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Balboa Park

Articles: Balboa Park

[sidebar]For information about the series of events and exhibitions commemorating the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, including a special “garden weekend” May 9-10, visit www.balboapark.org.[/sidebar]

One hundred years ago, the Panama-California Exposition—a Spanish Colonial Revival fantasyland—was built in Balboa Park. The exposition was a daring attempt to thrust San Diego, a small city of fewer than 40,000 people, into the national and international spotlight. No one could have predicted how profoundly the decision to build an exposition on park grounds would affect the future of Balboa Park, or the influence it would have on landscaping norms throughout Southern California.

Vintage postcard dating from 1914-15. Author's collection
City Park Early Days
San Diego appeared visionary in 1868 when it created an urban park larger than Central Park in New York City. However, absent a design or maintenance plan, the 1,400-acre site remained an unimproved expanse of natural coastal chaparral that included a dumping ground and shooting range. Other non-park activities—storing explosives, impounding stray a...

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