Balboa Park

Our archival collection contains several images of Balboa Park through the ages. The Park, which was established prior to 1900, gained fame when it housed the 1915 Panama–California Exposition which celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal.  

Two aerial images of the 1915 Panama–California Exposition and a map to compare landmarks. 

The 1915 Exposition would be followed by one in 1935, California Pacific International Exposition, which was so successful it was extended for a second year in 1936.  Many new buildings were added to the Park, including the Ford Building, the current home of the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

Two aerial views of the 1935 Exposition and a map from the event for comparison.

Footage of the 1935 exposition in Balboa Park.

During the Second World War, Balboa Park was used for a variety of purposes, including training troops and as a hospital, and was renamed Camp Kidd.

A Consolidated B-24 Liberator flies over Balboa Park just prior to the start of World War Two.

After World War Two until the present day, Balboa Park became known as one of the most famous tourist destinations in America.  In 1978, the San Diego Air & Space Museum moved into the Ford Building.  Currently, the Park houses over 15 museums, miles of trails and the San Diego Zoo, among other attractions. 

This image from 1961 shows the construction of the 5 and 163 freeways that allow for better access to Balboa Park.

This aerial of Balboa Park shows the aftermath of the 1978 fire that destroyed the San Diego Air & Space Museum, what at the that time was housed in the Electric Buidling on the Prado. 

After the 1978, the Air & Space Museum was moved to the Ford Building which had sat empty for a long time, and much cleanup was needed.....

But the community chipped in and soon the Ford Building was clean and ready for business...

And today the Ford Building welcomes all visitors flying into Lindbegh Field! 

Next page in this exhibit. 

San Diego Air & Space Museum

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