Ford Building (San Diego, California)
The Ford Building
|Location||Balboa Park, Palisades Area, San Diego, California|
|Area||5 acres (2.0 ha)|
|NRHP Reference #||73000433|
|Added to NRHP||April 26, 1973|
|Designated SDHL||April 7, 1972|
The Ford Building, a Streamline Moderne structure in Balboa Park, San Diego, California, serves as the home of the San Diego Air & Space Museum. The building was originally built by the Ford Motor Company for the California Pacific International Exposition, which was held in 1935 and 1936. Ford was the exposition's principal exhibitor and invested $2.8 million in the 45,000-square-foot (4,200 m2), 296-foot (90 m) diameter building to showcase its vehicles and other forms of transportation. The architect was noted American industrial designer Walter Dorwin Teague. In the middle of the museum the Ford's Hall is used for weddings, balls, parties, and other occasions.
The building was styled to resemble a V8 engine. The building overall consists of two different sized circles in the shape of an "8," and in the courtyard of the larger circle there is a large fountain shaped like the Ford V8 logo. The lights in the courtyard ("Pavilion of Flight") are shaped like valves. Along the interior wall of the outer ring is a mural depicting the history of transportation from the times of hunter-gatherers through 1935. The last panel of the mural was left open for the artist to depict his vision of the future of transportation after 1935, which is still visible today.
Throughout the Exposition, Ford was assembling autos along the outer rings and used the courtyard area like a showroom to display the latest model automobiles. The newly assembled vehicles were rolled out the large doors on the west side. There was also a test track set up down the hill behind the building where visitors could take one of the model autos for a test drive.
During World War II, Balboa Park was renamed to Camp Kidd, to be used for U.S. Navy training, barracks, and hospital wards. The Ford Building was used for training mechanics in aircraft repair and welding.
Air and Space Museum
The Air and Space Museum opened in the building on June 28, 1980, after its earlier location in the former Electric Building was burned down in an arson fire in 1978. The Ford Building was remodeled to house the museum at a cost of $8 million.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- "Historical Landmarks Designated by the San Diego Historical Resources Board". City of San Diego.
- Richard Amero. "History of the Ford Building in Balboa Park". Balboa Park Buildings. San Diego History Center. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- "The Ford Building 1935 - 1936". Exhibits. San Diego Air & Space Museum. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- Christman (1985), p. 99
- "History of the Casa de Balboa building in Balboa Park". San Diego History Center. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
- Christman, Florence (1985). The Romance of Balboa Park (4th ed.). San Diego: San Diego Historical Society. ISBN 0-918740-03-7.
- Welcome to the San Diego Air & Space Museum—SDAM — Museum Map.