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Plaza de Panama

Balboa Park, 1915

By Erin Meanley | Photo courtesy of The Committee of One Hundred

Plaza de Panama

Plaza de Panama, 1915

This scene captures one day of the 1915 Panama–California Exhibition, which celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal and San Diego as the first US port of call for ships traveling west through the canal, and (obviously) the impetus for our upcoming 2015 centennial. Looking east from the Plaza, you’ll see the Home Economy Building to the left (later booted by the Timken in the ’60s) and, in what is now the House of Hospitality, the Foreign Arts Building. Missing in the photo is the North Fountain, which wasn’t built until 1995. Surrounding this plaza in the Park are 14 museums and centers (including the Zoo). The first, established in 1874, was the San Diego Natural History Museum, now known as “theNAT,” and this month featuring what sounds like a throwback to 1915, Dr. Entomo’s Palace of Exotic Wonders (February 22 to June 2), as well as the Air & Space Museum’s Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, opening February 1. February is Museum Month—a good time to visit these and any or all of the 40 San Diego Museum Council member museums around the county dedicated to surfing, making music, Chinese history, and sea life. Pick up a Museum Month pass at any area Macy’s and get half off admission to all participating museums (four visitors per pass).

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