House of Hospitality courtyard garden replanted!

Some say the House of Hospitality is the heart of Balboa Park. I can understand why. Visitors who pass through the courtyard colonnade might feel they’ve wandered into a beautiful dream.

The House of Hospitality’s fantastic architecture, interior garden and iconic sculpture by Donal Hord appear like a painting of paradise. An eternal canvas into which the living step–if only for a moment.

With the recent refreshing of the historic garden’s four corner planters, the Spanish Colonial courtyard is more alive and welcoming than ever.

Originally created for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the House of Hospitality was rebuilt by architect Richard Requa for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition. In 1997 the building was recreated as accurately as possible from historical documents.

Before sunset today I walked about the courtyard, read a sign which described the garden’s revitalization, then climbed stairs to the second floor balcony.

Sunlight was slanting into the outdoor courtyard, turning many of its trees and plants bright green. And high above it all, up in the blue sky, shined that eternally amazing tower…

Sign explains how aging plants in the House of Hospitality's courtyard garden were replanted and refreshed, with the help of Urban Corps of San Diego.
Sign explains how aging plants in the House of Hospitality’s courtyard garden were replanted and refreshed, with the help of Urban Corps of San Diego.

At the center of the House of Hospitality courtyard is Woman of Tehuantepec, a 1935 sculpture and fountain by Donal Hord.
At the center of the House of Hospitality’s courtyard is Woman of Tehuantepec, a 1935 sculpture and fountain by Donal Hord.

In one of the four planters is a time capsule placed on September 13, 1997, to be opened May 29, 2035, the centennial of the California Pacific International Exposition.
In one of the four planters is a time capsule placed on September 13, 1997, to be opened May 29, 2035, the centennial of the California Pacific International Exposition.

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!

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Paintings in Balboa Park Conservancy Board Room.

Botanical Building, Leigh Cohn, 2014.
Botanical Building, Leigh Cohn, 2014.

Last year I went on a behind-the-scenes tour of the House of Hospitality that included a look inside the Balboa Park Conservancy Board Room. There was a whole lot to see, and only a few minutes to snap photos.

I did manage to frame with my camera several paintings in the boardroom. They were painted by Leigh Cohn in 2014 for the Balboa Park Centennial. My quick photos provide an imperfect glimpse of the colorful artwork.

I’m not sure what the decorative object is on the small wooden table. I can find nothing about it on the internet. My hunch is it was used atop the old Balboa Park Community Christmas Tree, before the tree became too old and fragile to support ornaments. Just my guess–probably wrong! Please leave a comment if you know something!

If you ever have the opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes tour through the House of Hospitality, I definitely recommend it! There are a variety of beautiful rooms in the building that are usually inaccessible to the public. For those interested in Balboa Park’s history, the tour is a must!

Visitors to Balboa Park enjoy a tour of the Balboa Park Conservancy Board Room in the House of Hospitality.
Visitors to Balboa Park enjoy a tour of the Balboa Park Conservancy Board Room in the House of Hospitality.
David Kinney, a Balboa Park Conservancy Board Member, provides a special tour of the board room, in the House of Hospitality.
David Kinney, a Balboa Park Conservancy Board Member, provides a special tour of their boardroom in the House of Hospitality.
Artwork in the Balboa Park Conservancy Board Room includes the fascinating piece on a small wooden table. Topped by a cross, rays of colored glass extend outward.
Artwork in the Balboa Park Conservancy Board Room includes a fascinating piece on a small wooden table.
Topped by a cross, rays of colored glass extend outward from what appears to be brasswork.
Topped by a cross, rays of colored glass extend outward from what appears to be weathered brasswork.
Before the Park Opens, Leigh Cohn, 2014.
Before the Park Opens, Leigh Cohn, 2014.
Tower, Globe and Fountain, Leigh Cohn, 2014.
Tower, Globe and Fountain, Leigh Cohn, 2014.
Lily Pond Facing South, Leigh Cohn, 2014.
Lily Pond Facing South, Leigh Cohn, 2014.

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A beautiful, magical walk between buildings.

Visitors to Balboa Park walk down a pathway between the Casa de Balboa and the House of Hospitality.
Visitors to Balboa Park walk down a short pathway between the Casa de Balboa and the House of Hospitality.

My walk through Balboa Park today included a few restful moments in a magical place.

Between the Casa de Balboa and the House of Hospitality you will discover a space filled with beauty, strange wonder and peace. A dreamlike place where the soul can find nourishment.

A family making their way to the colorful tile fountain at one end.
A family making their way to the colorful tile fountain at one end of the walkway.
Looking back toward the arched colonnade that connects two beautiful historic buildings.
Looking back toward the arched colonnade that connects two sunlit buildings.
Photo through the colonnade. On the other side of El Prado stands the Botanical Building.
Photo through the elegant colonnade. On the other side of El Prado you will find the reflecting pool and Botanical Building.
Elaborate plaster ornamentation atop columns.
Fantastic plaster ornamentation atop columns.
Many beautiful sights await curious eyes in this space between buildings.
Many beautiful sights await curious eyes in this space between buildings.
A tree casts a shadow against windows.
A tree casts a magical shadow against windows.
Looking up at one corner of the Casa de Balboa.
A breathtaking look up at one corner of the Casa de Balboa.
Looking upward at the opposing tower, which rises from one corner of the House of Hospitality.
Looking upward at the opposing tower, which rises from a corner of the House of Hospitality.
Lavish, fantastic Spanish Colonial Revival architectural touches on the House of Hospitality in beautiful Balboa Park.
Lavish, fantastic Spanish Colonial Revival architectural touches on the House of Hospitality.
A delivery going into one open door.
A mysterious delivery (and a tree’s shadow) enter an open door.
A lonely door and single light seem out of place, out of reach . . . painted on a canvas . . . afloat in space.
A lonely door and single light seem out of reach . . . painted magically on a canvas . . . afloat in bright space.
Natural beauty along a curving ramp between the buildings.
Natural beauty along a curving ramp between the buildings.
A flower near one elegant window.
A heavenly flower near one dreamlike window.

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!

Late sunlight on Balboa Park’s trees and towers.

The House of Charm's tower rises like a bright dream.
The House of Charm’s tower rises like a bright dream.

I took these photos yesterday shortly before sunset. I strolled from Balboa Park’s grassy West Mesa to the Cabrillo Bridge, then down El Prado to the reflecting pool. Late sunlight touched trees and dreamlike towers.

Late afternoon light brings out the curvaceous shape of a tree near Sixth Avenue.
Late afternoon light brings out the curvaceous shape of a tree near Sixth Avenue.
Slanting light touches trees at Sefton Plaza.
Slanting light touches trees at Sefton Plaza.
The California Tower even more beautiful in late sunlight.
The California Tower even more beautiful in late sunlight.
Light on the tiled dome of the California Building.
Light on the tiled dome of the California Building.
People in growing shadow near the beautiful House of Hospitality.
People in growing shadow near the beautiful House of Hospitality.
Tower of Casa del Prado in San Diego sunshine, shortly before sunset.
Tower of Casa del Prado in San Diego sunshine, shortly before sunset.

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!

Balboa Park becomes more beautiful one Friday morning.

San Diego Park and Recreation Department workers paint a wall one Friday morning in Balboa Park.
San Diego Park and Recreation Department workers paint a wall in Balboa Park one Friday morning.

During my walk through Balboa Park this morning, I saw lots of people out and about working to beautify the park. It’s Friday, which means another busy weekend is just around the corner…

Cleaning the Plaza de California near the Museum of Man with a blower.
Cleaning the Plaza de California near the Museum of Man with a blower.
Another worker clears leaves with a blower by the Niki de Saint Phalle Nikigator sculpture.
Another worker clears leaves and litter with a blower by the Niki de Saint Phalle Nikigator sculpture.
Working on some underground repairs in the outdoor courtyard of the House of Hospitality, near Donal Hord's sculpture Woman of Tehuantepec.
Working on some underground repairs in the outdoor courtyard of the House of Hospitality, near Donal Hord’s iconic sculpture Woman of Tehuantepec.
Restoration work if being done on this facade by the reflecting pool. Sadly, a vandal must have climbed the scaffolding and spray painted graffiti.
Restoration work if being done on this facade by the reflecting pool. Sadly, a vandal must have climbed the scaffolding and spray painted graffiti.
Raking between enormous roots behind the Botanical Building!
Raking between enormous roots behind the Botanical Building!
Some work is going on to fix up the front entrance of the San Diego History Center.
Some work is going on to fix up the front entrance of the San Diego History Center.
More leaf blowing in the Plaza de Panama.
More leaf blowing in the Plaza de Panama near the Museum of Art’s Sculpture Garden Court.
A Park and Rec worker gathers up some garbage one Friday morning, preparing for the weekend.
A Park and Rec worker gathers up some garbage one Friday morning, preparing for the inevitable weekend crowds.
A tree trimming service removes fallen eucalyptus trees in Palm Canyon. This year's winter storms have knocked many large trees over.
A tree trimming service removes fallen eucalyptus trees in Palm Canyon. This year’s winter storms have knocked many large trees over.
Some of the enormous eucalyptus trunks weigh many tons.
Some of the enormous eucalyptus trunks weigh many tons.
A truck dumps mulch, with the Balboa Park Club rising in the background.
A truck dumps mulch, with the Balboa Park Club rising in the background.
Mowing the green lawn at the International Cottages.
Mowing the green lawn at the International Cottages one quiet Friday morning.

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!