Julius Wangenheim

Julius Wangenheim (1866-1942) was a San Diego banker, civic leader and bibliophile. He was born in San Francisco and graduated from the University of California. In 1896 he moved to San Diego where he became an active participant in community affairs. An avid reader since childhood, Mr. Wangenheim became interested, during the last twenty years of his life, in developing a collection that would show the history of the book. That collection, given to the City of San Diego by his wife Laura, was the basis for the San Diego Public Library’s rare and fine book room which bore his name.

In 1911 Wangenheim became involved in the planning of the Panama-California Exposition. As a member of the Buildings and Grounds Committee, he supported the Olmsted Brothers in their effort to locate the Exposition near the high school. The objections of D.C. Collier and Frank P. Allen to the southern site and the covert influence of John D. Spreckels, owner of the proposed trolley line through the park, were enough to dissuade the Building and Grounds Committee. On August 31, 1911, the committee voted to relocate the Exposition, with Moses A. Luce, Thomas O’Hallaran, Julius Wangenheim and George W. Marston dissenting. Upon receiving the news, John C. Olmsted wired his resignation.

During February of 1915 it was rumored that the exposition was about to close because of low attendance. Julius Wangenheim, then chair of the finance committee, got John D. Spreckels to sign a loan guarantee to the Exposition of $100,000. The money did not have to be used, as Exposition attendance picked up.

…from the San Diego Public Library website and the book Balboa Park and the 1915 Exposition by Richard W. Amero