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Wednesday, December 9th, 2020
From the park founding in 1868 to the beginning of a comprehensive plan for it in 1902, the repeated struggles over City Park between land profiteers and park enthusiasts stimulated characteristic, American Victorian views and actions concerning the social, economic and aesthetic worth of public parks and natural landscape. The San Diego Union (Weekly), Jan. 4, 1872, 2:4, noted that the people of San Diego were “unanimous” in requesting the legislature not to reduce or do away with the park. Located in the heart of Balboa Park it was Morse’s brain and heart that conceived the park and… Mr. Horton was prompted to do what he did by Mr. Morse.”11 Also Morse was much more interested in plants and gardening than was Horton.12 Morse later gave equal if not superior credit to Horton in the park founding even though others said that Morse had been the main proponent.13, Friends of former trustee Joshua Sloane later said that he was an early park advocate, although not much was heard of him in that regard afterwards.14. In January, 1897, a fraternal order, the Knights of Pythias Lodges of California, asked the Common Council to deed it thirty acres of the former Charities Tract for a home for aged and ill Pythians and their dependents.99 The City Lands Committee of the Council was quite willing to grant the property, merely adding for a note of respectability that the Pythian grounds be open to the public and designed in accord with a “general plan of improvement for the entire park.”100Two days after the Pythian request, on January 20, Alderman Dodson, truly swept by the New Year’s spirit of giving, proposed that the City also deed twenty acres of City Park near the head of 25th Street to the State for a normal school.101, Between the Pythians and the normal school, the wrath of City Park Commissioner W.R. Maize was considerably aroused. CCO, B.P.-1, Doc. 93. Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is in the center of Old Town. Morse by Daniel Cleveland in the San Diego Union, 7/22/1928). The “schemers and landsharks” of San Diego, led by City Attorney Charlie Taggart, were not deterred by state sanction of City Park.27 They got their man in Sacramento, State Senator James McCoy, to quietly introduce a bill on November 17, 1871, to repeal the 1870 park reservation act.28Luckily San Diegans soon heard of the bill. George Marston, later an ardent opponent of park encroachments, favored the proposed land exchange, particularly if the Army improved the grounds around barracks in City Park.45 Businessman Levi Chase felt that the cost of improving all of the park was far beyond the means of San Diego and even of a city the size of San Francisco.46 Chase proposed that City Park be sold in stages until 640 acres remained which could be improved with the revenues from park sales. The Presidio of San Diego, the first European settlement in Upper California, was founded on July 16, 1769.2 However the village at the base of Presidio Hill, now known as Old Town, did not receive the status of “pueblo” (town) until January 1, 1835. 86. 20. The Cliffs. He founded the San Diego Society of Natural History and “as a result of his research, several species of ferns bear his name.” He was born in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1838 and died in San Diego in 1929. CCO, B. P. – 1, Doc. Horton stated in the San Diego Sun of April 27, 1924, that in 1868 her husband asked the City Trustees to set aside a large tract of land for a public park and that, “there was much hilarity over this, as the new city of San Diego consisted of a few small buildings near the foot of the present Fifth Street.” However, Mrs. Horton allowed that E.W. Are you ready to experience the San Diego wilderness? Pierce, $150,000 from anonymous donors (of which $100,000 later turned out to be from Judge O.S. “Balboa Park Information.” (San Diego: 1960), p. 2 (unnumb.). He challenged the realtor to a duel. (San Diego: 1929), p. 325-6, wrote angrily that after San Diego handed over the first seventeen acres for the Naval Hospital in 1921, which was confirmed by the State in 1922: “Never again can San Diegans say they have a 1400 acre park. Reservations: (858) 565-3600, (877) 565-3600. Richard W. Amero, Balboa Park: Fairy City or Country Park. III in series (N.Y.: The Free Press, 1967), p. 127-35. SDU, 11 /4/87, 5:3, “City Trustees-Beneficent Project of the Late J.M. On February 15, 1868, Ephraim W. Morse, a Trustee of the City of San Diego presented a resolution which was approved by the two other board members, Thomas Bush and J.S. 120. The park is named for Don Juan Pantoja y Arriola, a Spanish navigator who drew the first map of San Diego Bay in 1782. Strike!” (The Pacific Beach [Weekly], V. 1, No. For some of these same dates also see: James Mills, San Diego-Where California Began: (San Diego: SDHC, 1960), p. 7; Walter G. Smith, The Story of San Diego (San Diego: City Printing Co., 1892), pp. Gray. Vol. 6. +7. 312, Filed: October 23, 1892, p. 1. G. Marston, p. 5. Some thought that the land could be reserved, either temporarily or permanently, as a public park. . The South Carlsbad State Beach and the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park were among the 21 parks selected for the grant funding By City … 1312 above. Mary Gilman Marston, comp., George White Marston, A Family Chronicle, 2 vols. Naval Hospital now stands.49 The Howard group proposed to establish an Orphan’s Home, Pierce Boy’s and Girl’s Home, Kindergarten, an Industrial School and a School of Technology on the 100 acres. Pierce’s Executors.”. Horn, Part 1, p. 10. The story of San Diego’s City Park between August, 1902 and November, 1910, when it was named Balboa Park and the 1915 Exposition preparations began, is nearly as lengthy and intricate as that we have reviewed between 1868 and 1902.  In the park stands a statue of Benito Juarez, a gift from the Mexican government in 1981. 82, CCO, B.P.-1, Doc. Large scale park efforts received new energy in July, 1901, when millionaire publisher Edward W. Scripps offered to donate enough trees and shrubs from Miramar Ranch north of San Diego to plant the entire 1400 acre City Park.115 Scripps felt that not much had been done yet for City Park except the Howard Tract plantings and, “a great deal of discussion and agitation on the subject now and then.”116, In November, 1901 a newly appointed Superintendent of City Parks recommended as Commissioner Maize had earlier, that as a beginning, a 400 square foot area in the southwest, most convenient corner of City Park be graded and planted with trees, shrubs and lawns.117, By this time, the question was not if City Park would be improved but how that work would be financed. The Allyn bequest (not used until 1903), previous park improvement talk (mainly by Sessions, Maize and Marston) and the realization that park land grabbers would keep coming back for more until a complete park plan was undertaken, brought City Park matters to a head by September, 1899. Despite the water provided, the Annex Park withered some in the summer of 1890. Aviara has covered gazebo areas with BBQ pits for parties (reservations needed) 2. Gutkind, Urban Development in Western Europe: The Netherlands and Great Britain, Vol. In April, 1873 an artesian well was bored to water at 300 feet but insufficient pressure did not bring it to ground level (SDU, 4/24/73, 3:3). The Commissioners summarized: “If these leases applied for are granted, there will be no limit to them.”91 The Commission added that, “in the near future,” it hoped to raise funds to survey and “properly lay out the whole park system.”92. The paper recommended that a 10 acre school site be chosen on high land in the south part of City Park, not far from downtown but away from the fire dangers of built up areas and provided with healthy air and fine views. Watch forms come to life at the blacksmith and woodworker shops, and read a newspaper from the 19th century. Immediately a “public safety committee,” composed of G.W. Thus development pressures began on City Park before it was formally established. Cleveland /Schmucker. 500 Sea World Drive, San Diego, CA 92109 Directions Since 1964. Estudillo. SDU, 3/29/82, 3:3, “Public Park and Experimental Garden.”, 42. This segment addresses the proposed "recreated" buildings to be added to the county historic … Marston, p. 8. On the national influence of Central Park as early as 1868, the founding year of San Diego’s City Park, see: John W. Reps, The Making qfUrban America, A History ol’City Planning in the United States (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965), pp. In 1542, Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay under the Spanish flag and was the first European to discover California. The years after 1902 seem somewhat more glamorous because through Samuel Parsons, his English partner George Cook, Park Improvement Committee Secretary and horticulturist Mary Coulston and Kate Sessions, the City Park design and uses were linked more closely than ever to an unbroken chain of 19th and 18th century Anglo-American public parks and landscaping tradition from Frederick Law Olmsted to Andrew Jackson Downing, Sir Joseph Paxton, John Nash, Humphrey Repton, William Kent and Lancelot Brown.124 The 1902-1910 City Park developments and their august ancestry require more attention than we can give here. In fact Horton may have first conceived the park idea, not only to assist the public but to eventually raise values on his land. Morse helped her husband select the park site. The San Diego History Center is funded in part by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and by the County of San Diego. 19. Horton paid about 27 cents per acre but made thousands when he resold the land located strategically at what he called New Town and what is now bustling downtown San Diego. And even in the dry season the growing bushes and unbroken soil are much more pleasant to look upon than dry stubble fields and dust. Marston Collection, SDHC. In San Diego the problems and possibilities for a large public park were dramatized by close juxtaposition of a stupendous natural setting; a sub-tropical climate conducive to a wide variety of plant life; laissez-faire, frontier capitalism and several dedicated environmentalists of sorts familiar with the heart of the 19th and 18th century, English-American public parks and landscaping tradition. About 1886, Elisha Babcock and H.L. SDU, 7/31/03, 5:1; 7/2/03, 3:1,2. Perhaps study of the brave defense of that park in earlier, equally difficult times can help us enjoy the park more and do better for it and ourselves in the future. . City of San Diego Offers Comfort and Conversation Through Social Calls to Seniors in Need 04/24/2020 City of San Diego Seeks Public Input for Historic Update to Parks Master Plan Jenks and H.P. The water company sent notices prohibiting that but then relented and let the practice continue to save the new trees.68 Soon thereafter, San Diego’s State Senator, W.W. Bowers, claimed credit for obtaining the water company’s mercy. 77. E.W. 153, City Ordinances Folder, Box File #3-Early Correspondence, G.W. Settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Company bought the forty-five acre Boston Common in 1634 from the Reverend William Blaxton. Of San Diego’s considerable sights, 1,078-acre Balboa Park, particularly its world-famous zoo, is one of the best-known and best-loved attractions for City residents and visitors. During the Panic of 1893 the Consolidated Bank failed and took with it the fortunes of Howard, his associates and the Pierce estate.56 The grantees could no longer maintain or further improve the 100 acres as stipulated in the deed from the City and the property reverted to the City in 1896.57The Woman’s Home burned in 1897, coincidentally one month after the City had insured it for $4,000.58 The City promptly collected the insurance. 36. Located on G Street near Columbia Street, Pantoja Park is a small oasis of open greenery in quickly redeveloping Downtown San Diego. Museums, Historic Sites & Parks. (San Diego: Neyenesch Printers, Inc., 1973), p. 9. The rancher did and allowed that it was a fairly good description of himself. 21. 23. 5. The 1902-10 period involved more intense San Diego debate on public parks’ purposes and aesthetics and the arduous work of laying out roads, paths and plants. 53. 4, Dec. 1943; (in K.O. No. Owner of ten different additions well located in different parts or the city. Another source says Cleveland discovered only one fern species. SDU, 3/15/90, 5:2; 4/27/90, 7:1. XXV, No. Bancroft and Jose Antonio Serrano.31 The park repeal bill was killed in the legislature. Don’t barter the natural beauty of the Park for a few dollars rental.108, The City Park cause received major impetus in March, 1899, when the will of Dr. John Allyn bequeathed $3,000 for City Park landscaping and roads.109. Parks and some park history were known in San Diego in 1868. One wonders what precedents of public city parks, especially those founded on municipal common lands, could have given Morse and/or Estudillo the idea to establish a park. n.p. Despite rife land speculation in San Diego, City Park remained intact until 1902 mainly due to the efforts of relatively few, although well-placed people who appreciated the unique, mild climate, diverse vegetation and dramatic scenery of San Diego. CCO, B.P.-1, No doc. 50. CCO, B. P. – 1, Doc. 124. CCO, B.P.-1, Doc. “Preamble & Resolution granting A. Wentscher a portion of City Park for a Powder Magazine.” For more info about camping in a San Diego County Park, call (877) 565-3600 or (858) 565-3600. Luce wrote in the San Diego Sun an eloquent rejoinder to Manasse’s request: In the wet season the Park in its native condition, carpeted with affileria and green bushes, is much more pleasant to look upon than the sowed barley fields.” Within one month. In 1957 it was noted that the Russ School descendant, San Diego High School, holds no deed from the City to that park land and remains there mainly by ‘squatter’s rights’ and the fact that the school district’s capital and operating costs for that site have been repeatedly approved by the voters. 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