Built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the Plaza de California and its surrounding buildings created a grand entrance to the Exposition, announced by the ornate west archway. The California Building and Tower stand at the north, while the Exposition's Fine Arts Building and the non-denominational Saint Francis Chapel enclose the south side.Friends
The State of California commissioned the California Quadrangle for the Exposition as a permanent addition to Balboa Park. The architecture incorporates elements of Spanish Colonial Revival, Plateresque, Mission and Churrigueresque styles. California history is told in the rich cast-stone ornamentation of the building facade through representations of missionaries, explorers, kings, and symbols of Spain, Mexico, California and the United States.
Decorated with locally manufactured tiles, the dome design echoes that of the Church of Santa Prisca in Taxco, Mexico. The Latin inscription at the base of the dome translates as: "A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig-trees, and pomegranates; a land of olive oil, and honey." The California Tower is 208 feet tall and houses a carillon rather than bells.
The California Quadrangle is regarded as the Spanish Colonial Revival masterpiece of Exposition architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue. Along with
the Exposition as a whole, it incorporates design principles developed by 16th Century Spain for its colonial cities. The romantic architecture style, perfected for the San Diego Exposition, surged in popularity after 1915 and remains influential. The California Quadrangle was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
of Balboa Park