Bells of Peace ring on a special Veterans Day!

The historic California Tower rises into the blue sky above San Diego's beautiful Balboa Park.
The historic California Tower rises into the blue sky above San Diego’s beautiful Balboa Park.

This morning, at 11:00 am, the carillon bells of Balboa Park’s iconic California Tower chimed twenty-one times. These symbolic Bells of Peace marked the centennial of Armistice Day.

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, exactly one hundred years ago, World War I finally came to an end.

In the United States, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday that honors American veterans who’ve served their country in war and in peace. So this morning, when the clock struck eleven, on what might be called the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day, a special ceremony accompanied the ringing Bells of Peace. Flags were presented and voices lifted in front of the Museum of Man.

These photographs relive that ceremony…

Bells of Peace rang out for the 100th Anniversary of Veterans Day! A special ceremony was held in front of the Museum of Man.
Bells of Peace rang out for the 100th Anniversary of Veterans Day! A special ceremony was held in front of the San Diego Museum of Man.
People gather for a symbolic, emotionally powerful event.
People gather for a symbolic, emotionally powerful event.
Gina Seashore, who plays the carillon inside the California Tower, addresses those who have gathered for the Veterans Day ceremony.
Gina Seashore, who plays the carillon inside the California Tower, addresses those who have gathered for the Veterans Day ceremony.
The patriotic Color Guard, from Ramona High School's NJROTC, moves forward as the ceremony begins.
The patriotic Color Guard, from Ramona High School’s NJROTC, moves forward as the short ceremony begins.
Flags advance to the front of the Museum of Man.
Flags advance to the front of the Museum of Man.

A trio sings the National Anthem.
A trio sings the National Anthem.

After the carillon bells ring twenty-one times, Taps is played.
After the carillon bells ring twenty-one times, Taps is played.

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100th Anniversary of Armistice Day in Balboa Park.

Marines march west down El Prado toward the California Tower during the 2015 Garden Party of the Century in Balboa Park.
Marines march west down El Prado toward the California Tower during the 2015 Garden Party of the Century in Balboa Park.

This Sunday will be the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day.

Armistice Day marks the end of World War One. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 the horrifying “war to end all wars” finally ended. (In 1954, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in the United States.)

On Sunday in Balboa Park something special will take place to honor the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day.

The carillon inside the California Tower will chime at 11:00 am not the usual 11 times, but 21 times. After it chimes 21 times, Taps will be played. An hour later, at noon, the carillon bells will play a medley of WWI songs.

A variety of events in Balboa Park are also planned for Veterans Day weekend.

Several I’ve noted are:

Friday, beginning at 5 pm, at the San Diego Museum of Art. Free admission to the museum, where visitors can see the fantastic Artists at War: American Posters of World War I exhibition. Enjoy artwork and presentations by local veterans groups, the Air and Space Museum, a performance by Westwind Brass, and a screening of the 1938 classic The Dawn Patrol.

Saturday, 3 pm – 4 pm, at the Veterans Museum. A free preview by the San Diego Opera of their upcoming production of All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, which concerns a brief, miraculous “unofficial armistice” that occurred in the trenches during World War One.

Sunday, 11 am – 5:30 pm, at the Balboa Park Carousel. A free ride will be provided to all veterans, active military and their families, courtesy of the Friends of Balboa Park. In addition, the Historical Unit of Southern California will have a special WWI commemoration at eleven o’clock.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Glowing clouds at day’s end in Balboa Park.

Glowing orange clouds at day's end, and the California Tower in silhouette. Photo taken from Plaza de Panama in San Diego's Balboa Park.
Glowing orange clouds at day’s end, and the California Tower in silhouette. Photo taken from Plaza de Panama in San Diego’s Balboa Park.

Days are rapidly becoming shorter. My evening walks after work have magically changed. Bright sunshine has become twilight. Clouds glow like embers as darkness descends.

Here are two photographs I took this evening during a short stroll through the heart of Balboa Park.

A dramatic end to an October day. Photo of iconic California Tower in San Diego's Balboa Park as night falls.
A dramatic end to an October day. Photo of iconic California Tower in San Diego’s Balboa Park as night falls.

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Painting the 1915 Centennial Mural in Balboa Park.

Local artists put the finishing touches on the 20 foot long 1915 Centennial Mural in Balboa Park.
Local artists put the finishing touches on the 20 foot long 1915 Centennial Mural in Balboa Park.

My Sunday walk around Balboa Park took me through the Spanish Village Art Center. Not only were local artists painting live Flamenco dancers, but they were completing a fantastic 20 foot mural celebrating Balboa Park’s centennial. (Today I was also introduced by a couple of super friendly people, including a resident artist, to the history of Spanish Village. I will blog about that shortly, after a little additional research…and when I have the time!)

I hope you enjoy my photographs of this awesome mural. Titled “1915 Balboa Park”, it’s an imaginative composite of historical images painted by eleven talented artists. Each image occupies a 2 by 6 foot panel, and depicts locations from the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, and people in early 20th century dress.

Spanish Village is home to some of San Diego’s very finest artists. Wherever you turn, you’ll find painters, potters, sculptors, photographers, glassblowers, you name it! It’s fun to just stroll through the colorful courtyard and visit the charming studios. If you want to purchase fine artwork for yourself or as a gift, this is an excellent place to go!

This weekend the public could watch as artists painted a historical mural in Spanish Village.
This weekend the public could watch as artists painted a historical mural in Spanish Village.
Spanish Village is like San Diego sunlight passed through a prism, with rainbow splashes everywhere.
Spanish Village is like San Diego sunlight passed through a prism, with rainbow splashes everywhere.
Bios of artists Carol Foster, Joan Boyer, Joan Nies, Laurie Carlock, Don Knapp, Michelle Gonzalez, Sonia Rumzi, Linda Lepeirs, Lucy Wang, Edward Juarez, Dot Renshaw.
Bios of artists Carol Foster, Joan Boyer, Joan Nies, Laurie Carlock, Don Knapp, Michelle Gonzalez, Sonia Rumzi, Linda Lepeirs, Lucy Wang, Edward Juarez, Dot Renshaw.
Ladies in period dresses occupy the left part of the cool mural.
Ladies in period dresses occupy the left part of the cool mural.
Now we're working our photographic way to the right, along the base of the Cabrillo Bridge. A hundred years ago there was a lake beneath the historic bridge! (Where Highway 163 is today.)
Now we’re working our photographic way to the right, along the base of the Cabrillo Bridge. A hundred years ago there was an artificial lake beneath the bridge! (Where Highway 163 is today.)
Bright color and shades of gray are fused together to depict the California Building with its iconic bell tower.
Two different styles (one with bright colors, the other with shades of gray) are fused together to depict the California Building with its iconic bell tower.
There were many lush gardens around Balboa Park a hundred years ago, planted specifically for the Panama-California Exposition.
There were many lush gardens around Balboa Park a hundred years ago, planted specifically for the Panama-California Exposition.
Artist studies the right end of the 20 foot long mural. That golden tree looks like it could be transplanted right into Spanish Village!
An artist studies the right end of the 20 foot long mural. That golden tree looks like it could be transplanted right into Spanish Village!

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Young and old dream at Centennial Railway Garden.

Young and old together dream in a small outdoor nook in Balboa Park.
Young and old together dream in a small outdoor nook in Balboa Park.

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park has erected a cool little exhibit on their outdoor rear patio called the Centennial Railway Garden. To commemorate the hundred year anniversary of Balboa Park, a detailed layout features streetcars traveling among 3D-printed reproductions of several buildings in the park. The scenes date from the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Visitors young and old can dream they’ve traveled back in time as they take control of the fun model train action with their smart phone! (Technology has changed somewhat in the last hundred years!)

Go check out the Centennial Railway Garden and have a lot of fun!

Volunteer at San Diego Model Railroad Museum walks past 3D-printed model of the historic California Building with its bell tower.
Volunteer at San Diego Model Railroad Museum walks past 3D-printed model of the historic California Building with its bell tower.
Putting a model of a streetcar on the tracks. A hundred years ago, John D. Spreckels' Class 1 streetcars provided transportation around San Diego.
Putting a model of a streetcar on the tracks. A hundred years ago, John D. Spreckels’ Class 1 streetcars provided transportation around San Diego.
This small replica of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion is part of special exhibit that commemorates Balboa Park's centennial.
This small replica of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion is part of special exhibit that commemorates Balboa Park’s centennial.
The Centennial Railway Garden also includes a model of Balboa Park's Botanical Building and nearby reflecting pool!
The Centennial Railway Garden also includes a model of Balboa Park’s Botanical Building and nearby reflecting pool!
Getting the streetcars ready early one weekend morning before many visitors arrive at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Getting the streetcars ready early one weekend morning before many visitors arrive at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
The very cool Centennial Railway Garden is a place in Balboa Park where dreams from the past come alive.
The very cool Centennial Railway Garden is a place in Balboa Park where dreams from the past come alive.

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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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Historical photos of Balboa Park a century ago.

Photograph of the Panama-California Exposition's La Puerta del Oeste (west entrance) taken from Cabrillo Bridge. Dome and bell tower of the California State Building rise into the San Diego sky.
Photograph of the Panama-California Exposition’s La Puerta del Oeste (west entrance) taken from Cabrillo Bridge. The dome and bell tower of the California State Building rise into the San Diego sky.

Balboa Park’s big Centennial celebration is approaching fast! The year-long event kicks off with the opening of December Nights on Friday, December 5th. Later this month, the celebration will continue with a grand New Year’s Eve procession and concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion!

The Balboa Park Centennial marks the hundred years that have passed since the opening of the Panama-California Exposition in 1915. While a large open space park near downtown San Diego (originally named City Park) was established in 1872, Balboa Park didn’t really take shape until many years later. Many of the buildings along El Prado which visitors enjoy today owe their existence to the development of the Panama-California Exposition, which covered 640 acres and promoted San Diego as the first United States port of call after a passage through the newly opened Panama Canal. Other parts of Balboa Park were created twenty years later for the California Pacific International Exposition–but that’s a different story.

In honor of the Centennial–now just two days away–I figured I’d post a bunch of historical photographs of Balboa Park as it appeared a century ago. The following black-and-white photos are from Wikimedia Commons, and provide different views of the amazing Panama-California Exposition. I had to do a little detective work with some of the images. Since I’m by no means an expert, please leave a comment if I’ve written captions that require correction.

Cover of the 1915 Official Guide Book to San Diego's Panama-California Exposition. The event celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal, and lasted through 1916.
Cover of the 1915 Official Guide Book to San Diego’s Panama-California Exposition. The event celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal, and lasted through 1916.
Aerial view from downtown San Diego of Balboa Park's 1915 Panama-California Exposition. In 1910 San Diego had a small population of only 39,578.
Aerial view from downtown San Diego of Balboa Park’s 1915 Panama-California Exposition. In 1910 San Diego had a small population of only 39,578.
La Laguna Cabrillo lake and Camino Cabrillo road beneath Cabrillo Bridge. California State Route 163, a designated scenic highway, runs beneath the historic bridge today.
La Laguna Cabrillo lake and Camino Cabrillo road beneath Cabrillo Bridge. California State Route 163, a designated scenic highway, runs beneath the historic bridge today.
Detailed 1915 map shows Panama-California Exposition ground plan in Balboa Park (originally named City Park).
Detailed 1915 map shows Panama-California Exposition ground plan in Balboa Park (originally named City Park).
Photo taken of Balboa Park in 1915 from the California Tower provides panoramic view of many exposition buildings designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style.
Photo taken of Balboa Park in 1915 from the California Tower provides panoramic view of many exposition buildings designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style.
Looking west along El Prado through the heart of Balboa Park in 1915. At the exposition's opening ceremony, President Woodrow Wilson activated the electric street lamps with a telegraphic signal.
Looking west along El Prado through the heart of Balboa Park in 1915. At the exposition’s opening ceremony, President Woodrow Wilson activated the electric street lamps with a telegraphic signal.
Commerce and Industries Building and Foreign Arts Building stand side-by-side on the south side of tree-lined El Prado. Today, the rebuilt structures are called the Casa de Balboa and House of Hospitality.
Commerce and Industries Building and Foreign Arts Building stand side-by-side on the south side of tree-lined El Prado. Today, the rebuilt structures are called the Casa de Balboa and House of Hospitality.
Commerce and Industries Building. Rebuilt as Casa de Balboa, it's now home of Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego History Center, and San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Commerce and Industries Building. Rebuilt as Casa de Balboa, it’s now home of Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego History Center, and San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
View of shady pergola and the iconic 208 feet tall California Tower from Los Jardines de Montezuma (Montezuma Gardens) in 1915.
View of shady pergola and the iconic 208 feet tall California Tower from Los Jardines de Montezuma (Montezuma Gardens) in 1915.
Los Jardines de Montezuma (today named Alcazar Garden) at Balboa Park's Panama-California Exposition.
Los Jardines de Montezuma (today named Alcazar Garden) at Balboa Park’s Panama-California Exposition.
Spacious gardens near California State Building's landmark dome and bell tower during the Panama-California Exposition.
Spacious gardens near California State Building’s landmark dome and bell tower during the Panama-California Exposition.
U.S. Navy ambulance parked near entrance of the California State Building, today the Museum of Man.
U.S. Navy ambulance parked near entrance of the California State Building, today the Museum of Man.
Kids feed pigeons on the central Plaza de Panama. The Indian Arts Building with mission bells on left was renamed House of Charm and reconstructed in 1996. It now contains the Mingei Museum.
Kids feed pigeons on the central Plaza de Panama. The Indian Arts Building with mission bells on left was renamed House of Charm and reconstructed in 1996. It now contains the Mingei Museum.
Expansive gardens near the Food Products Building. Today's enormous Moreton Fig Tree was planted in 1914 near this location.
Expansive gardens near the Food Products Building. Today’s enormous Moreton Fig Tree was planted in 1914 near this location.
Elegant facade of Food Products Building, which was eventually reconstructed in 1971 as part of the Casa del Prado. It's now the entrance to the San Diego Junior Theatre.
Elegant facade of Food Products Building, which was eventually reconstructed in 1971 as part of the Casa del Prado. It’s now the entrance to the San Diego Junior Theatre.
View of La Laguna de las Flores, the reflecting pool (or lagoon) at the Panama-California Exposition. This area was called the Botanical Court.
View of La Laguna de las Flores, the reflecting pool (or lagoon) at the Panama-California Exposition. This area was called the Botanical Court.
The Botanical Building, then and now one of the largest lath structures in the world. In 1915 its popular name was Lath Palace.
The Botanical Building, then and now one of the largest lath structures in the world. In 1915 its popular name was Lath Palace.
Fountain by Botanical Building at the Panama-California Expositon in Balboa Park. The Botanical Court a hundred years later remains largely unchanged.
Fountain by Botanical Building at the Panama-California Expositon in Balboa Park. The Botanical Court a hundred years later remains largely unchanged.
Gazing over reflecting pool at Commerce and Industries Building and Foreign Arts Building. A favorite photographic spot for a century in San Diego.
Gazing over reflecting pool at Commerce and Industries Building and Foreign Arts Building. A favorite photographic spot for a century in San Diego.
Food Products Building is reflected in tranquil lily pond directly in front of the large lath Botanical Building.
Food Products Building is reflected in tranquil lily pond directly in front of the large lath Botanical Building.
View of tree-lined El Prado from second floor of Varied Industries Building, which is now part of the Casa del Prado.
View of tree-lined El Prado from second floor of Varied Industries Building, which is now part of the Casa del Prado.
Varied Industries Building seen from the west a short distance. Rebuilt as a part of Casa del Prado, today it houses various art and botanical organizations.
Varied Industries Building seen from the west a short distance. Rebuilt as a part of Casa del Prado, today it houses various art and botanical organizations.
Home Economy Building (left of Foreign Arts Building), site of today's Timken Museum of Art. A wicker Electriquette motor cart is visible among people in the Plaza de Panama.
Home Economy Building (left of Foreign Arts Building), site of today’s Timken Museum of Art. A wicker Electriquette motor cart is visible among people in the Plaza de Panama.
Fine photo across Esplanade of the Indian Arts Building, rebuilt in later years and renamed the House of Charm.
Fine photo across Esplanade of the Indian Arts Building, rebuilt in later years and renamed the House of Charm.
One of many popular recitals in the Organ Pavilion at the Panama-California Exposition. (This venue is now called the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.)
One of many popular recitals in the Organ Pavilion at the Panama-California Exposition. (This venue is now called the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.)
Organ Pavilion colonnade with California Bell Tower in distance. Trees and a large parking exist today on the left, behind the classic structure.
Organ Pavilion colonnade with California Bell Tower in distance. Trees and a large parking lot exist today on the left, behind the classic structure.
View of Spreckels Organ in 1915, from a shady spot in the colonnade. Those wooden benches were replaced many years ago with benches made of steel.
View of Spreckels Organ in 1915, from a shady spot in the colonnade. Those wooden benches were replaced many years ago with benches made of steel.
The distant Organ Pavilion appears in this photo between the San Joaquin Valley Building and the Kern and Tulare Counties Building.
The distant Organ Pavilion appears in this photo between the San Joaquin Valley Building and the Kern and Tulare Counties Building.
Kansas State Building at Panama-California Exposition. Most of these old state buildings no longer exist today, a hundred years later.
Kansas State Building at Panama-California Exposition. Most of these old state buildings no longer exist today, a hundred years later.
Montana State Building, near the site of today's International Cottages.
Montana State Building, near the site of today’s International Cottages.
People take a stroll past a handful of state buildings at the Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park.
People take a stroll past a handful of state buildings at the Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park.
Utah State Building at the Panama-California Exposition.
Utah State Building at the Panama-California Exposition.
Washington State Building at the Panama-California Exposition.
Washington State Building at the Panama-California Exposition.
Artillery practice at the exposition's U.S. Marine Camp, which was located near the site of today's Air and Space Museum.
Artillery practice at the exposition’s U.S. Marine Camp, which was located near the site of today’s Air and Space Museum.
Southern California Counties Building, which stood a century ago in Balboa Park at the site of today's Natural History Museum.
Southern California Counties Building, which stood a century ago in Balboa Park at the site of today’s Natural History Museum.
Visitors back in 1915 enjoy the Southern California Counties Building's elegant patio.
Visitors back in 1915 enjoy the Southern California Counties Building’s elegant patio.
Large area called the Painted Desert at the Panama-California Exposition. This unique attraction was near the site of today's Veteran's Memorial.
Large area called the Painted Desert at the Panama-California Exposition. This unique attraction was near the site of today’s Veteran’s Memorial.
The elaborate Taos pueblo in the Painted Desert was a fantastic sight at San Diego's Panama-California Exposition.
The elaborate Taos pueblo in the Painted Desert was a fantastic sight at San Diego’s Panama-California Exposition.
Realistic exhibit shows Zuni native life at the Panama-California Exposition in San Diego's Balboa Park.
Realistic exhibit shows Zuni native life at the Panama-California Exposition in San Diego’s Balboa Park.
The Pala gem mine was one of the amusements along the Isthmus north of El Prado, near today's San Diego Zoo parking lot. It featured a 300 foot long tunnel filled with simulated gems.
The Pala gem mine was one of the amusements along the Isthmus north of El Prado, near today’s San Diego Zoo parking lot. It featured a 300 foot long tunnel filled with simulated gems.
The Cawston Ostrich Farm was an Egyptian pyramid-shaped amusement on the Isthmus, a section of the expo popularly called the fun street.
The Cawston Ostrich Farm was an Egyptian pyramid-shaped amusement on the Isthmus, a section of the expo popularly called the fun street.
The Japanese Tea Pavilion, northeast of the Botanical Building in 1915. Today, the Japanese Tea Pavilion is located elsewhere and appears entirely different.
The Japanese Tea Pavilion, northeast of the Botanical Building in 1915. Today, the Tea Pavilion at the Japanese Friendship Garden is located elsewhere and appears entirely different.
Citrus and other gardens in a wide north section of the Panama-California Exposition. This is near the entrance of today's San Diego Zoo.
Citrus and other gardens in a wide north section of the Panama-California Exposition. This is near the entrance of today’s San Diego Zoo.
The long Tractor Buillding was located near a tractor demonstration field, just west of the Painted Desert.
The long Tractor Building was located near a tractor demonstration field, just west of the Painted Desert.
California bungalow, surrounded by model farm at the 1915 exposition. Agricultural exhibits and demonstrations were an important part of the event.
California bungalow, surrounded by model farm at the 1915 exposition. Agricultural exhibits and demonstrations were an important part of the event.
The Lipton Tea Gardens at the Panama-California Exposition, one more interesting image from San Diego's rich history.
The Lipton Tea Gardens at the Panama-California Exposition, one more interesting image from San Diego’s rich history.

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