The Journal of San Diego History
Winter 1990, Volume 36, Number 1
Thomas L. Scharf, Editor

by Richard W. Amero
Researcher and Writer on the history of Balboa Park

Images from this article

On July 9, 1909, G. Aubrey Davidson, founder of the Southern Trust and Commerce Bank and president of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, said San Diego should stage an exposition in 1915 to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal. He told his fellow Chamber of Commerce members that San Diego would be the first American port of call north of the Panama Canal on the Pacific Coast. An exposition would call attention to the city and bolster an economy still shaky from the Wall Street panic of 1907. The Chamber of Commerce authorized Davidson to appoint a committee to look into his idea.1

Because the idea began with him, Davidson is called “the father of the exposition.”2

On September 3, 1909, a special Chamber of Commerce committee formed the Panama-California Exposition Company and sent articles of incorporation to the Secretary of State in Sacramento.3

In 1910 San Diego had a population of 39,578, San Diego County 61,665, Los Angeles 319,198 and San Francisco 416,912. San Diego’s meager population, the smallest of any city ever to attempt holding an international exposition, testifies to the city’s extraordinary pluck and vitality.4

The Board of Directors of the Panama-California Exposition Company, on September 10, 1909, elected Ulysses S. Grant, Jr. to be president of the company and John D. Spreckels first vice president. Grant, son of the former U.S. president, was part owner of the U.S. Grant Hotel. Spreckels, son of sugar king Claus Spreckels, was owner of San Diego real estate, hotels, newspapers, banks, and utility, water, transit and railroad companies. A.G. Spalding was chosen second vice president, L.S. McLure third vice president, and G. Aubrey Davidson fourth vice president.5

The most important appointment made at the director’s meeting was that of real estate developer Colonel David “Charlie” Collier to the position of Director-General. The “colonel” was an honorary title given to Collier by California governor James M. Gillett in 1907.6

Collier shaped exposition policies. He chose City Park as the site, Mission Revival as the architectural style, and human progress as the theme.7 He lobbied at his own expense for the exposition before the California State Legislature and the U.S. Congress and traveled to South America for the same purpose.8

On September 3, 1909, James McNab, president of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, declared that San Francisco would celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal.9 At a meeting in Los Angeles in January 1910, delegates from San Francisco directed San Diego to abandon its exposition plans.10

John D. Spreckels, on February 24, answered San Francisco’s challenge by subscribing $100,000 to the San Diego exposition.11 Encouraged by this donation, subscribers, on March 15, brought the total to one million dollars, causing the hands of the dial at Fifth and D Streets recording stock subscriptions, to complete the circuit.12

In April, New Orleans tried to get the U.S. Congress to recognize it as the host city for a Panama Canal celebration.13 To meet this threat, San Diego exposition stockholders, on May 7, agreed to a compromise with San Francisco arranged by Collier. They would support San Francisco’s bid for an international fair so long as they could hold a smaller fair of their own. To show their determination, the exposition board of directors decided to ask the people of San Diego to vote $1,000,000 in park improvement bonds for the exposition,14 and they published the first issue of The Panama-California Exposition Prosperity Edition.

On August 9, 1910, the exposition bonds carried by a vote of seven to one.15

Congress, on February 15, 1911, invited foreign nation to participate in the San Francisco exposition.16

Collier was undaunted. On May 22 he tried to persuade the House of Representatives to approve a Congressional resolution asking President William Haward Taft to invite Mexico and other Latin American countries to the San Diego expositon.17 On August 19 the House approved the resolution.18

The pendulum swung the other way in January 1912, when a Senate committee turned down San Diego’s request.19 The next month, President Taft invited foreign countries to exhibit at San Francisco only.20 San Diego’s hopes plummeted.

Influential San Franciscans had exerted pressure on Congress and on President Taft to forestall San Diego’s bid for a second California exposition. They promised to give their support to Taft in his struggle with the Progressive factions of the Republican party led by Theodore Roosevelt.21

Joseph W. Sefton, Jr., vice president of the San Diego Savings Bank and acting director-general in Collier’s absence, snarled that San Francisco had given San Diego “a knife in the back.”22

In a homecoming speech at the U.S. Grant Hotel, February 28, Collier rallied the exposition’s bedraggled supporters: “We never for a moment depended on congressional action. The work will go on just as if the action at Washington had been the reverse of what it has been.”23

In the August 1912 primary election, Samuel C. Evans of Riverside defeated Lewis Kirby of San Diego for the Republican nomination for the House of Representatives. San Diego Republicans shifted their support to Democrat William Kettner. State Progressives and the Republicans united in support of Theodore Roosevelt for president and California governor Hiram Johnson for vice president. Taft’s name was not on the general election ballot. On November 5, Roosevelt carried the state by a margin of only 200. San Diego County voted for Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic nominee for president, by a margin of about 1600. San Francisco’s promises to Taft had yielded nothing.24

Kettner was elected to the House by a margin of about 3500. On May 23, 1913, an accommodating President Wilson signed Kettner’s bill authorizing government departments to permit the free admission of exhibits for the San Diego exposition.25

Again possessed by exposition fever, San Diego voters, on July 1, 1913, by more than 16 to 1, approved issuing a second set of park improvement bonds for $850,000.26 One hundred and thirty-five thousand dollars of this money was set aside to build the San Diego Stadium, east of the high school.

On November 9, 1910, the Building and Grounds Committee, chaired by George W. Marston, selected landscape architects John C. Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. of Brookline, Massachusetts to lay out the expossition grounds.27 The committee had considered architect Daniel Burnham and landscape architects John Nolen and Samuel Parsons, Jr. before deciding on the Olmsteds.28 The exposition was to held on a southwestern part of City Park near the high school.

On January 5, 1911, the Building and Grounds Committee engaged Frank P. Allen, Jr. of Seattle as Director of Works.29 Allen had been manager of the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle. There he had achieved a minor miracle by completing the buildings before the exposition opened. In May 1911, a Park Board appointed by Major James E. Wadham opposed paying Allen $25,000 a year and proposed hiring general contractors instead. They questioned using park improvement money for temporary exposition construction.30 On June 24, the Board resigned.31

For supervisory architect, the Building and Grounds Committee hoped to get John Galen Howard, who had designed Mediterranean-Renaissance buildings for the University of California at Berkeley.32 As Howard was not interested, the committee, on January 27, 1911, chose New York architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue.33 Goodhue had applied for the position at the prompting of the Olmsteds. The committee also appointed San Diego architect Irving Gill to assist Goodhue and to design either an auditorium or a fine arts building.34

Even before Goodhue has been appointed, Collier had decided to use Indian, Mission and Pueblo styles at the San Diego exposition instead of the Neo-Classical styles regularly used at international expositions.35 Irving Gill knew the Mission and Pueblo styles well enough to use them for improvisations, but Goodhue’s celebrity status and familiarity with opulent Spanish Baroque relegated the simpler vernacular styles of the American southwest to second place.

At the urging of Collier, who wanted space for the Latin American countries expected, Allen prepared a plan for the exposition in the center of the park with a bridge leading into it across Cabrillo Canyon.36 John C. Olmsted thought putting buildings in the park’s central and most level section would interfere with its rural character.37 George W. Marston, Moses A. Luce, Thomas O’Hallaran and Julius Wangenheim supported Olmsted. The majority of the directors sided with Allen and Collier. On September 1, 1911, the Olmsted Brothers resigned.38

In addition to his roles of manager, engineer and architect, Allen took over the landscaping of the exposition grounds.39

Shortly after the Olmsteds resigned, Irving Gill walked out, supposedly after discovering graft in the purchase of building supplies.40 He was replaced by Carleton M. Winslow, from Goodhue’s New York office, who had arrived on September 5, 1911, one day before Allen’s plans were published in the newspapers.41 Before Gill had left, he had seen Goodhue’s sketches of buildings for the exposition. Since he, along with the Olmsteds, believed architecture should complement rather than overpower its surroundings, he could not have regarded Goodhue’s Spanish-Churriguersque fantasies with enthusiasm. In 1913, Gill again joined up with Olmsteds in the development of the town of Torrance, California.42

Goodhue had fallen in love with Spanish-Colonial architecture and with Muslim gardens on trips to Mexico and Persia. He had already used Spanish-churrigueresque styles in his designs for the Holy Trinity Church, Havana, Cuba, and the Hotel Colon, Panama, and Muslim garden features on the grounds of the Gillespie House, Montecito, California.43

With the assistance of his associates Carleton Winslow and Clarence Stein and of Frank Allen, Goodhue, like Prospero, conjured up a fairy-tale city in Balboa Park of cloud-capped towers, gorgeous palaces and solemn temples. He personally designed the permanent California Quadrangle and sketched the Home Economy and Southern California Countries Buildings. He supplied Winslow and Allen with drawings and photographs of buildings in Mexico and Spain, and reviewed their designs for the temporary buildings.44

The Balboa Park buildings contained reminiscences of missions and churches in Southern California and Mexico and of palaces in Mexico, Spain and Italy. Muslim decorative details, such as minaret-like towers, reflecting pools and enormous urns, counterpointed the buildings. Domes, towers, arches, colonnettes, arcades, bells, pergolas, fountains, views through gates of shaded patios, and skillfully plotted vistas added contrast and variety. A low-lying cornice line and closely-spaced buildings kept the ensemble coherent.45

Exposition directors hoped the electric Spanish style they were introducing would provide a joyful and bucolic answer to the formal and cold Renaissance and Neo-Classical styles then popular among American architects.46

The San Diego exposition, on a mesa 300 ft. above sea level, would be seen from all sides. As spectacular as the view inward might be, the view outward toward the mountains, “Harbor of the Sun,” bay and ocean would be even more spectacular.

The exposition had a practical as well as a romantic purpose. Manufactured products entertained better when shown being made rather than as finished objects. Scientific displays entertained better when illustrated by working models. A citrus orchard was more intersting than a pile of oranges. A vacuum cleaner, water pump or reaper at work was more interesting than the same object standing still.47

The Fair would illustrate opportunity. It would show city people, through farm machinery in operation, through fields under intensive cultivation, and through a demonstration farm home, equipped with labor-saving appliances, how easy it would be to make a good living on small farms in the southwest.

Through modern farming and irrigation, the southwest desert could become, in the words of the inscription around the base of the dome of the California Building taken from the Latin Vulgate of St. Jerome: TERRAM FRUMENTI HORDEI, AC VINARUM, IN QUA FICUS ET MALOGRANATA ET OLIVETA NASCUNTUR, TERRAM OLEI AC MELLIS (A land of wheat and barly, of vines and fig-trees and pomegranates; a land of olive oil and honey.)48

Unlike other expositions, San Diego’s would stay open all year. Its glistening white-walled buildings would be set off by continually blooming sub-tropical trees and flowers.

To the exposition publicity department, its main object was to show how industrial, agricultural and commercial achievement could give rise to beautiful cities, homes and gardens in which the poetry (but not the pain) of the past would be created. A publicity agent described the expostion’s intoxicating mixture of estheticism, materialism and nostalgia:

It is hard to pull oneself back to the twentieth century for it is wondrous sweet to dwell in the romance of the old days, to peer down the cloister and try to see the shadowy shapes of the consquistadores creeping up the dell from their caravel at anchor in the Harbor of the Sun.No other land has quite that atmosphere. No other land has the romance and lazy dreaming of this sort. No other land had such spendor of waving palms and slim acacias and lofty eucalyptus, such a riot of crimson and purple and gold, such brilliant sky or flashing seas or rearing peaks, and perpetual comfort of weather in the perfect harmony which exists on the mesa in San Diego. It is a land where God is kind. It is a land of loveliness that makes men kind. And, decked in such fair garments, it beckons to the stranger in other lands and bids him come. It is Opportunity.49

The name City Park was too lackluster to serve as the name for the site of the Panama-California Exposition. Accordingly, on October 27, 1910, park commissioners Thomas O’Hallaran, Moses A. Luce, and Leory A. Wright, at a meeting with exposition representatives George W. Martson, Howard M. Kutchin and D.C. Collier, chose the name “Balboa Park” for San Diego’s pleasure ground.50 On November 1, the Park Commissioners formally adopted the name.51 Their decision was ratified by the California State Legislature, March 24, 1911, in the same piece of legislation which authorized the use of the park for an expositon.52

The name Balboa seemed appropriate, since Vasco Nunez de Balboa was the first European in the New World to see the Pacific Ocean whose waters would soon be joined with the Atlantic’s upon the completion of the Panama Canal, an event the exposition was to commemorate.

Exposition groundbreaking ceremonies began July 19, 1911, with a military mass in a shallow canyon about 1300 ft. northeast of San Diego High School at the Olmsted-planned site for the exposition. (This canyon, apparently was an extremity of the same canyon that provided a foundation for the San Diego — Balboa Park — Stadium.) The occasion followed by three days the anniversary of the High Mass sung by Father Junípero Serra, July 16, 1769, on his founding of Mission San Diego de Alcalá. Four Franciscan priests and 50 acolytes assisted Father Benedict, provincial of the Franciscan Order, before a raised, open-air altar. Bishop Thomas James Donaty of Los Angeles gave the sermon in which he apotheosized Father Serra and predicted a beautiful future for San Diego.53

The afternoon program began with a military parade along D Street (today Broadway) and on to the same site as the morning mass. Here, after an introduction by exposition president Ulysses S. Grant, Jr., Reverend Edward F. Hallenbeck of the First Presbyterian Church gave the Invocation. Then a triple quartette sang the Exposition Ode.

Joseph W. Sefton, Jr. welcomed the guests. Lee C. Gates, representing Governor Hiram Johnson, spoke on the glories of California. John Barrett spoke on behalf of President Taft. Then Sefton loosened the earth with a silver spade and passed the spade to Barrett who turned the first sod. Guests and officials took turns with the spade before it was returned to Sefton who turned the last sod.

Barrett, this time representing the Pan-American Union, gave the principal address in which he stressed the cultural and economic importance of Latin America to San Diego and to the United States.

After Barrett’s talk, the flag of the United States was unfurled while the band played the National Anthem. President Taft, in Washington, D.C., pressed a button which unfurled the flag of the President of the United States as the band played “Hail Columbia.” Then the flags of the South American countries were unfurled as the band played a medley of their national airs.

In the evening, King Cabrillo (in real life Morley Slayton) arrived on his caravel at the Santa Fe wharf, accompanied by a fleet of decorated boats and barges and the shooting of skyrockets. He was escorted to the front of the San Diego County Court House at D and Front Streets where the newly-crowned Queen Ramona (in real life Helene Richards) awaited him. Cabrillo escorted the Queen to the Isthmus, or fun zone, in an area south of D Street between Front and State Streets and encompassing E and F Streets. Here the first day ended with revelry amid shows featuring Oriental dancers, bronco-busters from the Wild West, Mexican rebels from the May-June 1911 military engagement at Tijuana, trapeze artists, and a trained moose, horse and orangutan.

On the morning of the second day, floats representing the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the Equal Suffrage Movement, the American Women’s League, and trucks and automobiles covered with flowers paraded down D Street. In the afternoon, athletes, sponsored by the San Diego Rowing Club, swam, rowed and raced tub-boats in the harbor, and the San Diego Aero Club began an aviation meet at the Coronado polo grounds.

In the evening, floats representing ten historic scenes followed the same route as the morning’s parade. The floats included Aztec priests sacrificing to the god of war; Balboa taking possession of the Pacific for the King of Spain; the downfall of Montezuma and the triumph of Cortes; Cabrillo’s caravel; Father Serra planting the cross at the Presidio in San Diego; King Neptune presiding at the wedding of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; and San Diego — Past, Present and Future.

The evening concluded with a banquet at the U.S. Grant Hotel in honor of John Barrett, attended by 150 of the city’s foremost male citizens.

On the morning of the third day, representatives of industries put on a parade with fire department wagons and equipment, the first horse-drawn street railway car used in San Diego, and floats from the Longshormen’s other fraternal organizations. In the afternoon, Queen Ramona received guests in the Palm Room of the U.S. Grant Hotel. Motor boat races in the Coronado, aviator Glenn L. Martin, who had not yet qualified for a pilot’s license, took two falls, damaging a Curtiss type biplane he had made himself and equipped with a 60 horsepower engine. Fearing that there wee not enough cars to handle the crowds expected at Tent City and the aviation meet, the sponsors of the meet canceled the last day’s show. A grand ball at the U.S. Grant Hotel rounded off the third day’s events.

On the morning of the last day, citizens outdid themselves by producing a stunning mission pageant under the direction of Henry Kabierske of Chicago and of Edwin H. Clough of San Diego. Floats depicted the 21 California missions in their actual decrepit condition. Saints preceded the floats of the missions named after them. Boys held canopies over the saints’ heads and girls sacttered flowers in their paths. The pageant had some of the awe-inspiring and reverential quality of the famous Semana Santa of Seville, Spain. Nearly 1,000 volunteers inpersonated saints, friars, soliders and Indians.

In the afternoon, the Southern California Yacht Association closed its first regatta off San Diego. The Aeolus, piloted by Frank Wyatt, led the fleet to win a solid gold Exposition Cup, made by J. Jessop & Sons, the premier trophy of the regatta.

In the evening, a masked street ball in a fenced-off section of the Isthmus on Union Street between D (Broadway) & E Streets concluded the four-day carnival. About 300 people paid a one-dollar admission to waltz and two-step on the asphalt. Outside the dance enclosure, a wilder spirit prevailed. Police threw confetti and pranksters worked feather ticklers, slapsticks, cowbells and canes. A woman did the houtchee-koutchee on a table at Sargent’s Palace Grill, located on 4th Avenue at the southwest corner abutting the Plaza (today Horton Plaza Park), causing fun-seekers outside to stampede the restaurant.

A reporter forThe San Diego Union, name withheld, estimated that 60,000 had passed through the Isthmus gates at D and Union Streets during the four days, 15,000 of these on the last night.54

Following Ulysses S. Grant, Jr.’s resignation as exposition president, November 22, 1911, the directors appointed Colonel D.C. Collier president and Joseph W. Sefton, Jr. director-general.55

In January 1913, the administrative staff consisted of D.C. Collier president, John D. Spreckels first vice president, G.A. Davidson second vice president, L.S. McLure third vice president, George Burnham fourth vice president, and Frank P. Allen, Jr. director-general.56

In July 1913, the directors elected H.O. Davis director-general.57 Davis, a rancher from Yuba City, had visited San Diego to arrange an exhibit for Sutter County. Exposition officials immediately recognized him as a fellow booster.58

On March 5, 1914, while on the East Coast, Collier discovered his money had run out and resigned as president.59 The directors, on March 20, elected G. Aubrey Davidson president, Frank J. Belcher, Jr. second vice president, and H.H. Jones third vice president. They continued John D. Spreckels as first vice president and George Burnham as fourth vice president.60

As spokesman for the exposition, H.O. Davis used a barrage of statistics to show how easily small farms could be operated in the virgin southwest. He proved to his satisfaction that goods could be shipped to and from Southern California, Utah and Nevada, all of Arizona, the western half of New Mexico, and the southwest corner of Colorado cheaper via the Panama Canal and San Diego than by railroad from the east.61 He estimated the potential farmland in the region at 44 million acres, which would make 700,000 possible farms with a probable revenue of more than $800 million per year.62 International Harvester Company was impressed enough by Davis’ reasoning to set up a five-acre exhibit.

Landscaping of the 614-acre site chosen for the exposition was the first serious problem Allen encountered. To plant trees, more than 100,000 holes had to be drilled or blasted in the hardpan.63

Between 1904 and 1909 landscape architect Samuel Parsons, Jr., engineer George Cooke, and gardener John McLean had cleared of scrub, graded, blasted holes, and planted Pound (Cabrillo) Canyon and the central mesa and had mapped winding footpaths throughout. To prepare this area for a bridge, straight roads and buildings, Allen had to uproot much of the previous planting.

A plant propagating yard, built in 1910, covered 23 acres on the former Howard Tract, north of the high school, and contained more than one million plants. A mill, located midway on the exposition grounds, turned out plant boxes and lumber used in building.64

Park superintendent John Morley (hired November 17, 1911) directed grading and planting in the canyons on the fringes of the exposition.65 Under Morley’s supervision, Park Avenue (today Sixth Avenue) was extended from Date Street to Juniper; West Park Boulevard (today Cabrillo Freeway) was regraded and a sewer system installed; and Midland Drive (today Park Boulevard) was relocated.66 A $10,000 bond issue for City Park roads, approved by the voters March 12, 1907,67 and a $50,000 assessment in 1912 against owners of business property on Sixth Avenue and north of the park68 made these improvements possible.

A powder magazine, Water Department buildings, the City Pound, and machine shops were also moved from the park.69

An aviary, built in 1909, extended from Juniper Street and Park Avenue to West Park Boulevard. In 1914, crews built a new aviary and pens for deer, bear, buffalo and goats on the west slopes of Cabrillo Canyon and converted a canyon south of the Howard Tract into an elk enclosure.70

Morley set out the first rose garden in the park on the west slopes of Cabrillo Canyon. Some 6,500 roses grew in beds closed off at the south by a 180-ft. pergola and surrounded by lawns, palms, poinsettias and eucalyptus. From this garden the visitor saw the white walls and sparking domes of the distant exposition.71

Allen oversaw the planting of Cabrillo, Palm and Spanish Canyons. He chose the ornamental Blackwood acacias lining the esplanades and the flowering plants covering the arcades and faces of buildings.72 Paul Thiene, nursery superintendent, arranged the planting for the botanic gardens.73

In 1912, crews laid building foundations, smoothed rough spots, and planted walkways. They put up a wire fence enclosing the exposition grounds and planted vines at its base; seeded lawns and put in sprinkler systems; and planted about 50,000 trees, including 700 orange, lemon and grapefruit trees in the citrus orchards. By January 1914, they had laid 20 miles of iron pipe, 10 miles of storm drain, and about 10 miles of sewer connections and electric conduit.74

Spanish Canyon began near today’s Reuben H. Fleet Space Theatre and angled southwesterly toward Cabrillo Canyon. John C. Olmsted named both canyons. In 1912, Allen planned to fill Spanish Canyon and its branches with 50 million gallons of water.75 The water was to be used by the city fire department, by the exposition as an aquatic setting, and by seaplanes as a landing place. When the foreign governments failed to put up buildings, Allen planted the canyon with acacias and quick-growing grasses.

Allen arranged building schedules so that scaffolds and equipment could be used on several projects. Frames were built on the grounds, cut, fitted together, swung into place by electric crane swings, and bolted home. The same floor and roof schemes were used on many buildings.76

The Administration Building, on the east slope of Cabrillo Canyon in line with the Laurel Street extension through the park, was the first to go up. It was begun on November 6, 1911 and completed in March 1912.77 A mill and steel and lumber yard near the building provided materials. Surviving blueprints list Bertram Goodhue or Carleton Winslow as the architect.

To keep a workforce that would stay on the job, 100 small bunk houses for four persons each were put up east of Midland Drive. A hospital for 26 patients near Pepper Grove opened December 5, 1912.78 Blueprints again indicate Bertram Goodhue designed this building. A manufacturing company donated equipment for the hospital’s surgery room and paid for is shipment to San Diego.

Goodhue designed a bridge to span Cabrillo Canyon with three gigantic arches, similar to the Alcántara Bridge at Toledo, Spain.79 Thinking Goodhue’s design too costly, exposition directors chose instead a seven-arch, aqueduct-type bridge designed by Frank P. Allen, Jr. and engineered by Thomas B. Hunter. Work on the bridge commenced in September 1912 and ended on April 12, 1914, when the first car was driven across with Franklin D. Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, G. Aubrey Davidson, and Mayor Charles F. O’Neall as passengers.80 Allen used 7,700 cubic yards of concrete and 450 tons of steel to construct the bridge. It was held up by steel T-frames and reinforced concrete piers. The bridge was 40 ft. wide, 450 long and 120 ft. high at its highest point.81 It cost $225,154.89 which was $75,154.89 over Allen’s original estimate of $150,000.0082

The main exposition entrance was at Laurel Street and West Park Boulevard. The buildings rose east of Cabrillo Bridge: Administration, California State, Fine Arts, Science and Education, Indian Arts, Sacramento Valley, Home Economy, Foreign Arts, Commerce and Industries, Botanical, Varied Industries and Food Products, and Southern California Counties Buildings followed one another along El Prado, the main avenue, to the East Gate.

Governor Hiram Johnson, on March 31, 1911, signed a $250,000 appropriation bill for construction of a state building for the Panama-California Exposition.83 On July 1, 1912, $50,000 would be available for plans and foundation work. Johnson, on June 7, 1913, signed a second bill releasing the additional $200,000.84 He appointed Thomas O’Hallaran, George W. Marston and Louis J. Wilde to the building committee. After Wilde resigned, he appointed Russel C. Allen. Marston was president of the committee and O’Hallaran secretary.85

In November 1911, exposition directors adopted Goodhue’s plans for the California State Building and Quadrangle. Lt. Governor J.A. Wallace laid the cornerstone, September 12, 1913.86

The California Quadrangle marked the formal entrance into the exposition after passing through the West Gate. An anonymous reporter in The San Diego Union hailed the California Building as second only to the State Capitol in Sacramento in beauty.87 It had a Greek-cross plan, with a rotunda and dome at the crossing and minor domes and half-domes at the sides. A tower in the southeast corner rose 180 ft. Walter Nordhoff of National City fired the tiles used on the domes and tower.88 The F. Wurster Construction Company put up the building, using reinforced concrete and hollow tiles in the domes and vaults.

The Piccirilli Brothers of New York City created casts of ornaments on the tower and frontispiece of the California Building and on the two gates framing the Quadrangle;89 these they sent to the Tracy Art and Brick Stone Company of Chula Vista for final execution.90

Figures on the facade constitute a historical hall of fame. They are Father Junípero Serra, Father Luis Jayme, Father Antonio de la Ascención, explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, explorer Sebastian Viscaíno, and busts of Governor Gaspar de Portolá, explorer George Vancouver, and Kings Charles V and Philip III of Spain.91

Through their subtle use of idealized depictions of past notables in swirling clothes against a backdrop of writhing and wriggling ornament and broken and curved entablatures, Goodhue and the Piccirillis created the liveliest Spanish-Revival facade in the United States. The tower, with its slender graceful profile and exquisitely adjusted tiers, is even more impressive than the facade. Both facade and tower have been copied many times by American architects. Rivalling facade and tower in appeal, the dramatic central dome, with its vibrant starburst designs, is patterned after the great dome of the Church of Santa Prisca and San Sebastián at Taxco, Mexico. Other structural and design features on the building were taken freely from many sources.92

On October 2, 1914, the State of California presented the California Building to the exposition.93 Meant to be permanent, the building was one of four to remain after the temporary structures had been torn down. The others were the Fine Arts and the Botanical Buildings and the Organ Pavilion.

The Brown and De Cew Construction Company built the Fine Arts Building, on the south side of the California Quadrangle, after Goodhue’s designs. It cost the City of San Diego $104,243.95.94 As with the bridge, exposition officials rejected Goodhue’s first plans as too expensive. The side facing the Quadrangle has an arcaded corridor, a wood-beam ceiling and a tile roof. Arches spring from square shafts with sturdy bases and simply-molded capitals. Richard Pourade gave their prototype as an arcade adjoining the Church of El Carmen in Celaya, Mexico.95 The blank wall behind the arcade was left for future fresco decoration. The plain, horizontal Fine Arts Building contrasts with the ornate, vertical California Building.

The interior of the Fine Arts Building was more assertive that its exterior. Four-part groin vaulting, enclosing clerestory windows, lent spaciousness and grace to the main gallery. Putti, representing the arts of music, painting, sculpture and ceramics, on a balcony at the east end, sounded notes of joy.

Below the balcony, in a staircase hall, a bronze wall fountain, set in a niche lined with blue and white glazed tile, sparkled vivaciously.

At the opposite of the gallery, below a circular balcony supported by a corbel bearing the Seal of the City of San Diego, a door opened into the main entrance hall where a fine wrought-iron and brass Spanish lantern was suspended from a coffered wood ceiling. At the rear of the entrance hall, a narrow door led to a balcony from which visitors looked down into the St. Francis Chapel, dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi. The saint who was represented showing the stigmata on a bas-relief to the right of the altar and by an inscription on the main beam supporting the balcony: SCTE FRANCISCE, PATER SERAPHICE MISSIONUM ALTAE CALIFORNIAE PATRONE, ORA PRO NOBIS (Holy Francis, Seraphic Father, Patron of the Missions in Upper California, pray for us).

A polychrome reredos in the shallow valuted chancel was designed by Goodhue and assembled by Mack, Jenny and Tyler, decorators, of New York City. A statue of Our Lady and Child, in the middle of the reredos, is flanked to right and left by statues representing San Diego de Alcalá and St. Francis Xavier. Heads above each statue depict Santa Clara of Assisi and Santa Ysabel of Hungary, while bishops’ heads further to right and left suggest San Luis of Tolosa and San Buenaventure of Albano.

Other objects of interest, donated to the chapel by Goodhue, were an old ‘Ecce Homo’ painting, a wrought-iron lectern holding an old Bible, and a wooden statue of San Antonio de Padua.

A belfry containing an old bell from Granada, Spain tops the chancel on the outside.96 Sturdy buttresses on the exterior south walls of the chapel and the Fine Arts Building were suggested by Moorish buttresses on Mission San Gabriel near Los Angeles.

The small Plaza de California, inside the California Quadrangle, the grand Plaza de Panama, at the symbolic center of the exposition, and the open Plaza de Balboa at the east entrance relieved the compact buildings along El Prado and replaced the shadows of their narrow street-level arcades with the sunlight of expanded spaces. Glimpses into the Montezuma Garden and into the garden patio of the Science and Education Building, as well as open views into the Botanic Gardens and into its axial extension, also lightened the impact of the orderly row of buildings. This was an exposition designed to make people feel like people, not like puny mortals.

Goodhue and his draftsman, Clarence S. Stein, were so captivated by the interplay of open and enclosed spaces at the San Diego exposition they reused the same concept in their layout for the mining town of Tyrone, New Mexico. Vestiges of the plan also crop up in Goodhue’s designs for the California State Institute of Technology at Pasadena and in Stein’s designs for garden cities at Sunnyside Gardens, Long Island and at Radborn, New Jersey.

Goodhue’s first site plan called for a music pavilion on the north side of the Plaza de Panama.97 Hoping to put a Motor Transportation Building on this choice site, exposition directors decided to put the organ pavilion John D. Spreckles offered to the City in 1913 north of the California Building, facing south.98 After Brazil reneged on its building at the southern end of the esplanade connecting to the Plaza de Panama, the directors changed the organ pavilion site to this location, where it is today.

Spreckels paid $33,500 for an electric pneumatic Austin organ, and another $66,500 to the F. Wurster Construction Company for construction of the pavilion.

The elongated, heavily-festooned San Joaquin Valley Building on the east and the squat, simply-designed Kern and Tulare Counties Building on the west faced the esplanade. At the base of the esplanade, the equally incongruous Salt Lake and Union Pacific Building on the east and the Alameda and Santa Clara Countries Bulilding on the west flanked the organ pavilion.99

The Botanical Building, at the north end of a minor cross-axis between the Home Economy and the Varied Industries and Food Products Buildings, faced a long reflecting pool and a sightline framed by the Foreign Arts and the Commerce and Industries Buildings. The building had an interesting genesis. In September 1911, Alfred D. Robinson, president of the San Diego Floral Society, conceived the idea of a giant lath palace in the center of an enormous botanic garden.100 It was to be similar to lath enclosures in Point Loma and Coronado, only bigger. Irving Gill wrote approvingly of these plans, but Carleton Winslow thought differently.101 In early 1912, Winslow drew up plans for a massive Spanish-Renaissance building.102

As finally designed by Winslow, with help from Frank P. Allen, Jr. and Thomas B. Hunter, the Botanical Building was more lath house than Spanish palace. It consisted of a narrow rectangle with a dominant central dome and with short barrel vaults on either side. Steel frames bridged the vaults and helped up stained and bent redwood lath.

Palms, bamboo, banana trees and arailia grew in the main building. Vitis, isoplepsis, crotons, dracaenas, philodendrons and anthuriums grew inside a long glass wing in the back.103

In his designs for the Botanical Building and its two lagoons, Winslow adapted Spanish and Persian models to produce a placid, people-pleasing scene.

Allen’s original estimate for constructing the Botanical Building was $30,000.00. Final costs cam to $53,386.23, or an overrun of $22,386.23104

Representatives from the Japanese Tea Association and from the Japanese and Formosan governments erected a tea garden and pavilion in a corner a few steps to the northeast of the Botanical Building. Workmen planted the garden with Japanese cedar, wisteria and bamboo. Winding paths led to a moon bride whose semi-circular shape was reflected in a stream beneath. Lanterns, pebbles, carp, a bonsai and ginkgo tree, carved folo birds, even the tea itself were chosen and placed carefully to enchant the beholder.105

K. Tami, a Japanese architect, used an ornate temple in Kyoto as the model for the tea pavilion, which bore little resemblance to rustic and small Japanese tea houses. Sections were made in Japan and assembled, without benefit of nails, in San Diego. The pavilion was the only building on the grounds put up by a foreign country.

The Plaza de Balboa, or eastern terminus of El Prado, was laid out opposite an electric railway station, to the north on an automobile parking lot. It functioned as a place of transit to exhibits on the west and to amusement concessions on the north. Goodhue had wanted a statue of Balboa to grace this plaza, but for reasons of economy, the statue was omitted.106 Unlike other expositions, San Diego’s was noticeably lacking in figure sculpture.

Two roughly parallel north-south roads on the east, the Alameda and the Isthmus, led to the North or Isthmus Gate. They were joined by a short strip called Calle Colón on the south and another called Calle Ancón on the north. The Alameda was bordered by agricultural exhibits and by the International Harvester, Lipton Tea, Nevada, and Standard Oil pavilions. The Isthmus, or northern part of Midland Drive, to the east of the Alameda, was closed to through traffic for the duration of the fair. It was bordered by amusement concessions.

The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Company put up an Indian Village and Painted Desert on a five-acre mesa between the Alameda and the Isthmus, at the northern end of the exposition. As Indian villages had been erected at Chicago’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, Buffalo’s Pan-American Exposition 1901, and St. Louis’s Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904, the idea of an Indian village in Balboa Park was not novel. The Santa Fe Railroad Company’s participation in the project was, however, unusual. The railroad’s executives probably thought the sight of Indians from Arizona and New Mexico living in replicas of their native homes would induce tourists to visit the real thing.

Indians from the San Ildefonso Pueblo in New Mexico created the exhibit, using cholla, sagebrush, yucca, cedar posts, and sandstone from their indigenous areas. Jesse L. Nusbaum, an employee of the Museum of New Mexico and of the School of American Archaeology, supervised construction. On the eastern side of the mesa, two adobe structures, called the Zuni and the Taos Buildings, faced ritual kivas. On the western side, Navajo hogans and cliff dwellings, colored to resemble rock formations in Arizona’s Painted Desert, faced open courtyards and corrals for animals. Construction costs came to about $150,000.107

With the exception of Nevada, the state pavilions were built on a plateau southwest of the organ pavilion. These were Kanasas, Utah, Washington, Montana and New Mexico.

Mrs. Jesse C. Knox operated a potpourri rose garden as a concession a short distance from the state building.108

On December 15, 1914, the Second Battalion of the Fourth Regiment of U.S. Marines set up a tent city and parade ground adjoining the rose garden at the exposition’s southern end.

At the invitation of exposition president G. Aubrey Davidson, Colonel Joseph H. Pendleton, commander of the U.S. Marine Corps Fourth Regiment, established his headquarters on the balcony floor of the Science and Education Building.109

The Home Economy, Indian Arts, Science and Education, Botanical, Varied Industries and Food Products, and Southern California Countries Buildings were under construction in 1913. Work on all other buildings began in 1914.110

After construction was under way, onlookers were allowed to enter the grounds and watch building progress on payment of a 25 cent admission.111

The entire plant was ready one month before the opening. Allen’s original estimate for erection of the buildings had been $2,000,000. In November 1914, he reported his total outlay as $1,800,000. In addition, he estimated the value of his free services outside the Work Department at $350,000.112

An audit of pre-exposition operation, concluded by Palethorpe, McBride and Probert of Los Angeles, March 29, 1915, gave the total charges for construction of the Division of Works as $1,937,445.03.113

In 1909, William Clayton, manager of the Spreckels-owned San Diego Electric Railway Company, said the company would “at a time not too far distant take steps to run a line through the City Park”.114 To fulfill this plan, the company in 1914 began a double-track to the exposition, starting at 12th and Ash Streets. The line stopped before a multi-arched station at the east gate. In 1917, the company extended the line to Upas Street.115 Some skeptics (including John C. Olmsted) think Spreckels, rather than Collier, chose the central mesa for the exposition because it provided him with an excuse to extend his railroad line through the center of the park.116

In the last week of 1914, troops A, B, D and M of the First Calvary, U.S. Army, occupied a model camp on the western slope of Switzer (today Florida) Canyon, to the east of the North or Isthmus Gate.117

Shortly after 9 o’clock p.m., December 31, 1914 John D. Spreckels, standing on the stage of the organ pavilion, said to John F. Forward, Jr., president of the Park Commission, “I beg you to accept this gift on behalf of the people of San Diego.” Forward replied: “In the name of the people of San Diego and of those untold multitudes who in all the coming years shall stand before this glorious organ and be moved by its infinite voices, I thank you”.

Next, Samuel M. Shortridge of San Franciso extolled the power of music and the generosity of John D. and Adolph B. Spreckels, in the florid and unchecked manner of nineteenth century orators. The San Diego Popular Orchestra of 50, conducted by Chesley Mills, presented the overture of Offenbach’s “Orpheus in the Underworld” and the People’s Chorus of 250, led by Willibald Lehmann, sang selections from Haydn’s oratorio “The Creation.” Then Dr. Humphery J. Stewart, who had been engaged at Spreckels’ expense, gave the first of many organ recitals. He began his recital with a processional march from “Montezuma,” which he had composed, and ended it with “Unfold Ye Portals” from Gounod’s “Redemption”, with chorus and orchestra joining in.118

At 11:00 p.m., exposition bandsmen, in colorful Spanish uniforms of blue, red and yellow, played dance tunes in front of the Sacramento Valley Building, facing the Plaza de Panama. The bandsmen concluded with a stirring rendition of the National Anthem, with U.S. Army and Navy men and anybody else who cared to joining in the singing while the flags of the United States and of Spain were unfurled. Afterward, Colonel Collier, as master of ceremonies, told those assembled:

Our hopes never wavered, our efforts did not lessen. We have stood together like one people should. We encountered all the trials and tribulations ever before those who attempt to blaze a new trail or attempt what seems impossible. That which five years ago was a hazy dream is today a reality, and San Diego keeps her promise to the world.119

Collier was followed by Carl D. Ferris fo the Park Commission, Mayor Charles F. O’Neall, George W. Marston, Governor Hiram Johnson, and G. Aubrey Davidson.

Marston praised the California Building and the state it represented:

On this rise of Balboa Park we here today dedicate the California Building to noble uses — the study of life, the history of man, the sciences and arts, the high things of the mind and spirit. Through the genius of a great architect, Bertram Goodhue, a temple of such nobility and beauty has arisen from this ground that one might well ascribe upon its door, “Let only the reverent and thoughtful enter here.”Behold the spreading dome, catching the light of the rising and setting sun. Look upward to the glorious tower rising so serenely in the sky; observe with quiet thoughtfulness the figures of saints and heroes which adorn the southern front. Do they not set forth the past and present of California life? Are they not the true symbols of her glowing history and her wonderful today?120

At the stroke of midnight, Pacific Time (3 a.m. Eastern Time), President Woodrow Wilson pressed a telegraph button in Washington, D.C., fashioned of the first five-dollar gold piece contributed toward the exposition. The flash, captured by a wire at the Western Union exhibit in the Science and Education Building, turned on the electric power at the exposition. Instantly, a light, attached to a balloon 1,500 ft. above the Plaza de Panama, came on, illuminating a three-mile area in the sky and casting a ruddy glow over the gleaming white exposition buildings. Lights blared on in full intensity, revealing the silhouettes of buildings. Mortarmen about the grounds began firing missiles that spent themselves in white clouds of dropping smoke. Red carbide fire sprang from 7,000 sticks concealed in the shrubbery and around the buildings. Eight powerful searchlights from the crusier USS San Diego, flagship of the Pacific fleet, anchored off the foot of Market Street, threw their beams of light on the tower of the California Building while, at the same time, thousands of incandescent lights outlined the ship, from bow to stern. Bonfires on the summits of hills in San Diego and, farther away, on summits in the Cuyamacas, the Palomars and San Miguel burst into flames. About 1,000 mines on the exposition grounds expoloded as guns at Fort Rosecrans and on the USS San Diego, nine torpedo destroyers, two submarines, and a repair ship in the harbor saluted. Gatesmen threw the gates wide open as sirens wailed, steam pipes shrieked, whistles blew, cowbells rang, rattles shook, confetti streamed down, silk and straw hats went up, and cheers arose from an official turnside count of 31,386 to an unofficial estimate of 42,486 people on the grounds.

Atop the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, making use of the power that turned on the lights, the gates of the Panama Canal swung open in a fireworks display. A ship “1915” started through the canal, waves breaking before her bow. Before the fireworks had dimmed, letters broke forth through the shooting flame which read: “The land divided — the world united — San Diego — the first port of call.”121

San Diego had kept its promise to itself and to the world.



1. San Diego Union, August 29, 1909, 14:2; September 8, 1909, 1:3 5:12.

2. San Diego Union, April 12, 1914, 3:6.

3. San Diego Union, September 6, 1909, 1:2-4; September 27, 1909, 3:7.

4. Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of the Census. 13th Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1910, p. 33, 63.

5. San Diego Union, September 11, 1909, 1:3, 5:1.

6. San Diego Union, April 28, 1907, 2.3.

7. San Diego Union, September 8, 1909, June 8,1913, 13:1-2; D.C. Collier, “What an Exposition is For,” Sunset, July 1913, pp. 145-150.

8. San Diego Union, August 26, 1911, 5:4; February 29, 1912, 10:1-7; May 31, 1913, 1:8, 1:3; April 23, 1914, 1:4. In the language of the time, Colonel Collier was “an eager beaver.” He owned one of the first automobiles in the city; he headed the Reception Committee for the visit of the Great White Fleet to San Diego in 1908; and he organized the San Diego Aero Club. As generous as he was civic-minded, he donated land in San Diego, La Mesa and Ramona for parks.

The soft shirt, Windsor tie, and ten-gallon hat Collier always wore gave evidence of his exuberant and unconventional character. Though successful as a booster, Collier was not an astute politician. San Diego voters rejected him as a City councilman in 1917 and San Diego Country voters rejected him as a supervisor in 1932. Even so, Collier’s friends held him in respect. Through their efforts, a bas-relief, put on the west wall of the Plaza de California, was dedicated in Collier’s honor on October 11, 1936. It shows Collier signing his name, “Yours for San Diego”. Beneath are the words: “David Charles Collier — A Man of Vision — A Dynamic Leader — A Developer and Builder — A Great and Lovable Character — The Creative Genius of the Panama-California Exposition of 1915 — An Inspiration to the Citizens of Today.”

9. Frank Todd, The Story of the Exposition: Being the Official History of the International Celebration Held at San Francisco in 1925 (New York, 1921), Vol. 1, p. 42.

10. San Diego Union, January 15, 1910, 5:1; January 18, 1910, 4:1, 5:1.

11. San Diego Union, February 25, 1910, 1:2.

12. San Diego Union, March 16, 1910, 1:1.

13. San Diego Union, January 16, 1910, 4:1; April 14, 1910, 8:1.

14. San Diego Union, May 8, 1910, II, 1:1.

15. San Diego Union, August 10, 1910, 1:1.

16. Todd, Story of Exposition, p. 91.

17. San Diego Union, May 23, 1911, 9:1.

18. San Diego Union, August 20, 1911, 1:6.

19. San Diego Union, January 23, 1912, 13:1.

20. San Diego Union, February 5, 1912, 6:5.

21. Richard Pourade, Gold In The Sun (San Diego, 1965), pp. 163-164.

22. San Diego Union, February 10, 1912, 6:1-4.

23. San Diego Union, February 29, 1912, 10>1-7.

24. William Kettner, Why It Was Done And How (San Diego, 1932), pp. 9-10.

25. San Diego Union, May 24, 1913, 9:1.

26. San Diego Union, July 2, 1913, 1:5.

27. San Diego Union, November 16, 1910, 17:1; November 12, 1910, 7:1.

28. Letter, George W. Marston to John Nolen, Setpember 22, 1910, in Marston File – Correspondence, 1910-1914, San Diego History Center Research Archives.

29. San Diego Union, January 6, 1911, 1:1, 5:4.

30. San Diego Union, May 24, 1911, 5:5-6; June 16, 1911, 10:1-3.

31. San Diego Union, June 25, 1911, 14:1-3.

32. San Diego Union, October 23, 1910, 9:2-3.

33. San Diego Union, January 28, 1911, 10:2-3.

34. Esther McCoy, Five California Architects (New York, 1960), pp. 87-90.

35. San Diego Union, August 8, 1910, 6:106.

36. San Diego Union, August, 1, 1911, 5:5; September 3, 1911, 16:2.

37. San Diego Union, September 6, 1911, 7:1-8; Correspondence, 1919-1914, Marston File, San Diego History Center Research Archivies.

38. San Diego Union, September 10, 1911, 8:1.

39. Julius Wangenheim, “Autobiography,” California Historical Society Quarterly, March 1957, p.67.

40. McCoy, California Architects, p. 89.

41. San Diego Union, September 6, 1911, 7:1-2.

42. David Gebhard and Robert Winter, A Guide to the Architecture in Los Angeles and Southern California (Santa Barbara, 1977), pp. 79-81.

43. Bertram Goodhue, Mexican Memories (New York, 1892); Sylvester Baxter, Spanish Colonial Architecture in Mexico, plans by Bertram Goodhue (Boston, 1902).

44. Carleton M. Winslow, The Architecture and Gardens of the San Diego Exposition, introduction by Bertram Goodhue (San Francisco, 1916).

45. Eugene Neuhaus, San Diego Garden Fair (San Francisco, 1916).

46. San Diego Union, January 3, 1911, 4; Neuhaus, p. 23.

47. San Diego Union, January 3, 1911, 4; January 1, 1915, Exposition Section, 6:8, 7:1-2; Mark S. Watson, “San Diego Exposition,” Semi-Tropic California — President Wilson Invitation Edition, 1915 (Los Angeles, 1914) pp. 84-86, San Diego Public Library, California Room.

48. San Diego Union, October, 18, 1911, 18:1, January 1, 1914, 5:1-2; January 1, 1915, Exposition Section, 3:1-6; Geddes Smith, “California’s County Fair,” Independent Magazine, July 26, 1915, pp; 119-121.

49. “The Romantic Past of Spanish California Returns,”San Diego Panama-California Expositon 1915 – San Diego All The Year – 1915, Exposition Booklet, San Diego Public Library, California Room.

50. San Diego Union, October 28, 1910, 9:1.

51. Letter, Thomas O’Hallaran, Secretary of the Board of Park Commissioners, to City Council, December 29, 1910, Document 38825, filed January 3, 1911, City of San Diego City Clerk’s Office.

52. Letter, Board, of Park Commissioners to City of San Diego, September 1913, Panama-California International Exposition Papers, compiled by Joanne S. Anderson, 1972, San Diego Public Library, California Room.

53. San Diego Union, July 20, 1911 through July 23, 1911; John S. McGroatry, “San Diego Pageant Exposition Groundbreaking,” “The West Coast Magazine, October 1911, pp. 7-26.

54. San Diego Union, July 24, 1911, 14:1.

55. San Diego Union, November 23, 1911, 11:2-3.

56. San Diego Union, January 1, 1913, 8:1.

57. Jerre C. Murphy, “San Diego’s Evolutionary Expoistion,” Colliers, December 5, 1914, pp. 20-22.

58. Walter V. Voehlke, “Staging the Big Show,” Sunset, August 1914, pp. 336-346.

59. San Diego Union, April 23, 1914, 1:4. After his resignation as president, Collier represented the exposition intermittently in negotiations with railroads, steamship lines, tourist agencies and hotels. He tried promoting a railway, practicing law, selling property and running for political office with disappointing results. In 1922, President Warren G. Harding appointed him United States representative to the Brazilian Centennial Exposition in Rio de Janeiro. He was director-general of the Sesqui-Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia for nine months in 1925, but resigned after the building program had been cut back. Again in San Diego, in 1931, he advocated holding a Centennial Exposition on the waterfront in 1934, in honor of San Diego’s 100 years as a city. He died November 12, 1934 at the age of 63.

60. San Diego Union, January 1, 1915, II, 2:3.

61. San Diego Union, January 1, 1914, Exposition Section, 2: January 1, 1915, Exposition Section, 3:1-7; Watson, “San Diego Exposition,” Semi-Tropic California.

62. Woehlke, Sunset, pp. 336-346.

63. G. Aubrey Davidson, “History of the Panama-California Exposition of 1915 and the Panama-California International Exposition of 1916,” History of San Diego Country, edited by Carl H. Heilbron (San Diego, 1936), P. 403.

64. San Diego Union, April 17, 1912, 11:2; June 1, 1913, 2:1; June 8, 1913, 13:1-2; March 28, 1914, 11:2-3.

65. San Diego Union, November 18,1911, 8:2.

66. San Diego Union, February 27, 1912, 8:2-3, January 1, 1913, 3:1-7, 9:3; January 30, 1913, 8:4.

67. Minutes of San Diego City Council Meeting, March 18, 1907, Microfilm, San Diego City Clerk’s Office.

68. San Diego Union, January 30, 1912, 8:4.

69. Board of Park Commissioners Correspondence, 1913-1914, Papers, compiled by Joanne S. Anderson, 1972, San Diego Public Library, California Room.

70. San Diego Union, January 27, 1910, 7:2-4; December 1, 1914, 3:2; Janauary 1, 1915, II, 7:1-4.

71. San Diego Union, Janauary 1, 1915, II 7:4.

72. Arthur X. Bradley, “Exposition Gardens,” Sunset, April 1915, pp. 665-679.

73. Winslow, Architecture and Gardens, p. 130.

74. San Diego Union, January 1, 1913, 3:1-7; January 1, 1914, 2:1.

75. San Diego Union, April 20, 1912, 12:3-4.

76. San Diego Union, June 8, 1913, 13:1-2; January 1, 1914, 4:2.

77. San Diego Union, November 7, 1911, 7:2; Winifield Hogaboom, “The Panama-California Administration Building”, Sunset, April 1912, pp. 492-493.

78. San Diego Union, January 1, 1913, 3:1-7, 9:3.

79. C. Matlack Price, “The Panama-California Exposition, San Diego, California,” The Architectural Record, March 1915, p. 244.

80. San Diego Union, April 13, 1914, 1:1.

81. San Diego Union, January 1, 1913, 3:7, June 5, 1913, 13:2-3; January 1, 1914, 4:7.

82. Palethorpe, McBride and Probert, Los Angeles, Panama-California Exposition Report on Pre-Exposition Operations from November 1909 to December 31, 1914, p. 13, San Diego History Center Research Archives.

83. San Diego Union, March 2, 1911, 9:1; Aprial 4, 1911, 6:2.

84. San Diego Union, June 8, 1913, 25:3-5.

85. Scrapbook attributed to Thomas O’ Hallaran, 1909-1914, San Diego Public Library, California Room.

86. San Diego Union, September 12, 1913, 2:1.

87. San Diego Union, July 13, 1913, 13:1.

88. Winslow, Architecture and Gardens, p. 36.

89. Winslow, Architecture and Gardens, P. 32, 34; Josef Vincent Lombardo, Attilio Piccirilli, Life of an American Sculptor (New York, 1944), p. 291.

90. San Diego Union, January 11, 1914, 3:2-3.

91. Winslow, Architecture and Gardens, p. 32.

92. Richard W. Amero, “The California Building: A Case of the Misunderstood Baroque,” The Mason Street Papers, Vol.4, 1981, pp. 148-176.

93. San Diego Union, October 3, 1914, 3:2.

94. Palethorpe, McBride and Probert, p.49.

95. Pourade, Gold In The Sun, p. 252.

96. Letters, Carleton M. Winslow to Board of Park Commissioners, January-December 1914, in Papers, compiled by Joanne S. Anderson, 1972, San Diego Public Library, California Room.

97. Price. 247.

98. San Diego Union, October 26, 1913, 3:1-2; January 1, 1914, 5:3-5.

99. San Diego Union, January 1, 1915, Exposition 4:5-6; Official Guidebook of the Panama-California Exposition 1915, p. 27, San Diego Public Library, California Room.

100. San Diego Union, Spetember 19,1911, 5:3; A.D. Robinson, “A Palace of Lath,” Sunset, March 1912, pp. 283-284.

101. Irving Gill, Statement, California Garden, September 1911, p.9.

102. San Diego Union, April 18, 1912, 9:2-3. Carleton M. Winslow, Jr., The Architecture of the Panama-California Exposition, thesis submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in History, University of San Diego, p. 30, San Diego Public Library, California Room.

103. Winslow, Architecture and Gardens, p.132.

104. Palethorpe, McBride and Proberg, p.13.

105. San Diego Union, December 2, 1914, 8:4; Barbara Jones, “Garden Heritage of Balboa Park,” California Garden, November-December 1971, p. 183; Edwin Bayrd, Kyoto, Japan’s Ancient Capital (New York, 1974), pp. 110-114; Clay Lancaster, The Japanese Influence in America (Tokyo, 1963), p. 178.

106. Price, Architectural Record, p. 247.

107. Lynn Adkins, “Jesse L. Nusbaum and the Painted Desert,” The Journal of San Diego History, Vol. 29, Spring 1983, pp. 86-95.

108. San Diego Union, October 1, 1914, 9:1.

109. Army and Navy Review, 1915 Panama-California Exposition Edition, foreword by Colonel Joseph H. Pendleton, San Diego Public Library, California Room; Major General Joseph H. Pendleton, “San Diego and the Marines,” History of San Diego County, p. 287.

110. San Diego Union, July 4, 1913, 18:4; August 17, 1913, II, 1:1-5; August 18, 1913, 5:3; August 31, 1913, 18:1; November 6, 1913, Ii, 1:3; January 1, 1914, Exposition Section, 1, 3, 4; January 30, 1914, 11:1; July 7, 1914, 3:2; October 21, 1914, 1:5; December 2, 1914, 8:4.

111. San Diego Union, April 18, 1914, 3:5.

112. San Diego Union, November 29, 1914, 3:5.

113. Palethorpe, McBride and Probert, Exposition Report, p. 95.

114. San Diego Sun, September 1, 1901, 15:2.

115. San Diego Union, September 27, 1914, 5:2; Richard B. Dodge, Rails of the Silver Gate (San Marino, 1960>, pp.59-65.

116. Gregory Montes, Balboa Park, 1909-1911, The Rise and Fall of the Olmsted Plan,

The Journal of San Diego History, Vol. 28, Winter 1982, p. 53. The streetcar line running through the center of the park was but one of the many threats emanating from promient members of the community for park enthusiasts of fend off.

In May 1911, Colonel Collier suggested using the buildings to be left in the park after the exposition for a permanent commercial exhibit (San Diego Union, May 1, 1911, 17:1). On may 28, 1911, the American Women’s League offered to hire George Julian Zolnay as director of sculpture for the exposition if they were granted a five-acre site for a women’s building (San Diego Union, May 29, 1911, 9:1). A reporter for the San Diego Union, name unknown, October 17, 1913, thought the exposition buildings could be used for museums, art galleries and auditoriums (San Diego Union, October 17, 1913, II, 1:1-5). City Clerk Allen H. Wright, in November 1914, had his sights on the California Building as a city hall (San Diego Union, November 29, 1914, 9:1) while Harry O. Wise, vice principal of San Diego High School, January 1, 1915, saw in the exposition buiildings the beginnings of a four-year college (San Diego Union, January 1, 1915, 3:1). Clearly, in one way or another, the exposition buildings portended big changes to Balboa Park.

  1. San Diego Union, April 17, 1932, 7:1.
  2. San Diego Union, December 9, 1914, 9:2; Austin Adams, The Man John D. Spreckels (San Diego, 1924), pp. 230-244.
  3. San Diego Union, January 1, 1915, 1:2.
  4. Mary Gilman Marston, George W. Marston — A Family Chronicle, Vol. II (San Diego, 1956), pp. 43-44.
  5. San Diego Union, January 1, 1915, 1:1-3; San Diego Sun, January 1, 1915, 1; Los Angeles Times, Janauray 1, 1915, 1,2,4.



Architectural Attributions

Though most architects do not like to admit they borrow details from other buildings, they frequently do. This practice was even more prevalent in the early part of the twentieth century when many architects visited and studied in Europe. In any case it was inevitable that exposition architecture would reflect a vast amount of accumulated knowledge, for the architects did not have the time nor inclination to design original and innovative buildings for temporary purposes.

Frank P. Allen, Jr., in newspaper and magazine accounts, boasted he was responsible for the ground plan and the design of the buildings for the Panama-California Exposition, with the exceptions of the organ pavilion and the California Quadrangle. This claim infuriated Bertram Goodhue, the consulting architect, as shown by his correspondence on file in the Avery Architectural Library of Columbia University. The determination of responsibility was important because on it hinged the assisgnment of future commissions. Acting as a peacemaker between the contending architects, Carleton Winslow maintained that Goodhue designed the permanent California Quadrangle, and that he designed some of the temporary buildings, Allen the others.

The following attributions are offered to clear up the confusion and to give credit where credit is due.

Carleton M. Winslow designed the Mission-style Administration, Indian Arts, and Kansas Buildings; the Spanish-Renaissance style Science and Education Building; the Spanish-Plateresque style Home Economy Building; the Spanish-Baroque style Foreign Arts Building; the Persian-style Botanical Building; the Mexican-Churrigueresque style Varied Industries and Food Products and Southern California Counties Buildings; the Baroque-style corner entrances to arcades; and the Classic-style Seal of the City of San Diego on the crown of the arch of the west gate.1

Winslow was a gifted decorator, inclined to lush effects, who worked best when his designs came from his own imagination rather than from copybooks, as witness the allegorical tableau on the Calle Cristobal, or east side, of the Varied Industries Building, the cartouche in honor of Father Serra on the apse-end of the Food Products Building, and the abstract shapes on the patio tower of the Science and Education Building.

H.L. Schmohl, who had done staff work for almost every American exposition of consequence since 1893, supervised a crew of 26 who modeled the ornament after Winslow’s drawings before casting it in glue molds, using a medium of plaster and hemp fiber.2

Frank P. Allen, Jr. designed the Roman-aqueduct style Cabrillo Bridge, the Neo-Classical style pergolas in the Montezuma and Botanical Gardens, the Romanesque colonnade between the Foreign Arts Building and the Commerce and Industries Building, the Italian-Renaissance Sacramento Valley Building, and the Mexican-Churrigueresque San Joaquin Valley Building.

Harrison Albright, architect for John D. Spreckels, designed the Classic-style organ pavilion with a great arch in the center and curving arcades at the sides. He covered the exterior with rosettes, stars, satyr heads, floral sprays and musical motifs.3

Quayle Brothers and Cressey, San Diego architects, designed the Neo-Classical style Salt Lake and Union Pacific Building to the east of the organ pavilion.4 The introduction of so many Classic-style fixtures and buildings by architects appointed by private clients indicates that Bertram Goodhue’s power to impose a uniform architectural style had been eclipsed.

A.F. Heide designed the Mission-style Washington State Building,5 John Fetzer the Spanish-Renaissance style Utah Building,6 and Fred de Longchamp the Italian-Renaissance style Nevada Building.7 The brothers T.H. and W.M. Rapp used the church on the rock at Acoma and the mission at Chochiti as models for the autochthonous New Mexico Building.8 Frank P. Allen, Jr. was given credit for designing buildings not attributed to other architects.

Winslow and Allen admitted they took details from other buildings for their creations in Balboa Park. Unlike Winslow, who gave most of his sources, Allen, who wrote little, did not.

Winslow ascribed a tower on the Indian Arts Building to towers in Puebla and the east facade of the same building to the Sanctuary of Guadalupe in Guadalajara, Mexico; a tower on the Science and Education Building to Morrish sources and its east facade to the Church of San Francisco in Puebla; the west entrance of the Home Economy building to the Palace of the Counts of Heras in Mexico City and the southwest corner tower to the Palace of the Count of Monterey in Salamanca, Spain; the west facade of the Foreign Arts Building to the Hospital of Santa Cruz in Toledo, Spain; the upper balcony on the south side of the Varied Industries Building to sources in Querétaro, Mexico; and the double arcade on the north side of the patio in the Southern California Counties Building to the Convent of San Agustín in Querétaro.9

Richard Pourade traced the source of the tower on the Indian Arts Building to a tower on the Church of Santa Catarina in Puebla.10 Pourade does not reveal where he obtained his information; therefore, the assumption is he verified correspondences by on-the-spot inspection.

Winslow probably got his ideas from Goodhue with the exception of his plans for the High-Renaissance apse and Early-Renaissance arcade on the west side of the Food Products Building. These much-photographed features came from Winslow’s recollections of Italy.11

Finding Allen’s Sources requires detective work. Winslow attributed the Sacramento Valley Building to municipal buildings in Verona; the cornice of the Commerce and Industries Building to the Casa Consistorial in Palma, Mallorca; and the San Joaquin Valley Building to civic buildings in Mexico City.

Pourade thought the model for the Sacramento Valley Building was the Loggia del Consiglio in Verona. Both buildings have deep porches and upper and lower levels; but, otherwise, they are different.

Allen may have derived his idea for the glistening ornament on the Sacramento Valley Building’s arches, columns and pillars from the delicate relief on the grand staircase of the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City, a picture of which is reproduced in Sylvester Baxter’s book Spanish Colonial Architecture in Mexico, published in 1902. On the other hand, H.L. Schmohl may have talked him into it.

Eugene Neuhaus stated the Sacramento Valley Building “in its general features” resembled the Government Palace at Oaxaca, Mexico, but he did not indicate what these “general features” were. The lower level arcades of the wings of the Government Palace at Oaxaca relate to their entablatures and finials and to the second level balustrades and windows in a manner like that of the Sacramento Valley Building. Proportions and decorations on the two buildings are different, but their use of common articulative elements suggests, but does not prove, that one was the father of the other.12

The Sacramento Valley Building’s symmetrical appearance, its location at the head of the Plaza de Panama, and the stepped platform in front of it gave it a commanding presence.

Allen definitely used Sylvester Baxter’s book as the source for his copy of the facade of the Palace of the Counts of Ecala in Querétaro on the two north pavilions of the Commerce and Industries Building. For some reason, Winslow did not divulge Allen’s scrupulous tracing of detail. Allen copied wood panels on the eaves and cornice of the Casa Consistorial in Palma, Mallorca beneath the eaves of the Commerce and Industries Building and highlighted details with blue, red, green and gold colors. The idea probably came from Renaissance Architecture and Ornament in Spain, by Andrew N. Prentice, published in 1893.

Italian artisians, acting on their own or under the direction of H.L. Schmohl, modeled the nubile amazons who help up the eaves of the Commerce an Industries Building after the Neo-Classical staff work found on many nineteenth-century fair buildings. These abundantly buxom nudes were doubtlessly derived from the fully-clothed matrons who do similar work on the Casa Consistorial.

Allen may have dervied his two-story San Joaquin Valley Building from the one-story Casa de los Mascarones in Mexico City; however, the Balboa Park building uses estipites, or inverted columns, in place of the grotesque figures (mascarones) which give the Mexico City building its distinction.13

Whether today’s buildings should use ornament and appear as sumptuous as the festive buildings Winslow and Allen created is an unresolved question. Attempts are sometimes made in this direction, in theme parks, in historic restoration of old buildings, and in Post-Modern architecture. As man’s creative possibilities are unlimited, there is no inherent reason why Revival style buildings similar to those in Balboa Park, or Post-Modern interpretations of the same, cannot be created with a like theatrical success.



  1. San Diego Union, April 1, 1914, 3:2-3.
  2. San Diego Union, June 14, 1913, 7:2; August 3, 1913, II, 1:1-4.
  3. San Diego Union, January 1, 1915, Exposition Section, 4:7-8.
  4. San Diego Union, July 7, 1914, 3:2-4; Carleton M. Winslow, The Architecture and Gardens of the San Diego Exposition, introduction by Bertram Goodhue (San Francisco, 1916), p. 144.
  5. San Diego Union, January 23, 1914, 3:1.
  6. San Diego Union, April 9, 1914, 3:2-3.
  7. San Diego Union, November 19, 1913, II, 7:1; December 20, 1913, II, 1:1.
  8. Winslow, Architecture and Gardens, p. 146.
  9. All Winslow attributions are in The Architecture and Gardens of the San Diego Exposition.
  10. Richard Pourade, Gold In The Sun (San Diego, 1965) p. 254/
  11. Carleton M. Winslow, Jr., The Architecture of the Panama-California Exposition, thesis submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in History, University of San Diego, 1976, pp. 24-25.
  12. Eugene Neuhaus, San Diego Garden Fair (San Francisco, 1916), p.49.
  13. Sylvester Baxter, Spanish Colonial Architecture in Mexico, plans by Bertram Goodhue (Boston, 1902), Vol.4, plate 47.

The Photographs are from The San Diego History Center’s Title Insurance Trust Collection.