John Prine and John Spreckels’ Legacy

(All photos for this are posted here)

Friday, May 13th. Anna and I went to see John Prine at Spreckels Theatre. I wasn’t very familiar with his music, but Anna convinced me I would like him. She wasn’t wrong. John Prine has a Dylan-esque voice. In other words, not the best in the world. But it perfectly fits his great story-style of song writing. I really enjoyed the concert.

I also really enjoyed the venue. Spreckels is an amazing location. The old offices wrap around a very grand old theatre. The offices themselves are quite cool. Glass doors, tiny hexagon tile hallways, original bathrooms, and huge windows that actually open. The offices could easily pass the set test for a film noir/detective movie. Curiously, a lot of these great offices seem to be vacant. I wonder why there was so much prime office space left unused. My only guess is that they are less desirable since the building has no central air. But with a almost steady breeze from the bay, I think it would be just fine to work here. I wish I could get away from the AC in my office. Makes one tempted to set up shop, the building and location are quite amazing.

The theatre is definitely the star of the building. The decor is very extravagant and has some great plaster work. The paintings aren’t fantastic, but their scope and setting set them apart. I am very impressed this has survived in downtown San Diego, where everything seems to be torn down to make way for condos. If you ever get a chance to see a show here, do not pass it up.

Lots of links here for info on J Spreckels. A brief bio from here:

In the first six years of the new century, San Diego would recover the population it lost in the crash of 1889. John D. Spreckels, the sugar heir who had invested heavily in San Diego, would remain a San Francisco resident during those years, and pour millions of the Spreckels family money into a city he would dominate, sometimes in absentia, for the next two decades. Spreckels owned the streetcar system, two of the town’s three newspapers (The San Diego Union and the Evening Tribune), most of Coronado and North Island and the landmark Hotel del Coronado, which had been built at a cost of more than $1 million in 1888 and which Spreckels had taken over when its builder had been unable to repay a loan of $100,000.

Interesting how boom and bust San Diego has been and continues to be.

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  1. You must have had heard of his song Angel From Montgomery?

    That’s how I heard of him. Never realized he’d make me a fan of Candian Country.

    Yeah, Spreckel’s pretty much rocks.

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