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The Muralist
Peter Stewart Reflected His Concern For The Environment And Endangered Animals Through His Murals.

"I Wanted to do what I could to get involved. I offered to paint protest banners for the Rainforest Action Network."
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Peter Stewart with Primatologist Dr. Jane Goodale at the "March for the Animal's" Gala in Washington D.C., 1996

When Peter Stewart, a  Berkeley California native, adorned the exterior walls of the Emerald Forest Restaurant building -located at the ferry landing- in 1994 with his beautiful murals, he had no idea his art would outlive him in his fight to protect endangered animals and the environment.

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Peter's murals surround the walls of the Emerald Forest building

Peter first became interested in the craft of air brush art in San Diego, just after he got out of the Navy. An employee of a shop that air brushed T-shirts, let Peter try his hand with an air brush. The owner liked Peter's work so much he hired him, and after a short time they were partners.

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A chimpanzee adorns an elevator door.

While in the Navy during the Viet Nam era, Peter fell in love with the forests and animals of the Philippines. In 1990 Peter was at a slide presentation where he discovered that over 40% of these forests had been decimated since he had been there by international corporations such as Mitsubishi. "It struck a nerve inside of me," Peter recalls, "So I wanted to do what I could to get involved. I offered to paint protest banners for the Rainforest Action Network."

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This gorilla and birds mural adds to
the restaurant's interior

Peter reflected his concerns  in the murals that he's painted on the building's walls. The murals depict 14 endangered rain forest animals surrounded by plants and waterfalls all the way around the building.

Peter continued his work with environmental groups until his death at the age of 41 in 1997 from a pneumonia type infection. Many felt his premature demise was brought on by all the years of air brushing and spray painting without a mask.

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Words Of Wisdom

Dogs have owners, cats have staff.

A New Balboa

Want to see what the new Balboa is going to look like after all the dust has cleared?
Click on to the official Balboa Merchants / Owners Association web site for all of the latest information, including the artists renderings and construction timetables.

Time Capsule
Then And Now

Balboa Fire Station No 2

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Central Avenue 1930

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Newport Boulevard 2002
No longer a Fire Station, the building is still standing and in use as a business.

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My mother's double cousin was Joe Beek and she and her three sisters (the Upton Four) spent summers on the Island in the early 1920's where my grandfather, T. Park Upton built a house on the Bayfront. Also living on the Island was my mother's Uncle, the Rev. Harry W. White.  He was a Methodist minister and had a little storefront church on the ferry street in the early 40's; the family lived on South Bayfront.  I sang the little choir when I was about 8.  Uncle Harry was also a local painter and I still have an oil painting that I watched him paint on the pier at the end of Apolena St. My brothers and I grew up on the Island in the late 1930's and 40's, moving away in 1946 or so.  

 We lived variously on Diamond St, Topaz St, and Apolena.  In addition, my father's Uncle Ralph Dimmitt built many of the Dutch colonials on the Island.  We spent all summer participating in the swim, dive, row, paddleboard, sail program of the Balboa Island Yacht Club; I still have a really nice trophy I won in 1944 for swimming.  and I used to crew in the Flight of the Snowbirds for my cousins.  I have many fond memories of the Monday night spaghetti and watermelon feeds put on by the parents for the BIYC at the boathouse near the ferry.  I actually have a number of photos of the extended family (Beeks/Whites/Uptons, et al.) in front of the old boat house. 

We also used to participate in the annual Tournament of Lights; in the mid-40's my Dad built a whale on top of our dinghy complete with a bicycle pump "spout" and he and I were towed in the parade. First grade for me was in Newport Beach, but second grade and maybe third grade were in barracks on the Little Island.  Then I think we went to school in Corona del Mar.  We used to ride the waves in Corona del Mar using bedsheets my mother would stitch up into large pillowcases; you got them wet and then spun around to fill them with air, tied a knot and then swam out with them and rode them in on the waves. I have an old book that I think was written by Joe Beek about even older tales of Balboa.  If you are interested, I see if I can find it. Just thought you might be interested in hearing from a real "oldtimer" from Balboa.

Pat Hofmann Heaton

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