San Diego Historical Landmarks—#1: El Prado Designation Area, part 13

San Diego Historical Landmarks

For the introductory blog post to San Diego’s historical landmarks, click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 1
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 2
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 3
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 4
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 5
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 6
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 7
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 8
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 9
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 10
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 11
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 12

El Prado Area Designation

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

We are coming to the end of our west to east travel on El Prado!

Across El Prado from the Timken Museum of Art (see part 11) and the Botanical Building (part 12) is the House of Hospitality.

House of Hospitality in San Diego's Balboa Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The House of Hospitality was built in 1915 for the Panama-California Exposition of 1915-1916 celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal. At that time it was known as the Foreign Arts Building or the Foreign Liberal Arts Building. It was renamed the House of Hospitality for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.

House of Hospitality in San Diego's Balboa ParkAs it exists now, though, the House of Hospitality dates only from 1997. The original building had deteriorated and needed earthquake retrofitting to make it safe. The powers that be determined that the only way to do that was to tear it down and rebuild it. And that they did.

The original architect was Carleton M. Winslow under Bertram Goodhue’s direction. Its architecture, Spanish-Renaissance Plateresque, exists only in two other places in the United States, having been built in Buffalo, New York, for the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, and the Panama-Pacific International Exposition held concurrently in 1915 in San Francisco.

House of Hospitality in San Diego's Balboa ParkThe exterior of the building was decorated with coats of arms of Latin American countries that were expected to exhibit at the Exposition. The tower and façade details were borrowed from the sixteenth century Plateresque-style façade of the Hospital of Santa Cruz in Toledo, Spain; the Palace of the Count of Monterrey in Salamanaca, Spain; and the Palace of the Count of Heras in Mexico City, Mexico.

On the south side of the House of Hospitality is a courtyard which is popular for weddings and bar and bat mitzvahs. Located inside the House of Hospitality is the Visitors Center and The Prado Restaurant. Prior to reconstruction in 1997, The Prado Restaurant was one of the best restaurants in San Diego County. Although the food is still very good, albeit on the expensive side, it would not be my first choice of special event restaurants anymore.

House of Hospitality in San Diego's Balboa Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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19 thoughts on “San Diego Historical Landmarks—#1: El Prado Designation Area, part 13

  1. viewpacific

    Great photos, thanks!
    I agree with you about the Prado restaurant. On a visit to San Diego in the 80’s, I really enjoyed it. Each time I tried since it’s been fairly average.
    Maybe it can be restarted somehow.

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  2. Margaret Grant

    So beautiful. I’m going to have to go there someday. Do you do tours? What I remember most from my one California trip is the heady amazing scent of eucalyptus. Will never forget it.

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      I truly am a Jack of all trades. It’s been more of a hindrance than anything else throughout my life. No employer wants a Jack of all trades. They want an expert. Interesting how everyone loved me once I got hired and they found out I could do virtually anything. Of course, I let a lot of people take advantage of me over the years, too. Home inspections is the first industry I’ve worked in where being a Jack of all trades is actually valued, and well paid for.

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      1. laurie27wsmith

        We eventually find our niche in life Russel. At least you’ve found yours before it’s too late. I remember at recruit training, our platoon sergeant asked who had applied for a combat unit. About a quarter of us put our hands up. He said, ‘You’re a mob of silly buggers, you should have gone for a trade. All you lot are going to learn is how to kill people and rob banks.’ He was right.

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  3. Pingback: San Diego Historical Landmarks — #1: El Prado Area Designation, part 14 | Russel Ray Photos

  4. Pingback: San Diego Historical Landmarks — #1: El Prado Area Designation, part 15 | Russel Ray Photos

  5. Pingback: San Diego Historical Landmarks — #1: El Prado Area Designation, part 16 | Russel Ray Photos

  6. Pingback: San Diego Historical Landmarks — #1: El Prado Area Designation, part 17 | Russel Ray Photos

  7. Pingback: San Diego Historical Landmarks — #1: El Prado Area Designation, part 18 | Russel Ray Photos

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