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HISTORY OF SOHO - THE FIRST TWENTY YEARS

Twenty Years of Preservation Efforts in San Diego - 1972
By Kathleen Flanigan

BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President Barry Worthington
Vice President Larry Ford
Secretary Harry Evans
Treasurer Lynn Kaplan
Bill Cartwright
Keith Evans
Nicholas Fintzelberg
Claire Kaplan (Alternate)
Donald Mitchell
Miles Parker (Alternate)
Terry Recht
Thelma White

Third SOHO chairman, Barry Worthington, led the group into a new preservation realm with the threatened destruction of the Santa Fe Depot at the foot of Broadway. Not desirous as an organization to acquire the edifice as they had the Sherman-Gilbert house, the members sought to draw public attention to the 1914 Spanish Colonial structure, designed by famed San Francisco architects, Bakewell and Brown, to complement Panama-California Exposition buildings in Balboa Park. The depot site and surrounding properties, owned by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and leased to Amtrak, were slated for redevelopment to include an office building complex featuring two high-rise towers. Worthington claimed on January 25, that SOHO was "ready to write letters, make speeches and even picket" to prevent demolition of the building which was considered one of the landmarks of San Diego by the local A.I.A.

To celebrate the importance of the depot, the first of several train trips to Los Angeles was planned for April 22. The train left the Santa Fe Depot at 7 a.m. and arrived back at 10:00 p.m., after a day viewing Los Angeles architecture. Tickets were $15.00 for SOHO members and $17.00 for non-members, and the flyer sent out admonished, Trains will be in our future-Help keep the station from our past-Save Our Heritage!"

During the week of May 2, commenced an intensive letter writing campaign spurred on by Chairman Worthington. Over 3,000 packets of letters went to citizens who were asked to mail Save The Depot pleas to their councilmen, the mayor and to Santa Fe Railway officials. The letters cited the railroad passenger depot as "a uniquely beautiful landmark in an increasingly glass and plastic downtown area, in excellent structural condition and historically important as a symbol of San Diego's railroad history." The letters also urged recipients "to make certain that boomtown attitudes toward growth and progress do not continue to destroy what is left of our historical and architectural heritage." For a time, it seemed the group might have to resort to legal action to accomplish this preservation feat.

On May 7, in a continued publicity effort, members took over the Masters of the Future Gallery on the Embarcadero for a sale of noted artist Guillermo Acevedo's paintings of the Santa Fe Depot. One hundred litho prints sold for $30 each, with proceeds going to the Save the Depot campaign.

As a result of all the publicity regarding the Depot and its historicity, the City of San Diego worked out a trade with the site owners and developers where they would build at another location and the Depot would remain resplendent near the waterfront.

With the depot's future secured, the group received more good news in regards to the Sherman-Gilbert house. On June 13, the County Board of Supervisors voted to finance the restoration of the Victorian home at an estimated cost of $96,500. The County's Parks and Recreation Department was slated to move into the structure as a full-time occupant.

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ABOUT SOHO

HISTORY OF SOHO
- THE FIRST 20 YEARS

Preface | Beginnings | 1969

1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974

1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979

1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984

1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989

- THE SECOND 20 YEARS

Four Decades of Historic Preservation
in San Diego County

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2476 San Diego Avenue · San Diego CA 92110 · Phone (619) 297-9327
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