Projects underway to improve Balboa Park.

The California Tower Seismic Retrofit Project is well underway in Balboa Park.
The California Tower Seismic Retrofit Project is well underway in Balboa Park.

During my weekend visit to Balboa Park I noticed significant construction activity in several places.

Once completed, these projects will greatly improve the park. They’ll help ensure that future generations will continue to enjoy the beautiful crown jewel of San Diego!

In addition to the three projects that I photographed, I also noticed the Mingei Museum’s monumental transformation is underway!

Construction work has begun at both ends of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. Five new structures will be built.
Construction work has begun at both ends of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. Five new structures will be built, to house nine nations or cultural units.
Repairs are underway at the Starlight Bowl, after a falling tree damaged parts of the historic outdoor amphitheater's entrance.
Repairs are underway at the Starlight Bowl, after a falling tree damaged parts of the historic outdoor amphitheater’s entrance.

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A new stream in the Japanese Friendship Garden!

A new stream is presently under construction at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park!
A new stream is now under construction at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park!

For several months I’ve been watching with growing excitement as the channel of a new stream takes form in the Japanese Friendship Garden!

Water is a vital element in a Japanese garden, and the beautiful new waterway will add even more life to an already wonderful place. The gently bending stream will run down into the Lower Garden through some shady trees, bubble under a bridge and small observation deck, and join the existing stream along the canyon’s bottom.

Here are some photos to get an idea of what is coming. I was told the project should be completed in several months.

If you’ve never visited the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park, you’re missing out on one of the most beautiful spots in all of San Diego. Become a member, and you can freely visit any day that you please!

The existing stream runs through tranquil beauty in the Lower Garden's canyon.
The existing stream runs over small stones through tranquil beauty in the Lower Garden’s canyon.
Photo taken as I approach the place where eventually running water will sparkle, bubble and come alive.
Photo taken as I approach the place where running water will sparkle, bubble and come to life.
The new waterway will course down beneath a newly built bridge and observation platform, to join the existing stream.
The new waterway will course down beneath a newly built bridge and observation platform, to join the existing stream.
I can't wait until this project is finished. Another spot to enjoy this most wonderful Japanese garden.
I can’t wait until this project is finished. Another spot to enjoy this most exquisite Japanese garden.
The new stream will run down into the canyon between shady trees. The project is expected to be completed in September, 2018.
The new stream will run down into the canyon between shady trees. The project is expected to be completed in September, 2018.

UPDATE!

Here are some photos of the construction progress that I took in mid-August 2018. Many stones now line the new stream’s channel. I was told by a docent that the brown tarp covering an object near the waterway’s source is protecting an historic Great Buddha statue donated to the garden that will also make its debut very soon.

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BIG UPDATE!

It’s all finished!

In late December, 2018 the stream bubbled with life and the new statue was unveiled. It isn’t a Great Buddha, but a massive, nearly 300 year old bronze Kannon statue.

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Starlight Bowl’s restoration is looking good!

The Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park has been cleaned up and the rear wall brightly repainted. Almost ready for an audience!
The Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park has been cleaned up and the rear wall brightly repainted. Almost ready for an audience!

I walked around the Starlight Bowl today and was super excited to see the progress of its restoration. No weeds and a fresh coat of paint–and a clean, inviting appearance! After years of sorry neglect, what a positive change! Thanks to the folks at Save Starlight and many hardworking volunteers, this beloved outdoor venue in Balboa Park appears well on its way to creating more happy memories!

The weeds are gone and the seats look welcoming. It appears some work is being done on the Starlight Bowl stage. I want to see a performance!
The weeds are gone and the seats look welcoming. It appears some work is being done on the Starlight Bowl stage. I want to see an outdoor performance! Under the stars!

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Restoration of Cabrillo Bridge lamps completed!

A brand new street lamp graces the top of Cabrillo Bridge. The California Tower rises in the background.
A newly restored street lamp graces the top of Cabrillo Bridge. The California Tower rises in the background.

A project to restore the 30 light standards atop the Cabrillo Bridge has been completed in late 2016! I took photos before, during, and after the historic street lamps, installed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park, were restored to their original condition.

Sign shows the Balboa Park Cabrillo Bridge Historic Light Standards Restoration Project. It was completed in late 2016.
Sign shows the Balboa Park Cabrillo Bridge Historic Light Standards Restoration Project. It was completed in late 2016.
One of the old rusty light poles atop Cabrillo Bridge (originally installed in 1914 during the bridge's construction) before replacement in 2016.
One of the old rusty light poles atop Cabrillo Bridge (originally installed in 1914 during the bridge’s construction) before restoration in 2016.
View of the historic 1915 Cabrillo Bridge from the old cactus garden behind the Balboa Park Club.
View of the historic 1915 Cabrillo Bridge from the old cactus garden behind the Balboa Park Club.
Plaque commemorates the Cabrillo Bridge, completed 1915 for the Panama-California Exposition. It's a San Diego Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
Plaque commemorates the Cabrillo Bridge, completed in 1915 for the Panama-California Exposition. It’s a San Diego Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
Another nearby restoration project has also been completed--the two guardhouses on El Prado at the west end of the Cabrillo Bridge.
Another nearby restoration project has also been completed–the two guardhouses on El Prado at the west end of the Cabrillo Bridge.
Photo shows both new and old light poles on the Cabrillo Bridge. The new poles werre painted to match their color during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
Photo shows both new and old light poles on the Cabrillo Bridge. The restored poles were painted to match their color during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park.
Photo of old rusty light standard and glass globes before replacement. 30 poles have been restored.
Photo of old rusty light standard, and the glass globes before their replacement. 30 poles have been restored.
This ornate base of an original light pole atop Cabrillo Bridge was over 100 years old.
This ornate base of an original light pole atop Cabrillo Bridge was over 100 years old.
This base was so rusted out, much of it was missing.
This base was so rusted out, much of it was missing.
Photo of base of light pole after replacement in 2016.
Photo shows base of light pole after its careful restoration in 2016.
New lights illuminate the top of Cabrillo Bridge in beautiful Balboa Park!
New lights illuminate the top of Cabrillo Bridge in beautiful Balboa Park!

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1922 Mack Water Truck outside Automotive Museum.

1922 Mack Water Truck on display outside the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park.
1922 Mack Water Truck on display outside the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park.

For many years, a very cool old water truck has been parked in an outdoor alcove near the entrance to the San Diego Automotive Museum, which is one of the outstanding museums in Balboa Park. I frequently walk past the shiny red water truck and wonder about its history–the stories it might tell.

The 1922 Mack Water Truck was donated in 1997 to the museum by Bruce and Mary Hazard. R.E. Hazard, the father of Bruce, began the prosperous local construction company almost a hundred years ago. I’ve tried to find information about this particular truck, but without success. All I know is that several years ago the time-weathered water truck was restored into a glorious shiny condition by a host of volunteers.

On the opposite side of the Automotive Museum’s front entrance a second outdoor alcove awaits, empty. Wouldn’t it be cool if another historic vehicle were to be placed there for everyone passing by to enjoy?

The vintage 1922 Mack Water Truck was donated to the Automotive Museum by Bruce and Mary Hazard in 1997. Hazard Construction Company dates from the early 1920's.
The vintage 1922 Mack Water Truck was donated to the Automotive Museum by Bruce and Mary Hazard in 1997. Hazard Construction Company dates from the early 1920’s.
Photo of the sturdy but rather simple 1922 Mack Water Truck.
Photo of the sturdy but rather simple 1922 Mack Water Truck.
Hard rubber tires are driven by a chain. A ride through a construction site must have been rather bumpy!
Hard rubber tires are driven by a chain. A ride through a construction site must have been rather bumpy!
The 1922 Mack Water Truck can be seen near the entrance to the fascinating San Diego Automotive Museum, one of the best museums of its kind.
The 1922 Mack Water Truck can be seen near the entrance to the fascinating San Diego Automotive Museum, one of the best museums of its kind.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!