Balboa Park History 1976

January 1, 1976, San Diego Union, B-10. Letter, Arlene Van DeWetering: She objects to turning several acres of Collier Park over to Peninsula YMCA.

January 1, 1976, San Diego Union, B-10. Letter, Elaine Benjamin: Developers do not want use of word “rural” used to describe Alpine.

January 4, 1976, San Diego Union. Timken Gallery lighting gets low rating from Alfred Moir, Professor of Art History, University of Santa Barbara.

You can imagine my dismay . . . when I went to the galleries a little before 4 p.m. on a recent Saturday to find the light so dim as to make it impossible to see the paintings. In response to inquiry, a guard told me that the lights were being turned down, or left off completely, in order to save money.

January 4, 1976, San Diego UnionB-13. March completion date for Spanish Landing Park.

January 9, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-1. La Jolla Community Plan comes under fire, by Steve Wiegand.

January 9, 1976, San Diego Union, B-2. Letter, Bob Giantvalley: He thinks private use of Collier Park is better than “open space which attracts litter and encourages nuisance-type activity.”

January 11, 1976, San Diego Union, B-10. Natural History Museum wants a 25-cent admission increase; Deputy City Manager John W. Johnson said his office agrees with the proposed $1 dollar admission fee which would be effective February 1 if the City Council’s Public Facilities and Recreation Committee concurs.

January 13, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. Public Facilities & Recreation Committee terms measure to control construction in Balboa Park “simplistic;” claims it would tie hands of future planners.

January 15, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, A-2. City to get 100 cherry trees from Yokohama; trees to be planted in a 6.5 acres Japanese Garden in Balboa Park.

January 16, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. Proposals for Mount Acadia Park in Clairemont.

January 16, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. Landscape architect Joseph Yamada resigns post on Park & Recreation Board after court fight.

January 18, 1976, San Diego Union, C-2. Letter, Lowell C. Ballard: “Spanish Landing” a plausible if not exact place where the San Antonio anchored April 11, 1769.

January 19, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. Cost of Mission Hills park soars, by Otto Bos.

January 19, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. Citizens Coordinate for Century 3 director to be paid.

January 19, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. Dora Ann Eklund and her son Dana donated sundial, designed by Dr. L. Gordon Plummer, to Balboa Park valued at $5,000.

January 20, 1976, Park & Recreation Board. Directors Report: A.) Sundial Dedication, Plaza de Balboa, January 25, 1976. Mr. Mendoza announced that on Sunday, January 25th at 3 p.m., the Sundial in the Plaza de Balboa adjacent to the Fleet Space Theater, will be dedicated. The Board had formerly approved receipt and placement of the donation. . . . B.) Ballot proposal – Balboa Park. On January 12, 1976, the Public Facilities & Recreation Committee recommended to the Council that Mrs. Van de Wetering’s proposal be referred to the Master Plan Review Sub-Committee of the Balboa Park Committee of the Park & Recreation Board. . . . Mrs. Widman requested that Mrs. Van de Wetering be informed that her research and knowledge will be taken into consideration by the Sub-Committee. . . . D.) Reservation Procedures for Facilities in Balboa Park. Regarding a communication from one of Marie Hitchcock’s supporters concerning the use of the Puppet Theater in Balboa Park, the Public Facilities & Recreation Committee, on January 12, 1976, recommended that Council resolve that Mrs. Hitchcock’s Christmas program be co-sponsored by the City, and that all rents collected from her contributed to “America’s Finest City Week” celebrations be refunded. It was further recommended that Council pass a resolution of thanks to Mrs. Hitchcock for her contributions to the city.

Contract Awards: 3.) Miniature Railroad Site, Balboa Park. On December 31, 1975, Council awarded a contract for improvements to the subject facility for the sum of $41,640. The accepted bid is 9.6 percent above the estimate of $38,000.

January 27, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-4. Park building rents that cover operating and maintenance costs may go up 700 percent.

January 31, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. City Manager Hugh McKinley and City Planning Director James Goff have recommended inclusion of entire El Prado are in National Register of Historic Places.

February 2, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, D-1. Patricia Dibsie claims lath house (Botanical Building) in Balboa Park was designed as a railway station.

The Santa Fe Railway has the skeleton structure fabricated out of steel somewhere in the Midwest, according to George Kempland, the supervisor for the park’s nurseries and landscaping. “This building originally was supposed to be a station where train engines were turned around,” he said. “That equipment was to do beneath the huge dome located in the center of this structure.”

Following the Navy’s post-war departure, the building stood neglected until 1957 when the City Council appropriated $63,500 for its renovation.

February 5, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, A-16. Rent hikes okayed by Council.

The sharpest increase is for the Balboa Park Club’s conference building auditorium. The rent for that building will jump from $50 a day to $400.

February 7, 1976, San Diego Union, B-10. Letter, Robert Mosher, expressing hope City Manager will correct the problem so Yamada can serve on Park & Recreation Board.

February 8, 1976, San Diego Union, A-24. Fifty-year old fig tree north of Natural History Museum holds rose garden at bay.

February 8, 1976, San Diego Union, A-24. Hotel occupancy up; tourism indications show gain in December.

February 8, 1976, San Diego Union, B-7. $6.5 million urged for county parks.

February 8, 1976, San Diego Union, E-8. Lowell Davies says “professionalism” of Old Globe Theater in Balboa Park should be limited; resigns as president of the board of directors, by Welton Jones.

“The Globe has a million-dollar plant with two theaters, a very fine small staff and no debts,” Davies said. “But there are hallucinations that disturb me.

“One-half of the board is in favor of building a third theater and one-half is against this. My own philosophy would be to take $500,000 and rebuild the inside of the theater we have, but I don’t think that’s what they will do.”

The new president of the board, Richard Adams, inherits an operation in the pink of health, playing more than 600 performances of 14 productions each year in two theaters with a budget just under $1 million and an attendance for all performances of just over 98 percent.

But Adams also must deal with the problems of success — that fact that no additional playing dates or seating capacities is available while inflation continues to push costs upward, the increasing demands of the Globe’s unpaid winter-season actors that they be cut in on the take, the need to grow or risk slipping backward.

February 10, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-4. City moves to put El Prado on U.S. Register of Historic Places.

February 12, 1976, San Diego Union, D-8. Public Facilities & Recreation Committee has recommended inclusion of El Prado on National Register of Historic Places.

February 16, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. Commemorative flagpole dedicated at north entrance of Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater; project of California Federation of Women’s Clubs.

February 18, 1976, (San Diego) Evening TribuneE-1. City okays historic site plan.

February 20, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-1. Florida Canyon, five years after approval botanical garden progresses, by Helen Witham.

In mid-September the city engaged the firm of Steve Halsey Associates, landscape architects, to develop preliminary master plan for the entire canyon area. While plans are not yet firmed nor formally adopted, I can say that the general outline is to preserve the remaining natural vegetation on the east slopes of Florida Canyon and to continue using it as an educational resource, adding a series of special gardens and collections on the east slope.

An example of such a special collection would be a manzanita garden, with 25 or more kinds on display. Such a garden would not only show off manzanitas in variety, but would show which kinds will thrive here under cultivation.

Another special planting may be a “city lot” demonstrating the use of native plant materials in intimate surroundings. This could well be a “lazy man’s garden: with no lawns to mow nor hedges to trim — must a sprinkler to turn on now and then.

Yet another demonstration might be a steep canyon lot where problems of access, erosion, water penetration and the possibility of fire have been considered.

In the last few years there as been a surge of interest in the use of native plants in landscaping, but most people need to be introduced to the plants themselves.

February 20, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-7. Commentary: Nothing sacred about old buildings, by Richard W. Amero.

Balboa Park does not need a listing of poorly-designed temporary buildings in the National Register.

The park does need a reaffirmation of the resolution passed by the California State Legislature of 1870-71 which declared “These lands are to be held in trust forever . . . for the purpose of a free and public park . . . and for no other or different purpose.”

February 20, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-7. Commentary: Unique structures must be protected, by Bea Evenson.

Big cities just grow, but great cities develop from well-tended roots. San Diego is fortunate in possessing these historic roots, for which we should be most grateful. The 1915 buildings in Balboa Park symbolize these roots.

For these reasons the Committee of 100, with the help of the people of San Diego and its representatives, intends to move ahead with the preservation of the remaining Spanish-Colonial buildings in Balboa Park. The National Register of Historic Places is a necessary step toward this objective.

The City Council has been told that inclusion into the register will not result in federal control over city action relative to El Prado structures although special restrictions could be tied to particular grants by the federal government.

February 20, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-6. EDITORIAL: El Prado Worth Preservation.

True, the 1915 exposition buildings in Balboa Park were intended to be temporary. Their charm, however, has become virtually a trademark of San Diego. Inclusion in the historic registry can both assure the preservation of their unusual character and facilitate obtaining the resources needed to restore them and make them more useful.

February 20, 1976, San Diego Union, E-1. Thursday Club donates 36 flowering trees to park; planted around archery field and casting pond in Morley Field area.

February 22, 1976, San Diego Union, B-9. City Council has abandoned plans for a restroom at Mission Hill’s Pioneer Park.

February 26, 1976, San Diego Union, E-1, E-2. History of Maya castings in Museum of Man, by Beth Mohr.

The Maya exhibit at the Museum of Man is of imposing size, inviting visitors to walk through and sense something of the grandeur of the ancient civilization it represents.

“This is the third time the exhibit has been placed,” Ms. Donna De Kindig said. “During World War II, the museum became part of the Naval Hospital and all exhibits were removed.

“The large Maya castings had to be cut in half to be stored. After the war, they were brought out, put together and displayed again until about 12 years ago, when a false wall was put up blocking them from view.”

“The false wall made it possible to change exhibits. Taking it down has changed the whole exhibit area.”

Work on the current exhibit began in September, with research by Mary Dawe providing information of illustrated plaques, a mural and dioramas designed and executed by Ms. Jeri Corbin and Ms. Donna De Kindig to show discoveries and surmises reached by archaeologists.


March 1, 1976, San Diego Union, B-6. Letter from Inga Ball: Restrooms needed at Pioneer Park.

March 4, 1976, San Diego Union, B-10. Letter from L. Harris: Imitations are imitations, they do not belong on National Register.

If Richard W. Amero is correct (Feb. 20) I would expect the Committee of 100 someday to begin clamoring for the preservation of the Matterhorn at Disneyland — temporary and false as it is — as “it will be a beautiful expression or our heritage and architecturally and culturally significant.”

March 6, 1976, San Diego Union, B-2. Historic Site Board wants to inspect premises before tenants of Ford Building make alterations; Owen Clarke, director of the Aero-Space Museum, proposes elimination of skylights and mural depicting neighborhood scenes in the rotunda near the entrance..

March 7, 1976, San Diego Union, A-19. Dedication of permanent international flag display in front of Aero-Space Museum set for Sunday; flags provided by Soroptimist International; foreign flags to be added later (photo).

March 7, 1976, San Diego Union, A-19. Lake Murray and Lake Miramar should be developed into miniature parks, by Otto Bos.

March 7, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. $16 million earmarked for 6-year land acquisition of North County parks.

March 8, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. Flag display dedicated.

March 9, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. Sixty persons appeared before Public Facilities & Recreation Committee in support of retaining mural on water tank in Pepper Grove area, Balboa Park.

March 12, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-15. Those who oppose murals are entitled to a hearing before a City Council committee as scheduled next Monday..

March 13, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, C-2. Letter from L. Reese: Divide Water Tank into two areas and allow other artists to paint other portions.

March 15, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-1. Train lights at Wild Animal Park don’t seem to disturb animals, by Neil Morgan.

March 16, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-1. Council sends mural dispute to Park Board.

March 16, 1976, San Diego Union, B-1. Chicano paintings can stay for now; City Council Public Facilities and Recreation Committee refused to take a stand, by Harry Fuentes.

March 16, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. Exclusion of some graded hillsides from tougher development controls could lead to severe cutting or scarring of canyon sites.

March 16, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. Nominations for Park & Recreation Board and Planning Commission.

March 18, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-2. Letter from V. M. Carpentier in favor of murals; says “there is little enough beauty in the world now.”.

March 18, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-7. Group picnic area with facilities for up to 150 persons planned for Morley Field; part of $280,000 budget, three parking lots with a total of 119 spaces, an archery building and playground equipment also included in project.

March 18, 1976, San Diego Union, E-4. White deer monument picked for Presidio Park.

March 19, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, F-4. Marriotts America Park hangs smile on our yesterdays.

March 22, 1976, San Diego Union. Letter from Alberta Vigil: Bill Barry, Chicano critic called rude.

March 22, 1976, San Diego Union, B-5. City law forbids solicitation in Balboa Park, by Carl Ritter.

The jugglers, magicians, musicians and other entertainers who perform outdoors on weekends at Balboa Park said yesterday they are worried about whether they can continue accepting donations.

March 23, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune. Letter from Seamus O’Hara: Let us eliminate this blemish from the park.

March 23, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune. Letter from Wendy Pennington: “Why do so many grownups try to ruin everything that is pretty?”

March 23, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-3. Policy permits park players so long as they have a permit and cool it a bit on how aggressively they look for donations, by William Osborne (photo).

March 24, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-2. EDITORIAL: Park Entertainers — minimum regulation is necessary,.

March 25, 1976, B-6. Letters on Chicano art from Lynn E. Hicks (critical), Steven B. Chesser (critical), David Burgess (critical)..

March 30, 1976 and March 31, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune. Letters on Chicano art from Andrea Ylarra Moreno (favorable), Richard W. Amero (critical), and Marjorie E. Dysinger (in between)..

March 31, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-3. Letter from Ruth Jones: Dogs in Pioneer Park created a bad condition for joggers, barefoot people and children.

March 31, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune. Letter from Marc Wenzel claiming street theater is entertaining, no cover, no minimum

April, 1976, Citizens Coordinate for Century-3: How do you feel about preserving and reconstructing the buildings in Balboa Park?

April 1, 1976, San Diego Union, B-1. Work bids sought to spruce up Balboa Park, casting pool areas and Art Pratt Memorial Foundation play area for the handicapped; estimated cost $99,500.

April 6, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-2. Letter on Chicano art from Joleen K. McPherson (favorable)..

April 6, 1976, San Diego Union, B-1. Public Facilities & Recreation Committee approved a plan to acquire open space by declaring City of San Diego a municipal park district.

April 9, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-3. Letter on Chicano art from Lee Oliverio (favorable)..

April 9, 1975, San Diego Union, B-8. Cattlemen oppose a hiking and riding trail through public and private land in the back country.

April 11, 1976, San Diego Union, E-1. Recent weekend “misunderstanding” calls for clearer law; city fathers harbor no malice for park minstrels, by Welton Jones.

April 13, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. McManis Associates of San Francisco said thirty two advisory community planning groups should be abolished; Council Committee on Rules, Legislation and Inter-Governmental Affairs opposed.

April 13, 1976, San Diego Union, B-6. EDITORIAL: Thwarting vote rule; park plans take old path; designating entire city a park district would make it possible to win endorsement of bond issues with a simple majority . . . The city park program ought to be carried out, to be sure, but this does not mean the city ought to pursue it by yet another surrender to the questionable principle that the end justifies the means..

April 16, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-3. Letter on Chicano art from Humanities Class, Hilltop High School (favorable).

April 17, 1976. Letter from Virginia M. Grizzle scoring park district plan.

April 19, 1976, Vos Fronteriza. Central Cultural de la Raza murals challenged, by Jorge Huerta.

Whatever the outcome of this issue is, the important point is that the Chicano community rose up in unison against any attack upon its culture, its artists and its people.

April 21, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-1. Park & Recreation Board voted unanimously to allow Chicano murals to remain on water tank.

April 21, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. Park & Recreation Board Okays disputed murals.

April 28, 1976, San Diego Union, B-1. Port Commissioners rejected plan to move the Aero-Space Museum from Electric Building in Balboa Park to the B-Street pier.

April 29, 1976, San Diego Union, B-1. The City Council approved an agreement with the San Diego History Center to turn the Marston house into a historical museum.

May 2, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. Forty two arrested at Balboa Park Bowl in rock fete brawl.

May 6, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. City Council approved creation of a citywide park district; Council can move to put a bond measure on the November 1976 ballot once the district’s creation is completed.

May 7, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. City Council urged yesterday to allow Chicano mural to remain.

May 11, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. Public Facilities & Recreation Committee backs restroom at Pioneer Park.

May 13, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. The San Diego region can expect $4 million for urban parks over a three-year period under a measure signed into low by Governor Brown.

May 17, 1976, San Diego Union, B-1. Park Board to study Florida Canyon plan by consultant Steve Halsey Tuesday.

May 18, 1976, Park & Recreation Board. D. Facilities Committee Report. 2.) House of Hospitality: Arcade-Tree Conflict. The problem of the trees crowding the arcade at the northwest corner of the House of Hospitality was re-evaluated by the Committee in April. Mr. Roberts noted a conflict between the Balboa Park Committee’s position (remove the trees) and the Facilities Committee’s recommendation (remove the structure). . . . Mr. Milch read into the record a letter from the Committee of 100 urging removal of the tree and retention of the structure. . . . The Development Division Superintendent will take the matter back to the Balboa Park and Facilities Committees in June, 1976.

May 18, 1976. Park & Recreation Board. Facilities Committee Report on arcade-tree conflict at House of Hospitality.

May 19, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. The concept of a plan to develop 150-acre Florida Canyon in Balboa Park as a natural botanic preserve was unanimously endorsed by the city Park and Recreation Board yesterday.

The plan, which also has received endorsements from the Balboa Park Committee and from the Facilities Committee, includes the development of compatible recreational uses in the canyon and a demonstration area for representative California plants.

The landscape and architectural plan for the canyon, drawn up by Steven Halsey Associates, includes hiking and bicycle paths, parking and rest room facilities with retention of the feeling of a natural canyon, Halsey said.

Phase 1 of the development plan calls for remedial grading, revegetation and the treatment of offsite drainage problems. Phase II includes the closing of Florida Canyon Drive and the establishment of pedestrian circulation routes. Phases III includes development of the demonstration garden, an elevated crossing to Zoo Place and the building of rest rooms, view areas, picnic areas and parking facilities.

Dave Roberts of the Park and Recreation Department said $65,000 to $90,000 is available from the 1966 bond issue for some restoration of the area.

May 23, 1976, San Diego Union, A-8. It will take $6,785,000 and 600 trees to create Constitution Gardens between Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., by Mike Feinsilber.

May 27, 1976, San Diego Union, C-6. Park & Recreation Board and Police Department agreed to halt rock concerts in Balboa Park Bowl until next January; complaints about vulgar language, marijuana smoking, and the drinking of alcoholic beverages.

June 4, 1976, San Diego Union, B-4. Board of Supervisors recommended that city and county consider abandoning establishment of Los Penasquitos Regional Park.

June 6, 1976, San Diego Union, B-11. Skateboarders want to convert an old reservoir on Torrey Pines golf course for their use.

June 8, 1976, San Diego Union, B-4. Public Facilities & Recreation Committee voted to allow Chicano mural to remain.

June 13, 1976, San Diego Union, C-1. Letter from Ann B. Foerson expressing sympathy with picketing policemen for fairer wages in Balboa Park.

June 15, 1976, Park & Recreation Board, Park Director’s Report. 8a. ) Balboa Park Improvements: On March 12, 1976, Council awarded a contract for subject improvements in the Organ Pavilion, Gold Gulch, Casting Pool areas and Art Pratt Memorial Foundation Handicapped Play Area for the sum of $76,555. The accepted bid if five percent below the estimate of $80,600.

June 22, 1976, San Diego Union, B-9. Program sponsored by San Diego Inter-Church Council at Organ Pavilion July 4.

June 30, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. Spanish Landing Bay Park completed.

July 1, 1976, San Diego Union, B-2. Smithsonian opens Air, Space Museum, by Al Rossiter, Jr.

July 8, 1976, San Diego Union, B-6. United States losing enthusiasm for future, by Nicholas Von Hoffman.

July 19, 1976, San Diego Union, B-1. Ninety arrested in concert at Balboa Park Stadium; three policemen injured at rock music event attended by 35,000.

July 20, 1976, Park & Recreation Board. A.) Balboa Park Committee Report: 1. Space Theater Banners. Mrs. Dickinson reported that staff explained the criteria for granting permission to utilize the banners. The three primary considerations were: (1) Board Policy No. 1102 authorizes temporary signs to advertise current attractions. (2) The banners are professionally done and pleasing to the eye. (3) The entertainment/educational function of the Space Theater and Hall of Science requires some type of identification by its very nature. The banners do this in a manner more compatible with Balboa Park than traditional marquees. Discussion among committee members was generally favorable with some concern expressed that this precedent would allow additional banners in Balboa and other parks. No action was taken by the committee. . . . MOTION: After much discussion, Mr. Leyton moved that staff advise the Space Theater that their banners are not within the Board’s recognition of a temporary sign and should be removed. Mr. Sadler seconded the motion which carried with Mrs. Dickinson voting negatively and Mr. Jensen abstaining.

  1. Master Plan Review Sub-committee: Mrs. Dickinson reported that subject sub-committee will meet on July 28, 1976, at 12:30 p.m. in the senior citizen lounge of the Casa del Prado to complete the master plan. Mrs. Dickinson requested that a workshop of the Board be scheduled in the near future. Mr. Milch noted that, perhaps, September or October would be appropriate.
  2. Chicano Tank: Mrs. Dickinson reported that the Bicentennial colors have been removed from the Tank and replaced by what appears to be a replica of South and Central America on the pot or bag being held by the skeletal figure.

July 25, 1976, San Diego Union. Mammoth new park plan centered on Cowles Mountain, by Otto Bos.

July 25, 1976, San Diego Union, E-10. Homer Delawie at Citizens Coordinate for Century 3 conference on Balboa Park discusses design plan to reorganize parking facilities and landscaping in center of Balboa Park, by Jennifer Williamson.

July 29, 1976, San Diego Union, B-10. EDITORIAL: Lake Murray-Cowles-Fortuna Park fills city’s need.

Announcement from Mobil Oil, Los Angeles Times: The Bard is back: Shakespeare plays in Los Angeles Parks.

August 8, 1976, San Diego Union, B-1. Balboa Park master plan review committee urges revised routes in park.

The Balboa Park Master Plan Review Committee says traffic patterns in the 1,600 park domain [sic] must be altered to ease congestion and traffic problems.

Among the recommendations were:

  • Linking Quince and Richmond streets across the Cabrillo Freeway to provide a through route for cars between Hillcrest and upper downtown areas. There only would be a northbound ramp from the freeway.
  • Pershing Drive would be improved with an interchange at 28thStreet and be realigned to funnel traffic into Redwood and 28th The area now linking Pershing Drive to Upas Street in the extreme northeast portion of the park would be utilized for Morley Field park facilities.
  • Florida Drive would be closed from Zoo Drive to Morley Field Drive, cutting it off as a road running a complete north-south route through the park. The plan is in conjunction of a botanical garden in Florida Canyon.
  • El Prado would be closed to automobile traffic permanently with traffic at the east end of Cabrillo Bridge (Laurel Street extension) diverted on to a southern peripheral road leading to the Organ Pavilion and Palisades area of the park.

The southern road was at one time in the park’s master plan, but was deleted by the City Council in a last-minute decision.

If the road were built, the Plaza de Panama, now utilized for parking and to divert cars over to the Organ Pavilion area, could be used as a promenade.

August 8, 1976, San Diego Union, B-1, B-8. Citizens’ panel asks cut in auto traffic; opposes construction, by Otto Bos.

Balboa Park, 1868: “Men and women of great vision set aside enough land to withstand a century of encroachment by those of lesser vision.”

Balboa Park, 1976: “Green living plants, open space and a relief from the urban pressures of noise, pollution, concrete and steel.”

Balboa Park, The Future: A “master plan intended to preserve and maintain (a park) of even greater beauty and service.”

Thus has a nine-member citizens’ committee concluded that the future of Balboa Park should remain people-oriented and not fall victim to the automobile.

“The issues in 1976 seem clear,” the report points out, ” . . . Increased construction and paving theoretically could kill that which nourishes it (the park) and cause the boundary between park and city to disappear.”

“The same principle holds with roads and paving,” the report continues. “Up to a point, ease of access for the motoring public adds to park enjoyment but at some point the destruction of the park experience begins.”

To that end the committee recommended the city try anew to develop a special transportation system within the park.

It also urged that traffic be rerouted around El Prado, the cultural center of the park, to attempt to restore it to the pedestrian ways of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

And, the panel hinted the City Council ought to reverse its course on allowing construction of a new theater in a small canyon near the Old Globe theater as incompatible with park goals.

“Present plans for a third theater seem incompatible with goals to ease crowding in the area and preserve existing open space,” said the committee report, which will be aired before the city Park and Recreation Board on August 17.

The panel recommended the council set a time limit within the so-called Third Theater be built or be abandoned.

The committee, chaired by long-time attorney Jefferson K. Stickney, Jr. and retired newspaper editor Larry Sisk, deliberated on updating the master plan since May of last year.

Stickney said the committee was particularly interested in rerouting traffic away from El Prado promenade (currently pedestrian on a temporary basis) and Plaza de Panama, utilized as a parking lot.

“We must reduce the volume of automobile traffic in the park, particularly the center,” Stickney said. “It is absolutely essential.”

To achieve the pedestrian cultural core and bypass the Plaza de Panama, the committee recommended that the City Council revive construction of a peripheral road to connect Cabrillo Bridge (Laurel Street extension) directly with the Organ Pavilion area.

Also, among the major traffic circulation recommendations, the committee said Quince and Richmond streets ought to be linked across the Cabrillo Freeway (State Highway 163) to create a through route in the northwest sector of the park.

As called for in the 1960 Bartholomew Plan, named for the consultant that drafted it at $50,000, the current road through Florida Canyon would be sealed north of Zoo Drive to go with creation of a botanical garden there.

Pershing Drive, with a suggested overhaul of the difficult 26th Street intersection near the park’s golf course, should be routed into Redwood and 28th streets, said the committee.

This would eliminate the present link to Upas Street and clear the way for expansion of Morley Field’s recreation facilities in the northeast corner of the park.

No more parking spaces should be permitted in the park, the committee said, with the current total having exceeded the Bartholomew plan by 2,000 spaces.

Sisk said the committee found that overall the Bartholomew Plan has served San Diego well, considering 35 percent growth in population in the past 16 years.

The master plan required a review within 15 years and was undertaken after the City Council gave in concept approval to construction of a new theater near the Old Globe Theater if traffic and congestion problems were solved.

Sisk said the committee established by the Balboa Park subcommittee of the Park and Recreation Board met continuously since May 1975, to reach its conclusions.

“Basically, we found the plan itself remains viable,” Sisk said. “What we’ve attempted to do is bring it up to date.”

But the committee also gave warning that while Balboa Park has absorbed population growth well to date, that someday it may run out of room.

“The situation for Balboa Park is no different from the national parks,” the committee concluded. “When parks hold their maximum capacity, there is no room for more.”

The committee looked at every aspect of Balboa Park but focused on resolving traffic problems by seeking to reduce it near and around major activity centers.

“The park is for people and not automobiles,” said Sisk.

Stickney said despite the failure of a previous try for a park shuttle system, city resources should be utilized for a new try.

“We feel there ought to be an intrapark system with some kind of attractive vehicles to move people about,” he said.

The committee generally backed the Bartholomew plans for removing the 1935-built temporary structures still standing in the Palisades area at the south end of the park.

But it urged a go-slow method until replacement facilities can be found for such buildings as the Municipal Gymnasium.

But September 1, when a two-year drive to convert it into an airplane museum is supposed to end, should mark the near end for the Ford Building, the committee said. Voters rejected funds to restore it. Plans are to make the site a grassy area overlooking the park and city.

The committee also took notice of reports that the Navy may relocate its hospital, located at the southeast corner of the park. Only the permanent building should be retained for recreation usage, if that comes true, the panel said.

It also was noted that the 1960 master plan suggested that the California State Building — housing the Museum of Man — be developed as a theater complex but that the Old Globe management, which is advocating the Third Theater, had not expressed interest in utilizing the building.

The Museum of Man would be relocated in the Electric Building on the southside of the Prado mall, which also is in need of reconstruction.

Within the Prado area, besides the Electric Building, it was recommended that the Administration Building, adjacent to the Museum of Man, be razed, primarily for safety reasons.

The recommendation was made that a glass house for tropical plants be constructed at the northside patio of the Casa del Prado. A formal garden, north of the Natural History Museum, should be converted into lawn to protect the huge roots of a giant Moreton Bay fig tree there, the panel concluded.

The committee recommended that the San Diego Art Institute be moved from the Prado area to the Spanish Village, near the Zoo, and suggested an additional “case” be built for relief from the vase expanse of paving.

The House of Charm will require reconstruction, the committee said. One alternative raised was to save the building’s facade and arches to enhance an enlarged Alcazar Garden.

The recommendation was made that the old Photo Arts Building be added to the House of Pacific Relations, near the Ford Building. It was suggested that the United Nations Association be moved out of the park because its “political nature” was not found to be compatible with that of the different national clubs making their homes there.

The old Conference Building and Balboa Park Club have aged well, but city administration is improper use for them, the committee said.

The 14-acre site near the Naval Hospital, used by the city for a vehicle storage yard, should be restored to park use, the committee said.

In the future, it was suggested that no more private leases be given for park areas. As the public need arises, the committee added, consideration should be given to canceling the present leases for park lands enjoyed by various private non-profit community groups.

Stickney said now that the committee has finished its task, he hopes the public discussion will be stimulated. “We want to know what the people think,” he said.

August 8, 1976, San Diego Union, B-8. Nine-member committee which reviewed Balboa Park’s master plan favors Ford Building removal.

Say goodbye to the Ford Building but hello to Balboa Park rangers if a citizens’ committee has its way. The nine-member committee which reviewed Balboa Park’s master plan after 16 years of wear has concluded that what the park needs is fewer cars and more feet.

The resulting traffic reshuffling recommended by the committee is sure to draw fire, committee leaders Larry Sisk and Jefferson Stickney, Jr. agreed.

But more controversy may be in store due to the long list of recommendations the committee is expected to detail before the city’s Park and Recreation Board later this month.

The panel concluded, for instance, that preservation of the 41-year-old Ford Building at the south side of the park has been studied to its culmination.

If there is no commitment to refurbish the oval building within the next few months, it ought to be removed, the committee decided.

The idea of park rangers – on the model of lifeguards — was generated due to an increase in annoying small crime in the park.

An accounting of the theft, vandalism and other mischief would show a greater cost than a minimal crew of park rangers on patrol according to the committee.

The committee also suggested the City Council back off from its endorsement of a third theater near the Old Globe Theater complex by saying construction would be “incompatible” with the park goals of easing congestion and preserving open space.

Panelists also wondered why the Old Globe had not responded to the suggestion that the nearby California State Building be converted into a theater complex as called for in the master plan.

It also recommended that the United Nations Association be removed from the House of Pacific Relations, a near neighbor of the Ford Building.

The reasoning was that the U. N. group’s “political nature” is incompatible with the various cultural organizations house in the building.

What does belong in Balboa Park and currently lacking is a museum about itself, the 100-year history and stories about the 1915 and 1935 world expositions.

The suggestion was made that such a museum be launched in a lounge of the Casa del Prado, with an appropriate civic sponsor.

Some of the gardens in the park need improvement, the committee observed, and a huge Moreton Bay fig tree located north of the Natural History Museum would be better protected by removal of a garden over its roots.

Excellent progress has been made in the park with regards to pedestrian and bike paths, but something must be done to confine skateboard enthusiasts to athletic areas, the committee found.

City administrators should be removed from the Balboa Park Club and Conference Building because they don’t belong there, the committee said.

The Municipal Gymnasium adjoining in the park’s Palisade’s area, built for the 1935 exposition, ought to remain where it is until a new facility can be built at Morley Field, home of most sporting activity under the master plan.

The House of Charm must be rebuilt or removed due to deterioration. The committee said the site could be cleared and the building’s facade and arches left behind to enhance an enlarged Alcazar Garden.

The Administration Building in the Prado area must be torn down, while the nearby Electric Building is in bad need of repair, the committee reported.

On the north side of the Casa del Prado might be the ideal site for a glasshouse to exhibit tropical plants.

The Balboa Park Master Plan Review Committee was established in May 1975 by the Balboa Park Committee of the city’s Park and Recreation Board.

Besides Stickney and Sisk, members were:

Alice Stephenson, Dr. Bob O’Brien, Al Vallin, Henry Gardiner, Harry Haelsig, Richard Bowen and Frances Morton.

August 11, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, E-1. Austin Nichols & Company, distributors of Wild Turkey bourbon, used planetarium at Space Theater to launch 1976-77 sales; rental for the theater was $500 per day, by Donald Coleman.

August 13, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, E-1, E-10. Desert garden started after 50-year wait.

Cactus, aloe, agave and other succulents — those seemingly indestructible plants that thrive in the most arid and least hospitable of areas — have been seeking a home in Balboa Park for 50 years.

Now, after years of disappointment and false starts, work is under way to develop a 2.5-acre wedged parcel west of Florida Canyon into an official Desert Garden.

The unusual garden, a longtime goal of the San Diego Cactus and Succulent Society, is expected to be far into its first-development phase by the end of the year.

Succulent gardens aren’t new to San Diego’s massive urban park — but neither have they been successful in terms of longevity.

“As close as we can figure, there have been succulent gardens in at least four different places in Balboa Park since 1916,” said Roger De Weese, a Sorrento Valley-based landscape architect who has worked with the local society on the creation of a new garden.

“Why didn’t the garden last? That’s an interesting question — probably because succulent gardens didn’t carry too much social weight,” he said.

There is some feeling that a small succulent garden existed somewhere within the Balboa Park area during the years of initial development.

There is no more mention of such a botanical reserve until 1935 when succulent enthusiasts, led by Kate O. Sessions, established separate cactus and aloe-agave gardens with an eye to the upcoming California-Pacific International Exposition.

California Garden, the monthly San Diego Floral Association magazine, was filled with status reports and appeals for succulent and cactus donations early in 1935.

Chauncey Irgens Jerabek, one of the community’s most ardent succulent enthusiasts, detailed even the most modest contribution to the park’s two new gardens and challenged individuals and groups to better previous donations.

The alone and agave garden, a collection of tropical and exotic succulents, was apparently located in the vicinity of Park Boulevard to the left of the Canadian Legion Building and near the terminus of the streetcar tracks.

The cactus garden was apparently established behind what is now the Balboa Park Club — a good location for succulents but one with virtually no foot traffic and hence little community use.

The Huntington Botanic Gardens, at the famed Huntington Library in San Marino, donated a number of hybrid aloes to the aloe and agave garden.

The Cactus Exchange of Southern California did its part for the fledgling cactus garden, as did Cactus Acres of El Paso, Texas, the Oklahoma Cactus and Succulent Society, Border Cactus Nursery of Nogales, Arizona, and the Desert Nursery of Palm Springs.

But after the exposition the two succulent gardens apparently fell into disrepair.

“They may well have been casualties of World War II,” De Weese said.

In 1965, three decades after the two succulent gardens were established, the San Diego Cactus and Succulent Society again pressed for an official preserve.

It was not until 1972, however, that the present site was selected and another three years were to pass before the city formally designated the site, adjacent to the Rose Garden, as the future home for succulents.

In early 1975, when the City Council approved an agreement with De Weese’s firm, the estimated cost of development was $60,000.

It now seems reasonable to expect first-development phase costs to run around $103,000 — and whether there is additional development will depend upon city resources and community interest.

The Desert Garden, as described by De Weese and society members, will be a more ambitious and complex project than the casual observer might believe.

For starters, the wedge of land between Park Boulevard and Zoo Place, needs substantial grading for esthetic and drainage reasons.

The natural configuration of the parcel — an undeveloped lot which nobody seemed anxious to develop because of its inherent difficulties — is flat plateau that ends in a steep cliff.

Bulldozers will be used to move 12,000 cubic yards of earth — turning the plateau into a gentle slope ending in a berm and a simulated dry stream bed.

Some 8,000 cubic yards of earth will be used for expansion of the adjacent Rose Garden.

The immediate frontage of Park Boulevard will be planted in lawns and shade trees, De Weese said.

The Desert Garden has been designed in a linear fashion with bands working east from Park Boulevard.

After the first band of lawn and shade, there will be a transition band of larger, more rugged trees, followed by a low natural fence of adobe brick and huge desert boulders.

A path system will allow traffic flow from Park Boulevard and from the Rose Garden. It is hoped that the path system will ultimately tie in with pathways planned for the Florida Canyon Botanic Preserve to the east — but that must wait.

Interspersed throughout the garden area will be massive imported boulders. Some will be placed to form stone benches in keeping with the desert-like environment.

Once past the natural fence, the visitor will view the best examples of exotic and not-so-rare succulents that the city nursery has to offer.

Park visitors who define cacti in terms of the tiny, thorny plants they see in nurseries and gift shops, and aloes in terms of the harder-to-find small plants will be surprised at the Desert Garden’s variety.

From the city nursery alone, there will be more than 40 succulent specimens, some massive trees with spreads of more than 25 feet.

“What a lot of people don’t realize is that succulents aren’t just cactus, although cactus is a succulent,” De Weese said.

Some of the more dramatic and more mature specimens include a Dracaena draco nearly 20 feet. High, Yucca gloriosa and a huge Samulea carnosa that has grown into a surrealistic upside-down U.

There will be “pencil” trees, gigantic bottle and air palms and Yucca australis.

Perry’s Plants of La Puente is donating 20 varieties of succulent ground cover for the Desert Garden.

It is hoped that at some time in the future, eucalyptus trellis will be created to properly display epiphyllum and shade-loving succulents.

As the visitor works his way through the path system to the berm, the landscaping will become more tropical.

A dry pond and stream bed, surrounded by mature palm trees, will be created where the cliff was.

The pond and stream bed will be rocky and with moist sand. De Weese said an effort is being made to find sand that will match the natural color of the soil.

As the visitor continues toward the bottom, chaparral — a tie-in with the Florida Canyon project — will predominate.

In a sense, De Weese said, the specimens for the Desert Garden, the vast majority now part of the city nursery, will be free.

They will not be without cost, however, in the sense they will have to be moved and replanted.

The major chunk of the first-development phase expenditures will go for grading and other earth-moving expenses, he said.

Provisions have already been made so that grading for pathways will be gentle enough to accommodate wheelchairs.

The first-development phase will also include drainage and irrigation systems — but identification signs, educational and scientific displays, a hoped-for small education center and completion of the paths will have to wait for additional funds.

Succulent “purists” may be in for a few surprises, De Weese said.

Among the major specimen groupings, the visitor will find succulents planted in unnatural growth patterns.

“The intention of the display is to show the specimen as they would be found geologically rather than as they would be found geographically,” the landscape architect said.

As envisioned by De Weese and society members, the Desert Garden will be a true passive park — a nice environment to rest in and enjoy unusual botanical life.

There are no plans for night-lighting.

While plans have been made with the physically handicapped in mind — for instance there will be no overhangs to hamper the visually handicapped — it seems unlikely that a “touching” garden can be created.

Security is not considered a major concern — yet.

The succulents to be planted in the first phase are, for the most part, just too massive to worry about, De Weese said.

As the garden expands and smaller succulents are added, a security system may become necessary, he added.

De Weese and the society members hope the garden will not, like succulent gardens in others parts of the state, be cordoned off by massive chain or concrete fences.

Should extra security become necessary, they would like to see another kind of natural fencing — dense thorny bushes — to discourage vandalism.

As the Desert Garden grows in popularity and community use, De Weese and society members expect that contributions of succulents will also increase.

They’re looking toward that time and with somewhat mixed emotions.

They are also concerned that the quality of the succulents on display be preserved so that this latest effort to establish a succulent garden prove the best and most lasting.

August 14, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. Speed, approval urged for 6,700-acre regional park straddling Mission Gorge.

August 15, 1976, San Diego Union, C-2. EDITORIAL: Vote for walk in the park . . . easy access and availability in the park must be maintained.

Few in San Diego would question the premise that Balboa Park is the city’s finest asset. Concern and dedication by generations of San Diegans have made the park a showpiece for residents and thousands of tourists each year.

Change, however, is inevitable and recommendations made by the Balboa Park Master Plan Review Committee after its review of the 16-year old Bartholomew plan deserve serious consideration. Of prime importance is a Review Committee conclusion that easy access and availability in the park must be maintained. The Committee points out that the park with its pristine qualities is not an even match with demands of the automobile.

Enhancement of the park’s attractions could be assured in the future by eliminating vehicle traffic across the Laurel Street bridge and by prohibiting parking in the Prado area. This is the heart of the park and an area which should have the maximum amount of openness and availability to the visitor.

The loss of parking would be a massive problem, but not an insuperable one. Long-term benefits of this change should be the consideration. The Prado area especially was designed for the 1915 Exposition as the center of park events. It still is the magnet for park visitors and can be given a new degree of beauty by removal of the automobile.

This recommendation obviously will not go over well with many in our automobile-oriented society who believe that no parking space is perfect unless it is at the front door of a destination. Development of the pedestrian plan, however, should prove to this group that getting there — by walking — is half the fun.

August 18, 1976. San Diego Union, B-3. The Park & Recreation Board yesterday recommended that the City Council adopt the proposed plan for Cowles Mountain, Lake Murray, Fortuna Mountain regional park of 6,700 acres, by Rita Gillmon.

August 20, 1976, San Diego Union, B-1. Sea World seeks to bar Hare Krishnas.

August 20, 1976, San Diego Union, B-8. Letter from Dorothy Leonard, president Navajo Community Planners: thinks her suggestion of a cable car to the top of Cowles Mountain is now “impractical.”

August 22, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. Fifty seven arrested in crackdown at city parks in connection with drug violations and vandalism.

August 26, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-3. Letter from Greg Northrup say new theater should be put in Ford Building, not behind Old Globe.

August 26, 1976, San Diego Union, B-1. Engineer stresses Ford Building soundness, by Ruby Sexton.

The Ford Building in Balboa Park is structurally sound and could be strengthened to withstand earthquake stresses for an estimated $430,178, a report issued by an engineering firm states. Rehabilitating the building can be done for much less than its replacement cost and therefore is economically feasible, says the city-ordered report by Atkinson, Johnson & Spurrier, Inc., consulting engineers.

August 26, 1976, San Diego Union, B-1. Nuisance alleged, San Diego Zoo seeks curb on Hare Krishna.

The Hare Krishnas are allowed to solicit for charity under a San Diego ordinance and have a solicitation permit from the San Diego Police Department.

August 28, 1976, San Diego Union, B-2. Police cite two Hare Krishnas at Zoo for obstructing pedestrian traffic.

August 28, 1976, San Diego Union, B-10. Letter from Joanne Bordignon claiming voters did not accept Ford Building rehabilitation because it was part of a bond package.

September 1, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. State Okays $1 million for Border International Park.

September 3, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. Susan Zalkind and her health food cart in Balboa Park are center of controversy, by Carl Ritter.

September 3, 1976, San Diego Union, B-10. Letter from Marie Hitchcock claiming holding rock concerts in Balboa Park prevent people from attending other events.

September 4 – 12, 1976. America’s Finest City Week.

September 4, 1976, San Diego Union, B-11. Bids sought for park mall; part of a $500,000 program in Balboa Park.

September 5, 1976, San Diego Union, E-1. Citizens Committee reviewing master plan suggests a series of site swaps in Balboa Park, by Welton Jones.

September 5, 1976, San Diego Union, C-2. Letter from Homer Stilwell expressing dislike for Hare Krishna actions.

September 5, 1976, C-2. Letter from Odia Staats protesting unleashed dogs in the Morley Field area.

September 5, 1976, San Diego Union, C-2. Letter from Richard W. Amero tracing history of Ford Building.

The public should be alerted that once again powerful San Diegans are going to force restoration of the Ford Building. If the Ford Motor Company, the federal government, and the voters will not do it, then some other round-about method will be used. Whatever stratagem is employed, it will be the public who will pay.

September 5, 1976, E-1. A blueprint of sorts: musical museums, a game in the park, by Welton Jones.

A recent report by a nine-member citizens’ committee on the future of Balboa Park suggested a series of site swaps whereby the Aero-Space Museum would move to the vacant Ford Building, the Museum of Man would follow the Aero-Space Museum in a renovated Electric Building, and the Globe Theater would absorb the present quarters of the Museum of Man instead of having to build a third theater.

Gracious, the mind boggles at such Olympian manipulations. But why stop there” The game of musical museums would only have just begun.

As an economy move, the 15 national cottages of the House of Pacific Relations and the United Nations Association (called in the report inappropriate for the park because of its “political nature”) could be transformed into elite parking garages at astronomical monthly rates for the downtown workers whose cars currently clog the park’s curbs each weekday. The revenue could be used to buy more chimes.

The displaced foreigners could then sit on the curbs.

El Centro Cultural de la Raza could move from its old water tank across from the Navy Hospital into the Fine Arts Galley, which is the most Spanish-looking building in the park. The Fine Arts Gallery could move to the Federal Building and as many other of the old buildings o the south end of the park as it would care to use, thus putting it near 728 parking spaces instead of its present 78.

The former water tank could be used as indoor housing for the merry-go-round, thus assuring year-round, night and day revenue-producing operations.

As to the Ping-Pong players in the Federal Building, move them into the Recital [sic] Hall and move all those square dancers outdoors onto the concrete of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, where they could become an instant tourist attraction with their colorful garb and activities.

Everybody being refreshed and exhilarated by all that logic, the next step could be more ambitious.

The space shows could be moved out of the current cramped quarters in the Fleet Space Center Planetarium and into the healthy night air of the Ford Bowl, where REAL stars and planets would replace the phony projects and REAL airplanes could be explored up close as they swoop towards Lindbergh Field.

Into the vacated planetarium quarters, move the youthful Skateboarders who congregate outside. Let them try to bank up THOSE walls. A roller derby franchise might even be available.

More the Natural History Museum’s stuff out into nature, where it belongs, perhaps in the Botanical Building (and scrapping all those difficult-to-maintain growths therein).

The building vacated by the Natural History Museum could be quickly converted into a classic marble train station for an expansion of the current miniature railroad throughout the entire park, thus solving the transportation problems.

Screens could be installed around the fountain at the end of the park’s main drag and soap supplied for indigents’ cleaning purposes.

The current wide preserves for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts could be put to better use as courses for off-road vehicles, our most burgeoning sport, while the combined scout forces could be turned loose to pioneer the lands west of Park Boulevard.

When the Navy moves out of Balboa Hospital, Roosevelt Junior High and San Diego High School could move in, thus freeing two relatively operational educational plants for the long-awaited second state college in the area.

Of course, these are just rough plans with many details to work out, but it’s this sort of dramatic, unfettered thinking which has characterized city leadership in developing Balboa Park from 1,400 acres in 1868 (when the city’s population was only 2,301) to its present 1,158 acres for a population of a million plus.

Back to reality. The citizens’ committee really did wonder why the Globe hadn’t expanded into the California Building as foreseen by the 1960 Bartholomew Plan, which suggested such an eventual move.

“That recommendation was made in 1960 at our suggestion,” a Globe representative said, “but the Museum of Man has never found a place to go, so we haven’t pursued the subject.

“They’re our neighbors and we get along well.”

As for the Museum of Man, General Lowell English, its director, admits that there was talk several years ago about the California Building being less than idea for anthropological exhibits, but those feelings are now extinct.

“I wouldn’t trade this for any building in the city,” he says. “We’re happy here and we’ll be here until we’re kicked out.”

Which leaves the Aero-Space Museum in the crumbling Electric Building and the almost-as crumbling Ford Building, still unutilized. The Aero-Space’s priceless exhibits are threatened by unsuitable environment and the historically (and esthetically) important Electric Building deserves restoration. But no such restoration can commence until the Aero-Space has another home, and the Ford Building, certainly a logical choice, remains unrestored because nobody can devise a plan to finance it.

What all this points to is the need for some organization in the park to continue planing, such as that undertaken (and, actually furthered) by the nine-member committee.

But perhaps the best bodies for such planning points out Globe president Richard Croxton Adams, an interested spectator, would be the museums and cultural groups themselves in cooperation.

“If we were to do that Tinkers-to-Evers-to-Chance thing with the Museum of Man and the Aero-Space Museum, for example,” he notes, “we would all still eventually get back to the problem of finding a home for the Aero-Space.”

“No organization is an island in Balboa Park. What any do affects all.”

September 12, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. Sue Zalkind, vendor, wins legal skirmish; County Health Department decided to drop a “cease-and-desist” order.

September 12, 1976, San Diego Union, C-2. Letters from J. C. Colburn and A. L. Kulczyk expressing annoyance at collision between band concert in Café del Rey Moro and organ concert.

September 16 1976, San Diego Union, B-10. Letter from J. Spencer Lake urging retention of Ford Building.

Unlike San Diego’s Santa Fe Station, the Ford Building in Balboa Park may remain the opportunity that got away, sitting on the brow of the south park slopes, an accident by neglect.

Though childlike in the simplicity of its appearance, the Ford Building is one of the breathtaking enclosed volumes to be seen in San Diego. A vast gallery space literally orbits an open central court and sky-lit roof apertures relieve would could have been a dark uninviting interior. These attributes, sadly, are imprisoned in a badly deteriorated building shell. Few San Diegans have experienced the remarkable gallery within.

San Diego has benefited from an tradition of individual contributions to the community, which, party by accident, partly by design, have resulted in the popular in-door, out-door life style which characterizes our city.

Hopefully, San Diego’s heritage of individual and community concern for its past will find the means to return this fine old space in the park which commemorates the old and the new so very well.

September 23, 1976, READER. An engineering report finds Ford Building is a “fire hazard,” but basically a “sound building”; nevertheless, “it might be cheaper to get a new building,” by Matthew Alice.

September 23, 1976, San Diego Union, B-1. Parking plans urged to handle bigger Zoo crowds.

The San Diego Zoo is rapidly approaching the point where major changes will have to be made if it is to handle a continuing increase in visitors, the president of the Zoological Society of San Diego said yesterday.

Addressing the 59th annual meeting of the society, President Ivor de Kirby said changes are particularly needed in Zoo parking “Where the real crunch occurs.”

“At present the space limitations of our parking lot place an artificial ceiling on Zoo attendance on our peak days,” de Kirby said. “In past years, it was usually the case that the Zoo’s parking lot filled up by mid-afternoon. In the last year it has been filled by noon or before on our busiest days.”

De Kirby said that because of parking problems the Zoo has reached an attendance limit on Sundays and holidays of 20,000 persons. He suggested developing programs to build attendance on weekdays “when visitors are fewer and parking is more readily available.”

“We have made efforts to make more efficient use of the limited parking available by expanding our group and tour business, which now counts for over 20 percent of our total Zoo patronage,” de Kirby said.

He commented that the present lot was complete din 1967 at a cost of $405,000 and that $13,000 is budgeted annually to maintain it.

“Expenditures to date show our willingness to share our portion of the burden that faces Balboa Park in planning for future growth,” de Kirby said. “The question of whether all available parking west of Park Boulevard is being used to maximum potential for all activities in Balboa Park is one which needs closer examination.

De Kirby also outlined remodeling projects and additions at both the Zoo and the Wild Animal Park over the past year. He said work is expected to begin this fall on a major renovation of the zoo entrance to further accommodate visitors.

He noted numerous rare births at the Zoo and the Park.

In other activities at the annual meeting, the society presented its conservation medal to Dr. Charles R. Schroeder, director emeritus.

Sheldon Campbell, Dr. E. Minton Fetter, Robert J. Sullivan and Milton G. Wegeforth were re-elected to the board of trustees.

September 26, 1976, Los Angeles Times, VI, 3. How Seattle “buried” a freeway, by Neal A. Peirce.

September 30, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-5. Citizens panel reviewing Balboa Park Master Plan urges park security and transportation steps.

October 4, 1976, San Diego Union, B-8. A $5 million fund sought for Electric Building from Economic Development Administration..

October 8, 1976, San Diego Union, B-1, B-5. Sixty-two-year-old Organ Pavilion faces close, by Diane Clark.

From six concerts a week in the beginning, the concerts dwindled to 62 a year and then a couple of years ago to 52 a year.

Park organist Douglas Ian Duncan said he had been told by city Parks and Recreation Department officials in the past 18 months that budget difficulties would require reducing the performances to 24 annually, and eventually phasing them out altogether.

For the first time . . . the concerts will be discontinued in January and February because of a Monday night concert series this summer which used nine of the 52 concert programs.

October 9, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, C-1. Letter from George R. Burger saying Florida Street should be kept open.

October 10, 1976, San Diego Union, B-2. Hare Krishna soliciting conforms to court order, by Diane Clark.

October 16, 1976, San Diego Union, B-1. Sixty two year old organ concerts face close, by Diane Clark.

October 19, 1976, Park & Recreation Board. F. Appeal: Agoston Haraszthy Memorial; Mr. Leyton reported that at the October 4, 1976 Balboa Park Committee meeting, Mr. Joseph Fedak presented a proposal to establish a memorial to Agoston Haraszthy, a California pioneer, father of the wine industry in California and first Sheriff of San Diego. The memorial would be a plaque installed on a granite block near the Hungarian Cottage at the House of Pacific Relations. The Committee members expressed an opinion that the memorial more properly belongs in Old Town as a tribute to an early San Diegan. The Committee recommended that the installation not be approved for Balboa Park. The Committee further recommended that the Park & Recreation Board establish a Board policy on statuary and plaques in City parks. . . . MOTION/REFERRAL: Mr. Fedak presented his proposal to the Board. After considerable discussion, Mr. Skill moved to approve the plaque within the courtyard of the Hungarian Cottage, subject to the Facilities Committee’s approval of the composition and color of the memorial. Mrs. Henkel seconded the motion, which carried unanimously. Staff will notify Mr. Fedak of the next Facilities Committee meeting. . . . REFERRAL: Staff will prepare a draft report on statuary and plaques in City parks for the December Balboa Park and Facilities Committee meetings.

October 20, 1976, San Diego Union, B-10. Letters from Ann Roberts Foersom and Robert L. Reyburn urging City to save park organ concerts.

October 20, 1976, San Diego Union, B-11. Letter from Lynn Crakes stating we need more parks.

October 24, 1976, San Diego Union, B-5. New bicycle track at Morley Field attracts racers and riders, by Ernesto Flores.

There were about 30 riders when the race started.

Ten minutes later, there were 15 and in a few more minutes there were only four.

“They are amateurs. They still need lots of practice to attain greater stamina,” an unidentified onlooker said.

The riders, in shorts, colorful T-shirts and helmets, were members of the San Diego Bicycle Club who did practice sprints on the new velodrome — bike racetrack — on Morley Field.


The oval-shaped 333-1/3 meter (about 1,100 feet) track is not yet completed, but it has been open to the public for training practice sprints and unofficial contests since June.

“There will be some more improvements, but it will be mostly in the middle of the track, more landscaping and lighting,” said John Butterfield, a biking coach.

The city Parks and Recreation Department built the velodrome on the suggestion of biking enthusiasts who need a place to race, practice, and sharpen their skills.

Construction of the asphalt track began in January this year and when finished it will cost about $93,000.


Rosane Menconi, an amateur bike sprinter, said the track was designed to conform with specifications set by the Union-Cyclist International, which oversees professional biking worldwide.

“But the track is not only open to racing enthusiasts. It is open to everybody who rides bikes. The only condition is that the riders wear helmets when going around the track,” she said.

The track is the third built in San Diego, and is one of the largest in the country. Sixty years ago, the city built a temporary wooden track at the foot of Broadway, near Lane Field.


Twenty years later, a permanent track was built behind the swimming pool at Morley Field. This was abandoned after World War II and for the next 25 years biking enthusiasts lobbied for another track.

“This new track is the result of our constant lobbying, and we are happy about it,” said Menconi.

Butterfield said that since the bike-racing season is about mover, most of the organized activities on the track will take place next year.

However, he said, there will be a major racing event on next Sunday, in which most of the top bike riders on the West Coast will participate. He said the race will be sponsored by the Southern California Cyclist Association.


Menconi said she had been an enthusiastic supporter of the track because she would like to see more women participate in bike racing.

“Biking is one athletic activity where a woman can compete with a man in an even keel,” she said.

Menconi, who works as carpenter with National Steel & Shipbuilding co., said she also would like to see more men participate in bike racing.

“In this country, bike racing is a relatively new sport. I’d like the word to get around that bike racing is a pretty darn exciting sport,” she said.


Richard Byrne, 23, who works for a bike shop in El Cajon, said that before the track was built, he used to practice on any type of track.

“No matter what you do, you can never attain great skill on those flat grounds. Now on this track, one can drive for perfection. Right in San Diego, we can train for the Olympics,” he said.

October 30, 1976, San Diego Union, B-4. Comprehensive Planning Organization trims sights on United States funds for local projects, by Carl Ritter.

October 31, 1976, San Diego Union, B-2. Letter from R. Harold Clark who is dismayed that organ might be silenced by lack of interest and funds.

Why not open the organ to members of the American Guild of Organists and local theater organ enthusiasts under Mr. Duncan’s supervision?

Would it be possible to charge admission (or perhaps ask for a small donation) for seating in the organ proper?

November, 1976. Citizens Coordinate for Century 3 Balboa Park development projects.

November 2, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-3. Organ Pavilion refurbishing urged; proposal for the City and the Committee of 100 to split evenly the costs up to $150,000.

November 2, 1976, San Diego Union, B-1. Public Facilities and Recreation Committee says city should match private funds to help pay for repairs to Organ Pavilion.

November 10, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3. Committee of 100 tells rebuilding of the Electric Building and the refurbishment of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion are it major goals for 1976.

November 11, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-1. Birthday party planned Sunday for Balboa Park.

November 11, 1976, San Diego Union, B-9. The City Council agreed yesterday to make an initial contribution of $50,000 toward a $150,000 refurbishing of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park.

November 15, 1976, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-10. Balboa Park, a trust kept for 108 years, by Paul Von Nostrand.

November 15 1976, San Diego Union, B-1. One hundred and eighth Balboa Park anniversary party held in park, by Carol Kendick.

November 16, 1976, San Diego Union, D-1. The park’s treasures imperiled, by Jeannette Branin.

December, 1976. Citizens Coordinate for Century -3 Newsletter: Review of Balboa Park developments.

December 5, 1976, San Diego Union, B-1. Pedestrian mall, wide-open new look designed to transform appearance of El Prado, museum areas in Balboa Park, by Diane Clark.

December 7, 1976, San Diego Union, B-6. Letter from Charles A. Kirohn and W. J. Darnell expressing disapproval of dog drinking water from a public fountain in Balboa Park.

December 11, 1976, San Diego Union, A-1. City Council approved Columbia Street and Marina projects.

December 12, 1976. The El Prado area in Balboa Park formally placed in the National Register of Historic Places (See San Diego Union, January 15, 1977).

December 12 1976, San Diego Union, C-8. Balboa Park organ rates a new chance, by James Britton II.

San Diego’s super sugar daddy, John D. Spreckels, had a habit of building extraordinary settings for music in San Diego.

His mansion boasted a superior pipe organ, suggesting that he had a taste for more than sugary outpourings of lesser organs. In 1915 he built the Spreckels Theater, which is today by far the best public room for music in town, a miracle of acoustics.

As though to clasp the city in a perpetual embrace, Spreckels built the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. If you hate good music, you might see the thing as an octopus, or rather a duo-puss, sprawled out there with a giant head and two long curving arms to strangle you. A music lover should recognize its gesture as kindly intended.

The instrument in the “head” is one of the largest pipe jobs ever exposed to the outdoors, and perhaps the largest still functioning. Baring any organ to the weather is a chancy business, even in San Diego, but this one has a massive iron curtain which is in place except when a concert is under way.

When the iron curtain is visible it is a bland dumb “face: that tends to make the embrace of the arms register cold and repellent, like that of a mechanical monster in a mad movie. Clearly this staring blank could use some imaginative paint — a mighty work of blazing outdoor art t match the mighty music locked within.

A competition should be held to select a local artist for the iron mural, as an important move to reclaim this singular structure for a more lively future. Otherwise, the structure needs no revision — for a reason that will appear.

As a terrible warning that autos are becoming more important than humans, the embrace of the big pavilion catches few people these days but acres of asphalt. However, Bea Evenson has been talking to Joe Yamada, the ubiquitous landscape wizard, about replacing the asphalt with grass and ornamental paving within the circle defined by the embracing arms.

And Bea has a record of getting beautification accomplished — such as the landscaping of Spanish Landing and the concretification of the Casa del Prado (Yes, concrete can be beautiful if puddled with love.)

In one breath today this valiant senior citizen will tell you: (1) she doesn’t know how she can last long enough to revive the Organ Pavilion and (2) it must be done.

Bea thinks that areas for picnicking should be included within the magic music circle, but way not add a dozen tables with colorful umbrellas, such as are ____________ Café del Rey Moro garden?

Come to think of it, why not invite the café management to provide a chicken-a-go service t these tables in the embrace of the organ? Said management could concoct a suitable mobile unit — quiet, quaintly designed and filled with munchables, to pass among the tables periodically. A little stretch of the imagination is called for, a little stretch of service. But no hot dogs.

Of course, the presumption is that the noblest music would continue to percolate at suitable hours from the noblest organ, and that the crowds gathered there would be appreciative. In fact, bouncers should be on hand to see that troublemakers are kept out. We are cultivating here a remembrance of things past, things worth an echo in the future.

This project is one more point of entry for leadership from city hall. Full maintenance should be accorded the organ itself as a civic treasure. There should be budget enough to provide nimble fingers and busy feet as required to activate the organ whenever enough people wish to lend their ears.

The grass, the tables, the umbrellas, the catering and perhaps a fence to keep locked at the vandal hours — all those are obligations upon the city council. But an even higher priority must go to restoring the structure itself, which was not built of sufficiently lasting materials.

Bea Evenson is ready with crafty persons who can recast the ornamentation of this affectionate confection into permanent concrete. Give her your hand, your check-writing hand, or at least urge your councilman to write the necessary checks in your behalf.

There is no point in claiming, in lying, that the Organ Pavilion is great architecture. At the time it was built in 1915, a University of California professor of design, Eugen Neuhaus, wrote: “it is hard to understand the pygmy scale of the colonnades as contrasted with the great bulk of the central part . . . of all the architecture of the Exposition, it is, to my mind, the most uninteresting, most untemperamental creation . . .”

Nevertheless, it stands today as a rare monument to the mix of grandeur and gaucherie that simply had t be present in the adolescence of America. As such, it is San Diego’s nearest equivalent to the Statue of Liberty.

To nurse back this warm-hearted, songful, living and breathing monster from our past, to feed it and keep it and return its embrace would be no waste of tax money or transient-occupancy funds (the room tax paid by visitors). The expenditure would enrich San Diego as a place to visit — and as a place to like.

December 21, 1976, Park & Recreation Board. F. Reports of the Balboa Park Master Plan Review Committee; Due to a possible conflict of interest based upon a prospective contractual agreement regarding the expansion of the Natural History Museum, Mr. Sadler announced that he would abstain from deliberation and voting on the Master Plan Review.

  1. Presentation of Plan: Mr. Milch thanked the Ad Hoc Review Committee for the long and hard hours devoted to their report. Mr. Stickney and Mr. Sisk (Co-Chairman of the Committee) noted they were especially proud of the work done by Mrs. Alice Stephenson and Mrs. Frances Morton. Mr. Sisk proceeded to review the Plan and amendments approved by the Balboa Park Committee (George Loveland’s memorandum of December 21, 1976).

Regarding the transportation aspects of the Plan, Mr. Sisk noted that the Transportation Department either concurs or has no objections.

Mr. Mendoza clarified two points: (1) Regarding the Old Globe Third Theater, Council Resolution No. 213924 of July 31, 1975 approved the concept of the construction of such a theater without any contingency as to solving parking problems. The matter of parking came up as a matter of Council discussion and led to the formation of an Ad Hoc Committee. (2) Regarding the re-establishment of Pershing Drive Route 5 to Redwood Street, Transportation is not in complete agreement in that they feel that Pershing Drive should not be terminated at Redwood Street but instead continue (not necessarily on its present alignment) to Upas and 28th Streets, so as to allow for an uninterrupted north-south route through North Park via 28th Street and Utah.

Mr. Charles Strong of the Transportation Department thanked the Board and Ad Hoc Review Committee for the opportunity to review the Plan; he then proceeded to summarize the Transportation Director’s memorandum of December 15 1976, mailed with the agenda. Regarding the Quince-Richmond connection, Mr. Strong noted that increased traffic volume would be expected on Upas and Richmond; but the connection is need to facilitate traffic flow across the park.

  1. Public Testimony. The following people spoke:
    1. Bob Martinet spoke in support of a parking structure at the east end of the Cabrillo Bridge with a capacity of approximately 1,000 cars. The upper level of the garage would be at level with the bridge. Underground, ventilated parking would cascade down the canyon. The bridge would be concerted to one-way, east; cars would exit the garage to the north on Quince. Mr. Martinet urged that, in acting upon the Ad Hoc Committee’s report, the Board would also recommend the inclusion of the parking structure in the fiscal years 1978-1873 CIP. He noted that he would be available for presentations before Council. (The Ad Hoc Committee deliberated upon the structure and excluded it from its report due to aesthetic concerns, vandalism and noise problems.)
    2. Charles Wolf passed out a list of revisions most of which were covered by the Balboa Park Committee.
    3. Richard A. Mills, on behalf of the residents of Richmond-Upas-Myrtle, voiced objection to the Quince-Richmond connection.
    4. George M. White, Vice President, Great North Park Community Planning Council, spoke in opposition to the closing of Florida and Pershing.
    5. Kathryn C. Willets, Chairman, Greater Golden Hills Precise Planning Association, noted (1) concern with the traffic impact on 30thand (2) lack of provision for changes in demography (the need for family-oriented recreation facilities on the eastern and southern boundaries of Balboa Park, known as the Golden Hill triangle).
    6. Mary Alice Peitz, reporting for neighbors in the area east of Balboa Park, noted that (1) the area west of Balboa Park should share the service portions of the park, so that the people on the east are not burdened with all of them, and (2) access through the park should be maintained.
    7. Heinz Wolf noted that the Uptown Planning Committee is against the Quince-Richmond connection.
  2. Deliberation – REFERRAL: Staff is to review the community input, summarize it, and distribute it to the Board well in advance of the January 18, 1977 meeting in order that the Board may deliberate and act at that time; staff should include an inventory of playground equipment in the Greater Golden Hill triangle and the cost of additional equipment. . . . Board Action: Continued to January 18, 1977.
    1. Balboa Park Committee Report: (1) Balboa Park Signs and Information System. Mrs.

Dickinson noted that the Committee recommended to the Board that the proposal for the Information Centers be disapproved as inappropriate for Balboa Park. The Committee further recommended that a “You-Are-Here” type map be incorporated into a design which also gives information on where to obtain small maps and information of activities. . . . REFERRAL: Mr. Roberts asked that staff be directed to:

  1. Expand upon existing signage, improving composition, etc.
  2. Work with the concept of “You-Are-Here” map/bulletin board to be serviced by Community Services.
  3. Explored the possibility of directing people to maps available for purchase at the various gift shops in the park.

Mr. Sadler reported that the Facilities Committee found the method of dispensing information which was proposed by the Consultant to be inappropriate. Mr. Sadler concurred with Mr. Roberts’ recommendation that a study regarding signage locations for the Space Theater should also be accomplished. By consensus, the Board agreed to Mr. Roberts’ recommendation, as amended by Mr. Sadler.

  1. Balboa Park Bowl Name Change: Mrs. Dickinson moved that the Board recommend approval of the Balboa Park Committee’s recommendation that the name of the Balboa Park Bowl be changed to “Starlight Bowl.” Mr. Skill seconded the motion which carried unanimously.
  1. Facilities Report: (1) Haraszthy Memorial. Mr. Sadler reported that the Facilities

Committee recommended as follows.

  1. As the memorial is to a California pioneer, the Committee recommends Old Town as the most appropriate site.
  2. If Balboa Park is selected as the location, the Committee recommends placing the memorial adjacent to the Hungarian Cottage on the west side, centered in the area now planted with Juniper bushes.

Mr. Joseph Fedak appealed, reiterating the points made at last month’s Board meeting regarding the inadequacy of the side yard. . . . MOTION: Mr. Leyton moved to reconsider the matter. Mrs. Dickinson seconded the motion which carried unanimously. Mr. Leyton moved to approve the memorial at the Hungarian Cottage at the area recommended by the Facilities Committee. Mrs. Dickinson seconded the motion which was carried.

  1. Balboa Park Signs and Information System — Covered as part of Balboa Park Committee Report.

December 25, 1976, San Diego Union, B-4.

Jack Krasovitch, Recreation Division superintendent, calls violence in park low; 673 crimes in Morley Field and Prado-Palisades area reported to police in thirteen month period.

Frequency of violence in San Diego’s municipal parks and recreation areas was termed “insignificant in comparison to other major cities” in a report submitted to the Park & Recreation Board.

Jack Krasovich, the city’s Recreation Division superintendent, credited close cooperation between police and park personnel with “minimizing” problems.

“During the summer the San Diego Police Department assigned its school task force to work with the Recreation Division to improve conduct at several of our park and recreation centers,” Krasovich said.

“The results were positive in terms of fewer incidents of physical violence and a significant reduction in vandalism to the areas.

“In addition the Park & Recreation Department worked with employee services in formulating a new administrative regulation on vandalism. Theft, loss and intentional destruction of city property.”

Krasovich said this regulation led to recovering costs or damages by civil, rather than criminal suits.

The city experiences vandalism on all park sites, Krasovich said, but added that the problem is not as severe as elsewhere. Board member Reggie Jensen challenged this statement. He said he based his questioning on what he read in the news media.

The possibility of 24-hour park ranger service as brought up, with a notation that in the 13-month period ended October 31, 1975, there were 673 crimes in the Morley Field and Prado-Palisades areas reported to police.

December 26 1976, San Diego Union, B-5.


Committee reviewing Balboa Park master plan suggested a new museum devoted to Balboa Park, by Carl Ritter.

A museum devoted to Balboa Park, its origins and development, and to the two expositions held there should be established in the park, an ad hoc committee reviewing the Balboa Park Master Plan adopted in 1960 said.

Nine members of the full Balboa Park Committee served on the ad hoc committee formed in May, 1975, and included this recommendation among many in a 27-page report.

City Park & Recreation Directors recently accepted the report for further study.


The suggested museum could be started in Casa del Prado and transferred to a better location later, the report stated. “An appropriate civic organization could operate such a museum under Park & Recreation Department sponsorship” and it could house mementos, books art work and documents, the report said.

The committee also recommended restoring to park use a 14.2 acre area at Russ Boulevard, 23rd Street and Pershing Drive, used as a heavy vehicle storage yard.

The isolated portion of Balboa Park between Upas Street and Cypress Avenue, west of Richmond Street and east of State 163, should be opened, developed and landscaped for park use, according to the report.

It also favored opening and developing an area west of State 163 and north of the Camp Fire Girls’ area. This action should be simultaneous with opening of Marston Estate house and grounds to the public under supervision of the San Diego Historical Society, the report suggested.


Consideration should be given to canceling present leases involving the Boy Scouts, the Camp Fire Girls, Girl Scouts and similar organizations, it was recommended, “if and when the public need is greater than provisions for exclusive use.”

“No future leases for exclusive use and /or fencing off of park areas to keep out the general public should be permitted,” stated the report.

The committee recommended that “pathways, hiking and/or jogging trails should be developed in every available and appropriate part of the park.” These were envisioned as “footpaths through the central portions plus a major trail circling the entire perimeter of the park.”

The ad hoc group termed the protection and preservation of the Moreton Bay fig tree, north of the Natural History Museum, “one of the most urgent landscape necessities” in the park. A flower garden there was declared a threat to the tree.

Among other recommendations were the following:

— When the Museum of Natural History is expanded, the building should remain within the present site.

— The Electric Building should be removed as soon as possible.

— The San Diego Art Institute should be moved closer to the Spanish Village and closer enforcement of standards should be invoked for all village lessees.

— The deteriorating House of Charm could be rebuilt or, if financing is not available, the Alcazar Garden expanded to fill the area.

— The old Photo Arts Building, occupied by the United Nations Association, should be added to the House of Pacific Relations by removing the association and finding a location for that organization outside the park.

— The Ford Building should be removed if the time limit set for Aerospace Center occupancy expires and the structure is not renovated.

— City administrative offices should not be permitted to occupy portions of the Conference Building and the Balboa Park club.


— Use of the Federal Building by appropriate activities should continue until a new gym is built in the Morley Field area, when a “new and useful service” should be found for the Federal Building.

— Work should begin immediately on removal of streets in the northeast corner, turning Pershing Drive east on Redwood Street.

— Pepper Grove parking should be restricted to picnickers.

— Intrapark transportation should be part of long-range plans for solution of parking and traffic problems.

— There should be lighting for all major trails, and additional bicycle trails should be provided.

There were a number of additional recommendations at the meeting, a considerable part of which was taken up by citizen concern over the possible widening of Upas Street to a four-lane thoroughfare extending east of University Avenue.

December 27, 1976, San Diego Union, B-3.

What a fine way for Douglas Ian Duncan to pass a birthday, by Ray Kipp.

Douglas Ian Duncan celebrated his 51st birthday yesterday by entertaining a couple hundred guests in Balboa Park.

It really wasn’t a big deal, Duncan entertains thousands there every year. In fact, he has done it just about every week for the past 19 years.

Duncan does not known most of the people he has entertained, but they have probably come from every part of the globe and from nearly every walk of life.

He plays the Spreckels organ in the pavilion.

The organ has provided entertainment for millions of visitors since it was donated to the city by John D. Spreckels in 1914.

Yesterday, like almost every Sunday since then, about 200 persons — a good crowd for a Christmas weekend — took advantage of the sunny weather to relax at the pavilion and listen to the music before continuing their tours of the museums and gardens.

Duncan spiced his regular selections with a few traditional Christmas carols and even a couple of non-traditional pieces like “Forest Green,” an English carol.

But he resisted the temptation to slip in a “Happy Birthday,” as a present to himself.

Those who stopped by for the hour with Duncan yesterday afternoon probably didn’t know it, but they will be the last to enjoy the music for awhile.

The concerts will be halted during January and February when the city begins refurbishing work on the pavilion, Duncan said.

Last month the City Council approved a $50,000 contribution toward the estimated $350,000 needed for the entire refurbishing effort.

The city’s contribution matches a $50,000 private donation and the Balboa Park Committee is attempting to raise another $125,000 which would also be matched by the council.

Duncan said it is the pavilion itself and not the organ with its 3,492 pipes that needs first attention.

“The organ is not in bad condition. In fact, it works remarkably well for an old instrument,” he said.

Return to Amero Collection.


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