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Protecting the Spreckels Organ at Balboa Park in San Diego

The Spreckels Organ is one of the world's largest outdoor pipe organs and it's located in San Diego's Balboa Park. The organ is protected and housed in a large vaulted structure that has a giant rolling door made by Kinnear, Wayne Dalton's legacy brand, to protect the organ when it's not in use.

The Spreckels Organ Pavilion was built in 1914, making it 103 years old. Today, the Spreckels Organ is still used with concerts held regularly at the pavilion throughout the year. 

A Little History of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion 

The Spreckels Organ Pavilion was built by Adolph and John Spreckels. They were brothers who are credited for turning cities like San Francisco and San Diego, where the Spreckels Organ is located, into major commercial centers with the help of their many business endevors. They both were very successful entreprenuers who invested heavily into both of these cities. 

"The Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park would not exist if it were not for a timely and costly donation by John D[iedrich] Spreckels (1853-1926), whose name the Organ and the Pavilion proudly bear. John D. Spreckels was the son of Claus Spreckels (1823-1908), an immigrant to the United States and to California from Hanover, Germany, and founder of a sugar empire in California and in Hawaii. John D. was one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in San Diego County.1

The "Iron Curtain" Protecting the Spreckels Organ

On the San Diego History Center website, they describe the giant rolling door made by Kinnear as a "2,000 plus pound corrugated steel curtain" and compared it to "a giant garage door."  

The giant rolling door is placed on the very ornately designed Spreckels Pavilion. Many thought that the large bare door didn't go well with the very ornate details of the rest of the pavilion. There was a lot of back and forth on whether or not the door should have a mural painted on it. 

The Spreckels Organ Pavilion is open to the public and holds free concerts for guests. When the organ isn't in use, the giant rolling door is closed to protect it from the weather and the elements outside. 

We took a trip to San Diego to see the rolling door protecting the Spreckels Organ for ourselves, here's photographs from our trip.


The pavilion was designed with very ornate Italian-Renaissance designs. 



The Spreckles Organ Pavilion was built in 1914. Here's a photograph of the construction project. 

1. Amero. Richard. The Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. http://www.sandiegohistory.org/archives/amero/organ/


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