Amazing “hidden” history exhibit about Balboa Park!

There’s an extremely important exhibit in Balboa Park that very few people see. The San Diego City Clerk Archives and Parks and Recreation Department have created a fascinating display of original historical documents concerning the creation and development of San Diego’s world-famous park.

Last weekend, I was poking my nose into the Balboa Park Club building to see if there might be folk dancing in the ballroom, when I spied old letters, maps, petitions, resolutions and photographs on a wall of the grand foyer. I almost missed them in the dimly lit corner!

The exhibit is titled 1,400 Acre City Park – The Journey to Balboa Park.

There are seven parts to the exhibit: Park Idea, 1868; Founding of City Park, 1868; Uses of City Park, 1868-1900; Plantings, 1893-1904; Park Designs, 1891-1905; 1400-Acre City Park Name Change, 1910-1913; and Park Activities Since 1915.

Among the many historical documents, I observed the original 1868 citizens petition for a public park; correspondence to Balboa Park visionaries George Marston and Kate Sessions; a letter from mayor Douglas Gunn to the Common Council; and the Board of Park Commissioners’ 1913 petition to give City Park the name of Balboa Park.

If you’re a San Diego history buff, this extraordinary “hidden” exhibit is a positively must see!

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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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