Exposition groundbreaking ceremonies began July 19, 1911 with a military Mass in a shallow canyon about 1,300 ft. northeast of San Diego High School at the Olmsted- planned site for the exposition. Apparently this canyon was an extension of the same canyon that later provided the foundation for the San Diego (Balboa) Stadium. The occasion followed by three days the anniversary of the High Mass sung by Father Junipero Serra on July 16, 1769, on his founding of Mission San Diego de Alcala. Four Franciscan priests and 50 acolytes assisted Father Benedict, provincial of the Franciscan order, before a raised open-air altar. Bishop Thomas James Conaty of Los Angeles gave the sermon in which he praised Father Serra and predicted a golden future for San Diego.
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