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San Diego Historian Chronicles Balboa Park 1915 Exposition In New Book

Evening Edition

Aired 1/22/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUEST:

Mike Kelly, Editor, "Balboa Park and the 1915 Exposition"

Transcript

San Diego has a big anniversary to celebrate next year: the 100th anniversary of the event that many say put the city on the map.

The 1915 Panama-California Exposition drew national celebrities, international attention and created much of the Balboa Park that we know today.

But did you know that San Diego competed against San Francisco for the right to hold the exposition? Did you know that the organizers of the 1915 exposition were afraid they'd have to close the event only a month in, because attendance was so low? And did you know, the exposition actually gave Balboa Park its name?

Credit: Michael Kelly Collection, Panama-California Exposition

A view of the Cabrillo Bridge and exposition buildings in 1915.

As we approach the centennial of the event, a new book is out that describes the dreams and determination that drove small-town San Diego to put on a world-class exposition.

Mike Kelly, president of the Balboa Park Committee of 100 group, edited the book written by local historian Richard Amero, who died in 2012.

Credit: History Press

San Diego historian, Richard W. Amero, shown here in an undated photo in Balboa Park, died in 2012.

The book chronicles the story of the creation of Balboa Park in San Diego and the Panama-California Exposition of 1915.

The 1915 Exposition faced a lot of obstacles and it appears the 2015 Centennial celebration is encountering some of its own.

Amero's entire work on Balboa Park is available online.

Kelly will holding a book talk and signing Thursday, Jan. 23 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the San Diego History Center.

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