Saturday, November 16, 2013

Vintage San Diego

Today's post takes us to San Diego in the 1950's. The first shot shows the historic fountain that is located across from the U.S. Grant Hotel in the downtown area.

This contemporary shot from a few years back shows the same view from an upstairs window of the U.S. Grant, taken by me when I stayed at the hotel one evening. The area behind the fountain was converted into Horton Plaza during the 1980's. Mercifully, these funky storefronts have since been removed. The fountain is now behind construction walls while the city is working to turn this area into a public park. I am not sure how this will be successfully accomplished, as the last few years have seen this patch of land taken over by drugged-out vagrants and the homeless. How do you keep out the less-than-desirable element while enticing the general public? Unless there's a velvet rope with bouncers, I can't see how you would pull this off.

Moving on, here are two vintage 1950's consecutive shots showing the U.S. Grant Hotel:

When you think of cool and sexy, buses rarely come to mind. Still, seeing the retro vehicles in the background of this photo in the flesh would probably encourage me to ride public transportation more than I do!

The last two shots show the fountain again, being enjoyed by visitors to the downtown area:

One of these days when the park construction is finished, I'll head back downtown and shoot some contemporary corresponding comparison photos. So much to do, so little time.

See more vintage & current San Diego, California photos on my San Diego web pages.


beachgal said...

Fun -- memories..we used to go down to SD area once or so every yr...I think my folks would have moved there they liked it so but they both had jobs tied to need to to be in LaLa land. We happened to be at the Hotel Del (Coronado)when the whole crew was working on Some Like It Hot -- mom and I missed our tennis lessons twice that trip hanging around watching Marilyn mostly - tho we spent time drooling at Tony Curtis too! It's fun when I see the movie still today because I always will remember which areas we were at watching that made the final cut.


The Horton Plaza Fountain was the FIRST newly built electrically operated fountain the the USA! Another San Diego ELECTRIC first is the Hotel Del Coronado--the first Hotel in the USA built new and opening WITH electricity. Thomas Edison was the electrical planer for the resort. It's no wonder the Hotel Del was Frank Baum's inspiration for Emerald City in the Wizard of OZ stories

Daveland said...

Beachgal - How fortunate that you got to see SLIH being filmed!

Mike - I'm not so sure how much of the Del connection with Baum is real and how much is fabricated. The Del has been known to stretch the truth a bit when it comes to Baum. Still, it makes for a great story and he did live in the area.

Alan said...

An interesting mixture of movies at those two theatres.
Grapes of Wrath ~ 1940
Harbor of Missing Men ~ 1947
Sierra Passage ~ 1950

I'm trying to find a picture my dad took from the Grant after boot camp with Goodbye Mr. Chips ~ 1939 on the marquee.