Mr. Drugan came to San Diego from Chicago in August of 1933, he was a former field representative for the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain and was looking for a new start in San Diego. He visited the renovated El Prado and admired its appearance, and suggested the use of these buildings as the nucleus for a second exposition to the San Diego businessmen.
Chicago’s 1933-34 Century of Progress Exposition was in its final year, and their exhibits could be transported easily to San Diego. The economy of San Diego needed a lift after the great depression, and a world fair was viewed as a golden opportunity. Mr. Drugan, a promoter became the Executive Secretary and Director of Foreign Participation for the
California Pacific International Exposition of 1935-36.
Under his direction the House of Pacific Relations was created. He changed the name from the foreign section to the House of Pacific Relations, and the design to the “California hacienda architecture”. The “pacific” in the name of the House of Pacific Relations meant peaceful.
Mr. Drugan created the idea for fifteen cottages to be built and to be occupied by different countries to represent the ethnic diversity of San Diego to the world. Construction began in November of 1934. The houses were reproductions of famous Spanish haciendas, because the Spanish vernacular style blended so well with the natural setting of Balboa Park.
Frank Drugan could be considered the father of the House of Pacific Relations and the International cottages as we know it today, which expanded and grew over the years.
There are 30 countries now under the umbrella organization of the House of Pacific Relations.