Horton Plaza Improvement Project
(San Diego, CA)
Built in 1910, Horton Plaza is one of San Diego’s oldest civic landmarks. The half block city park is named for downtown founder Alonzo Horton, who originally intended the plaza to be enjoyed by his guests at the nearby Horton House Hotel. Horton sold the park to the city for $10,000 in 1895, and his hotel was eventually demolished. The construction of the U.S. Grant Hotel, which opened in 1910, prompted 180 citizens of San Diego to petition for the redesign of the plaza. Banker Louis J. Wilde, part-owner of the U.S. Grant and future mayor of San Diego, donated ten thousand dollars for the project. The new design by Irving Gill replaced the original plaza bandstand with a symmetrical layout of grassy quadrants around a decorative fountain. Modeled after the 4th century B.C. Choragic Monument in Athens, the entablature of the fountain is inscribed with the words “Broadway Fountain for the People.”
Over the years, Horton Plaza served as a San Diego’s main gathering place to honor dignitaries and celebrate major events. Horton Plaza was designated a historical landmark by the City of San Diego on March 19, 1971.
In 1984 a movement was made to redesign the plaza and move the fountain, but following protests by preservationists the city relented and spent $775,000 on the restoration of the plaza and fountain. Due to deterioration, the fountain was turned off in 2008 and fenced off from the public
The plaza and fountain are currently being restored as part of a $17 million project to create a new urban park on Broadway between Third and Fourth Avenues.
Owner: City of San Diego
Original Architect: Irving Gill (Fountain)
Architect: Heritage Architecture & Planning
Historic Consultant: John Griswold, Spectra Company
Landscape Architect: Walker Macy
General Contractor: Echo Pacific Construction
Resoration Contractor: Spectra Company