Restoring Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ

Pipe Restoration in Effect

When John D. Spreckels along with his brother Adolph presented the City of San Diego with a magnificent organ and pavilion in Balboa Park just prior to the 1915 Panama–Californian Exposition, they had no idea at the time that 100 years later it would still be cherished as one of San Diego’s most iconic landmarks. Nor could they foresee there would be a group named the Spreckels Organ Society (SOS) dedicated to the preservation of their great gift. The SOS is in the fifth and final phase of its current “Drive To 5000” Campaign. This effort is working to add the 146 pipes needed to reclaim the title of the World’s Largest Outdoor Organ. At this time, SOS is just 96 pipes away from reaching their goal. In an effort to involve the community, SOS is offering to include the name of each donor on a pipe in the mighty Spreckels Organ. And for every Crommorne Pipe that is purchased, an anonymous donor has pledged to purchase the corresponding pipe in the Vox Humana Pipe Rank, effectively doubling your donation! A very special thank you to The Ryan Family Foundation for their generous $10,000 matching grant that doubled the donations of all purchases of Gamba Celeste Rank pipes. I cannot think of a more fitting way to honor the Misters Spreckels than to return ‘their’ organ to its former ranking as the “World’s Largest Outdoor Organ.”

Throughout the month, the organ will play host to a series of events. On Saturday, May 9th the curators will give you a personal tour of the mighty Spreckels Organ at the Brunch–Concert–Tour. Attendees will have the unique opportunity to go inside the organ to see firsthand the intricate inner–workings of this San Diego landmark. A very limited number of tickets for this event can be ordered online at Later that day, there will be a special Mainly Mozart concert open to the public at 4 p.m. with the Youth Orchestra of the Californians.

On Sunday, May 24th starting at 8:00 a.m., San Diego Civic Organist Dr. Carol Williams is set to play a 12–plus hour marathon in an attempt to set the record for the World’s Longest Organ Concert. This special Memorial Weekend event will also benefit Operation Reboot, the premier sports and fitness program for America’s Military Personnel, Veterans and First Responders with permanent physical disabilities.

As we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of our beloved Balboa Park throughout the year, let’s not forget to enjoy the organ we are all proud to call our own.