By KENDRA SITTON | Uptown News
For a few brief weeks, the California Tower was reopened. Located inside the Museum of Man, it just underwent a seismic retrofit that finished in February after a year of work from the city of San Diego. Until the coronavirus pandemic prompted the closure of local museums, museum staff conducted 10 tours a day, taking a dozen people up 150 stairs to view Balboa Park from a new vantage point. Staff gave three to four tours a day so as to not be too worn out.
The tower is 198 feet tall but the final staircase leading to a small dome is closed permanently.
The tour goes up several regular staircases before going up an antiquated spiral staircase at the end. On each story after going up a staircase, the tour guide talked about people groups significant to San Diego’s history. The tour guide discussed San Diego’s Chinatown, which was destroyed to make way for Balboa Park, the Chicano movement that protested for Chicano Park, and the Kumeyaay Nation who once covered the whole region.
The chimes heard in the park are located inside the tower. According to a museum tour guide, a musician comes in once a month to record new music to play on the 100-chime electric carillon. The musician records three songs, which are played at noon each day for that month.
While the Museum of Man and the California Tower are closed for now, here’s a peak at what a future visit would hold. The California Tower is an iconic San Diego site and is one of the most photographed places in the region. However, it is most often photographed from the outside. These photos take you inside.