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HISTORY OF SOHO - THE FIRST TWENTY YEARS

Twenty Years of Preservation Efforts in San Diego - 1976
By Kathleen Flanigan

BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President Bruce Kamerling
Vice President Pat Minnich
Secretary Donna Regan
Treasurer Cia Brown
Ray Cadena (Alternate)
Keith Evans (Alternate)
Corrine Johnson
Mike Jones (Alternate)
Ted Krauss
Matt Potter
Pat Schaelchlin
Pat Tarasuck
Esther Young

To continue to accentuate downtown revitalization and restoration, SOHO hosted its second annual Antique and Classic Automobile Parade down Broadway on Sunday, April 11, in conjunction with the Francis Family, owners of the antique emporium at 5th and K. The day's event included an award ceremony, a raffle of a special antique piece donated by the Francis Family, luncheon at the Old Spaghetti Factory, and wine and cheese tasting at the Old World Restaurant and Deli inside the 5th and K structure.

Later that week, SOHO asked city officials to provide for adaptive reuse of historically significant buildings within the Horton Plaza Redevelopment District. In a letter sent by President Bill Cartwright to City Councilman Jess Haro, he urged "that the City Redevelopment Agency adopt a policy to save historically significant structures on land acquired by the Agency." Cartwright stressed that was concerned that redevelopment could lead to the destruction of irreplaceable buildings at a time when plans and financing for new construction had not been finalized.

Cartwright's letter continued, "Since 1974, a program of property acquisition and subsequent demolition has been conducted within the bounds of the proposed Horton Shopping Center. To our knowledge, all agency-held property has been cleared and is currently being used for parking lots. While we whole-heartedly support the concept of creating new commercial and residential vitality downtown, we think it would be unwise to continue the present policy of wholesale demolition, especially in light of the indefinite commitment to replacement construction on the part of the city and its developer." Cartwright urged the city to adopt a two-prong identification-preservation program, which would identify buildings within the primary development area that were worthy of preservation and provide for the permanent preservation of such structures once acquired by the redevelopment agency.

To further emphasize the concern of the organization, The Horton Action Group, an adjunct of, was formed to promote preservation of historic buildings within the redevelopment district and to link city officials and San Diego residents concerned about restoration of the Center City area.

SOHO hotly voiced concern over the fate of two buildings in the downtown redevelopment area-the Horton Hotel, later called the Horton-Grand Hotel on F between 3rd and 4th and the Balboa Theatre at 4th and E. Several years before, Robert Miles Parker had proposed that the square block be restored as a theatre district. The organization hoped that the economic changes of the preceding years that made restoration and recycling of old buildings more economical than new construction, would reinforce the opinion "that the block in general and the two structures in particular, should be saved." They also urged property owners in the Gaslamp Redevelopment District "to restore and exploit their aging buildings."

In a more positive light, the County Board of Supervisors on June 16 approved the moving and exterior renovation of the three targeted Victorian structures, the Christian, Burton and Bushyhead residences, to Heritage Park. The bill for this feat totaled $427,000, $65,000 more than the November 1975 estimate. The houses were all moved during the week of August 25 to cut costs, since the bulk of the money paid for the lifting of telephone and electrical wires as the houses trekked down the streets. Members staged a relocation party, complete with Victorian costumes and clowns.

The big architectural tour of 1976, held in October, showcased Coronado, the "Bayside Boom Town." Member, Bruce Kamerling, led visitors to the Hotel del Coronado Boat House, the Richards-Dupee mansion on Ocean Blvd., the Jessop house on 1st, and the Christ Episcopal Church. The fund raising and educational project was hailed a success with over $2500 added to the treasury.

In another educational vein, a preservation library, considered by many to be one of SOHO's most important early contributions to the cause of preservation in San Diego, was begun. The collection originated with material dealing with specific preservation problems and provided "how to" and "where to find" information for persons interested in restoring historic structures. Donations still filter in from all over and the resources have grown tremendously over the years. Member historian, Pat Schaelchlin, was the first librarian.

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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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