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Arts & Culture

1915 EXPO CENTENNIAL: Expo Planning, Spreckles Organ Pavilion, Early Park Landscaping, California Building Tower Tour

Spreckels Theatre. The theater marquee reads "World Premiere! The Roaring Twenties with James Cagney & Priscilla Lane." The Spreckels Theatre has been in almost continuous operation since its official opening on August 23, 1912. It was commissioned by sugar magnate John D. Spreckels to commemorate the opening of the Panama Canal for the 1915 Panama California Exposition.
Courtesy of the San Diego History Center
Spreckels Theatre. The theater marquee reads "World Premiere! The Roaring Twenties with James Cagney & Priscilla Lane." The Spreckels Theatre has been in almost continuous operation since its official opening on August 23, 1912. It was commissioned by sugar magnate John D. Spreckels to commemorate the opening of the Panama Canal for the 1915 Panama California Exposition.

Airs Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

The 1915 EXPO CENTENNIAL series uses rare, historic black and white photos and film to tell the story of City Park and how the Exposition was planned.

The series promises to give television viewers a unique glimpse into the 1915 Exposition.

Find out how City Park was planned and meet the key city leaders who created the urban park for San Diego.

Learn about Balboa Park's architectural and landscaping designs, world-renowned architects, rare historic black and white photos and film that show unique aspects of the fair.

We'll also show you rare artifacts from the 1915 Exposition and unique behind the scenes tours of the park, museum vaults and historic buildings.

Construction of Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Courtesy of the San Diego History Center
Construction of Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

Episode 2: "Expo Planning, Spreckles Organ Pavilion, Early Park Landscaping, California Building Tower Tour" - Major decisions had to be made before securing funds for the 1915 Panama California Exposition.

Decisions like the park's location, what architectural design to choose and would the park be an open space concept.

Balboa Park and its buildings would be described as a magical wonderland. The Expo would put San Diego on the international map but there would be major obstacles to overcome.

In the end, the 1915 Expo was so successful it was extended a second year, attracting a total of 3.7 million visitors.

Tree move.
Courtesy of the San Diego History Center
Tree move.

Balboa Park is on Facebook, Google +, and you can follow @BalboaPark on Twitter.

All past episodes of SAN DIEGO'S HISTORIC PLACES are available for streaming on demand.

As San Diego continues to grow, the shrinking inventory of historic homes and public spaces becomes even more important. SAN DIEGO'S HISTORIC PLACES, hosted by Elsa Sevilla, shares tales from the past, reigniting the love affair with San Diego's special places. Sevilla Productions is on Facebook.