Remembering Balboa Park’s Nudist Colony at the Zoro Garden

One of my favorite places in San Diego is Balboa Park. The sprawling park features fanciful architecture housing a plethora of museums, plus multiple gardens. One such garden is the Zoro Garden, which is tucked away behind a leaf covered wall, and shaded beneath massive trees. When I first gazed upon it I wouldn’t have…

Gallows, Ghosts, and Paved Over Graves: A Visit to San Diego’s Whaley House

On a September day in 1852 James “Yankee Jim” Robinson was taken from an adobe jail to the gallows. Standing upon a wagon, a noose was placed around his neck. When the order was given, the wagon driver pulled away, and Yankee Jim reportedly kept his feet on the wagon as long as possible, but…

San Diego’s Historic Cosmopolitan Hotel

Each July the company Patrick works for hosts a massive conference in San Diego. Sometimes Patrick attends, sometimes he doesn’t. But this year he did, and like most of his conferences, I tag along to enjoy the sights of the city. This year we chose to stay in one of California’s oldest hotels, The Cosmopolitan,…

Tracing the Journey of Mummified Outlaw Elmer McCurdy to the Long Beach Pike

Last week I talked about the history of Long Beach’s infamous Pike, including the location being used in an episode of Charlie’s Angels and The Six Million Dollar Man. What I didn’t mention was that in the Charlie’s Angels episode, “To Kill an Angel,” a man’s body is found within the Pike’s Laff in the…

Catalina Island: A Tale of Chewing Gum, Grave Robbing, and Movie Stars

On Sunday, Patrick and I finally made it over to the little island of Catalina. If you aren’t familiar with California geography, Catalina is a small island, roughly 30 miles off the coast of Long Beach, accesible by ferry from a handful of ports on the mainland. At just under 75 square miles, about 4,000…

The Buffalo Soldiers: Multi-Talented Defenders of Westward Expansion

On September 21, 1866, a brand new regiment was formed. The 10th Calvary Regiment was comprised of Black men, and was given the nickname, The Buffalo Soldiers. The nickname was given to them by the Native Americans, due to their hair reminding them of the top of a buffalos head. The regiment served in the…

Bill Pickett: The Rodeo Innovator that History Forgot

Bill Pickett was born the second of thirteen children on December 5th, 1870 in Williamson County, Texas. Pickett’s bloodline was of Cherokee and Black. In the 5th grade, he left school to be a ranch-hand, and he learned all there was to know about being a cowboy. He invented the technique known as Bulldogging, which…