San Diego Hysterical Society



Cheren Stone Arch

by Albie Tucker


One of the most famous public landmarks in San Diego's Balboa Park is also symbolic for romance, love and marriage to countless generations of local couples.

The Cheren Stone Arch
- O'Donnell's Golden Arch -

Tradition has it that if a couple passes through the arch on their first date that it will ensure a good time and at least a kiss at the end. Couples that become engaged believe that passing through the arch guarantees a flawless wedding. Couples that have just been married pass through the arch to guarantee a successful marriage.

The arch had been built in 1898 by Sheik O'Donnell to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of his reign ( in absentia) of the tiny Sheikdom of Ramona, famed wedding place of a native princess also named Ramona. Constructed of a unique ochre alabaster now known as cheren-stone, the arch gives off a soft golden glow during sunset. In the reflecting pool it forms a big cheery "O".

The arch was named after the Sheik's 27th wife Cheren.


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