The California Quadrangle is the principal ceremonial entrance to the site of San Diego's Panama-California International Exposition of 1915. The Exposition was held concurrently with the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. Both celebrated the completion of the Panama Canal with the San Diego Exposition focusing on the Spanish heritage and culture of the region. For the style of the Exposition buildings, architect Bertram Goodhue drew on elements derived from Spanish Renaissance and colonial Spanish architecture. The stark white buildings are richly ornamented with sculptural relief, colorful tile roofs, towers, domes, and arcades. Highlights of the quadrangle include the Spanish-Moorish style Administration Building; the California Building, with a 200-foot tower and highly decorated frontpiece; the Chapel of St. Francis in the Fine Arts Building, noted for its beautifully carved altar and used extensively by the U.S. Navy during World War II; and the Plaza and gardens.
The California Quadrangle, part of the Balboa Park National Historic Landmark, is located along El Prado at the entrance to the park. For more information call 619-239-0512 or visit the park's website. The San Diego Museum of Man, now located in the California Building, is open 10:00am to 4:30pm daily (closed major holidays); there is a fee for admission. Contact this museum as well to view the Chapel of St. Francis.