Here’s one iconic sight in Balboa Park I always lift my eyes to enjoy. The elaborate facade of the California Building, home of the San Diego Museum of Man, contains sculpted historical figures molded from clay and plaster. These figures include Junipero Serra, father of California’s Spanish missions, and Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who discovered San Diego Bay nearly five centuries ago in 1542.
This fantastic building, inspired by the church of San Diego in Guanajuato, Mexico, was erected for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, an event that celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal and promoted San Diego as a destination. Like other similar buildings to the east along El Prado, it is in the Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style, which was largely developed by Bertram Goodhue.
The California Building and adjacent California Tower, and the more simple structure to the south across El Prado–housing Evernham Hall and the St. Francis Chapel–form the California Quadrangle. The courtyard-like area at the quadrangle’s center, where visitors can sit at tables and through which cars today travel, is called the Plaza de California.
Every few years I venture into The Museum of Man just to refresh my memory. There are a number of interesting anthropological exhibits, including a whole room full of spooky Egyptian mummies!
Here are some more pics…
Here are even more photos from a later date…
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In 1961, the Balboa Club moved into a building near the southwest corner of Balboa Park. The building today is faded, padlocked, and seldom used. Few people now visit this once popular meeting place. It is the location of the San Diego Chess Club.
Through a dirty window on the north side, rows of empty tables are visible. The place seems dead.
Most chess players now test their skills on virtual chessboards. Two flesh and blood players squaring off in a lively, tension-filled room across a common table has been replaced by isolated taps and clicks on small screens.
Adjoining the building are numerous lonely horseshoes pits. The Balboa Park Horseshoe Club seems just as forgotten.
Walked past on a spring day… The game of horseshoes isn’t dead yet!
Someone in San Diego has a funny bone. They wrote a whole mess of silly but pithy quotes with chalk on the Cabrillo Bridge sidewalk. You know, where joggers and walkers pass over Highway 163 heading into Balboa Park. The scribe must’ve done this days ago, because the chalk is fading.
Depicted in this photo is the astute observation: Seven days without love make one weak.
Take a look at the deliciously, crazily, wonderfully picturesque Studio 13 in Balboa Park’s always surprising and colorful Spanish Village! This quaint little studio is both funky and folksy, a wild mixture of creative artistry!
You know, I wouldn’t mind living in such a happy place. Perhaps in the middle of a green meadow with unicorns grazing nearby…
This morning I took a stroll through Spanish Village on the north end of Balboa Park. Spanish Village is a wonderful, colorful place where many local artists have small studios. Not many people were about yet, just one older gentleman setting up some impressionist paintings in the courtyard. I snapped a number of pics of the motley, surprising studios, and this photograph is pretty striking.
The silvery, sexy mermaid sports a naval cap atop her long hair and stands ready to defend Studio 18!
I love this small bronze sculpture just in front of the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. Because it stands inconspicuously in the seldom-visited northwest corner of the Plaza de Panama, few people ever wander over to look at it. Which is a shame.
This piece of art is titled Youth Taming the Wild (Horse Trainer) and was created by Anna Hyatt Huntington in 1927. She is also responsible for the huge, iconic El Cid statue near the center of the plaza, between the fountain and the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
I love the expressed energy in this work of art and the careful natural detail. One can see why this fine artist is considered one of the top equestrian sculptors.