The Journal of San Diego History
SAN DIEGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY
Spring 1972, Volume 18, Number 2
James E Moss, Editor
Sebastian Vizcaino and San Diego Bay
By W. Michael Mathes
The San Diego City Schools Curriculum Project
By Peter Mehren
Simon Benson: Northwest Lumber King
By Alice Benson Allen
The Culture of the Luiseño Indians
By Philip Stedman Sparkman
Windows on Early California
By Florence Slocum Wilson
The San Francisco Vigilance Committee of 1856
Edited by Doyce B. Nunis, Jr.
Gold and Silver in the West
By T. H. Watkins
The Indispensable Enemy: Labor and the Anti-Chinese Movement in California
By Alexander Saxton
Sixty Years in Southern California, 1853-1913
By Harris Newmark
Pottery of the Southwestern Indians
By Pliny E. Goddard
By Philip A. Bailey
The Wonderful World of San Diego: A Child’s Adventure in this Exciting California City
By Anne Gray
Letters to the Editor
On the Cover
1. Building San Diego Mission Dam
2. Portola Starting Expedition North
Murals at Roosevelt Junior High School San Diego
Belle Baranceanu, the artist commissioned to paint the murals for San Diego’s Roosevelt Junior High School, believed that San Diego history, because it is full of colorful materials, might be more interesting in a school than the general topics used in most murals. Her suggestion was acceptable to the school committee, and she produced these murals which flank the stage in the school’s auditorium. She chose as her topics the construction of the first Mission Dam and Gaspar de Portola’s departure north from San Diego on his journey of exploration and colonization.
These murals, in fact oil-on-canvas paintings, were two of nine painted by artists working in the San Diego City Schools Curriculum Project, a WPA project described in Peter Mehren’s article. The other murals were in the Russ Auditorium of San Diego High School, Memorial Junior Hight School, Snyder Continuation School, La Jolla High School, and the Hall of Education (presently the Balboa Park Club).
In addition to murals the artists, writers, craftspeople, and other workers in the Curriculum Project created a variety of materials intended as resources to assist San Diego teachers in making subjects more meaningful and understandable for students. The project was active from 1934 to 1941.
The murals at San Diego and La Jolla High Schools and Memorial and Roosevelt Junior High Schools seem doomed to destruction, as those school buildings are condemned. The murals should be preserved, both because of their historical value and because they are works of local art.
This issue of the The Journal of San Diego History was scanned and proofread by volunteer Bill Parsons.