Travelling to a place wouldn’t really be complete without knowing how it came to be what it is now. And just like any other places, landmarks in the City of Pines have their own stories to tell. And if you are one curious individual who loves looking back and learning about how things began, here’s a list of Baguio landmarks and their history just for you.
Mansion House and Wright Park
The original plan of the Mansion House included the lake drive with a large stone amphitheater at its end then a vast landscape garden now known as the Wright Park.
The Mansion served as the official highland residence of American governor-generals in the past and remains such to Filipino Presidents up until now. It was built in 1907 and was named after the ancestral home of Governor-General W. Cameron Forbes in Naushon Island off the coast of Massachusetts.
In 1907, Benguet Governor William Pack invited the Department of Instruction to hold their Teacher’s Assembly here to help promote Baguio as the summer capital and vacation resort. And in April 1908, the tradition of it being a vacation camp for teachers was born.
Camp John Hay
It was intended to serve as an army post in Baguio when U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt signed General Order No. 48 in October 1903.
The reservation measuring 535.63 acres (216.85 hectares) expanded through the years. By the time the U.S. Air Force 6020th Support Squadron turned over its management to the Philippine Government, its area already covered 1, 672 acres (677 hectares).
Originally, The Burnham lake had two small ponds at both ends. In the 1930’s the pond on the east side was filled up and became the skating rink. The one on the west side became a ball ground (present location of the rose garden). The enclosed lagoon originating from Minak Creek became the lake.
Construction of the road began with the survey done by Philippine Commission in order to find the most advantageous route for a railway into the mountains of Benguet. Their report to the U.S. president reflected how the Benguet region can be of value as a sanitarium and a site fit for a military post.
It used to be called Benguet Road before it was named after Col. Lyman W. Kennon who inherited the project from two its two consecutive leads in 1903. He succeeded in leading 4000 men of 46 nationalities in constructing the road that eventually lead to Baguio and the other parts of Benguet.
It was built in 1913 and was considered as Camp John Hay’s crowning glory. Named after its designer, General J. Franklin Bell, it became a favorite venue for concerts, weddings and other public events. It was created by following the contours of the land and Bell also integrated the use of engineering methods of the highland tribes.
Baguio Country Club
Before the construction of a clubhouse and becoming what it is today, it began operating in a grass-thatched, wooden slab structure. It was inaugurated in 1906 and had facilities including a three-hole golf course and a croquet course.
Governor Pack Road
Near its junction with Session Road is where the Benguet Auto Line Station used to stand. It catered to motorbuses that transported passengers to the Damortis rail station for connection to Manila.
In the same location stood the Stone Market constructed in by German prisoners of World War I. It is where merchants and buyers used to come together to trade. It became a prominent landmark and survived bombings during WWII.
Know more and feel closer to Baguio
So on your next visit, maybe it’s time for you to dig deeper and get closer to the heart of Baguio City. Who knows? Finding out new and interesting things about this place might be the reason for you to decide to finally settle down in such beautiful pine haven.