Notes from a Park Ranger

October 2016

Exploring the Silent Film Era

archives-ephemera-chain-of-blue-1919-1920-courtesy-of-sd-history-centeThe house lights dim, and a sense of anticipation fills the air. In a few moments, the audience will forget the cares of the day, and escape into a world where heroes reside and happy endings prevail. The year is 1919, and a new innovation is beginning to transform entertainment. “Photoplays” are introducing film technology into traditional performance venues. For the first time, theatres are showing “moving picture films,” with the accompaniment of organ music, news footage and flickering bits of animation. Everyone is amazed and delighted.

It was the dawn of a new era. Theatre culture was just beginning to make way for silent films, as the world recovered from the horrors of trench warfare and rampant epidemics. Things were indeed changing rapidly. In those days, who could have imagined that moving pictures would one day transform the world? Let’s learn more about this era by exploring the archives of the San Diego History Center.  But first, allow me to digress for a moment.

As always, the rangers of Balboa Park invite you to participate in our Tuesday and Sunday tours, leaving from the Visitors Information Center at 11am. Have you ever wondered about the architecture of the park? Let the ranger staff regale you with anecdotes and exciting bits of history. We look forward to seeing you.

Now, join me at the Friends of Balboa Park website. During my recent trip to the San Diego History Center, I discovered The Chain of Blue, a movie magazine from the previous century. Hold on! It’s a breathtaking ride! – Read More

September 2016

Discover Old Photographs!

old-photosNotes by Park Ranger A.M. Palmer. Sitting for a photographer was once a very serious undertaking, generally involving elegant clothes and more than a little expense. It was understood that one’s likeness was being preserved for posterity. For this reason, I thought it would be exciting to explore old, unidentified photographs at the San Diego History Center and reflect on them. Who were these mysterious people from the past? As you will see, my journey through the archives led to an interesting discovery. – Read More