Historic reopening of California Tower in Balboa Park.

Dignitaries cut symbolic ribbon officially opening California Tower on New Year's Day.
Dignitaries cut symbolic ribbon officially opening California Tower on New Year’s Day.

New Year’s Day in San Diego’s beautiful Balboa Park was marked by a historic event. Today, after 80 years, the California Tower reopened to the general public!

The California Tower is one of the most iconic sights in San Diego. Like many of the ornate Spanish Colonial Revival-style buildings in today’s Balboa Park, it was built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, which celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal. The tower was originally accessible to visitors, but in 1935 that changed. One of the most important developments during the Balboa Park Centennial Celebration this year is the long-awaited reopening of the amazing tower!

With the purchase of a special ticket, anyone can now join a small tour that climbs up 125 steps to an observation deck high above the park. Views are said to be breathtaking in all four directions. One day (when it’s not sold out) I’ll check the tour out and post some pics!

Dignitaries at the noon ribbon-cutting ceremony included U.S. Congressman Scott Peters, San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts, and San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria.

You might recognize the California Tower and other portions of the California Building, which now houses the San Diego Museum of Man, from the movie Citizen Kane. Shots of Balboa Park’s architectural wonder were said to be Charles Foster Kane’s Xanadu Mansion in Orson Welles’ classic film.

The tower, reopened today to the general public, rises above tiled dome of California Building.
The tower, reopened today to the general public, rises above tiled dome of California Building.
Museum visitors can now climb the California Tower for amazing panoramic views.
Museum visitors can now climb the California Tower for amazing panoramic views.
Audience gathers for ceremony on the tower's 100 year anniversary.
Audience gathers for ceremony on the tower’s 100 year anniversary.
Several cool bicyclists happened to ride down El Prado in front of the Museum of Man.
Several cool bicyclists happened to ride down El Prado in front of the Museum of Man.
News cameras wait for speeches, and so do the assembled dignitaries nearby.
News cameras wait for speeches, and so do the assembled dignitaries nearby.
Micah D. Parzen of the San Diego Museum of Man begins by thanking many people.
Micah D. Parzen of the San Diego Museum of Man begins by thanking many people.
California Tower first opened in 1915 for Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park.
California Tower first opened in 1915 for Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park.
Photographers up on the observation deck, where the public can now go!
Photographers up on the observation deck, where the public can now go!
Local politicians, museum head and donor, poised ready to cut the big red ribbon!
Local politicians, museum head and donor, poised ready to cut the big red ribbon!
Everyone feels great about historic event, taking place during Balboa Park's Centennial Celebration.
Feeling great about historic event, taking place during Balboa Park’s Centennial Celebration.
Crowd disperses from ribbon cutting ceremony on another beautiful San Diego day!
Crowd disperses from ribbon cutting ceremony on another beautiful San Diego day!

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Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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