County Landmark Celebrates 70 Years

County employee Kellie Barclay holds a faded photo of herself taken in front of the “Guardian of the Water” fountain, showing a four-year-old girl who has no idea that she will someday work in the historic building behind her.

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“It’s amazing how it came full circle. I never thought I’d be working for the County or the Clerk of the Board,” said Barclay as she attended the monument’s 70th anniversary celebration. {Watch it!}

She was joined by her mother, who took the photo more than 40 years ago after a trip to the County building to get her daughter’s immunizations, and dozens of others who gathered in front of the statue to mark its dedication on June 10, 1939.

Clerk of the Board of the Supervisors Thomas Pastuszka opened the ceremony, noting the changes that the 12-foot sculpture has seen as she’s looked out over the bay for seven decades, including the passing of military ships headed to conflicts, and later returning home safely.

He then ceremoniously turned on the fountain below the statue, as it was done at the original dedication.
The water has been turned off since June 1 to comply with the city of San Diego’s level two drought alert.

Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Dianne Jacob was joined by Vice Chairwoman Pam Slater-Price and Supervisor Greg Cox, each one talking about the County’s efforts to conserve water and other natural resources, as well as what the public can do to reduce water use.

“The statue is an ever-present reminder of how precious this resource is,” said Jacob.

She noted that low-usage devices had been installed on toilets, faucets and showerheads at the County Administration Center, reducing water use at the building by 40 percent during the first four months of the year, compared to the same time period in 2008.

The event even sparked a little rivalry. While the 22-ton piece of granite for the sculpture came from Lakeside in Jacob’s district, Cox was quick to remind the crowd that “it may have come from District 2, but it’s in District 1 now!”

The Supervisors ended the ceremony by turning off the fountain, as the steel drum band from the Monarch School played “Happy Birthday” and cake was served.

For more information about the “Guardian of the Water” sculpture created by local artist Donal Hord, as well as the history of the County Administration Center, visit the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors.