BALBOA PARK HISTORY

1991

Notes from the Richard Amero Collection

Balboa Park notes ~ Samuel Parsons ~ Kate Sessions

1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999

January 3, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, E-3) . . . Buckle up for Fleet ‘trip’ to planets; "To Worlds

Beyond" debuts Saturday at Reuben H. Fleet

January 3, 1991 (San Diego Union) B-9 . . . Letter, Joe Slobodny, Lt. U.S.N. (Retired) - wants ‘parking trap’ in front of old Naval Hospital eliminated

January 4, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, B-1) . . . Sharon Shroder: Zoo’s birthday bash will be ‘wild’ affair

January 5, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, B-3) . . . Diamond Jubilee for San Diego Zoo

January 6, 1991 (San Diego Union) E-2 . . . Welton Jones: O’Brien has grown up with Globe

January 6, 1991 (San Diego Union) D-5 . . . Janet Sutter: 1991's early fund-raisers will aid art, history museum & opera

January 7, 1991 (San Diego Union) B-1 . . . Gali Kronenberg: Anti-war protest draws 500 to park

January 8, 1991 (San Diego Union) B-3 . . . George Flynn: Rule affects shelter for homeless; critics content city is making it harder to open gym; gym will be activated only if other shelters report overcrowding

January 10 (San Diego Tribune, B-1) . . . Diverse groups united in new call for world peace

January 12, 1991 (San Diego Union) B-5 . . . Anti-war activities scheduled for new several days

January 14 (San Diego Tribune, B-1) . . . John R. Lamb: Anti-war protest in Balboa Park is biggest

yet

January 14, 1991 (San Diego Union) B-1 . . . Roger Showley: Upgrade on old Naval Hospital is said unsafe

January 17, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, A-6) . . . Susan Duerksen: Naval Hospital poised for influx of

casualties

January 18, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, B-8 . . . Letters, Laura Chapman, John C. Lee, Betty R. Landis, Alice Caparas expressing dislike of war protesters

January 19, 1991 (San Diego Union) B-1 . . . Ed Jahn & Lisa Petrillo: Park rally is war foes’ focal point

January 21, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, A-5) . . . Julie Brossy: Throngs rally here to press for peace/support the troops

January 22, 1991 (San Diego Union) B-7 . . . Letter, Florence Joiner, dislikes peace demonstrators in Balboa Park

January 23, 1991 (San Diego Union) B-6 . . . The city’s plan to refurbish the 69-year old former Naval Hospital without reinforcing it to meet modern earthquake standards poses an unnecessary safety hazard

January 26, 1991 (San Diego Union) B-6 . . . Robert L. Pincus: City panel backs Museum of Photographic Arts move

January 28, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, A-9) . . . Kathie L. Taylor: anti-war rally attracts 250 to

Balboa Park.

January 31, 1991, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Metro, B-1. Zoo, Animal Park Targets of Fraud Inquiry; Funding: Stage agency suspends payments in a $621,600 employee-retraining contract pending results of investigation, by Ralph Frammolino . . . allegations that employees were pressured by supervisors to falsify "Structured-On-Site-Training" assignments.

January 31, 1991, Los Angeles Times, Home Edition, Metro, B-8. State to probe Zoo fraud charges; San Diego: employees were encouraged to falsify homework and time sheets so the facility could received $621,000 in retraining funds, sources report, by Ralph Frammolino.

January 31, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, E-3) . . . Ann Jarmusch: Spirits in stone inspiration for Shona sculpture at Museum of Natural History

January 31, 1991 (San Diego Union A-5) . . . Gregory Visitica: Navy hospitals add staff; bed space; Balboa Park Naval Hospital now staffed to operate about 400 beds; hospital has about 562 acute-care beds, 200 light-care beds.

February, 1991, San Diego Magazine, Vol. 43, No. 4. 86-91, 110, 113, 114, 116-117, 155. The Weisman Windfall . . . California art collection given to San Diego Museum of Art, by Mark Elliott-Lugo.

February 1, 1991 (San Diego Union B-10 . . . Daniel C. Carson: Time sheets on $620,000 Zoo training program are being audited by state agency

February 2, 1991 (San Diego Union B-11) . . . Letter, Valerie Sanfilippo protesting San Diego Union coverage of Gulf War

February 4, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, B-3) . . . 1,000 protest war in park

February 7, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, C-3) . . . Arthur Salm: Circus Vargas pitches big top in Balboa Park this weekend

February 11, 1991 (San Diego Union B-3) . . . Ronald W. Powell & Carmen Valencia: 1,000 demonstrate in support of war, 600 rally against it

February 13, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, B-3) . . . Body found near Cabrillo Bride, believed to be a transient who died of natural causes

February 18, 1991 (San Diego Union) B-3 . . . Ronald W. Powell: Marches go on, for & against Gulf War; rally for a peaceful end to Gulf War in Balboa Park yesterday

February 25, 1991 (San Diego Union) B-1 . . . George Flynn: Coalition to evict homeless & lawless from Balboa Park

February 25, 1991 (San Diego Union) B-1 . . . Mike McIntyre: Demonstrators march under different flags; peace symbol shown on one banner; 300 protesters in Balboa Park

February 27, 1991, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Metro Section, B-1. Inquiry at Zoo finds training irregularities, by Ralph Frammolino.

March-April, 1991, California Garden, Vol. 82, No. 2.

"San-Kei-En," by Ernest Chew, 37-38.

There is a new attraction in Balboa Park. It is called San-Kei-En and is nestled on the east side of the Organ Pavilion. It is the completed first phase of the Japanese Friendship Garden and is open to the public free of charge on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

It is amazing how easy it is to write those few sentences to cover public availability of something that has taken years of time, labor and travail and a little less than a million dollars to accomplish.

There are many who have walked past that Japanese Gate since its erection in 1968 that ceased seeing it and the proclamation next to it that there was to be a garden developed there, became an idle promise. No more! The dream has begun to form out of the hearts of the believers and although only a part of that vision has materialized, the rest of the dream is already forming in the mist.

It has not been an easy birth. At the time the gate was erected on the site chosen by the city, the garden was a concept and project of the San Diego Sister Society whose counterpart in Japan is Yokohama. It was a project that was much too massive for the Sister City organization to handle. In late 1980, a Japanese Friendship Garden Board was formed and the Sister City Society transferred the concept and responsibility for development of the garden to the Board.

Little had been done in the twelve years since the gate had been raised. It was actually a job from "scratch" that had been taken over by the new board. Since no fund raising had been done, money was not available to do anything. There weren’t any drawings on what the garden was to be. A series of three annual garden festivals in Balboa Park, and some private donations, brought in enough money that in 1984 the search for a landscape architect could be made and serious leasing of the proposed site could be undertaken.

Now the work began. In reality, although the garden had long been a dream, the work that has brought it to this point has all been done in the past six years. With the selection of the landscape architect, Mr. Ken Nakajima of Tokyo, and our local architect, Mr. Hiroo Kurano, who would do the project drawings, the garden started to solidify. With the signing of the lease was the first breakthrough in funding through a pledge from Kyocera International of $500,000 and a personal pledge of $100,000 from Dr. Kazuo Inamori. In 1986 the master plan was approved by the city and adopted. On August 29, 1990, with the financial help of many, many friends, Phase One opened to the public.

What kind of a garden did this Japanese Friendship Garden Board decide to build? The decision was not entirely theirs. Under advisement by Professor (retired) Mitsuo Yokoyama, their Japanese landscape advisor, and the advice of Ken Nakajima, the landscape architect, the design of the garden best suited to the area and terrain on the lease in Balboa Park would be called by the Japanese a Kaiyushiki Garden. It is of the circuitous strolling style and is a great favorite with the Japanese today. It symbolizes the world in miniature.

San Diego’s garden will feature a central pond surrounded with strolling paths, a pastoral scene and a mountain retreat. Primary consideration will be given to the promotion and understanding of Japanese culture through the active use of cultural facilities: a tea house and garden, a cultural center, an arbor and an exhibit building. To broaden the aesthetic and educational impact of the garden, a study center will be developed.

In Japan it is often customary for the landscape architect who designs the garden to give it a name. The decision was turned over to Professor Yokoyama, the garden’s advisor. The professor, in agreement with Ken Nakajima, the architect, named the garden "San-Kei-En" (Three Scenery Garden). Though pronounced exactly the same as that of a famous Japanese garden in San Diego’s sister city of Yokohama, the Yokohama garden name is translated as "Three-Ravine-Garden." In the San Diego name the characters refer to three features: pond, pastoral and mountainous.

A major decision for the board was to decide how to proceed with the garden. Should all of the money be found and the garden done all at once, or should it be done in phases. The phasing procedure was accepted because it was felt that if the garden was started and people could see some accomplishment they would be more open to donating the funds needed to finish it.

Phase One is now complete and is known as the Exhibit Building. It is a small area of less than an acre and features a Sand and Stone (Sansui) garden and a building of Japanese design which presently displays the model of the complete garden and drawings pertinent to the garden development. It was originally planned that the Charles Dail Gate be used as the entrance to this area, but because of its fragility, it was decided to build a second gate for daily use. When the entire garden is completed, the main gate will be at the bottom of the canyon. The theory is that entering the garden should be an uplifting experience which would be defeated if one walks down into it.

What’s next? First and foremost, the present momentum has to be maintained. At 1998 prices the cost estimate for construction alone of the rest of the garden is over eleven million dollars. A funding drive to raise the money is of primary importance.

Construction for the next phase entails placement of all utilities needed: electrical, sewer, water and the raising of the canyon floor about seventeen feet. At present the canyon is too steep and the bottom too narrow to house the garden and lake. By raising the canyon floor a much wider base will be available. All this needs to be done before any garden construction can begin.

The water feature will be the major focal point in the lower canyon. It will be reminiscent of a quiet inlet of the sea. There will be a sand beach and a boat landing with a stone lantern at the water’s edge. Also planned is a pine island connected to the beach by wooden bridge.

The canyon branch to the east will house the pastoral scene of the garden and will be a gradually sloping area of rural Japanese appearance. This will be the sunniest area and will house a good bit of color from flowering trees and shrubs to perennials and annuals.

To the west the canyon branches upward at a fairly steep grade and will house the fast-moving mountain stream with its cascading water, a koi pond and plantings of trees with the feeling of a mountain range.

Still wrapped in the mist of the dream, these developments are just as possible as the part that has materialized. It will take the cooperation and help of a lot of people, both private and commercial to make it all happen. Tremendous interest has already been shown by the public. In December there were over 8,000 visitors in the sixteen days that the exhibit house was open. Many of them have become members through the new membership program that has been started for those who wish to show their support of what is being done. A forthcoming newsletter will be sent to members to keep them informed and help them to better understand the features of the garden.

"Balboa Park’s First Japanese Tea Garden," by Lucy Warren, 39-40.

March 4, 1991 (San Diego Union) B-1 . . . Uri Berliner: Three arrested at anti-war march clash

March 5, 1991 (San Diego Union) C-1 . . . Robert Pincus: Museum of Photographic Arts focuses on expansion

March 6, 1991 (San Diego Union) B-3 . . . Brutality alleged in arrest of three demonstrators at Balboa Park last Sunday

March 7, 1991 (San Diego Union B-13) . . . Letter, Gregory C. Schulte: eyewitness accounts of disturbing confrontations

March 13, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, B-10) . . . Letter, D. L. Kenick: San Diegans should regain Balboa Park

March 19, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, B-1) . . . Dana Wilkie: Mingei Museum, a three-time loser

March 20, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, A-1) . . . Preston Turegano: Climate right for unveiling of Zoo’s new Gorilla Tropics

March 22, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, A-1) . . . Rita Calvano: Charles Schroeder dies; zoo visionary

March 28, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, ) . . . Karen Kucher: Tree in Balboa Park crushes car;

breaks man’s back

March 28, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-7) . . . Michael Smolens: Plan to get homeless out of Balboa Park

March 30, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-14) . . . Panel backs Balboa Park crime plan

March 31, 1991 (San Diego Union) TV Week-6 . . . Don Freeman: Marie Hitchcock, puppeteer, pulls strings of memory

April 2, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, D-1) . . . Clark Brooks: John Mc Gaughy, Auto Museum program director, marries Connie Edwards, manager of gift shop at Museum

April 3, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, C-1) . . . Ann Jarmusch: "Remaking American: New Uses, Old Places" at Museum of San Diego History, Balboa Park

April 5, 1991 (San Diego Union, F-1) . . . Herb Lawrence: Renovation of Balboa Park will be largest overhaul ever

April 9, 1991 (San Diego Union, D-2) . . . Burl Stiff: Auto Museum propels Carroll Shelby into Racing Hall of Fame

April 12, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, B-6) . . . Michael Richmond . . . Free tram service for Balboa Park begins tomorrow

April 14, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-2) . . . Angela Lau: Trams running in Balboa Park

April 14, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-3) . . . Gina Lubrano: Construction work begins at Zoo for upscale eateries

April 15, 1991 (San Diego Union, C-1) . . . Karla Peterson: World Beat Productions group wants home in water tower next to Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park

April 17, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-7) . . . Letter, Henry M. Dupree complaining about discrimination against military in parking in front of old Naval Hospital in Balboa Park

April 20, 1991 (San Diego Union, II-4) . . . Art Museum sells photo collection

April 22, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-1) . . . Greg Moran: Green movement gains at yesterday’s Earth Fair in Balboa Park

April 28, 1991 (San Diego Union, C-3) . . . Letter, Bonni Ravitz Plaza de Panama parking lot is used by museum employees for long-term parking

April 29, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, C-5) . . . Ann Jarmusch: Did Museum auction good will along with photos?

April 30, 1991 (San Diego Union) B-3 . . . Frank Klimko: Fleet Reserves call city lot a ‘parking trap’

May 1, 1991 (San Diego Union) B-8 . . . Hospital parking protest misnamed; group represented by Henry Dupree is San Diego Branch No. 9, Inc. of Fleet Reserve Association

May 7, 1991 (San Diego Union) B-3 . . . Frank Klimko: Zoo, museums awarded grants of $75,000

May 17, 1991 (San Diego Union) C-9 . . . David Elliott: ‘Ring of Fire’ hot stuff at Fleet

May 19, 1991 (San Diego Union) B-9 . . . Three held in death of woman found in Balboa Park drainage ditch

May 19, 1991 (San Diego Union) Passport-10 . . . Zoo facts

May 19, 1991 (San Diego Union) Passport-11 . . . Balboa Park

May 25 (San Diego Tribune, B-3) . . . C. A. Buckley doesn’t like title "Museum of Man"

June 4 , 1991 (San Diego Union) B-1 . . . Memorial service for Otto Bos, former aide to Governor Wilson, Thursday in Balboa Park

June 7 (San Diego Tribune, B-8) . . . Letter, Henry M. Dupree wants parking for Fleet Reserve

Association on parking spaces in front of old Naval Hospital between midnight to 9 a.m.

June 8, 1991 (San Diego Union) E-3 . . . Janet Sutter: Blackbird reconnaissance craft lands in Balboa Park

June 9, 1991 (San Diego Union, F-23) . . . Rebekah Dean: Two dollars for tranquillity at Japanese Friendship Garden (illus.).

Tranquillity isn’t free anymore at Balboa Park’s Japanese Friendship Garden, but it might be easier to come by.

Directors started charging a $2 adult admission fee last Saturday in hopes of reducing a flood of visitors who damaged the grounds of the 9-month-old garden and threatened its peaceful atmosphere.

About 700 people a day walk through the ¾-acre-plot, said co-director Grace Brophy. "It’s destroying the integrity of the garden."

Free admission and proximity to the park’s popular Organ Pavilion encouraged casual visitors, some of whom mistreat the area, she said.

Jostling, noisy crowds have disturbed the garden’s tranquil atmosphere, Brophy said, and many visitors trample the plants, walk on fragile decorations, and destroy the carefully raked patterns in the stone garden.

The fee should discourage uncaring visitors while providing funds to develop and repair the grounds, she said. The $925,000 garden is staffed mostly by volunteers and funded almost entirely by donations.

"We didn’t want to do this," Brophy said. "We kept putting it off."

She said the volunteer docents have tried to encourage serious visitors by sponsoring frequent lectures, demonstrations and daily tours since the garden, gift shop and Japanese teahouse opened last August.

June 10, 1991, San Diego Tribune, B-6 . . . Terry Rodgers: Natural History Museum boss ready for 21st century challenge

June 16, 1991, San Diego Union, C-3 . . . Letter, Sandra Miles, thinks Balboa Park is a tarnished jewel because of presence of homeless males

June 27, 1991, San Diego Tribune, E-3 . . . Parks are alive with sounds of free music

June 30, 1991, San Diego Union, B-1 . . . Ronald W. Powell: Stand Down lets homeless vets stand tall again.

July, 1991, San Diego Magazine, Vol. 43, No. 9, 94-99, 124, 126. Schemes and dreams: Building a Zoo, by Meribeth Mellin.

July 4, 1991, San Diego Union, B-3 . . . Dayna Lynn Fried: Unlicensed T-shirt sellers face crackdown

July 8, 1991 (San Diego Union) E-1 . . . Space Theater to salute first steps on moon

 

July 12, 1991 (San Diego Union, C-1) . . . Divina Infusino: House of France hosts a one-hour lawn program in honor of Bastille Day

July 18, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, E-3) . . . National Space Week in Balboa Park; talks at Reuben H. Fleet Space Center

July 27, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, B-2) . . . Paul Telles: Park workers riled at Navy over parking

August 3, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, B-3) . . . Balboa Park’s guerrilla war: feuding mars House of Pacific Relations

August 4 , 1991 (San Diego Union, A-18) . . . Ronald W. Powell: For some youths on streets, sex is a means of survival

August 9, 1991 (San Diego Union, D-6) . . . Lara Smith: Sculptures in spotlight at Hall of Champions

August 11, 1991 (San Diego Union, D-2) . . . Frank Green: Michael Hager, Natural History Museum director, optimistic

August 13, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, B-6) . . . Dumping on unsafe landfills; Federal officials may issue new standards

August 18, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-3) . . . Roger Showley: Don D. Fowler calls depiction of Native Americans at Expositions fake

August 21, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, B-8) . . . Polish consul general in Los Angeles expected at

service in Veterans Memorial Building, Balboa Park, honoring Polish & Polish-American veterans

August 22, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, A-1) . . . John R. Lamb: Pacific Relations feud; no order in this House

August 23 (San Diego Tribune, B-7) . . . Prowler runs down golfer in course parking lot

August 23, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, B-1) . . . Letter containing names of 17 members &delegates of House of Pacific Relations claiming House of Latin America has violated principles of House of Pacific Relations

August 28, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, C-2) . . . 27th annual Balboa Park four-mile cross-country race will be held Saturday

September 11, 1991 (San Diego Union. B-8) . . . Letter, Ken Riegle, golf course needs upgrading

September 14, 1991, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Metro Section, B-1. State may ask Zoo to return over $500,000; Audit: Widespread discrepancies uncovered in job-training program, by Ralph Frammolino.

The San Diego Zoological Society could be forced to refund more than $500,000 to the state because it cannot account for hundreds of hours of training it was supposed to give zookeepers under a state-sponsored program, according to an audit released Friday.

September 26, 1991 (San Diego Union, E-2) . . . Hank Wesch: Hall of Champions planning expansion

September 30 (San Diego Tribune, B-3) . . . City will end parking ban between midnight & 9 a.m.

at a 400-space cost-free lot on Park Boulevard

October 3, 1991 (San Diego Union, E-3) . . . Reuben H. Fleet brings back Imax/Omnimax film "Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets"

October 7, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, A-1) . . . John R. Lamb: Latinos booted by House of Pacific Relations

October 8, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-3) . . . Terry Rodgers: Record crowd flocks to Zoo on Founders’ Day

October 11, 1991 (San Diego Union, D-1) . . . Lara Ward: Balboa Park is one giant playground for KIDZARTZ

October 12, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, B-3) . . . Letter, Jose M. Alonso: resolution of expulsion of House of Latin America based on continuous violations

October 12, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-6) . . . Barbara Fitzsimmons: KidzArtz festival runs today, tomorrow

October 19, 1991 (San Diego Tribune) . . . Julie Brossy: Group seeks volunteer patrols to polish Balboa Park’s image

October 19, 1991 (San Diego Union. B-1) . . . Gina Lubrano: City unveils plan to ‘take back’ Balboa Park

October 20, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-3) . . . Dick Weber: ‘Parking trap’ restrictions in front of old Naval Hospital sprung by Henry Dupree, a spry 82-year old

October 22, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-1) . . . George Flynn: Citizens Committee plans for Balboa Park are supported, but also criticized

October 23, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-6) . . . Time to take back the park; citizens’ plan offers hope

October 24 (San Diego Tribune, A-1) . . . Eddy McNeil: Balboa statue one vote from place in park

October 25, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-14) . . . Michael Smolens: Council members see no controversy on Balboa statue

October 26, 1991 (San Diego Union, II-3) . . . The world’s most elegant cars on display at Automotive Museum in Balboa Park

October 28, 1991 . . . B-6 . . . Statue belongs in the park

October 30, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-6) . . . Letter, Holly Weston who was mugged in park

October 30, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-6) . . . Letter, Richard Amero who likens Balboa statue to a piece of junk

November 2, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-2) . . . Sharon Spivak: Howard Kreisner, nativity critic, still up in arms

November 3, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-3) . . . Fred Alvarez: Festival in Balboa Park provides a chance to sample Chicano music

November 4, 1991 (San Diego Union, C-1) . . . Michael Phillips: ‘Plaid’ just might play on forever

November 5, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-3) . . . Body found in park

November 9, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-3) . . . Jeffrey J. Rose: Vets to dedicate center

November 10, 1991 (San Diego Union, C-2) . . . Take Back Balboa Park

November 11, 1991, San Diego Union, B-1 . . . Ronald W. Powell: Onetime Navy chapel becomes Veterans Memorial Center

November 11, 1991, San Diego Union, B-2 . . . Second body found in Balboa Park.

November 14, 1991, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, View Section . . . A Dinosaur’s White Knight: Can Mick Hager save San Diego Natural History Museum from years of malaise? He thinks so and so do many others, by Brian Alexander.

November 15, 1991, San Diego Union, B-3 . . . Dayna Lynn Fried: Head of House of Germany resigns over gift to David Duke

November 16, 1991, San Diego Union, B-2 . . . Frank Klimko: Dr. Seuss tribute tomorrow in park

November 16, 1991, San Diego Union, B-7 . . . Park stabbing in brief

November 16, 1991, San Diego Union, II-2 . . . Dayna Lynn Fried: Ingeborg S. Drotleff. House of Germany leader, quits in furor over her $20 gift to Louisiana gubernatorial candidate David Duke

November 17, 1991, San Diego Union, B-3 . . . Cheryl Clark: Memorial sought in park for those claimed by AIDS

November 21, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, B-1) . . . Preston Turegano: Hartley probes ‘campground’ near park

November 22, 1991 (San Diego Tribune, C-16) . . . Ann Jarmusch: Binney collection

November 23, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-1) . . . Lisa Petrillo: Holiday tree loses site in Balboa Park

November 24, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-1) . . . Dwight C. Daniels: Balboa Park crime rate rises dramatically

November 26, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-6) . . . A sharp rise in violent crime in Balboa Park

November 29, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-1) . . . George Flynn: Park performers find tighter policies no laughing matter

November 30, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-6) . . . Future of Inspiration Point is topic of meeting Monday evening in Balboa Park Club

December 1, 1991 (San Diego Union, H-14) . . . Letter, Walt Ratchford: Balboa Park golf course needs help

December 1, 1991, San Diego Union, F-1, F-6. $5.3 million plan drawn for Hall of Champions, by Caty Van Housen.

The San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum in Balboa Park is filled with the stuff of legends --- mystical memorabilia that testify to the speed, strength and endurance of great athletes who either grew up or played professional sports in San Diego.

There’s a bat that native San Diegan Ted Williams used more than 50 years ago when he played with the Pacific Coast League’s San Diego Padres at Lane Field. Williams went on to bat .406 for Boston and win the American League batting title in 1941. No Major League player has hit over .400 since.

Then there’s the wooden tennis racquet swung by San Diegan Maureen Connolly to win the women’s championship at Wimbledon in 1953. That year Connolly became the first woman to win the Grand Slam --- Wimbledon and the French, Australian and U.S. opens.

And there’s the jersey worn by San Diegan Bill Miller, when he pole-vaulted to a gold medal in the 1932 Olympic Games, setting then world and Olympic records of 14 feet, 1-7/8 inches.

There are so many San Diego athletes to remember --- and so much memorabilia --- that the sports museum is running out of room.

Plans are in the works for a $5.3 million expansion and a move in 1994 from a building along Balboa Park’s El Prado to the 56-year old Federal Building at the south end of the park near the Aerospace Museum.

The park project will be funded by grants of $3 million from the Stephen and Mary Birch Foundation and $2.3 million from the city of San Diego’s Balboa Park Restoration Fund. It is scheduled to be completed by 1994.

Renovation of the Federal Building, the current headquarters of the U.S. Olympic volleyball team, will begin when the team moves in 1993 to its new gymnasium at the Arco U.S. Olympic Training Center in Otay Mesa.

Local architect, Walt Conwell has finished schematic designs and has begun the approval process with the state’s Historical Landmarks Department, the city’s Planning Department and the Central Balboa Park Association, the park’s master planners.

The 19,000-square-foot museum houses 25 exhibits. In its new location, the museum will have triple the exhibit space and add new attractions the museum board hopes will entice more visitors. The museum draws about 100,000 people a year. The goal is to being in as many as 400,000 visitors a year after the move.

To accommodate the new museum the Federal Building will be expanded from its current 30,000 square feet to more than 58,000 square feet. The space will be added by excavating a basement and adding a mezzanine, architect Conwell said.

The main floor and the mezzanine will hold:

  •  
    • A 100-seat theater where visitors can watch highlights of historic sports events.
    • A sports research center providing computer access to San Diego sports statistics and records from the past 50 years in addition to video archives.
    • A larger gift shop selling sports-related clothing, art collectibles and other items.
    • A 160-seat public meeting room.

In the middle of the main floor will be the Breitbard Hall of Fame, an exhibit that recognizes

lifetime achievements of local athletes.

The more popular mainstream sports exhibits --- baseball, football and basketball --- will be upstairs on the mezzanine level, Conwell said.

The basement level will contain a series of interactive exhibits dubbed "Say Yes to Sports Challenge," games and demonstrations using audio, video, electronic and computer technology.

Visitors will be able to play electronically simulated games or learn how to throw a fast pitch or a perfect spiral.

"This will bolster interaction with the museum itself," said Barry Humphrey, the museum’s executive director. "Right now, the exhibits are static --- once you’ve seen them there’s no real need to come back. The sports challenges will keep people coming back, trying to break their own records."

A glass elevator will connect all three levels, Conwell said.

A general contractor has not yet been chosen for the project, which will involve removing the gymnasium floor, excavating a new underground level and restoring the building’s exterior.

"This building is a jewel," Conwell said. "We have to respect that while at the same time get the most space out of it."

The building’s Roman-style frieze, a horizontal band running just below the cornice and carved with ornate classical figures, will be replicated and replaced. Casts will be made of a plaster-like material and artificially "weathered."

The huge elm trees surrounding the Federal Building will not be disturbed.

During construction a portion of one side wall will be removed so excavating tractors and trucks removing dirt can move inside the building.

Balboa Park’s Japanese Friendship Garden will be undergoing major renovations at the same time, so excavated dirt will be hauled to that site. Keeping the dirt within Balboa Park will save $30,000 in disposal fees, Conwell said.

Once the hole is 28 feet deep, the concrete walls and floor will be poured. Then long-span steel trusses will be place over the hole to support the main floor. No columns will be used for support. Steel studs and corrugated decking will create a sturdy-enough floor to support 150 pounds per square foot of loading, three times stronger than a normal office building floor.

"The stiff floor is important to protect the exhibits from possible shaking when you have 50 kids running around," Conwell said.

Humidity and temperature in the museum will be strictly controlled to protect the exhibits. The computer that will handle the electronic sports archives also will monitor lighting and temperature, Conwell said.

Security is a big concern for the museum, Humphrey said. Video monitors, door alarms and body-heat sensors will be placed throughout the museum.

"We want our cases to display as much as possible, but also be secure," Humphrey said. "You can’t put a price on a Ted Williams bat."

The Hall of Champions came from humble beginnings: founder Bob Breitbard’s garage.

Breitbard, a native San Diegan who graduated from Hoover High School with Williams in 1937, was a baseball and football coach at his alma mater.

"I’ve been a sports fan all my life," Breitbard said. "I noticed when I was coaching that a lot of awards were given to athletes in Los Angeles, but not many in San Diego.

So Breitbard began giving his own awards to local high-school athletes and collecting mementos of sports heroes with local connections, beginning with the Williams bat.

"When you see people you gave awards to as high-school kids back in 1950 and ’60, and now they’re attorneys, judges, coaches, all walks of life, and they say they’re proud of the award, it makes you feel good," Breitbard said.

When Breitbard’s collection outgrew his garage, he sought a more permanent location. The Hall of Champions opened in 1961 in a 4,000-square-foot space in the House of Charm. The museum was moved to more spacious quarters in the Casa de Balboa in 1983. Ted Williams officiated at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Since the museum’s opening, Humphrey said more than 3.5 million people have visited.

(Van Housen, a San Diego free-lance writer, was an all-city center for her high school basketball team.)

AT A GLANCE

What: San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum. Relocation of museum to revamped Federal Building, south Balboa Park.

Where: At Presidents Way and Pan-American Plaza, near the Aerospace Museum.

Architect: Conwell, Marshall & Associates of San Diego.

Cost: $5.3 million.

Financing: $3 million grant from the Stephen & Mary Birch Foundation; $2.3 million from the City of San Diego’s Balboa Park Restoration Fund.

Status: Schematic design complete; approvals required from Central Balboa Park Association, California Historical Landmarks Department and City of San Diego Planning Department. If approved, project scheduled for completion in 1994.

December 1, 1991 (San Diego Union, F-1, F-4, F-5) . . . Roger Showley: Sprucing up Balboa Park; Future keeps eye on past.

Visitors to Christmas on the Prado in Balboa Park next weekend should take a long look at the buildings, grounds, museums and traffic patterns.

Change is in the works.

The most visible sign of the future is the gleaming steel frame of a new arcade going up on the north side of El Prado, next to the Timken Museum of Art. On the southeast corner of the park, the restoration of the old Naval Hospital headquarters at Inspiration Point is nearly complete. The newly rehabilitated Fire Alarm Building at the southwest corner opened up as new park offices several weeks ago.

These three projects are the first efforts of a 20-year park master plan, approved by the City Council in 1989 to buff and polish San Diego’s aging crown jewel.

The $144.1 million plan --- which includes more than 80 projects in addition to improvements for Mission Bay --- calls for rebuilding or expanding many existing buildings, increasing parking, decreasing auto traffic and landscaping undeveloped parts of the 123-year-old park.

In addition, isolated areas of the park will be better connected --- from the San Diego Zoo to El Prado, from the Prado to the Palisades and from the west side to the east side. There also will be a link from the park to San Diego Bay.

"It’s going to be a great future for the park," said park district manager Penny Scott. "The whole plan is looking to preserve the park and making it more accessible and having improved maintenance so it’ll be here for a long time to come."

Most of the park’s existing improvements were brought about by the world expositions held here in 1915-16 and 1935-36. But while some of the original parkland has been converted into schools, freeways and the Naval Hospital, vast acreage of the park’s eastern boundary overlooking Florida Canyon has remained undeveloped.

City planners and citizens groups have brought forth numerous master plans for the park since 1,400 acres of city-owned land was set aside in 1868 as "City Park."

But all of these plans have gone unfulfilled for lack of money. After years of neglect, virtually every building, garden, utility line and parking lot in the park needs upgrading.

Park officials hold out hope, however, for the latest master plan. For the first time, the council coupled the master plan with a financing scheme to cover most costs. One cent was added to the transient occupancy tax charged to hotel guests. This annual income of $5 million --- and growing --- will cover annual appropriations as well as debt payments for revenue bonds to cover the major building projects.

While the rebuilding fund finally will bring much-needed cash to the park, David Twomey, assistant director of the Park and Recreation Department, said it still is not enough. He hand other park staff will have to battle for operating funds every year to keep the park from drifting into further decay.

"By and large, I think we are doing a very good job," he said philosophically. "To do a perfect job is probably not in the cards,"

The most prominent --- and costly of the three current park projects is the restoration of Building I of the old Naval Hospital complex at Inspiration Point. Built in 1922, the four-story structure returned to city hands three years ago when the Navy completed its new hospital in nearby Florida Canyon.

The city has spent $2.4 million to turn the cramped, dark hospital space into bring, visitor-friendly quarters for Park and Recreation Department staff. Nearby buildings were demolished and the building’s historic garden on the east side is to be restored. The rooftop now has a meeting room and, with permission, visitors can wander along the parapet and take in the view to Mexico, Point Loma, and the rest of the park and downtown.

The project did not include upgrading the building’s structure safety in case of a severe earthquake. Consulting engineers had warned that the building would not withstand a major tremor, but city officials said they did not recommend it be upgraded because building codes do not require it.

"It would have been nice if we had a million dollars to do it in one shot," Twomey said. "But the question remains that if we had the million dollars, is that the right building to put it in?"

Elsewhere at Inspiration Point, local veterans groups have taken over the old Navy chapel building and a planning a fund-raising campaign to turn it into a memorial and museum. The former hospital library building has been promised to the San Diego Opera, which will move in once the Old Globe Theater vacates the space and moves back into its administrative offices, now being renovated.

The parking lot serving all three hold hospital buildings and curbside parking along Park Boulevard are still being used by hospital staff and patients. But Twomey said these spaces will be freed up for park visitors exclusively once the new hospital’s 600-space parking garage is completed early next year.

Since April, the park has operated a free daytime tram shuttle service between the Inspiration Point parking lot and the Prado. The service represents the first step in the overall master plan to locate parking on the park’s periphery and encourage pedestrian uses around the museums and the San Diego Zoo.

A few blocks away from Building 1, at the southwest corner of the park, is the newly renovated Fire Alarm Building, which at one time as the hub for all of San Diego’s fire alarms. Built in 1927 and closed since 1970, the building has been turned into another park department office at a cost of $483,000.

When officials announced plans to demolish the building, preservationists Alex Bevil launched a campaign to designate the structure as historic and the park department decided to keep it.

Twomey, whose office is in the building, said a wrought-iron fence eventually will replace the chain link fence and new landscaping will spruce up the exterior. Historic pictures relating to the building’s importance in early fire fighting days also will be hung on the walls, he said.

The arcade under construction opposite the House of Hospitality is nearly complete, although not without controversy.

The original arcade, part of the Home Economy Building, was demolished along with the building 30 years ago to make way for the Timken Museum of Art, which opened as the Timken Art Gallery in 1965. The new arcade, which will be formally dedicated in spring, sweeps along the Prado next to the museum, essentially masking the modern building from view.

The Committee of 100 raised the $463,000 necessary to restored the arcade, which was planned under protest from the Timken. Founded in 1967, the private philanthropic group promotes the preservation of the Spanish-Revival architectural theme of the 1915-16 exposition. Over the years it has raised money to restore a number of the park buildings.

The Timken failed to get a court order to block the project on procedural grounds. Citizens Coordinate for Century 2, a local environmental group active in Balboa Park issues, also opposed the arcade as an unneeded infringement on open space. But Monty Griffin, the organization’s park committee chairman, said he is willing to see if the arcade "won’t turn out altogether bad."

The Committee of 100 hopes to rebuild a second arcade east of the Museum of Man, but Twomey said that project will be delayed several years pending public acceptance of the first. One.

With these projects virtually completed, 80 more park projects are awaited, according to a list from city engineers.

The following projects are slated to be finished next year:

  •  
    • The long-delayed completion of the Rose Garden, east of Park Boulevard, $131,250.
  •  
    • Landscaping of the neglected northeastern corner of the park at 28th and Upas streets,

$535,125.

  •  
    • An inventory of the park’s electrical lines to prepare a comprehensive program to add more park lighting; $410,000 for planning phase with actual construction costs to be determined later.
  •  
    • Upgrading of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and fire-suppression systems at the Museum of Man, San Diego Museum, San Diego Museum of Art, Natural History Museum and Casa de Balboa, home of the San Diego History Center, Museum of Photographic Arts, Hall of Champions and Model Railway Museum, $4.5 million.
  •  
    • Structural improvements for the Botanical Building, $304,000.
  •  
    • Remodeling inside the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater, $1.1 million.

The most expensive projects on the long-term restoration list are the demolition and reconstruction of the House of Charm and House of Hospitality, the last of the original exposition buildings on El Prado.

The House of Charm, at the southwest corner of the Plaza de Panama, is to be rebuilt in 1995 at a cost of $10.2 million. The architectural firm of BSHA has been hired to design a duplicate of the original building, including the long-gone, 80-foot Pueblo Tower [sic]. The schedule calls for demolishing the present dilapidated structure after Labor Day in 1993.

(The building was originally known as the Indian Arts Building, where exhibits on American Indians were displayed in the 1915-17 expo. The for the 1935-36 fair, it was renamed the House of Charm because that was where fairgoers at the California-Pacific International Exposition could buy souvenirs.)

The Children’s Museum, now at La Jolla Village Square near UCSD, will occupy the building’s mezzanine, ground floor and part of the first basement. The San Diego Art Institute, the building’s present tenant, also will occupy part of the first floor and basement. The Old Globe Theater will use the second basement for storage and rehearsal space.

In addition, the adjacent Alcazar Garden is to be restored to its original look complete with a pergola, entry arches, fountains and benches.

Renovation of the House of Hospitality at the southwest corner of Plaza de Panama is scheduled to be completed in 1996, one year after the House of Hospitality restoration [sic]. The $14 million project will reconstruct the structure that contains the Café del Rey Moro, meeting space and offices for the San Diego Opera, Citizens Coordinate for Century 3 and other groups. The park will retain the 1935 redevelopment by local architect Richard Requa, including the courtyard and fountain.

Discussions are just beginning with the present users of the building on the best interior configuration. The city’s Commission for Arts and Culture will be consulted on possible additional uses. And, according to a park spokesman, the city probably will solicit proposals from restaurateurs, including the present operators, who might be interested in reopening the Café del Rey Moro in the rebuilt space in 1996.

Despite the recession, all those projects are moving forward under the Balboa Park financing plan.

The first phase will amount to $72.3 million ---- $59 million for Balboa Park and $13.3 million for shoreline improvements at Mission Bay.

Part of the money is being budgeted directly for various projects, Twomey said. The rest is being used to finance three series of revenue bonds, the first $10.2 million of which was issued in July.

After 1997 a second round of bonds will be need to complete the rest of the improvements, tentatively estimated at $71.8 million and thus bringing the 20-year total to $144.1 million. Twomey said increased revenue from the one-cent hotel tax --- due to projected increases in hotels guests and room rates --- should be enough to cover those additional costs and projected inflation.

The most significant project in that second wave of projects is the $14.8 million parking garage for up to 1,5000 cars proposed for south of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Until that structure is completed, the parking lots in the Plaza de Panama and the Palisades area will remain in use and pathways will have to wait, officials said.

Even though the master plan has been completed, four more specific plans are being prepared to detail projects throughout the park. These plans could being the final cost for sprucing up Balboa Park to well over $200 million.

The Central Mesa plan, covering the most heavily used part of the park, is due to go to the council for approval early next year. Prepared by Estrada Land Planning, it pegs implementation at $78.7. million.

The second plan will cover the land returned by the Navy around Inspiration Point. It is due for completion in about six months and then will be reviewed by various agencies before the council sees it.

The third will deal with the East Mesa --- the largely undeveloped parkland east of Florida Canyon that serves as a front yard to residents in Golden Hill and South Park.

The final plan will cover the West Mesa, between Sixth Avenue and Highway 163.

Twomey said that plan probably will recommend leaving the lush landscape in place.

"I like it the way it is," Twomey said.

December 3, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-1) . . . Michael Smollens: City given Balboa statue despite critics’ misgivings

December 6, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-3) . . . Frank Stone: Holiday fete set to begin in Balboa Park

December 7, 1991 (San Diego Union, C-3) . . . Letter, Walt Ratchford, Balboa Park golf course needs repairs & remodeling

December 9, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-2) . . . Unidentified man found dead in park

December 11, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-5) . . . Frank Saldana: Two sailors arrested in park death

December 11, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-7) . . . Letter, John Propati who believes performers in park shouldn’t be censored.

December 13, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-1) . . . Philip J. La Velle: Judge rules Nativity scene in Balboa Park is legal

December 21, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-13) . . . Letter, Callie Hutchinson: Homeless are not all criminals

December 29, 1991 (San Diego Union, B-3) . . . Graciela Sevilla: Homeless shelter in Balboa Park opens as storms hit