A large area between Broadway and the Horton Plaza shopping mall is fenced off for construction. One end of the downtown mall has already been demolished and leveled to the bare ground. The long-neglected Horton Plaza Park is being enlarged!
On the fence surrounding the construction site are a number of interesting old photographs showing the park’s history.
When real estate developer Alonzo Horton built the Horton House hotel (now the U.S. Grant Hotel) in his “New Town” in 1870, he included a small plaza on the hotel grounds. In 1895 he sold the half block plaza to the growing city of San Diego, stating his objective was “to provide a central, commodious and attractive place for public meetings, public announcements, public recreation and for any other proper public purposes, a place where all public questions might be discussed with comfort, where public open-air concerts might be given, where the people might rest, and where children might play in safety.” In 1909 the first fountain in the United States to feature electric lights was installed in the park.
Over the years, the small park has seen a whole lot of history, as the following photographs at today’s construction site demonstrate. Horton Plaza Park was designated a historical landmark by the City of San Diego in 1971.
The streets were crowded with a spontaneous celebration when World War II finally ended.
On November 2, 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy spoke at Horton Plaza Park, seeking votes in the upcoming presidential election. A huge crowd turned out.
The beautifully renovated park will include lots of space for public events, including outdoor concerts!
Here’s a pic I took on January 31, 2015…