SAN DIEGO’S CITY PARK, 1868-1902

March 1, 1977

The Journal of San Diego History
SAN DIEGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY
Spring 1977, Volume 23, Number 2
Editor James Moss
Asst. Editor Thomas L. Scharf

Photographs from the article

City ParkA 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]

 

 

 

 

 

Morse

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Estudillo

 

Jose Guadalupe Estudillo served as president of the San Diego City Board of Trustees when City Park was founded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Womens

 

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]

 

 

 


Womens burn

 

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]

 

 

 

Sessions

 

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

 

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]

 

 

 

 

Park 6th and date

 

The park as seen from Sixth and Date Streets.

 

 

 

 

Cabrillo Canyon

 

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.