A Walking Tour of San Diego, California-Balboa Park
by Doug Gelbert
published by Cruden Bay Books at Smashwords
Copyright 2012 by Cruden Bay Books
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the Publisher.
Land was set aside here for public use in the 1830s and 1,400 acres were legally declared “City Park” in 1868, making San Diego one of America’s first towns to have a park. But the scrub mesa of City Park remained completely undeveloped; not the kind of park where you would see joggers and baby strollers on winding paths today but rather the kind of park where you would meet rattlesnakes and coyotes.
The first steps towards taming and landscaping City Park took place in 1892 when a botanist named Kate Sessions made a deal to plant 100 trees every year in exchange for 32 acres she could use for her commercial nursery. Sessions introduced a variety of native and exotic plants to the park and many of her trees are still growing. She became known as the “Mother of Balboa Park” but surely even she harbored no dream of what the park would shortly become.