Balboa Park History 1977

January 7, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, E-1. Violence key in city decision on rock groups; Balboa Stadium ruled out as concert site.

January 11, 1977, San Diego Union, B-3. Organ Pavilion work under study.

January 11, 1977, San Diego Union, B-3. Facilities & Recreation Committee recommended a plan, which would reduce required vote to finance preservation of canyons to a simple majority.

January 13, 1977, San Diego Union, B-6. Governor Brown urges aid for area parks.

January 15, 1977, San Diego Union, B-3:7-8. Park Complex gains national recognition.

Balboa Park’s El Prado complex — built for the 1915 San Diego World Exposition [sic] and now the home of museums, galleries and gardens — has been approved for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

Bea Evenson, president of the Committee of 100, a private citizens group interested in improving Balboa Park, said she was notified this week of the El Prado action by the state Historical Landmarks Advisory Committee.

The state said the El Prado complex was placed on the national register maintained by the U. S. Department of the Interior on December 12, 1976, after a more than one-year effort toward that goal by the Committee of 100.

The National Register of Historic Places is the official listing of the districts, sites and buildings judged to be significant in American history, architecture, archaeology and culture. Placement on the register is a prerequisite for obtaining some federal grants.

“It’s a very great thing because it gives a tremendous amount of prestige to the park and it offers the possibility of getting some federal funds to help repair the buildings,” said Evenson.

The City Council last February, at the urging of Evenson’s group, voted unanimously to seek the inclusion of El Prado in the registry.

Structures and areas affected include the Cabrillo Bridge, House of Charm, House of Hospitality, Electric Building, Alcazar Garden, Plaza de Panama, El Prado arcade, Fine Arts Gallery (center structure), Casa del Prado (reconstructed) and the National History Museum.

The Ford Building and the California Building (now housing the Museum of Man) already were on the National Register.

Most of the structures were built for the 1915 Exposition.

The Committee of 100 currently is undertaking to repair the Organ Pavilion, which was donated to the city by John D. And Adolph B. Spreckels.

The City Council last November agreed to match a $50,000 contribution from the Committee of 100 to start the restoration work.

January 17, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-6. Balboa Park Bowl renamed Starlight Bowl in ceremonies today in the park..

January 18, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, D-1. “Temporary” El Prado complex has been accepted for inclusion in National Register of Historic Places, by Jan Jennings.

January 22, 1977, Letter, George Loveland to Richard Amero, justifying changing the name of Balboa Bowl to Starlight Bowl.

January 23, 1977, San Diego Union, B-1. Bea Evenson is dedicated to Balboa Park, by Carol Olten.

February 10, 1977, San Diego Union, B-1. City to bypass requirement on open-space bond issues.

March 11, 1977, San Diego Union, B-3. Grants totaling $10,000 will be used to develop a program for George W. Marston home; the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded at $5,000 grant to the San Diego History Center which will provide matching funds for the project..

March 14, 1977, San Diego Union, B-1. B-5. Police say Balboa Park crime rate poses no problem, by George Ramos.

The discovery last month of the body of 6-year-old Jose Luis Ramirez in the Golden Hill region of Balboa Park sent an often-raised question rippling through the city once again:

How safe is Balboa Park?

The boy was found in brush-covered terrain near a hiking trail in what has become commonly called Golden Hill Park, which encompasses the southeastern tip of Balboa Park.

Many of the park’s facilities — the Starlight Bowl, Casa del Prado and the Recital Hall — among others — also get a steady stream of visitors. Casa del Prado attracts about 20,000 persons a month for a variety of activities.

In the summer time, attendance in the park increases. The weekly organ program at the Organ Pavilion, for example, is attended by as many as 10,000 a month.

With this heavy influx of people, the opportunity for crime in Balboa Park is there, police said.

In fact, crime in the park is on the rise, keeping pace with the citywide level of crime, officers said.

But in Golden Hill Park, the crime rate has dropped.

Police statistics show that all types of crime have been reported in Balboa Park and Golden Hill Park, although recent attention has been focused on instances of so-called sex crimes.

The police said the Ramirez boy, who dies from suffocation, had been sexually molested prior to his death.

Sex-oriented crimes in Balboa Park dropped from 31 cases reported in 1975 to 25 last year. In Golden Hill Park, however, reported cases jumped from two in 1975 to six last year.

During 1976, there were 323 reported cases of petty theft in Balboa Park. There were also 37 cases of malicious mischief (such as rock throwing and property vandalism), cases of assault with intent to do bodily harm, 16 case of battery, 73 cases of grand theft and 27 cases of robbery.

Crime, police contend, is not a major problem in Balboa Park, although isolated incidents at recent rock concerts have prompted reinforcements of uniformed officers to bring order to a reported disturbance.

Balboa Park is part of an assignment beat for patrol cars working out of the Police Department’s Central Division at 801 W. Market Street. Additional officers are brought into the area when needed, said Bob Burgreen, assistant chief of police in charge of the patrol division.

The consensus among police officers is that Golden Hill Park — because it has less organized activity — probably is safer than Balboa Park. The police figures support this contention.

Crime reported in Golden Hill — malicious mischief, assault with intent to do bodily harm, robbery, grand theft and battery — numbered no more than four reported cases each last year.

The smaller park’s highest incidence of crime falls in the category of petty thefts, which go beyond a dozen reported cases during a 12-month period. At night, city officials and police say prudent precaution dictated by common sense should be used when people are in public places like Balboa Park. Large crowds at stage productions in Balboa Park tend to discourage crime although some complaints have been received, City Council member Jess Haro said. There also are night activities at the Golden Hill Recreation Center, including softball games.

“We would be doing a disservice if we say the park is unsafe,” said Haro. Balboa Park is located in his 8th Council District.

“There’s no doubt that there are people sleeping in the park and there’s always a chance for a robbery. That’s why we have the police. But we would be rushing the judgment with a conclusion that it (Balboa Park) is unsafe.”

Balboa Park, Haro and other city officials conclude, is as safe as it can be for a public area its size.

But police officers report that there is one recurring problem in Balboa and Golden Hill parks — homosexual activity.

Kolender and others said complaints from citizens have prompted authorities to assign officers to clear out the restrooms in the parks on occasion.

Capt. Wes Allen of the sex crimes detail said many instances of homosexual-type activity seen by outraged citizens — such as men holding hands or kissing each other — go unreported. These instances are not against the law, police officers emphasize.

People in the gay community in San Diego acknowledge that homosexual-type activity goes on in public places in Balboa Park, but they contend the inference that gays are child molesters or generally are involved in cases like the Ramirez killing is inaccurate and unfair.

Statistics from the Police Department show that over 90 percent of all child molestation cases nationally involve heterosexuals.

The Reverend David Farrell, pastor of the predominantly gay Metropolitan Community Church of San Diego, said gays almost never get involved in sex-oriented crimes in public places. And, he added, the gay community does not condone them.

“Many of them (criminals engaged in sex-oriented cases) are not really people who live in the homosexual lifestyle,” the Reverend Mr. Farrell said. “I personally don’t condone public sex of any kind. Public restrooms are for people’s use as a public convenience and they (heterosexuals) have a right to visit them without embarrassment.”

Gays draw the following example to support their viewpoint — is it fair to say that reported activity of prostitutes in downtown San Diego is representative of heterosexual society?

If it is not, they reason, then it is equally unfair to say that reported cases of homosexual-type activity in public restrooms are representative of the gay community here.

Though the safety of Balboa Park rests, in much of the answer, in the precaution dictated by common sense of those who visit.

The park, concludes the Reverend Mr. Farrell, is a park for all citizens and is fairly safe. However, he admits that he would not go into a public park at night because of the possibility of assault or a mugging.

March 25, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, X-4. An idea booms, and park roses appear, by Ozzie Roberts.

The garden contains about 2,500 roses in about 250 varieties, which are maintained by the city parks department in cooperation with the rose society.

March 25, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, X-8. Desert garden requires closest attention, by Paul Van Nostrand.

When completed, the garden will run down a steep canyon to Florida Street and will include about four acres. Most of the design work was done by Roger A. De Weese, a Sorrento Valley landscape architect.

May 5, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-1. The City Council has approved spending up to $29,500 to find out what needs to be done to restore the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park.

May 12, 1977, San Diego Union, B-4. $20,000 gift to restore Organ Pavilion from R. L. Burns Corporation.

May 15, 1977, San Diego Union, G-13. When sun sets, Balboa Park begins a new life, by Craig Mac Donald . . . Some of the night activity is athletically oriented.

May 21, 1977, San Diego Union, B-3. Parley to study Balboa Park use October 7-8 with a $15,000 grant from California Council for the Humanities; conference to be developed by Citizens Coordinate for Century 3

May 26, 1977, San Diego Union, B-3. Council endorses in concept Nemo’s Secret Harbor in Otay Mesa area.

May 30, 1977, San Diego Union, B-1. Line of cars along Laurel Street entrance to Balboa Park.

June 7, 1977, B-3.San Diego Union, Better image sought for Chicano Center, by George Ramos.

City Council member Jess Haro, the only Chicano on the council, supports the group and its financial request of the city. Haro, the directors are hoping, will help smooth over past misunderstandings with the city.

June 10, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, D-25. Ford Building weathers time, neglect gracefully, by Kay Jarvis.

June 11, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, A-6. Balboa Park renovation sites asked by Committee of 100.

The recommended projects include: Chicano Cultural Center, $200,000; Electric Building, $6 million for replacement; $300,000 for repair of Fine Arts Gallery facade; renovation of the Ford Building, $2.5 million; House of Hospitality, $75,000 for renovation.

Also, House of Pacific Relations construction and renovation, $200,000; Museum of Man, renovation and expansion, $2 million; Natural History Museum renovation and expansion, $5 million; Spanish Village Art Center renovation, $350,000, and renovation of Starlight Bowl, $200,000.

June 12, 1977, San Diego Union, B-1. $46.2 million in federal funds for county, ten cities and various school districts; among projects demolition and reconstruction of Electric Building, rehabilitation of Ford Building.

June 12, 1977, San Diego Union, B-5. Committee of 100 adopted a list of ten recommended rehabilitation and construction projects for Balboa Park buildings.

June 13, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-5. Plan told for $50 million aviation park for western portion of Mira Mesa., by Rita Calvano.

June 15, 1977, San Diego Union, B-1. Balboa Park organ report optimistic.

George Szabo, architect, said the structure’s foundation and lower extremities are basically sound and that renovating should make the pavilion “good for another 60 years.”

June 15, 1977, San Diego Union, B-5. “Aero World” park plan proposed.

June 16, 1977, San Diego Union, B-1. 1,000 defects found in Organ Pavilion.

Szabo said the most severe damage occurred among the 92 lamp posts and the whole upper reaches of the colonnades.

“All 1,694 rosettes are cracked.”

The architect said it would not be possible to bring the building up to seismic code standards, but that since it was an historical site it was not a big problem.

June 28, 1977, San Diego Union, B-6. EDITORIAL: An ambitious program . . . $16.8 million improvement program for park advocated by Committee of 100.

July 8, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-6. City Planning Commission has endorsed a set of amendments to Master Plan for Balboa Park that include restoration of several Balboa Park buildings.

The proposed amendments were contained in a report presented to the commission by an ad hoc committee set up by the Park and Recreation Board two years ago.

July 8, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, C-12. Canyon Trails . . . nature garden in Florida Canyon, by Helen Chamlee.

July 9, 1977, San Diego Union, B-8. City budget hearing set for July 19.

July 9, 1977, San Diego Union, Bp8. City Planning Commission endorsed amendments to Balboa Park Master Plan.

The commission, however, deleted all references to converting the California State Building into a third theater. The building is now occupied by the Museum of Man.

July 11, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-1. Globe directors nearly unanimous in support of a new, larger theater in an adjacent canyon site, by Neil Morgan.

July 12, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-1. City Council says it will give Mexico land to put up a building in the House of Pacific Relations, by Neil Morgan.

July 14, 1977, San Diego Union, B-1. City Attorney John Witt warned that six organizations receiving aid from city appeal only to ethnic groups and their financing could violate anti-discrimination guidelines.

August 9, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-1. Face-lift eyed for Balboa Park buildings, by Steve Wiegand.

On a unanimous vote yesterday the Public Facilities and Recreation Committee directed the city’s Park and Recreation Board to figure out what needs to be done to restore park buildings to their former glory, and come up with a bond package big enough to do it.

August 9, 1977, San Diego Union, B-3. Dr. William C. Cummings, new chief curator Natural History Museum, plans expansion of research.

“One thing we went to build is a mammoth exhibit on the Pacific Ocean basin. That exhibit probably will require an additional building. That’s all I want to say at the moment.”

August 9, 1977, San Diego Union, B-3. A $20 million price tag was placed on cost of restoring all historic buildings in Balboa Park, amount estimated by Deputy City Manager John Johnson in a report to the Public Facilities and Recreation Committee.

Buildings proposed for restoration include: Electric Building . . . Fine Arts Gallery . . . Ford Building . . . Museum of Man . . . Organ Pavilion.

August 20 18, 1977. America’s Finest City Week.

September 9, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-4. Addition, known as the Jennings Center for Zoological Medicine, opened yesterday at Zoo Hospital, by Paul Van Nostrand.

Built at a cost of $1 million, the new wing is adjacent to the 51-year-old original zoo hospital, which is destined to become a veterinary medicine research center.

Construction of the new wing started last October. It was designed by Mosher, Drew, Watson and Associates of La Jolla and Nielsen Construction Company was general contractor.

Contributions from more than 600 persons and organizations financed the 10,000-square-foot wing. It will be formally dedicated at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow.

September 18, 1977, San Diego Union, B-11. Balboa Park’s future — including the proposed new Navy Hospital in Florida Canyon — will be discussed in detail at a two-day conference October 7-8. Seymour Greben, Los Angeles County director of parks and recreation, will open the conference.

September 22, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, A-1. United States to help San Diego restore park buildings, by Steve Wiegand.

Grants totaling $4.4 million from the Public Works Employment Act received to restore the California Building and Fine Arts Gallery ($1.78 million) and Ford Building ($2.64 million).

September 22, 1977, San Diego Union, A-1. California Building, Fine Arts Gallery, Ford Building to be restored; grant to raze and rebuild Electric Building expected, by John Donner and Richard Heimlick.

September 26, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-2. EDITORIAL: Multiple Benefits . . . federal money allows coordinated program to replace piecemeal maintenance.

The Public Works Employment Act is a federal program to provide temporary jobs during a period of high unemployment.

The Balboa Park project is not a “make-work” program. It has long been a goal of city officials and of citizen supporters who backed their concern with private donations.

September 26, 1977, San Diego Union, B-1. Balboa Park restorers can’t wait, by Carol Olten.

It had been evident for some time that the buildings in Balboa Park were slowly crumbling. It also seemed evident that there wasn’t the money available to do anything about it.

Last week’s announcement came just in time: $4.4 million from the federal government for restoration work on three buildings — and the promise of some $5 million more to come this week for another.

Deputy City Manager John Lockwood explained the funds matter-of-factly, “The City made seven applications for Economic Development Administration grants — three of those for projects in Balboa Park. As a result, four structures will be renovated.” But park committee leaders and building tenants viewed the grants as the culmination of a long, hard struggle.

Under the terms of the grants, the buildings to be affected are the Fine Arts, the California Building (housing the Museum of Man), the Electric Building (home of the Aerospace Museum and Hall of Fame) and the Ford Building (now a storage area for City maintenance equipment, the Old Globe Theater and the San Diego Civic Light Opera Association.)

A total of $2.65 million is being allocated to restore the Ford Building as a new home for the Aerospace Museum and Hall of Fame. A grant of about $5 million is expected — it will be used to demolish and rebuild the Electric Building. It will then be occupied by the Hall of Champions and other tenants.

About $1.78 million of federal monies will be spent on refurbishing the facades and ornamentation of the Museum of Man and the Fine Arts.

“The regulations are that labor must start on the sites within 90 days after the grant comes in. That means we’ll be going to work right away on the Ford, The Fine Arts and the Museum,” said Lockwood. “The grant for the Electric Building should be announced any day. It will be the longest project and take about two years.”

September 29, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-4. “State of Zoo” message given.

In his report to the society at its 60th annual meeting yesterday, Ivor de Kirby predicted San Diego Zoo attendance would about equal the record 3.2 million set in 1976.

“But at the zoo, we are still plagued by the parking problem on our busiest days,” De Kirby said. “We continue to look for solutions.”

De Kirby said the zoo has recorded a number of births among rare species in 1977, including birds and reptiles.

In addition, he said, the zoo has maintained its program of acquiring new species from other zoos and of exchanging animals for breeding.

New zoo exhibits, said De Kirby, include a bald eagle aviary, a koala “bedroom,” a new home for clouded leopards and several bird exhibits.

“The major construction project in the past year has been completion of a new clinical wing at the 51-year-old zoo hospital,” De Kirby said.

He said the education department has recently completed a sensory unit in the Otto Center. This room is designed for handicapped children.

De Kirby said the zoo is currently working on establishment of its own bird quarantine station.

“This will be the first zoo-operated quarantine station in North America,” he said.

In the planning stages are a new primate and bird mesa.

“This redevelopment,” he said, “will enable visitors to see primates and birds from several levels — from the ground to the treetops. Within the area, animal species will be grouped by habitat – for instance, rain forest, savanna, scrubland and marsh.”

September 29, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-8. Japanese garden fund-raiser held by San Diego-Yokohama Sister City Society at the Casa del Prado last night.

One year ago, the city retained Fong and LaRocca Associates, a Newport Beach landscape firm and design consultant Takeo Useugi to draft preliminary plans for the garden.

The plans calls for such traditional Japanese features as a large plaza known as a Hiroba, a stream-fed lake, a tea pavilion, a stone garden and a pagoda.

Consultants have recommended special areas for cultural festivities, folk art exhibits, drama, tea ceremonies and other Japanese entertainment.

October 5, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-8. Unites States funds restoration project in Balboa Park.

The Economic Development Administration has approved the city’s grant application to work on the park’s Electric Building.

The grant is for $4,993,100 “for reconstruction of the Electric Building as a museum facility.”

The grant was awarded under a federal act that allocates money to provide temporary jobs for unemployed persons while helping public agencies tackle expensive projects such as restoring public buildings and widening streets.

October 5, 1977, San Diego Union, B-1. Electric Building to be rebuilt.

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) has approved a federal grant of $4,993,100 for rebuilding the Electric Building in Balboa Park, a spokesman in Washington, D. C., said yesterday.

October 7, 1977. Balboa Park, Our Community Center . . . conference sponsored by Citizens Coordinate for Century 3.

October 8, 1977, San Diego Union, B-1, B-4. Seymour Greben hails public role in Balboa Park planning, by Carl Ritter.

San Diego is on the right path in bringing the public as much as possible into its Balboa Park planning instead of relying excessively on Park and Recreation Department administrators as some cities do, an international consultant on park resources said here yesterday.

In an interview after Seymour Greben addressed the opening session of a two-day conference on the park’s future, sponsored by Citizens Coordinate for Century 3, he said a great park like Balboa “tends to hold a city together.”

Greben cautioned, however, that public participation “must be a really legitimate effort,” embracing the handicapped, ethnic groups, the old and others, “not just the middle class, generally white, as important as they are.”

A large park in the hart of a city “gives a city character,” Greben said. He cited Chapultepec Park in Mexico City, Griffith Park in Los Angeles and Balboa Park in San Diego.

He said the decay of Central Park in New York City from its once-proud status has caused great numbers of Americans in cities to begin looking down on large, centrally located parks. In this sense, he said the “creative strategy” employed in regard to Balboa Park’s future can help recapture “people’s sense of pride and sensitivity.”

“Look at (the city’s) population, special problems, its open space and from that, begin to formulate so that everybody is served, so that it relates to all other parks but does not duplicate,” Greben advised. Above all, he said, a big park today must be safe.

Permitting selfish interests to take hold of park planning will lead “a whole community to come out less well in 20 years,” Greben said.

Yesterday’s opening of the two-day conference, which has as its theme “Balboa Park, the Continuing Dialogue,” included a guided tour and an afternoon panel presentation.

Moderator Dr. Roy Harvey Pearce, professor of literature at UCSD, noted that the Navy was invited to participate in the panel discussion but decided on the grounds that its plans for its hospital in the park are widely known and an appearance so close to the November election to discuss a political issue could be considered “not proper.”

Dave Roberts, city Park and Recreation Department development division superintendent, told the audience of approximately 200 persons that the tradeoff for parkland between the city and the Navy probably would lead to demolition of most Navy structures on the present hospital grounds because the buildings are not up to earthquake shock-resistant standards.

The new naval hospital, Roberts said, would be a $250 million project requiring four to five years to complete.

The League of Women Voters provided two places on the panel to present “pro and con” arguments relating to the present Navy hospital plan.

Paula Lewis said City Council negotiations with the Navy to exclude a referendum vote made it appear “the citizens were somewhat circumvented: in any decision to turn over part of the park.

She suggested the Murphy Canyon site the Navy previously considered might be more appropriate in view of an estimated $37.4 million saving to taxpayers, compared with relocating the hospital in Balboa Park.

June Lloyd, also of the league, took the opposing view. She said the people of San Diego have long accepted the Navy’s place in the park and elsewhere in “a Navy town.” This acceptance applied to new residents as well, she said.

She said it is appropriate, in view of the Navy’s defense role here and the convenience of the hospital’s beneficiaries, that the hospital and other Navy facilities be kept with “easy reach” of the waterfront.

October 8, 1977, San Diego Union, B-4. Historical Sites Board honors Bea Evenson.

October 9, 1977, San Diego Union, B-2, B-5. Balboa Park ideas urged.

How can citizens enter the decision-making process involving the future of Balboa Park?

A panel fielded this question at a plenary session that wound up a two-day conference yesterday at the House of Hospitality — and in essence the advice was:

Organize yourself. Go through channels. Don’t wait to appear before the City Council when it makes the ultimate decision. Bring pressure on the agencies, commissions and non-profit organizations that recommend policy on improvements and spending priorities to the council.

“Sometimes, we on the council receive recommendations that are based on cost, not on what the public wants,” said Councilman Jess Haro, a panel member, who also noted that the park “is a more significant issue than Black’s Beach.”

Appearing with him were Anthony Corso, assistant professor of urban planning at San Diego State University, who prepared an analysis of the park’s problems for the 400 persons in attendance; James Milch, city Park and Recreation Board chairman; Clarence Pendleton, Jr., the Urban League’s executive director, and Mary Olive Shoupe, a citizen advocate.

The moderator was Barbara Swyhart, associate professor of religious studies at SDSU.

Swyhart’s presence, and that of other academicians at section meetings earlier yesterday, was unusual in that most are not experts in park usage, but there was a reason for it, according to Muriel Goldhammer, the conference coordinator.

The conference, sponsored by Citizens Coordinate for Century 3, was partially financed by the California Council for the Humanities in Public Policy. The council, said Goldhammer, seeks to enlist the views of academic humanists on public issues.

That was why a philosophy professor, Arthur K. Bierman of San Francisco State, was asked to summarize the conference.

He said he would give it an A “for information and intensity of interest by the participants,” but an unsatisfactory mark for its failure to engage in a Socratic dialogue whereby arguments and counter-arguments are developed to arrive at a definition — in this case of what a park should be, a cultural center or a place for recreation or a mix. “There was too much jumping around,” he said in an interview.

In a section meeting on park usage some panelists said recreation should be left to neighborhood parks with Balboa Park utilized as a cultural resource but no consensus was reached.

Nor was a conclusion reached by another meeting on undeveloped land, such as Florida Canyon. But a show of hands at the plenary session opposed the proposed land swap by the city and Navy to permit the Navy to build a new hospital in the canyon.

Goldhammer said that under the ground rules laid down by the California council, the conference was to take no action but to garner ideas and “to move them.” She said a report on the conference will go to the park and recreation board.

The final word — by conference chairman, John Hobbs, political science professor at SDSU — was that “what we say today will be part of the process” determining the park’s future.

October 21, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, C-2. Letter, M. Phillips objecting to use of Balboa Park Club to photograph senior citizens and issue identification cards . . . walk to the building is too long..

October 26, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-5. Five-year plan to bring a bit of Japan to an undeveloped canyon in Balboa Park has come off the drawing board for public scrutiny and comment, by Steve Wiegand.

As envisioned by the consulting firm of Fong and LaRocca of Newport Beach, the garden would take up five to six acres in Gold Gulch Canyon.

The garden would be composed of native and Japanese plants, winding paths, a stream and waterfall, and a small lake stocked with koi or Japanese carp.

Outside the garden’s main gate, a hirboa, or public plaza, would be constructed which could include a public tearoom and exhibits and information about Japanese culture and customs.

Wayne Tyson, of the development division of the Park and Recreation Department, said that while some of the cost — estimated at as much as $1 million or more — could be borne by the city, contributions from foundations, organizations and individuals would also be sought.

He said that charging a small admission fee to the garden was also being considered, as a way to offset maintenance costs and to help control crowds in the garden.

“There would vantage points outside the garden so people who didn’t want to pay a small admission charge could view it.”

October 30, 1977, San Diego Union, G-2. Building of Panama Canal stirred hopes of San Diegans, by Craig Mac Donald.

And, although the canal’s official opening was ceremoniously lauded by President Wilson, July 12, 1920, it never became the goose that laid the golden egg as far as San Diego was concerned.

November 2, 1977, San Diego Union, D-1. A big hand for Bea Evenson, by Carl Ritter . . . representatives of city, county and state and members of the Committee of 100 paid tribute to Bea Evenson yesterday in the House of Hospitality.

November 4, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, A-22. Café del Rey Moro burglarized . . . intruder made off with about $1,600 . . . it followed break-ins at the Hall of Champions, the Aerospace Museum, the House of France and two food concessions.

November 4, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-1. Nature hikes in Florida Canyon unfold world of adventure, by Joseph Thesken.

The Canyoneers, sponsored by the San Diego Natural History Museum, conduct nature walks four days a week in the canyon located below Morley Field in the undeveloped part of Balboa Park.

November 5, 1977, San Diego Union, B-10. EDITORIAL: Bea’s a winner.

Let the record give due credit to the bearded city fathers whose portraits we associate with the creation of Balboa Park in 1868. But the park to be enjoyed by this generation and those to follow will have a new luster thanks mainly to a woman who mobilized her fellow citizens into an effective community force working on the park’s behalf.

November 8, 1977, San Diego Union, B-2. Balboa Park Committee approved plans to restore several park buildings.

Among the buildings to be restored under the plan are the Organ Pavilion, House of Charm, House of Hospitality, House of Pacific Relations, Spanish Village, Fine Arts Gallery, Starlight Bowl, and Natural History Museum.

The Palisades Building is expected to be demolished, as recommended by the Balboa Park master plan. In its place will be built a park and recreation administration building, a training and conference center, park service storage and a public assembly building.

The restoration plan will be presented to the Park and Recreation Board and then to the City Council.

November 13, 1977, The Sentinel, A-7. Comeback of famous city garden? “It’s possible now,” said Will Hippen, chairman of the Japanese garden committee, by Rick Griffin.

Progress has been slow, almost dormant, until the city’s Park and Recreation Department allocated $136,000, two budgets ago, for preliminary planning.

The garden will be built from donations from businesses and private citizens.

The garden, Will Hippen believes, will be operated by the San Diego-Yokohama sister city society which would hire its own experienced and knowledgeable gardeners.

November 18, 1977, San Diego Union, B-3. Blind are to tour Taylor’s Herb Garden in Vista.

November 18, 1977, San Diego Union, B-10. Letter, H. Albert Vartanian praising Bea Evenson.

November 18, 1977, San Diego Union, B-10. Letter, Zita Teck expresses wish for statue of Kate Sessions in Balboa Park.

November 21, 1977, San Diego Union, B-1, B-4. Balboa Park marked 109th birthday yesterday at the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater fountain [sic], by Ernesto Flores.

November 21, 1977, San Diego Union, B-6. EDITORIAL: Let the taxpayers decide – Will Joint Powers Agreements overburden taxpayers with lease obligations that camouflage a bonded debt?

November 22, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-1. Rangers sought for Balboa Park, by Steve Wiegand.

A review of the master plan for Balboa Park that recommends no expansion of parking space and creation of a park ranger force has been endorsed by a City Council committee.

On a 4-0 vote yesterday, the Public Facilities and Recreation Committee recommended to the full council that the 27-page review of the park’s master plan be used with the plan itself when planning projects for the park.

Councilman Tom Gade was absent for the vote.

The review was the result of a study of the park’s 17-year-old-master plan by an ad hoc committee appointed by the city Park and Recreation Board in 1975.

The committee was appointed to update the plan and suggest changes that would help preserve the park.

In the report, the committee said only a few “minor” changes were necessary to make the plan the “guideline for an enlarged and intact Balboa Park to be passed on to future generations.”

Among the recommendations were:

  • Freeze the park’s parking capacity at the current level of 9,200 spaces and encourage more use of those parking lots away from the central part of the park.
  • Consider the creation of a park ranger force, similar to the city’s lifeguard service, to protect people and the park and “to promote a better feeling of security among park users.”
  • Ban trade shows and conventions not related to the park and strive to prevent use of the park for commercial purposes.
  • Consider creation of a museum devoted to the park itself, with books and park-inspired artwork, and mementos from the expositions that have been held there.

The review committee also recommended that an intrapark transportation system to like parking lots on the park’s periphery be studied, and that pedestrian and bicycle paths be developed.

But it noted that the automobile is likely to remain the primary means of getting people to the park, and said that vehicular access should be of prime concern in park planning.

Several persons who live near the park objected to a proposal in the review to link Quince and Richmond streets near State Highway 163 to give better access to the area near the San Diego Zoo.

“There are too many cars in the park now,” said Charles Wolf. “Balboa Park needs fewer roadways and far less traffic.”

But council committee members said the guidelines in the review should be available for city staff to use when proposing plans for the park.

Councilman Floyd Morrow said the ad hoc committee should also be asked to review the impact on the park master plan if the Navy goes ahead with its plans to rebuilt its hospital on a new site in the park.

The committee sent Morrow’s suggestion, along with the review, to the full council for discussion.

November 23, 1977, READER. Scaled-down project for Japanese Garden will cost at least $2.2 million with some estimates as high as $5 million; Newport Beach consulting firm paid $41,000, almost half of the $100,000 the Park and Recreation Department had gathered for the project.

November 25, 1977, San Diego Union, B-2. Balboa Park restoration plan gains.

The Public Facilities and Recreation Committee voted 4 to 0 to recommend that the full council instruct the city manger to proceed with development of the park using a review of the park’s master plan and the plan itself as background.

December 22, 1977, Balboa Park designated a National Historic Landmark (see letter below)

United States Department of the Interior


Pacific Great Basin System Support Office

600 Harrison Street, Suite 600

San Francisco, Calif. 94107-1372


January 31, 1996

Dear Mr. Amero:

Thank you for your inquiry about the Balboa Park National Historic Landmark. Balboa Park was designated a National Historic Landmark (NHL) in December 1977. The landmark boundary included both the Prado and the Palisades areas. We are enclosing a copy of the (NHL) nomination form for your information.

Our search of the National Register shows the following listings within Balboa Park.

California Quadrangle, Balboa Park-El Prado area (5/74)

El Prado complex (12/76)

Ford Building (4/73)

These listings are not nullified by the National Historic Landmark designation, and the buildings/districts are still listed in the National Register. The National Historic Landmark is also included in the National Register.

The Balboa Park National Historic Landmark documentation was prepared by Carolyn Pitts, an architectural historian in the National Historic Landmark Survey of our Washington, D.C., office. Landmark studies are reviewed by the National Park System Advisory Board at their semi-annual meetings and recommended for designation by the Secretary of the Interior. The original NHL documentation and related documentation are maintained in our Washington, D. C., office.

The Fair Parks Texas Centennial Buildings were designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986. We are unable to provide you with further information about NHLs in other city parks.

We are forwarding your letter with a copy of our response to the National Historic Landmarks Survey in Washington, D. C., which should be able to respond to the questions that we have not been able to address. The contact person is:

Ms. Patty Henry

National Historic Landmarks Survey

National Park Service

PO Box 37127

Washington, D. C., 20013-7127

(202) 343-8163

Enclosed is some general information regarding the National Historic Landmark program. Thank you for your interest in the Balboa Park NHL.


(Signed) Ann Huston, Historian

Cultural Resources Team.

ATTACHMENT: National Register of Historic Places Inventory – Nomination Form: Balboa Park; prepared by Ms. Carolyn Pitts, Architectural Historian, NPS, July 19, 1977.

NOTE: This application is for buildings that comprise the “El Prado Complex.” The

only mention of buildings in the Palisades section of Balboa Park is in a brief history of

the park prepared by John Henderson and on page 1, item 10 of a continuation sheet

which concludes with the following statement:

“Said area shall encompass those structures which were erected for the Panama-California International Exposition of 1915-1916, the California Pacific International Exposition of 1935-36, and the Timken Fine Art Gallery and West Wing of the Fine Arts Gallery which were constructed in 1964.”

NOTE: There appears to be uncertainty over whether and how the Palisades area was accepted as part of the National Historic Landmark as no documentation exists to back up the designation. The National Park Service in Washington, D. C. was not precise as to when and how the Palisades was included in the application. I was informed by phone that the area was accepted as an addition to the application based on a physical inspection of the premises by the National Park Service historian and an oral commitment. If researchers consider this matter worth pursuing, they are welcome to do so. See my letter to the National Park Service and the reply from Cynthia Howse below.

February 2, 1996

Ms. Patty Henry

National Park Service

Washington, D. C.

Dear Ms. Henry:

I am addressing this inquiry to you per instructions of Ms. Ann Huston, National Park Service Historian, San Francisco, Calif. (Ref. Letter H34-PGSO-RR, date January 31, 1996). Neither the San Diego History Center Research Library not the City Clerk’s Office of the City of San Diego have records indicating when the El Prado and Palisades areas in Balboa Park were formally established as a National Historic Landmark. Ms. Huston thinks the date was December 1977; however the application background material prepared by Ms. Carolyn Pitts, Historian, NPS, refers only to buildings with the Prado area of the park and does not describe buildings in the Palisades section that remain from the 1935-36 Exposition. Also, my reading of Ms. Pitts’ study leads me to believe that the Timken Fine Arts Gallery and the West Wing of the San Diego Fine Arts Gallery, constructed in 1964, are included as part of the National Historic Landmark (item No. 10, page 1). This is surprising to me as both buildings are in a non-conforming style that does not match that of the original Exposition buildings. As historic protection organizations in San Diego are not aware that these buildings are part of the landmark designation, I would like to have confirmation from you that this is indeed so.

Several studies of Balboa Park have indicated that El Prado and the Palisades were designated as a combined National Historic Landmark in February 1978. Also, a Committee of 100 study, written by Mr. Jean Stern, as part of a National Historic Landmark nomination is dated 1978. These references appear to indicate that the true date for the joint enrollment of the Palisades/El Prado as a National Historic Landmark is February 1978, notwithstanding whatever may have occurred in December 1977.

Sincerely yours,

Richard W. Amero.

. . . . . . . . . . .



SACRAMENTO 94926-0001

March 29, 1996

Dear Mr. Amero:

This letter is in response to your inquiries regarding Balboa Park. For a list of what has been designated or appears eligible for designation within the park, I refer you to the San Diego Information Center: Dr. Lynne Christenson, Coordinator, San Diego State University (619) 594-1358. Dr. Christenson should be able to answer many of your questions regarding the park.

To answer your question regarding removing properties from the National Register, anyone may petition the Office of Historic Preservation to remove a property due to loss of integrity. We have removed many buildings which have been destroyed, usually by fire. We have not, in anyone’s memory, removed a still standing building due to loss of integrity.

We hope this information is helpful. If we ca be of additional assistance, please do not hesitate to contact use.


(Signed) Cynthia Howse

Historian II.

December 1, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-8. Council approves contracts for renovation of three the California, Fine Arts and Ford Buildings.

The contracts awarded yesterday were for:

  • $1,062,000 to the M. H. Golden Company for restoration work on the California Building
  • $329,562 to the Ninteman Construction Company for renovating the exterior of the Fine Arts Building
  • $119,777 to the Ripley Construction Company for partial demolition of the Ford Building

December 1, 1977, San Diego Union, B-2. Balboa Park work pacts given.

The money for the restoration projects is part of a $4.4 million federal Economic Development Administration grant given the city in September.

December 20, 1977, Park & Recreation Board: Admiral John Davis makes proposal on behalf of Natural History Museum; Miles Harvey on behalf of Museum of Man.

  1. Proposal, Natural History Museum, Admiral John Davis

(Mr. Sadler disqualified himself due to conflict of interest.)

John Davis, Director of the Natural History Museum, made a presentation regarding the proposed expansion plans. He noted that the present building was constructed in 1931, and that there has been no expansion since. Research activities were placed on the third floor when the museum was returned from the Navy in 1947-48. Floor loading of 50 pounds per square foot on the third floor is not adequate. The World of the Pacific will be constructed and installed in the redesigned Electric Building when that building is available, in approximately two and one-half years. The Natural History Museum will move in with 20,000 square feet of exhibits, and increase by approximately 10,000 sq. ft. per year, until it reaches its designated total of 90,000 square feet.

In addition to the use of the Electric Building, the Museum is proposing an expansion of the existing facility. The northernmost limit of the proposed addition would be at the line of the sidewalk separating the old formal garden and the Museum area. A rough estimate of the cost of the expansion was stated to be $5 million. Admiral Davis explained that his reason for appearing before the Board was to get approval of the concept and/or a recommendation that the needs of the Natural History Museum be considered for funding under the next public works bill.

It was noted that the Balboa Park Committee recommended to the Board that this project, and other similar projects, should be included in a list, based on priority, similar to the C.I.P. Projects, and that they should be implemented on a priority basis when special funding becomes available.

Mrs. Schweizer moved approval of the Balboa Park Committee’s recommendation; Mrs. Moss seconded the motion, which carried unanimously (not counting Mr. Sadler who disqualified himself, and Mr. Leyton who abstained.) It will be suggested that the Museum appear before the Public Facilities & Recreation Committee.

  1. Proposal, Museum of Man, Miles Harvey, Chairman of the Museum of Man Board of Directors.

Mr. Harvey made a presentation regarding proposed expansion. He stated that the current building was inadequate; it was built in 1915 as a replica of a church, not as a museum. In 1965, the Museum Board determined they were out of space, and that an additional wing would be needed to contain storage, an auditorium, classrooms, kitchen, an elevator that would accommodate the handicapped, and additional exhibit space. The proposal was for approximately 12,400 square feet (costing $1.2 to $2 million) on the northwest side of the building, in an area that is now used for parking.

It was noted that the Balboa Park Committee recommended to the Board that this project and similar projects should be included in a list, based on priorities, similar to the C.I.P. Projects, and that they should be implemented on a priority basis when special funding becomes available. A motion was made by Mr. Sadler and seconded by Mrs. Henkel to approve the Balboa Park Committee’s recommendation; the motion carried with five in favor, Mr. Leyton abstaining. It will be suggested that the Museum appear before the Public Facilities & Recreation Committee.

December 21, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, B-2. Letter, Margaret K. Parment complaining about getting a parking ticket for parking at a red curb across from Casa del Prado.

December 23, 1977, (San Diego) Evening Tribune, A-3. Florence Christman, Balboa Park fan, will donate house to city.

December 25, 1977, San Diego Union, B-3. Florence Christman, historian, becomes latest Balboa Park benefactor.

Return to Amero Collection.


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