MS 255 California Building Construction Records

Summary Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection
San Diego Museum of Man.
The California Building Construction Records
MS 255
Date [inclusive]
0.25 Linear feet (1 box)
The collection pertains to the construction and maintenance of the California Building built for the Panama-California Exposition in 1915.

Preferred Citation

The California Building Construction Records, MS 255, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

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Biographical / Historical Notes

The California Building, the current home of the San Diego Museum of Man, was designed by architect Bertram Goodhue for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Now one of the most famous buildings in San Diego, the California Building is an icon of the Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style pioneered by Goodhue in his building designs for the Exposition. It was one of only four buildings built for the fair that were meant to be permanent.

The Exposition’s largest exhibit, “The Story of Man Through the Ages,” was housed in the California Building. After the Exposition drew to a close in 1916, a group of San Diegans led by George Marston formed the San Diego Museum Association to maintain the building and permanently retain the anthropological collections. In 1942 the building’s name was changed to the” Museum of Man”, and officially changed again in 1978 to the “San Diego Museum of Man.”

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Scope and Content

The materials in the collection are administrative documents related to the original construction, ongoing maintenance, and further renovation of the California Building from 1913, two years before the Exposition opened, through 1927. The majority of the collection consists of financial records, including bills, invoices, and bank statements. Business contracts, correspondence, and construction reports are also included. There are also several documents related to the funding of the California Building, including a newspaper clipping and a senate bill passed by the California legislator.

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Collection materials are arranged by subject.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection June 4, 2012

1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number 950125.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Lauren Rasmussen on June 4, 2012.

Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • California Building Association.
  • California State Building Commission.
  • California State Park Commission.
  • California. State Board of Control.
  • Ingle Manufacturing Co..
  • Marston Company Store.
  • Mead and Requa.
  • Panama-California Exposition (1915 : San Diego, Calif.).
  • Panama-California International Exposition (1916 : San Diego, Calif.).
  • San Diego Chamber of Commerce.
  • San Diego Electric Railway.
  • San Diego Museum of Man.
  • San Diego Museum.
  • Southern Trust and Commerce Bank.
  • Spreckels Companies.
  • Standard Oil Company.
  • Wurster Construction Co..

Geographic Name(s)

  • Balboa Park (San Diego, Calif.)
  • California Building (San Diego, Calif.)
  • San Diego (Calif.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Allen, Frank Phillips, Jr.
  • Goodhue, Bertram Grosvenor, 1869-1924
  • Hewett, Edgar L. (Edgar Lee), 1865-1946
  • Marston, George White, 1850-1946
  • O’Halloran, Thomas


  • Building
  • Business records
  • Construction projects
  • Design and construction
  • Exhibition buildings
  • Financial statement notes
  • Financial statements

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Collection Inventory

Contracts, 1919 and undated 1:1
Correspondence, 1913 July 3–1924 March 10 and undated 1:2
Construction reports and estimates, 1914 April 13–1916 October 27 and undated


“Report of Expenditures from Budget Allowance to October 27, 1916” (in Oversize Collections D6)

Department estimate (in Oversize Collections D6)

Financial records, 1913 October 1–1919 December 10 1:4
Financial records, 1920 January 21-December 16 1:5
Financial records, 1921 January 1–1927 February 7 1:6
Bank statements and checks, 1917 July 23–1921 February 21 1:7
Miscellanea, 1921 May 26 and undated


Copy of Senate Bill No. 70 that established ongoing state funding for museum

Newspaper clipping regarding museum funding

List of new construction work to be completed for Balboa Park

Letter to the trustees of the California Building from the chairman of the Marston Celebration Committee

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