Diary of Helen Hussey

Ham And Eggs Beaten

Golden Gate Park Dutch Windmill

Wednesday November 1, 1939. “Cleaned! Went to the park and Clement Street. Read at night. Marc, Rose, and Duke phoned. Tony called this AM -going to Lunt + Fontanne – Taming of the Shrew (Preview).

Lunt and Fontanne, American husband-and-wife acting team who performed together in more than two dozen theatrical productions, from Sweet Nell of Old Drury (1923) to The Visit (1958). Alfred Lunt (b. Aug. 19, 1892, Milwaukee, Wis., U.S.—d. Aug. 3, 1977, Chicago, Ill.) and Lynn Fontanne (original name Lillie Louise Fontanne; b. Dec. 6, 1887, Essex, Eng.—d. July 30, 1983, Genesee Depot, Wis., U.S.) were long associated with the playwright Noël Coward, whose play Design for Living (1933) was written for them. They eventually earned a reputation as the greatest husband-and-wife team in the history of the theatre. — Encyclopædia Britannica

Thursday November 2, 1939 “I went to cooking school in the morning. Afternoon to the library and the park. Nite at home and read. Tony over for a few minutes. Marc and Ruth phoned. ”

Friday November 3, 1939 “Jeanne home with a sore back.  Went to cooking school in the afternoon. Jeanne feeling better – walked in the park + to Clement Street. Had dinner at the Grotto. Went out with Marc and the Rosses to Burlingame + saw Ruth. Good Scotch. Home at 12:30”

Fisherman' s Grotto

Number 9 Fisherman’s Grotto was typically referred to in 1939 as “The Grotto.” It was built on stall number 9 at Fisherman’s Wharf in 1935.

Bernstein's Fish Grotto

But there was also Bernstein’s Fish Grotto, dating back to 1880. It was at this location, 123 Powell Street, since 1911. Its street-front replica of the bow of a ship was added in 1930. Fun! But sadly it all came to an end in June of 1981.

Bernsteins Former Site

No fun ship bows located there now.
ExpositionFishGrotto Expositon Fish Grotto Number 1

Another Grotto, Exposition Fish Grotto

Saturday November 4, 1939. “Jeanne and I  downtown in the morning. Met Sam at noon. Ate at Jacopetto’s. At nite Jeanne and Duke to the theatre. Sam and I to Filmore Street. It was interesting.

San Francisco rooftops looking toward Coit Tower on the right, and the Golden Gate International Exposition at Treasure Island on the left. 1939. Image Source: Brett Weston

Sunday November 5, 1939. “A Grand Day. Sam and I walked through the park to the beach, and along the beach, and then back. Tony phoned, also Ted! Jeanne and Duke went to a show. Sam and I stayed home. Read and Radio.

Great Highway and Ocean Beach Esplanade

In view here on the left is Playland. It was a 10-acre seaside amusement park located next to Ocean Beach, in the Richmond District at the western edge of San Francisco along Great Highway where Cabrillo and Balboa streets are now. It began as a collection of amusement rides and concessions in the late 19th century and was known as Chutes At The Beach as early as 1913. It closed Labor Day weekend in 1972. Condos are there now.  Beyond that are the windmills marking the Western entrance to Golden Gate Park.

Monday November 6, 1939 “Up early to town – paid electric bill and window shopped. Bought gloves and writing paper. Walked in the park. Nite – wrote to B. and Irene. Radio and read. Tony phone about card from Humberto.

Tuesday November 7, 1939 “Up early and voted in S.F. for the 1st time – machines. Took Sam to work. Went home and walked in the par. Afternoon Jap washed windows. Jeanne and I picked Sam up at 5:15. Up to 11:30 for election returns. Rossi re elected. Ham and Eggs beaten. Also number 5 – oil – defeated.




















Angelo Joseph Rossi (January 22, 1878 – April 5, 1948) was the 31st mayor of San Francisco. He was the first mayor of 100% Italian descent of a major U.S. city (top 10 most populous U.S. cities between 1776 and 1931). Rossi served as San Francisco’s mayor from 1931 to 1944. He was mayor when the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge were built, and he presided over the building of Treasure Island and the Golden Gate International Exposition (World’s Fair) of 1939. Under his administration, the city resisted compliance with the Raker Act which required San Francisco to sell power from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite to municipalities or municipal water districts, and not to any corporations, a condition of use of the Hetch Hetchy Valley. He dedicated the Mount Davidson Cross in March, 1934. Though a Republican he was a strong proponent of the New Deal “alphabet-soup” roster of work programs and worked vigorously and constantly with Washington to bring as many dollars to the City as possible in order to create jobs and improve the City’s infrastructure. Being unfriendly to the Labor movement, Husseys most certainly voted against him.

ham and eggs mast“The Great Depression of the 1930s brought economic distress to many Americans. Although poverty was widespread, the elderly suffered more than any other segment of the population. Faced with a real threat of hunger, many Americans looked to government to provide them some form of financial assistance.

In response to this critical need, various special programs were proposed. The federal government’s New Deal initiative created the Social Security system in 1935. In California the most prominent pension schemes were Upton Sinclair’s End Poverty in California (EPIC) campaign, the Townsend Movement (named for its architect, Dr. Francis E. Townsend), and the Ham and Eggs or 30-Thursday crusade, which proposed a $30 weekly pension for every resident fifty years of age and older.

The Ham and Eggs proposal was first presented to California voters as Proposition 25 in the 1938 general election. The initiative was narrowly defeated with a statewide vote of 1,398,999 to 1,143,670. Because of the closeness of the vote, the movement’s backers, the Retirement Life Payments Association (RLPA) decided to try again. They were able to secure over one million petition signatures–enough to persuade Governor Culbert Olson to call a special election for November 1939.” –Chris Ernest Nelson, Graduate student, San Diego State University
Proposition 5 1939




Diary of Helen Hussey

Last Day Of The 1939 Fair

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.”

Diary of Helen Hussey

Count Basie And Lily Pons In One Week

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.”

Diary of Helen Hussey

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.





Diary of Helen Hussey

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.”






Dan Soderberg Photography


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

Dan Soderberg Photography

Standing On A Potato Chip

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

Matt_46 Matt_44 Matt_43 Matt_42 Matt_41 Matt_40 Matt_39 Matt_38

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.









Diary of Helen Hussey

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.

Dan Soderberg Photography

The Torrey Pines Reserve

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.

Torrrey Pines 2960

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.

Torrey Pines Road_215

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

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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.

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


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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 and 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.

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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.


Matth 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.

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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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Matth 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!











Dan Soderberg Photography

Joshua Tree

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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.
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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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Matth 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.


Matth 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.

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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.

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Sunset, November 8, 2013. Joshua Tree Lake Campground. My VW and Matth’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.”

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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 1890s 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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