SAN DIEGO’S CITY PARK, 1868-1902
March 1, 1977
Photographs from the article
A view of City Park’s Sixth Street Canyon around 1900.Formal establishment of City Park, now called Balboa Park, took place in 1868 when Ephraim W. Morse and Alonzo E. Horton’s resolution for establishment of a park reserve of 1400 acres was adopted by the San Diego Board of Trustees. Debate on how this vast amount of acreage should be improved and utilized would continue for years afterward. [Photo 1473-b]
Ephraim W. Morse, a prime mover behind creation of City Park. Morse, a native of Amesbury, Massacusetts, first came to California in 1849 during the Gold Rush. In 1850 he settled in San Diego seeking a milder climate and took up the profession of merchant and realtor.
Jose Guadalupe Estudillo served as president of the San Diego City Board of Trustees when City Park was founded.
The Women’s Home Association about 1894. This photo was not included in the original Journal article but is shown here for the on-line reader’s interest. [Photo 3237]
The burning of the Women’s Home Association in 1897. Situated on City Park land, the Home had been created to shelter poor and indigent women. Interestingly, it burned down only one month after the city had insured it for $4,000. [Photo 3238]
Kate O. Sessions contributed greatly to the improvement of City Park. In exchange for a city lease to use a portion of the park as a nursery, Miss Sessions annually furnished the city with 300 ornamental trees for park, street or school ground planting, plus an additional 100 trees to be planted on park land.
Arbor Day planting in the park was encouraged by Sessions. She made certain that San Diego residents were reminded of the date’s approach each year. [Photo 16019-1]
The park as seen from Sixth and Date Streets.
The Cabrillo Canyon “freeway” traversing the park about 1903. [Photo 1560]
Gregory E. Montes graduated from Yale University School of Architecture in 1972 with a Master of Architecture degree. He now works as Associate Planner with the San Bernardino County Planning Department. The article published here was an award winning paper in the Copley Books Awards Graduate/General Division at the San Diego History Center’s 1976 Institute of History.