Balboa Park History 1975
January 6, 1975, San Diego Union, B-4:3. Three new shows, including an adventure in cinematic thrills, are coming January 19 to Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater; the three films are “Man Belongs to the Earth,” “Earthship,” and “Laserium.”
January 12, 1975, San Diego Union, D-8:7-8. The Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater’s latest film, “Man Belongs to the Earth,” will be previewed by the members of the theater’s Hall of Science and Satellites at 7 p.m. Saturday, January 18, at the theater here; Mrs. Judy Hodges is chairman of the preview; the production will be opened to the public, January 19, with five showings.
January 14, 1975, San Diego Union, D-2:3. The San Diego Planetarium Authority will recommend to te city that the San Diego Hall of Science undergo a major reorganization to improve the operation of the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater and Science Center; Michael Sullivan, executive director of the Hall of Science, told yesterday’s special meeting of the governing board that when his contract expires in February, he will resign from his job.
January 21, 1975, Park and Recreation Board Minutes.
- Old Globe Third Theater Proposal
Chairman Milch requested that Mrs. Widman act as Chairman during the discussion of this proposal. Both he and Mr. Leyton left the table, and did not take part in the discussion as they are on the Old Globe Board. Mrs. Widman reported that the Third Theater request had come to the Board in August 1974, with the issue raising many questions regarding Balboa Park land use, parking and traffic, etc. Since that time staff provided a report in October 1974, and the Board had a combined workshop with the Balboa Park Committee in December. The Director indicated that the Board members had available a staff report dated October 18, 1974, on this subject and that staff felt that further information would not contribute to the Board’s decision. He did report that nine communications had been received opposing the Third Theater. He then read an excerpt from a letter dated December 16, 1974 from Mrs. Danah Fayman, of the Old Globe Theater, as follows:
” . . . Because we realize it is a problem which needs serious study, the Globe Theater is willing to abandon Sunday matinee performances in the new facility and to provide buses for the evening performances to and from the Zoo parking area via the service road. “We estimate that two buses making two trips and carrying 60 persons each trip will be able to accommodate the 267 additional parking spaces that the third theater would add to the overall parking spaces estimated by the staff report as being 488. “If it were possible to open the road from El Prado to the Zoo lot in the evenings, the theater would advertise that patrons should drop passengers at the Old Globe complex and pick them up there after performances so that only drivers of the cars would be using the buses. “As to the environment . . . if the model is observed and a plot plan is carefully studied, the theater can be seen as a small part (less than ½ of an acre) of a large canyon which runs from the Botanical Garden the full length of the Fine Arts Gallery and is continued in the Zoo. Building the theater will displace black acacias, but it is planned to replace twice the trees that must be removed for construction.”
Mrs. Widman — nothing that considerable public input has been received on this matter — asked if anyone wished to speak to the Board. Mrs. Fayman, from the Old Globe, stated that she was available to answer any questions.
The Board then discussed the issue. Mr. Miller, Mr. Brandenburg and Mr. Villarino were concerned with the third theater’s potential impact on traffic and parking in Balboa Park. Mr. Mendoza indicated that while staff would be studying such issues and the Balboa Park and Facilities Committee would also be seeking solutions to long-range problems of traffic in the Park, that any additional information or alternative solutions were probably a year or two away.
Mr. Mosher, the project’s architect, spoke in favor of approving the third theater concept. He stated he felt the theater would be a valuable addition to the Park and the City, and that the existing traffic and parking problems, which were not all caused by the Old Globe, could be resolved. He recommended that the Board approve the concept, and then the Balboa Park and Facilities Committee along with Staff work on updating the master plan for the Park.
A representative of Citizens Coordinate spoke against the proposal, noting that the group had previously expressed their objection to the specific location chosen, not the concept of a third facility for the Old Globe.
Mrs. Widman asked for a motion to approve or deny the request of the Old Globe. Mr. Miller moved acceptance of the proposal of the Old Globe and requested that the master plan for the Park be updated. The motion died for lack of a second. Mr. Brandenburg indicated he favored a third theater, but was concerned over parking difficulties that would likely result.
The Board discussed the issue further, indicating a desire to forward a definite recommendation to Council, but being unable to decide on the wording of a specific motion. Mr. Johnson and Mr. Mendoza stated that the Board could forward the proposal to Council without a positive or negative recommendation but that Council should be made aware of the Board’s concern. Mr. Mendoza indicated that the Board might wish to send a representative to Council to explain in detail any Board recommendation.
Mr. Larry Sisk spoke from the audience and suggested the matter might be referred back to the Balboa Park Committee for additional discussion.
Mrs. Elsa Martin, one of the Board of Directors of the Old Globe, noted that they had appeared before the Board at least three times, plus the Balboa Park Committee. She stated that the Theater is asking the Board for their approval of the theater’s proposal to have access to the use of the specific site within the canyon for the eventual construction of a third theater. She stated that the Old Globe would not be able to expend additional funds to develop plans without the knowledge that the site would be available. She concluded that if the Old Globe found that the traffic problems are unsolvable, that the Old Globe will not spend its money on another theater.
Mr. Miller moved that the Board recommend to Council that the Old Globe’s proposal be accepted, while expressing the Board’s concern over the immediate problem of traffic congestion and a concern about the need for an updated plan for Balboa Park. Motion died for lack of a second.
Mrs. Muth moved to recommend to Council that the Board approve the concept proposed by the Old Globe and recommended by the Balboa Park Committee and indicating the Board’s concern with traffic and parking problems in the Park. Mr. Miller seconded the motion.
The vote was as follows:
Yes: Muth No: Glen Brandenburg
Mrs. Widman did not vote as she was Acting Chairman during the discussion.
The motion carried. Mrs. Muth thanked Mrs. Widman for chairing this portion of the meeting.
January 29, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. Deputy City Manager John Lockwood has recommended five projects to considered for a citywide bond issue
In a report, Lockwood told the City Council it might ask for voter approval to refurbish or repair the Ford Building and the California Building. He said replacement of the Electric Building might also be considered.
In addition, bonds could be used to replace police headquarters and for the purchase of an additional administrative office building in the downtown area.
January 22, 1975, San Diego Union, B-1. The Park and Recreation Board yesterday voted 4-1 to accept the concept of a third theater within the Old Globe organization in Balboa Park.
February 3, 1975, San Diego Union, B-1. Third theater nears for Old Globe; amid opposition, by Carol Olten.
February 4, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune. EDITORIAL: We can’t help bragging — even though we know boosterism is out of style — about the $2 million recreation center approved last week for construction in Standley Park in University City.
February 4, 1975, San Diego Union, B-1. Playground for handicapped idea backed: A proposal to establish a playground for the handicapped behind the Conference Building in Balboa Park was endorsed yesterday by the Balboa Park Committee of the Park and Recreation Board.
February 4, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. The Public Facilities and Recreation Committee backed a plan whereby the city and county will pay up to 60 percent of the operating costs of eight museums in Balboa Park and other locations.
February 6, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-1. A task force studying the financial difficulties of the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater and Science Center has rejected a city takeover of the facility, Bill MacFarlane, city property director, said yesterday.
February 6, 1975, San Diego Union, B-1. A Mexican-American cultural organization may lose city financial backing because it violated its city contract by engaging in political activity Chief Deputy Attorney Jack Katz said yesterday.
February 6, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. The Western Area Committee, an advisory group to the city Park and Recreation Department, has approved plans to acquire land for a 16.5 acre park in the Bird Rock-Muirlands area.
February 6, 1975, San Diego Union. EDITORIAL: Park Beauty At Issue.
Adding another increment to San Diego’s renowned Old Globe is an exciting prospect. However, that project raises the larger issue of how the prospective growth of all institutions with Balboa Park can be managed without damaging the park itself.
February 9, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3:4. A special city task force will recommend several steps to improve the financial position of the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater, Bill MacFarlane, city property director, said; the task force, made up of staff members from several city departments, will recommend that tighter controls and a staff reorganization be undertaken as the first steps toward economic self-sufficiency, MacFarlane said.
February 13, 1975, San Diego Union, B-1:7. An exhibit celebrating the work of Nicolaus Copernicus and Sir Isaac Newton will open Sunday. The exhibit, on loan from IBM, is a motion picture about the two scientists and astronomy and physics from the time to Copernicus’ birth (1473) until Newton’s death in 1727.
February 13, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3:7. John P. Mulligan, program director at Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater and Science Center, has been appointed to the national exhibitions committee of the Association of Science-Technology Centers; Mulligan said the new committee will develop exhibit ideas and establish standards for traveling displays.
February 14, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, A-24. California Building contract awarded to Claude P. Williams, Inc. for restoration work.
February 14, 1975, San Diego Union, B-1. A $555,000 contract to restore the California Building in Balboa Park was approved yesterday by the City Council.
February 14, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. The City Council yesterday rezoned 160 acres northeast of Balboa Park, but delayed a decision on another 900 acres.
February 25, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. A proposal to relocate the San Diego Aerospace Museum and Hall of Fame may have hurdled a financial obstacle yesterday with the help of a City Council committee.
The Public Facilities and Recreation Committee agreed to appropriate up to $10,000 for a structural engineering study of the Ford Building in Balboa Park, the site being considered for an expanded Aerospace Center.
February 28, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. An appropriation to provide up to $10,000 for a structural engineering study of the Ford Building in Balboa Park considered a possible site for an expanded Aerospace Museum, was given approval by the City Council yesterday.
March, 1975, San Diego Magazine, Vol. 27, No. 5. The Palaces Need a Czar: Is Balboa Park Sinking or Just Losing Ground?, by James Britton II.
Please forgive the teasing title. Of course the terra firma of the marvelous park is not sinking. There are no oil deposits being sucked out to cause a collapse. Most of the surface is underlaid with hardpan — getting harder every year, as Arnold Moss of the Museum of Natural History notes, because all the watering of the vegetation automatically deposits more Colorado River salts below.
One speaks of a persons as “sinking” or “losing ground” when he is near the end of his life. My real question is whether Balboa Park is losing its vitality as a park. The question is hardly new. San Diegans have fretted over the park’s quality for at least six of its 11-decade history, and are fretting particularly today because of the desire on the part of the descendants and beneficiaries of William Shakespeare to expand the Globe Theater complex, which occupies an exceptionally magical patch of the park. The Globesters are charting their plans with the help of Robert Mosher, who is a keen architect and a keen wordworker. In December he told me, “I wear two hats. . . . In addition to seeing this issue from the Globe’s point of view I am a member of the Facilities Committee of the Park and Recreation Department. . . . The committee has just written a report calling for still another master plan. We need to draw back and take a fresh look at the whole park and define the proper balance of usages.”
Mosher’s eloquence in meetings of the Facilities Committee was what led to that report “calling for still another master plan,” which I’d like to examine here after running lightly over the background. The first of several professionally prepared master plans for Balboa Park was made in 1902 by no less an authority than the president of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Samuel Parsons, Jr. He was selected and paid by park boardsman George Marston, Previously the most developing figure in the park had been Kate Sessions, nursery person extraordinaire, who did most of the early planting which, in due season, was to erase the memory of the desert this “City Park” was when dedicated in 1868. (New York’s Central park — the design of which by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux influenced park design all over the country — is only three years older [sic].
If your acquaintance with Balboa Park extends no more than 25 years or so, you will have to be surprised at how Parsons saw it in the first decade of the century, before the trees amounted to much. He wrote: “As one rides through the roads of the park the eye swims in rapture at the entrancing colors of Point Loma, the bay, the ocean and the mystic-wonderful Coronado Islands, which seem to belong entirely to the imagination, like the stately pleasure domes of Kubla Khan and seen by Coleridge in his opium dreams.” Parsons, who was not on the drug, also saw from the park — in the clean-air era before smog was invented — the peaks of San Jacinto and Palomar to the north, the Cuyamacas, San Miguel, Table Mountain and the Silver Strand to the east and south.
As Mary Marston wrote in her 1956 biography of her father: “Mr. Parsons thought that nowhere in the world was there a park completely surrounded by such magnificent views . . . He felt that roadways should be planned to make the most of the views. Planting of trees and shrubbery should not interfere with them.” But, Miss Marston added, “Today (1956) only a few view points are left, As one drives through the park, towering trees give shade and beauty, but even glimpses of sea and mountains are rare. With the growth of park and city we have lost something unique and priceless.” So much for the first master plan.
In 1908, another landscape architect, John Nolen, was working on San Diego — A Comprehensive plan for Its Improvement (See San Diego Magazine, January, 1975). He too was chosen by Marston, who underwrote his costs. His view of Balboa Park is even less imaginable in our day than the Parsons’ view. Wrote Nolen: “The authorities must consider the wisdom of withdrawing permanently from use so large a tract (1,400 acres) in the heart of the city, of separating so completely the business and residential sections, of blocking transportation for 22 squares each way.”
But Nolen also gloried in the astounding circle of distant views to be seen from the high plateau of the park. He recommended that the plateau areas be reserved for “golf, tennis, and a large general playfield,” and he preferred that most of the trees be confined to the many canyons. Indeed, he advocated calling it Canyada Park. His, then, was a sort of negative master plan, which may have encouraged the nibblers who, over the years, transferred much acreage to San Diego High School, Roosevelt Junior High School, the State Division of Highways and “the world’s largest Naval Hospital” — to name only the most conspicuous bites. The nibblers even opened their jaws for an extra large chaw when a site was being sought for the college that now is called San Diego State University. That, of course, would have wiped out the park, as park, if it had gone through.
When San Diego’s world-stirring exposition of 1915 was being planned, George Marston sided with still a third professional landscape architectural opinion, that of the Olmsted Brothers — sons of the Central Park genius — who were brought in to re-think the park in readiness for the tourist flocks. The Olmsteds wanted to keep the expo buildings on the edge of the park, near San Diego High School, and they resigned in a professional huff when the high-octane architect Bertram Goodhue sold the expo leaders on his elaborate vision of a simulated Spanish city in the heartland of the park. The exposition was a phenomenal success because Goodhue’s design concept had the power to stir men’s souls — even though most of the buildings were whipped up of temporary materials. It was an evocative melange of exuberant variations on originals from older cultures — an early example of the dress-up make-believe that was to proliferate on Hollywood motion-picture lots and eventuate in Disneylandia — but the real key to its appeal was the splendid arrangement of the buildings in relation to one another.
So, such planning as the Olmsteds did, got shelved immediately in favor of the masterly plan imprinted on the park by the overpowering Goodhue. Yet Goodhue’s plan was promptly threatened too, and by none other than Goodhue himself! He became the first of a long line of architects who lobbied to get the “temporary” buildings removed from the park ex post expo. His main reason was that for all the bravura poured into them, the temporaries did not represent him and his associates at their constructional best, but he may also have had in mind that the park, after all, was the province of landscape architects. He would have been happy if the California Building and its tower, along with the Cabrillo Bridge and — at a discreet distance — the Botanical Building were all that remained — and he saw these as suitable to be surrounded by extensive gardens.
Meanwhile, George Marston switched too, and showed up leading the consecution of citizens clamoring to retain the expo buildings! In a 1922 letter to the Union he wrote: “Why should the park buildings be saved? Were they not built as temporary, without any thought of being retained? Yes, it is quite true, but there may be reasons for doing differently . . . Notwithstanding the advice of the architects themselves, and the sheer impossibility of permanent restoration at present, the community has grown slowly into conviction that what we have there in the park — which is something more than mere buildings — must not perish. You may prove what you will in facts and figures about the shaky old buildings. The only answer is: ‘They shall not pass.’ Somehow, without knowing how to explain it, we are instinctively, unconsciously, incurably in love with them and will not give them up. It’s the grant emotion and is founded, I think, on something real and vital. The truth is that the Exposition ‘builded better than it knew’ . . . You can cross the great bridge and find yourself in another world.”
Another world, George? Did you mean that competitive jostling is left behind and harmony prevails? Well, hardly. Small wars flared repeatedly in the park during the years since you wrote that letter. Museums settled and grew in the old buildings, or in replacements which sometimes respected but mostly violated the Goodhue scheme. John Nolen and the Olmsted firm won new “master plan” contracts to only spotty effect. Another architect of sweet talent, Richard Requa, did a master plan to encompass a new exposition for 1935-36, using the Goodhue inheritance and adding the rather jumbly mix of structures now found in the Palisades area. The Navy came in with master plans, too, beginning in World War I when it started to acquire what is now 100 acres near the center of the park. World War Ii was rough on park buildings, which were taken over in toto by the Navy because of the grievous hospital needs.
By 1960 we were ripe for — yes — a master plan, and this time it was prepared by the prestigious St. Louis firm of Harland Bartholomew and Associates, which tried bravely to make sense of the accumulated confusion. The Bartholomew Plan, however, caused a new and hotter sequence of brush-fire wars within the park so that by 1975 the Facilities Committee deemed the plan of little further uses. Curiously, it had been projected to cover a 15-year period, the period had expired, and not much of the plan had been followed.
Now — to pick up the thread from our second paragraph — the Facilities Committee’s prospectus for a 1975 master plan contains these difficult proposals:
- Return El Prado (the central core laid out by Goodhue and associates) to “its original form” eliminating most auto traffic and parking re-development to be “totally pedestrian-oriented” except for in-park transit systems.
- Limit autos to certain areas elsewhere in the park.
- Re-locate athletic functions from the Palisades area to Morley Field andre-locate non-museum functions (except the Globe!) from the Prado area to the Palisades area.
Lost sight of in recent years is an idea advanced in the Bartholomew Plan: convert the California Building (now used uncomfortably by the Museum of Man) into a theater. Craig Noel, the wizardly director of the Globe for, lo, the three decades of its existence told me that it was he who had urged the Bartholomew planners to include that proposal — which conforms with Goodhue’s intent that the building be used “as an auditorium of some type.” Noel and his Globesters have put that idea aside long since in favor of the new theater for which Mosher made schematics (after the Balboa Park Committee approved the concept.)
There is not doubt that Noel and his professional colleagues have the imagination and ingenuity to do wonders with any space they may inhabit. The California Building and associated structures are adjacent to the Globe. Enough space could be allotted there to develop the full-fledged theater school which would be the natural fulfillment of Noel’s stewardship.
A delightful example of Noel’s ingenuity surfaced at a December workshop of the park board on the question of traffic. The Globe’s vestal matron, Delza Martin, was on hand to present a parking plan that Noel had hatched after sitting on the egg for years. He had an actor friend prepare an amateur rendering of a parking structure he proposed to tuck into the canyons at the eastern end of Cabrillo Bridge, which happens to be just west of the Globe. The structure would be facaded with a series of round arches repeating the arches of the bridge, and atop the layers of parking would be spacious promenades. To sell this presto solution of a severe problem, wizard Noel also prepared an acetate overlay which, when flipped across the rendering, shows how the trees would hide the parking! Note that his quite architectural scheme was offered as a non-professional conception, not al all associated with Globe architect Mosher.
The heavily-wooded canyon site of the proposed 800-seat theater (east of the Globe) is one of the most attractive glens of the park for those who bother to seek it out — the true park seekers, some of whom are strongly challenging the Globe plans. On the other hand, a sizable piece of the terrain targeted by Noel for parking could be given up reasonably for that purpose if it would mean easing the intrusion of cars in choicer areas. Besides, a parking structure — topped by promenades setting off the California tower — could be so designed that it would serve other, more useful functions when we finally bring in transit systems to supersede the auto. Road access to this parking would be a bit of a challenge. So the whole question of what to build, and where, indeed, should wait upon new studies by a sufficiently talented master planner.
What Balboa Park needs now and hereafter is a resident genius of design — an individual, not a committee — empowered to make a master plan and continually update it. He or she would take account of the political pressures brought to bear through the Park and Recreation board, but would be the final referee. To attract the right incorruptible person, George Marston’s fine house, which is not part of the park, might be thrown into the contract.
At least two of the 13 people on the Facilities Committee have the talent to fulfill this function, but none of them is likely to be available. They are all busy professionals in architecture, landscape architecture, building construction or art, and the time they can give to the committee activity is very limited. A glance at the minutes suggests that most committee time is spent evaluating contracts for outhouses somewhere or other in the city’s far-flung park system. They have a hand now in selecting designers for minor projects but not for major projects (like the Globe Theater), for which committee members themselves often win contracts. Ideally, though, these pros, just because of their expertise in design, should have been charged with deciding in the first place whether the Globe’s third theater is a good fit in the overall layout of the park, but that sort of basic judgment is made instead, repeatedly, by the Balboa Park Committee, hardly any of whose members are qualified on design matters.
The words in the FC’s prospectus about returning El Prado to “its original form” have to be taken loosely. They really refer only to turning El Prado into a prado, or promenade, once again. Architects educated in this century generally believe they can improve on the imagery left from the Goodhue era, and that have in fact already destroyed the ensemble effect of the Goodhue heritage. Mosher’s firm designed the new wings of the Fine Arts Gallery — creditable design, these wings, but hardly retaining the original form. Frank Hope’s firm did the Timken Gallery, a blatant wrong note in this neighborhood, reeking of nouveau richesse. The firms of Richard Wheeler and George Hatch (with Louis Bodmer) did the Casa del Prado and the Science Center respectively — the one duplicating the original exterior motifs found on the site while failing to produce a significant building behind the facade, the other accommodating an amazing technological feat within while mocking the Spanish-Colonial masters by settling for blown-up residential stucco style on the exterior.
The architectural firm headed by Homer Delawie (who is a city planning commissioner) won the contracts to design the “floor” functions of the Prado. His Plaza de Balboa with its windblown fountain at the eastern end of El Prado has its own clean look — quite different from the setting of 1915. He is presently re-designing the Plaza de Panama in front of the Fine Arts Gallery, which again will be something new — inevitably an easy improvement on the nervous sea of cars there now, but further erasing the original form.
Facilities Committee chairman Joe Yamada — who, like Mosher, wears to park hats — has a contract to help the Delawie company on this plaza as he did on the earlier one. Yamada told me something of his current thoughts for the Prado (while emphasizing that nothing of this had been decided): “We need a surface that can be traveled over by necessary vehicles but is basically designed for pedestrians. I like the idea of a floor made of six-foot squares of decorative concrete paving, separated by four-inch strips of grass — picking up the theme used so successfully at the University of Mexico. It will be agreeable to look at, pleasant under foot, and cars can park on it until we decided what else to do with them. Also, the squares can be lifted out at any point to provide beds for planting. I’d like to carry this motif down the entire Prado across the bridge and all the way to Sixth Avenue, getting rid of the asphalt. In front of the Fine Arts Gallery would be a good place for a outdoor dining arrangement.
The Yamada artistry is highly reliable if not infallible. (His striking fence around the Fine Arts Gallery’s sculpture garden needs to be painted dark to diminish its distracting op-art effect.) His idea described above sounds like a genuine aesthetic enhancement of the Prado’s ambiance. There is not doubt, now, that the Prado’s future will not be a restoration of its original form but a mixture of nostalgia phenomena and contemporary expression. (Tiny Bea Evenson’s mighty Committee of 100 will continue to do battle for reincarnation in concrete of the fragile Goodhued ghosts, but she faces strong opposition — for example, in the looming case of the Electric Building, the one whose cornice is held up by plastered naked ladies. This is a period piece if ever there was one, and I think it should be treasured.) The serious challenge is to see that anything added along the strip of the Prado is a plus rather than a nonplus — concerting but not disconcerting. A new unity has to be discovered.
Though intending to discuss the whole of the park, I have kept the reader pinned on the Prado because that is where the definitive changes are occurring. If we step for a moment to the east of Park Boulevard, opposite the end of the Prado, we can touch on a really thorny issue. A rose garden is being created there, while just north of it is a desert garden where cacti will stand and point. It makes no landscaping sense to have these two gardens as neighbors, considering that the two classes of prickles tend to jam each other’s messages to man. An alternate site for the roses, near the Federal Building, was foreclosed because the area had recently been planted to trees and grass.
Grass is being used widely now in San Diego parks because, as park superintendent Dave Roberts explained to me, it is easy to maintain with modern equipment and requires fewer man-hours than more complicated vegetation. Of course, the grass is welcome to the average eye and foot, though it seems alien to lovers of the native heath, and it does drink oceans of water. In Balboa Park the new expanses of grass also mean that this very particular park is returning somewhat toward the condition of openness that so fascinated Samuel Parsons in 1902. However, the distinct views that he raved about are being blocked now by buildings rising high outside the park. Not of the these buildings risen to date is as rewarding to gaze upon as is the park’s centerpiece, the California Tower, which once was smothered in eucalypti but is now quite exposed because of the removal or topping of many trees — another result of managerial rather than design intentions.
The park superintendent and his design staff have valuable experience on which to draw, but they do not have the time, the authority or even the inclination to ride herd on all the people who contribute parts of the Balboa Park future. So the fact remains that no one is in a position to assure that the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts — i.e., a masterpiece of design. Yet, obviously, the finest park must have the finest guidance. Or sink.
March 2, 1975, San Diego Union, B-6:3. The dome of the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater is not falling, but little bits of tape are; City project officer W. Earl Hayden said the City is unhappy with the job done on the dome screen two years ago by the contractor, Spitz Lab, Inc.
March 4, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, A-9. The council’s Public Facilities and Recreation Committee yesterday delayed until March 17 action on a proposal to increase funding for area cultural projects through an admissions tax on entertainment events.
March 7, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-5. The City Council has renamed the B Street overpass and pedestrian mall near San Diego City College in honor of former Mayor Frank Curran.
Mach 7, 1975, San Diego Union. The City Council asked for bids on refurbishing the roof over the stage and dressing rooms of Balboa Park Bowl.
March 8, 1975, San Diego Union, B-2. Plaza de Panama parking spaces in Balboa Park should be eliminated, the San Diego Historical Sites Board recommended yesterday.
March 9, 1975, San Diego Union, D-4. “Auxiliary Expo” set for Friday, March 21, in Balboa Park to explore realm of cultural volunteers, by Elaine Smyth (illus.).
March 10, 1975, San Diego Union, A-9. A series of workshops designed to help persons trace family histories will be held next Friday and Saturday at the Puppet Theater in Balboa Park.
March 14, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, A-23. The Committee of 100 has offered a new approach to the city in a campaign to preserve the decorative facade of the old Electric Building in Balboa Park. The committee wants to donate $6,000 for the first phase of a feasibility study on preservation of the remaining buildings from the 1915 Exposition in the park.
March 14, 1975, San Diego Union, B-5. Councilman Leon Williams yesterday asked City Attorney John Witt if use of Balboa Park’s Organ Pavilion last weekend by the American Nazi Party violated a council policy on racial discrimination.
March 18, 1975, Minutes of the Park and Recreation Board.
- Sundial – Balboa Park
George Loveland, staff assistant to the Balboa Park Committee, introduced Dr. Gordon Plummer who was presenting the concept of a proposed sundial for the Plaza de Balboa in Balboa Park. Dr. Plummer designed the device and is donating it to the City. Mrs. Widman and Mr. Yamada noted that both the Balboa Park and Facilities Committees had reviewed and approved the concept; the Facilities Committee approved the design with one reservation, that is, that the base should be reduced in size. Dr. Plummer indicated that the size of the base was being reduced from 42 inches to 36 inches. Mr. Yamada suggested that Dr. Plummer work with staff and the consultant who is presently working on the design for the Prado area, including a flagpole which is to be installed in the Plaza de Balboa.
Dr. Plummer displayed a drawing of the proposed sundial, indicated how the structure was designed and noted that it is a “universal” sun dial and is self adjusting.
Mr. Leyton moved approval of the concept subject to the specific location being integrated in the design plan being prepared by the consultant mentioned above, and the Facilities Committee’s approval of an appropriate base. Mr. Brandenburg seconded the motion which carried unanimously.
On behalf of the Board, Mr. Milch thanked Dr. Plummer for his proposed gift and requested staff to contact Dr. Plummer.
- Tennis Center Schematic – Balboa Park
Vince Marchetti of the Development Division staff, made a presentation regarding the design for the expansion of the tennis center at Morley Field. HE reported that the architect for the original building was Mr. Sim Bruce Richards, the same architect being utilized in designing the proposed building addition. Mr. Marchetti displayed drawings and reported that the current plan is to add a second story to the existing building. This design will provide the needed room, with budget, be aesthetically pleasing, and will not require the use of any presently landscaped area. The proposed plan was approved by the Facilities Committee but had not been to the Balboa Park Committee as yet.
- Monument to Composer – Balboa Park
Mrs. Widman reported that on August 5, 1974, the Balboa Park Committee recommended approval of a proposal to place a bust of the composer of the Philippine National Anthem in the courtyard of the Philippine Cottage of the Houses of Pacific Relations in Balboa Park. Jim Gutzmer reported that the individuals interested in locating the bust in Balboa Park had expressed an interest in its location in the downtown Community Concourse. However, now the individuals are again interested in utilizing a location in Balboa Park and have requested that the Board confirm the Committee’s recommendation.
Mrs. Widman moved that if the bust of the composer is life-size, it be placed in the courtyard of the Philippine Cottage. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.
March 20, 1975, San Diego Union, 27:1-2. Questions about the Red Planet will be explored in “New View of Mars,” a program being added to the regular bill at Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater for Easter week; “The new film reveals that science imagination equals fictional fantasies,” said W. Michael Sullivan, executive director of the theater.
March 20, 1975, San Diego Union, C-7. The city Parks and Recreation Board has approved donation of a new type of sundial to be constructed in the flower garden behind the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park.
March 20, 1975, San Diego Union, E-1. Prized art unearthed from the musty past, by Jeannette Branin (illus.).
A sagging floor led to the discovery of the newest treasures to be added to the Panama-California Sculpture Court at Casa del Prado in Balboa Park.
The three sculptures had been created by Italian masters of the art in New York City 50 years ago. Plaster casts were made and shipped to San Diego.
Here they were cast in concrete to ornament the facade of the Fine Arts Gallery, built in 1925 and 1925. They were statues of Murillo, Velazquez and Zurburan, famous artists of the 17th century.
Then the master molds were dumped ignominiously in the dirt-floored basement of a Balboa Park building.
Col. Own Clarke, executive director of the Aerospace Museum, said that he first saw the statues about eight years ago.
“We were moving airplanes around in the museum and noticed that the floor appeared to be weak in this old building,” he said.
“Now we didn’t want any airplanes falling through the floor, so we went down into the basement to shore up the floor with some timbers.
“It’s a messy old basement, with a dirt floor that slopes down toward the canyon in the back of the building,” said Clarke. “The city has used it to store stuff for years; we started storing there, too, to make room for other things.
“While we were bolstering the floor, we saw the three statues, just sort of dumped down off to one side. We mentioned it to a few people around town, but no one had any idea where they had come from.”
For another eight years, the statues lay in the dirt undisturbed except for the night when vandals broke it, and, for some incomprehensible reason, smashed the faces with an iron pipe and kicked a hole in the back of one of them.
Last year, Bea Evenson, president of the Committee of 100 and motivating force behind the construction of Casa del Prado, heard about the statues in the basement.
“We recognized them as the original master models from the Fine Arts Gallery,” she said.
“We knew they should be preserved. They are rare. They deserve a place in the sculpture court.”
The sculpture court was dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Evenson’s late husband, Frank E. Evenson, who dies June 14, 1973.
The sculpture court now contains statues and other ornaments removed from the Food and Beverage Building before it was razed to make way for the Casa del Prado, a reproduction of the original, but temporary building.
Chris Mueller of Burbank, an architectural modeler and sculptor who was involved in the ornamentation of Casa del Prado, agrees with Mrs. Evenson that the plaster statues are rare.
“Plaster casting of this sort, for architectural sculpture, just isn’t being done anymore,” said Mueller.
“What we have today are individual pieces being done by artists, or so-called artists, and applied to or around the buildings, not designed as an integral part of the composition.”
Mueller said that the new discoveries should not be considered “just old plaster casts.”
They are the master casts, he said, made from the original clay models which are always, invariably destroyed after the plaster casts are made from them.
“There’s no way to replace them,” he said. “They’re each one of a kind.”
Mrs. Evenson believes that the three statues were sculpted by one of the six sons of Furio Piccirilli of Italy, who established a marble-cutting business in New York in 1888.
“Horatio Piccirilli was the most highly skilled in ornamentation,” said Mrs. Evenson. “He may have been the one who made these.”
Members of the Committee of 100 called in John Clark, artist-craftsman who supervised all the restoration work at Casa del Prado and at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco to repair the mutilated statues.
Clark has completed the restoration of the broken back and faces, except for the “fine finishing,” he said.
“I’ve been working in artificial light on a level with the statues, which are a little large than life size,” he said. “What I have to do now is to take them out into natural light and compare them with the statues on the gallery facade. Then I’ll know what remains to be done.”
They will be moved to the sculpture court as soon as the city gives permission,” said Mrs. Evenson.
“And, oh, I wish we could make a plea for the return of the statue called ‘California,’ the standing woman with two children, one representing an American Indian,” she said.
“It was removed from the Chollas Sanitary Landfill storage area several years ago. If only it would be returned.
“The statue of ‘California’ belongs in our sculpture court, to be enjoyed by all the people,” she said.
March 21, 1975, San Diego Union, B-15. A policy change proposal to give developers a possible 25 percent reduction in city park fees when private recreation facilities are provided was revived yesterday by Councilman Bob Martinet.
March 21, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. The City Council yesterday tightened building density requirements on about 435 acres of property located east and north east of Balboa Park.
March 23, 1975, San Diego Union, B-14. The San Diego Unified Port District hopes to be able to proceed with a $500,000 extension of Spanish Landing Maritime Park by midsummer, a port spokesman has said.
March 29, 1975, San Diego Union, 14:1. A freckled, 11-year old, redheaded boy became the millionth visitor to the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater yesterday; theater officials at the turnstiles presented Richie Faulkner, son of Mr. and Mrs. Arden Faulkner of San Marcos, with a bronze medallion and a membership in the San Diego Hall of Science; Richie also got a chance to “control the universe: by pushing a button that started the theater’s 2 p.m. “Earthship” presentation.
April 6, 1975, San Diego Union, B-4. City rejects new route into park.
A City Council committee has turned thumbs down on a proposal to ease traffic congestion on the north end of Balboa Park.
Charles Wolf, 1520 Upas St., has sought Public Facilities and Recreation Committee support for routing most park traffic from freeways via Pershing Drive and Florida Street.
Wolf advocated a signed route leading to the park via Pershing Drive and Florida Street, which would require major alterations to the street crossings at 26th Street.
Wolf earlier requested a change in existing signing which currently leads motorists northbound and southbound on Interstate 5 into 163 northbound to reach San Diego Zoo and El Prado facilities.
The committee filed Wolf’s rerouting request after a report from Acting City Manager Mike Graham said that the proposal would involve “the expenditure of additional thousands of dollars.”
Graham said that while traffic would be removed from Upas Street as advocated, major reconstruction of the 26th Street, Florida Drive, Pershing Drive intersection would cost in excess of $150,000.
Proposed sign changes on Interstate 5 would cost $5,000, Graham said.
Presently, there are no funds scheduled for major reconstruction projects at the intersection, said Graham. Some widening of the street has long been listed as needed, Graham said, but due to limited funds available has not been listed high on priority lists.
There are only a few times a year when congestion is experienced on Upas Street between Richmond and Park Boulevard due to park traffic to and from Route 163, Graham said.
In evaluating Wolf’s plan, the requested change from the current pattern would create worse problems unless there was a major reconstruction of the Florida Drive intersection, he concluded.
The Zoological Society of San Diego reported it prefers traffic routing to the zoo, as it is presently.
April 11, 1975, San Diego Union, B-4. Park access closure is opposed..
Deputy City Manager John W. Johnson yesterday recommended against closure of the west end of El Prado in Balboa Park.
The access across Cabrillo Bridge is needed as the east-west link to the park to avoid having to build new parking facilities near Sixth Avenue and permit east entrance to the park’s cultural institutions, Johnson said.
A resident of the area, Charles Wolf, had asked the City Council to consider closing the bridge to cut down traffic in the park. The council’s Public Facilities and Recreation Committee asked for Johnson’s report on the matter.
The council, in fall 1973, considered a variety of plans regarding traffic in the park, and voted to close the eastern portion of El Prado from Plaza de Panama to Plaza de Balboa.
This eased out non-park traffic, while continuing easy access to all facilities in the park, Johnson said.
The city staff does not feel conditions have changed since that time to warrant closing the bridge area, said Johnson.
April 14, 1975, San Diego Union, D-7. Balboa Club keeps aged busy, by Ernesto Flores.
One of the most used city buildings in a one-story structure surrounded by trees and thick shrubbery in the southwestern portion of Balboa Park.
The building opens at 7 a.m. every day including weekends, and sometimes stays open up until 10:30 p.m. During that time there is a continuous stream of people going in and out.
“Before we open the door in the morning, there are already people waiting outside. We are supposed to close at 8:30 p.m. but some activities go past that,” said Jess Morris, 70, a retired roofer.
The building is operated by the Balboa Club, an organization of people who love to play chess, cards, pitch horseshoes, play shuffleboard and other group activities.
The city owns the building, which also pays for its maintenance, utilities, and administrative operation.
Although the club’s membership is open to all 18-year olds and above, the majority of the members are senior citizens, who spend most of their waking hours there.
“Old folks on rocking chairs dry up and soon lose the will to live. Like other human beings, they need activities to occupy their bodies and minds. The club provides that,” said Jack Starr, 70, president of the club.
According to Starr, a retired Dallas journalist and county administrator, many of the older residents “stay alive because of the club.”
“Watching senior citizens play shuffleboard is like watching kids at play. They become so involved in it and forget everything else,” said Starr.
Morris, the club’s vice president, said there are about 460 members, which is fewer than a few years ago.
“Probably the reason for the drop in membership is that the yearly dues have increased from $5 to $7.
Eddy Gibson, office administrator, said most of the young people who are members of the club are chess players.
“We probably have the largest gathering of chess players at any given moment in San Diego,” said Gibson, adding that the club has about 50 chess tables.
He said chess tournaments are held almost once a week and “they are always lively affairs.”
Some of the problems of the club, said Gibson, include vandalism and burglaries. He said at one time the kitchen was broken into and many utensils were taken.
Another problem, he said, is the continually rising cost of supplies and equipment. “We use to buy wax for the shuffleboard court at $66 per 100 pounds,” he said.
He said to make his budget go further, he now canvasses for supplies and equipment, rather than buying it from just one supplier.
In addition to the usual club activities, the club also sponsors parties, trips and outings and special classes on certain subjects.
April 15, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3:2. The temporary shutdown of the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater this fall to permit the replacement of its dome screen was considered yesterday by the Planetarium Authority; the authority, which administers the theater and space center in Balboa Park, discussed the refurbishing at its annual meeting, following by report by Early Hayden, project officer in the city Engineering and Development Department.
April 15, 1975, Minutes of the Park and Recreation Board.
- Plaza de Panama and El Prado
Mr. Yamada requested to be excused during the next item as he had a potential conflict of interest with this matter; he left the meeting at this point and did not return.
Mr. Mendoza reported that Mr. Milch (who was absent) and Mr. Leyton had requested an opinion from the City Attorney regarding an potential conflict of interest in their part in participating in any discussion on this item. The City Attorney has rendered an opinion that although both were now members of the Old Globe Board of Directors, they would not have a conflict of interest in this matter. Mr. Leyton noted, for the record, that he has neither any financial interest in the group making the presentation nor in the project itself. He added that if the discussion reached any point where he felt a conflict of interest existed, he would excuse himself.
- Design by Consultant
The architectural firm of Delawie, Macy and Henderson presented a schematic plan for the redevelopment of the Plaza de Panama and the eastern portion of El Prado. The architects presented slides, maps, and other graphics describing the proposed project. They discussed their scope of work, pedestrian, vehicular and bicycle access, parking and traffic flow, the aesthetics of paving materials and landscaping, arcades, benches and parking lights.
The primary recommendations of the architects proposal were as follows:
- Respect and restore the major and minor axes of the original Baroque Park Plan by:
- Recapturing and enhancing the vistas of the original.
- Focusing views on the terminal elements of axes.
- Restoring exterior spaces through the use of living tree arcades where new building lines have deviated from the original will be recaptured [sic].
- Unifying the composition through the use of uniform planting and paving materials. We would like to see the pears be continued throughout.
- Restore the Plaza de Panama to its proper use as a people space by:
- Eliminating the automobile parking within the area.
- Unifying the space with continuous pavement and a perimeter of similar trees and lighting standards, adding lights and trees were needed.
- Providing shaded spaces for sitting and promenading. There would be access for the handicapped, a drinking fountain and trash receptacles. It would be hard surfaced and the areas would be flexible, i. e., sidewalk café during nice weather.
- Further unify the park area through the use of appropriate well-designed street furniture, trash containers, drinking fountains, bicycle racks and graphics.
- Restore existing neglected facilities, such as the ornamental fountains to an operating condition.
- Respect and protect existing valuable planting materials and add new materials which enhance and enrich both the existing buildings and plant materials.
- Develop an adequate intra-park transit system to interconnect major parking areas and buildings.
The architects indicated that the approximate cost of their proposals would b $750,000 with the project divided into four basic components, the largest of which would be the redevelopment of the Plaza de Panama.
The Board discussed the concept at length; it was determined that additional comment was needed from the public and from the various City departments that would be involved.. Mrs. Widman reported that the Balboa Park Committee had reviewed the plan and passed a motion recommending to the Board that the Committee be permitted to hold a public hearing on this matter in May. Mr. Roberts indicated that the architect’s presentation was going to be committed in writing so that members of the Board, appropriate committees, and the public would have an opportunity to study the matter. Mr. Mendoza reported that staff would attempt to publicize the Balboa Park Committee’s public hearing on this proposal if the Board agreed.
Mrs. Bea Evenson spoke, nothing that she was not representing the Committee of 100, and expressed hope that the concept would be approved with certain modifications. Mr. Charles Wolfe also spoke in favor of the proposal. Mr. Mendoza read from a letter submitted by Mr. Henry Gardiner from the Fine Arts Gallery protesting the moving of the parking from the Plaza de Panama.
Mrs. Widman moved that the Board accept the recommendation of the Facilities Committee and review the proposal at a public hearing. Mrs. Muth seconded the motion. Mr. Leyton recommended that any motions regarding the proposal should be deferred until a public hearing is held. After discussion, Mrs. Widman stated that she wished to withdraw her motion and Mrs. Muth withdrew her second. The Board then agreed to refer the proposal back to the Balboa Park Committee for a public hearing in May with the matter to be returned to the Board in the same month.
As part of the architect’s review of the Plaza de Panama and the Prado area, a base design was selected and specific site location for a sundial to be located near the Plaza de Balboa. The base will be 24 inches square and the sundial will be located to the northeast of the fountain adjacent to the walkway leading across the bridge over Park Boulevard. The proposal of the architect has been approved by the donor, Dr. Gordon Plummer, and the Facilities Committee.
Mrs. Widman moved and Mrs. Dickinson seconded to accept the recommendation of location and proposed base; the motion carried unanimously.
- and 3. Staff Parking Study/Historic Site Board Recommendation
Staff distributed copies of reports relating to both items for members of the Board to study prior to the re-discussion of this matter at the May meeting.
- Marston House Acquisition
Ed Mendoza reported that Miss Mary Marston has offered to donate her home to the City and has asked that the San Diego History Center operate the facility. The home would be transferred to the City’s ownership upon Miss Marston’s demise. Staff is preparing an agreement with the Historical Society that would call for ground maintenance to be provided by City; custodial care to be the responsibility of the Historical Society. The proposed agreement will go to the City Council within the next few months. Mr. Kevin Munnelly, City Endowment Officer, and Mr. Jim Moss of the Historical Society were both present but the Board raised no questions or objections on this informational report.
April 16, 1975, San Diego Union, B-4. $750,000 park project submitted for redevelopment of Plaza de Panama and El Prado.
A $750,000 project for the redevelopment of Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama and El Prado was submitted to the city Park and Recreation Board yesterday.
The project includes restoring the Plaza de Panama as a “people space,” providing uniform paving through the Plaza and El Prado, creating and adding to living tree arcades and providing two raised “happening” spots for public events on the Prado.
It was proposed to the board by the architectural firm of Delawie, Macy & Henderson and Wimmer, Yamada & Iwanaga as “preserving and modifying existing elements to provide focus on the original park plan of 1915.”
In unanimous action, the board referred the plan back to the Balboa Park Committee for further review at its May 3 meeting.
The architectural firms recommended that if the plan is implemented the Plaza de Panama — to be developed into a mall area at a cost of $370,000 — be given priority in the improvements.
The firms also encouraged the board to develop “a good viable, inter-park tram system” to serve traffic problems.
April 26, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune. Casa del Prado: Sculpture court gets three statues, by Jan Jennings (illus.).
Three pieces of sculpture, recently uncovered in the dirt beneath the Aerospace Museum, will be added to the Panama-California Sculpture Court of the Casa del Prado, according to Mrs. Frank R. Evenson, founder of the Committee of 100. . . . .
The three sculptures to be added are made of hemp, wire and plaster, as are the other sculpture castings in the garden. They are being touched up and moved by students from Dr. Fay Frick’s art classes at San Diego State University. The project is an offshoot of a course called “Seminar of Modern Art in San Diego, from 1850 to 1950.”
May, 1975, Applause. “To Be or Not to Be, That is the question,” by Elliott Swift and Ron Shapiro.
Nearly everyone agrees that San Diego needs more theaters. As our population has increased, the ability of existing theaters to accommodate theatergoers has decreased. Last year, for example, the winter season at the Old Globe/Cassius Carter was sold out and an estimated 144,000 people were turned away during the summer Shakespeare Festival.
May 3, 1975, San Diego Union, B-1. Plans are underway to make the Mary Marston home adjacent to Balboa Park the future administrative headquarters of San Diego History Center.
May 5, 1975, San Diego Union, B-1. A $750,000 plan to transform the cultural core of Balboa Park into a spot for pedestrians will be reviewed at 3 p.m. today by the Balboa Park Committee.
May 6, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-1, B-4. A $750,000 plan for renovation of Balboa Park’s cultural center drew complaints yesterday that it would lead to increased problems of park crime and inadequate parking.
May 6, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune. The Centro Cultural de la Raza, Toltecas en Aztlan, will sponsor a benefit concert, “Music del Fuego Nuevo,” at 8 p.m. tomorrow in the center in Balboa Park.
May 6, 1975, San Diego Union, B-1. Suggested Limit to Park Parking Draws Opposition.
A plan to eliminate parking from the cultural core of Balboa Park was opposed yesterday by those who use museums and other facilities in the area.
Of the 21 persons who spoke during a public hearing conducted by the Balboa Park Committee, 16 were against the plan, three were for it, and two were for it with reservations.
May 7, 1975, San Diego Union, B-4. Construction of a new 800-seat theater as part of the Old Globe complex in Balboa Park has received the endorsement of the city manager’s office.
May 7, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, A-17. A proposal by the Old Globe organization to build a third theater in Balboa Park has received conditional support from the city manager’s office.
May 14, 1975, San Diego Union, B-7. Balboa Park; No Parking’s No Good For Park, by Clive N. Pillsbury.
The lesson here is that to close the plaza (de Panama) to parking without compensating nearby spaces would invite disaster for our cultural facilities. It should be noted that about one half of all San Diego’s postwar theaters have closed their doors due to a loss of patronage, owing to inadequate safe parking, with the gap filled by theaters in shopping plazas with parking at the door.
May 14, 1975, San Diego Union, B-7. Balboa Park: Pedestrian needs must be met, by John D. Henderson.
The pedestrian is caught in a non-man’s land, completely surrounded by parked or moving vehicles. It is indeed strange that the Plaza de Panama, once the central focal point of the entire Exposition grounds of 1915, is now being used for its present inappropriate purpose as a parking lot.
May 18, 1975, San Diego Union, B-6. The Arthur P. and Jeannette G. Pratt Memorial Foundation has donated another $10,000 for preservation of Spanish Colonial architecture along El Prado, bringing to $135,000 Pratt grants for that purpose.
A spokesman for the Committee of 100 said Mrs. Pratt gave $100,000 during her lifetime and that another $20,000 had been donated by the estate.
May 18, 1975, San Diego Union, F-21. Balboa Park landmark: House of Hospitality has new look (illus. of 780-square foot La Sala Banquet Room in antique white with soft gold wainscoting; carpet is orange and gold).
The House of Hospitality Building, a San Diego and Balboa Park landmark since 1915, completed extensive refurbishing this month, Jerry Lewis, president of the association, announced.
Lewis said the House of Hospitality Association had commissioned Sue Cox, one of the owners of the Café del Rey Moro and a lessee in the building, to handle refurbishing.
The House of Hospitality Association has been lessee with the City of San Diego since 1935. The association, in turn, leases the two-story building to such organizations as the San Diego Opera, San Diego Symphony, Junior League of San Diego, Sierra Club, San Diego City and County War Against Litter, Citizens Coordinate for Century III, World Affairs Council of San Diego, Yokohama Sister City Organization and offices for William Hippen, council general of Japan.
The building, originally T-shaped in 1915, was changed to its present form, with a central fountain and garden area, by the architectural firm of Requa, Jackson and Hamill. San Diego sculptor Donal Hord then was commissioned to create a statue for the central patio area, where he constructed the seated figure of a native Aztec woman of Tehuantepec, utilizing more than half of a 1,600-pound block of rock.
Spanish architecture and the influence of the 1935 and 1935 Panama Expositions [sic] still are evident in the building through the display of heraldic decorations over archways and entrances.
The building interior was last refurbished in 1962. At that time the Junior League of San Diego and the House of Hospitality Association each contributed $20,000 toward renovation, which included the ballroom and the restrooms. Since the architecture of the building is patterned after famous buildings in Spain or Mexico, Mrs. Cox selected carpeting, draperies and accent colors to balance the Spanish theme, using burnt oranges, golds and antique whites as main colors. All rooms have a Spanish flair and the largest, the Loggia, measuring 1,457 square feet, features an adobe-type tile floor, open wood beams and tones of blue and coral against natural wood. A new entry door was added with a smoked glass panel in one side. Draperies are brown and beige with touches of orange.
The second largest room, the Lounge, accommodates up to 150 people. Walls again are antique white, with hand-painted wooden beams and carpeting in an orange and gold tile pattern. The other rooms, La Sala and the Davidson room, provide small areas for informal parties and banquets. The Davidson room, however, has a garden-like atmosphere and here Mrs. Cox used moss green and light green carpeting against garden-green walls to accentuate the setting.
The ceiling in the Davidson room was painted white, with the addition of four garden-like lanterns added to augment lighting, and white lattice work added to walls.
To complement the redecorated Sala Room, John and Sue Cox have loaned the “Bullfighter” mural, an original work by Arizona artist Jay Datus to the House of Hospitality Building. The mural, approximately, 20 feet long by 4 feet high, symbolizes the many moods of bullfighters and is in keeping with the same color scheme.
May 20, 1975, Park and Recreation Board Minutes.
- Cut-Flower Concession
Mr. David Rotner presented a drawing of the cart for his proposed cut-flower concession in Balboa Park. The Balboa Park Committee recommended approval of the design, with locations to be at the lower level of Plaza de Balboa, adjacent to the Zoro Garden and on the “green” in front of the Old Globe Theater. The flowers will be $1.00 for a bouquet and $1.50 for a corsage. Although this item has not been before the Facilities Committee, their Chairman indicated that since this was a decorative item, that their input would not be required.
Mrs. Widman moved, seconded by Mrs. Muth, that the Board recommend approval of the design and placement of the cart for a six-month trial period. Motion carried.
- Zoro Garden – Balboa Park
Mr. Tom Van Dyke, landscape architect, presented schematic drawings for proposed improvements to Zoro Garden. The improvements include additional paving (colored concrete aggregate), additional plant material and a small waterfall. These improvements will not significantly change the character of the area. The plant material has been approved by the Balboa Park Committee and will consist of shade plants, such as ferns, etc. It was noted that Mr. Van Dyke had informally consulted with the firm of Wimmer, Yamada and Iwanaga, but it was emphasized that Mr. Yamada had no connection with the project and will receive no compensation. The street theater groups will be able to continue to use Zoro Garden.
It was moved by Mrs. Widman, seconded by Mrs. Dickinson, that the Board recommend approval of the project. Motion carried.
May 20, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, A-11. Plan to cut traffic in park advances.
A $750,000 plan to renovate Balboa Park’s cultural center has been approved by the Park and Recreation Board’s committee.
The Balboa Park Committee voted unanimously yesterday to recommend that the board approve the plan which envisions elimination of 159 parking spaces and expansion of the park for pedestrian uses.
The plan was developed by the architectural firm of Delawie, Macy and Henderson in connection with the City Council’s decision in 1973 to close El Prado (Laurel Street( to vehicle traffic through the park.
May 20, 1975, San Diego Union, B-4. Balboa Park Parking Ban Plan Gains: A long-range plan that eventually would eliminate parking from the central core of Balboa Park was approved in concept yesterday by the Balboa Park Committee.
May 26, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-5. The Old Globe Theater has another record-breaking attendance during the 1974-75 season, it was announced today.
There were 12,000 more persons who attended performances in the season just concluded over last year.
All ten productions presented by the Globe had a 97.8 percent average capacity. On the main stage, 175 performances were given and in the Carter Center Stage, 176.
The musical “Godspell,” which will return to the theater tomorrow night, opened the current season and played to 99.8 percent capacity, or 14,676 patrons.
Others playing to virtual capacity were “An Inspector Calls,” “6 Rms Riv Vu,” “You Never Can Tell,” and “Abelard and Heloise.”
In Cassius Carter, “Butley” opened the season to 96.9 capacity, and that trend continued through “School for Wives,” “Macbeth,” “The Real Inspector Hound,” and “After Margritte,” a double bill, and “The Tenth Man.”
Craig Noel, producing director at the Globe, said that “with only two percent of all seats unoccupied during a total season capacity of 114,988 available seats, it becomes more pressing each year that additional facilities be provided to meet the ever-increasing demand by theater goers seeking the finest in dramatic entertainment.”
May 29, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, C-7. City mulls hike in greens fees.
May 30, 1975, San Diego Union, B-2. The City Council has asked for bids on a project estimated to cost $19,500 to restore an eroded slope at the Balboa Park Golf Course.
May 30, 1975, San Diego Union, B-2. The city has joined hands with the state to provide new erosion controls at the Torrey Pines State Park.
May 30, 1975, San Diego Union, B-6. Vandals — believed to be disgruntled skateboard enthusiasts — yesterday struck the city’s parkade garage again.
The day after the City Council outlawed skateboard riding on the inclined ramps of the multi-story garage, two $100 trash cans were hauled to the structure’s 13th floor by unidentified persons and tossed below.
May 30, 1975, San Diego Union, B-9. Department budget cuts will force a reduction in the watering of lawns and other planting in city parks, city officials said yesterday.
May 31, 1975, San Diego Union. A-15. Indian Magique, a street theater company, which performs in Balboa Park and other outdoor locations during warm weather, will begin its 1975 summer season today and tomorrow in Zoro Gardens.
May 31, 1975, San Diego Union, B-1. Balboa Park’s California Tower carillon and Spreckels Pavilion organ will be silenced this fall if City Council budget cuts are finalized.
June 1, 1975, San Diego Union, B-9. Fees for special recreation services would be increased sharply effective October 1 under a plan pending before the city’s Park and Recreation Board.
June 1, 1975, San Diego Union, F-3. Air Hall of Fame Project Progresses: Volunteers Lend Hand.
The International Aerospace Hall of Fame is getting a face-lifting and a more prominent location in the Electric Building, which it shares with the Aerospace Museum.
June 2,1975, San Diego Union, B-1. A Good Day for Park(ing) And Watching People — Balboa Lure Was Strong, by Eston McMahon (illus.).
About half the people interviewed said they came to the park to watch other people because they said people are “interesting.”
June 2, 1975, San Diego Union, B-2. Something About Parks . . . “My name,” he said, “is Tom Parks, and maybe that’s the reason I like parks so much.”
June 2, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. The Century Travel and Photographic Club will meet at 7:30 p.m. today in the Balboa Park Photographic Arts Building.
June 2, 1975, San Diego Union, B-5. House of China helps keep a heritage alive (illus.).
For more than 40 years, the House of China in Balboa Park has been helping to keep the centuries-old Chinese culture alive for the Chinese-American community here.
The social and cultural organization is of particular value for many members of later generations of Chinese-Americans whose heritage might otherwise have been lost, Virginia Fung, House of China president, said in an interview.
During their parent’s generation, she explained, the emphasis was on assimilation into American society and many did not teach their children “what it is to be Chinese.”
But there is a revived interest among young people about their origins and they are turning to such sources as the House of China to find out about their heritage, she said.
When the House of China was established, on May 26, 1935, members of the Chinese community paraded up Sixth Avenue to the park with a dragon and other traditional characters and shot off 10,000 firecrackers to mark the event.
The center, then known as the Hall of China, was created when the House of Pacific Relations, its parent organization, was set up for the California-Pacific International Exposition here in 1935.
The leaders in its establishment were members of a committee from the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association. They included Mrs. Fung’s grandfather, the late Sun Mow Hom; the late Ses Jin Tom, Ernest Hom and George Joe.
Ernest Hom, who retired recently as an appellate court judge in Washington, D. C., was a student at San Diego State College then and because the first Hall of China president.
Joe, a La Mesa restaurateur who was then operating a Cantonese restaurant in downtown San Diego, was given the responsibility of seeking support and assistance in the project from the Republic of China.
Over the years he has continued in that role as “our unofficial but really official ambassador” who promotes goodwill for San Diego’s Chinese community with the Taiwan government, Mrs. Fung said.
From the beginning the Chinese government has provided financial support, art displays and cultural artifacts for the House of China. The current exhibit features art objects from 2,000 years ago through a loan arranged by Consul General Ping-nan Chang of Los Angeles.
The Taiwan government also agreed recently to refurnish the house and provided props, music and costumes for the organization’s dancers.
Mrs. Fung’s mother, Gladys (Mrs. Andrew) Hom, was the official hostess at the opening of the House of China 40 years ago.
During the anniversary celebration the group paid tribute to her for working to keep the House of China going as its hostess for many years and later as president. She is a third-generation Chinese-American and represents the second generation born in San Diego.
If the House of China sounds like a family affair, there is a reason. San Diego is “a Hom and Yee town,” Mrs. Fung said, noting that Hom is one of the most common Chinese names.
The Chinese community of around 5,000 persons traces its beginnings to members of those two families who settled here together during the last quarter of the 19th century, she said, “so practically everyone is cousins.”
“Many, many families are three and four generations here,” she added.
A new emphasis at the House of China is the preservation of this unique Chinese-American culture as well as the Chinese heritage, Mrs. Fung said.
The all-volunteer group holds open house at its Balboa Park cottage every Sunday afternoon from 2 to 5, serving tea and fortune cookies donated by various Chinese restaurants.
In addition to offering exhibits and lectures on various aspects of Chinese culture, the organization sponsors the House of China Dancers, a girls’ folk-dance troupe, and the Luck Lion Dance Troupe of about 20 men.
The dancers sometimes perform during the afternoon programs. Members of the men’s group also give Kung Fu demonstrations.
June 3, 1975, San Diego Union, A-7. Mrs. Theodore Hilbish and Mrs. Harold Williams — both members of the Committee of 100 — discuss plans to save the 1915 Electric Building (photo).
June 5, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, X-17. Silver Strand Park — A place to be yourself.
June 5, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, X-19. San Clemente Canyon Park, city park, offers long rural walk.
June 5, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. The City Council yesterday dipped into room tax reserves to keep Balboa Park’s California Tower carillon and Spreckels Pavilion organ playing.
June 7, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, A-12. EDITORIAL: Balboa Park’s jewel.
The Globe Theater is one of San Diego’s shining glories. Physically, it is a jewel within Balboa Park. Professionally, it has become one of the most respected regional theaters in America. As a fulcrum of our city’s cultural life, it is unsurpassed both in its dedication to excellence and in the dedication of hundreds of volunteers who have helped the Globe make its mark both onstage and in the community.
June 7, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. The Arthur H. Marston estate at 3575 Seventh Avenue, next to Balboa Park, has been offered for sale to the city with a $200,000 price tag.
Last year, the city acquired future rights to the Mary Marston home at 3525 Seventh Avenue.
June 7, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. The city’s Historical Site Board yesterday recommended that Balboa Park’s Ford Building be rebuilt to reflect its 1935 beginnings if the decision for restoration is made.
June 8, 1975, San Diego Union, F-1. El Prado Plan Under Study — Traffic Remains A Problem, by Patrick Crowley (illus.)
At a recent workshop session of the city Planning Commission a preview of the Prado Study was presented. The consultants, representing the firm of Delawie, Macy and Henderson, Architects, and Joe Yamada, Landscape Architect, explained their plan to enhance the El Prado area of Balboa Park.
June 10, 1975, San Diego Union, B-6. Robert L. Reyburn, San Diego, says “the disgraceful pictures painted on the water tank about from the U. S. Naval Hospital” make “his blood boil”; adds the City “gave the Chicano Culture Federation $21,000 to keep them quiet.”
June 11, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, A-26. Spanish legacy preservation urged.
The Spanish architecture of Balboa Park represents the legacy of San Diego’s Spanish beginnings, and should be preserved, Dr. Carl S. Dentzel, director of the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, told members of the Committee of 100 here yesterday.
June 11, 1975, San Diego Union. Mrs. Frank Evenson was re-elected president of the Committee of 100 yesterday at the 9th annual meeting of the organization dedicated to the preservation and improvement of Balboa Park.
June 13, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-1, B-6. Hands-off theme opens season at Torrey Pines State Reserve, by Robin Maydeck (illus.).
June 14, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. The construction of two community swimming pools, a Mesa College Community Theater and a Morley Field baseball diamond, where the City College baseball team could practice, were recommended yesterday by a special committee of city, community college and school representatives.
June 14, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. The state Parks and Recreation Department has acquired 42 acres of grassland next to Cuyamaca Reservoir to round out the northern boundary of the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.
June 14, 1975, San Diego Union. G. K., Imperial Beach, faults the ugly painting of Mr. Death on the water tank across form the U. S. Naval Hospital.
June 15, 1975, San Diego Union, A-28. Officials of the Committee of 100, dedicated to preserving unique architecture in Balboa Park, has agreed to the first phase of a feasibility study o the use of the Electric Building in Balboa Park.
June 17, 1975, Park and Recreation Board Minutes.
- Council Actions
- Old Globe Third Theater
On June 19, the Council will consider a proposal of the Old Globe for allocation of a half-acre side in Balboa park for a third theater.
- Old Globe Existing Theater Improvements
Messrs. Milch and Leyton excused themselves due to possible conflict of interest and Mrs. Widman chaired this portion of the meeting. Mr. Victor Wulff, architect, presented schematic drawings of proposed modifications at the Old Globe Theater. These include adding a vestibule to the main entrance and a small doorway overhang structure on the rear entrance to lower the noise level caused by intermission noise from the Cassius Carter Theater. Additional improvements include adding office space in the adjacent administration building and a corridor and outside stairway from the second floor dressing rooms. The Balboa Park Committee and Facilities Committee recommended approval.
It was moved by Mr. Yamada, seconded by Mrs. Muth, that the Board recommend approval of the project; the motion carried.
Messrs. Milch and Leyton returned to the meeting.
- Field Archery Range Improvements
The design was not approved by the Facilities Committee and the matter was continued to a future agenda.
June 18, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. The Park and Recreation Board yesterday approved a schematic design plan prepared by the architectural firm of Delawie, Macy and Henderson for the development of the Plaza de Panama and El Prado areas of Balboa Park.
June 20, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune. Aerospace reopening set July 4 (illus.).
The International Aerospace Hall of Fame will have grown by 600 square feet and, for the first time, will have direct access to the Prado in Balboa Park when its remodeled facilities are opened July 4.
June 20, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, E-6. The City Council has postponed action on a request by the Old Globe organization for permission to build a third theater in Balboa Park.
June 20, 1975, San Diego Union, A-11. Council to tour proposed Balboa Park theater site, by Donald H. Harrison.
The City Council voted yesterday to tour the portion of a Balboa Park canyon where the Old Globe proposes to build a third theater for 800 persons.
June 20, 1975, San Diego Union, B-5. The public address speakers, essential to summer operations of Starlight, are missing from the Balboa Park Bowl, Bruce Farley, president of the Civic Light Opera Association, said yesterday.
June 20, 1975, San Diego Union, C-5. The Committee of 100 has earmarked $22,500 for a feasibility study of future use of the present Electric Building site in Balboa Park under terms of a contract it has signed to hire Alfred Gobar Associates, Inc. of Phoenix.
June 22, 1975, San Diego Union, A-3. California Tower Gets Its Facade Washed (photo).
June 22, 1975, San Diego Union, B-2. Frank Rhoades: No wonder the city Park and Recreation Board can’t immediately replace the electronic sound system that was stolen to the great distress of Civic Light Opera. A system adequate for Balboa Park Bowl would cost $100,000, said Joe Clapsadde, a member of the Civic Light Opera Association board.
June 22, 1975, San Diego Union, B-12. Florida Canyon Trails Named Protected Area.
Signs have been posted at the head of the Florida Canyon nature trails making the Balboa Park site a protected area to be used for educational purposes only.
June 22, 1975, San Diego Union, E-2:3. The Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater in Balboa Park today begins a summer show schedule with 72 Omnimax and Laserium performances a week; the presentations “Earthship” and “Man Belongs to the Earth” will be offered each morning, afternoon and evening, while the Laser show will run 14 times a week Friday through Tuesday evenings.
June 22, 1975, San Diego Union, F-1. Artisans Restoring Museum (of Man) Facade To Original Beauty, by Craig MacDonald (illus.)
The Museum of Man’s decorative facade is getting its first real face-lifting in more than 60 years.
The grooming, which is being done by artisans from throughout the United States, will be completed in August, according to Lew Anderson, project superintendent. Restoration work started in March.
June 14, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. COMBO To Present Festival — Talent Showcase.
COMBO will present a Festival of the Arts in Balboa Park on Saturday, September 20.
June 24, 1975, San Diego Union. Letter, Eddie Ytuarte, Poway, defending Chicano mural and decrying cultural bigotry in San Diego.
June 24, 1975, San Diego Union. Letter, Rose A. Higgins, San Diego, claiming Robert Reyburn, critic of Chicano art, would benefit from an art appreciation course.
June 24, 1975, San Diego Union. Letter, Adelaide C. McNab, National City, expressing agreement with Robert Reyburn and calling Chicano mural a “monstrosity.”
June 24, 1975, San Diego Union. Letter, Becky Mendez, San Diego, asking “You like our food, why not our culture?”
June 24, 1975, San Diego Union. Letter, Laurie Castro, La Mesa, who is appalled that people condemn a work of art instead of trying to understand it.
June 25, 1975, San Diego Union, D-1. Straws in the Wind, by Eileen Jackson. Shakespeare Festival at Old Globe, “Viva Baja” at Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater, and “Frontier America” at the Fine Arts Gallery and parties and receptions in conjunction with same.
June 27, 1975, San Diego Union, B-9. Councilmen cite parking after Globe Theater Site Tour, by Otto J. Bos.
A majority of city councilmen — after personally inspecting the proposed site — indicated yesterday that traffic and parking problems must be solved before construction of a third theater is permitted in Balboa Park.
“I see a lot of things wrong with it,” said Councilman Jess Haro, who with six colleagues toured the tree-studded canyon adjoining the Old Globe Theater.
Haro, along with Councilmen Bob Martinet, Maureen O’Connor, Gil Johnson and Jim Ellis, expressed concern that the proposed $5 million theater could further compound already worsening traffic and parking problems in the park, a main complaint of environmental groups.
Councilman Lee Hubbard indicated support for plans advanced by the Old Globe. Councilman Floyd Morrow declined to disclose his position. Mayor Wilson and Councilman Leon Williams were not on the tour.
The Old Globe is seeking to build the theater to provide seating for about 800 persons. Plans call for retaining most mature eucalyptus trees on the site, although other vegetation would be removed if plans are approved.
The Globe has also offered to provide shuttle bus service between the Zoo parking lot and the theater to alleviate traffic problems.
The council las week voted to tour the site and hold another public hearing on the issue at 2 p.m. July 31.
In interviews, several councilmen indicated a preference for tackling the parking problem before discussion further theater plans.
“This is so critical, I really think we should wait on all building in the park until we solve the parking problems,” Martinet said.
Johnson said he likes the idea of grouping the theaters into one complex, but that parking is a serious consideration and an alternative proposal to locate a new facility downtown should be considered.
“Once you take this canyon, it’s gone,” Johnson said. “I don’t think there’s that much of a hurry.”
Miss O’Connor said she shares concerns about parking and traffic congestion in Balboa Park. “I don’t think we can keep compounding it and I think this would,” she said.
Ellis said that while he could see “something” being built in the steep canyon, the “terrible problem of access” must be solved for the theater to gain approval.
Hubbard called the site a “fantastic” location for a new theater — with proper handling of traffic problems.
Craig Noel, Old Globe producing director, said the facility is badly needed and would be designed to fit into the natural amphitheater of the canyon.
June 27, 1975, San Diego Union, B-9. The City Council yesterday voted $50,000 in hotel-motel room tax money to help the San Diego Symphony meet a fiscal problem.
June 29, 1975, San Diego Union, B-5. Aerospace Hall Plans Dedication — Remodeling Complete.
Dedication ceremonies for the newly remodeled International Aerospace Hall of Fame in Balboa Park will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday on the eve of its public opening.
June 29, 1975, San Diego Union, B-5. Tour Sites More Popular
More than half of San Diego’s major attractions had increases in their attendance for May of 1975 over May of last year, according to the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Attendance was down at the Maritime Museum and the Aerospace Museum in Balboa Park.
June 30, 1975, San Diego Union, B-1. Park Plan Adopted in 1961 Now Being Studied by a group formed by the Balboa Park Committee; Future Development in Balboa Park Faces Careful Scrutiny, by Ernesto Flores.
“A basic shortcoming of the plan, of course, is that it was based on date gathered in 1958 and 1959 and a lot of things have happened to San Diego since then,” said Dave Roberts, superintendent of the city Parks and Recreation Department’s development division.
Cancellation of the bypass routes prompted the City Council to decide against closing the west end of El Prado. Instead, the council, as a sort of compromise, permanently closed El Prado in September 1973 to vehicular traffic from Plaza de Balboa on the east to Plaza de Panama on the west.
July 3, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-2. Letter, Mary Givens, says dogs around North Park Recreation Center as a nuisance.
July 3, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-3. Balboa Park: tonic for taut nerves, by Larry Boodry . . . a parent takes his children to the miniature passenger train, the Aerospace Museum, and El Prado, finds everything relaxing, and recommends that the City do “as little as possible.”
July 4, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-1. Flight into past reopens Aerospace Hall of Fame.
The newly remodeled and expanded International Aerospace Hall of Fame opened to the public today, offering a nostalgic trip through aviation history.
July 11, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-5. Councilmen favor contrast despite warning of conflict.
Most City Councilmen have indicated that they likely will vote to award a contract for design of a garden project in Balboa Park despite City Attorney John Witt’s warning that the action will involve a conflict of interest.
The controversy involves Joseph Yamada, a member of the city’s Park and Recreation Board since March 1972, and a proposal to award a $20,000 contract for design of a Japanese garden project in the park to Wimmer, Yamada and Associates. Yamada is president of the company.
July 11, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-6. The Kearny Mesa Rotary Club will dedicate a new playground for handicapped children in ceremonies at noon Tuesday behind the Conference Building in Balboa Park.
July 13, 1975, San Diego Union, B-5. The Kearny Mesa Rotary Club will donated the Arthur P. Pratt Memorial Playground for handicapped children at noon Tuesday in the Balboa Park Conference Building.
July 15, 1975, Park and Recreation Board Minutes.
- East Morley Field (Balboa Park) – General Development Plan
Mr. Larry Black, architect, presented his proposed design for the subject improvements. The project is to develop 25 acres and will include the deletion of two existing streets, the addition of a viewpoint east of Pershing Drive, an additional restroom, and a combined walkway and bikeway. Mr. Black reported that he had consulted with both the Park and Recreation Department and the Transportation Department staff in making his recommendations.
Mr. Mosher reported that the Facilities Committee had approved the proposed design and complimented Mr. Black on his presentation. Mrs. Widman reported that the Balboa Park Committee had approved the proposed plan with the exception of the portion which related to traffic along Pershing Drive from Redwood to Upas. The Committee recommended the traffic be routed, instead, along 28th Street from Redwood to Upas.
After discussion, Mrs. Widman moved adoption of the proposed plan with the exception of that portion related to the traffic flow expressed by the Balboa Park Committee. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.
The Board requested that the Traffic Engineer provide a report by August on the possibility of re-routing the traffic flow as proposed by the Balboa Park Committee.
- Bicentennial Development Project – Balboa Park
Mr. Don Davis of San Diego Jaycees presented a proposal to redevelop 1.7 acres in Balboa Park. The project site is the present location of the formal gardens behind the Natural History Museum. Mr. Davis presented a drawing of the area and indicated that the existing Morton Bay Fig Tree would not be disturbed but that the area around it would be developed to provide for passive recreation and picnicking. Mr. Davis stated that the proposal had been to the Balboa Park Committee which had continued the item for one month for staff and the Natural History Museum to review the project. Mr. Mosher noted that this item had not been to the Facilities Committee.
Admiral Davis and Mrs. Clark spoke on behalf of the Natural History Museum and Natural History Societies and recommended the San Diego Jaycee’s proposal to the Board. Admiral Davis noted that the Natural History Museum’s only concern was that this project not make any permanent improvements in an area which the Museum might wish to eventually request from the City for the purpose of adding on to their existing building. He noted that the Museum needs an additional 60,000 square feet and may require even more area in the future. He and Mrs. Clark both suggested that Mr. Hamill, their architect, assist the Jaycees in the preparation of the final design for the development project.
Mr. Brandenburg moved, Mrs. Widman seconded a motion to approve the concept of a project subject to the Facilities Committee approval of the final design. The design to be returned to the Board in August. Mr. Leyton supported the return of the plans to the Board so that members could be sure that the project design has professional input from the Facilities Committee. The motion carried unanimously.
July 15, 1975, San Diego Union, B-4:4-5. The odds look “very good” for an on-schedule Mars landing in celebration of the nation’s 200th birthday, according to a key figure in the Viking program; Robert J. Parks, assistant laboratory director of flight programs at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, said yesterday a U S. Bicentennial touchdown on the Planet next July is probable if the present Viking schedule continues; in San Diego for a premiere of the Fleet Space Theater, Parks was reminded that the Russians have made four unsuccessful attempts to put an operating robot on Mars, two in 1971 and two in 1973.
July 16, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-2. The Spanish Village Art Center will hold a “Best of All Worlds Small Image Art Competition” and exhibition in February of 1976 as part of the city’s bicentennial celebration.
July 18, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-12. Reservoir Boating Regulations eased by the city’s Park and Recreation Board.
July 19, 1975, San Diego Union, A-12. Witt plans to study possible conflict in Balboa Park pact, by Alan Ziegaus.
City Attorney John Witt says he will investigate the award of a $10,000 design contract by the City Council to a firm headed by Home Delawie, a member of the Planning Commission.
July 20, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. Name please: What do you call a three-day event in Balboa Park during which everybody is invited to stroll about sampling the output of the city’s performing and visual arts free of charge? That’s what the committee sponsoring the event is wondering and they’d like help from the public. It will happen September 19-21 in the park under the supervision of a group of citizens who were backed last year by the Committee of 100 and this year by the San Diego Junior League.
July 20, 1975, San Diego Union, B-8. A $85,990 contract to provide improvements at nine sites with Balboa Park has been awarded by the City Council to T. B. Penick and Sons, Inc.
July 21, 1975, San Diego Union, B-1. Balboa Park Cannonball Rolls Along; ALL ABOARRRD!, by John Burrus (illus.)
Yesterday in Balboa Park, as they have all summer long, sounds of the railroad broadcast from a loudspeaker produced nostalgia trips for oldsters. And for kids, the sounds conveyed the excitement of the railroad experienced by generations of boys and girls.
July 24, 1975, San Diego Union, B-1. Council Overrides Witt On Conflict Of Interest, by Otto J. Bos.
The City Council voted yesterday to overrule a conflict-of-interest finding and awarded a contract for a landscape design project in Balboa Park. At the same time, the council approved steps to hire two independent attorneys to get an early court resolution of the matter.
July 29, 1975, San Diego Union, A-8. The idea of refurbishing an existing theater, to relieve booking pressure on the Civic Theater, won unanimous endorsement yesterday from the City Council’s Public Facilities and Recreation Committee.
July 29, 1975, San Diego Union, A-8. A new sound system and facilities for backdrops and lights at Balboa Bowl were urged yesterday by Councilman Jess Haro and several of the city’s cultural leaders.
August 1, 1975, San Diego Union, B-1. The City Council yesterday approved plans to build a third theater in Balboa Park, contingent upon parking and traffic problems being solved.
August 5, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. Balboa Park Plans Okayed — New Garden Areas.
Balboa Park master plans to expand use of lush but largely hidden Palm Canyon — to include a high-level pedestrian bridge across it, and to build a 2.5 acre Desert Garden at Zoo Place and Park Boulevard — were approved yesterday by the Balboa Park Committee.
August 7, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-1. Snag develops on Coronado bay park plan.
August 6, 1975, San Diego Union, B-6. Letter, Celine A. Olson complains about Council hearing on Old Globe’s use of a rare wooden canyon in Balboa Park for an 800-seat professional theater.
At the onset, it was announced by the mayor that the meeting was not open for additional public testimony. Then he proceeded, under the guise of “questions,” to allow the proponents of the project to speak at great length in favor.
August 8, 1975. (San Diego) Evening Tribune, C-1. Space-age discoveries renew park buildings; “From Cement Castle to Plastic Palace,” by Robin Maydeck (illus.).
For a “temporary” structure [sic], Balboa Park’s California Building has withstood 60 years of wear and tear with remarkable grace.
This is because the home of the Museum of Man was one of the few structures built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition with cement not plaster.
But even man-made cement “stone” blocks can deteriorate with age and the California Building, its 200-foot tower and the accompanying structures comprising the Plaza de California prove no exception.
That’s why the city is spending nearly $600,000 to turn its cement castle into a space-age plastic palace.
August 10, 1975, San Diego Union, B-2. City Panel To Stress Cultural Interests.
According to the city Park and Recreation Department, (a) new panel, which will be known as the San Diego Cultural Arts Committee, will seek ways to aid in development of innovative leisure arts programs and the “establishment of better lines of communication between community and cultural organizations.”
August 10, 1975, San Diego Union, G-7. Balboa Park Pays Top Interest On Free Time Deposit, by Craig MacDonald.
Letting people enjoy the magnificent 1,000-plus acre facility was actually the idea of San Diego’s forefathers. . . . Thanks to them, parkgoers can now say, “the best things in life are free.”
August 11, 1975, San Diego Union. Letter, Evalyn F. Segal, who doesn’t like the word “man” in Museum of Man.
August 11, 1975, San Diego Union, B-6. Letter, Richard Amero protests Old Globe plans for 800-seat professional theater in Balboa Park.
What is given to the well-heeled few cannot be enjoyed by all. Middle and low-income people need public, green, accessible, outdoor recreational space to go to in order to enjoy free democratic fellowship and unhampered contact with nature, and to recuperate from the strains of crowded city living.
August 12, 1975, San Diego Union, B-2. The City Council filed suit in Superior Court yesterday in an effort to compel City Manager Hugh McKinley to sign a contract with the landscape firm of Wimmer, Yamada, Iwanga and Associates approved by the council.
August 12, 1975, San Diego Union, B-5. “La Traviata” Offset By Noises; Worthwhile Effort, by Donald Dierks.
A large audience was on hand last night at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion for a concert performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “La Traviata.” By the time the final act had arrived, the audience had thinned noticeably, but this probably has more to do with the frustrations of trying to concentrate on a serious musical endeavor in a noisy city than with the quality of the performance. The singers has something worthwhile to offer.
August 16 – 24, 1975. America’s Finest City Week.
August 17, 1975, Los Angeles Times, VII-1. San Diego Museum Gets $550,000 Face-lifting: Precision Handwork, by Barbara Gius (illus.).
Six months of precision handwork by some 30 artisans, molders, masons and chemists will leave the facade and 201-foot-high bell tower of the San Diego Museum of Man gleamingly restored in the Spanish baroque fashion of its origin 60 years ago.
The $555,000 restoration project requires cleaning, strengthening and re-mortaring of some 85,000 square feet of precast concrete relief adorning the museum facade and belfry. Work is expected to be completed in October by Claude P. Williams, Inc. of Torrance.
Lew Anderson, project supervisor, said restoration involves “taking care of over a hundred blocks of concrete veneer, weighing from 200 to 2,000 pounds apiece.
“We’re not touching them up, we’re just cleaning them and sealing them for another 60 years,” he said. “We don’t want to do anything else to something as valuable as this structure is.”
Originally built at a cost of $75,000 under the direction of architect Bertram G. Goodhue, the museum is part of Balboa Park’s California Quadrangle, erected to house the 1915 Panama-California International [sic] Exposition.
Its facade is sculpted with the effigies of nine historical figures connected with the early settlement of California: Spanish Kings, Charles V and Philip II, navigators Cabrillo, Viscaino and Vancouver, Padres Serra, Jaume and de la Ascencion, and Portola, first governor of Alta California.
The bell tower is itself a landmark of San Diego. It houses a carillon that chimes on the quarter hour and can be heard as far away as Coronado.
Building exteriors re being cleaned forcibly by steam to remove large amounts of sodium chloride from wind-blown sea spray and acids from pigeon droppings, both of which cause concrete to erode.
The concrete units will then be impregnated with an epoxy to prevent further saturation of salts and re-anchored in mortar. Replication of any delicate protuberances altered by weather or lost in the cleaning process is being done by artisans from Universal Restoration Co. of Washington, D. C.
“We’re using the same sand at Sweetwater Canyon (in north San Diego County) that was used to form the figures 60 years ago,” said Anderson.
Work will also involve re-caulking of hand-laid mosaics of blue, green and yellow tiles that crown the tower’s cornice, he said. Nine of the tiles are being replaced by custom-made replicas.
The same mosaic design is repeated on the museum’s 72-foot dome, which is not included in the current restoration contract. Work is being funded by San Diego city and county governments and the museum foundation.
Retired Marine Major General Lowell E. English, museum director, said an additional $1 million would be needed to finance restoration of the museum dome and other building exteriors in the California Quadrangle.
No major modifications have ever been made to the 45,000-square-foot museum building, although it served as a Navy hospital during World War II. Since then, it has housed vast cultural exhibits on the archaeology, anthropology and ethnology of the three Americas, which drew a total of 189,000 visitors last year, and are expected to attract more than that this year, according to English.
Permanent exhibits include the Jessop Archery Collection, one of the world’s largest collections of primitive (weapons), a life-size diorama of Hopi Indian Life, and the Wonder of Life exhibit, a comprehensive display of human embryology and growth.
One of the museum’s more controversial specimens is the skull of the Del Mar Man, a human cranium discovered in 1929 along the Del Mar coast north of San Diego, that is believed to be 48,000 years old.
August 17, 1975, San Diego Union, E-3. The Lively Arts: Inaction Perils Park Organ, by Donald Dierks.
On New Year’s Eve, 1914, the Spreckels organ in Balboa Park was played for the first time. This performance was actually a sneak preview for the invited guests of John D. and Adolph B. Spreckels, the donors of the organ, since the first public demonstration of the instrument was announced for the next day. Both recitals were played by Dr. Humphrey J. Stewart, the first of San Diego’s official civic organists.
For the intervening 60 years the Spreckels organ has been in regular use, thus fulfilling the terms of the deed of gift to the city, which reads in part, for “the free use, benefit and enjoyment of the people.”
In the early years the organ was the focal point of the city’s cultural life. The daily performances given at the time were announced importantly on the front page of The San Diego Union.
Gradually and inevitably, the cultural life of the city has broadened and the once-fashionable taste for organ music has shifted to other performing arts. The large audience area at the organ pavilion that for a time was filled to capacity every time the instrument’s great steel curtain was raised, is something more than adequate for people who attend concerts there now.
Still, according to Douglas Duncan, the present civic organist, the Park and Recreation Department kept careful attendance records for the 68 organ recitals played in the fiscal year of 1975 and the average attendance figure was 250 for each concert, a total of 17,000 listeners for the year. The number does not equal by any means the interest accorded the organ in its golden era, but it does, nevertheless, demonstrate a more-than-respectable amount of appreciation.
Such demonstrated appreciation makes it all the more surprising that the Park and Recreation Department recommended to the City Council last May that, after June 29 of this year, the maintenance of the organ be discontinued and the contract with Duncan terminated.
For the first time in 60 years the Spreckels organ would be silenced.
Several spokesman for the Park and Recreation Department have since stated that their recommendation to the Council was not a matter of indifference toward the Spreckels legacy, or indicative of a lack of commitment to the instrument. The recommendation was, rather, they now say a compliance with budget-cutting instructions received from the office of the city manager. Doing away with Duncan’s annual stipend and the organ maintenance fees were part of a longer list of money-saving suggestions.
How much money was involved? The total figure for maintenance and performances in fiscal year 1975 was $5,892. Broken down, this amounts to about 34 cents for every person who heard the Spreckels organ during the year. The city should find such bargains.
The fact that the council chose to disregard the department’s recommendation and, instead, provide funds for maintenance and performances on a reduced schedule in the coming year is encouraging, but not entirely reassuring. Not reassuring because the city manager and council have indicated that they will need to be even more budget-conscious in the next several years.
Yet, where the Spreckels organ is concerned, there is more involved than the modest outlay of money in question.
The instrument has a historical value far greater than the approximately $6,000 spent on it annually. It represents an important part of San Diego’s early cultural life and it is significant in a large way as an example of organ design and of musical taste prevalent in America in the early part of the 20th century.
It really does not matter that the instrument’s music does not now attract as many people as rock concerts. There was surely a time in San Francisco when someone making a quantitative judgment observed that there were better ways to transport large numbers of people than the cable car.
Should the city every decided to retire the Spreckels organ, even on a temporary basis during some future budget crunch, it will surely be irretrievably lost. As any automobile owner knows, regular maintenance is crucial and it is a schedule of regular performances, in addition to maintenance, that keeps the more delicate mechanisms of an organ moving freely. Leather is extensively used inside the organ and it is the action of use that prolongs the suppleness of this material, as well as making the tiny metal contact points self-cleaning and self-polishing.
Several fiscal years of inaction will amount to precisely the same thing as condemning the organ immediately to the junk heap.
It is also disturbing that for the first time in 60 years the department will, during the coming year, be interpreting some parts of the original deed of gift quite literally, even though its earlier recommendation disregarded the deed’s admonishment to “keep, insure and maintain the said organ.”
The literal interpretation has to do with the deed’s gift of “free use.” For the first time in his 18-year tenure as civic organist, the wording of Duncan’s contract with the city has been significantly changed. Those clauses that have made it his professional prerogative to decide who is qualified to play the Spreckels organ have been deleted. These decisions in the future will be made by a committee selected by the department. One can only hope that the appointees will be professional organists.
The plan, in any case, seems unnecessarily unwieldy, inasmuch as Duncan says he has never denied use of the instrument to any qualified organist known to him, or any musician who could produce reasonable credentials.
If a committee must convene to decide who will play the organ, the routine will probably result in more restricted, not freer use of the instrument.
As the rather wise joke goes, it was a committee that designed the camel.
August 19, 1975, Park and Recreation Board Minutes.
- Archery Center Improvements (Design) – Balboa Park
Mr. Robert Ferris, an architect, presented a schematic drawing of the proposed restroom and storage building. He described the site, which is located at the west end of the parking lot south of the Museum of Man. He indicated there would be no cutting of existing trees and that the building’s design is compatible with other park buildings. Mr. Warren Purdy, representing Mr. Yamada for the Facilities Committee, reported that the group had approved the design. Mr. Brandenburg moved approval of the proposed design, with Mrs. Muth’s second; the motion carried unanimously.
- Palm Canyon (Design) – Balboa Park
Mr. Frank Kawasaki, architect, presented the schematic proposal for the development of the
Palm Canyon area. The presentation included studies of land use and circulation, site and slope analysis, drainage and plants. The improvements for the canyon also include a pedestrian bridge. The final cost of the project, including the bridge, is estimated to be $700,000. Initially, $80,000 is available to begin development of the canyon. Mr. Purdy and Mrs. Widman reported that their respective committees had approved the design. Mr. Purdy noted that the Facilities Committee had congratulated Mr. Kawasaki on the presentation. MOTION: Mrs. Widman moved approval of the plan with Mr. Brandenburg seconding; the motion carried unanimously.
- Desert Garden (Design) – Balboa Park
Mr. Roger De Weese, an architect, presented the design for the subject area which will be located on the east side of Park Boulevard adjacent to the new formal gardens. The design is based around accenting the main entrance of the garden, hollowing out the center of the site, building the ridges around the top of the site and leveling off the top of the garden into the native hillside. The proposal includes a shelter area to provide a location for various displays. Mr. De Weese noted that the majority of the construction budget would be spent on creating the topography of the garden, with most of the plant materials expected to be donated. The construction budget for the 2.5 acre site is $40,000. Both the Facilities and Balboa Park Committees approved the concept. MOTION: Mrs. Widman moved acceptance of the plan as presented by Mr. De Weese, with Mrs. Muth seconding; the motion carried unanimously.
August 24, 1975, San Diego Union. Shirley A. Roberts, San Diego, writes in praise of park concert of “La Traviata” thanks San Diego Park and Recreation Department and Evening Colleges for given her this marvelous “free culture.”
August 24, 1975, San Diego Union, B-2. Planners Endorse Park Renovation.
City planners have endorsed a $750,000 plan for renovation of Balboa Park’s cultural center.
In a report to the City Planning Commission, the Planning Department said the plan would “restore the Plaza de Panama to its proper use” by curtailing traffic and by beautifying the Prado area.
August 25, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune. Letter, Mrs. A. G. Ollestad . . . The (Balboa Park) organ is one thing we could hang onto, and the upkeep is so small compared to the many other ways our taxes are being spent.
August 27, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. Reduced Scale Balboa Park Renovation Plan Approved.
The City Planning Commission approved a reduced scale renovation plan yesterday for the cultural center of Balboa Park. In a 4-0 vote, the commission agreed to exclude the Plaza de Panama from consideration because the overall problem of traffic and parking in Balboa Park is being studied.
Plans to eliminate about 200 parking spaces on the Plaza de Panama had drawn considerable opposition from the cultural institutions fronting the mall.
Dave Roberts, city park planner, said changing the Plaza de Panama is probably as much as 10 years away due to financing and transportation problems which need addressing first.
August 28, 1975, San Diego Union. Clara M. Tyndale, Lemon Grove, objects to the arbitrary reduction of Monday evening concerts at organ to one this summer: “Why is a $100,000 instrument relegated to the status of ‘mothball attraction’?”
August 28, 1975, San Diego Union. J. C. Colburn, San Diego, remembers Theodore Roosevelt’s saying at Organ Pavilion, July 17, 1915, the “beauty is not only worth while for its own sake, but that it is valuable commercially.”
Can bureaucrats convince a citizenry now 10 times larger than in 1915 that it can no longer afford this renowned (organ) instrument and that Roosevelt was wrong?.
September, 1975, Applause, Vol. 5, No. 2. Comment . . . Each year the use and development of Balboa Park becomes a bigger political problem. Space within the park is limited, and community resistance to the sacrifice of land for additional construction or for parking is strong.
September 2, 1975, San Diego Union, B-1. Over Labor Day Weekend: Visitors Deluge Balboa Park, by Carol Olten (illus.).
Bocci ball, Free kittens, Frisbees, E. Z. Mark playing his fiddle under a Morton Bay fig, Granny’s potato salad at the Botanical Gardens lily pond, Willy the Shakes in Zoro Gardens.
About 6,000 Balboa Park visitors turned out yesterday to see and carry out such activities.
September 4, 1975, San Diego Union, B-4:4. The Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater will be closed for three weeks beginning November 1 to permit replacement of its dome screen, Early Hayden, project office in the city Engineering and Development Department, said.
September 8, 1975, San Diego Union, B-6. The City Council has authorized city staff involvement in the Committee of 100’s attempt to determine the feasibility of rebuilding the Electric Building.
September 10, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. Park group approves plan to redesign San Diego Zoo entrance.
September 10, 1975, San Diego Union, B-10. Letter, Katherine E. Carlin, Coronado: “How could San Diego officials ever conceived of such a foolish way to economize when it claims to promote the cultural things to make a better city? . . . We need that organ! Where else is there one like it?
September 10, 1975, San Diego Union, B-10. Letter, Ann Roberts Foersom: “(The Spreckels Organ) is an institution and so many people enjoy it. It is a beautiful place to relax on a Sunday.”
September 10, 1975, San Diego Union, B-10. Letter, Ronald C. Peters: The few officers assigned to the rock concert in Balboa Stadium August 31 did nothing to enforce the laws.
September 14, 1975, San Diego Union, D-1. Weekend Spectacular Will Showcase The Arts; Second Annual Balboa Park Summer Festival, by Lucretia Steiger.
A kaleidoscope of summer fun events, from family picnics and fireworks, to concerts and dances, will turn a city park into a spectacular entertainment area for the second annual Balboa Park Summer Festival Friday through Sunday.
Planned and directed by volunteers with Anderson Borthwick as chairman, the festival is the result of cooperation of the City of San Diego, the Parks and Recreation Department, the county, the Inter-Museum Council, the Intercultural Council on the Arts, COMBO, business and industry.
Purpose of the festival, during which all special events and concerts will be presented without charge, is to expand appreciation for the arts and performing groups in the community as well as cultivating a better appreciation of Balboa Park.
Planners have estimated that more than 300,000 people will attend the festival, currently considered by its backers to be the only multi-art, multi-cultural event of its kind on the West Coast.
September 18, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-2. EDITORIAL: A legacy in jeopardy.
It would be an exaggeration, perhaps, to write of public outrage over the threat to the Spreckels Organ and its majestic pavilion, Balboa Park features for more than 60 years.
The City Council, after all, did overrule last spring a budget recommendation of the Park and Recreation Department that would have cut off funds for maintenance of the instrument and the concerts that are a San Diego tradition.
But it is no overstatement to say that the public is uneasy.
September 18, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. An agreement to design cultural center improvements in Balboa Park was approved by the City Council yesterday.
The council backed a $38,000 agreement with the firm of Delawie, Macy and Henderson to provide architectural services for design of improvements to the Plaza de Panama and El Prado areas.
September 19, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, A-25. Festival of Arts, sponsored by the Junior League of San Diego, opens for weekend in park, featuring an estimated 3,000 performers and artisans.
September 21, 1975, San Diego Union, B-6:1. Capt. Jack S. Lansy, USN, ret., former chief of staff of the 11th Naval District, has been appointed director of the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater; Martin Engler, president of the San Diego Hall of Science board of trustees, said Lansy will succeed W. Michael Sullivan, who will become production consultant of the theater.
October 2, 1975, San Diego Union, B-4:2. Eight new members have been elected to the board of trustees of the San Diego Hall of Science, governing board of the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater and Science Center; chosen to serve three-year terms are Mrs. G. A. Beckstrand, David Copley, Eugene W. Courtney, Mrs. Thompson Fetter, Bruce McKay, Ernest L. Strum, Susan Fleet Welsch and Dr. Donald A. Wilson.
October 3, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. Developers Lose Bid For Cut In Park Fees; Plan Linked To Private Facilities.
October 5, 1975, San Diego Union, B-6. Historic Site Bid Backed: The request for national registration as historic monuments is being made by the Committee of 100.
The board (NOTE: article does not say which board!), however, urged that the Committee of 100 enlarge the scope of its request by including just about all buildings in the park, including those in the Palisades area developed in 1935.
Paul Foxworthy, staff member for the board, said a few buildings have been registered as national historic buildings, including the California Tower, but not all of the structures built for the 1915 exposition.
The city Historical Site Board has endorsed in principle the concept of seeking national registry of all Balboa Park structures build in 1915.
October 7, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. Council Okays $10,000 Ford Building Study with the firm of Atkinson, Johnson & Spurrier to see if the structure can withstand earthquakes and other stresses.
October 7, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. The Balboa Park Committee of the city Parks and Recreation Board yesterday approved in principle the proposed construction of seven flagpoles in front of the Electric Building.
October 21, 1975, Park and Recreation Board Minutes.
- Proposed Flag Display – International Aerospace Hall of Fame
Colonel E. F. Carey, Jr., President Emeritus of the International Aerospace Hall of Fame, addressed the Board regarding a proposed flag display to be funded by private donations and donation by San Diego Gas and Electric Company. Seven anodized aluminum flagpoles, the center pole 20 feet high, the six flanking poles 15 feet high, will be placed at the street edge in front of the entrance to the Aerospace Museum and Hall of Fame, for the display of the American flag and the flags of other countries. Colonel Carey noted the Hall of Fame felt such a display would be appropriate, not only for the bicentennial and to add color, but also to reflect the international character of the organization. It was pointed out that the pole placement would have to be coordinated into the Master Plan for the El Prado area, which was available for reference. The location of a proposed 30 foot high flagpole adjacent to the Space Theater was also indicated. The Balboa Park Committee had approved, in principle, the proposal, subject to review by the project architect. The Facilities Committee had expressed enthusiasm for the plan and recommended approval unanimously.
MOTION: Mr. Leyton suggested that the matter be continued until a report is received from staff on the opinion of the architect. Mrs. Widman noted approval of the concept, pending a staff report on the discussion with the architect; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jensen and carried with Mr. Leyton dissenting.
October 30, 1975, San Diego Union, B-5. Balboa Park turns 107, Committee of 100 is sponsoring a birthday party Sunday in front of the Space Theater Fountain.
November 3, 1975, San Diego Union, B-1. Balboa Park Marks 107th Birthday, by Carol Kendrick (illus.).
November 3, 1975, San Diego Union, B-4:2-3. A symposium on energy for 130 selected high school science students will be held November 15 at the Fleet Space Theater; the program envisioned as the first in a series will involve youngsters at various grade levels, is being sponsored by the theater organization, city and county schools, Community Education Resources and Industry-Education Council.
November 11, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3:2-3. A $106,100 engineering blunder at the Reuben Fleet Space Theater is nearing correction; workers were busy yesterday in the scaffold-filled showplace replacing hundreds of triangular aluminum panels that make up the film and star projection dome; Earl Hayden of the city engineering department said the original projection surface had two important defects.
One shortcoming, he said, was that the panels failed to form a smooth dome shape; the surface was bumpy because of an imprecise warp pressed into the individual panels.
Hayden said the tape used to cover the cracks between the panels also was defective. Adhesive material on the back of the tape failed and it began to come loose. Dots on the tape also failed to match the pattern of small holes in the perforated panels.
Hayden said the new panels are expected to form a perfectly smooth dome without cracks. Alternate panels in the mosaic overlap their neighbors with a knife edge.
The purpose of the holes comprising 22-1/2 percent of the dome surface is to make the dome acoustically transparent. Behind the projection surface is a complex array of loud speakers.
Hayden noted that the dome contractor, Spitz Laboratories, Inc.,, also is paying the theater nearly $2,000 a day for the period the theater is closed.
The theater closed for the repairs on October 31. Programming is scheduled to resume on November 22. The bill will be “Viva Baja” and “Probes in Space.”
In the interim, the Science Center exhibit hall and gift shop adjacent to the theater are open for business.
November 20, 1975, San Diego Union, B-2. The City Council has called for bids for construction of an Olympic-size bicycle racing track at Morley Field
Estimated cost of the project is $130,000, with the construction contract estimated at $90,000.
November 20, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. Superior Court Judge R. Levitt cited a possible conflict of interest yesterday in denying the City Council’s request for a ruling to compel City Manager Hugh McKinley to sign a landscaping contract.
November 20, 1975, San Diego Union, B-9:1-4. The 10- by 18-foot picture of the United States taken from satellites is now on exhibit at the Reuben Fleet Space Theater lobby; it appears to be a photograph, but is really a mosaic of 595 cloud-free images resulting from infrared and near- infrared radiation scams which were transmitted to earth by radio signals; prepared for the Bicentennial celebration, it will be on exhibit through the middle of January; getting a geography lesson are Eileen, Kathy and Christopher Andrews.
November 28, 1975, San Diego Union, B-8:4-7. Starting Monday, audiences at the Fleet Space Theater will move through space and time to the first Christmas eve to review the only mystery — the true nature of the “star” of Bethlehem; the Balboa Park institution’s Christmas show will be a multi-media exploration of the variety of sky phenomena that might have been the biblical “star”; a key look in the show is the theater’s unique “space transit simulator,” a computerized projection system that can recreate the night sky from any point within the solar system at any time in the past.
December 1 1954, National Register of Historic Places — Nomination Form: El Prado Complex, prepared for the Committee of 100 with the assistance of Mr. Jean Stern.
December 2, 1975, San Diego Union. First of five tours of Balboa Park gardens and historic buildings, sponsored by the Committee of 100, will be held at 1 p.m. today.
December 2, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. The Balboa Park Committee voted 8 to 4 yesterday to reject a proposal to limit future construction of buildings in most of the park to 1,500 square feet, about the size of an average tract home.
The committee head, Marie Widman, said the city Park and Recreation Board will review the action and make a final recommendation to the City Council on whether the proposal should be placed on the ballot, as its proponents are asking.
The proposal grew out of opposition to adding a third theater to the Old Globe Theater. Arguing for the proposal, committee member Charles Wolf said, “the park is now being suffocated under a burden of non-park activities,” and that “all the people of San Diego should be given a choice in determining the park’s future.”
December 4, 1975, San Diego Union, B-7. The “Spirit of Christmas” with life-size biblical scenes and holiday displays with return to the Organ Pavilion Sunday.
December 7, 1975, San Diego Union, E-3. (Reginald Poland’s) Death Stirs Memories Of Old Globe, Spanish Village, by Ralph Hastings.
December 8, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. City Manager Urges Balboa Park Rent Hike to cover the increases to the city of operating the facilities.
December 14, 1975, San Diego Union, B-4. Officials of the Centro Cultural de la Raza have invited the public to the annual Posada from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., December 19-22, at the group’s headquarters in Balboa Park.
December 14, 1975, San Diego Union, B-6. A public rally in opposition to the United Nation’s anti-Zionism resolution will be held at 11:30 a.m. today at the Organ Pavilion.
December 14, 1975, San Diego Union, B-16. Survey (conducted by the city’s Human Resource Department) Favors Expansion of Recreational Facilities . . . Facilities apparently used by the smallest number of people include campgrounds, golf courses, gymnasiums and swimming pools.
December 14, 1975, San Diego Union, B-16. The San Diego City Council has asked the county to have its consultant study the feasibility of acquiring two parcels of privately owned land at Cowles Mountain.
December 15, 1975, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-1. Majority want improvements in city parks . . . A total of 1,507 city residents were interviewed.
December 16, 1975, Park and Recreation Board Minutes.
- Contract Award: Balboa Park Golf Course Slope Restoration, Phase II.
On November 19, 1975, Council awarded a contract for the above project, involving irrigation and landscaping for the sum of $5,070, authorizing the expenditure of $7,700 for said purpose and related costs. The accepted bid is 21 percent below the estimate of $6,400.
- Donation Accepted: Silver Bay Kennel Club
On November 26, 1975, Council accepted the generous donation of $585 from the above organization for the purpose of purchasing tables and benches for a designated area of Morley Field. The City will match said donation.
- Ballot Proposal – Balboa Park Construction
Mrs. Widman reported that the Balboa Park Committee voted 8 to 4 to recommend to the Board that the proposal not be approved and that the matter be referred t the Master Plan Review Sub-Committee of the Balboa Park Committee.
Mr. Roberts reiterated staff’s position that the proposal is too simplistic and restrictive.
Mrs. Arlene Van de Wetering, author of the proposal, presented her thoughts to the Board. She stated that although she is a member of Uptown Planners and Citizens Coordinate for Century III, she did not speak for those groups. Basically, her proposal would prohibit any new building in excess of 1,500 square feet in the boundaries of Balboa Park, except for the Morley Field area and the Zoo, within its present boundaries. She stated that 1,500 square feet is adequate for comfort stations, storage facilities, etc.
Mrs. Van de Wetering emphasized that the Bartholomew Plan emphasized open space, not buildings. She further feels that there are inappropriate uses of the Park. Any policy on uses of Balboa Park should be decided by the voters, as Council policies and ordinances are too easily vulnerable to attack.
Mr. Larry Sisk spoke in opposition, although sympathizing with the goals of the proposal, he felt the measure would tie the hands of City staff, advisory bodies and the Council. Each proposal should be considered on its own merit. The Charter already requires a two-thirds vote of the citizens for non-park uses of Balboa Park. The Bartholomew Plan covers uses for open space versus buildings. The General Plan, approved November 7, 1967, outlines what is permitted in Balboa Park.
The Board came to the consensus that the spirit of what Mrs. Van de Wetering wants to do is good, but that her proposed ballot measure is too constricting.
MOTION: Mrs. Widman moved that the Balboa Park’s recommendation be accepted by the Board; it was seconded by Mr. Villarino and carried unanimously. Staff was directed to report the Board’s recommendation to the Public Facilities and Recreation Committee.
REFERRAL: Mr. Milch inquired of Mrs. Van de Wetering as to whether she would be interested in serving on the Balboa Park Committee. As she indicated this would be a possibility, Mr. Milch noted that he would entertain the matter. Further, he requested that staff place her name on the mailing list of the Balboa Park Committee.
- Balboa Park Committee
- Capital Improvements Program Revisions – Morley Field Area
Mrs. Widman and Mr. Roberts reported on a staff proposal to designate the temporary archery range as the permanent location and construct a combination archery storage facility/comfort station near the range. These improvements would be made with funds from CIP projects 21-710.1, “Archery Center Target Range,” and 21-008.3, “General Comfort Station,” resulting in a net savings of $68,000. The savings would be used to augment the budget for project 21-409.1, “Morley Field – Eastern,” for design and construction of a group picnic center and enlargement of the first phase of landscape development.
Mrs. Widman moved that the Board accept the Committee’s recommendation to approve the proposed revisions; it was seconded by Mr. Villarino and carried unanimously.
December 17, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. Aerospace Museum Site Plan Opposed, by Ken Hudson . . . The port commissioners yesterday raised objections to the proposed location of the Aerospace Museum on the B Street Pier in connection with the $84 million embarcadero redevelopment project.
December 17, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. The Park and Recreation Board yesterday voted against a ballot measure to limit building in Balboa Park.
December 17, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. The San Diego Zoo held groundbreaking ceremonies to bring a bit of the 1,800-acre Wild Animal Park in San Pasqual to San Diego.
The “bit” will be a pavilion to be constructed with a thatched roof and pole walls in the style of the Park’s African architecture. It is planned with a display to encourage Zoo visitors to see the Park.
December 19, 1975, San Diego Union, B-3. A group of Ocean Beach residents failed yesterday to persuade the City Council to reverse a Planning Commission decision to lease some city park land for a YMCA project.
The council upheld the granting of a special permit to the YMCA for construction of a community center and swimming pool on a 3-acre portion of Collier Park land.
December 25, 1975, San Diego Union, B-14. Letter, Jr. Robert Mosher, La Jolla: “The recent ruling of Judge Jack R. Levitt in which he found Joseph Yamada, landscape architect, to be in possible conflict of interest with regard to his firm’s contract with the city for the design of a Japanese garden in Balboa Park, is a regrettable development and one which should be carefully scrutinized.
December 28, 1975, San Diego Union, B-9:1. The program at Reuben Fleet Space Theater will change to “Probes in Space” and “Viva Baja” on Wednesday; the first film simulates a voyage across the solar system; the other film explores the scenic wonders of the Mexican peninsula; both films include dome-filling movies taken with a super-wide-angle camera.
December 28, 1975, San Diego Union, B-1, B-10. Mystery Spell Cast — Balboa Park Plaques Are Puzzlers, by Carol Olten (illus.).
The plaques of Balboa Park cast a mysterious spell.
At Upas Street and Sixth Avenue upon an expansive grassy knoll sits a rock with a bronze plaque dedicating a Podocarpus Elongata tree. There is no tree.
Behind the Balboa Park Club resides a huge granite barbecue pit, erected in 1944 and bearing a plaque recognizing the donations of the Dan Rossi Southern California Granite Co. and contributions of a retired military man. The monumental barbecue sits among the cacti gardens.
Near the Spreckels Organ Pavilion stand a pair of elaborately carved Japanese doors, a plaque on a nearby rock stating they were erected in memory of former San Diego Mayor Charles C. Dail’s efforts with the Sister City Commission. The doors open to nowhere.
The reason Balboa Park plaques and memorials may appear a little strange at times is that installation procedures are a lit loose, a spokesman for the San Diego Park and Recreation Department says.
Return to Amero Collection.
BALBOA PARK HISTORY
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