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The Committee of 100 Labors Tirelessly To Preserve Balboa Park

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Since its founding 19 years ago the Committee of 100 has grown into a committee of 1800.

Dedicated to the preservation of Spanish colonial architecture in Balboa Park, the group is responsible for sustaining the ambience of the park's 1915 Panama-California International Exposition.

At its annual luncheon yesterday at the House of Hospitality in the park, about 175 members ate chicken on the half shell while listening to Kathryn Gualtieri, California State Historic Preservation administrator, discuss recent preservation projects.

Gualtieri showed slides of the restoration of such local landmarks as the Victorian houses in Heritage Park, the roller coaster at Belmont Park and the Crossroads Building on Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

She said the Office of Historic Preservation in Sacramento, which has a staff of 21 including historians, architects and archeologists, is funded by the federal government and the state.

Restoration is not limited to houses, said Gualtieri, former chair of the California State Historic Commission. Churches, fire stations, courthouses, libraries, train stations, hotels as well as windmills have all been restored to their former grandeur.

Patricia DeMarce, president of the Committee of 100, highlighted the association's past ac-accomplishments in her "state of the committee report."

"Our first great success was seeing the Casa del Prado rebuilt," she said. "We take credit that the Spanish Colonial ornamentation on the building was reproduced by casting molds from the original pieces."

The committee, which meets monthly, helped the city obtain over $8 million from the federal government for the restoration of the Ford Building, the California Building and the facade of the Museum of Art. In 1977 the Cabrillo Bridge and all the remaining 1915 buildings were declared a national historic landmark.

Their most recent venture was the one million dollar renovation of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion which the city funded. The group of San Diegans managed to raise $100,000 for the repair of the organ. "We had contributions from people who visited the organ pavilion 40 to 50 years ago,” said Randall Roman, committee treasurer.

Roman said most of the money raised comes from fund-raisers, membership dues, sales of artifacts from the old buildings and federal and state grants. Occasionally, but rarely, they will receive individual donations.

DeMarce said the committee's current project is the lighting of Casa del Prado, which will be unveiled June 26. Again, the group raised the necessary funds of $25,000.

"This lighting will not only enhance the architectural beauty of the building but will add to the security and safety of the public," said DeMarce.

She also spoke of restoring the arcades that run along the Prado.

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