Wander a short distance down the hill west of the San Diego Air and Space Museum and you’ll stumble upon what appears to be a weedy, forgotten roadway paved with flat stones. What you’ve found is a bit of Balboa Park’s history.
These photographs show remains of the Roads of the Pacific, an attraction visitors could enjoy during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
The looping Roads of the Pacific ran beside the Ford Building, which is now home to the Air and Space Museum. Exposition visitors could ride the latest Ford automobiles on a short curving course and experience different types of road surfaces.
I found some old photographs showing the Roads of the Pacific. Check out this page of the San Diego Air and Space Museum’s website.
The page also provides a description, including: the circuit roads were more than half a mile long and featured 14 different segments demonstrating everything from the Santa Fe Trail with natural packed soil, to the Old Spanish Road with cobblestones, clay, and gravel. Designed by Walter Dorwin Teague, each section was approximately 196 feet long and 12 feet wide. To enhance this experience, the roadways were planted with native trees and plants from the Pacific nations…
…it was reported…that more than 480,000 people rode the Roads of the Pacific…
Today, almost a century later, this is a sample of what remains:
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