Organ Pavilion

The Sign
(1 of 14) (5960 views)

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The Spreckels Organ Pavilion was created by John D. Spreckels (1853-1926) of the Spreckels sugar fortune. The organ and pavilion were created for the Panama-California Exposition in 1915.


Spreckels Organ Pavilion external link   •  Spreckels Organ Society external link   •  Balboa Park, San Diego, California   •  (Photo posted Wednesday 6 April 2011)   •  (Photo taken 15:56:10 Tuesday 12 October 2010)   •  © 2011 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #BCX_9776
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Free Concerts
(2 of 14) (4394 views)

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Free concerts are held every Sunday at 2:00 p.m. (14:00). A huge metal roll-up door (see the previous shot) was rolled up to expose the organ for the concert, then rolled down after the concert to protect the organ from the elements. Once rolled up, the scene is a majestic one.


Spreckels Organ Pavilion external link   •  Spreckels Organ Society external link   •  Balboa Park, San Diego, California   •  (Photo posted Wednesday 6 April 2011)   •  (Photo taken 13:54:38 Sunday 17 October 2010)   •  © 2011 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #BCY_1505
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The Organ
(3 of 14) (4399 views)

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This was the organ keyboard. Unseen under it in the basement was a 20 horsepower compressor that fed air to all the instrument pipes. Seating on stage was first come first serve, but there was plenty of seating off stage too.


Spreckels Organ Pavilion external link   •  Spreckels Organ Society external link   •  Balboa Park, San Diego, California   •  (Photo posted Wednesday 6 April 2011)   •  (Photo taken 13:55:23 Sunday 17 October 2010)   •  © 2011 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #BCY_1507
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The Concert Began
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The concert began with an introduction of the organ's history and the organ player of the day. The man introducing also turned the pages for the performer during the performance. This days performance was composed of mostly spirited classical works.


Spreckels Organ Pavilion external link   •  Spreckels Organ Society external link   •  Balboa Park, San Diego, California   •  (Photo posted Wednesday 6 April 2011)   •  (Photo taken 14:02:11 Sunday 17 October 2010)   •  © 2011 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #BCY_1512
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A Photograph
(5 of 14) (4535 views)

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While the concert was underway, the behind-the-scenes interior of the pavilion was open for self guided tours. Just inside was a corridor of historic photographs. Here was one photograph showing that Albert Einstein attended a concert on Saturday the 31st of December in 1932, during his first visit to San Diego.


Spreckels Organ Pavilion external link   •  Spreckels Organ Society external link   •  Balboa Park, San Diego, California   •  (Photo posted Wednesday 6 April 2011)   •  (Photo taken 14:55:51 Sunday 17 October 2010)   •  © 2011 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #BCY_1522
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The Corridor
(6 of 14) (4419 views)

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The was the corridor just inside the pavilion. The organ keyboard with the concert underway could be seen at the far end of the corridor. The walls of the corridor were lined with dozens of historic photographs of famous people attending concerts.


Spreckels Organ Pavilion external link   •  Spreckels Organ Society external link   •  Balboa Park, San Diego, California   •  (Photo posted Wednesday 6 April 2011)   •  (Photo taken 14:56:58 Sunday 17 October 2010)   •  © 2011 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #BCY_1513
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The Pipes Inside
(7 of 14) (4561 views)

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The pipes inside were plain galvanized metal because they were not meant to be seen by the public. There by the pipes, the concert was body-shakingly loud. The keyboard caused electrically actuated valves to open allowing compressed air to flow up a selected pipe.


Spreckels Organ Pavilion external link   •  Spreckels Organ Society external link   •  Balboa Park, San Diego, California   •  (Photo posted Wednesday 6 April 2011)   •  (Photo taken 14:57:42 Sunday 17 October 2010)   •  © 2011 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #BCY_1514
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Old Door
(8 of 14) (4434 views)

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An old doorway was at the far end of the corridor with the photographs. Beyond it, just visible through one window pane, was the edge of the pavilion.


Spreckels Organ Pavilion external link   •  Spreckels Organ Society external link   •  Balboa Park, San Diego, California   •  (Photo posted Wednesday 6 April 2011)   •  (Photo taken 14:58:16 Sunday 17 October 2010)   •  © 2011 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #BCY_1518
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Pipes Tied With Cloth Ribbons
(9 of 14) (4421 views)

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The large vertical pipes were tied to a supporting wooden backboard using muslin ribbons.


Spreckels Organ Pavilion external link   •  Spreckels Organ Society external link   •  Balboa Park, San Diego, California   •  (Photo posted Wednesday 6 April 2011)   •  (Photo taken 14:58:39 Sunday 17 October 2010)   •  © 2011 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #BCY_1520
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Drums Too
(10 of 14) (4490 views)

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Snare drums and bass drums were also part of the suite of instruments the organ could produce. In addition there were bells and gongs (not shown).


Spreckels Organ Pavilion external link   •  Spreckels Organ Society external link   •  Balboa Park, San Diego, California   •  (Photo posted Wednesday 6 April 2011)   •  (Photo taken 15:01:09 Sunday 17 October 2010)   •  © 2011 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #BCY_1527
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Air Past Hole
(11 of 14) (4471 views)

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The tops of the pipes were open. It was the rush of air past a slot in the side of the pipe that created the tone. Here the actual slots could be seen near the top of each pipe.


Spreckels Organ Pavilion external link   •  Spreckels Organ Society external link   •  Balboa Park, San Diego, California   •  (Photo posted Wednesday 6 April 2011)   •  (Photo taken 15:01:41 Sunday 17 October 2010)   •  © 2011 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #BCY_1529
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A Snare Drum
(12 of 14) (4464 views)

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A snare drum was near the bottom of the display of pipes and instruments. To the right, behind the narrow pipes in the foreground, gongs were suspended.


Spreckels Organ Pavilion external link   •  Spreckels Organ Society external link   •  Balboa Park, San Diego, California   •  (Photo posted Wednesday 6 April 2011)   •  (Photo taken 15:01:51 Sunday 17 October 2010)   •  © 2011 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #BCY_1531
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Outside Seating
(13 of 14) (4448 views)

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Seating outside for the concert as viewed from beside the stage was hardly filled. Perhaps it was the threat of rain that kept folks away that day.


Spreckels Organ Pavilion external link   •  Spreckels Organ Society external link   •  Balboa Park, San Diego, California   •  (Photo posted Wednesday 6 April 2011)   •  (Photo taken 15:04:05 Sunday 17 October 2010)   •  © 2011 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #BCY_1536
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The Gift Shop
(14 of 14) (4432 views)

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In the wide overview of the concert the gift shop could be seen at the far right. It sold CDs of past performances and books describing the pavilion and the Spreckels family.


Spreckels Organ Pavilion external link   •  Spreckels Organ Society external link   •  Balboa Park, San Diego, California   •  (Photo posted Wednesday 6 April 2011)   •  (Photo taken 15:05:59 Sunday 17 October 2010)   •  © 2011 Bryan Costales Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License #BCY_1538
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