Monday, November 8, 2010

Colorful Shops of Old Town

The shops of Old Town San Diego have captured our interest.

The Old Town Market features open-air shopping among booths of crafts. At the entrance to the Market was a booth featuring carrying cases, purses, and travel bags created by artist Laurel Burch.

She was born with a rare bone disease, osteopetrosis, but continued to paint even when she was forced to paint from a bed or wheelchair. She died in 2007 at age 61.

The photo (below) shows an example of her work represented on a travel bag. Her work has been described as an "...explosion of colors. The universe of her imagination was fertile, burgeoning, uplifting, egalitarian, a place where every flower and dragonfly was transformed into something...magical and beautiful."

The original building for Racine & Laramie, Tobacconist was one of the first six houses built in San Diego. In the 1860's it was remodeled and rented out as a saloon and then bank exchange until 1868, when it became San Diego's first cigar store.

I don't remember the name of the shop in which I spotted this "souped up" pedal car, but it sure was a beauty.

We have seen many shops with displays of colorful vases, bowls, dishes, pots, and figures, and each time my mood is given a boost.

I think these creations would be valuable as a means to counteract the blues.

Equally colorful were these sombreros and

these highly imaginative and brilliantly colored figures are totally hand-carved (from Copal wood) and painted in tiny villages in the Oaxacan Valley of Southern Mexico. It can take up to a full week to complete one figure.

El Fandango is an historically interpretive restaurant, reflecting the changing pattern of food preparation in California during the time period of 1846 to 1856--years of great change in California.

Don Juan Bandini built his single story, thatched-roofed adobe between 1827-1829. Originally, it had seven rooms, an entrance hall, an enclosed courtyard, a corral, and several sheds.

In 1869, ten years after Bandini’s death, Albert Seeley added the second story and converted the old home into the L-shaped Greek Revival Cosmopoli-tan Hotel.

In the aftermath of the great fire of 1872, Old Town’s fortunes declined and Albert Seeley sold his hotel in 1888.

In the decades that followed, the old hotel became a rooming house and later an olive pickling factory

The Cardwells sold the property to the State of California in 1968, the same year that Old Town San Diego became a state historic park.

In June of this year, newspapers announced: "The oldest surviving building in San Diego is about to turn a new leaf. The 175-year-old Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town will unveil a new look following the multimillion-dollar restoration."

"Ninety-eight percent of the (restoration) material is all original, all the doors, the wallpaper, the period antiques. Old Town continues to define its future by rediscovering its past" (KFMB-TV, San Diego).

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