Balboa Park History 1970

January 4, 1970, San Diego Union, B-1:2-6, B-13:1-2. Expansion Project: San Diego Zoo plans include new parking lot, by Joe Stone.

The man who knows the San Diego Zoo best took the press on a tour of the world famous place last week and, with candor, talked about the future of the Zoo here and in San Pasqual Valley.

The plans which probably has the most potential for controversy, as revealed by Dr. Charles R. Schroeder, Zoo director, is the one for more parking space in Balboa Park.

Schroeder was careful to make clear that the Zoo does not seeking parking space only for the Zoo. Parking space is for all people visiting Balboa Park, for whatever reason.

The plan is to double the capacity of what commonly is called the Zoo parking lot from the present 3,000 to 6,000 cars by putting in a terraced parking lot across Park Boulevard from the present one.

Frankly anticipating opposition and the customary charge of covering the park with asphalt, Schroeder said the plans call for plantings and picnic tables in the proposed new parking lot, and a pedestrian overpass at Park Boulevard.

His argument:

Money is being spent to persuade people to come to San Diego to see, among other things, the world-famed Zoo.

“If they come here and can’t find a place to park they will leave and not return,” said the Zoo director. He mentioned some growth figures in support of parking expansion.

The parking lot usually is filled Saturdays and Sundays. Zoo attendance topped 3 million for fiscal year 1968-69. Projections see it topping 5 million in 1975.

As the press party took a bus tour with Schroeder as barker, he remarks progressed like this:

The Zoo collection exceeds 5,500 animals, 1,680 species. It is the largest in the world, the largest ever exhibited at one time. It is more than twice as large as the next largest collection in the United States.

Two tour buses have been added to the fleet which now totals 18. The bus on which the press rode was powered by liquid petroleum fuel which is smogless. If the experiment with it is successful, the entire fleet will go to liquid petroleum.

Forty percent of Zoo visitors ride the buses. Thirty-eight percent ride Skyfari, the cable life across the Zoo. Bus riding in on the increase. Not yet sure abut Skyfari riding.

Skyfari is, however, distributing more people at far corners of the Zoo. This makes a need for more food services in those parts of the Zoo.

The big cost is taking care of people, not animals or exhibit. The $130,000 annual food and water bill for animals is a small part of the $6 million budget.

The first canyon entered by the bus tourists is “not a handsome area” and is to be changed during 1970. Aardvarks will be moved to deer mesa and their space used for giant armadillo, Fences will disappear.

Plantings in the Zoo are all exotic and in value far exceed that of the animals on display.

People from Africa visit the Zoo and remark that African plants, such as the Natal plum, growing there look better than they do in Africa.

Dog and cat canyon will be changed drastically in 1970 because it is “a good example of a bad exhibit.” Fences and cages will disappear.

There is a brand new exhibit of swamp antelope from Africa. Their hooves are built to allow them to walk through mud.

Utilities in the Zoo are all on or under the ground and all are in tip-top shape. The 86 pieces of automotive equipment are equally well maintained.

Horses no longer are butchered at the Zoo. Boneless horse meat for animal food can be delivered from Omaha at less cost.

The African veldt exhibit is not improved upon anywhere in the world.

Some crowding of herds is being allowed. This helps to develop herds to be sent to stock the Wild Animal Park as San Pasqual due to open in 1972.

Squirrels will be allowed to steal peanuts from some vending machines because it is fun.

Pigeons are expensive pests in the Zoo, but “we’ll never get rid of them>”

The speed ramps were costly, but they are successful in moving people about the Zoo.

Twice a month surveys taken continuously show 30 percent of Zoo visitors are from San Diego County, 35 percent from the Los Angeles area, and 60 percent have never visited the Zoo before, or have not visited it in three year.

The Zoo has the world’s only exhibit of Cretan goats.

New exhibits are to be placed about the west terminus of Skyfari to give riders something to see while they are waiting for their return ride. One will be flying mammals — like bats.

Across the road from the terminus is to be an island for rhesus monkeys. It will be surrounded by water. It will be an educational exhibit, showing the contributions of this monkey to mankind because he was subject to experiments in polio prevention and other research.

Zoo curators sometimes oppose displaying such common animals as rhesus monkeys and coyotes and there is conflict but not much. Schroeder believes people want to see them, and they are displayed in San Diego.

An area near Cabrillo Freeway used to be a catchall. It is beautiful sheep and goat canyon now.

The Zoo will ask the City Council to raise admission prices to adults from $1.25 to $1.50 on July 1, 1970. The raise is necessary because cost of operation has increased $500,000 annually.

During the tour and a luncheon which followed, Schroeder and Sheldon Campbell, vice president of the Zoological Society, said of San Pasqual:

It is now called the San Diego Wild Animal Park and Schroeder is set on the name but others are not. A suggestion by a reporter that it be called Battleground Zoo, after the Mexican War battle there December 6, 1846, was not enthusiastically received. There is pressure from Escondido to be included in the name.

Plenty of water is assured for San Pasqual — not from wells but from a share of imported water.

There are 90 animals at San Pasqual now, including 30 ground birds. They are cared for by two employees called rangers.

There will be 3,000 animals on exhibit there when the park is opened in 1972. The critical proposition is having enough exhibits for a first class show which will satisfy people and encourage them to return.

There are 1,800 acres at San Pasqual, which is about six times larger than the San Diego Zoo. The San Diego Zoo will not need more land, in part because of San Pasqual.

San Pasqual will display the animals of the world behind moats and concealed fences which will separate exhibits from people and carnivores from prey.

There will be lions, tigers, leopards and cheetahs. There will be giraffe, zebra, impala and many other hoofed animals and ground birds.

People will see the exhibits aboard a train, either steam or electric, simulating steam. An atmosphere of Kenya in the 1920s is sought.

January 6, 1970, San Diego Union, B-2:1. 200th to seal time capsule Wednesday.

January 6, 1970, San Diego Union, X-13:1. Growth of military here slows down; Naval Hospital gained a $1.4 million outpatient clinic in 1969 and a $340,000 corpsmen quarters.

January 8, 1970, San Diego Union, B-1:7-8. Mayor Curran says open space to cost city, by Nancy Ray.

The city will have to pay developers for restricting their property rights in Tecolote Canyon, Mayor Curran told the Advertising and Sales Club of San Diego yesterday.

January 13, 1970, San Diego Union, B-3:6-7. “Spin-Dye-Weave,” a demonstration of the ancient art of fabric making will be featured Saturday and Sunday at the Museum of Man.

January 13, 1970, San Diego Union, B-3:6-7. Like most areas in the city, the Kearny Mesa area at Clairemont is experiencing a growing shortage of space for organized youth sports activities.

January 14, 1970, San Diego Union, B-3:5. A proposed city ordinance which would require subdividers to donate land or money for neighborhood parks was ordered placed on a future City Council docket yesterday.

January 21, 1970, San Diego Union, B-1:6-7. The City Council yesterday authorized a 25-cent increase in the San Diego Zoological Zoo admission fee.

The entrance fee will be raised April 1 from $1.25 to $1.50 a person. Persons under 16 years of age will continue to be admitted free.

Dr. Charles Schroeder said the extra 25 cents will increase revenue by an expected $250,000 to $400,000 a year.

“This is essential to balance the budget,” Schroeder said. He said the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 will be $6 million.

Attendance at the zoo has increased annually by about 7 percent in recent years, Schroeder said. The number of persons to visit the zoo in 1969-70 will exceed 3 million more than any other zoo in the world, he said.

He said about half of the persons who enter the zoo pay. Others are students, servicemen and other persons with free admission or passes.

January 22, 1970, San Diego Union, B-3:2-3. The Sierra Club of San Diego has asked the city Park and Recreation Board to help save part of Florida Canyon in Balboa Park from becoming a paved parking lot.

“The current proposal of the San Diego Zoological Society to terrace a major portion of 154 acres of the Florida Street Canyon for a parking lot is an excellent example of the creeping destruction of Balboa Park,” said Sierra Club Chairman Richard G. Rypinsky in a letter, read to the board yesterday.

Chairman Douglas R. Giddings referred the letter to the board’s Balboa Park Committee, which also is to receive the results of a city study on all parking in the park.

January 22, 1970, San Diego Union, B-3:8. Plans for mini-parks in crowded areas approved by Park and Recreation Board yesterday; half costs pledged by the U. S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare; six of the proposed park sites are in Southeast San Diego.

January 23, 1970, San Diego Union, B-3:5. Room tax to help pay for 200th, by Bill Long.

January 27, 1970, San Diego Union, B-1. City Council authorizes 25-cent increase in San Diego Zoo admission fee.

The entrance fee will be raised April 1 from $1.25 to $1.50 a person. Persons under 16 years of age will continue to be admitted free.

Dr. Charles Schroeder, zoo director, said the extra 25 cents will increase revenue by an expected $250,000 to $400,000 a year.

“This is essential to balance the budget,” Schroeder said. He said the zoo budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 will be $6 million.

Attendance at the zoo has increased annually by about 7 percent in recent years, Schroeder said. The number of persons to visit the zoo in 1969-70 will exceed 3 million, more than any other zoo in the world, he said.

He said about half of the persons who enter the zoo pay. Others are students, servicemen and other persons with free admission or passes.

January 27, 1970, San Diego Union, B-2:4. Food, Beverage Building Decorations Reproduced, by Joe Stone (illus.).

In a warehouse off Morena Boulevard in Old Town a start is being made toward fulfilling the goal of the Committee of 100.

The committee’s goal is to preserve the Spanish colonial architecture which was the style of structures built in Balboa Park for the Panama-Pacific Exposition [sic] of 1915-16.

The project in the warehouse is restoration of architectural sculpture which adorned the Food and Beverage Building, built for the 1915-16 exposition and recently razed.

Involved in the project are the L. J. Ninteman Construction Co., in whose warehouse the work is being done; Richard George Wheeler, architect; Christian (Chris) Mueller, supervisor, and five model makers.

Mueller divides his time between the local project and the WED Co., of Glendale. WED stands for Walt E. Disney.

Right now Mueller is working on designs for a palace in the Florida Disneyland. In the past he has created for Disney projects such things as the giant squid in “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”

His handiwork also can be seen on sets of the motion pictures “Camelot: and “Hello Dolly.” Mueller, 63, has spent half his life in such work, but he has never seen anything quite like the Food and Beverage building project.

“This is risky,” he said. “There are so many unknowns. It took courage to put a price tag on it.”

The price tag is $98,000.

The work started with the removal of the architectural sculpture from the Food and Beverage Building. Each piece was given a_______ number, then placed __________cant structure in Balboa Park.

A written schedule was prepared. It accounts for the withdrawal of items from Balboa Park, their arrival at the Ninteman warehouse, their reproduction, and the return of the reproductions to Balboa Park.

There they await the construction of the replacement for the Food and Beverage Building. They will adorn the replacement.

The original structure was intended for the 1915-16 exposition. It is made of plaster, reinforced by wood and fiber. It is 55 years old now, and some of it is badly deteriorated.

However, it is to be the pattern for concrete replicas, so the deteriorated parts much be rebuilt with plaster before they can be used a patterns.

The rebuilding follows a thorough cleansing with a paint removing chemical, blasts of compressed air, and finally jets of water.

Once the pattern is rejuvenated, a mold is made into which concrete is poured. The concrete 1970 replica looks like the plaster 1915 original. It is more than three times heavier than the original and is reinforced with steel instead of wood and fiber.

January 28, 1970, San Diego Union, B-2:7. The City Council yesterday introduced an ordinance to create a Department of Parks and Public Facilities.

March 3, 1970, ELECTION: Gives San Diego Unified School District permission to continue a previously authorized tax override that expired July 30 and also authority to raise the tax rate by 35 cents (money needed for operation of schools).

April, 1970, San Diego Magazine. Putting Balboa Park Back Together Again, 47, 49, by Marilyn Hagberg.

After years of mindless neglect and destruction, there’s a golden decade ahead for El Prado. The citizens of San Diego have forced the partial restoration of its Spanish splendor. Next step: controlling the automobile.

The decade of the Sixties was a schizophrenic one for Balboa Park, an era of erratically juxtaposed development and decay, of pressing problems and pathetic procrastinations. The dashing Spanish splendor and magnificent varied symmetry of Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue’s world-famous Prado were disrupted by destruction and deterioration only slightly compensated for by the construction of the Timken Gallery and Fine Arts Gallery West Wing and the renovation of the House of Hospitality. Landscapes and gardens once lush and well manicured were left to become dirty and dried out as more and more people came to San Diego in search of the Good Life and to the Park in search of beauty.

The disappointing decade, which began so promisingly with the approval by the City of the Bartholomew Master Plan for the Park, did manage, however, to end as well on a positive note. Thanks largely to the efforts of Bea Evenson and her determined Committee of One-Hundred and of the Balboa Park Committee of the City’s Park and Recreation Board, the City and citizens of San Diego agreed to preserve what was, and to restore some of what wasn’t, left of the Spanish-Colonial heritage of El Prado, that incredible avenue which art and architecture critic James Britton, former associate editor of this magazine, once called “the boulevard of broken dreams.”

Now a new era appears to be bursting into the Park, renewing old hopes. The bulldozers are there again, not to destroy it this time, but to put it back together. The fights over the final fate of Downtown’s only breathing space may be far from over, but arriving with the Spring is the first blossoming of what could be a new Golden Age of action for Balboa Park. After years of fooling around the City seems to have tuned in on the most dramatic domestic issue of the day — the environment — and seriously set to work implementing the Bartholomew Plan and spending some of the millions earmarked for Park construction and improvement from 1966 and 1968 bond elections.

The most spectacular activity is occurring at the long neglected east end of El Prado. There, last month’s construction began to replace Carleton Winslow’s flamboyantly baroque Food and Beverage Building with a stunning permanent structure which will combine the classical spirit of the old plaster palace with contemporary substance and significance. This Summer, work will start east of the Aerospace Museum, opposite the Museum of Natural History, on a Hall of Science and Planetarium which could become world-renowned. The end of the year will witness the beginnings of the exciting new Plaza de Balboa, which will return a terminus missing from the Prado since the old arcaded bus stop was torn down in 1966.

In the Palisades area, the City’s Park Division will start this Summer to replace the dirt expanses behind the Ford and Federal Buildings, Municipal Gym and Balboa Bowl with lawns, scattered groupings of eucalyptus and palm trees and clusters of shrubbery. The San Diego firm of Paderewski, Dean and Associates, AIA, is currently at work on studies to determine the feasibility of rehabilitating the empty Ford Building, possibly as a future home for the Aerospace Museum (not a bad idea: since the Ford rotunda is right under the path of jets landing at Lindbergh Field, I doubt if any organization that wasn’t crazy about planes would want to inhabit the place.) If such a project could be accomplished within the next couple of years, then the Prado’s Electric Building, now holding the Aerospace Museum, could be structurally and architecturally rehabilitated for other museum use, or perhaps for a performing arts center.

Elsewhere in the Park, numerous projects are planned or are in progress. The Pepper Grove picnic area is being perked up, and the Morley Field recreational area is being landscaped with lawns and groves of eucalyptus. In several sections, remedial pruning and planting of trees and shrubs is going on, walks are being improved, and additional lawns, comfort stations and parking areas are being provided. This Autumn, the “green” in front of the Old Globe and Cassius Carter theaters will be replaced by a sunken, integral-color, textured concrete courtyard with tree and shrub plantings, designed by Victor Wulff, AIA. Plans also are in progress for a Japanese tea garden on the hillside between the House of Hospitality and the Organ Pavilion.

All this is merely a beginning, though, for the development and maintenance of Balboa Park will be a continuing and costly challenge throughout the seventies and many decades to come. Much more needs to be done. One can wish, of course, that it all could be done quickly and wisely, without the fund-finding dilemmas and bureaucratic delays and compromises that characteristically plague critical, aesthetic, cultural and educational projects in San Diego. Nevertheless, a start has been made. The City has finally rolled up its sleeves to coax a new flowering in its only garden.

April, 1970, San Diego Magazine. By Fall, 1971: Casa Del Prado, a splendid replica, a victory for the people, by Marilyn Hagberg, 47, 48.

The greatest victory in the fifty-year war to save the lyrical Spanish Colonial architecture of Balboa Park is taking concrete shape this Spring; a splendid replica of the robust Food and Beverage Building is being built by the Nielsen Construction Company to fill the gap east of the lily pond after the crumbling old palace was torn down last year to make way for a multi-functional new building with a new name. The Casa Del Prado, scheduled for completion by the Fall of 1971 at a total project cost of 3.5 million dollars, will be a flexible modern building inside a magnificent facade which will repeat in permanent form most of the exuberant baroque ornamentation that gave the former palace its much-loved romantic spirit.

In many ways, the new palace will be a better structure than the old one. Designed by Richard George Wheeler & Associates, AIA, with the assistance of consulting architect Samuel Wood Hamill, FAIA, the L-shaped Casa Del Prado actually will be two buildings connected by an airy, arcaded patio; in the center of the larger building will be another arcaded patio. The complete complex, which follows basically the plan drawn by Sam Hamill two years ago (San Diego Magazine, May 1968), will consist of about 61,000 square feet of enclosed space and 27,000 square feet of arcades. While the new exteriors will echo the rich ornament of the old structure, the contemporary interior will be a far cry from the barn-like caverns of the Food and Beverage Building.

Except from some elaborate ornamentation around second-story windows, the new Casa’s walls and arches of tan-tinted, off-white stucco over concrete will be much trimmer and simpler than those of the former palace, which tended to be a bit busy. The focus thus will be on the lusty, whimsical, cast-stone ornamentation copied faithfully from the entrance and the eighty-foot-tall twin towers of the “Church” facing Zoo Drive from the “Prado” building’s two main entrances, and east side entrance, and from the ends of the long line of arcades fronting El Prado. Heavily paneled wooden doors will give additional ornament to the exterior, and final-capped pilasters will interrupt the smooth horizontal expanses of the north and west elevations.

Through the City’s Recreation Department, many groups and organizations will be able to schedule activities in the numerous interior spaces. Priority, though will go to San Diego’s Botanical Garden Foundation, which will have its offices and horticultural library in the Prado building, and to the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Youth Symphony, Youth Chorale and Junior Theater, which used the Food and Beverage Building. Both buildings will have air conditioning and special acoustical walls and ceilings designed by Purcell + Noppe + Associates of Los Angeles.

The 17,000-square foot “Church” will house a multi-purpose auditorium with a stage, a small orchestra pit and a flat wooden floor which will seat a thousand in movable chairs. It will be suitable for concerts, dramatic productions, orchestra rehearsals, lectures, slide and film presentations, and folk and square dancing. The building also will have rest rooms, five rooms for instrumental and ensemble practice, and a light-sound and projection-control room above the foyer.

Wrapped around a double-arcaded patio, the Prado Building’s two stories will contain twelve large rooms in addition to dressing and rest rooms, storage areas and a catering kitchen. Although most of these will be adaptable to a wide range of functions, one is designed primarily as an exhibition hall with special accouterments for floral displays, one as a choral rehearsal room, and several others as drama and ballet classrooms, the latter with mirrors and practice bars.

The Casa Del Prado will be given a light, airy atmosphere by its two courtyards. The 112 by 48-foot, textured concrete South Patio will be enclosed on all sides by two levels of 16-foot wide arcades and will have large planters of flowering shrubs in each of its four corners. The 102 by 79-foot North Patio, open to the east and west, will be framed by arcades, 16 feet wide and 19 feet high, and will offer a superb see-through view to the Timken Gallery, Fine Arts Gallery and California Tower. It is to be landscaped with lawn and hardy trees and shrubs.

The entire palace will be surrounded by lawns and shrubbery. Saved will be the south facade’s phoenix reclinata palms and many other stately trees which provided intriguing shadow plays on the former building’s walls and ornament. All the landscaping will be done by the City’s Park Division.

Easily the most outstanding feature of the Casa Del Prado, though, will be its opulent ornamentation. To facilitate the reconstruction in cement of the splendid statuary and elaborate decorative motifs of the Food and Beverage Building, the L.J. Ninteman Construction Company has been making models from the old building’s incrustations since last October, and has been awarded the contract to make the molds, cast the ornament and set it on the new palace.

From two-hundred specimens taken from the Food and Beverage Building in August 1968 and photographed, labeled, catalogued and stored in Balboa Park, about 140 models are being made for all the Casa Del Prado’s ornamentation. The specimens, most of them badly damaged, have had to be cleaned up, patched up, built up and in some cases re-created in clay from scratch. Molds will be made from the finished plaster and clay models with a flexible, rubber-like plastic, which reproduces exactly even the most minute details and which can be reused countless times. The final castings will be textured, giving the ornament not a shiny new look, but the authentic weathered appearance of the old palace’s rich facades before they became sadly deteriorated from years of neglect.

Supervising the restoration has been Chris Mueller, sixty-three, an architectural sculptor from Burbank whose credits include the sets for Camelot,Hello Dolly and scores of other major motion pictures. Mueller, who first came to San Diego in 1924 to work on the facade of the Fine Arts Gallery as an apprentice to his father, also was consultant t Ninteman on the University of San Diego and on San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts. He has spent almost every weekend in the Ninteman warehouse o Custer Street, overseeing the progress of a five-man team of local model-makers and himself sculpting fresh features for critically damaged specimens. For him, as for the scores of others who have worked hard and long to see the fabulous Food and Beverage Building rebuilt, it’s truly been a labor of love.

April, 1970, San Diego Magazine. By Winter, 1971. A Spanish Colonial Hall of Science and Planetarium at Prado’s end.

By the winter of 1971, the impressive 35,000-square foot City of San Diego Hall of Science and Reuben H. Fleet Planetarium and Space Theater will fill the space adjoining the green grotto immediately east of the Electric Building on El Prado. Construction of the long, one-story building designed by two San Diego architects, Louis Bodmer and Match Heimerdinger & Associates, both AIA, is stated to cost between 1-1/4 and 1-1/2 million dollars from revenue bonds to be sold by the City and County joint power Planetarium Authority. Furnishing, equipping and operating the building will be the San Diego Hall of Science, a non-profit corporation organized in 1957 to develop a science-oriented center for the City.

In its exterior design the new building will be compatible with the other Spanish Colonial palaces along El Prado. The walls, windowless except at the south side, will be of tannish, off-white stucco over concrete. Baroque ornamentation will adorn the surface in the form of cartouches at the center parapet of each wall of the octagonal Space Theater; a large finial at the apex of the Planetarium’s angled tile roof; and a balcony-like roof railing with crests and finials above the glazed 9-1/2 by 18-foot arches at the main entrance from the Plaza de Balboa and at a secondary entrance from the parking lot to be constructed immediately south of the building. The expanses of wall will be broken further by ornamental pilasters. Landscaping will relate closed to the Plaza de Balboa, with as many of the area’s existing trees retained as possible.

Inside with be a large, rectangular (90 by 78 by 18-foot) Exhibit Hall to house permanent and temporary displays of phenomena in the fields of physical science and the spectacular, oval (75 by 70 by 50-foot) Fleet Planetarium and Space Theater. Between these two main facilities will be a pie-shaped lecture hall seating approximately 150, and a large lobby area including a store for books and scientific models and memorabilia. South of the Exhibit Hall will be rest rooms, a staff lounge and an exhibit preparation shop on a lower level, and three small classrooms and the Hall of Science’s administration offices and reference library on a mezzanine level. All major facilities will have air conditioning and special acoustical design by Purcell + Noppe + Associates of Los Angeles.

The Space Theater will be the building’s most remarkable feature — and an important first for San Diego. It will contain the world’s first tiled dome, the concept of which has been designed by the Hall of Science. It also will have a 10,000-star Space Transit Simulator (star projector) and several planet projectors, as well as 70 mm movie projection which, combined with the other computer operated equipment, will enable a wide variety of effects to be presented on the 75-foot diameter dome. The Planetarium’s major instrumentation, which is being built by Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, will be purchased with a $350,000 donation from San Diego’s Fleet Foundation.

Audiences of about 360 will be entrained in the Space Theater in two stepped levels of fixed, one-directional, comfortably upholstered seating. According to William D. Bridge, executive director of the Hall of Science, the special dome and sophisticate instrumentation will create an entire new way of viewing the heavens. “The horizon line has been eliminated as a point of reference,” he says, “and instead of seeing the stars and plants from the earth underneath, the audience will see them from shifting vantages in their midst. Viewer-orientation will vary as the projections simulate space travel.”

April 24, 1970, San Diego Union, B-3:1-2. The City Council yesterday authorized bidding for contracts to build five new parking areas with spaces of 1,118 cars in Balboa Park’s central area; the central — Prado and Palisades — are currently has 1,786 parking spaces according to Vince Marchetti, city park design engineer; Marchetti said the new parking areas would cover about seven acres with asphalt and will cost an estimated $748,000.

202 cars east of Park Boulevard and south of carousel

457 cars near Balboa Park Bowl, west of Park Boulevard, on a graded, unpaved field

187 cars south of planetarium site

123 cars south of Aerospace Museum (Electric Building)

49 cars in Gold Gulch, west of Pepper Grove

Bridge over Gold Gulch to provide access to Aerospace lot

Marchetti said projects comply with Balboa Park Master Plan.

April 26, 1970, San Diego Union, G-1:3 Balboa Park and how it grew, by George Lundgren.

May 20, 1970, Park and Recreation Board Minutes


  1. Request for use of Administration Building — Museum of Man

Museum of Man has requested use of building in Balboa Park upon vacation by Recreation Department in fall of 1970. At the suggestion of Mr. Giddings, this matter was referred to the Balboa Park Committee for comment.

  1. Florida Canyon Development Plan – Botanical Garden Foundation and Natural History Museum staff.

Support by both groups of the creation of a citizens committee to develop a plan for usage of Florida Canyon. At the suggestion of Chairman Giddings, and with the unanimous consent of the members, the Board referred these communications to the Balboa Park Committee.

June 21, 1970. Report on Roads in Florida Canyon and Adjoining Areas, by Philip P. Martin.

I move that Mr. Lloyd T. Lowrey be asked to develop a plan for Florida Canyon, utilizing the help of the City Engineering Office and, if more expert help is needed, being empowered to retain local men like Glen Ricks and/or Harold Curtiss.

As a user of Balboa Park and its roads since 1910, I submit the following recommendations:

  1. Eliminate Switzer Canyon Freeway. No need has been shown.
  2. Maintain and improve Pershing Drive. This drive serves well an area east of Balboa Park and has been an easy road to maintain due to its decomposed granite base and good drainage.
  3. Retain present Florida Drive two-lane road. This should be maintained and improved, but while future traffic might necessitate expansion, I do not believe that the present traffic demands a much wider road. Therefore, I suggest that the west shoulder be built up to at least a thirty-foot width with decomposed granite. This would be used for parking until such time as the traffic patterns to the east and north demand a wider road. Tree-planting would have to consider the future widening of the road.

The following notes are offered as well:

  1. Retain the four-way boulevard at Morley Field Drive and Florida Drive.
  2. At some future date Upas Street could be improved by a bridge over Florida Street. Traffic today does not warrant the cost.
  3. Bridges for foot traffic only could be constructed over the steam bed at two or three selected spots to picnic areas, walks or paths. These would all be constructed on the west side of Florida Drive.
  4. The wide shoulder on the west side of Florida Drive could be built only to Zoo Place, if no need for parking could be shown to the south. This would not only provide access to picnic areas in Florida Canyon but also could be used by the Zoo as an auxiliary parking lot on those days during the year when the Zoo lot is over-crowded. On such days buses could come down Morley Field Drive to Florida Drive, go south on Florida Drive to Zoo Place, and then up to the Zoo.
  5. The east side of Florida Drive should be planted in oak or cork oak trees, or both. The west side on both sides of the stream bed could be planted in sycamores. At lover levels, other trees that have done well locally in my experience, are Hollywood Plums, Liquid Ambers, Chinese Elm, Brazilian Pepper, Acacias, Cedar Deodara, and Jacaranda. Eucalyptus and palms, perhaps, should be reserved for the top of the canyon, east of Park Boulevard.

(Signed) Philip P. Martin.

June 26, 1970, San Diego Union, B-2:4-5. City Council awarded $488,185 contract for Balboa Park improvements, including 739 parking spaces.

July 3, 1970, San Diego Union, B-1:7. Terms okayed for Chicano Park here; City Council tells City Manager Hahn to sign state pact for California Highway Patrol held land, by David Brownell.

July 16, 1970, San Diego Union, B-2. Birds of prey in unique cage at San Diego Zoo.

A unique cable-suspension flight cage for birds of prey was dedicated at the San Diego Zoo yesterday.

  1. C. Lint, curator of birds at the Zoo, cut the ribbon on the new exhibit, which was built at a cost of $100,000. Special guest at the ceremonies was Monte Kirven, who is in charge of educational activities at the San Diego Natural History Museum and an expert on birds of prey.

The vinyl-covered wire mesh of the cage, which is 85 feet long, 60 feet deep and 40 feet high, is held up by 66 wooden poles, 12 inches in diameter. Eucalyptus trees, already growing on the site, were integrated into the exhibit by designer Charles Faust. The birds perch on simulated rock roosts and caves provide nesting places.

In front of the cage a pedestrian catwalk, at its highest point 35 feet above the roadway, provides visitors with a front row seat.

The stars of the exhibit are the rare Andean condors, the largest birds of prey, with a wingspread of up to 10 feet. Also in the exhibit are the eastern fishing eagle and white-headed vulture of Africa; the Pallas’ sea eagle from Asia; and the American golden eagle; Patagonian buzzard eagle, northern black vultures and western red-tailed hawks from the Americas.

July 21, 1970, San Diego Union, B-1:6-7, B-4:4-5. Chicanos ask City for center, park; more than 200 backers applaud as leaders make appeal to mayor.

July 21, 1970, San Diego Union, B-3:1-4. A city park committee announced last night it will request an up-to-date report on freeway landscaping adjacent to San Clemente Canyon Natural Park, near Clairemont.

July 21, 1970, San Diego Union, B-3:2-4. $60,000 National Aeronautics Space Administration exhibit; Apollo 11 flight plant shown in Aerospace Museum display here (illus.)

“We have roughly 50,000 visitors a month in this building,” said Colonel Owen Clarke, “and probably 100,000 more persons will see this exhibit during its stay here.”

July 23, 1970, San Diego Union. Committee of 100 wants ornamentation, $70,000 sought for Casa Del Prado, by Jeannette Branin.

An all-out campaign to raise $70,000 in 30 days to ornament the second-floor loggia of Casa del Prado, now under construction on El Prado in Balboa Park, is being announced by the Committee of 100.

The Casa del Prado is being erected on the site of the old Food and Beverage Building, a structure condemned as unsafe for public use, but considered a unique example of architecture of Churrigueresque style.

In November, 1969, the committee succeeded in having a bond issue placed on the general election ballot to provide $3.5 million for the duplication of the old building in permanent construction.

In a newsletter being circulated to members and friends, the committee states that “a large segment of the extraordinarily rich original ornamentation of our beautiful Casa del Prado has been eliminated.”

According to present plans, the newsletter reports, the fluted, striated columns with capitals of cupids will be replaced by plain unadorned square columns, and iron balcony railings will be substituted for the “elegant” ornate balustrade.

“We are deeply disturbed by the substitution of a rather solid arcade for the exuberant loggia . . . one of the most distinctive features of this building,” states the newsletter distributed at the suggestion of Mrs. Frank F. Evenson, committee president and founder.

Mrs. Evenson explains that the city has said no more money can be spent on the new building than the amount now designated.

Bill Gerhardt, city director of parks and public buildings, confirms the statement that there is no money for loggia ornamentation.

Between the passage of the bond issue and the time of the award of the contract, Gerhardt said, “The cost of ornamentation just went out of sight.”

Gerhardt explains that only one subcontractor for ornamentation presented himself to all the bidders.

“At the time we began the design, the subcontractor estimated a cost of $250,000 to duplicate ornamentation,” relates Gerhardt.

“By the time the contract was awarded, the cost of ornamentation has risen to more than $750,000.”

Consequently, the committee members are distributing a list of needed ornaments, broken down by type, number and cost.

For example, an elaborately sculptured column and base will cost $1,850. Seven are needed to support the six arches of the loggia.

Cupid capitals, to surmount the columns, will cost $1,200 each. Six are needed.

Six central panels over the arches, with medallions, will cost $580 each; six metopes, or division panels, will cost $190 each; balusters will cost $98 each, and 72 are needed; the balustrade rails will cost $530 each, and six are required.

Other ornamentation for which funds will be raised are six triangular spandrels with Neptune heads, $340 each; six arches at $1,856 each; and seven base ornaments at $320 each. Other expenses will be for engineering and construction.

Frederick Kunsel, treasurer of the committee, will accept donations of any amount mailed to him at 1310 U. S. National Bank Bldg., San Diego, 92101, and made payable to the Committee of 100.

Donations of $500 or more will be noted on an engraved bronze plague in the loggia, said Mrs. Evenson.

“Now we hope for another miracle in trying to raise $70,000 by mid-August.

“We will name the entire loggia in honor of any public-spirited person who will donate a major portion of the total cost.”

July 24, 1970, B-1:3. The City Council yesterday passed three resolutions that clear the way for placing a $6 million bond proposal for the San Pasqual Wild Animal Park on the November 4 ballot.

Funds from sale of the general obligation bonds would be used for development of the 1,800-acre park, which is operated by the San Diego Zoo.

The San Pasqual preserve, scheduled to open in 1972, is on city-owned land and all structures built on it will belong to the city.

The preserve, which is the largest of its kind in the world, will have an ultimate investment of $25 million.

A 2-cent tax per $100 assessed valuation is now levied by the city to help finance operation of zoo facilities. The Zoological Society has told the City Council that none of that money would be used for repayment of the San Pasqual bonds.

Instead, the society will pledge its income from admissions to the park to pay off the bonds in a 15-year period.

The council informally approved the bond issue at its June 23 session. The issue will need a two-thirds majority vote for passage.

July 28, 1970, San Diego Union, B-1:2-4, B-5:2-3. International food display; Balboa Park’s Museum of Man trap for weight watchers, by Carol Ritch.

July 30, 1970, North Park Independent. Committee angered by “Casa” design.

San Diego. A storm of protest blew up last week when members of the Committee of 100 discovered that the new Casa del Prado Building in Balboa Park will be constructed without large segments of the original ornamentation removed from the old Food and Beverage Building.

It was the committee that sparked the 1968 bond election drive which raised $3.5 million for the new building. The old Food and Beverage Building was razed because of age and structural weaknesses.

Flyers sent out by the committee are asking San Diegans to donate funds for the addition of the left-out cupids, fluted striated columns, figured panels and other architectural decorations.

Dedicated to the preservation of Spanish colonial architecture, the committee complains that the

elimination of the pieces will destroy the total effect of the new building.

“We did not fight for the bond issue for just another building on this site,” a spokesman said. “This building is being constructed to last thousands of years. It should be an elegant finished work of art.”

City director of parks and public buildings, William Gerhardt said, “We just ran out of money, for one thing, however, architect Richard Wheeler said the new building will be closer to the actual design of Spanish Colonial architecture than the old building was.”

Gerhardt also pointed out that the original building was designed as a “stage setting.”

“It was overly ornamental to give a quick impression. It apparently wasn’t too authentic for that reason,” he added.

He estimated it would cost about $85,000 to include the pieces omitted from the project.

“We’ve already spent about $75,000 on the ornamentation,” he said, “including beefing up the building structure to support the ornaments we will use and duplicating and preserving the old ornamentation.”

The initial bond issue called for the construction of the new building on the site at Zoo Avenue and El Prado and for “other park projects.”

“All of the money is used up on this one project,” Gerhardt said. “The biggest surprise in cost was the ornamentation. It cost almost three times the estimated expenditure.”

At present about 50 to 60 different types of Spanish and Moorish ornamentation will be included in the building.

Meanwhile, committee members are pleading for funds to see that all the exterior decorations are included. In a unique approach to fund-raising, the cost of each ornament is included and donors may specify how they want their donation spent.

For example, a central panel with medallion is $580, a column and base run $1,850 a set, and balusters are a bargain at only $98 each.

July 24, 1970, San Diego Union, B-1. City Council puts Wild Animal Park bond issue on ballot.

The City Council yesterday passed three resolutions that clear the way for placing a $8 million bond proposal for the San Pasqual Wild Animal Park on the November 4 ballot.

Funds from the sale of the general obligation bonds would be used for development of the 1800-acre park, which is operated by the San Diego Zoo.

The San Pasqual preserve, scheduled to open in 1972, is on city-owned land and all structures built on it will belong to the city.

The preserve, which will be the largest of its kind in the world, will have an ultimate investment of $25 million.

A 2-cent per $100 assessed valuation is now levied by the city to help finance operation of Zoo facilities. The Zoological Society has told the City Council that none of that money would be used for repayment of the San Pasqual bonds.

Instead, the society will pledge its income from admissions to the park to pay off the bonds in a 15-year period.

The council informally approved the bond issue at the June 23 session. The issue will need a two-thirds majority vote for passage.

September 25, 1970, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, C-1, C-3. Casa del Prado Building slowed by weighty decorative facades; old sculpture reproduced in concrete; design reflects Balboa Park’s Spanish influence, by Mike Konon (illus.).

The decorative facades being hoisted into place on the Casa del Prado Building in Balboa Park will lead many people to remark that “they just don’t build them that way anymore,” and contractor S. Falck Nielsen knows way.

Nielsen, head of the 25-year old contracting firm bearing his name, is prime contractor on the $2.9 million project, rising on the site of the former Food and Beverage Building.

While structural work on the project is 50 percent done, completion is till about a year away, according to Nielsen.

“The ornamentation is slowing us down,” Nielsen said. “They say the don’t build them that way anymore, and that is why.”

As designed by Richard George Wheeler & Associates, AIA, the structure is a mixture of precast concrete elements, load-bearing masonry and poured concrete. The strengthened frame is required to support tons of sculptured elements reproduced in concrete — faithful to the Spanish Colonial influenced sculpture of the old Food and Beverage Building, built in 1915 and torn down last year to make way for the new structure.

Some of the prestressed concrete elements designed to provide clear spans for social activities in the Casa del Prado are up to 70 feet long, Nielsen said.

Construction on the site started in March.

The ornamental plaster elements were preserved through public donations and a special contract went to L. J. Ninteman Construction Co. for reproduction of the elements in concrete.

The building design is intended to reflect the flavor of the Spanish-influence park buildings while providing facilities for group meetings. Two patios, one completely enclosed and one suitable for open-air meetings are included in the design.

Casa del Prado is only the third postwar structure to be built in the park, joining the Timken Gallery and the west wing of the Fine Arts Gallery as new Balboa Park buildings.

September 27, 1970, San Diego Union, B-1, B-5. Golden days in Golden Hill recalled as changes come, by Peter Brown (illus.).

Ironically, it is the big orange bulldozer (under Sally Ann Forster’s tea umbrella tree) that is reviving the park’s little history as the neighborhood pioneers come out to watch a $500,000 federal urban development project change the face of the 60-year old park.

The park is a tiny scrap of land — 519 eucalyptus trees, the “yongie-bo” monkey tree and 47 palm trees.

October 8, 1970, San Diego Union, D-1:3 and October 21, 1970, D-1:6-8. Balboa Park Committee to present plans for development of Florida Canyon to Park and Recreation Department for submission to City Council.

October 21, 1970, Park and Recreation Board Minutes


Alurista appeared before the Board members regarding use of the Ford Building by a Chicano cultural group known as Los Toltecas de Aztlan. He stated that the group had been granted temporary use of a portion of the facility but due to a confrontation with another group, had been asked to vacate the facility. He mentioned that the City Manager’s office was working with Los Toltecas de Aztlan in attempting to find another temporary facility for their use.

Alurista made three requests of the Board on behalf of the cultural group:

  1. that a “Centro Cultural de la Raza” be established for use as a Chicano cultural center
  2. that Miss Pauline des Granges be dismissed from her official duties as Recreation Director
  3. that until the Aerospace Museum makes actual renovations in the Ford Building, the cultural group be allowed to lease that portion known as the rotunda for $1.00 per year, and upon commencement of renovation by the Museum of the Ford Building, the cultural group be allowed to lease the Electric Building for $1.00 per year, said building now occupied by the Aerospace Museum.

Chairman Giddings mentioned that although this entire matter was within the jurisdiction of the City Manager, since it involved use of buildings in Balboa Park, perhaps this should be referred to the Balboa Park Committee for evaluation and recommendation back to the Board, with two proposals in mind:

  1. the request to occupy the Ford Building until it is renovated at a rental rate of $1.00 per year
  2. upon renovation of the Ford Building, permission to occupy the Electric Building at a rate of $1.00 per year.

Mr. Graham mentioned that several items of importance should be made known to the City Manager and the Balboa Park Committee prior to proper evaluation of these proposals, such as hours of operation, requirements for square footage, etc. Alurista said this information would be made available to Mr. Graham and the Committee as soon as possible.

Mr. Bowen expressed his cooperation in meeting with the Chicano group and invited them to attend the next Balboa Park Committee meeting, to be held on Monday, November 23, 1970 at 3 p.m. in the Recreation Administration Building in Balboa Park, at which time the group could make their presentation to the Committee.

Upon unanimous consent, the subject of the establishment of a “Centro Cultural de la Raza” in Balboa Park was referred to the Balboa Park Committee for evaluation and recommendation.

November 3, 1970, ELECTION: Historical, cultural, educational and recreational proposal ($4.0 million); erect a cultural complex in Old Town for showing early modes of western travel.

YES 103,469

NO 96,473

ELECTION: Proposition B: City of San Diego Wild Animal Park Recreational and Educational Facilities Bond Proposal: to improve, develop and expand the area of the San Pasqual Valley known as the San Diego Wild Animal Park, shall the City incur a bonded indebtedness in the principal amount of Six Million Dollars to permit the acquisition, construction and completion of facilities to provide recreational, educational, scientific, ecological and research facilities in harmony with the open space concept of the valley?

YES 75,9 percent

December 2, 1970, San Diego Union, B-3:5-6. Christmas tree placed in Organ Pavilion.

December 6, 1970, San Diego Union, E-1:1, E-3:1-2. Fine Arts Gallery’s old art gets a new look, by Henry G. Gardiner, director (illus.).

December 7, 1970, San Diego Union, B-1:7. Yule lights turned on in Balboa Park.

December 7, 1970, San Diego Union, B-6:6-7. Myron B. Hall, Balboa Park stray cat feeder, dead at 71.

December 8, 1970, San Diego Union, B-1:1-3. Non-profit group steps in; old friend dies, but park cats assured their food each night.

December 16, 1970, San Diego Union, B-3:7-8. City councilman yesterday certified the result of the November 3 municipal election, leave open the possibility that Proposition D, the museum bond issue may in the future be declared to have passes.

While Proposition D failed to get a two-thirds majority, cases are pending before the Supreme Court of the United States which may resolve that only a simple majority is required to pass bond issues.

On the November 3 ballot was a statement to the effect that under present law, it is now uncertain whether the bond issue must be authorized by a simple majority or by a majority of two-thirds.

In accordance with that statement, the council yesterday resolved to declare the bond issue passed and issue bonds for the project, if the law is resolved so that only a simple majority is required.

If the bond issue is declared to have passed, the city will incur a bonded indebtedness of about $4 million to construct the transportation museum.

December 17, 1970, San Diego Union, A-30:1. Fairs rarely fare too well.

December 21, 1970, San Diego Union, C-3:4-6. Christmas in other lands presented in Recital Hall yesterday afternoon; sponsored by House of Pacific Relations.

December 31, 1970, San Diego Union, B-1:6-8, B-3:8. City gives Okay to Center City Mall project; work to begin of February 1.

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