts to bring her back to San Diego to be adaptively reused as a dinner boat.  But no such success. UPDATE: The San Diego was finally taken apart for scrap. She is no more.

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The handsome San Diego Coronado Ferry offices.

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The bridge that replaced the ferry boats is a great achievement and an important element of our cityscape. But we missed a great opportunity to save part of San Diego’s history by letting all the ferry boats go away.   They were an iconic part of San Diego’s identity for so many years, and added a lot of character to our port.  No doubt in my mind if one had been kept in service here for harbor cruises or a party boat, it would have been a very popular tourist attraction.  Is all hope gone to ever bring one back for that?

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The passenger deck. Gorgeous wood interior – benches, rails, banisters. Brass fittings. Very craftsman.

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Stairs from the auto deck to the passenger deck. Note the city bus on the right.

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The San Diego crossing toward Coronado

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Cable Crossing Don’t Anchor West

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City Bus Route on the ferry.

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The Coronado departing Coronado.

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The Crown City with Coronado and North Island in the background. Shot from one of the other ferry boats.

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Coronado Ferry Landing

 

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The ferry boat on the right was the Silver Strand, which appears to have been moth-balled at this point.

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The inactive Silver Strand.

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The apparently moth balled Silver Strand and North Island. Tied up at a rather cluttered repair and maintenance dock.

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While autos obviously drove onto the ferry, passengers had a separate ramp.

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Pedestrian Passengers came aboard the upper deck.

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The San Diego loading cars and passengers in Coronado.

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The San Diego leaving Coronado

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The Crown City boarding cars at Coronado. Note the Western Metal building in the background

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The easy-on-the-eye San Diego skyline of January 1969 – and jet landing.

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The view of the San Diego ferry landing from the Coronado ferry landing. Several sites in good view here. Old City Hall (County Admin Building), Harbor House Restaurant, The SDG&E Power station, and before the Power station is the Old Police Headquarters.

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Ferry passenger ramps, Coronado terminal.

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Looking over to the moth balled Silver Strand ferry boat. Some of the windows are boarded.

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The Crown City heading to San Diego.

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The Coronado.

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The Coronado once more.

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The San Diego.

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A past facing the future.

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The Crown City

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The inactive Silver Strand

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The Coronado

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Life boat aboard The San Diego.

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Certificate courtesy of Steve Lieber.

Misc

A Big Fan

Fan. Short for fanatic. An ardent devotee; an enthusiast. Here’s a nearby house to illustrate this word in a dictionary.

Hippies Use the side door. Beatles Parking Only, sign says. Also adorning the yard CD’s with picutres of the fab four glued on.

Dan Soderberg Photography

Belvederes of La Jolla

 

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Perhaps small in stature compared to the breakwater wall at Children’s Pool beach or La Jolla Cave. But La Jolla coastline wouldn’t be quite the same without little Belvederes. Those four small green wooden structures nestled to La Jolla’s coastline between Scripps Park, Shell Beach and Children’s Pool beach. For a sheltered sit and ocean view. Moreover, these are among the last few links to “Old La Jolla.” Days when this was a seaside village and artist colony. When it was only accessible over hills of dusty roads. When Scripps Park was populated with vacation tents during summer months.

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The old photo from La Jolla Historical Society shows a belvedere at Scripps Park between 1890 and 1905. The gingerbread roof. Ladies in their Victorian dresses and hats. A picnic meal. All atop a dirt bluff.

Perhaps its a bit miraculous the belvederes survived. Not disposed of in the name of “progress” or replaced by plain old benches, or something tacky.

But there they are. A concrete foundation and boardwalk nowadays. But still board and baton painted green.. Braving the sometimes not so peaceful Pacific.

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Home and Family

Starting A Blog

All major projects on the house are complete. Now I’m looking to more pleasurable pursuits. Eleven days from today a trip to Europe for six weeks. The focus is Scandinavia. Sweden; Stockholm, Goteborg, Marstrand. Norway; Oslo, Bergen, The Fjords and Glaciers.

This idea behind this particular blog is to document the journey. I don’t expect this will be the blog format I’ll settle on. However, its a start.

Some pix here of the handy work from the past two years.
4450 Kitchen 2006

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