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Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Balboa Park 1915: Looking east from a vantage point atop the California Tower.  North Park and South Park historic neighborhoods are seen in the distance along the ridgeline 

Photo courtesy of San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles Magazine and the San Diego History Center
CENTENNIAL EVENT--Save Our Heritage Organisation as part of its year-long celebration of the Centennial of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition is offering  four architecture tours and four expert history talks March 28-29, 2015.

The four tours explore unusual and often overlooked aspects of Balboa Park history. This major undertaking of creating a national exposition made small-town San Diego a national sensation for architecture, horticulture, tourism and commerce.

"These weekends carry a two-fold message," said Allen Hazard, a member of SOHO's Events and Education committee, of the weekend events. "One is preservation. A lot of these places are not in good shape. The more people know about this remarkable place, the more they realize what an important part of our history and our culture the park is, and the more citizens will choose to advocate for preserving the park. The other is in recognizing how influential and important the 1915 Exposition was for the city, and how its legacy is still important 100 years later and beyond."


This weekend event includes three 90-minute walking tours that include architecture, decorative arts, gardens and intriguing, little-known facets of park history. These tours are limited to 25 participants to ensure a quality, in-depth experience for all.

In addition to the three walking tours, a 90-minute trolley tour will roll outside the park to flesh out the exposition story. Its passengers will see and learn about the homes and work places of the audacious people who made the first exposition possible.

The tours will be offered twice each day and are scheduled to allow guests to take part in all four of them, along with evening lectures with wine and cheese receptions during the May weekend. The tours will repeat on June 6 and 7. Advance ticket purchase, through SOHO, is strongly encouraged.

$15 - The Romance of the Expo: Courtyards, Tiles & Fountains
Romantic courtyards, tranquil fountains and opulent tile enhance the predominantly Spanish Revival architectural theme of Balboa Park. While many of these features are original to the 1915 Exposition, more were added for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition and during the following decades to commemorate people and special events. This 90-minute walking tour explores projects large and small, from the brilliant domes of the California Building to little-seen projects by architect Richard Requa in the House of Hospitality and the Art Deco fountain in the Ford Building.

$15 - Balboa Park: Hidden in Plain Sight
Have you ever noticed the original 1915 ticket booths on the west side of Cabrillo Bridge? Or that the grand west entrance arch from the same year has an Atlantic meets Pacific theme in honor of the just-completed Panama Canal? Balboa Park has countless "hidden" historical details, including unique structures, landscape features, and fascinating restorations. The tour will include spotlighting of the more crucial restoration needs of the park as well. This 90-minute tour takes you to century-old elements through today.

$25 - They Slept Here: The Movers, Shakers & Designers of Balboa Park
This trolley tour explores the neighborhoods west of the park looking at the homes of various people involved with the Exposition, including architect Carleton M. Winslow, Sr., and director of works Frank P. Allen, as well as zoo founder Dr. Harry Wegeforth, and San Diego mayors. "These were important people," Hazard said. "These are the guys who put the first half of 20th-century San Diego on the map. Their homes range from modest workers cottages to grand, with some in need of TLC to restore them to their rightful place in San Diego history."

$15 - The Garden Fair: A Living Legacy
Discover the remnants of the park's original landscapes for the expositions of 1915 and 1935. This rigorous walk goes back in time to explore the gardens and views of what was promoted as The Garden Fair in 1915, and continues on through 1935 with a look at the succulent and cactus garden behind the New Mexico Building (now the Balboa Park Club). Visitors will see how the canyon view from the historic west entrance of Cabrillo Bridge leading to the California Quadrangle is a sweeping vista that exposition designers created to seal the park's romantic spell on visitors and residents alike is still intact, hidden only by brush and volunteer trees.

LECTURES - $15 each, $50 for all four (includes reception)

March 28:
--5 pm - Mike Kelly, president of the Committee of One Hundred, a Balboa Park historic preservation group, tells The Story of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
--7 pm - David Marshall, AIA, president of Heritage Architecture & Planning, offers A Postcard Tour of Balboa Park's 1915 Exposition.

March 29
5pm - Vonn Marie May, a cultural landscape specialist, discusses A Celebration of Landscape Design and Botanical Promotion, 5pm
7pm - M. Wayne Donaldson, FAIA, architect; chair of the Federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; and former California State Historic Preservation Officer, describes The Architecture of the Exposition Buildings.

March 28 and 29
--Tours $15 each Purchase March Tour tickets Online
--Each 90-minute tour starts at 10am and repeats at 2pm.
--Walking Tours are limited to 25 people, the trolley tours to 32 guests per trolley
--Lectures with reception included are $15 each, all four $50 - Purchase Lecture tickets Online
--A wine and cheese reception will be held between the lectures at 6 pm each day allowing guests to mingle in between speakers and to celebrate together the weekend events.

SOHO, San Diego's leading regional historic preservation group, has numerous centennial events planned throughout 2015, including four exhibits at the Marston House Museum & Gardens in Balboa Park. For more information on the exhibits, publications and SOHO's 2015 schedule of events, visit Click on the Balboa Park icon labeled "San Diego Exposition Centennial 2015." Or call (619) 297-9327.

Contact: Alana Coons
Education & Communications Director
Save Our Heritage Organisation

(619) 297-9327 ·

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