Balboa Park History 1961
January 1, 1961, San Diego Union, C-2:7-8. F. M. Stevens objects to freeways in Balboa Park.
January 1, 1961, San Diego Union, C-2:8. H. K. Raymenton objects to calling Balboa Park Bowl the Ford Bowl.
. . . neither Henry Ford nor the Ford Motor Co. had anything to do with its construction. To give it the official name of the Ford Bowl would be to bestow credit where credit is not due.
January 2, 1961, San Diego Union, A-13:1-2, A-15:1-2. “Hatfield Rains” myth punctured; 1916 pattern normal, by Bryant Evans.
January 3, 1961, San Diego Union, A-14:3. Old Globe opens “Arsenic and Old Lace” run tonight.
January 3, 1961, San Diego Union, A-19:4-5. Two youths threaten leap from Cabrillo Bridge.
January 3, 1961, San Diego Union, A-19:7, A-25:1. State outlines 5-year program; proposes $5.85 million county park plan, by Arthur Ribbel.
January 3, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:1-2. EDITORIAL: Let’s Look at Park Future.
January 3, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:8. H. K. Raymenton says misunderstanding shown about park; common misconception that Alonzo Horton gave the park to the city; the park is not 1,400 acres; present plan calls for the closing of El Prado to vehicular traffic; parking space will be increased by the construction of parking areas along the north and south access roadways; no group of park planners is San Diego was as well qualified as the firm engaged; Bartholomew plans recommendations were based on recommendations made by the Balboa Park Citizens Study Committee.
Balboa Park is now a remarkably fine park and it can be made on of the best in the world if the Master Plan is adopted.
January 4, 1961, San Diego Union, A-12:5-7. Old Globe production laces arsenic with deadly delight, by Constance Herreshoff.
January 6, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:8. Mrs. Roy Martin objects to more freeways in Balboa Park.
January 8, 1961, San Diego Union, A-8:1-4. San Diego Zoo to retire “Old Reliable,” a 23-year old bus (illus.).
January 8, 1961, San Diego Union, 15:7-8. Possible propositions on spring ballots: transfer of 5.5 acres of Balboa Park land to School District.
January 9, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:7. Ben Safer approves of freeways in park.
January 9, 1961, San Diego Union, B-3:3-5, B-5:1. Sid Gillman, general manager and coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, engineers survey Balboa Stadium today, by Jerry Magee.
January 11, 1961, San Diego Union, A-8:3-4. Charlie Cannon, one of the three originators of Starlight productions, has been named executive producer of the stage group.
January 11, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:7-8. Miriam Smith warns planned destruction of park must stop.
January 11, 1961, San Diego Union, B-3:1. Hall of Champions gives city glittering showpiece in park, by Jack Murphy.
January 11, 1961, San Diego Union, B-3:3-8. Hall of Champions is Dedicated Here, by Chuck Sawyer.
Great moments in sports with San Diegans playing the prominent roles came alive once more in Balboa Park yesterday with the dedication of the San Diego Hall of Champions and its feature attraction, the San Diego Hall of Fame.
The opening was the climax to a project conceived and created by the Breitbard Athletic Foundation to honor San Diego’s athletic greats with major assistance from the city and county governments.
On hand at the ceremony were seven of the 11 present members of the Hall of Fame. They included Dr. Harold (Brick) Muller and Irvine (Cotton) Warburton of All-American football fame, badminton champion Dr. Dave Freeman, Maureen (Little Mo) Connolly Brinker from the tennis world, light-heavy-weight boxing king Archie Moore, former major league baseball catcher and coach Earle Brucker and Bill Miller, 1932 Olympic pole vault champion.
Others honored with full-color oil portraits in the Hall are the late Milton (Milky) Phelps from San Diego State’s great basketball squads of 1938 through 1941, Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams, Olympic broad jump champ Willie Steele and former USC gridiron star Russ Saunders.
Opening ceremonies were conducted in the adjacent Alcazar Gardens with the seven Hall of Fame members present seated on the platform with numerous civic and military leaders of the community.
Mrs. Brinker spoke on behalf of the Hall of Fame members gathered for the occasion and called yesterday’s tribute “the greatest thrill for all of us.” It was quite a statement coming from the former queen of the tennis world when one considers her spectacular achievements in winning titles at Wimbledon and other tennis capitals. “It is wonderful to travel throughout the world in athletic engagements, ” she continued, “but the greatest feeling of all is to be honored with this fine tribute in our own home town.”
The official opening of the Hall found the various champions taking part en masses in the ribbon cutting. Moments later they were walking through the Hall and reliving with a feeling of nostalgia their great moments in athletic history.
“Ancient Archie” is still very much in the world boxing picture but for the others it was recalling accomplishments of several years ago. Rubbing elbows with these “greats” of yesteryear were many others from San Diego’s store of athletes who no doubt will be looking forward to the day when they, too, will make their niche in the Hall of Fame.
Among these were youthful tennis star Karen Hantze, boxer Lee Ramage, former National League home run king Ralph Kiner, golfing great Billy Casper, baseball star Ray Boone, wrestler Jim Londos, Bob Skinner from the World Championship Pittsburgh Pirates and sailing master Lowell North.
To describe the Hall itself would be to draw a picture of the greatest athletic feats of the nation and the world. At the entrance are encased photos of the Breitbard Foundation’s “Star of the Year,” golfer Mickey Wright among the professionals and Lowell North from the amateurs.
Included throughout the nine sports sections of the Hall are such highly prized items as vaulting poles used by the late Bob Gutowski in his world record leaps and the fame ball from the 1923 Rose Bowl battle in which Leo Calland, now managing director of the Hall, led the USC Trojans to victory over Penn State.
On a revolving stage is the motorcycle with which Brad Andrews won three national racing championships. Other trophy cases hold a football signed by Dr. Bill McColl and his “Monsters of the Midway,” teammates from the Chicago bears and uniforms of numerous former baseball and basketball stars.
Depicted in striking action photos are Don Larsen’s final pitch in his perfect game during the 1956 World Series. Moore in his dramatic first meeting with Yvon Durelle, Flo Chadwick beginning her swim of the English Channel, Casper en route to victory in the U. S. Open and many others.
But a personal visit to the Hall is the only real way to enjoy its greatest. It is open free to the public Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m.
January 14, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:8. P. W. Murphy does not care for new roads in Balboa Park.
Editor: Answering Mr. Raymenton, former park commissioner.
It is unimportant who first gave or set aside Balboa Park, it is the right of the people of San Diego to question the acts of their rulers when they seem to be going against a responsible body of public opinion. Many people are unhappy about what is being done to the park, and if enough of them get together they are not going to let it be done anymore. Perhaps they are trying to keep the park as one place where we can get away from a planned existence, or, at least, find the illusion thereof.
Nothing could be more unperceptive [sic] than the remark that “Balboa Park is only one of San Diego’s 34 parks.” It is spacious, uniquely beautiful and historic. It has become just about the only cultural center we have, and any plans for modification should be devised with reverence and infinite care.
El Prado is not a “crosstown thoroughfare.” It ends at Park Boulevard and mostly serves as access to the attractions within the park itself. Mr. R. says it creates a traffic hazard and cuts the park in two. Instead he would approve two replacement roads. This would give us two traffic hazards instead of one and would cut the park in three instead of two.
All San Diegans should demand to see how this great improvement is to be aligned, especially the proposed road north of the Prado.
Why try to change the historic area when there is a barren stretch along Florida Street which cries out for new ideas and new development? May we never look back on our desecrated park and say “How green was may valley then.”
January 15, 1961, San Diego Union, A-19:3, A-20:4. Balboa Park canyon which runs under Cabrillo Bridge will bloom again, by Joe Brooks (illus.).
Along with the freeway construction the state Division of Highways embarked on an elaborate landscaping program. A carpet of grass was planted in the center island along with stately sycamore trees and a palm or two for variety. . . . .
The southwest corner of the park will be green and beautiful again, however, when the highway construction (crosstown freeway and Crosstown-Cabrillo interchange) is completed. This assurance comes from R. B. Luckenbach, assistant district engineer for the Highways Division.
January 15, 1961, San Diego Union, C-2:8. B. G. Thompson writes Balboa Park needs palm collection.
January 16, 1961, San Diego Union, B-7:1-2. Chargers ready Stadium proposal for City Council, by Jerry Magee.
January 18, 1961, San Diego Union, B-1:2-3. City Council approves Schneider’s proposal to transform northeast corner of park into picnic area; $50,000 to be spent from capital outlay fund to improve the corner at Upas Street and Pershing Avenue (illus.)
January 18, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:7. Mrs. John Pain writes park rose bushes in need of care.
January 22, 1961, San Diego Union, C-2:7-8. David Marsh objects to freeways in Balboa Park.
January 25, 1961, San Diego Union, A-13:7-8 Special newspaper report slated on Balboa Park’s future.
January 26, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:7-8. Park and Recreation Commission tells of changes in park.
January 27, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:4-6. Chamber of Commerce fights expansion of Anza-Borrego state park.
January 29, 1961, San Diego Union, A-19, A-20, A-21. Balboa Park: What of the future?.
San Diego is one of the fortunate cities of the land, a city with a vast park in the central area, “a place to breathe” in the expanding metropolis. After many false starts, San Diegans have come to realize they must plan for the future of their oasis of serenity. In an effort to provide the background upon which intelligent decisions may be made, The San Diego Union’s Southwest Section, on this and the following pages, presents the story of Balboa Park past and present, in the hope an answer may be found to the question: “Balboa Park: What of the Future?”
By Joe Brown
Like millions of his fellow Americans, Dr. George A. Gwinn loaded his wife and youngsters into the family auto one day last summer in Noblesville, Ind., and headed west on a vacation trip.
The Gwinns had time to spare, and they made the most of it. They gaped at the Grand Canyon, nibbled shrimp on San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, soaked up sunshine in New Mexico, and took snapshots of Utah’s spectacular Zion National Park.
But when the Gwinn family returned home several weeks later and sat back to reflect on their trip, one place they had visited lingered in memory longer than any other. Dr. Gwinn was so impressed he sat down and wrote a letter about it.
“Of all the things we saw and did in 7,000 miles,” he wrote “the day spent in San Diego’s Balboa Park was the most enjoyed.”
An unusual reaction? Not at all. For ever since the late 19th century, when a group of farsighted legislators set aside 1,400 acres of San Diego pueblo land “for a public park . . and for no other purpose,” those who have come to visit — more than five million last year — have been strong in their praise.
And little wonder. Balboa is indeed a distinctive park, one of the finest in the nation.
It has more acreage than most — nearly twice the size of New York’s famed Central Park.
It has plenty to offer in the way of physical facilities.
It has a Zoo, housing the world’s largest collection of animals.
It has an extensive botanical collection, wide open lawns and greenery, one of two municipal swimming pools, hiking trails, facilities for shuffleboard, roque and bridge, picnic areas, a variety of museums, two golf courses, and a municipal gymnasium.
It is centrally located and easily accessible.
The park is the hub of the economic, social and recreational life of San Diego. It is an oasis of serenity in the midst of a noisy city on the grow. It is, as one writer put it, “a place to breathe.”
But Balboa Park has not always been so.
In 1868, its 1,400 acres were a raw expanse of sagebrush and chaparral. One corner was used for a dump. In other sections, cattle grazed and gravel was extracted. The park’s only attractions then were the wild flowers which grew in canyons and its topography: natural promontories where San Diego’s 2,3000 citizens might come to enjoy a sweeping panorama of their city by the sea.
Even after the Legislature dedicated the 1,400 acres “for park purposes alone,” Balboa Park remained static for many years. But slowly, San Diegans began transforming the raw land into a place of serenity, “a place to breathe.”
Along came Kate Sessions, a determined Coronado woman with a green thumb and vision. She volunteered to landscape some of the park’s mesa acreage in exchange for a lease to run a nursery. Soon pine, palm, eucalyptus and Monterey cypress trees were growing in the wilderness.
Along came the year 1915 and the park (it still had no name) was chosen as the site for an international exposition celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal. Millions of dollars were invested: the Cabrillo Bridge, exposition buildings in the present Prado area, access roads. A few animals left over from the exposition became the San Diego Zoo.
Other developments followed: the Organ Pavilion, the Botanical Building, a since-demolished Japanese tea house, the House of Hospitality, the Natural History Museum.
Another exposition in 1936-37 [sic] added the Old Globe Theater, the House of Pacific Relations, Alcazar Gardens, the Café del Rey Moro, Balboa Park Bowl, cactus gardens, more trees, more greenery, more roads.
The postwar period saw the development of Cabrillo Freeway, the Veterans War Memorial Building, the Children’s Zoo.
But at the same time Balboa Park was growing up, it was slowly being nibbled away by the pressure of a booming population.
In 1881, 8-1/2 acres were taken for a high school. Another slice went for a children’s home, still another for an orphanage. Later the federal government built the Naval Hospital in the park and still more recently, new freeways bit deeply into the landscape. Still other attempts were beaten back.
This year, the park no longer contains 1,400 acres, but less than 1,100 — nearly a third less than the Legislature set aside nearly a century earlier.
This is Balboa Park, the past. What of Balboa Park, the future?
Today, the task of building “a place to breathe” is far from finished. More than one-third of the remaining acreage is still totally undeveloped in the area east of Park Boulevard and Florida Drive.
One thing has changed about this land, however, and that is its value. In 1868, the entire park was valued at about $6,000. Today, the valuation of the undeveloped area alone runs into the millions and the total 1,100 acres is estimated to be worth more than $1 billion.
Undeveloped land — bare land without buildings, without landscaping, without roadways — is more susceptible to encroachment than developed land. That is why many San Diegans today are voicing concern over their park and wondering aloud how it will fare as the city continues to grow.
Why not develop this raw land, they suggest, to compensate for acreage lost in the construction of the U. S. Highway 101 at the southwestern corner of the park? Why not turn the sagebrush and chaparral into another “place to breathe?”
Only two weeks ago, for instance, the City Council approved an expenditure of $50,000 to develop a picnic area with parking and other facilities in the area west of Upas Street and Pershing Avenue near Morley Field. Earth-movers have been busy for months shifting earth into some of the park’s northeastern canyons for future use.
Sometime this spring, San Diegans will have a change to participate in the future planning of their park. The occasion will be a public hearing on the Master Plan for Balboa Park, as proposed by the St. Louis planning-engineering firm of Harland Bartholomew and Associates. It is the fourth such master plan in Balboa Park’s 93-year history, and, no doubt, the most comprehensive.
The master plan itself has been called both good and bad, and it has touched off more controversy, more comment, more interest than perhaps any other civic project in recent years.
But, good or bad, if the Bartholomew report has done nothing more than to stir up new interest among San Diegans in their park, to unite citizens into cohesive action, then is has undoubtedly served a valuable purpose.
January 29, 1961, San Diego Union, A-19:5-6. Tomorrow’s park: Is This The Answer?
A comprehensive proposed master plan for development of Balboa Park, which suggests a total expenditure of more than $21 million in the next 15 years, is now before the City Council awaiting public hearings and further action.
Of the four master plans prepared in the 93-history of the park, that submitted to the council last June by the St. Louis planning firm of Harland Bartholomew and Associates is undoubtedly the most detailed.
The master plan suggests park development in three five-year stages, beginning in 1960 and ending in 1975.
The map at the left (not included in this collection), which is based on the Bartholomew and Associates recommendations, shows some (but not all) of the major proposed changes during the 15-year period, as well as some present facilities.
The following letters and explanatory material refer to the letters on the map at the left:
- The new route for U. S. Highway 101 freeway, now under construction.
- A transformed Palisades area would include removing of existing temporary buildings, retaining others, and creation of additional parking facilities and an “overlook.”
- Additional parking spaces throughout the park.
- San Diego Zoo would be improved and made more accessible.
- Proposed Upas Street-Cypress Avenue connection.
- Roosevelt Junior High School
- Park Boulevard realigned for better access to Prado area from north and south.
- Expansion of picnic areas from 65 to 120 acres throughout park, located primarily in Sixth Avenue area.
- Enlargement of Morley Field area, including present swimming pool, a new gymnasium, 26-court tennis center, two baseball and two softball fields, new club building.
- New 18-hole golf course.
- New golf club house.
- Nine-hole golf course near Golden Hill area community center.
- Golden Hill area, some minor improvements.
- Proposed Switzer Canyon Freeway with parkway type design.
- Connection of relocated Park Boulevard and 26th Street.
- Naval Hospital.
- San Diego High School, Balboa Stadium.
- Prado area, redeveloped as a museum complex, with traffic circulation system rearranged. Laurel Street would become a walkway. Many buildings would be enlarged, some new ones erected.
- Plaza de Balboa, eastern terminus of Prado area, a semi-circular arcade and fountain.
- Sixth Avenue area, basically the same with emphasis on recreational needs of older persons.
- Cabrillo Freeway widened to eight lanes.
- New tennis courts.
- New gymnasium.
- Organ Pavilion.
- Overpass west of Plaza de Balboa to serve bus patrons arriving at the Prado area.
- New 28th Street connection to serve golf course areas.
January 29, 1961, San Diego Union, A-20:1-3. Tourism’s Richest Lode
Balboa Park is a valuable cultural asset but it means dollars and cents in the city’s economy as well.
In a city where tourism is big business, Balboa Park is without question the greatest single attraction, according to a team of planners who recently made a study of the park for the City Council.
Here is what the firm of Harland Bartholomew and Associates has to say about Balboa Park’s economic significance:
“On the assumption that 1,650,000 annual out-of-county visitors to Balboa Park would remain for one day in San Diego and spend the same amount as the average convention delegate ($30) this would mean a total yearly income of approximately $50 million.
“In 1959 the Convention and Tourist Bureau estimated the total annual income from all forms of tourism at $155 million.
“Another example of the expenditures induced by Balboa Park facilities is furnished by a survey of the membership of the San Diego California Club (shuffleboard and roque). The 700 members of this club and their families are estimated to have spent more than $2 million in San Diego during fiscal year 1958-59.
“A survey of the membership in 1951 disclosed that 93 percent specifically chose San Diego as a permanent home because of the shuffleboard, roque and bridge facilities available in Balboa Park.
“Balboa Park has also influenced the land values around it, particularly those west of the park. The closer the land to the park, the more valuable it is. The current price for Sixth Avenue land with a Balboa Park frontage is $700 a front foot. By comparison, frontage on Fifth Avenue, one block west is currently selling at an average of $650 per font foot.”
In addition, the report pointed out, it is a practice for progressive industries to assess the prevailing cultural and recreational climate of a community before locating there.
“Industry leaders recognize that top-flight personnel can be induced to live only in communities which offer significant opportunities for cultural enlightenment and recreational outlets. In this respect, the presence of Balboa Park in San Diego has done, and will continue to do much to favorably influence new industry to locate here.”
Balboa Park’s present value is estimated at $1,042,600,000. This means each of its remaining 1,075 acres has an average value of $969,860.
This should be considered, according to the planning firm, when the land is proposed to be diverted to other “more economic” uses.
January 29, 1961, San Diego Union, A-20: 1-2. Top Attraction? Yes, It’s The Zoo.
What is Balboa Park’s most attractive feature?
If you judge by attendance, San Diego Zoo would win by a wide margin.
The zoo last year attracted more than 1,800,000 visitors. Picnicking runs a not-to-close second with about 475,000 annually. With the exception of golfing, activities in buildings draw the balance of visitors.
Trade shows are a big attraction, too, according to figures compiled by Harland Bartholomew and Associates, the St. Louis firm which recently completed a proposed master plan for park development.
Next in order of popularity, according to attendance figures, are the Natural History Museum, Museum of Man, Merry-Go-Round and swings, Balboa Park Bowl, the municipal gymnasium and annex, miniature railway, golf courses, and the Fine Arts Gallery.
January 29, 1961, San Diego Union, A-20:1-5. Green Beauty from the Barren.
From the air, the 1,100 acres of Balboa Park present a study in ironic contrasts.
To the west of Park Boulevard, which serves as a north-south dividing line, lush greenery, buildings, winding roads, secluded picnic areas, the zoo, parking lots — all the things a park can be.
But to the east are only deep-cut rolling canyons, covered not with green trees but with dry sagebrush and, in some spots, with tin cans and other debris.
Though the eastern portion of Balboa Park represents about a third of the park’s total acreage, it has been passed up in the years of park development largely because money was earmarked for developing what already existed on the mesa-like western portion, and partly because the eastern area’s rough topography meant higher costs.
In the city of Burbank, in Los Angeles county, a quite similar situation confronted city planners for years. Burbank nestles at the foothills of the Verdugo Hills, and a road at the base of the hills serves — like Park Boulevard in Balboa Park — as a natural dividing line between developed and undeveloped sections of the city.
That was until four years ago.
Today, an 18-hole municipal golf course is snuggled down among the hills which rise north of the city, and the once-barren sagebrush-covered land is among the most valuable in Southern California.
If the Balboa Park canyon area is rugged, the canyons near Burbank seemed impossible to develop. Yet Burbank did just that. First, voters approved a 19-year capitol improvement spending program, part of which included costs for the proposed golf course.
“We ran into plenty of opposition in proposing that golf course,” recalls City Manager Harmon Bennett, “because people aid it just couldn’t be done.”
But, Burbank literally began moving its mountains.
Huge earth-moving machinery was brought into the battle against nature. Hilltops were lopped off to fill in deep canyons. Altogether, more than three million cubic yards are earth were dug and dumped in the 100-acre golf course site, over a period of about 18 months. Unique among golf-courses because of its range in terrain, the Burbank municipal facility has other benefits as well.
Previously, the sloping canyons presented a flood hazard because they emptied runoff water directly into the hilly sections of the city. Now the turfed golf course provides adequate ground over to prevent erosion, and the facility’s lawn-sprinkling system is a fire-prevention measure as well, according to Bennett.
More important, the golf course increase valuation of nearby city property, Bennett explains, and its economic value in attracting visitors ” . . . is immeasurable.”
The total cost was about $1,800,000, a figure Bennett considers law in view of the fact that the County of Los Angeles later purchase an already-existing 18-hole golf course for public use in an area described as “far less attractive: for nearly $4 million.
Burbank has put its hills and canyons to other good uses, too.
In a canyon south of Slough Park, a wooded glen which through the years has become a favorite with campers and picnickers, the city purchased land to use as a sanitary fill disposal area.
The city’s refuse is hauled to this canyon, which is shielded from public view by attractive landscaping, and piled layer upon layer and compacted under layers of earth. Soon, the canyon will be filled and the resulting flat area on top is scheduled to become additional parking lots for Slough Park visitors.
Bennett points out that Southern California has grown to the point that no land can be considered worthless anymore — even rugged terrain that once defied development.
The same could be done, say many San Diegans, with the rugged, natural topography in eastern Balboa Park.
January 29, 1961, San Diego Union, A-20:1-5. More To Come, by E. G. Martin.
One day in May of 1868 the city trustees of San Diego passed this motion on petition of Alonso Horton and Ephraim Morse: “Moved and seconded that lots 1129, 1130, 1131, 1135, 1136, 1137 and the vacant parts of 1141, 1142 and 1142 be for a park.”
Thus, 1,400 acres of land were set aside for Balboa Park.
The procedure for establishing parks is not quite as simple in these days of fast-rising subdivisions and fluid city boundaries, but the successors to Jose Estudillo, Marcos Schiller and Joshua Sloane — the 1868 city trustees — haven’t been blind to the needs for parks.
Five years ago, for instance, the City Council adopted a master plan for parks and recreation drawn by the City Planning Department.
“We’ve tried to follow that master plan pretty much,” said Richard Weiser, assistant city planning director. “It hasn’t been completely put into effect, of course, but the general outlines of a park development program are there.”
San Diego, Weiser explained, stands in a somewhat unique position among major cities as far as park development is concerned. In acreage, the city compares very favorably with other big cities in the amount of land devoted to parks.
The trouble is that more than two-thirds of the total park acreage is lumped into three parks — Balboa, Torrey Pines State Park, and Mission Bay Aquatic Park.
These three parks are choice examples of “regional” parks or what the Planning Department refers to as “metropolitan,” “scenic” or “shoreline” parks.
Augmenting these in recent years have been two major achievements of the city — acquiring San Clemente Canyon in North Clairemont and the current proposal to acquire 1,765 acres in the Mission Gorge area for permanently preserving the rugged beauty of the region.
“San Clemente Canyon land acquisition is all buttoned up,” Weiser said. “All we need to now are such things as providing access roads, sending a tree surgeon in to save some of the magnificent old oaks there, and generally straightening up.”
The acquisition of land for the Mission Gorge area park is up to the City Council. The city owns 375 acres in the area outright and has a half ownership with the Cuyamaca Water Company, controlled by heirs of the late Colonel Ed Fletcher, in 65 acres. The water company owns 75 acres and other private interests 30 acres of the remaining land, except for a chunk of 1,220 acres now part of the Camp Elliott reservation.
It is the chance for acquiring the 1,220 acres of Camp Elliott land which has been the catalyst for quick action, Weiser said. The Navy has declared Camp Elliott as surplus property, the land is now in the hands of the General Services Administration and the city has annexed much of it.
Harry Haelsig, city planing director, has urged the council to put in a bid for the land with the federal government, pointing out that its rugged topography makes it useless for building. Weiser added that the Navy has indicated it would support a bid for the land as a park since it lies within the Miramar Naval Air Station flight pattern and the Navy would rather fly over open land than a sea of rooftops.
What about future regional or metropolitan parks? One outstanding proposal which now can be classed only as a dream would be a triple-threat achievement combing park with flood control with a green belt, according to Weiser.
“It has been suggested,” he said, “that the city develop a super park up the San Dieguito River Valley from the county Fair Grounds at Del Mar to Lake Henshaw and beyond.:
:The city owns some land behind Lake Henshaw and has annexed part of the river valley. This super park would be a green belt buffer, provide a natural flood control plan without fear of damaging developments, and be a natural park.”
January 29, 1961, A-20:6. Visitors? They Love Our Park.
What do out-of-towners think of Balboa Park?
Very highly, according to a cross-section of letters received by the San Diego Convention and Tourist Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce, and the city.
Of the estimated five million persons who now visit Balboa Park each year, more than one third come from beyond the county boundaries — and 16 percent from out of state.
A lot of them take time to write their impressions when they return home.
There was the letter written by a Midwestern high school principal, for example:
“Schools of your county are fortunate in having such a renowned zoo and park so accessible,” he wrote.
A Los Angeles mother of five stopped in Balboa Park one day last fall, went home to think about it, and began to wonder out loud why her own city — several times as large as San Diego — had nothing to compare with Balboa Park:
“I think it’s highly unfortunate,” she wrote zoo officials, “that we have to travel so far to visit something would should be commonplace all over our land. The main point is not to decry our own lack but to say hats off to you in San Diego.”
A woman from Drexel Hill, Pa., wrote similarly: “You have the most interesting and wonderful park in the United States.”
A Waterloo, Iowa family found Balboa Park one of the highlights of their vacation trip last year:
“We feel gratified,” wrote the husband, “in driving 2,000 miles just for one day in Balboa Park.”
From Pearl River, N. Y., came a letter summing up the sentiments of many tourists. “I cannot recall an instance in my life when I have visited a point of culture and have been so completely fascinated.”
San Diegans who may doubt the park’s great magnetism may see for themselves by visiting one of its parking lots — notably the zoo’s — any day during the summer. There the assorted colors of out-of-state license plates sparkle like hues of the rainbow. There are cars from Iowa and Minnesota, Georgia and Hawaii — and foreign countries as well.
As a matter of fact, the pleasure is immeasurable all over Balboa Park, and a lot of people have taken time out to say so.
January 29, 1961, San Diego Union, A-21:2-3. Paris Park Land A Model.
San Diego has about 16 acres of park land for each 1,000 persons, according to Larry Milne, senior planner and head of the city Planning Department’s advanced plans section.
This compares with 25 to 30 acres per 1,000 population recommended recently in the report to former President Eisenhower on national goals.
“One of the highest ratios of park land to population exists in Paris,” Mile said. “Paris has 85 acres of park land for each 1,000 persons, and this high ratio undoubtedly contributes to the charm of the city.”
Closer to home, San Diego’s competitor as one of America’s fastest growing cities, Phoenix, has just adopted a policy to trying to achieve a ratio of park land to people of 25 acres per 1,000 — quadrupling its present rate.
In recent years, San Diego has acquired 389 acres in San Clemente Canyon and 25 acres in the Clairemont-Kearny Mesa area for parks and has begun developing Kate Sessions Park in Pacific Beach and parks in North Clairemont, Southcrest, South Clairemont, Cabrillo Heights and Allied Gardens as well as the huge Mission Bay Park.
January 29, 1961, San Diego Union, A-21:2-5. Proposed: A Prado for Pedestrians . . . Balboa Park today looks just like the picture across the top of Page a-19, a view from the air. But it could look much differently in the future, as envisioned in these two sketches (not included) which appear in a park master plan proposed by Harland Bartholomew and Associates. One major proposed change would close off Laurel Street in the Prado area, and limit access to pedestrians only. Auto traffic would be directed to new roads to be built around the Prado perimeter, and visitors arriving by bus would enter at the eastern end. The Prado itself would become a complex of museums.
January 31, 1961, San Diego Union, 14:5. Mrs. Eleanor Edmiston forms Balboa Park Protective Association; objects to architectural style of Timken wing; circulates initiative petition to restrict road building in park.
Leaflet: Aims and Objectives of the Balboa Park Protective Association.
February/March, 1961, California Garden, Vol. 52, No. 1. SAN DIEGO HISTORICAL – Two Famous Japanese Gardens.
The recent alliance of San Diego with Yokohama as sister cities has started a new wave of interest among San Diegans in Japanese culture. A bell house on Shelter Island for the Yokohama friendship bell, a tea house in the House of Pacific Relations garden in Balboa Park, and a Japanese garden on the grounds of the Naval Hospital have all been dedicated within the past year. Still, we have nothing to compare with two Japanese gardens that were major tourist attractions a generation ago.
The first was in Coronado, where the Marsh family of San Francisco built an authentic Japanese tea garden about the turn of the century. Pictures of this garden in the Historical Collection of Union-Title Insurance Company show the use of many well-known elements of Japanese garden design. Curving paths, rock steps, a pond, secluded benches, an authentic tea house (including a “shoe-removing” stone), all helped to create a picturesque setting, and a memorable one since many people remember it with great nostalgia.
The original Marsh garden suffered an ironically Japanese fate: in 1903 it was destroyed by an ocean storm. Later the remnants were moved to a site adjoining the estate of John D. Spreckels, where for many years the garden was open to the public. The late Ira C. Copley purchased the property in 1936, After being sold in 1949, to a group of businessmen, it was subdivided and the garden eliminated.
Even more famous than the Marsh garden was the Japanese tea garden created in Balboa Park for San Diego’s 1915 Exposition.
In addition to authentic stone lanterns, a lacquer bridge and a wishing well, the Japanese government sent its own experts to supervise design and construction of the garden and building.
Discussing the Balboa Park garden in his 1916 book, San Diego Garden Fair, Eugene Neuhaus offers an insight into the appeal of Japanese gardens in general: “The stone lanterns, the high-arched bridge, the bronze crane are all suggestive of the fact that it is not along their decorative effect but the story they tell which demands their presence. Everything is in the right place and placed in such a way as to give the best effect. It is indeed marvelous to study the apparent irregularity and disorder of a Japanese garden and to discover that its arrangement is order in the best sense. No matter how recent such a garden may be, it has at once the appearance of having been in existence for a long time.”
From 1916 to 1942, the Hachisaku Asakawa family leased the garden and tea house from the city and maintained them for the public’s enjoyment. The Asakawas introduced many Oriental plants in Balboa Park, including the first Sago palms (Cycas revoluta) to be planted there. Over 200 such cycads now exist in the Park — the most magnificent stands inside the entrance to the Zoo.
Robert L. Horn tells the rest of the story in the final installment of his “History of Balboa Park,” beginning on page 19 of this issue. The tea garden is gone, but not forgotten. Countless visitors and San Diegans sipped tea there during a quarter century which included two major expositions. Returning visitors still inquire about the tea garden, and San Diegans are apt to mention it whenever Balboa Park comes under discussion. (G.L.)
February, 1961, San Diego Magazine, 14, 16, 108. Letters.
The gallery debate, part II:
As a long time member of the Fine Arts Society, even when it was called “Friends of Art,” and as an artist myself, I wish to enter an emphatic protest against the design of the proposed addition to the Fine Arts Gallery.
I have always held the talents of Mosher and Drew in highest esteem, until they failed to carry out the simplicity and charm of the Irving Gill architecture that surrounded and was part of the La Jolla Art Gallery. The opportunity seldom comes to perpetuate the beauty of a center such as that in La Jolla, and it is sad to see it lost.
To my mind the sensitivity of an architect to the atmosphere of his locale is a prime test of his ability. Usually only a person who is unsure of himself inclines to be a “show-off.” Surely this proposed addition cannot be the work of the firm who gave us the charm of the Green Dragon Colony — where the structures maintained the original feeling — of many of the lovely homes with restful oriental feeling on our hillsides. Surely the plans must have been mixed and we view a handsome structure created for the new University City or Torrey Pines Mesa, where it would be most appropriate.
I am not an old foggy who lives in the past. I prefer the freedom in the concepts of modern architecture. If the California Tower and the Fine Arts Gallery were to be razed in a few years, I could bear to see the new addition go up. But such is not the case. The tower in Balboa Park is now as much a trademark of San Diego as is her harbor, and I am sure the sensibilities of all who pass through our park would be rudely offended by the incongruity of the geometric pattern of the new addition in contrast with the Spanish curves of the permanent structures beside it, which, after all, do blend so beautifully with the tawny rounded hills beyond them.
If this design has been accepted, which I cannot really believe is true, then we have again sold a part of our birthright from our founding fathers down the river. This compounds the felony of the new freeways in the park. We have no right to alter the Spanish concept of El Prado. The Harland Bartholomew report, in which we have wisely invested, states so clearly that there are many types of architecture which would blend with what we already have I the park, especially if it is all tied together with the arcades as they strongly recommend.
The park belongs to the people of San Diego, and not even the Fine Arts Society, which has only their good at heart, can afford to trifle with the Spanish atmosphere that was created there 45 years ago. Whether the old world architecture is the best suited to the park is not the question. It has been here for so long that it is now a part of use, a wonderful heritage from our two fine expositions. Let Mission Bay Park be the setting for enterprising architects with new ideas. There is so little peace and harmony left in the world, let’s keep it, as it was made in Balboa Park.
Mrs. John G. Clark
Voice of the architect.
I have read with care and interest, Mrs. Edmiston’s letter and Mr. Britton’s “Art of the City” which appeared in the December issue of SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE.
My sympathy with Mrs. Edmiston’s view is great. Certainly all of use in San Diego take warm pleasure in our park and in its great environment. I heartily agree that all plans aimed at altering the park should be eyed with suspicion and that every new addition should be conceived in the grand spirit of the existing buildings and landscaping.
Too, there is much to be said for Mr. Britton’s view, if you accept the premise that there are only two choices for the architectural development of the Park.
As I understand Mr. Britton, he offers us, on the one hand, a “practical modern building, whether made of marble or cheese,” or on the other, the repetition of nostalgic copies of past glories from old world cultures.
Mr. Bertram Goodhue, the eminent architect of the great California Building, is quoted as having repeatedly described the other temporary structures along El Prado as being only moderately successful examples of their style and unworthy of saving. I suggest that the answer to the great and pressing question of the architectural environment of the Prado is neither black nor white as Mr. Britton would wish us to believe. Unfortunately, in his article, he has drawn out of context only one sentence of the rather comprehensive description I personally gave the editors in which I outlined the manner of my firm’s development of an architectural grammar we believe suitable and appropriate for the Prado.
This statement, taken along, only serves to mislead the reader.
Had a more comprehensive description of out development of the design for the Fine Arts Gallery been included with Mr. Britton’s remarks, the reader would have been given a more accurate picture of the current situation, and thus would have been in a better position to draw reasonable conclusions.
The real question before the people and the City Council is not whether the future buildings should be “Modern” or Spanish. The point is, will they be appropriate to the existing environment and will they be good architecture?
I also find it amusing that Mr. Britton uses in his argument for re-building the Prado in the Spanish style the example of San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts. To compare this masterpiece, designed by the great California architect Bernard Maybeck, to the temporary buildings along El Prado has the effect of elevating them to a position somewhat above that in which they should realistically be placed. The charm of the temporary structures and the pleasure that they give us in undeniable. However, we should recognize the fact that this charm is due primarily to the luxuriant plant material surrounding the buildings, the arcades, and the pleasant play of light and shade on their facades. These qualities should be inherent in any new buildings which are suggested to replace them.
We love and are proud of the Prado but, I think, we should recognize that it has a great future as well as a distinguished past. Toward this end let us work and put a top to simply debating the question from the point of view of style, Spanish or “Modern.”
We hold that our times are worthy and wholly capable of developing a significant and appropriate environment.
To those who esteem the great traditional architecture of Europe, as indeed we do, I would point out that Europe today is leading the world in the building of great contemporary works which are integrated with the best of the past and which offer a bright opportunity for the future.
Mr. Britton replies:
Architect Mosher did indeed talk with the editor, but my own last effort (months ago) to talk architecture with Mr. Mosher met a positive refusal. Also, Fine Arts Gallery Director Warren Beach refused (more months ago) to discuss gallery expansion with me. Still, these columns are always open to those who consider themselves inadequately quoted.
I did not compare San Francisco’s Palace to San Diego’s Prado as to merit of architectural design (and, being on the East Coast, I did not select the illustrations — which may have implied quality at points where there wasn’t any). I did indicate that both have a comparable place in local history, and that they are equally deserving of preservation. I suggested that (in this particular, very special case) modern planning should be worked out behind facades that retain the effects which have dazzled generations. That is, marriage of “Modern” and Spanish, not a choice between them.
I stated (my opinion) that some of the Prado buildings were “good,” some “not-so,” and suggested that the Prado “could be made more impressive by further refining the historical evocations.” My final sentence, though not necessarily the final sentence, was: “It could not possible be improved, but only destroyed by proceeding with the misconceived ‘practical’ buildings now fixing to muscle in on the grand parade of El Prado.”
Ed. Note: Mr. Mosher discussed the philosophy underlying his firm’s design for the Fine Arts Gallery wing for an hour with me one day, eloquently and in some detail. This material was summarized and sent Associate-Editor-on-Leave James Britton, who was preparing an article on the subject. Mr. Britton, very properly, edited it for his own use. Because of the great debate which has developed following publication of Mr. Mosher’s preliminary drawings for the wing, we feel the architect should have his day in court. Therefore, we have asked him to argue his case in this magazine together with drawings and photographs, when his final models are completed. Says Mosher: “All I ask is that the people of San Diego withhold their judgment until they can see with their own eyes what we propose. We would like them to base their judgment on fact and not on surmise.” — E. F. S.
February 1, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:5-6, A-23:1. Camp Elliott property sought for new city park in Mission Gorge area.
The Council topped their predecessors of 97 years ago by 315 acres in moving to develop a 1,765-acre park in the Mission Gorge area.
February 1. 1961, San Diego Union, 19:2-3. Shuffleboard facilities at 6th and Ivy
February 3, 1961, San Diego Union, 21:4. City Council votes to refer proposition transferring Balboa Park land to School District to April ballot.
February 6, 1961, Letter, Jackson Woolley, San Diego, to City Council, Civic Center, San Diego, Calif.
In the great confusion of ideas for the future of Balboa Park, one that has been advanced recently in San Diego Magazine and elsewhere strikes me as being outstandingly at odds with itself. This proposal is based on two admirable and sound propositions; (1.) That in rebuilding the Prado area the opportunity should be seized to create a great architectural complex worthy of world fame; (2.) That the new park should be as charming as the old. The error and futility of the proposal lies in the insistence that these objectives can be achieved by replacing the old temporary buildings with efficient new ones hidden behind imitations in permanent materials of the plaster-imitation Spanish facades that have graced the park since the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition [sic]. I submit that such dishonest, mongrel buildings could not possibly be great or even good architecture, and would probably fail dismally to rival the surface charm of the present buildings. They would, besides, be unworthy of and unsuitable to their functions and the purposes of the park. They would belie the wished-for image of San Diego as a big city and a growing center of culture, science and space-age activity.
The charm the old plaster facades contributed to the park was not dependent on their being authentic Spanish replicas, but on more basic qualities that can be achieved as well or better in truly modern architecture. They called attention to and complemented the beauties of the park foliage and our sunny climate. The stretches of plain walls caught shadows of leaves and branches; the broken surfaces of the ornamented areas contrasted intense sunshine and deep shade. The arched arcades were rhythmic and romantic. The total effect helped the park visitor escape from everyday humdrum.
Truly fine, imaginative modern architecture could provide not only these attributes but also the exhilaration of freshness, color and soaring light strength to match the grace of eucalyptus and giant bamboo. The park visitor could be transported not to the shell of an alien, autocratic bygone age, but to a brave new world of wonder and delight.
The excellence of this new architecture would not be skin deep. Good architectural design permeates all parts and elements of a building. Interior and exterior, function and aesthetics are all part of one problem and the solution must be a unity. Interdependence of interior and facade is apparent to anyone who has ever tried to install or to view an exhibit against the flare of the awkwardly placed windows of the Fine Arts Gallery.
The presence of this and other permanent buildings in the Spanish style need not deter the adoption of an architectural plan free from the restraints and encumbrances of a dead era. The American embassies in London and New Delhi are examples of new architecture compatible with but not imitative of the old. The permanent park buildings are part of the given facts of the architect’s problem, along with the topography, the planting, the traffic, the weather, etc. Without imitation and falsification, unity between new and old can be achieved by harmonizing rhythms, proportions, placements, materials, textures, landscaping, fountains, terraces and arcades. The area must be planned as a whole, not piecemeal.
No famous triumph of the architecture of the past or present is a copy of an older model. The Acropolis, the Alhambra, Versailles, Taj Mahal — such places are unique and they retain their timeless appeal because they are supreme expressions of the particular time and place in which they were built. Today’s architecture destined to be honored in the future may include Brazillia, the University of Mexico, Chandrigar in Indian and Lincoln Center in New York — all sincere attempts to solve today’s problems in today’s best terms.
If we really wish our park architecture to be significant and of lasting value, we must not be satisfied with a bit of nostalgia and prettified evocation of the past. Leave that to Disneyland. We must not cling to the nineteenth-century illusion that culture and art are things imported from Europe. We must not think that eighteenth-century Spanish architecture can serve today’s needs better than living Americans. We must build with boldness, intelligence, imagination and integrity.
The people of San Diego, though they may not know it, need the soul nourishing bread of fine architecture. Let’s not say, “Let ‘em eat gingerbread.”
(signed) Jackson Woolley.
February 7, 1961, San Diego Union, A-14:6. Two thousand signers on park petition to keep freeways out of Balboa Park repent.
February 10, 1961, San Diego Union, A-10:1-2. Park road foes push campaign; 20,000 signatures claimed on petition as deadline nears.
February 10, 1961, San Diego Union, A-19:7-8. San Diego Zoo – Council approves increase in Zoo fees; adults will pay one dollar; children still free.
Howard Chernoff, president of the Zoological Society, told the council the Zoo needs the extra revenue because it is “facing problems we’ve never faced before, some beyond out control.”
As example, Chernoff cited these.
- The three young gorillas at the Zoo can be kept safely in their present cage only for another 18 to 24 months and it will cost $200,000 to build a moated gorilla exhibit.
- The Zoo must spend more money to acquire African animals which are facing extinction, including more elephants which can breed and bear young.
- A new elephant enclosure is needed to replace the present “unsanitary and unsafe” structure which is 35 years old.
- The Zoo needs to expand its children’s educational program and its medical research program.
Chernoff said the increase will become effective April 1.
He said the Zoo, in common with other zoos, faces a challenge in the next few years of acquiring
African animals which are becoming extinct because of the increasing civilization of the continent.
“The best zoological authorities say there will be no more wild animals in Africa within 10 years,” Chernoff said. “We and other zoos must, therefore, build up our stocks — particularly of elephants and giraffes.”
Chernoff said an illustration of the changing picture was in a recent incident in the Congo.
“There are only about 60 okapis in the world, including those in zoos,” he said. “Not long ago Congo natives broke into a compound containing 35 okapis and shot or released all of them.”
An okapi is often called a cross between a giraffe and a zebra.
Chernoff said there is not danger of the three Zoo gorillas escaping from there cage. However, as the animals grow in size and strength, new quarters must be provided, he said.
“We could save money by building strong cages for them, but this would defeat the objectives of the Zoo — presenting animals in moated natural exhibits, ” he said.
“The estimate on a moated gorilla enclosure is $200,000.” He said the Zoo also wants to acquire two or three pairs of breeding elephants, giraffes and other African animals to insure a plentiful supply. The cost of acquiring animals has increased.
Because the Zoo received two cents of the city’s $1.87 tax rate, the council must approve all admission fees. The last increase in fees was in 1956, when the price of adult tickets went from 50 to 75 cents.
Chernoff said attendance did not suffer after the last rate increase and is not expected to decline after April 1. He said a survey recently showed that 74 percent of adults entering the Zoo were from outside the county, so the increase would be borne mostly by outsiders.
The Zoo is regarded as the “best in the world,” according to Milton Wegeforth, son of one of the Zoo’s founders.
The Zoo last year drew the biggest crowds (2,126,869) of any in the world. Runners-up were the Bronx and London zoos.
Another indicator — number of animals exhibited — ranks the San Diego Zoo in first place. The Zoo ranks second to the Bronx zoo in number of species on exhibit. It also has the largest operating budget of any American zoo.
February 10, 1961, San Diego Union, B-5:7-8, B-6:4. Balboa Stadium face-lifting set; additional tiers raise Charger’s home to 34,000, by Jerry Magee.
February 11, 1961, San Diego Union, A-15:3. A city official said false or misleading information on proposals concerning new roads in Balboa Park has confused San Diegans.
February 12, 1961, San Diego Union, A-16:1-2. The annual camellia exhibit at Conference Building has bloomed into a record showing.
February 12, 1961, San Diego Union, A-21:1-4. Variety makes San Diego museums popular.
February 14, 1961, San Diego Union, A-13:1-5. San Diego Zoo gorillas to get plenty of room to romp (illus.).
February 14, 1961, San Diego Union, A-13:4. Park peach trees in bloom.
February 14, 1961, San Diego Union, A-14:1-2. Museum of Man to get Indian relics.
Del Mar — The Sheedy Indian collection, the object of one law suit and a threatened second suit, will go on display at the Museum of Man if a country Fair Board plan is successful.
The board yesterday voted to accept a three-year-old offer by the museum to lease the collection of Indian relics for 10 years at $1 annually.
February 14, 1961, San Diego Union, A-14:2-4. Foes of new park roads count signatures tonight.
Mrs. Bloomenshire said the Balboa Protective Organization, whose members now number about 100, was organized after it was realized numerous roads are going to be run through the park. She said the group is specifically opposed to a road which is to pass near the Old Globe Theater.
February 16, 1961, San Diego Union, 33:2-3. More than 1,000 visitors yesterday attended the dedication of new adult recreation center at 6th and Ivy (illus.).
February 16, 1961, San Diego Union, A-34:1-2. A group seeking signatures on petitions calling for an initiative measure on road building restrictions in Balboa Park is intensifying efforts after learning yesterday it may have additional days to gather signatures.
February 17, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:1-3, A-23:1-2. Initiative petitions seeking to prevent new roads in Balboa Park without a vote of the people were filed yesterday by the Balboa Park Protective Association (illus.).
February 17, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:2. The City Council yesterday vetoed a proposal to hire the firm which prepared as master plan for Balboa Park for additional consultant work.
Les Earnest, city park and recreation director, said the original contract called for the firm’s staff to be available for a two-year period or whenever the master plan was adopted, whichever came first. The two-year period expired December 9.
Earnest said he wanted an official of the firm to attend a public hearing on the plan scheduled for Tuesday. The council’s denial means the firm will not be represented.
February 18, 1961, San Diego Union, A-13:1. Dr. Charles Schroeder said yesterday that within two years the San Diego Zoo may display nocturnal animals. In compounds where their day and night have been reversed.
February 19, 1961, San Diego Union, A-23:7-8, A-24:1. The future of Balboa Park will be explored in a public hearing scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday by the city Planning Commission.
February 21, 1961, San Diego Independent. Balboa Card — Whittlers vs. Purists . . . some compromise must be worked out between the two extreme views because obviously both the park and the parkways are needed.
February 21, 1961 (?), San Diego Independent. Park Fracas: Road tunnel is proposed (incomplete).
The newest suggestion came from San Diegans favoring the master plan but with some changes to be made in the proposed roads to go behind the Old Globe Theater and other additional roads.
Tunnels were proposed to bed dug under the park and a parking area constructed underground on several levels. With the double usage of this facility as a fallout shelter, financial aid could be requested from the state.
February 21, 1961, San Diego Union, A-18:7-8. The Highway Development Association yesterday announced opposition to “any proposal which would limit the discretion of the City Council to plan and construct necessary highways through Balboa Park.”
At its meeting in Hotel San Diego the association also announced itself “in full accord with the present policy of the city of San Diego in its orderly development of beautifully landscaped roads through Balboa Park.
The Highway Development Association said that roads and highways that have been built in Balboa Park “are in keeping with its natural beauty; that contemplated roads create more usable land than is taken for the highways; that roads and highways are necessary for people to get into the park and enjoy its beauty; that Cabrillo Freeway is an excellent example of how a highway can bring added enjoyment to millions; that present roads and highways through the park are inadequate; that modern roads and highways are vital to the community; and that City Council and state Division of Highways are fully aware of their responsibilities with regard to Balboa Park.”
February 22, 1961, San Diego Evening Tribune. Balboa Park Master Plan Praised, Hit.
Mrs. Eleanor Edmiston, president of the Balboa Park Protective Association, said her association is particularly interested in seeing that the Prado area remains unchanged and that new roads are not cut through the park.
February 22, 1961, San Diego Union, A-14:1-2. Expert direction marks “Children of Darkness” at Old Globe, by Constance Herreshoff.
February 22, 1961, San Diego Union, A-21:1-2, A-23:4-5. Two hundred attend hearing on master plan for Balboa park; Planning Commission will analyze proposals to build tunnels; continue discussions, by E. G. Martin.
February 22, 1961, San Diego Union, A-23:4-5. Directors of the Chamber of Commerce approved, in principle, the Bartholomew master plan for Balboa Park and the transfer of eight acres of isolated Balboa Park land to the city schools.
February 23, 1961, San Diego Union, A-33:1-2. Two new locations were announced yesterday where voters can sign petitions to put the question of new roads in Balboa Park on the city ballot.
February 24, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:8. Ralph Wright supports Bartholomew plan; thinks park changes are needed.
It is about time that Laurel Street was closed to all cars. It is about time that roads were built around the Prado area so that the pedestrian can enjoy this area. It is about time that we get rid of the old dilapidated structures and put up new ones.
February 26, 1961, San Diego Union, A-12:1-3. Engineer Week exhibit opens in Conference Building (illus.).
February 26, 1961, San Diego Union, A-13:3-4. San Diego Zoo – Charles Faust, Zoo designer, by Natalie Best (illus.).
The world’s happiest zoo animals in the most modern zoo is the aim of a man with a unique job at San Diego Zoo.
Charles Faust in the Zoo designer, the first among the several hundred zoos in the world. For three years the native San Diegan, an artist and construction designer, has worked to create an exterior and interior of San Diego Zoo like none other.
“Faust’s ideas are useful and beautiful here, as well as fast becoming famous throughout the world,” Dr. Charles Schroeder, managing director of the Zoo, said.
“Faust spends hours observing the animals, then designs a home of comfort, warmth and light along their individual needs, rather than giving them a prison cage of bars.”
The Zoo eventually will contain “walls” of high frequency sound waves to keep birds in given area; high-velocity air barriers and moats for animals, as well as novelty facilities, such as diving boards for all animals.
“We hope the zoo will contain the animals with the animals or the people realizing it, ” Faust said.
“There must be more though for animal living than for human living,” Faust said.
The 38-year old artist joined the Zoo staff when he worked on the planing of the Children’s Zoo. Since then he and Bob Jarboe, buildings and grounds superintendent, have worked together to build the tropical rain forest, world’s largest free-flight cage through which visitors walk among tropical birds and plants — the penguin pavilion, the sea lion pool and terrace, the hippo pools, the polar bear exhibit and the giraffe compound.
The construction technique most successfully used is Gunite on metal, covered by a new epoxy resin. The epoxy resin provides a glass-hard easy-to-clean and durable surface.
Other exhibits designed and planned include the world’s largest elephant compound, a rhinoceros compound, and the refrigerated walrus exhibit, in which three of the eight captive walruses in the world will live in arctic comfort.
February 26, 1961, San Diego Union, A-14:5. More than 40 junior and senior high schools in San Diego and the county are preparing science fairs leading up to the Greater San Diego Science Fair in the Federal Building, April 15-18.
February 26, 1961, San Diego Union, A-14:5. Revenues from the city’s golf courses in Balboa Park and at Torrey Pines continue to increase, a financial report by the city Park and Recreation Department for the first half of the 1960-61 fiscal year shows.
February 28, 1961, San Diego Union, A-13:5. City Clerk Phil Acker said last night that initiative petitions seeking to prohibit building of roads in Balboa Park without a vote of the people apparently have qualified for the April 18 municipal ballot.
February 28, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:7-8. Chapman Grant, Escondido, says the real enemy in Balboa Park are the institutions.
Editor: Some very estimable persons are working to prevent new roads from crossing or meandering about Balboa Park. Their basic reason is worthy. They wish to retain a maximum of the park for the recreation of the majority of the taxpayers. Possibly they lose sight of the fact that they may be charged with obstructing progress.
Transportation is vital to our civilization. Any person charged with obstruction will be swept aside remorselessly.
These worthy people who are fighting roadways lose sight of their real enemy. For instance, the so-called “art” museum plans to preempt several acres of park for the exhibit of some weird daubings which the average taxpayers in his ignorance would consider decidedly screwball. The golf enthusiasts occupy a large area of the park precluding its use by women and children who rightly fear maiming by a dubbed ball. A school is asking for five acres of the park, but no complaint has developed. Twenty or more tennis courts are to be made, occupying several acres. A casting pool is to occupy more land. Why? We should decide whether the park is to be cut up for the pleasure of a minority of taxpayers or retained as a park for the pleasure of all.
March 3, 1961, San Diego Union, B-1:4-6. Councilman Chester Schneider angry over $662.50 bill for Ford Building study submitted by S. B. Barnes and associates, structural engineers and covered work the firm did for the Los Angeles firm of William Pereira and Associates; City Manager Bean said he had authority under the city charter to authorize the work.
Rehabilitating the building is regarded as a dead issue since the council has shifted its sights to building a brand new convention hall in the central area.
Pereira has voluntarily decided not to bill the city for his part in the unneeded study, according to Les Earnest, city park and recreation director.
March 5, 1961, San Diego Union, E-2:4-8. Review of Dr. Reid Moran’s pamphlet, “Trees Around the Museum,” which tells about trees in Balboa Park and gives location of each specimen.
March 7, 1961, San Diego Union, A-19:6. Officers foil Balboa Park bridge leap.
March 15, 1961, San Diego Union, A-12:1-2. San Diego Zoo – six Zoo animals to leave today on exchange trip to Lima Zoo (illus.)
March 17, 1961, San Diego Union, A-29:8. Balboa Stadium to have full second deck; City okays 500-seat extension, by E. G. Martin.
March 17, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:7-8. Sophie Gillespie skeptical above Bartholomew plan; she objects to proposed road encircling the Old Globe Theater; does not want to buy a “package deal.”.
Editor: Roy Kidd calls a proposed Balboa Park road encircling the Globe Theater, an improvement. For the first time, he says, it will allow more people to become acquainted with this location.
This area consists of the Globe Theater, Elizabethan village green, Shakespeare’s grove, a lovely spot with shaded walks and his portrait bust in the middle of it, and a wooded hillside sloping down toward the zoo grounds. The proposed road and parking lots would bring noise, gasoline stench and a traffic hazard into these quiet walkways, in fact destroy them.
March 20, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:5-8. Old aerobile headed for museum, by George Story.
March 20, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:7-8. Helen Bloomenshire has doubts about Bartholomew plan; objects to the proposed two-lane scenic road and added parking near the Old Globe Theater; thinks people should read the Bartholomew report instead of accepting “sales talk.”.
March 23, 1961, San Diego Union. Proposed amendment against road construction called too inclusive (incomplete).
The Chamber of Commerce yesterday officially backed the city’s position in the Balboa Park roads controversy when the board of directors adopted a resolution opposing an charter amendment April 18.
March 24, 1961, San Diego Union, A-19:6-8. City Council okays plan to add 500 seats to Balboa Stadium; capacity to be 34,500.
March 26, 1961, San Diego Union, A-13:6-8. Balboa Park road dispute on municipal ballot April 18.
March 29, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:7-8, A-19:7. Rehearing asked on architectural style of Timken-Putnam wing.
The president of the Balboa Park Protective Association yesterday asked for another public hearing on the architectural style of the Timken-Putnam wing of the Fine Arts Gallery.
Mrs. Eleanor B. Edmiston, of 2828 33rd Street, the president, said in a letter to the City Council that large numbers of petitioners were unaware of the public meeting before the City Planning Commission September 18.
At that time the Planning Commission approved the design of the million-dollar wing and said its architectural style conformed to the recommendations of the park’s proposed master plan.
Mrs. Edmiston said in the letter that the drawing of the proposed building “does not conform with the type of architecture in the Prado area.
She said the citizens should be given a vote on the type of architecture selected.
Designed by Frank L. Hope, San Diego architect, the one-story white marble structure features a massive bronze grill. Hope described it as “Classical Spanish” in style.
The wing will be locate don the site of the present American Legion building, immediately east of the Fine Arts Gallery. It will house old masters donated by the Putnam Foundation as well as other paintings.
The council voted to refer Mrs. Edmiston’s request to the Planning Commission. Mayor Dail said he thought the commission may decide to hold an informal hearing on the architecture.
Councilman Ross Tharp said he thought Mrs. Edmiston’s group, which also sponsored initiative petitions to prohibit building of new roads in Balboa Park without a vote of the people, should be heard.
“You don’t have to be an architect to see that building is “not Spanish,” Tharp declared. “It’s no more Spanish than I am.”
In an exchange with City Manager George Bean, Tharp said the building would “stand out like a sore thumb among present buildings on El Prado.”
“Except that it wouldn’t be a sore thumb, it would be a beautiful thumb,” Bean replied.
The city manager said it is wrong to assume that modern architecture cannot be as beautiful as historical architecture. He said the best thinking in local architectural circles approve the design.
April ?, 1961, San Diego Evening Tribune (?). Design Debate: Start Urged on Park Plan.
April 2, 1961, San Diego Union, A-19:7-8. Proposition 2: Balboa Park land sought for school use, by E. G. Martin (illus.); two-thirds majority required; contracts contain reversion clauses.
If voters approve Proposition Two on the April 18 ballot, the Board of Education plans to put outdoor athletic fields in Area A and a football practice field in Area B. Those facilities would replace those lost in Area C through freeway construction.
April 3, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:3. Three thousand attended Easter sunrise services in the Organ Pavilion yesterday.
April 3, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:7-8. Zoo, parks lure throngs; thousands of worshipers get unobstructed view of rising sun, by Jamie Bryson.
April 5, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:7. Philip P. Martin has his own plan for park roads.
April 6, 1961, Letter Robert E. Des Lauriers President, San Diego Chapter American Institute of Architects, to The Honorable Charles C. Dail, Mayor of San Diego, Members of the City Council, City of San Diego, Civic Center, San Diego, Calif.
The San Diego Chapter, American Institute of Architects, directed its Community Planning Committee to review current activities of the City of San Diego in coordinating a Master Plan for Balboa Park. The statement here presented is the resulting evaluation of the Committee and comments of the Chapter in acceptance of matters relative to the current “Bartholomew Report” and the concurrent proposals of the Planning Department for ultimate development of Balboa Park.
The San Diego Chapter, A. I. A., is increasingly anxious to serve the citizens of San Diego; first, the Chapter members wish to make their professional architectural and planning talents available in an advisory capacity, directly to the Planning Commission, the Planning Department and legislative representatives of the City; secondly, the architects desire to become better acquainted with community planning policies and actions so they could better serve the City and individual clients in the development of a total balanced community. Toward this end. The architect will assist public agencies in constructively planning policies which affect the public and the profession.
The Community Planning Commission has resolved, and the AIA Chapter has adopted the following statement relating to the current Master Plan for Balboa Park:
- A) The Chapter first heartily commends the firm of Harland Bartholomew & Associates and the San Diego City Planning Department for the professional competency portrayed in approaching and resolving initial phases of this complex project. It is the intent of a good master plan to indicate and justify proper general land use based upon broad social and economic considerations. In the Bartholomew Report, the AIA finds set found sound and feasible general plan which represents the greatest good for the greatest number.
- B) The Chapter has reviewed and generally found sound, pertinent and realistic the basic design criteria, facts and statistics upon which the Bartholomew Report is based.
- C) The AIA Chapter at this time reserves to itself the right of expression and criticism insofar as architectural design character is concerned; we later desire and intend to participate in future development of specific building design, character and criteria for the development of the Park. For today, the Bartholomew Report is properly the development and justification of a total design concept to show proper master planning of land use; the plan is to show the most flexible siting of recreational and cultural areas; and to show the proper development of pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the park. Architectural design must not be made a stifling consideration at this time.
At a later date, the AIA sincerely hopes to participate with the City in a constructive effort to achieve proper architectural design character in the Park. Currently, there is the dilemma of whether to create design character of new and respected Spanish Renaissance, or whether to find new forms and materials of design which are more expressive of modern technology. Architects are generally against the dishonest, eclectic and misfit adaptation of old styles for false impression; we are equally against the designer who would create a misfit new form of structure that is not compatible to its surroundings. Somewhere between dishonest imitation of the past and stark individuality of an architect’s separate monumentality lies the fine new architectural design character for Balboa Park.
The San Diego Chapter, A. I. A., here volunteers its counsel to the City at a subsequent date in seeking jointly to achieve the optimum perfection in architectural design.
The Chapter strongly believes in the necessity of maintaining the abundant landscaping as the integrating central them, with buildings integrated and supplementary thereto. Building design thus becomes a subordinate consideration in planning of the Park.
- D) The concept of dividing the park into general activity areas is a sound architectural principle favorably viewed by the Chapter. The Prado area will become the cultural and art center. The Zoo area will always be for children of all ages. The Morley Field area will become the recreational center. The Palisades area will become the social and group activity zone of the park. Throughout the park will be interspersed the picnic, preschool play and family recreation areas that are the essence of our Balboa Park. Two-thirds of the 5,000,000 people visiting our park each year are local residents; their initial interest in the Zoo and secondary interest in the picnic activities must be maintained.
- E) The Chapter is strongly in accord concerning the value of developing El Prado as a pedestrian mall with peripheral vehicular traffic carried behind the central buildings of the park cultural complex. Details of exact development naturally bear further study; some of us individually feel that the Plaza de California might be visually more open. The primary concealment of roadways and parkways from general view is very necessary; this can best be accomplished by depression of vehicular areas and proper landscaping development. Adequate and readily accessible parking and pedestrian off-loading areas are an essential design consideration which initially has been well planned in the Bartholomew Report.
- F) Further encroachment of park property by freeways, hospital and personal interests must be stopped, after much short-sighted exploitation has already consumed one-quarter of the park area. A great advantage to be derived from adoption of this Master Plan will then be the establishment of a justifiable and reasoned basis for saying NO to further encroachment.
- G) With the adoption of this proposed master plan, the AIA Chapter sees the designation of a basic land use which will inspire and guide further development of landscaping as the principal theme and essence of Balboa Park. Adoption and implementing of the Bartholomew Report is an urgent necessity for this reason alone.
- H) Through adoption of a basic park plan as a guide, the City can best integrate public transit systems, public and protective services, utilities and park operation and maintenance activities in a functional and economical manner for the benefit of all.
- I) The AIA Chapter have studied with Mr. Lester Earnest of the Park Department and generally concur in the soundness of proposals made by the Bartholomew Report for the integrated step-by-step development of the park. New facilities, such as the Science Museum, Planetarium and Garden Center, will be integrated with removal of such incompatible activities as the City Road Department Offices. The Museum of Man will be moved into more functional accommodations, leaving room for expansion of the Theater Arts Center in the museum’s original location. The entire Bartholomew conception is thus based upon proper and realistic planning and orderly transition or development over a twenty-year period with nearly total functional use of existing and proposed facilities at all times during the transition.
- J) The AIA Chapter finds the Bartholomew Plan exceedingly flexible and responsive to our future recreational and cultural needs for the following reasons:
- The plan for design and development of new and existing facilities will allow for flexible future modification and refinement of buildings and grounds as needs change with passing years.
- The Bartholomew Plan is adaptable not only to the daily and seasonal use of San Diegans and tourists, but also has the potential of being adaptable to a possible future major exposition or convention.
- The plan leaves major areas of the Palisades, Florida Valley [sic], etc. as land to be later developed to fulfill yet unconceived needs.
- D) The Chapter heartily concurs with the citizenry, the planners ad the Bartholomew Report that the California Tower and the Globe Theater shall be preserved. Through the development of proper road systems which will even further open these beautiful and interesting buildings to public view, the tower and theater can be enhanced as significant and accessible features of the Park.
- E) And finally, the Chapter strongly urges that confidence, and a reasonable degree of freedom and authority, be granted the Park Department in refinement and execution of this entire project in accordance with the building spirit and intent of the Bartholomew Report. In stifling contrast, if the vote of the people were required for each intimate selection of species of plant or the siting of each plant in the park, there would be stagnation and mediocrity and no accomplishment worthy of the fine efforts of the Bartholomew Report.
The San Diego Chapter, American Institute of Architects, is generally in accord and affirms its support in behalf of the Bartholomew Report. The AIA Chapter reiterates its sincere willingness to now serve the public in refining and implementing this plan; the Chapter is anxious to make available to the City its objective and professional counsel to expedite succeeding phases in the development of Balboa Park under general guidance of the Bartholomew Report.
San Diego Chapter
American Institute of Architects
(Signed) Robert E. Des Lauriers
April 6, 1961, San Diego Union. EDITORIAL: Future Use of Valuable City Land at stake in Tuesday’s balloting.
Because they have an area of obvious similarity, the three charter changes on Tuesday’s ballot might be expected to gain the same reaction from city voters.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Each proposition does involve the future use of valuable city-owned land.
Right there is where the similarity ends. It is the obvious differences in the issues which should attract the careful attention of voters.
Proposition 1 would change the city charter so that a vote of the people is required to authorize construction and maintenance of streets in Balboa Park.
This is an initiative measure put on the ballot by petitions with signatures of 34, 197 San Diegans. It requires majority approval.
The proposition would add greatly to the expense and difficulty of administering the park. At the same time, it would not guarantee against additional encroachment by state highways.
It would put the citizenry in the day-to-day operation of city government. This is an unwise use of the initiative procedure. Proposition 1 should be defeated. We strongly favor vigorous action to protect Balboa Park, but this measure is not what is needed.
Proposition 2 would permit transfer of 8-1/2 acres of undeveloped park land to the San Diego Unified School District.
This land is sliced off from the rest of Balboa Park by construction of the Crosstown Freeway. It would be used to replace high school athletic fields destroyed by freeway construction.
There is no organized opposition to Proposition 2. The land would revert to the city should the school district ever decide it does not need it.
Proposition 2 requires a two-thirds vote for passage. It should be approved.
Approval of Proposition 3 would mean that the city could dispose of most of its remaining pueblo lands without approval of the voters.
A total of 1,870 acres are involved, mostly near the new campus of the University of California at La Jolla. City officials say the proposition would give them necessary flexibility in using the land for freeways, churches, schools and parks.
Funds from the land sales would be used to finance city capital improvements.
Pueblo land is one of San Diego’s most priceless possessions. At one time it was squandered. Then the charter was changed so that voter approval of its disposal was necessary.
In recent years, the voters have acted with great wisdom in doling out pueblo land for key educational, industrial and recreational purposes. General Atomic, the University of California and the proposed Salk laboratories are a few of the beneficiaries.
Proposition 3 would tend to earmark this land for specific uses now. It might prevent its future use for an important new industry or scientific center. Rather than creating flexibility, Proposition 3 would destroy it.
The proposition requires a majority vote. It should be defeated.
April 7, 1961, San Diego Evening Tribune. Park Road Proposal Argued; Public Vote Required In Initiative, by Frank Stone.
April 9, 1961, San Diego Union, A-15:7, A-16:1. Seventh Science Fair opens Saturday in Balboa Park (illus.).
April 11, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:7-8. Mrs. A. V. Mayrhofer explains position of Balboa Park Protective Association.
We must not lose sight of the fact that many who enjoy Balboa Park are aged, crippled, and families with small children. Also, people who arrive in formal attire for social functions would find it awkward having to walk, especially if we should be blessed with rain.
April 12, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:6. A-18:1-2. Stadium bids top estimates.
April 14, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:8, A-18:6. City plans new bids on Charger stadium.
April 14, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:1-2. EDITORIAL: Proposition 1 — Straitjacket in the Park.
Proposition 2 on Tuesday’s city ballot is a charter amendment which would require a vote of the people to build or change roads in Balboa Park.
It was placed on the ballot as an initiative proposition after the Balboa Park Protective Association filed petitions with 34,197 qualified signatures. A majority vote is required.
Three recent developments prompted the initiative movement. Ironically, one of them could have been prevented by Proposition 1.
Improvement of U. S. Highway 395 through the park resulted in destruction of many trees and landscaped areas. The state Highway Department has promised to replant and rehabilitate the park. But the initial damage was accomplished before many citizens could be reassured.
This could not have been prevented by a change in the city charter. A vote by the citizenry would have no effect on the state’s right to condemn property for highway purposes.
The Bartholomew Report for future Balboa Park development has aroused great public interest. Many of its recommendations involved closing off existing park roads and building new ones.
However, if the City Council should adopt the Bartholomew Plan before a charter amendment becomes effective, it is doubtful if a court would rule it changed because of a vote of the people.
Proposed changes in park architecture formed the third reason. The charter amendment would have no effect on architecture.
What Proposition 1 would do is to place a straitjacket on park development. Every parking lot, maintenance road or road through the zoo would require a vote of the people.
This would be expensive — $180,000 for a special election. It also would place impossible restrictions on the city’s ability to develop the park.
Without question San Diego must be vigilant in protecting Balboa Park, but in our opinion Proposition 1 would not protect the park. It would strangle its development. A strong Park Commission, a responsive City Council and an alert citizenry are better instruments than an inflexible law.
The Park Commission particularly should be strengthened by ordinance to play a bigger role in planning and development. Its membership should include those community leaders interested in Balboa Park.
The initiative process should be applied with great care when it directly affects the everyday operation of government. Once in a great while citizens must act directly when their elected representatives have failed to serve the public good.
This is not the case with Proposition 1. The proposed charter change would hamstring government and slow park development. We urge a “No” vote in Tuesday’s election.
April 14, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:7. Mrs. E. G. King writes that if Proposition 1 is passed the future development of Balboa Park will be in danger.
April 15, 1961, San Diego Union, A-13:1-2, A-20:4. Third District foes differ on Proposition 1; William W. White, a mortician and investment representative, favors the proposition; Harry Scheidle, an appliance store owner, said he will vote against the proposition..
April 15, 1961, San Diego Union, A-13:5-6. John Koethe, a Hoover High School student, and Mary Anderson, of Point Loma High School, win sweepstakes at the Greater San Diego Science Fair; they will represent San Diego later this year at the National Science Fair in Kansas City, Mo.; winners announced last night at the Balboa Park Bowl.
April 15, 1961, San Diego Union, A-20:1-2. Dr. Ralph Dailard, superintendent of San Diego City Schools hailed the Science Fair as spur to talent last night at the opening of the annual event.
April 16, 1961, San Diego Union, A-15:1. Voters face choice on pueblo lands, park plans Tuesday.
April 16, 1961, San Diego Union, A-15:5-6. Ten thousand visitors were thrilled at the achievements on display at the Greater Science Fair yesterday in the Federal Building, Balboa Park, while many of the junior grade scientists went on new explorations.
April 16, 1961, San Diego Union, A-15:7-8. Voters Face Choice on Pueblo Lands, Park Plans.
San Diegans will elect three city councilmen Tuesday and vote on three propositions involving Balboa Park and pueblo lands. The election will bring to a close a campaign that has increased in intensity sharply during the last few days.
April 16, 1961, San Diego Union, C-2:1-3. EDITORIAL: Future Use of Valuable City Land At Stake in Tuesday’s Election.
Proposition 1 would change the city charter so that a vote of the people is required to authorize construction and maintenance of streets in Balboa Park. This is an initiative proposition put on the ballot by petitions with signatures of 34,197 San Diegans. It requires majority approval.
It would put the citizenry in the day-to-day operation of city government. This is an unwise use of the initiative process. Proposition 1 should be defeated. We strongly favor action to protect Balboa Park, but this measure is not what is needed.
Proposition 2 would permit transfer of 8-1/2 acres of undeveloped land to the San Diego Unified School District.
This land is sliced off from the rest of Balboa Park by construction of the Crosstown Freeway. It would be used to replace high school athletic fields destroyed by freeway construction.
There is no organized opposition. The land would revert to the city should the school district ever decide it does not need it.
Proposition 2 requires a two-thirds vote for passage. It should be approved.
April 18, 1961, ELECTION – Proposition 1: Restore to voters rights over road construction in Balboa Park
Proposition 2: Transfer of 8-1/2 acres to provide needed physical education facilities for more than 7000 students at San Diego High School and City College to San Diego Unified School District.
April 19, 1961, San Diego Union, A-1:1-2. A-4:3. Mrs. Cobb, Scheidle, Hitch elected; first councilwoman chosen; Tharp, Kerrigan lose posts, by Henry Love.
The voters rejected Proposition 1 that would have removed from the City Council its present power to permit construction of streets and highways in Balboa Park.
Also defeated in semi-official returns was Proposition 3 that would have given the council authority to dispose of more than 1,800 acres of city pueblo lands.
Proposition 2 permitting transfer of about eight acres of Balboa Park lands to the Board of Education for recreational and athletic activities received the necessary two-thirds majority for passage.
The vote approached 40 percent of the total registration.
April 20, 1961, San Diego Union, A-19:6-7. Election results confirm victory on proposal on park land shift; defeat of others.
April 20, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2. EDITORIAL: Park Vigilance Is Needed.
A major roadblock in the development of Balboa Park was removed Tuesday when voters defeated Proposition 1, the initiative measure which would have required a vote for every road improvement in the park.
By their action the citizens of San Diego reaffirmed the sound principle of permitting the city government to make the day-to-day decisions concerning park operation and administration.
The action is not enough to guarantee the future of Balboa Park.
Sponsors of Proposition 1 expressed a very real concern for the policy decisions which will determine how the park is developed. Proposition 1 served a useful purpose because it dramatized the need for constant vigilance in matters concerning Balboa Park.
We believe such vigilance can best be served by a stronger Park and Recreation Commission.
The present commission is composed of seven dedicated citizens. But their effectiveness is reduced in two important categories by the city charter.
One is the manner in which they are appointed. The mayor has three appointments, the Board of Education has two and the city manager has two. This is too narrow a base. It should be expanded to permit participation in appointments by the City Council. Such groups as the Parent-Teacher Association and cultural organizations in the park should be represented. And consideration must be given to the citizens groups interested in park development.
The other weakness of the present commission is in its advisory status. The charter provides that the commission shall advise the city manager and park and recreation director.
This type of status made the commission a tool of management rather than a public advisory body.
It would be in the best interest of San Diego if the commission were empowered to make at least its major recommendation directly to the City Council.
The Park and Recreation Commission has the responsibility for operation of all San Diego parks, including Mission Bay. It meets Wednesday at Balboa Park.
Attention would be better focused on the commission if it moved its meeting place to the Civic Center.
Park development and operation in San Diego must move ahead in the bright glare of public interest and participation. It is up to the City Council, city management and citizens of San Diego to profit from Tuesday’s election in planning the next phase of Balboa Park development.
April 25, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:8. Isabella H. Smith opposes change in park architecture.
April 26, 1961, San Diego Union, A-15:1-2. City Council awards Balboa Stadium renovation pact to Lee J. Morgan Construction Co. of National City; bid of $704,000 to build an upper deck completely around the Balboa Stadium.
April 26, 1961, San Diego Union, B-1:1. City Planning Commission will conduct a second hearing on a proposed master plan for developing Balboa Park at 2 p.m. May 15.
April 28, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:5-6, A-18:1-2. City Manager George Bean yesterday defended the much-criticized land swap in which the city acquired San Clemente Canyon as a park site.
April 29, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:8. A. O. Nelson opposes changes in Balboa Park.
April 30, 1961, San Diego Union, A-31:7-8. San Diego Zoo – cancer contagion hinted in Zoo’s bear grotto case, by Bryant Evans.
May, 1961, San Diego Magazine, Letters.
Britton: “Contradictory horoscope,”
In a letter published in San Diego (December, 1960) Gordon Edwards states that the Bartholomew Plan is “sterile, unimaginative, and completely devoid of that kind of reality that breathes life into a plan.” The only reason given for this remarkable statement is that the planners did not recommend creating an exposition for the purposes of renewing and redeveloping existing landscape and buildings and of raising an estimate twenty-one million dollars. In his accompanying article, Mr. Britton quickly disposes of Mr. Edward’s reason but chooses to keep his description since it conforms to his opinion of the plan even before there was a plan. At the same time he expresses himself in accord with the views of Mrs. Eleanor B. Edmiston, who has since become know in local circles as the leader of the Balboa Park Protective Association.
A fascinating aspect of Mr. Britton’s agreement with Mrs. Edmiston is his statement that “she surely represents majority opinion among those who bother to think about the issues raised.” Not only does this critic know what he thinks of the Bartholomew Report before it was written, he even known majority opinion before it is tested. This display of logic is typical of his reasoning throughout. He is equally clairvoyant regarding the new wing of the Fine Arts Gallery on the basis of what he calls “half-completed plans.” Then he contradicts himself by saying in one paragraph that the new building will be “derivative Spanish Plateresque” and in another that the building will be an example of “modern” and “currently fashionable modes.” Obviously, it cannot be both and assuming that the first description is correct, why is “derivative Spanish Plateresque” at odds with the Plateresque design of the existing Fine Arts Gallery?
One would think that after conceding that the buildings in Balboa Park are “mock up,” “stage sets,” “dream palaces,” “nostalgic Spanish,” “copies” and “dazzling facades,” Mr. Britton would have given himself sufficient reason to recommend a drastic revision, but the aforesaid individual is, if anything, independent. Though he blandly announces he is committing “architectural heresy,” he concludes that we must preserve the status quo because “everyone, whether he knows it or not, needs occasional reminders that there is some background, some heritage behind his spinning days on earth.” In view of this extraordinary conclusion, it is interesting to note that three and one-half years previous the same man recommended that we replace the temporary buildings in Balboa Park with modern glass architecture (San Diego, July, 1957). One wonders what his conclusions will be subsequently.
Ultimately, Mr. Britton’s argument hinges on the premise state at the conclusion of his article, which is that “man needs some heritage.” Insofar as it pertains to buildings from the past, which are slavishly copied and travestied in future times, this point is certainly debatable. The history of architecture shows that the Plateresque and Baroque buildings, which exist by way of distant association in Balboa Park, had at one time a definite place and meaning within a culture whose members recognized their significance. But the heritage they symbolize, and symbolize not too well, since Mr. Britton describes the buildings as “some good, some not-so,” is not and never has been an American or Southern California heritage. The buildings represent to me, and perhaps to others, a time when our American millionaires attempted to buy European architecture stone by stone and to haul it back to American where it was painstaking re-erected; for which practice these same “culture vultures” were held in contempt by European connoisseurs and in derision by our American satirists, such as Mark Twin, Henry James, Sinclair Lewis, H. L. Mencken and Frederick Lewis Allen.
The aesthetic mistakes committed in trying to transport an alien culture to the New Work is aptly demonstrated by our own local mistake of erecting a pseudo-ecclesiastical facade in the Balboa Park area when what is housed inside is (Russians take note) a Museum of Man. The point I wish to make is that Mr. Britton, trapped by inconsistencies and gifted with an internal horoscope, refuses to concede that compatible and harmonious change is possible and in the process demeans native talent and ingenuity.
Richard W. Amero.
May 2, 1961, San Diego Union, A-14:2. 106,000 persons saw Spring Fair in Electric Building yesterday; fair, sponsored by San Diego County Bureau of Home Appliances, opened last Friday and ends tomorrow.
May 6, 1961, San Diego Union, 18:4. Phil D. Swing urged City Council not to change architectural styles of buildings along El Prado.
May 7, 1961, San Diego Union, B-7:5. San Diego Zoo plans breeding farms.
The San Diego Zoo soon will become a sort of Noah’s ark.
This will be in keeping with a new concept of zoos around the world, officials of the zoo said yesterday.
Dr. Charles Schroeder, Zoo director, and several members of his staff, returned from the third annual Western Regional Zoo Conference in San Francisco, conducted Monday to Wednesday to determine the problem of diminishing wildlife in the world, especially in Africa.
“Since wildlife is disappearing around the world and we have no idea how soon Africa will reflect on this and do something to protect their wild animal herds, the conservation problem falls to zoos around the world,” Schroeder said.
“The zoos might well be considered the current Noah’s Arks since they will conduct breeding farms and attempt to influence duly liberated nations on the value of their wildlife from the standpoint of conservation and tourist trade.”
The concept of an island, such as Catalina Island, which could serve as a West Coast quarantine station and breeding farm, was offered by Dr. Thomas A Gage, assistant director of the U. S. Agricultural Department, who spoke at the conference.
In addition to Schroeder, Mrs. Ella Hoover, controller, and Fred Mabbitt, assistant public relations director, attending the meetings. Charles Faust, zoo designer, and Robert Jarboe, superintendent of buildings and grounds, also attended, stopping in San Francisco on the last leg of their recent 10-city tour.
Faust and Jarboe, now planning the new grottoes at San Diego Zoo for giraffes, elephants, rhinoceroses and apes, particularly studied moated enclosures of these animals in their zoo tour.
“The cooperation among zoos for the future protection of the animals will be handled through the International Union of Directors of Zoological Parks,” Dr. Schroeder said. “The union plans to meet here in October 1962.”
May 8, 1961, San Diego Union, A-16:7. “Royal Gambit” set at Falstaff Tavern.
May 10, 1961, San Diego Union, A-16:4-5. Piano festival set September 17 at Balboa Park Bowl.
May 12, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:6-8, A-18:1. Council okays Center City land purchase; 6-0 vote follows hearing.
May 12, 1961, San Diego Union, A-20:3. “Royal Gambit” by Hermann Gressieker an exciting experience, by Constance Herreshoff.
Joe Angarola’s character interpretation in the role of Henry VIII is a masterpiece.
May 14, 1961, San Diego Union, A-15:7. The Bartholomew Report on Balboa Parks’ future, after parking meters the second best political target in San Diego, will be up for public discussion again tomorrow.
May 16, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:1-4, A-29:1-3. Planners favor amendments; park proposals backed, by E. G. Martin.
The city Planning Commission recommended the adoption of the master plan for Balboa Park yesterday after the approval of two amendments.
The changes were:
- Construction, if and when traffic warrants it, of a $2 million vehicular tunnel between 4th and 7th Avenue along the alignment of the Maple Canyon Road.
- Construction of a $170,000 vehicular tunnel, 300 feet long, from the west to east sides of the Old Globe Theater along the alignment of a proposed road running north of El Prado.
The Bartholomew plan now goes before the City Council, which has the final decision on adopting it.
Harry Haelsig, city planning director, said the 4th-to-7th Avenue tunnel would bring the total cost of building the Maple Canyon Road to about $4 million. He said the tunnel portion of the road should not be built until traffic warrants it, predicting this would not happen for an unknown number of years.
Maple Canyon Road, being planned by the city to help relieve congestion in the park caused by non-park traffic, would begin at Columbia and Laurel Streets and would cross the northwestern edge of the park.
Haelsig said the 300-foot tunnel behind the old Globe Theater would eliminate any possibility of traffic noise disrupting performances, one of the criticisms voiced by opponents of the Bartholomew report’s road recommendations.
In addition to the modifications involving tunnels, the commission also amended it by suggesting that an architectural review committee of architects pass on all designs of new buildings to insure their compatibility with present architecture.
Another modification suggested was a suggestion that alternate routes be studied for a road south of El Prado which Bartholomew recommended placing in Palm Canyon.
The Planning Department recommended against other tunnel proposals submitted by Philip Martin, of 5504 Lindo Paseo, and others. Cost estimates prepared by the city Engineering Department showed that it would cost from $8 million to $16.2 million to build tunnels for through park traffic under the park.
(In addition to Mrs. Eleanor Edmiston) other speakers in opposition spoke against the proposed road system, removal of planting, any changes in architecture of buildings and the proposal to remove all tennis courts to the Morley Field area.
May 17, 1961, San Diego Union, A-13:3-4. “Holiday for Lovers,” festive comedy directed by Craig Noel, opens at Old Globe, by Constance Herreshoff.
May 17, 1961, San Diego Union, A-18:4-5. San Diego Zoo – two tiny grizzlies join Zoo bears, by Natalie Best.
May 21, 1961, San Diego Union, E-2:4-8. Museums, galleries plans open house for Inter-Museum Day, June 4.
Inter-Museum Day is planned to call attention to the earth and man’s history, culture and knowledge, and to what the museums have to offer the public.
May 25, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:8. Don Campbell, La Jolla, wants no new buildings in park.
Editor: An open letter to the Balboa Park Association.
Questions relative to what shall be the architectural period for the Prado and elsewhere in the park bring certain reactions from an architect. As one I object to any restrictions being placed on the architect for the external design other than that it shall be good, suitable for the particular building and compatible with its surroundings.
The 1915 fair buildings produced an charming and delightful scene compatible to the architecture here during that period. Unfortunately, most of it was of temporary construction and must be destroyed.
Is the park to be a true park or half park and half building site for all worthy institutions? Why is a museum a proper park use and not a Convention Hall? I object to both in a park.
I prefer to worry more about reclaiming open landscaped park land and not about rebuilding this or that architectural period. I believe parks were meant to be the opposite of structure: trees, shrubs, grass, flowers, wild open land.
When an old fair building is removed, let’s recapture the park. What is permanent, let stand, but forbid new or replacement encroachments. No written ordinance or law, just written deep in the heart of every citizen of San Diego city and county.
May 26, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:1-4, A-20:4. Rotarians will renovate Alcazar Garden in Balboa Park (illus.).
Philip M. Klauber, Rotary president, said the club decided to rebuild the garden as its golden anniversary year project.
. . . present-day park visitors find that the garden’s two fountains fail to operate, paths are occasionally muddy or strewn with hoses, and a platform at the west end appears near collapse.
Lloyd Lowrey, park superintendent, has been authorized to make preliminary designs and estimates for renovation of the garden and present them to a 15-member Rotary Club committee.
May 28, 1961, San Diego Union, A-15:1-2. Zoo Week Accent On Baby Animals.
More than $16,000 worth of zoo babies will be featured as the second annual San Diego Zoo Week opens today.
Zoo Week, which may be the forerunner of the National Zoo Week proposed in legislation introduced in Congress by Rep. Bob Wilson, R-San Diego, is expected to attract thousands and is dedicated to “young people getting to know young animals.”
More than 100 new animals and birds will be shown in the Children’s Zoo and the regular zoo.
Zoo babies range from a few skittish animals such as sheep and deer to friendly ones such as a gray wolf that likes to romp with children like a puppy and a dromedary camel that nuzzles the heads of children.
“This has been one of the most bountiful springs on record among the San Diego Zoo families,” Dr. Charles Schroeder, managing director, said. “With the single, double and multiple births or hatching of the young to families of 40 different species here, we have greatly added to our zoo population.
The most important additions to the mammal department were the first spotted hyena and the second impala ever born in the United States. The graceful African antelope was born April 12. The hyena was born February 6.
Two chimpanzees, born April 2 and 12, once again gives the zoo the distinction of being the only one known to exhibit three generations of chimps in the same enclosure. These are the seventh and eighth to be fathered by the chimp George Washington, which was born at the zoo on Washington’s birthday, 1938.
A number of mammals born this spring were raised in the Children’s Zoo nursery. They include Patti, an Arabian camel, born April 28; Judy and Joey, two aoudads, wild sheep of North Africa, born March 3; Toto, a North American gray wolf, which has gained two pounds each week since its birth April 7; a springbok, born May 7; and tiny Shakuntala, dubbed Tala for short, a lion-tailed macaque, born May 5.
Toto and Tala are being raised in the nursery’s incubator. Tala is fed a half ounce of milk eight times a day.
The zoo also has been noted for its success raising the rare Nelson big horn sheep. This record was continued with the birth of a sheep, April 13. Other animals include three mountain lions, born May 20; a reindeer, born May 19; a Muntjac, a small deer of Southeast Asia, born May 13; a number of spider monkeys and wallabies, and a Nubian goat, born May 13.
Another worthy birth was that of a Roosevelt sable antelope, born March 5. This animal is a favorite trophy because of its scimitar-shaped horns.
Among the outstanding hatchings in the bird department are four kea parrot chicks. The zoo is the only one in the western hemisphere breeding these rare inhabitants of the mountains of New Zealand.
For the 32nd consecutive year, bare-eyed cockatoos of Australia were hatched in San Diego Zoo. The two hatched this spring bring the total hatched here to more than 100.
Also noteworthy in the bird department was the incubator hatching of two rheas, the ostrich-like bird of South America, including one very rare white chick; two blue-eared Manchurian pheasants, the first ever hatched in the zoo; doe Orinoco geese, native to South America; in addition to uncounted dozens of pea fowl, ducks and geese. The bird department also is awaiting the hatching of flamingoes, expected early in July. Only four zoos in the world raise these beautiful birds.
The reptile department, which raises most of its young in the summer and fall, has added four Aruba Island rattlesnakes. Twenty giant tortoise eggs are expected to hatch next fall.
May 28, 1961, San Diego Union, B-7:5-6. Square Dancers plan 3-day convention in Balboa Park, opening June 16.
May 30, 1961, San Diego Union, A-12:5-8. Donated Art Sale Slated Saturday in Recital Hall, sponsored by the Asiatic Arts Committee of the San Diego Fine Arts Society; profits from the sale will be used to relieve costs of special Fine Arts Gallery exhibits and purchase (illus.).
June 4. 1961, San Diego Union, C-2:8. Mrs. Hannah Coss writes keep park beauty intact.
Let Mr. Campbell and all artists get together to preserve the natural beauty and spiritual associations of our park and keep out the commercial approach which will scare away the very people who would make our most delightful guests.
June 8, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:6-7. R. H. Brock writes tennis court loss cited under plan.
In the last 25 years 14 concrete tennis courts in Balboa Park have been destroyed, six by the Park Department, five by the schools, and three by the freeway.
Now comes the Bartholomew Master Plan for the park, which during the first period, calls for the destruction of six more, the courts on Park Boulevard near the War Memorial Building, operated by the Balboa Tennis Club. Last year the club raised $4,000 and resurfaced the courts, putting them in the best condition of any city-owned courts. The adjoining tennis club is also to be destroyed. It contains men’s and women’s locker rooms, showers, rest rooms, a tennis shop and a place to get lunch.
It is suggested by the plan that as a substitute facility six courts be added to Morley Field, something which was so badly needed and still is that four years ago the Balboa Park Citizens Committee recommended that 10 more courts be added.
There is a “Municipal Tennis Club House” at Morley Field. It contains a tennis shop and two rest rooms. There are no lockers, no dressing rooms, no drinking fountain, no food. Lately, a couple of showers were installed, with cold water, no hot. There is nothing in the Bartholomew Report calling for anything better.
Are we to destroy $50,000 worth of tennis courts, rebuild them for $50,000 more, and move 250 Balboa Club members over to Morley Field to add to the congestion, where they go back to changing clothes in their cars, eating candy bars for lunch, and cleaning up when they get home?
The destruction is part of a $540,000 major project in the Bartholomew Plan to be spent on the big parking lot on Park Boulevard.
Unless someone convinces four councilmen otherwise, this plan will be officially approved with a few weeks, subject to some amendments suggested by the planners for the benefit of the Globe Theater, those concerned about architecture of any new buildings, and those concerned about rare trees and plants.
If anyone is concerned about tennis courts, now is the time to give the city government the benefit of your opinion on this subject.
June 9, 1961, San Diego Union, A-20:4. Balboa Stadium seat bidder asks to withdraw.
Because the low bidder made an error on bidding on a $50,000 job to install seat backs in Balboa Stadium, City Manager George Bean yesterday recommended that the City Council too out all bids and readvertise.
June 12, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:6. Mrs. Eleanor B. Edmiston praises Rotarians for park interest.
June 14, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:4. Balboa Park Stadium work bids rejected.
June 15, 1961, San Diego Union, A-21:7, A-29:4. Religious rites approved for county parks, by Charles Ross.
Religious services may be held legally in the county’s 40 public parks, county counsel Henry Dietz ruled yesterday.
The ruling reversed a 1951 opinion of the county counsel banning park religious services on the grounds of conflict with constitutional provision guaranteeing separation of church and state.
The opinion, however, held that where religious services conflict with use of a park by others, services could not be held, since the parks are for public recreational use.
Religious activities in city parks have been permitted except for a brief period in 1959.
A ruling of the city attorney’s office at that time held that Balboa Park could not be used for services at Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving on the grounds that the law prohibited public assistance for religious groups. The ruling has been changed.
June 16, 1961, San Diego Union, A-28:5. City Council yesterday approved plans for demolishing Balboa Park nursery and construction of new ones.
City Manager George Bean said the project will cost about $115,000. Involved will be the tearing down of greenhouses and erection of new one farther from Park Boulevard.
Funds for the nursery projects were in the current city capital outlay project.
June 16, 1961, San Diego Union, A-28:5. City Council approved San Diego Zoo lot paving plan yesterday; parking lot, across from the zoo, now is half paved; City will pay $5,500 or half the cost, with the Zoological Society contributing the other half.
June 18, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:1-4. Midget auto racing in Balboa Stadium bows out tonight to end 22-year auto era; Stadium developed into a speedway in 1939, by Johnny McDonald.
The once-popular midget autos bow out of Balboa Stadium with a 100-lap West Coast championship race. Similar tiny machines helped turn the big stadium from a white elephant into a money-maker with popular weekly shows several years ago.
June 18, 1961, San Diego Union, I-17:1-2. Eight annual California Square Dance convention in Balboa Park ends today.
June 22, 1961, San Diego Union, A-1:1-2, A-2:3-4. Camp Elliott site refused for adult hospital; Representative Bob Wilson, critic of plan, sees Navy move as killing plan; Brown indicates quest for another spot.
June 22, 1961, San Diego Union, A-32:2, A-37:1-2. City Council drops funds for seven play programs.
The council, at a budget conference, agreed the cutback might curtail youth recreation programs, but said the city was pressed for funds.
The order will affect such programs as the teaching of tap dancing, ballet dancing and the Junior theater. Councilmen unanimously agreed these programs should be financed solely by persons interested in them and not by all the taxpayers.
Councilmen agreed the city would continue to make available the facilities where these programs are conducted.
June 24, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:6-7. A. Richard Stern writes San Diego may lose fine art collection.
Speaking as a private citizen, I am deeply concerned that through delay San Diego may lose a tremendous gift of one of the exceptional art collections in the world; truly a cultural treasure.
Reference is being made to the proposed Putnam-Timken Gallery in Balboa Park which would be designed to house some 20 great masterpieces and be constructed and fully maintained at no expense to the community. We also are threatened with the loss of further acquisitions that will be made by this foundation.
A small but vociferous minority has objected to any changes to be made in the architecture of future buildings that would be constructed in Balboa Park. This opinion does not appear to be consistent with progress. If this magnificent collection of paintings, probably worth upward of some $3 million is not truly desired by the people of San Diego, there is a good possibility that this generous offer will be withdrawn forever.
Coventry Cathedral in England was virtually demolished by the Germans in World War II and is now being rebuilt on an adjacent site. I should like to quote in part the Very Rev. Richard T. Howard, provost of Coventry, as he answered critics of the architecture of the new cathedral:
“It belongs to this age. The old church was new in its time and the new church will be definitely and sincerely for the present day.”
June 25, 1961, San Diego Union, A-23:3-5. City Council slashes $125,000 from “promotion” funds.
June 26, 1961, San Diego Union, C-2:1-2. EDITORIAL: taxing agencies here should hold line; rate could rise 47 cents unless officials pare spending programs.
June 28, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:7, A-25:1. Cuts urged in city budget to avert higher tax rate; Taxpayers Association takes stand at hearings, by Edwin G. Martin.
June 28, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:8, A-25:1. Recreation Fund slash is opposed.
June 28, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:8. Star-Light Opera Improves Balboa Park Bowl.
A complete dressing up of Balboa Park Bowl has been announced by Earl J. Cantos, president of Starlight and the festive look will be completed by the first show, “Destry Rides Again,” which opens July 6.
William Rosser, local architect, designed the new facade to the bow, Cantos said.
June 29, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:8, A-25:1-2. Recreation fund slash is opposed.
June 29, 1961, San Diego Union, A-21:7-8. Kenneth C. Lint, the San Diego Zoo’s curator of birds, will leave Saturday on a 15,000-mile wild animal collecting expedition on the former Dutch East Indies area.
June 30, 1961, San Diego Union, A-32:1-2. Recreation appeals added; decision due today.
About 14,000 children participate annually in the recreation programs, according to Les Earnest, city park and recreation director.
If the council eliminated the city’s subsidy of leadership costs, a budget saving of $57,599 could be realized.
June 30, 1961, San Diego Union, A-33:1-2. A pageant of past, present and future patriots of 19 nationalities will be presented at 2 p.m. Sunday in Organ Pavilion.
July 1, 1961, San Diego Union, A-13:4, A-15:4. Possible tax rate cut predicted for city; city restores recreational budget items; music, dancing programs reinstated; Council reversed itself yesterday.
Reinstated a tentative $57,599 budget cut affecting such recreation programs as tap and ballet dancing, youth symphony and junior theater.
Reinstated tentative $16,000 budget cut which would have wiped out the Horton Plaza information booth.
July 1, 1961, San Diego Union, A-13. City Manager Bean suggests increase in permit fees; step would bring 2-cent decrease in the tax rate, by E. G. Martin.
July 3, 1961, San Diego Union, A-9:1-3. Nineteen nations honored at Pageant of Patriots at Organ Pavilion yesterday.
July 3, 1961, San Diego Union, B-1. Civic Leaders at colorful event; 19 nations are honored in Pageant of Patriots, by Dick Bowman (illus.).
The pages of history came to life in Balboa Park yesterday as a pageant of past, present and future patriots honoring 19 nations were presented at the organ pavilion.
Marching across a platform filled with civic, military and political leaders, were costumed San Diegans, representing such outstanding figures as Theodore Roosevelt, Confucius, Sir Winston Churchill, Paavo Nurmi, the Marquis de Lafayette, Baron Von Steuben, Madame Marie Curie, Abraham Lincoln, President Kennedy as a Navy lieutenant and many others.
More than 2,000 freedom-minded visitors filled the pavilion for the colorful event, which was sponsored by the house of Pacific Relations.
July 6, 1961, San Diego Union, A-21:1-2. Les Earnest, city park and recreation director, sees $10 million park bond issue for Mission Bay.
July 7, 1961, San Diego Union, A-15:7-8. City Council approved $68.4 million budget; City Manager says tax rate increase is not expected; rise of 6 percent in assessed valuations anticipated.
July 9, 1961, San Diego Union, C-6:3-7. Ford rotunda at Dearborn, Mich. is industry’s showcase (illus.).
July 12, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:1-3, A-20:1-2. Curtiss A-1; 1911 flight of seaplane relived here, by Charles Eischen.
July 17, 1961, San Diego Union, A-13:1-4. Charles Cannon, Starlight mainstay, doffs costume to take top role behind the scenes, by Joe Brooks (illus.), (Incomplete).
July 23, 1961, San Diego Union, A-11:5. Balboa Park master plan hearing set; City Council schedules study Tuesday; avoids style issue.
July 23, 1961, San Diego Union, A-11:5. Recreation Round-up in Palisades area August 18-20.
July 26, 1961, San Diego Evening Tribune. Vote delayed on park plan; Vice Mayor Frank Curran silences effort to discuss architecture, by Don Coleman.
July 26, 1961, San Diego Union, A-13:4-6, A-18:5-6. Balboa Park plan praised, criticized; 11 back proposal, 15 oppose it as City Council opens public hearing, by Charles Ross (illus.)..
August 1, 1961, San Diego Union. Virginia S. Burrill urges park maintenance funds; ignore Bartholomew plan
August 3, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:7. R. H. Brock, tennis patron, tells Master Plan stand; claims he was misquoted in Union article July 26.
August 4, 1961, San Diego Union, A-13:1. A-20:1-2. Downtown Association gets plants to improve south of Broadway.
August 11, 1961, San Diego Union, A-20:6-8. Tourist Bureau planning annual meeting in Balboa Park,
August 18, 1961, San Diego Union, A-15:5, A-16:8. Center City architect proposed; City Manager Bean asks Council to name Sam Hamill as supervisor.
August 18, 1961, San Diego Union, A-15:6-8, A-20:2-4. Craft, hobby fair opens today in Federal Building.
August 20, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:1-2. “Viva Mexico” shout will start Mexico festivities at Balboa Park Bowl September 15.
August 25, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:1, A-23:1. Convention group hears park plans.
August 26, 1961, San Diego Union, A-13:4, A-20:1. City Council sees Balboa Park fire hazard.
August 27, 1961, San Diego Union, C-2:1-2. EDITORIAL: Precious Gift to San Diego In Jeopardy – City could lose eminent art collection through bickering.
In November 1958, those who love San Diego were thrilled to hear of a significant gift — a gift by which the city would become the home of the most eminent art collection west of Chicago and made San Diego an art capital of the west.
Two families — the Timkens and the Putnams — once had San Diego ties. Both had roles in building and supporting the existing Fine Arts Gallery. They had established charitable foundations, and the foundations now were preparing to join to create a permanent home for approximately 40 irreplaceable old masters, including some on load to the great galleries in Washington, New York, Chicago and Cambridge, Mass.
Some of the paintings already are in San Diego, the property of the Fine Arts Society. Others are the property of the Putnam Foundation and are on loan to the National Gallery, the Chicago Art Institute, the Metropolitan Museum at New York and the Fogg Museum at Harvard. They include works by Rubens, Rembrandt, Corot, Murillo, Titian and a very rare painting by Pieter Brueghel the Elder. They have been lent for safekeeping because paintings need just the right physical conditions for their safety.
When the time comes to send these works to San Diego, there is not one of the museums which will not feel it has lost a treasure.
The gift took on ever greater significance because of two facts: Europe no longer permits the easy sale to America, even at towering prices, of its works of art; it wants to keep them home. And the Putnam Foundation, through trust funds, intends to continue purchases of old masters for the San Diego collection.
The $1 million building in Balboa Park would be known as the “Timken Gallery, housing the Putnam collection.” An architect was selected and tours of the great galleries were made and expert advice sought.
Preliminary plans were approved by the City Planning Commission and by the Park Commission. It was with this approval that the long and complicated and costly work of preparing final plans had progressed. These plans are about 95 percent complete.
Now we have some persons who say they don’t like the plans.
They propose different plants, or they propose that the building would be situated somewhere else. They say the building is too small, or that it will destroy a money-making attraction (Balboa Park). The don’t, they say, like its looks.
They are like a nephew to whom uncle gives a new car. The nephew says he would rather have another made and model and a little more equipment on it, please.
Nephew has a right to his views, but we wonder what uncle would say.
We wonder what San Diego will say about any such protests, protests that can jeopardize one of the greatest gifts ever made to a city.
August 29, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:7. Mrs. David H. Ryan, La Mesa, hopes El Prado will be preserved.
Editor: Boston has its memorials, its sites of famous men and events — “Early American.” So has Philadelphia, Washington, Charleston, Savannah, and many others. And each has its own particular heritage which it jealously preserves and profits by. Down east colonial architecture flourishes today in public buildings as well as in many of our most modest dwellings.
We in San Diego have our own preeminence as the birthplace of Spanish colonial civilization. This heritage has been beautifully preserved in Balboa Park; so beautifully done that El Prado is world-renowned. We poor laymen, merely taxpayers, may not be qualified to discuss architecture but we do know what makes San Diego a lasting memory in the heart of every tourist who visits El Prado and brings him back to live here.
There is plenty of room in the park. Let’s be like Paris or have a palais of this or a musee of that in a location distinct from our little “Louvre” on El Prado. Let us have a Musee d’Art Modern where the Avant Garde can enjoy the modernists. A museum for modern art deserves its own proper setting and it does not belong on El Prado.
Let us keep El Prado glamorous and accessible. Cut traffic to its former 12 miles an hour so that one can drive through (if unable to walk), get a taste of faraway places and that “Castles in Spain” feeling! For those in a hurry to cross town, let’s build a couple of good wide tunnels across the park.
September 1, 1961, San Diego Union, A-19:6, A-23:3-5. City Council referred to study on suggestion that a committee of architects and laymen be appointed to decide type of architecture in Balboa Park; majority of Council said new buildings should be “compatible” with existing structures, by Edwin G. Martin.
A majority of the City Council indicated yesterday that the exact reproduction of buildings along El Prado in Balboa Park would be preferred.
If it were impossible to exactly reproduce buildings needing replacement, a majority of the council indicated that new ones should be “compatible” with the existing structures in every way.
With these assurances, a second public hearing on the proposed master plan for development of the park switched from a grim war of words between the council and members of the Balboa Park Protective Association to the next thing to a honeymoon.
Helping to foster the unfamiliar harmony was the council’s further indication that a proposed architectural advisory committee would be composed of lay people as well as architects.
And, according to Councilman Allen Hitch, several of the offices of the Balboa Park Protective Association would be invited to serve on the committee, the chief function of which would be to pass on architectural styles of any buildings replaced along El Prado.
The council postponed formal adoption of a master plan until September 14 to give the Balboa Park Protective Association time to study details other than architectural styles.
Still to be resolved, however, is the future of a proposed Timken-Putnam wing to the Fine Arts Gallery.
Former Councilman Ross Tharp, acting as attorney for the BPPA, said his organization favors another site for the Timken wing if the foundation is unwilling to modify its plans to conform with existing El Prado architecture.
Tharp pointed out that two directors of the foundation — Walter Ames and A. J. Sutherland — originally proposed that the city “exercise control over the architectural pattern of the outside of the building,” according to official council minutes of a November 20, 1958 conference.
Ames, an attorney, and Sutherland, a banker, first made known to the council the proposed gift of the Timken wing to house old masers of the Putnam Foundation at this meeting.
At that time, according to the minutes of the meeting, Ames and Sutherland said directors of the foundation desired a free hand only over the internal structure of the building.
“All we ask now is that the initial proposal of 1958 be lived up to,” Tharp told the council. “All we ask is that the council do what was contemplated at the time of the original presentation, that is, to exercise control over the architectural pattern of the outside of the building.”
Tharp added, “If the benefactors at this late date desire to deviate from their original proposal, let there be found an appropriate site elsewhere.”
“If an alternative site does not satisfy them, let us be prepared to experience an unrealized gain. Let us not sacrifice an entire treasure chest for the sake of one gem.”
Ames, however, disagreed in part with the agreement in the council minutes. He told the San Diego Union in an interview:
“I recall that we assured the council we would build something acceptable to the city, but I don’t recall any mention of the city controlling the architecture.
“There’s a wide gulf between building an acceptable building and the city controlling the architecture.”
Ames said he was disappointed that not a single voice was raised in defense of the proposed Timken wing — a white marble building featuring a massive bronze grill which has been described as “classical Spanish” by its architect, Frank Hope of San Diego.
“We have no thoughts at present of redesigning,” Ames said. “Architects cost money. We won’t build, of course, until something finally is settled. The directors will have to huddle to find something.”
Henri Jacot, an architect and vice president of the BPPA, told the council that he had polled 50 percent of the architects here and of that number 81 percent thought architectural styles of buildings along El Prado should remain the same.
Jacot criticized the proposed Timken-Putnam wing as being a building that “wrecks the unity of the best architectural complex in San Diego.”
“It displays box-type architecture, barren in plan and facade,” Jacot said. “It creates an unbelievable situation because the Fine Arts Gallery is unable to exercise control over the development of one of its wings.”
L J Ninteman, owner of a building firm, told the council that it would be comparatively inexpensive to reproduce the art work on El Prado buildings in cast stone. He said it could be done for $14 to $20 for each square foot of building.
September 2, 1961, San Diego Union, A-16:5. Three fired on a technicality in park fracas; patrolman attacked from behind while trying to help a youth who had been hurt in a fight in the parking lot of the War Memorial Building.
September 6, 1961, San Diego Union, 19:4. Justin Evenson, Councilman, criticizes Balboa Park Protective Association.
Councilman Justin Evenson yesterday criticized those who have objected to the proposed Timken-Putnam wing of the Fine Arts Gallery “without even seeing a model of the building.”
Leaders of the Balboa Park Protective Association, a citizens group, castigated the proposed new wing as being architecturally designed like a “super market” in last week’s hearing before the council on Balboa Park.
“I learned over the weekend that some of these people haven’t seen the model of the building,” Evenson told the council in a conference discussion which he instigated.
“It’s getting to be a fine thing when we let ignorance such as this guide our thinking. I think we own the architect (Frank Hope of San Diego) and apology.”
The discussion ended with Councilman Ivor de Kirby suggesting that BPPA leaders be invited on a field trip of the park to observe areas of improvement — and to see the model of the proposed building.
Vice Mayor Frank Curran said he would attempt to arrange such a trip next week.
Ross Tharp, attorney for BPPA and former council member, said he had seen an artist’s rendering of the wing in January with Mrs. E. F. Edmiston, BPPA president, and other members of the group.
Tharp said the rendering was shown by Walter Ames, director of the Timken Foundation, during a meeting with the civic unit.
He added that the BPPA members, as “long-time residents of San Diego,” were intimately acquainted with all areas of Balboa Park but, in light of De Kirby’s suggestion, would be happy to attend a field trip of park improvement areas.
Tharp said the group’s position has always been that the council could “experiment with the unorthodox” in areas other than El Prado.
“We do not want to turn this into a name-calling contest,” Tharp added. “I believe it is unfair to call these people ignorant just because they are expressing opinions about the park they love.”
September 7, 1961, San Diego Union, A-22:1-2. San Diego Zoo unit renames four board members — Dr. E. Minton Fetter, L. M. Klauber, Robert J. Sullivan and Milton G. Wegeforth.
Last Sunday (the largest single day in the zoo’s history) a total of 25,631 persons visited the zoo.
The development of additional parking for 1,500 cars this year and 4,000 next year, making a total of 8,000 parking spaces, was cited as a major goal by the society.
September 7, 1961, San Diego Union, A-22:1-2. Balboa Park Protective Association officers to tour facilities tomorrow beginning at 9 a.m.
September 7, 1961, San Diego Union, A-22:3. San Diego Zoo – Kenton C. Linton, curator of birds, back from collecting trip.
September 7, 1961, San Diego Union, A-22:3. Dr. Robert M. Stader replaces Dr. Werner Heuschele as chief veterinarian at San Diego Zoo.
September 8, 1961, San Diego Union, A-21:8, A-22:1-2. Plans for Timken-Putnam wing postponed; design dispute blamed, by Edwin G. Martin.
Plans for a Timken wing to the Fine Arts Gallery to house the Putnam Foundation’s collection of old masters have been “postponed indefinitely,” it was announced yesterday.
“We do not known when, if ever, consideration of the proposal will be renewed,” said Walter Ames, an attorney, and A. J. Sutherland, a banker, both directors of the Putnam Foundation, in making the announcement.
Members of the City Council reacted to the news of the indefinite postponement with statements of disappointment.
Philip P. Martin of 5504 Lindo Paseo, director of the Balboa Park Protective Association, said the news was disappointing, but he added “It was unfortunate that the directors tried to cram down the throats of San Diegans an incompatible type of architecture.”
The association led the attack on the proposed architecture of the $1 million wing, which had been proposed as an east wing to the present gallery in place of the old American Legion building..
Critics castigated the building’s design as being out of keeping with the rest of the buildings along El Prado and likened the white marble structure to a supermarket.
Ames and Sutherland announced the directors’ decision in a statement issued yesterday afternoon.
“We now realize that the future disposition of the old buildings in Balboa Park has become a matter of wide community interest and controversy, and whether they will be demolished, repaired or replaced may not be decided for a long time,” the statement said.
“The subjects of art and architecture are always matters of sharp differences of opinion, and it is not our desire or intention to become involved in broad problems of park architecture.
“Our purpose was to provide the best possible gallery for the protection, preservation and viewing of paintings, and we will not become involved in the general problems of restoring or replacing park buildings.
“Since the Timken Foundation had intended to participate in the project, we have, of course, advised it of our present plans.”
Vice Mayor Frank Curran said a scheduled tour of Balboa Park for members of the association will still be conducted today. Part of the tour was to have included a look at the model of the proposed wing, as well as a model of the proposed west wing of the gallery.
“This is an example of what confusion over such difficult subjects as architecture can lead to,” Curran said. “It may cause us to lose a worthwhile project, and I’m sorry about it.”
Councilman Allen Hitch, however, said that while he was disappointed in the director’s decision to postpone such a worthy project, “with just a few minor changes in architecture this art gallery would have been acceptable to every citizen in San Diego.”
Another councilman, Ivor DeKirby, expressed hope that the directors’ action will not close the door to San Diego’s obtaining of the wing and the paintings.
“I say this because of the tremendous loss to the city of these art masterpieces which the Putnam sisters wanted to make available to the city.” DeKirby said, “As I understand it, this exhibit when assembled would be the greatest west of the Mississippi.”
Councilman Harry Scheidle said, “I’m sorry they’ve withdrawn the offer but if they had waited until the tour was made I’m sure some agreement could have been made.”
Mrs. Eleanor Edmiston of 2928 33rd St., president of the Balboa Park Protective Association, said she was sorry to hear of the decision.
“All we’ve ever done is request that San Diego preserve its world-famous architecture,” she said. “I don’t see why the directors can’t choose another spot in the park, perhaps the Ford Building location, if they want to have their type of building. After all, art galleries don’t have to be in the same place.
Mayor Dail could not be reached for comment last night.
Martin pointed out that council minutes show that when Ames and Sutherland originally made the offer to build the wing and bring the Putnam collection to San Diego the two directors indicated that the city was to control outside architecture.
Ames, however, has said he recalls the details of the meeting somewhat differently. He has said that Sutherland and he assured the council that the structure would be made acceptable to the city, but he did not recall any mention of the city controlling exterior design.
September 8, 1961, San Diego Union, A-24:1-2. San Diego Zoo hunt nets valuable animals, by Natalie Best.
A total of 377 mammals, birds and reptiles, valued at $15,000, were collected for the San Diego Zoo by Kenton C. Lint, the Zoo’s curator of birds, on his recent expedition to the Far East.
September 8, 1961, San Diego Union, A-24:4-5. City Council votes recreation fees.
Mayor Dail indicated he felt participants in poorer sections of the city would be forced to drop out if fees are charged.
September 9, 1961, San Diego Union, 17:2-4, A-19:1-2. Model of proposed $1.3 million west wing of Fine Arts Gallery displayed (illus.), by Edwin G. Martin (illus.).
A model of the proposed $1.3 million west wing of the Fine Arts Gallery was displayed yesterday for leaders of the Balboa Park Protective Association. Top leaders of the association did not like it.
The showing of the model was arranged as part of a tour of the park to introduce Balboa Park Protective Association leaders to the improvement suggested in a proposed master plan for Balboa Park development.
Twenty-one BPPA members, city officials and Fine Arts Society representatives went on the three hour inspection trip. The model of the Timken wing of the art gallery also was to have been shown, but Vice Mayor Frank Curran said directors of the foundation withdrew it.
Walter Ames, an attorney, and A. J. Sutherland, a banker, both directors of the Putnam Foundation, Thursday announced the “indefinite postponement” of plans to build the $1 million wing. They said the controversy over the wing’s architecture caused the postponement.
Meanwhile, Councilman Allen Hitch told The San Diego Union, that he will recommend that the council adopt a resolution Tuesday requesting Ames and Sutherland to reconsider.
“I think we ought to ask them to reconsider so we can work something out in a spirit of harmony,” Hitch said.
“Personally, I believe a few minor changes in the Timken wing’s design would satisfy 90 percent of the people.”
Ames yesterday told The San Diego Union that he and Sutherland are not inclined to entertain any more discussion about the Timken wing being in Balboa Park.
His statement was more definite and final than in the original statement issued Thursday in which words “postponed indefinitely” were used rather than an outright cancellation of the project.
In addition, Ames said directors “were not trying to cram down the throats of anyone” the design, as a BPPA director had charged.
“Our plans were approved by both the city Park and Recreation Commission and the city Planning Commission,” Ames declared.
Les Earnest, city park and recreation director, told the group inspecting the park yesterday that the trip has two basic purposes: first, to acquaint those attending with broad details of the master plan, including road network proposals, and second, to show them the West wing.
“It’s too flat,” said Mrs. Eleanor Edmiston, of 2928 33rd Street, president of the 600-member organization, in commenting on the proposed west wing.
“You may as well go ahead and close El Prado to auto traffic if all the buildings to be restored are going to look like the west wing.”
Mrs. Edmiston said the trip alleviated to an extent her previous fears as to the road pattern and, in particular, to a proposed pedestrian overpass near the organ pavilion.
“The road proposals appear to be sound — at least I can see the reasons for them,” she said. “But all along we’ve asked two things of the city. We would like El Prado to remain open (the mater plan recommends its closing so if would be free for pedestrian use) and we would like the present architecture along El Prado to remain unchanged.”
At least one member of the BPPA disagreed with the others in their criticism of the proposed west wing, designed by architects Robert Mosher and Roy Drew.
Mrs. Lloyd Burgert, of 3764 Hemlock St., saw the model and said, “I may seem like a turncoat, but I like it. It gives me a feeling of harmony with the existing structures.”
Mosher, who explained the objectives which guided the design, told the group that the single “great” building along El Prado is the California tower, designed by the late Bertram Goodhue.
“All the others were designed by a young draftsman in his office,” Mosher said. “And Goodhue himself urged that they be demolished after they had served their temporary use because they detracted from his building which is an outstanding example of Spanish Renaissance derivative architecture.”
Mosher said great care was taken to retain the “essence of beauty” of El Prado buildings in the design of the west wing while being forced to recognize the limitations of 20th century material, craftsmanship and finances.
The west wing, sand in color, will use prestressed and precast concrete and will have large sculptured concrete columns, 24 feet high, studding its exterior and interior courtyards, Mosher explained.
“We could not design a two-story structure which would equal the height of the present art gallery because a second story was not needed, and would cost too much,” Mosher said.
C J Paderewski, president of the San Diego Chapter of the American Institute of Architecture, urged that the master plan for Balboa Park be accepted.
It has some things in it which would not be agreeable to everyone, but it has too many right things to be wrong,” Paderewski said.
You’ll never get all of the people to agree to all of the proposals at the same time.”
The inspection began at the Balboa Park Club. The group was shown the diseased cypress trees near Sixth Avenue and Upas Street, ad told of the efforts being made to save the huge trees.
September 9, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:1. EDITORIAL: Gift Horse Kicked.
The City Council, unable to decide, unsure of the right of things, afraid to act, has kicked away a tremendous cultural asset to the city.
By its indecision, the council is losing the Putnam Foundation’s $2 million collection of old mater paintings. For months it has acted like a small boy sheepishly kicking a hole in the dirt, unable to decide whether proposed plans for a wing to house the collection were pretty good enough.
Many said the proposed Timken gift building wouldn’t be compatible with other buildings in Balboa Park. Others who approved wholeheartedly with the architect’s drawings weren’t vocal enough, as usual.
Now the foundation has aid, in effect, enough of the shilly-shallying, we are withdrawing our offer. And looking at what has happened, the decision is regretfully understandable.
Had the council decided after a through yet expeditious study of the plans that they were adequate, the city would have had the paintings.
On the other hand, had it decided quickly that the plans needed revision, the city would have had the painting.
Instead, the council tried to placate everyone. In spite of what one councilman said, everyone in San Diego will never like any one building, not even the Alhambra.
The council cannot always go to the voters for a decision. It should not.
It probably is too late but with the stakes so high we would suggest that even at this date the council made every effort to change the minds of the foundation leaders. Certainly this would help restore public confidence.
September 9, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:2. Old Globe’s Problems.
The 12th annual National Shakespearean Festival at the Old Globe Theater is having a record year, and yet it has a problem.
The season has been extended an extra week and even that is sold out. Attendance for the season has been 97.9 percent of capacity, compared with the best previous year (1960) of 93 percent.
Why the success? Well, there has been a general rebirth of Shakespeare interest. And the local festival for the third year is using a core of professional actors, the best there are, and there is the rub.
The theater can’t afford to maintain the high-talent level without enlarging the theater, or boosting ticket sales, or asking for outside help. The non-profit corporation’s volunteer board of directors is weighing the possibilities.
Old Globe has given San Diego a cultural life, one way or another, and San Diegans cannot let it fall.
September 10, 1961, San Diego Union, A-21:7-8, A-34:1-2. Edwin G. Martin says $2 million collection of old masters victim of “San Diego syndrome.”
A $2 million collection of old masters that was destined as a gift for the city fell victim last week to what a physician might describe as the “San Diego syndrome.”
A syndrome is a group of signs and symptoms that occur together and characterize a disease. Among the symptoms making up the “San Diego syndrome” are:
Backwardness of view.
Scarcity of public facts.
Paucity of leadership.
An investigation into the reasons why the city apparently lost a gift other cities would fall over backward to get reveals all of these symptoms.
The background was this:
Three wealthy sisters named Putnam, liking San Diego and with ties to the community, established a foundation which held some of the finest pictures in the world. The foundation wanted to collect all of them in one place.
Another wealthy family named Timken had interests in San Diego, too, and also a foundation whose assets were not pictures but cash.
The two foundations got together and decided to use the one’s cash to build a gallery next to the Fine Arts Gallery in Balboa Park in which would be placed the other’s paintings.
Walter Ames, a prominent San Diego attorney, and A. J. Sutherland, an equally prominent San Diego banker, were directors of the Putnam Foundation. And, so the story goes, the two worked hard to put together all the loose ends in the deal which included persuading other directors, non-residents, that San Diego was the ideal location for the amalgamation of cash and paintings.
Thus, the healthy idea was born.
Meanwhile, the Fine Arts Society was proceeding with a plan to raise money to build a second addition to the gallery on the west side into which would go an art library, education section, and more space for paintings.
This idea, also born healthy, was identified as the “west wing” to differentiate from the Timken wing, housing the Putnam collection, on the east side of the gallery.
The directors of the Putnam Foundation hired an architect who drew sketches which evolved into a design for the Timken wing. The design was taken before the city Park and Recreation Commission and the city Planning Commission, the required and routine procedure, and both bodies approved.
At this point, the wing was descried by the architect as of white marble construction in a “classical Spanish” style, with a massive bronze grill.
Later, when a hue and cry arose from part of the citizenry, the design was altered so that the white marble construction became a tan stone type of construction, more in harmony with existing buildings on El Prado in Balboa Park.
But little was said by foundation directors about the change, and most of the public never knew about it. This illustrated the symptom of lack of facts making up the San Diego syndrome.
The Timken directors, mindful of public criticism, decided not to publish a photograph of the revised design and this also illustrated the symptom of a lack of facts.
Then, an articulate segment of the population began to really criticize the wing as being incompatible with the remaining buildings along El Prado, a monstrosity, and other such terms. Here we have backwardness of view, another symptom.
Meanwhile, the Fine Arts Society decided to raise funds by running a newspaper ad. The ad was illustrated with a drawing of something labeled “proposed west wing.” But the drawing was not representative of the west wing, it turned out. It was merely something thrown together because an illustration was thought necessary.
However, the public believed it was and, not being told any different, voiced criticism of the west wing, too. The criticism mainly centered on the inappropriateness of a large, blocky glass-and-aluminum structure — the impression created by the drawing.
The public was not told of the real design intended until last Friday when a model of the west wing was shown during a tour of Balboa Park for critics. The hesitation.
Actually, the real west wing design was impressive to a great many persons on the tour. Even a member of the most vocal group concerned said she liked it, although others had some doubts.
All of the brickbats being thrown discouraged the Putnam Foundation directors, and last week they announced the withdrawal of their plans. The model of the Timken wing was not even available for showing to critics.
The west wind, due to its secondary role in the controversy, remained alive and probably can overcome most of the criticism against it now that the public sees what it looks like.
But no leader came forward to support the Timken wing and the $2 million art collection succumbed to the civic disease called the “San Diego syndrome.”
September 10, 1961, San Diego Union, A-41:1-8, A-43:1-3. Cabrillo Bridge: A Bridge to the World, by Floyd McCracken.
Thomas Be. Hunter of San Francisco (the bridge designer) found what he sought at Ronda, Spain, where a picturesque multiple arch viaduct spanned Tajo Gorge.
Construction work was supervised by Frank P. Allen, San Diego’s Director of Works, who spend $214,000 on the steel and concrete structure.
. . . it originally was designed — for a foot bridge.
September 12, 1961, San Diego Union, A-15:2-4, A-21:7-8. Fine Arts Society of San Diego and Junior League of San Diego upset over loss of proposed Timken wing.
Both the Fine Arts Society of San Diego and the Junior League of San Diego yesterday expressed concern over the possible loss of the proposed Timken wing of the Fine Arts Gallery in Balboa Park.
The society’s board of trustees made public a resolution it adopted Sunday urging the City Council to persuade the Timken and Putnam Foundations “to reinstate their munificent offer.”
Mrs. Arthur Crews Wells, president of the Junior League, meanwhile, said the league executive board will meet today to adopt a similar resolution. She said it would be read to Mayor Dail today and delivered to the City Council before Thursday.
The concern by the two organizations stems from the Putnam Foundation’s announcement last Thursday that it was dropping plans for a Timken wing at the Fine Arts Gallery.
The wing was to have been built by the Timken Foundation to house the Putnam Foundation’s collection of old masters.
Members of the Balboa Park Protective Association had criticized drawings of the white marble Timken wing as a “supermarket.”
The Fine Arts Society resolution was passed unanimously at a special meeting Sunday, William T. Stephens, president, said.
The resolution said the trustees “express their complete and vehement support of the proposals made to the city of San Diego by the Putnam and Timken Foundations.”
It urged the City Council to “make every possible effort to persuade the Timken and Putnam Foundations to reinstate their munificent offer.”
Mrs. Wells said the Junior League executive board would draft its resolution at a meeting in her home this morning. She believes the resolution will urge the City Council to go along with the Timken-Putnam plans.
The Asiatic Art Committee of the Fine Arts Society also has passed a resolution calling the Putnam Foundation withdrawal “tragic.” The resolution was sent to Mayor Dail.
City officials are receiving numerous letters from citizens urging them to take steps to retain the Putnam Foundation collection for San Diego.
“I’ve had scores of letters to support the Timken wing,” said Dail. “I think a lot of people may attend the council meeting this Thursday to voice their opinions on the withdrawal.”
Councilman Allen Hitch said last week she will urge the council to adopt a resolution asking Putnam Foundation directors to reconsider.
Stephens told a reporter a large delegation of society trustees and members would attend a hearing by the City Council at 2 p.m. Thursday on the proposed master plan for Balboa Park.
September 13, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:4, A-18:1. City Council to act on Timken wing; resolution okaying Putnam offer on docket tomorrow.
A resolution finding the proposed Timken Gallery “in harmony with architectural provisions of the Balboa Park master plan” was placed on the City Council docket yesterday.
The council will act tomorrow on the resolution, submitted by Councilman Justin Evenson.
The resolution accepts the offer of the Putnam Foundation to build the Timken Gallery and declares the building is a needed and desirable facility to further the educational and cultural development of the community.
Evenson said the resolution will be acted upon following a public hearing on the Balboa Park master plan which begins at 2 p.m. tomorrow.
Directors of the Putnam Foundation withdrew the offer to build the $1 million Timken gallery following criticism of the proposed building. The gallery was to have housed a $2 million collection of paintings.
Evenson’s request to place his resolution on the docket tomorrow by unanimous consent was not disputed by other councilmen. Councilman Allen Hitch said his colleague’s resolution made it unnecessary to introduce one he planned.
Mayor Dail said he did not know for sure whether the council’s action on the resolution, assuming it is favorable, would change the minds of the directors.
“I don’t think they’re going to do anything until they receive some work on council action,” he said.
The resolution said:
‘WHEREAS, the Putnam Foundation has heretofore offered to construct a building in Balboa Park to be known as the Timken Gallery to house and publicly display art treasures consisting of paintings by ‘old masters’ owned by the Putnam Foundation; and
‘WHEREAS, the design of the proposed building is in harmony with the architectural provisions of the Balboa Park master plan; and
“WHEREAS, said building with its public display of the Putnam art collection would result in San Diego becoming a focal point for art lovers and would provide opportunities for the citizens of San Diego and the visitors to San Diego to view the largest art gallery and collection of its kind in the western United States; and
“WHEREAS, said gallery would be a major contributing cause to the cultural and educational development of the community and would centralize the famous Putnam collection which is now exhibited in various museums on the East Coast, and
“WHEREAS, the offer heretofore made by the Putnam Foundation provides the city with the rarest of opportunities in acquiring for the citizens of San Diego a magnificent structure as a permanent facility in Balboa Park and offers visitors to Balboa Park the exceptional opportunity to view the famous and priceless paintings of the Putnam collection, now, therefore,
“BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the City of San Diego as follows:
“That the Council of the City of San Diego for and on behalf of the people of San Diego accepts the offer of the Putnam Foundation to construct a building for the Timken Gallery in accordance with the preliminary design plans heretofore presented by Frank L. Hope & Associates; and
‘BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the proposed use of the housing of the art gallery is a needed and desirable facility to further the educational and cultural development of the community; and
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED by the council of said city that the city manager and the city attorney are hereby directed and empowered to contact the Putnam Foundation and work out all necessary arrangements for completing the project.”
September 13, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:7. Elsa P. Wilson wants Art Center in park to have same style as other El Prado buildings.
September 13, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:7. Leo Turner wants popular selections at Organ Pavilion concerts.
September 14, 1961, San Diego Union, A-1:1-2. Hearing set today on gallery design.
September 14, 1961, San Diego Union, A-23:6-8, A-24:6-5. Council studies Timken Gallery proposal today; hearing slated on park plan; collection dates to 15th century.
The old masters’ paintings offered by the Putnam Foundation to San Diego and endangered by a civic dispute on architectural styles for Balboa park date back to the early 15th century.
Valued at more than several million dollars, the collection includes the works of such great painters as Rembrandt, Titian and Rubens.
They were to be included in a new $1 million wing to the Fine Arts Gallery in the park.
Paintings of the Dutch and Flemish 17th century period:
“St. Bartholomew,” by Rembrandt; “Duke of Mantua,” by Rubens; “View of Haarlem,” by Jacob van Ruysdael; “The Grand Passage,” landscape, by Meindert Hobbema; “A Pasturage Near Dordrecht,” by Aeibert Cuyp — all now at the Metropolitan Art Gallery in New York City; “The Letter,” by Gabrietl Metzu, and “Portrait of a Man,” by Franz Hals, both at the National Art Gallery, in Washington, D. C.
Italian, 15th and 16th centuries:
“Cardinal Bembo,” by Titian (Metropolitan); “The Holy Family,” by Paolo Veronese (National), and “The Madonna and Child,” by Jacobello del Fiore (private collection).
Flemish and Franco Flemish, 15th and 16th centuries:
“Death of a Virgin,” by Petrus Christus and “The Parable of the Sower,” by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (both National); “Portrait of Gui XVII -Comte de Laval,” by Francoise Clouet, and “Adoration of the Magi,” by The Master of St. Lucia Legend (Metropolitan).
Spanish, 17th century period:
“Christ on the Cross,” by Bartolome Murrillo (National).
French, 18th and 19th century periods:
“Portrait of Mr. Penrose,” by Jacques Louis David (Metropolitan); “View of Volterra,” by J. B. Corot and “Le Colin – Maillard,” by Honore Fragonard (both National).
Russian, 16th and 19th centuries:
“Portrait of Countess Samoilova,” by Carl P. Brulov and “The Burning of Moscow,” by Vasili Veret Schchagin (both in private collections).
The proposed $1 million Timken gallery will be considered today by the City Council in view of growing public demands to acquire it as a home for the Putnam Foundation’s collection of valuable paintings.
Councilman Justin Evenson said he will offer a resolution to adopt the plans for the gallery in a last-minute effort to preserve the famous old masters’ paintings for San Diego.
Evenson was joined yesterday by the Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Tourist Bureau, which passed resolutions urging the council to override criticism and accept the gallery design.
“San Diegans as a whole are deeply concerned over the possible loss to this city of the gifts of the Putnam and Timken foundations,” the chamber said in an announcement.
The Convention and Tourist Bureau called the offers a “remarkably generous combination” to benefit the city’s visitor business.
The council meeting will begin at 2 p.m. in the council chamber in the Civic Center.
The resolution to be offered by Evenson will be considered after a public hearing on a proposed master plan for Balboa park.
The gifts of the paintings and the Timken wing to the Fine Arts Gallery in the park were endangered recently when architects’ designs were criticized as being inappropriate to existing building styles there.
One person said the two-story tan-colored wing would take on the appearance of a “supermarket.”
It was after this public dispute that Walter Ames, trustee president of the Putnam Foundation, said the offer to give the collection to San Diego had been withdrawn.
Ames said yesterday that “public interest has indicated a change in the situation,” but he declined to speculate on whether the collection, valued at several million dollars, could be saved for the city. He will not attend the council meeting, he said.
There is no question that other cities would like to have them,” he said, adding he had no information about a reported offer from a group in Phoenix to build a gallery to house the collection.
Several colleges have indicated strong interest, Ames went on, “and two years ago the director of the National Art Gallery (Washington, D. C.) made a special trip out here to try to keep them.”
The 20 paintings are now housed in private collections, the National Art Gallery and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
James A. Leftwich, a La Jolla publicist-writer and former public relations director of a New York art museum, Sunday announced formation of a public group to acquire the paintings for La Jolla.
He said the group included Tim Sellew, former president of the La Jolla Town Council, and other prominent persons.
The Convention and Tourist Bureau’s announcement said:
“This resolution is drawn with strong feelings that this Putnam-Timken gallery, in combination with the existing Fine Arts Gallery and its proposed west wing, will provide San Diego with one of the most formidable new visitor attractions — of truly international dimensions — that our area has ever acquired.”
Edward A. Heilbron, chairman of the chamber’s parks and recreation facilities committee, said:
“It is the belief of committee members that every effort should be extended to have the City Council take immediate action to appeal to the foundation representatives to reinstate the gift offer.”
Directors agreed that the chamber should point to San Diego’s eagerness “to become the beneficiary of these treasured works of art and a building to house them,” Heilbron said.
September 14, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:2. EDITORIAL: Time For Action.
The City Council can take a step to restore public confidence today when it considers a belated resolution accepting the Putnam and Timken foundations combined $3 million offering of an art gallery wing and valuable paintings.
The long overdue resolution may be too late, but it does offer encouraging hope that the council is climbing from the doldrums. As Mayor Dail has indicated, he and the councilmen should stand up and be counted on this issue.
The council until now has been unduly influenced by varied pressure groups, but judging from the mail it has received and from that sent to this newspaper, the voters of San Diego believe that the failure of the city government to act sooner is nothing less than disgraceful.
We urge the council to vote unanimously to adopt the offer for the gallery and paintings — and then to seek in the most persuasive way possible to convince the trustees to let the past mistakes be forgotten.
September 14, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:7-8. Donald J. Brewer, La Jolla, writes art gallery loss is tragic.
The BPPA is one of these “protective” groups that really symbolize a sort of immaturity to cope with change and kind of civic sickness that expresses itself in hysterical concern over the facade rather than the heart of things. . . . .
I am sure there are thousands who don’t wish to be “protected” from intelligent thought and rational action and, in addition, from seeing the Putnam collection becoming a great San Diego cultural resource.
September 14, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:8. Paul S. Anderson, San Diego, urges BPPA to offer the City an “equivalent gift.”
The only fair thing that a reactionary group can do is to raise the millions of dollars to offer the city an equivalent gift. Should our council allow San Diego to lose such a tremendous gift unless there is an equal alternative?
September 15, 1961, San Diego Union, A-1:1-2, A-2:6-8 City Council finds Timken gallery in harmony with Balboa Park’s Master Plan by a 7-0 vote, by Edwin G. Martin.
A resolution find the Timken Gallery in harmony with the Balboa Park master plan was approved by a 7-0 vote yesterday in the City Council. The master plan was also adopted.
The unanimous action climaxed a public hearing that attracted about 300 persons to the council chamber, one of the largest in recent years.
Mayor Dail said the volume of mail, telephone calls and personal contacts by citizens in support of the Timken gallery was one of “the greatest I have ever seen.”
“It was just tremendous,” he said in an interview. “I haven’t seen anything like it recently.”
Dail said he will try to arrange a meeting with Walter Ames, an attorney, and A. J. Sutherland, a banker, directors of the Putnam Foundation, to persuade them to reconsider and build the gallery.
He said he will try to arrange such a meeting at his office today.
“We’ll implore them to change their minds,” Dail said. “I want to show them all the letters from San Diegans and the other evidence of the support for the gallery which has been generated here on a scale never before attempted.”
After the council session Ames made public this statement:
“We appreciate and shall not ignore the action of the City Council even though it comes at a late date. The interest expressed by the public has amazed us.
“We will bring all these facts to the attention of the several persons (not identified in the statement) who will take part in any further decisions. We cannot indicate how soon any additional announcement can be made, and have no other comment at this time.”
Ames and Sutherland shelved plans for the $1 million gallery and a $2 million collection of old masters’ paintings last week after criticism of the architecture of the gallery.
Overshadowed by the council’s approval of the resolution concerning the Timken Gallery was the accompanying unanimous vote to approve a master plan for development of Balboa Park as modified by the Planning Commission.
Drawn by Harland Bartholomew & Associates, a St. Louis planning firm, the master plan outlines a 15-year program of development — including the demolition and removal of certain buildings, construction of new roads, relocation farther east of Park Boulevard and rehabilitation of some structures.
The modifications included a change in a planned road to run behind the Old Globe Theater. Instead of being a surface road at that point, a deep cut will be made to carry the road past the theater. City officials hoped to eliminate any traffic noise by lowering the road.
Twenty-one speakers, representing organizations ranging from the Chamber of Commerce to the Central Labor Council, indorsed the master plan and the architecture of the proposed Timken wing.
“I don’t believe I’ve seen a more aroused group of citizens,” said Dallas Clark, president of the Symphony Association and coordinator of the program put on by those supporting the master plan and Timken Gallery.
“We actually had to limit the number of speakers because so many wanted to come forward. And our plea is simple. We want the Timken Gallery in San Diego, Clark said.
Ross Tharp, attorney for the Balboa Park Protective Association and former councilman, spoke for the opposition to the Timken Gallery.
“All the association asks is that the architecture theme of the Prado area be preserved as new buildings replace the old,” Tharp said.
Tharp said the BPPA believe the proper procedure to be appointment of an architectural committee, composed of laymen and architects, to evaluate the architectural them of each new or rehabilitated building.
The committee, Tharp said, would “insure that (the buildings) would be harmonious with the architectural design criteria of the master plan.”
He pointed out that Bartholomew & Associates recommended that new buildings “be required to harmonize with classic Spanish architecture” and said the association agreed with that statement.
(Proponents and opponents of the Timken Gallery have differed over whether the tan-marble building is sufficiently Spanish-flavored and therein lies the heart of the controversy.)
Tharp also said the BPPA indorses the proposals of the Bartholomew master plan “in general: but will reserve judgment on specific details until the specifics are ready for presentation to the council and public.
One exception to the indorsement was the recommendation to close El Prado to vehicles between the east end of Cabrillo Bridge and Park Boulevard, Tharp noted. The BPPA has opposed the closing, which Bartholomew said would return El Prado to pedestrians as it was in the 1914-15 [sic] exposition.
Mrs. Virginia Burrell, a BPPA member, told the council the organization has been accused unfairly of being a “meddling and quibbling group.”
“We’re not,” she said. “We’re just citizens sincerely interested in preserving the beauty of the park. Both the Timken Gallery and the proposed west wing of the Fine Arts Gallery are beautiful buildings — they just don’t fit into the Prado area.”
Warren Beach, Fine Arts Gallery director, described the paintings in the Putnam Foundation collection for the Council and said the loss of the gift would “damage the city’s reputation.”
“The Timken Gallery is a honey of a building; it will be a pleasure to operate and a sheer delight to visit,” Beach said. “Generations to come will be inspired by these masterpieces.”
William T. Stephens, president of the Fine Arts Society, pointed out that one aspect of the Putnam Foundation’s gift has been overlooked; that fact that more and more paintings will be brought here.
“The foundation has enough capital to insure a sufficient annual income to purchase one or two masterpieces each year,” Stephens said.
September 15, 1961, San Diego Union, A-1:2, A-2:6-7. Six buildings recommended for demolition in Bartholomew master plan.
Six buildings in the area of El Prado in Balboa Park are recommended for demolition in the Bartholomew master plan for park development adopted yesterday by the City Council.
Most would not be torn down, however, until new ones are ready to be built.
The master plan recommends:
- Demolition of the present Administration Building and landscaping of the site.
- Replacement of the Food and Beverage Building by a garden center possibly operated under auspices of the Floral Association.
- Demolition of the Electric Building with the site landscaped and held ready for a future new home for the Museum of Man.
- Construction of a new west wing of the Fine Arts Gallery where the Medical Arts Building now stands.
- Demolition of the American Legion Building and replacement with the proposed new Timken Gallery of the Putnam Foundation.
- Demolition of the House of Charm with the site reserved for a proposed sports museum.
Arcades should be retained or replaced along El Prado to unify the area as it is now, the master plan states.
Other key recommendations of the master plan include closing of El Prado to vehicular traffic between the east end of Cabrillo Bridge and Park Boulevard. Traffic crossing Cabrillo Bridge would be rerouted on peripheral roads north and south of El Prado.
The master plan recommends relocating Park Boulevard farther east along the general alignment of the old streetcar tracks, which will open more parking for the San Diego Zoo and will remove traffic from view.
In the Palisades area, the master plan recommends tearing down the Ford Building and replacing it with a scenic overlook and fountain; demolishing the Municipal Gymnasium, Balboa Park Club, Conference Building and Palisades Building; remodeling of the Federal Building and conversion of the center asphalt parking lot to a landscaped open spot.
These changes, according to the master plan, would not occur immediately and would depend on finances and development of substitute facilities elsewhere. The gym, for example, would remain until a new one can be built in the Morley Field area, which will be a centralized sports area.
The plan envisions a 15-year, three-stage financing program. The first stage would cost about $7.5 million, the second about $7.75 million and the third about $6 million. About $9 million of this would be in private financing, leaving about $12.5 million to be financed publicly.
September 16, 1961, San Diego Union, 1:1. Proposal to convert basement of Ford Building into a fallout shelter.
September 16, 1961, San Diego Union, A-13:1-2. Dail believes Park Gallery will be built, by Edwin G. Martin.
Mayor Dail said yesterday that he had “reason to believe” the directors of the Putnam Foundation will reconsider and build the Timken Gallery in Balboa Park.
September 16, 1961, San Diego Union, A-21:1. City will study Ford Building as shelter.
September 16, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:1. EDITORIAL: Building Balboa Park.
City Council approval of a Balboa Park master plan which includes the Timken gallery is an encouraging step toward progressive leadership.
By its decisive action the council may have saved the gallery and the priceless collection for San Diego. We hope so. The council’s earlier delay threatened to lose this wonderful asst.
Actually the people showed more leadership than the council. By their overwhelming desire to gain the gallery and its priceless collection of paintings they convinced the council to act. The council wisely followed, but it should have led.
On the Balboa Park master plan itself, the council again almost lost control through inaction. Six public hearings — two by the Planning Commission and four by the council — have been held since a proposed plan was made by Harland Bartholomew & Associates in July 1960. Nobody can say it has not been discussed enough.
Now the council must decide how to design and finance a Balboa Park for future generations. We believe the best agency to help would be a stronger version of the present Park and Recreation Commission with control over landscaping, architecture and financing studies.
In its recommendations to the council, the commission must be so constituted as to present the opinion of all San Diegans — the cross-section of views expressed at Friday’s council meeting.
The people spoke Friday and the council listened and acted correctly. We believe that if the council continues to assume leadership the people will listen and react wisely to support implementation of the Balboa Park master plan.
September 16, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:7. Thomas B. Robertson writes 20 years of work behind art gift.
Editor: Those well-intentioned persons whose efforts might have backed acceptance for San Diego of one of this generation’s great art collections are perhaps unaware of the 20 years of striving which lie behind the offer of this $1 million gift.
The Misses Putnam began to purchase first-quality Italian Renaissance and Baroque paintings for the Fine Arts Gallery as early as 1940, under the guidance of Reginald Poland, its founding director. His resignation in 1950 and departure from the city to pursue his career elsewhere were a personal sacrifice intended to clear the way for continued gifts to San Diego by the just-established multi-million dollar Putnam Foundation.
Since then some 18 paintings have been purchased by the foundation, valued at more than $2 million. They are now on load to such leading museums as the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C., the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Toledo Museum of Art, and others.
Poland also guided the early benefactions of the Timken family, including gift of the gallery building itself by Mr. and Mrs. Appleton S. Bridges (she was a Miss Timken).
Also to be mentioned is the leadership exercised in the trying period following Poland’s departure by the able president of the Fine Arts Society — Edmund T. Prince and the late Mrs. May Marcy. The present set-back (which we can still hope may not prove final) would surely be a disappointment to all these people — as it is to the writer.
September 18, 1961, Letter, Donald S. Bertram, Vice-Commander, American Legion, North Island Service Post No. 753, San Diego, Calif. to Mr. Walter Ames, Director, Putnam Foundation, Bank of America Building, San Diego, Calif.
Dear Mr. Ames:
At the last regular meeting of North Island Service Post No. 753, after being moved, seconded an discussed (without any dissent it might be added) the undersigned was directed to write this letter apprising you of the sentiments of the body.
Our Post believes that a minority group, however vocal, should not be allowed to give the impression that it speaks for the community. It was further felt that the Putnam Foundation should be asked to disregard the ill-advised words and actions of such a minority, and be urged to reconsider its withdrawal of the offer to the City of San Diego of the Timken Art Gallery to be located in Balboa Park.
This organization, and nearly all civic-minded citizens, deeply regret the lack of courtesy and dignity evidenced by the few opposed to the Timken Art Gallery. They certainly did not voice the opinion of the great majority of San Diegans (both city and county residents) who would be benefited by the proposed gallery.
The American Legion and this Post, stress very strongly service to the community, to education, and by our various programs the welfare of our younger generation. Your offer, so generously made, was in the best tradition of such service.
The present Department Commander of the State of California, Roscoe Morse, is a member of our Post and I am sure he would concur wholeheartedly in these sentiments.
To its officers, and to the Foundation (whether your offer is reinstated or if you decide to go elsewhere), we wish continued success in your endeavors. We earnestly ask you to share that success with us here in the city and county of San Diego.
Very sincerely yours,
(signed) Donald S. Bertram
September 18, 1961, San Diego Union, A-15:1. Art collecting sisters came to San Diego in 1913.
The Putnam Foundation, which has offered a collection of valuable art works to San Diego, was founded by two sisters who first moved to the city in 1913.
Miss Anne Putnam lives in a spacious Hillcrest home. Miss Amy Putnam died here July 23, 1958.
Nieces of the later Henry W. Putnam, a pioneer industrialist and inventor, the Putnam sisters shared his interest in the fine arts and civic betterment of San Diego.
Putnam commissioned Leland Stanford White, an internationally famous architect, to design a home for him which became a showpiece of the West. The two-story frame and concrete structure occupied an entire block between Third and Fourth Avenues and Maple and Nutmeg Streets.
Another block south of it, between Laurel and Maple, was planted as a garden.
The home was on of seven in California designed by White, who later was shot fatally on the Waldorf Astoria Hotel roof in New York City by Henry K. Thaw because of attentions White paid Thaw’s wife, Evelyn Nesbitt Thaw.
The home later was razed for a parking lot.
Putnam died in Miami, Fla. in 1915, bequeathing his estate to relatives.
His nieces, Anne and Amy Putnam, acquired the valuable paintings though the Putnam Foundation, placing them in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the National Art Gallery in Washington, D. C. and the Chicago Art Institute.
The foundation recently offered them to San Diego to be added to a proposed new wing to the Fine Arts Gallery in Balboa Park.
September 18, 1961, San Diego Union, A-15:1-3. Balboa Park fire burns two acres; cigarette blamed (illus.).
A two-alarm fire blamed on a carelessly discarded cigarette yesterday burned two acres of pine trees and shrubs near the Quince Street bridge and U. S. 395 in Balboa Park.
September 18, 1961, San Diego Union. B-2:7. Carl Gustav Hallbery wants statue of Leo Carillo in Balboa Park.
September 19, 1961, San Diego Union, A-16:4. Architect’s view — 1915 buildings “temporary.”
The architect who designed the buildings lining El Prado in Balboa Park did not expect any of them to remain after the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition, except the California Building and the Fine Arts Building.
In fact, the architect recommended that the other buildings be razed.
This came to light yesterday in a letter to the City Council by Philip L. Gildred, a former city planning commissioner, which included excerpts from an article by the architect, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue.
Gildred congratulated the council on its decision to approve the proposed Timken-Putnam wing to the Fine Arts Gallery and on adopting the park master plan.
In the article, written in 1916, Goodhue said the “temporary buildings” built along El Prado for the exposition were not to be considered “other than temporary, for it must be remembered that exposition architecture differs from that of our everyday world in being essentially of the fabric of a dream — not to endure but to produce a merely temporary effect. It should provide, after the fashion that stage scenery provides, illusion rather than reality.”
Later he wrote: “So at San Diego, the (Cabrillo) bridge, the domed-and-towered California State Building and the low-lying Fine Arts Building were to remain: the rest was to be swept away utterly.”
Goodhue concluded the article by writing, “and only by thus razing all of the temporary buildings will San Diego enter upon the heritage that is rightfully hers.”
September 19, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:7-8. Alan Cheesboro supports new art gallery in park.
September 20, 1961, San Diego Union, B-1:1-2. Seventy two animals join Zoo’s “Who’s Who.”
September 20, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:7. William Noonan supports art gallery.
September 21, 1961, San Diego Union, A-23:3. City officials yesterday assured the Putnam Foundation of full city cooperation in construction of Timken Gallery in Balboa Park.
September 22, 1961, San Diego Union, A-1:8. City Council dismissed George Bean as City Manager; named Tom Fletcher to act in post, by Edwin G. Martin.
September 22, 1961, San Diego Union, A-1:7, A-2:4. Highlights of City Manger Bean’s four-year career told.
September 22, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:7. Joanne C. Perry says proposed art wing beautiful.
September 23, 1961, San Diego Union, 15:1. Plans for west wing of Fine Arts Gallery unveiled yesterday morning at a press review in the Fine Arts Gallery, cost $2 million.
The replica of the initial building of the $2million addition was a low, one-story structure.
“We hope this proposed wing will become one of the nation’s outstanding exhibition centers,” said Warren Beach, gallery director. “It is planned to exhibit art to the very best advantage.
“The specially lighted patios, pool area and galleries are designed for maximum viewing in an artistic atmosphere.”
Plans for the wing, which would be built and given to the city by the Fine Arts Society, have been approved by the Park and Recreation Commission. They now await approval of the city Planning Commission and the City Council.
The first section of the wing, which would cost an estimated $1,300,000 would house a 450-seat auditorium, new library, sculpture courts and a shipping and receiving center. Later, classrooms, which would cost $750,000, would be added.
The society has raised $650,000 to date.
“The wing is to provide two-thirds more exhibition space for early American and Asiatic arts and areas for temporary shows,” Beach said.
Robert Mosher and Roy Drew of La Jolla were architects for the new structure. Malcolm Leland of Los Angeles was the sculptor; Richard Kelly of New York, the lighting consultant; George Saunders of San Diego, the structural engineer, and Beraneck & Newmann, acoustical consultants.
“Together with the Timken Gallery, this addition will make the Fine Arts Gallery complex in San Diego one of the really outstanding ones in the United States,” Beach said. “Our gallery is now one of the 30 outstanding ones in the nation. It will jump to 20th place or better.”
The future of the million-dollar Timken Gallery offered by the Putnam Foundation and later withdrawn because of criticism of the proposed structure by the Balboa Park Protective Association has not been settled.
City officials have held several meetings on the subject with Walter Ames, one of the local trustees of the foundation.
The Timken Gallery was to exhibit the Putnam Foundation’s $2 million collection of old masters as a gift to the city.
September 23, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:8. Elizabeth Jebb wants new art gallery in park.
September 24, 1961, San Diego Union, E-1:1-8, E-2:6-8. Old Globe Theater at quarter-century mark, by Regina Morin.
September 24, 1961, San Diego Union, E-6:1-8. A look at the Putnam collection’s major works, by Dr. Armin Kietzmann.
September 26, 1961, San Diego Union, A-15:8, A-18:1-2. Morley Golden was named temporary chairman of a Citizen’s Charter Review Committee yesterday at an organizational meeting.
September 27, 1961, San Diego Union, A-1:1. City Manager Fletcher proposes $43 million in city bonds, by E. G. Martin.
October, 1961, San Diego Magazine. Publisher’s Point: Lessons from the Timken Wing.
Whether the electorate yet realizes it or not, the present grand design of Balboa Park’s El Prado — its dazzling row of ornate, fake Spanish Renaissance palaces — is finished. The City Council did it in, 7-0, when it begged the Timken trustees please to re-instate their offer of a $1,000,000 contemporary marble edifice, with no architectural strings attached, to be built on the site of the present American Legion building. One can understand the Council’s abject distress at booting away a $2,000,000 collection of old master paintings — and its dismay at the overwhelming pressure brought to bear by the Chamber of Commerce, the Junior League, the Fine Arts Society, and the Symphony Association to get it back or else. But now, if the gift is re-instated as seems likely, for better or for worse, the city has embarked on a new, dangerous — and highly challenging — experiment: the partial rebuilding of Balboa Park attempting to preserve the best of the old (the California building, the Fine Arts Gallery) at the same time creating new architecture compatible with the old and as good or better than the beloved if sham Spanish relics of 195. It is going to be an awfully difficult job under the best circumstances — calling for rare architectural excellence and taste — but it hasn’t a ghost of a chance at success if it is done with the to-hell-with-the-public spirit which has marked the Timken wing controversy. Fortunately, Robert Mosher and Roy Drew’s plan for the new West wing — taken by itself — seems an imaginative and beautiful design for an art gallery, harmonizing with the spirit of the park and with the Fine Arts Gallery. But it was sheer idiocy for the city not to insist long before the Timken matter came to a head at the Council level — at which point Walter Ames had to right to get sore — that the two wings be designed with each other in mind to create an integrated whole for the Plaza de Panama — the secret of the visual success of the chicken-wire and plaster dream palaces of the Prado. Secondly, it was the worst possible public policy to permit either group, both of them quasi-public bodies, operating on public land, to keep their building plans so clothed in secrecy. The result of debating the issue in an emotional climate I which no one had the facts could not be other than an uninformed, ignorant plunge into the dark. Either three must be better planning conducted in an open manner or our New Balboa Park will deteriorate in a hodgepodge of architectural styles and individual monuments.
October, 1961, San Diego Magazine, 62. The formal, feisty Timken wing (illus.)
Edwardsonian screening in bronze was employed in the Frank Hope design of the Timken wing to provide Spanish-influence touch. In most other respects, the gallery is a contemporary building tied in with the existing Fine Arts Gallery and the Mosher and Drew west wing by color harmony.
“A honey of a layout for an art gallery,” is the way one highly respected La Jolla architect, who has seen the plans, describes Frank Hope’s very formal design for the proposed Timken wing to house the $2 million collection of old master painting belonging to the Putnam Foundation. Its exterior skin would be of tan travertine, not white marble as originally planned, the better to tie in with the color tones of the Fine Arts Gallery to the north and the proposed West wing across the Plaza. It will replace the present dilapidated American Legion building, provided the City Council can persuade the trustees of the Foundation to reinstate their offer, which they withdrew in the face of adverse public criticism of their design as too radical a departure from the Spanish-Renaissance buildings of El Prado and an unnecessary destruction of the area’s architectural unity. Since then, the Council has done its begging best to say it’s sorry. Whether trustee Walter Ames, a San Diego attorney, really had problems with the Eastern money he represents, whether he simply was hurt by the criticism after he had worked so hard to get this gift for the city, or whether he was employing all the wile and wisdom of his 60 years in a master stroke of reverse psychology was not known. Whatever the motive (or motives) his move worked.
October 2, 1961, San Diego Union, A-13:4-6. San Diego Zoo celebrates 45th anniversary.
October 1, 1961, San Diego Union, B-3:5-8. Mission Cliff Gardens in the good old days, by Jerry MacMullen.
October 2, 1961, San Diego Union, A-13:4-6, A-15:1-2. San Diego Zoo celebrates 45th anniversary today.
October 4, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:8. City Council in conference yesterday reaffirmed a decision to give operators of the Veterans War Memorial Building in Balboa Park until June to put the building on a self-supporting basis.
October 5, 1961, San Diego Union, A-19:7-8. $11 million outlay sought for parks, by Edwin G. Martin
October 7, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:8. Herman G. Cramer likes park architecture.
October 8, 1961, San Diego Union, A-15:5. The Hall of China of the House of Pacific Relations will present a program at 2:30 p.m. in observance of the Double Tenth celebration, 50th anniversary of a revolution which ended monarchy rule in China.
October 12, 1961, San Diego Union,A-21:4-8. Planning Commission approved west wing by a vote of 5-0, by Edwin G. Martin.
October 22, 1961, San Diego Union, A-29:2-5. United Nations Week events begin; open house, public dinner scheduled.
October 22, 1961, San Diego Union, A-45:1-4. Lindbergh “Spirit of St. Louis” replica arrives.
October 23, 1961, San Diego Union, A-15:1. United Nations Day dinner, talk set tomorrow in Balboa Park Club.
October 23, 1961, San Diego Union, A-15:6-7; The pleasure of riding a commercial fire truck replica literally turned to dust yesterday for eight youngsters in Balboa Park.
A 12-foot wooden panel alongside the “ladder truck” fell off and the youngsters were sent sprawling into the gravel and dirt.
The mishap occurred across the street from the San Diego Zoo.
October 31, 1961, San Diego Union, A-19:5-6. Old Globe casts “Cobwebs in the Carriage”; season’s first play.
October 31, 1961, San Diego Union, A-20:6-7. Square Dancers plan 11th Fiesta in Balboa Park.
November 1, 1961, San Diego Union, A-21:1-3. Tape-recording machine guides available at San Diego Zoo.
November 3, 1961, San Diego Union, A-18:6. The Old Globe Theater has announced a sixth week for the current production, “Under the Yum-Yum Tree.”
November 3, 1961, San Diego Union, A-25:8. The City Council yesterday accepted the Downtown Rotary Club’s offer to spend $8,000 to refurbish Alcazar Garden in Balboa Park.
November 4, 1961, San Diego Union, A-6:1-2. “Yum-Yum Tree” run is extended, by Constance Herreshoff.
November 10, 1961, San Diego Union, A-14:3-5. “Cobwebs on the Carriage” opens Old Globe’s winter season, by Constance Herreshoff.
November 10, 1961, San Diego Union, 21:7-8. City Council approved west wing Fine Arts Gallery on a 5-2 vote, by Edwin G. Martin (illus.).
The design of the proposed $1.5 million west wing of the Fine Arts Gallery in Balboa Park was approved yesterday on a 5-2 vote.
Approval of the council was the final step necessary. Construction should begin in about a year, according to Robert Mosher, a partner in Mosher & Drew, architectural firm.
He said seven to nine months will be required to complete working drawings for the construction with bidding procedures and other work requiring another three to five months.
Mosher told the council that the Fine Arts Society has about half of the money needed to building, including a $200,000 contribution from the city.
Mayor Dail and Councilman Allen Hitch voted against approving the design after the council had heard arguments pro and con during a two-hour hearing.
Highlighting the hearing was an argument by Dail and council members with Henri Jacot, vice president of the Balboa Park Protective Association, which opposed the Mosher & Drew design as being incompatible with existing Spanish-type buildings along El Prado.
Jacot said the council was “railroading: the approval and his remark touched off a debate on whether the full membership of the BPPA felt as Jacot did concerning the design.
“Have you ever taken a vote of your members?” asked Councilman Justin Evenson.
“Well, we have felt that if any of our members don’t agree with our stand on this, they would resign,” replied Jacot.
Pressed by Evenson and Councilman Harry Scheidle, Jacot admitted that no formal vote had ever been taken, the only expressing being a show of hands by members present at one meeting.
Jacot and Mrs. Eleanor Edmiston, BPPA president, urged the council to withhold approval until an architectural committee composed of professionals and laymen could be organized and could study the design of all buildings proposed for El Prado.
They pointed out that the council had previously passed a motion to appoint such a committee as one of three to study various aspects of the Balboa Park master plan.
Councilman Ivor de Kirby replied that he had made the motion but the matter has been dropped. He said his idea was to have the committees function under the Park and Recreation Commission, but he later found that the commission has approved the master plan and designs for the art gallery wings.
“Since the commission has already approved, there’s no reason to have the committees,” De Kirby said. “It would be just backing up again.”
Mrs. Pat Murphy, an officer of the Better Government Association and a BPPA member, criticized the Mosher & Drew design as “architecture so basic that it could be the point of departure for almost any style — Spanish, modern or even Gothic.”
“It’s nothing but four walls, a flat roof and a bunch of columns,” Mrs. Murphy said.
“It’s no more Spanish than a Salvation Army lassie would be if you put a tambourine in her hand.”
She urged the council to put the proposed gallery wing somewhere else in the park, possibly in the Palisades area which she said could be rebuilt as a site for modern buildings.
Jacot said the flat-roofed west wing would be incongruous on El Prado.
Mosher, in defending the design, said the building will be “appropriate to the park, a great addition to the community and is, in all humility, a building of excellence.”
He said costs were a prime consideration in the design and every effort was made to create a building which would harmonize with the existing art gallery, the proposed new Timken-Putnam gallery; other buildings on El Prado; fulfill the requirements of the gallery for exhibition space — and be as inexpensive as possible.
The San Diego Chapter of the American Institute of Architects has indorsed the design as has a number of other civic organizations and individuals.
The west wing is separate from the proposed Timken-Putnam Gallery, whose design also was criticized severely before being approved by the council. The Timken-Putnam wing’s construction now is pending approval of Putnam Foundation directors.
November 10, 1961, San Diego Union, A-26:1-2. Twenty four million dollars okayed for park program.
A $24.39 million capital outlay program for parks and recreation projects was approved yesterday by the City Council in conference.
The parks and recreation program, covering the years 1961-62 through 1966-67, was the last remaining section of the city’s six-year capital improvement project to be approved.
The total six-year program amounts to $181.48 million including contemplated general obligation bond issue financing. The council earlier had approved the 1961-62 portion of the capital program.
Approval by the council followed a discussion with the city Parks and Recreation Commission.
Dr. Frank Lowe, commission chairman, said the commission indorsed the capital program as it applied to parks and recreation projects. But he added that an additional $442,300 be included for miscellaneous Balboa Park projects in the 1966-67 year.
This would change the amount of general obligation bond issue financing required for parks from $7.55 million to about $8 million. The council has not decided on exact amounts.
Lowe’s request led to a motion of Councilman Harry Scheidle that the Park and Recreation Commission restudy the bond need for projects in its province.
“If you have a need for more, you should request it,” Scheidle said. “But the requests should be based on the amount needed for specific projects.”
Richard Bowen, a commissioner, told the council that he was concerned over dovetailing of the Balboa Park master plan into the capital outlay program.
November 11, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:4. San Diego Zoo – hippo born at Zoo yesterday.
November 11, 1961, San Diego Union, B-1:4-5. Massing of Colors at Organ Pavilion tomorrow; more than 250 organizations will be represented.
November 13, 1961, San Diego Union, A-15:8, A-19:8. Massing of Colors at Organ Pavilion; General Clyde D. Eddleman, Army vice chief of staff, urges vigilance, by Charles Eischen (illus.).
Parades of flags by military and veteran organizations opened San Diego’s tribute to its war dead yesterday at annual Massing of Colors ceremony at Balboa Park. Some 6,000 persons, including a group of Spanish-American war veterans, attended.
November 16, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:2. EDITORIAL: A Jewel in the Park.
The City Council acted wisely and decisively in approving plans for the west wing of the Fine Arts Gallery in Balboa Park.
Council action, by a 5 to 2 vote, stood out in contrast to its delay on approving the east wing. The negative vote of Councilman Allen Hitch can be laid to his usual obstructiveness. Mayor Dail’s no vote is harder to explain.
The west wing is the first step in plans to expand the gallery complex and make it one of the finest exhibition centers in the nation.
The Fine Arts Society deserves much praise for its determination to build this wing in the face of vocal opposition over its architectural style. We hope the council’s decision will be another spur toward construction of the east wing and completion of the gallery as a jewel in the midst of our beautiful Balboa Park.
November 21, 1961, San Diego Union, A-17:6-8. San Diego Zoo – Aardvarks Limited, gourmet group, have lunch at Zoo.
November 22, 1961, San Diego Union, A-16:1-3. Christmas tree erected at Organ Pavilion, by Natalie Best (illus.).
November 22, 1961, San Diego Union, B-1:1-2. Home Appliance Show due Friday in Electric Building.
November 24, 1961, San Diego Union, A-25:1-3. Appliance display begins tonight in Electric Building.
November 24, 1961, San Diego Union, A-25:2-3. Twelve hundred worship at annual nonsectarian Protestant Thanksgiving service at Organ Pavilion.
November 24, 1961, San Diego Union, B-2:8. Mrs. Sheridan Tato comments on aims of Balboa Park Association.
November 25, 1961, San Diego Union, A-15:3-5. Santa lights trees at park, opens exhibit.
November 26, 1961, San Diego Union, A-22:1-2. Forty thousand brave rain to see 1961 Home Appliance Show.
November 27, 1961, San Diego Union, A-21:2-3. Electrical Show crowd of more than 50,000 hits peak.
November 29, 1961, San Diego Union, A-21:1-2. City Council will discuss plan to install a sidewalk on the Balboa Park side of Sixth Avenue.
December 1, 1961, San Diego Union, A-22:4. By a 6-1 vote, the City Council yesterday gave informal approval to a plan for installing a 14-foot sidewalk on the Balboa Park side of 6th Avenue from Elm to Upas Streets; project will cost an estimated $29,000.
December 4, 1961, San Diego Union, A-21;8. Community Christmas tree lighted yesterday; 2,000 on hand; new life-size religious scene, “The Flight Into Egypt,” sculptured by Rudolf Vargas of Hollywood, unveiled; Vargas also sculptured five other scenes which will be on display at the center.
December 12, 1961, San Diego Union, A-22:1-2. Museum of Man – County Fair Board will offer the Sheedy Indian collection purchased for $35,000 in 1958 to Museum of Man for $1, by Peter Eiden..
December 28, 1961, San Diego Union, A-2:4-5. San Diego Zoo – three lions succumb; deaths linked to drug.
December 29, 1961, San Diego Union, A-19:5-6. San Diego Zoo to get lions from San Antonio; Texans donate pair.
December 31, 1961, San Diego Union, E-1:1-2. Old Globe Theater follows trend to the suburbs; experimental branch at the Art Center in La Jolla will feature new and little known productions; series of three plays will mark theater’s spring debut, by Regina Morin.
Return to Amero Collection.
BALBOA PARK HISTORY
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1910 | 1911 | 1912 | 1913 | 1914
1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1918 | 1919
1920 | 1921 | 1922 | 1923 | 1924
1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1929
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