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Mt. Helix Park History

Mary Yawkey White died in 1928 so she did not see the dedication of the memorial, which was attended by 15,000 people.  In 1929, Cyrus Carpenter Yawkey put the park into a trust with $30,000 to provide for its upkeep and improvements.   The ambitious mandate of the trust is as follows:


“To promote knowledge and culture,
to relieve the distressed in body,
mind and spirit, to cultivate a love for beauty in art and nature, to foster an interest in the love of music and elevate and refine mankind.”


In 1933 the State Relief Administration (renamed the Civil Works Administration in 1934) was hired to build the rugged, natural stone walls that surround the Park and most of Mt. Helix Drive.   It is said to be a fine example of folk architecture in that the stones were shaped and fitted by hand.

Originally, the County of San Diego was named Trustee for the Park but a legal struggle in the 1990s caused the San Diego Superior County to issue an Order based on an agreement reached between the parties in the lawsuit.  The Order said the County would step down as Trustee and transfer the trust assets to a newly formed Foundation for the Preservation of the Mt. Helix Nature Theatre, a 501(c)3 California non-profit public benefit corporation. The Foundation’s charge as Successor Trustee is to uphold the terms of the trust and preserve the integrity of the gift to the San Diego Community – a gift with its genesis in the love for family and the value of friendship.

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