Friday, January 23, 2015

Top 10 Views of 100 Yrs.1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition

Back in 2010, I thought I was in Balboa Park and that alone impressed me.  Now I come to learn, it was the location of the 1915-16 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Diego and the California Pacific International Exposition from 1935-36.  Admission for adults was $0.50  and $0.25  for children in 1915. Here are a few photographs of some of the original buildings and reconstructions of original buildings that still can be found at Balboa Park.  If you are ever in San Diego, it should be put on your list of Places to Go and Things to See. I had to do a little Internet search to identify all these buildings but I believe I am accurate.

On December 31, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson sent a telegraph from Washington D.C. to signal the opening of the Panama-Pacific Exposition. On December 4, 2014, President Barrack Obama sent an email commemorating the 100 Year Anniversary.

1. California State Building and Quadrangle (completed October 2, 1914 – now the Museum of Man.

2, California Bell Tower (completed 1914) as of January 1, 2015 the tower is open to those who wish to climb. In 1946 the carillon was added. There is a YouTube video Ken Kramer : About San Diego, takes you Inside Balboa Park's Tower.

3.  Spreckels Organ Pavilion (dedicated December 31, 1914) was the center focal point of this year's Centennial celebration in Balboa Park.

4. The Botanical Building with the accent Lily Pond is one of the largest lath structures in the world. Free tours are offered to the public Wednesday through Friday (closed on Thursday). The Lily Pond became a rehabilitation pool during World War II.

5. El Cid Statue sculpted by Anna Hyatt Huntington is a 23 foot tall statue that represents the hero of Spain's war against the Moors, Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar, known as El Cid. According to a photograph of the inscription on the base of the statue, found at Wikipedia the statue was presented by the Trustees of the Hispanic Society of America, July 5, 1930 and would have been in place for the Pacific International Exposition in 1935.

6. Casa del Prado Theater was originally the Foreign and Domestic Industries building IF I have properly identified it from old archive pictures at

7. The Foreign Arts Building  in 1915 now serves as the Hospitality House. This building became a nurse's dormitory during World War II.

8. The House of Charms originally called the Indian Arts Building in 1915 and Arts and Crafts Building (tentative); then the Russia and Brazil Building (1916) rebuilt to exacting specification in 1996 as the House of Charm it now houses the Mingei International Museum.

9. Fine Arts Building aka The San Diego Museum of Art opened as The Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego on February 28, 1926.

10. The Natural History Museum building is the one building I went inside. I saw Dinosaurs and gems. Besides having all the wonderful exhibits inside. The building itself played a part in history.  In 1943, during World War II, the U.S. Navy requested to use the building for an infectious disease hospital.

I can't vouch for this but it could be the oldest one in the park dating back to 1915, the Moreton Bay Fig Tree.  It did have a fence around it to keep out climbers so it probably is important. It intrigued me enough to take its picture. Look at the size of it. Many of the original trees were planted by American landscape designer, Kate Sessions.

The San Diego Zoo was established in 1916 by Harry Milton Wegeforth a physician in San Diego who led the effort to create the San Diego Zoo .  He became concern about what would happen to the exotic animals used for the Panama Pacific Expedition. The San Diego Zoo made most famous to me by Johnny Carson.  He often had a precarious animal from the  zoo as a guest on his show. I remember one at least that sat on Mr. Carson's head. The new is not the first zoo, that title belongs to the Philadelphia Zoo but it is phenomenal on many levels.  It has an escalator and a huge cast of characters.

The Spanish Arts Village was created for the Pacific International Exposition from 1935-36 to depict a quaint Spanish village. During World War II, the village was used by the U.S. Army as a barracks.Today it has a Spanish charm and artistic flair.

 Just as a side note the 2010 Rock and Roll Marathon put a damper on our first day of touring the city of San Diego by bus many of the streets were blocked off, but as luck would have it the marathon runners ran right past our hotel and I just discovered through my pictures and an Internet search that I have a picture of the winner, second on the left, #3 Richard Limbo of Kenya came in first with a time of 2:09:56. Way to go Richard! Just catching up post race congratulations! It was the first marathon I ever witnessed. The 2010 Rock and Roll Marathon course started at Balboa Park.

There is so much more to read and learn about Balboa Park (1915-16 Panama-Pacific Exposition) in San Diego and the (California Pacific International Exposition from 1935-36) my intention is to show some of the attractions that can be found there, especially this year during the 100th Anniversary. The city of San Diego has a lot to see and do, definitely put this on the list.

The Theme of the 2015 San Diego County Fair
Beginning June 5, 2015, at the San Diego County Fair, “A Fair to Remember, A Celebration of World’s Fairs and Balboa Park,” theme commemorates the centennial anniversary of the 1915 Panama – California Exposition held in Balboa Park. Scheduled to go through July 5, 2015.

Beginning October, 2015, the Balboa Park Online Collaborative, along with several partners, will provide a web presence that shares the events, projects, exhibitions and performances planned to celebrate the Centennial of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

All my photographs are from a trip to San Diego in 2010. I recommend, they have original 1916 pictures from the Exposition brochure.  Check out slide #29 the Panama Canal Exhibit. I would have loved to have seen that!

Here is a link to information available at the Library of Congress website on Balboa Park. Sections of Balboa Park and its historic Exposition buildings were declared a National Historic Landmark and National Historic Landmark District in 1977, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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