San Diego Air & Space Museum's Historic Ford...

San Diego Air & Space Museum's Historic Ford Building Celebrates 75th Anniversary

Ford Building Constructed for 1935 World's Fair

San Diego, 5.26.2010

The San Diego Air & Space Museum celebrates the 75th anniversary of one of San Diego's most distinctive and beloved icons on Saturday, May 29th. From its dramatic hillside location overlooking the city, the historic Ford Building's beautiful architecture makes it instantly recognizable to millions of visitors. Since 1980, the Ford Building, located in Balboa Park, has been home to the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

The "streamline moderne" structure was built by the Ford Motor Company in 1935 for the California Pacific International Exposition to showcase its line of cars and the new V-8 engine. Designed by industrial designer, Walter Dorwin Teague, the building was a symbol of modernism, industry and technology. As the last surviving world exposition exhibit hall built by the Ford Motor Company, the building represents an era of great optimism - despite being built at a time when the country was in the throes of the Great Depression.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of this unique structure, the Museum is opening a special exhibition, Wheels to Wings, on May 29th, 2010. The exhibit will showcase memorabilia and photos from the 1935 Expo. To chronicle the changing role of the Ford Building, the Museum has developed an online exhibit at and published a new book, Wheels to Wings: San Diego's Ford Building, offered for sale in the Museum store.

The spectacular World's Fairs held in six American cities during the 1930s offered the public hope of a brighter future during the difficult times of the Great Depression.  In spite of limited resources, millions of people visited these attractions to see the latest technical innovations and modern designs and the Fairs presented opportunities for corporations to mass market to the American consumer.  Business leaders, architects, designers, and local governments worked together to make these fairs a reality.  A major exhibitor at these fairs was the Ford Motor Company, showcasing their new line of cars and the V-8 engine.  Of the six World Fairs, the Ford Motor Company built 5 exhibit halls (1934 Chicago, 1935 San Diego, 1936 Dallas, 1938 San Francisco and New York).

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