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  • 28th Street Land Reclamation Project - San Diego CA
    This WPA land reclamation project (a process by which new land is created from sea or riverbeds) appears to have taken place where 28th street runs into the San Diego coastline near East Harbor Drive. Note the ships and masts just visible towards the horizon in the photo below.
  • Adobe Chapel Reconstruction - San Diego CA
    In 1937 the federal Works Progress Administration rebuilt San Diego's Adobe Chapel of the Immaculate Conception "close to its original site."
  • Balboa Park: Balboa Park Club - San Diego CA
    The current Balboa Park Club was built in 1915 as the New Mexico building for the Panama-Pacific Exhibition.  It was redesigned by the WPA for the 1935-6 California Pacific International Exposition.
  • Balboa Park: Casa de Balboa Murals - San Diego CA
    Two oil on canvas murals, entitled "Farm Landscape" and "Point Loma," were painted by Charles Reiffel on a commission from the WPA Federal Art Project in 1937. They were originally installed at Memorial Junior High School and now hang in the San Diego History Center downstairs at the Casa de Balboa. Each mural measures 10' x 10'. Some contemporary critics called Reiffel "America's Van Gogh" (Balboa Park Beat, October 2012).
  • Balboa Park: Club Murals - San Diego CA
    Belle Baranceanu painted two oil on canvas murals at Balboa Park in 1935, paid for with federal funding:  "Progress of Man" and “Education and Culture”.  She rushed to complete the later for the 1935-1936 California Pacific International Exposition and would later claim that she could not stand to look at it. These are the only two of her murals to survive in their original location.
  • Balboa Park: Club Sculpture - San Diego CA
    Frederick Schweigardt (1885 - 1948) was a student of the Stuttgart and Munich art academies in Germany, Schweigardt also studied with Auguste Rodin in Paris, where he received first prize at the Paris Exposition of 1913. Schweigardt was named the "official sculptor for the exposition," much to the surprise of San Diego's local sculptors. For the exposition, Schweigardt sculpted a large fountain, "Four Cornerstones of Americans Democracy," for the Hall of Education (now the Balboa Park Club). Schweigardt also sculpted a bronze relief plaque honoring D.C. Collier, director of the 1915 exposition, which can still be seen on the west wall...
  • Balboa Park: Comic Con Museum - San Diego CA
    Built by the WPA.  Originally called the Federal Building and then the Hall of Champions.
  • Balboa Park: Fire Station - San Diego CA
    SERA crews built this small fire station in Balboa Park in conjunction with the California Pacific International Exhibition – the first structure built. It is unclear if it survives, and if so where it is located.
  • Balboa Park: House of Hospitality Bas Relief - San Diego CA
    Rose Hanks created this incised plaster relief depicting "Junipero Serra" for the fair.
  • Balboa Park: House of Hospitality Improvements - San Diego CA
    Originally built in 1915 as the Foreign Arts Building for the Panama-California Exposition, it was renovated and expanded in 1935, with WPA money for the California-Pacific International Exposition. Rose Hanks created an incised relief doorway depicting Junipero Serra for the fair.
  • Balboa Park: House of Hospitality Sculpture - San Diego CA
    This 4' high Indiana limestone sculpture and fountain by Donal Hord is titled "Woman of Tehuantepec" and is located in the courtyard of the House of Hospitality at San Diego's Balboa Park.
  • Balboa Park: Pepper Grove Playground - San Diego CA
    Named for the numerous Pepper Trees that provide shade to the picnic area, the popular Pepper Grove offers picnic grounds with 15 tables and an extensive playground for children.
  • Cabrillo Elementary School Improvements - San Diego CA
    The WPA improved the recreation area at the Cabrillo School.
  • Del Mar Fairgrounds - San Diego, CA
    The Del Mar Fairgrounds project is unique in that it is the only WPA incorporated and built race-track. It was meant to be an economic stimulant for the county. The racetrack was also built with the expectation of providing fairgrounds for the 22nd Agricultural District (it is still the site of the Del Mar Fair). The project was one of the most expensive WPA project in San Diego County, and was also the only WPA project in the county to be investigated for fraud. Branton (1991).
  • Downtown Post Office Bas Relief - San Diego CA
    Archibald Garner won the Treasury funded competition for ornamentation of the San Diego Post Office and produced these nine glazed, terra-cotta relief panels illustrating the theme "Transportation of the Mail."
  • Downtown Station Post Office - San Diego CA
    The old Main Post Office for San Diego, now the Downtown Station post office, was constructed with Treasury Department funds and houses Archibald Garner's 1937 sculpture, "Transportation of the Mail," produced under the Treasury Section of Fine Arts.
  • Escondido Animal Shelter - Escondido CA
    The New Deal built this humane society building in Escondido (near San Diego).
  • Escondido Band Shell - Escondido CA
    The New Deal constructed this band shell in an Escondido city park.
  • Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery Development - San Diego CA
    NPS.gov: "A project funded by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) brought the “southern half” of Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery to near completion by March 1938.  The New Deal labor program, begun in 1935, primarily completed small-scale new construction, rehabilitation, and/or landscape improvement projects that could be completed in a year or less.  An allotment of $30,000 by the WPA funded the construction tasks of filling and grading, as well as the installation of roads, water, and a sprinkler system."
  • Jacob Weinberger U.S. Courthouse Mural - San Diego CA
    "San Diego Harbor" was painted by an unknown artist in 1935 with funding from the WPA Federal Art Project. Medium: oil on canvas
  • Jacob Weinberger U.S. Courthouse: Baranceanu Mural - San Diego CA
    "San Diego Mural" was painted by Belle Baranceanu in 1934 with funding from the WPA Federal Art Project. Medium: oil on canvas
  • Jacob Weinberger U.S. Courthouse: Barney Mural - San Diego CA
    "Gateway to the Desert" was painted by Esther Barney in 1934 with funding from the WPA Federal Art Project. Medium: oil on canvas
  • Julian Union High School - Julian CA
    A coed high school in Julian CA, a former gold rush mining town. Surviving New Deal projects are two rubble wall pillars with bronze plaques at the entrance to the campus, a long rubble wall facing the street, a rubble wall school sign base, a circular flagpole rubble wall base, an athletic field and concrete bleachers with small US WPA 1941 date stamps in them. The school building itself appears to be of recent construction.
  • La Jolla Fire Station (former) - San Diego CA
    The WPA built San Diego Fire Station No. 13 in 1937 to replace an older station. The building is still standing but the fire station moved to a new location in 1976. The WPA site is now occupied by the YMCA and is known as the La Jolla YMCA Firehouse.
  • Lane Field Baseball Stadium (Former) - San Diego CA
    "Lane Field is a former baseball stadium located in San Diego, California. The ballpark was home to the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League from 1936 through 1957. The ballpark was located in downtown San Diego, at the end of West Broadway near the waterfront. Broadway bounded the park to the south (first base). Its other two close bounding streets were Harbor Drive (third base) and Pacific Highway (right field). There were various buildings to the north (left field) between the ballpark and Ash Street. Before it was called Lane Field, the stadium began its life as a U.S. Navy...
  • Loma Portal Elementary School - San Diego CA
    The Loma Portal school was established in 1914. The WPA made ground improvements in the 1930s.
  • Oceanside Beach Stadium - San Diego CA
    The WPA built this stadium on the beach in Oceanside, CA.
  • Oceanside Infrastructure - San Diego CA
    The WPA built the ramp pictured below running from the street to the beach in Oceanside.
  • Pioneer Park Cemetery Adobe Wall - San Diego CA
    The WPA built an adobe wall around Calvary Cemetery in Mission Hills, the oldest civilian cemetery in San Diego. The cemetery is now park of Pioneer Park.
  • Point Loma High School - San Diego CA
    Point Loma High School opened in 1925. The WPA improved the school grounds in the 1930s.
  • Presidio Park - San Diego CA
    The WPA paved roads, built rock gutters, built paths, constructed a lookout on the west wall (where the bastion was previously located). Additionally, the WPA put in a flagstaff, sprinkling system, drainage, did much of the landscaping, stuccoed the interior rooms, and built restrooms. Presido Park was a focal point of George Marston's plan for beautifying San Diego.
  • Presidio Park: Grand March Mural - San Diego CA
    "The Grand March" petrachrome mural was created in 1940 with funding from the WPA Federal Art Project.   The artist is unknown to the Living New Deal.  
  • Presidio Park: Mormon Monument Mural - San Diego CA
    The WPA Federal Arts Project funded this petrochrome mural. The date and artist are unknown to us.
  • San Diego Adobe Chapel Restoration - San Diego CA
    This chapel was originally a house, built in 1850, and converted into a chapel in 1858. In 1937, San Diego's streets were realigned and the chapel was bulldozed. The WPA rebuilt the chapel that same year on an adjacent site, using parts of the original Chapel, such as the tabernacle, the altar, woodwork, pews, confessional and doors. In restoring the chapel, WPA workers made the bricks by hand.
  • San Diego County Administration Center - San Diego CA
    Originally the San Diego Civic Center (now the County Administration Center), it was built on 19 acres of filled tidelands. Inscribed on the portal is the motto: 'The Noblest Motive is the Public Good'. FDR dedicated the civic center on September 16, 1938. In his speech he noted, 'American democracy will live as long as the people keep in their hearts the motto inscribed.' (Branton 1991)
  • San Diego County Administration Center - San Diego CA
    "In December 1926, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution declaring 'the necessity for the erection of a public building' for both the City and the County. As a result, three countywide votes were taken to approve the tidelands site for construction of the Civic Center, but three countywide bond votes to secure the necessary funding were defeated. In 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt authorized $1 million to be granted from the Works Progress Administration to construct the Civic Center after a personal tour of the site…. "Four San Diego architects, William Templeton Johnson, Richard S. Requa, Louis J. Gill,...
  • San Diego County Administration Center Murals - San Diego CA
    These three murals in the San Diego County Administration Center were produced under the WPA by Jean Goodwin and Arthur Ames (who later married). Each mural stands about 18' high and is painted in egg tempera on muslin over a gesso surface. Each panel represents an aspect of life in San Diego County: Recreation, Agriculture, and Conservation. The murals hang in the Board Chamber to this day. Three smaller studies done in preparation for these murals also remain in the building. They can be found in Room 402a. The artists were assisted in their work by Alloys Bohner, William McAulby, Hazel Scheckler.
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