$3M Fundraiser Kicks Off to Reopen Balboa Park's California Tower

The iconic tower is set to reopen on Jan. 1, 2015

A new generation of San Diegans will soon be able to climb to the top of Balboa Park’s iconic California Tower after it was shuttered nearly 80 years ago.

The city approved the San Diego Museum of Man’s plan to reopen the century-old, Spanish-style tower on Jan. 1, 2015. But first, the historic structure will need some remodeling and safety improvements.

A $3 million fundraising effort is underway to support the renovations, provide a long-term fund for the tower and invest in the museum, officials say. One third of the goal has been reached, thanks to the Legler Benbough Foundation’s pledge of $1 million.

“This is transformational not just for the Museum of Man, but also for Balboa Park,” said the museum’s CEO Micah Parzen in a release. “This will be the one experience all visitors, tourists and residents alike remember forever.”

Reopening the California Tower, one of the most recognizable sights in the park, is one of the many events city leaders are touting to celebrate Balboa Park’s centennial next year.

From atop the structure, visitors will get a glimpse of Mexico, the Cuyamaca and Laguna mountains, the ocean and, of course, nearly the entire expanse of San Diego.

The California Building, which houses the museum and tower, was built in 1915 for the Panama-California Exposition.

It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the California Quadrangle, and the tower is recorded in the Historic Buildings Survey in the Library of Congress, according to the museum’s website.

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