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San Diego Auto Museum restoration update

Updated: Jan 14, 2022

The Balboa Park Committee of 100 is speeding toward the start of restoration of the San Diego Auto Museum exterior.

We've already underwritten the city cost of painting the building in historic color, "Bagel," for what was originally the California State Building for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.

A group of board members and others met onsite in mid-November 2020 to review the color of the accompanying ornamentation replicas. A scientific inspection determined that the best historic match is "Honeymoon," a slightly yellower version of "Bagel."

The accompanying photos show Suzanne Segur, staff director of the city Historical Resources Board meeting with some of the participants. The group shot shows (briefly unmasked, from left, Chuck McArthur, construction manager; Wayne Donaldson, Projects Chairman; Will Chandler, color consultant; Michael Matson, fabricator; Robert Thiele, board member and citizen architect on the project. Another image shows Thiele and McArthur reviewing the architectural drawings.

Also in view are ornamentation elements up against the wall of the Auto Museum.

Current plans call for construction to begin around Jan. 1.

Key elements include: (1) remove stucco and reinforce the structure of the curved entrance wall; (2) install decorative tiles making up replicas of four 1935 murals of California scenes; (3) install ornamentation over the parapet and three obelisks at the entrance; (4) place two grizzly bear statues at the northeast and southeast roof corners and two flagpoles over the entrance.

The entire project should be completed around March 1.

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